Dwarf Caiman or rather, this isn't your father's Solaris Installer
By glagasse on Apr 02, 2007
Greetings Blogosphere. Long time, no post. That's mostly due to my working on things that weren't necessarily interesting outside of Sun (ie Gatekeeping/Release Engineering). That said, I've had a change in responsibilities and so am more likely to start posting here again. Stay Tuned.
Now to the topic at hand. I was involved with the Consolidation that handles the Solaris Installer technology for almost 2 years. As such, I grew quite an affinity for the work going on to bring the Solaris Installer into the 21st century as it were in respect to offerings from Apple, Windows and Linux distributions (for distributions that offer more than a text based install that is).
The work required is part of a larger initiative called Caiman which calls for the re-architecture of the Solaris Installer. Dave Miner is the architect for this overall strategy and posted an architecture document on OpenSolaris. You can find the document here.
The work outlined in that document is being undertaken in the Installation and Packaging Community.
The first effort to come out of this re-architecture is the Dwarf Caiman project
Today the team working on Dwarf Caiman released a demo of the gui application which will become the Solaris Installer. The announcement with the details can be found on the install-discuss forum/mailing list.
That said, downloading the demo package and installing it should pose no great risk. It doesn't do an actual install and thus doesn't modify anything on disk. It merely walks through what the Install will look like. This is however pre-pre-pre Alpha and the usual caveats for such software applies. There's lots of bugs to be sure. And certainly alot more work to be done to turn it from a demo into a functional piece of software.
I was utterly blown away after installing the demo and running it. I know the people working on this project and they're very smart so it should really come as no surprise as to how good this looks. Comparing the demo Installer to what we currently employ is, well farther apart than comparing night and day in my opinion. The Dwarf Installer rivals anything that Windows, Mac OS or Linux put out as far as I'm concerned. It truly looks sophisticated and functional. The team has managed to put together something that looks more 21st century than 20th. And this is just window dressing as it were. I can not wait until this is available to install Solaris with.
I highly suggest that anyone who is curious about where we are taking the Solaris installation experience to go ahead and download the demo and take a look. Sure, this is just window dressing but it's going to allow us to do some really cool things underneath and it's only the beginning of a much larger strategy.
As the saying goes, the future looks bright indeed!