What's New in Solaris Express 2/05 (Nevada Build 7)

Welcome to Nevada! Nevada is our code-name for the next version of Solaris. For now at least, the uname -r output is 5.10.1 although that is subject to change. As I did for the last couple of Solaris 10 SX builds, I'll attempt to keep you abreast of the changes happening in each SX release. I missed doing one which described the delta between SX 11/04 (s10_72) and the FCS build of Solaris 10. The most important of those changes include:
  • Inclusion of gcc for SPARC, x86 and AMD64 (/usr/sfw/bin/gcc).
  • Intel 10GB NIC driver (ixgb driver)
  • svcadm (part of SMF) picked up a synchronous mode (via -s)
  • BIND 9 became the default name server. BIND 8 was removed.
  • A large fraction of binaries delivered (including kernel modules) are now cryptographically signed. See elfsign(1).
Ok. Now entering Nevada. Notable New Features in Solaris Nevada, Build 7 (AKA Solaris Express 02/2005):

Desktop

  • Updated Xorg from 6.8.0 to 6.8.2RC2, including numerous bug fixes and new hardware support (see the X.org release notes). The final version of 6.8.2 will be available in a future Solaris Express build.
  • An annoying bug in the /usr/sfw/bin/mozilla prevents it from starting up properly. Edit the OS_VERSION check in the script to work around the problem.
  • You can now double-click .jnlp (java web-start) and .jar files to run them under GNOME.

Hardware support

  • via823x SADA audio driver on x86 and AMD64 platforms.
  • Chelsio 10gb NIC driver available on all platforms (SPARC, x86, AMD64).

Security

  • 64-bit openssl(1) command available. Solaris already ships with a 64-bit openssl library. The openssl command provides a tool for using various cryptography functions of OpenSSL's crypto library from the shell.
  • Support for a PKCS#11 "MetaSlot". This is an extension to the Cryptographic framework which presents a single slot which is the union of the capabilities of other slots which are loaded in the framework.
  • IKE gets a performance boost by using the encryption framework. IKE is also now fully compliant with RFC 3947 (NAT-T support).

Storage

  • iSCSI devices are now supported via the new iscsiadm(1m) command.
  • The fcinfo(1m) utility is now available; this utility can be used to list fibre channel ports on the system in a concise and clear fashion.

Performance

  • Hierarchical (Multi-level) Lgroup support. Solaris has an abstraction called an Lgroup (latency group) which is the way in which the system tracks NUMA system topology. Traditionally, Solaris has run on systems with no difference in latency (traditional SMP systems) or only two levels of latency (local memory and remote memory). Newer system designs have more levels. For example, 4-CPU Opteron systems have 3 such levels; 8-way Opteron systems may have 4 levels. This project enables better performance on ring and ladder system topologies, and picks up performance wins on Oracle (TPC-SO), Fluent, and other benchmarks. There are some new liblgrp APIs to go along with this work (lgrp_latency_cookie(3LGRP)).
  • Faster memmove(3c) (anywhere from 0-400%, 40% is typical) on 32-bit x86 platforms. AMD64 performance of memmove(3c) and bcopy(3c) were also improved.
  • Improved context switch performance on AMD64.
  • Much improved performance on 32-bit x86 string functions: strcpy(3c) (as much as 50%), strlen(3c) (as much as 25% on long strings) and strchr(3c) (as much as 45% on long strings).
Other:
  • New TCP_INIT_CWND TCP socket option allows the congestion control window calculation to be overridden with a user specified value. See tcp(7p) for full details.
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