Efty Upgrade and Open Solaris

I made the leap to the newest Ubuntu (Edgy Eft aka 06.10) this weekend and it wasn't without issues. Although not as bad as many of these people's problems, the upgrade process deemed it necessary to rewrite my carefully crafted /etc/xorg.conf file and play a bit with my wireless settings. This led to an out of control [events/0] process as my video driver tried to use a naughty settings. Copying my old /etc/xorg.conf back into place pretty much fixed this and I was back to my old laptop with new Gnome 2.16 goodness.

Now many of you are probably wondering why I am upgrading Ubuntu rather than installing Solaris  on my laptop. The reason is quite simple: I need wireless (and wireless with WPA security) and I don't have a Solaris driver for the RT2500 WiFi chip in my Averatec. However, as I was stumbling through blogs.sun.com this week, something caught my eye: Does the Solaris OS run on your x86 system ? And although once I ran the Sun Device Detection Tool (which is quite nice and deploys using Java Web Start which I love) it confirmed that my wireless chip was unsupported, it did tell me that everything else was supported. Emboldened, I decided to poke around the Open Solaris site to see if there was anything new in the wireless project. Bingo! Not only is there a RT2500 driver (ported from the BSD source), there is some work on a WPA supplicant. Unfortuately, the WPA supplicant only works with Atheros driver. But still, thats progress. And I can probably hobble along with WEP for a while (most of my work is done with SSL encryption or VPN turned on).

Sun Device Detection Tool

My new project for the week is now to get Open Solaris running on my laptop.

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Ken Pepple is Chief Technologist for Sun Microsystem's Systems Line of Business

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