Solaris 10 05/09 is out!

That is Solaris 10 Update 7, with :

  • ZFS Clones support for Solaris Zones --cloning a Zone can use ZFS snapshotting for faster operations;
  • improved Solaris FMA support for Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series a.k.a. Nehalem --for higher predictive self-healing capabilities;
  • stronger algorithms for IPsec --IPsec is also brought under the Solaris SMF umbrella;
  • enhanced power management for Intel processors --speed control of Intel processors using ACPI T-states to provide an additional passive cooling mechanism beyond existing ACPI P-states;
  • updated network device drivers for new IB and 10GigE devices --including Intel ICH10 and Hartwell, Broadcom NetXtreme and 5722 and NetXen 10GB NIC;
  • updated performance counter access for Intel processors --the performance monitoring and analysis tool HAR uses these;
  • and more.

For a detailed list of new features, check out What's New in the Solaris 10 5/09 Release on docs.sun.com. For bug fixes, check out this table.

Let me say it upfront though, it has been a while since I had myself played with a Solaris 10 release. Since Sun came out with its own (supported) OpenSolaris.org distribution named OpenSolaris --there are 10+ OpenSolaris.org distributions to date by the way, including Nexenta, BeleniX, MilaX--, my Solaris distribution of choice has been OpenSolaris instead. I run it inside VirtualBox on my Mac laptop. So, because it was a while, I decided to download and install Solaris 10 05/09 as a personal experiment.

As a first reaction, I can report that it is hard to go back --from OpenSolaris to Solaris 10. Or, to put it in a positive light, OpenSolaris has really succeeded in addressing the gaps of Solaris as a general-audience (desktop) operating system!

First, OpenSolaris downloads in one third of the time. No wonder, OpenSolaris happily fits on a CD while a Solaris 10 image is 2.4GB big, as you can see below. There is no magic though, the Solaris 10 DVD comes with a full server-side distribution while OpenSolaris will require additional downloads. Still, the first impression remains in favor of OpenSolaris.

$ ls -l
(...)
-rw-r--r-- 1 fparient admin  719087616 Apr 27  2008 os200805.iso
-rw-r--r-- 1 fparient admin  720697344 Nov 26 12:25 osol-0811-rc2.iso
-rw-r--r-- 1 fparient admin 2330460160 May 12 19:33 sol-10-u7-ga-x86-dvd.iso

Second, OpenSolaris installs smoothly: fast, without error, and with only a few questions asked. Somehow, the Solaris install failed twice for me before I could get it right, I had to answer many more questions, and the actual installation of files took a long time. Sure, I ended up with a full server distribution but it is only over time that I (may) realize the benefits.

Lastly, OpenSolaris looks nicer. Okay, this is a matter of personal taste, but I do think the OpenSolaris windows environment is slicker. See for yourself.


Figure 1 - OpenSolaris Desktop

 


Figure 2 - Solaris 10 Desktop a.k.a. Java Desktop System 3

The next release of OpenSolaris is planned for June 2009 by the way. I am really looking forward to it!

Comments:

I'm very disappointed that OpenSolaris doesn't have JDS. Of course JDS 3 is a bit old now, but it is simple and easy GUI for non-Gnome users, particularly MS Windows users.

Posted by Phil on May 13, 2009 at 03:39 PM CEST #

You are right in the fact that the OpenSolaris desktop will look more familiar to Mac users --menu bar at top of screen instead of bottom for Windows and JDS. It seems though that you can get JDS on OpenSolaris. See http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/jds/ . I have not tried it myself so I don't have any feedback for you on the actual result.

And, of course, you have many more options, because you are on a Unix system. http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Desktops has a good list of desktop environment / window managers. There is even one with a full Windows XP look-n-feel at http://www.xpde.com/ :-)

Posted by Frederic Pariente on May 14, 2009 at 03:11 AM CEST #

I personally don't mind the default Gnome GUI and I know that I should be able to use JDS on OpenSolaris.com release as well as it is based on the 'Nevada' or SXCE which still use JDS.

However, I'm sure that OpenSolaris would be much more attractive to most end-users if it have more familiar GUI as a default or at least as an option before installation.

Posted by Phil on May 14, 2009 at 04:34 AM CEST #

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