Solaris 10 x86 Notes



So I had some fun this weekend playing around with Solaris 10 x86 on my Toshiba 9100 laptop. Here are a few notes and observations. First an embarrassing confession. My network got screwed up a while back. When I booted up, everything came up. An ifconfig -a and a netstat -rn command showed reasonable values, but Mozilla would barf on most sites after loading part of the data. I tried a couple of nslookup www.cnn.com and dig google.com commands to make sure name resolution was working. The name lookups worked but still Mozilla wouldn't cooperate. Friday afternoon I finally checked /etc/nsswitch.conf and it was hosed. Looked like part of my xorg.conf had overlayed it. I copied /etc/nsswitch.dns to /etc/nsswitch.conf, rebooted and voila, back in business. Annoying to me that nslookup and dig don't complain about the bogus nsswitch file but its all better now.

So now I am ready to try out several new things. I have been hearing good things about Firefox as a browser and Thunderbird as an email client. Supposedly leaner and meaner than Mozilla. Each package mentioned above available to you for Solaris 8 x86 to Solaris 10 x86 at one of my favorite sites, SunFreeware.com, at this special link. I downloaded FireFox and Thunderbird and installed according to the directions. The package install placed the basic executable in /usr/local/bin. I then used Google image search for the Firefox and Thunderbird logos, downloading them into /usr/share/pixmaps. I am using the Java Desktop so I did a right click on the background and did a Create Launcher. I named Firefox and did a Browse for the command, finding it in /usr/local/bin/firefox. I then clicked the No Icon button and found my downloaded icon and selected it.

I tried out Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird for a comparision. I hate to say it but I like Mozilla because of the fonts. The fonts on the Mozilla panels render the letters clearer than the Firefox panels. Also on serveral web pages the fonts on the Mozilla browser were thicker and easier to read than on the Firefox browser. So then I checked the fonts in the preferences and the proportional fonts are the same. The rest are not filled in Mozilla and I can't find the same fonts from FireFox in the Mozilla list. I also cannot clear the different fonts in Firefox. However, that is simply my own aesthetic opinion which may not be shared by others. What about technical aspects of the situation?

I fired up each browser and ran pmap on each of them to see if Firefox is leaner and meaner than Mozilla. Mozilla had a total memory size of 66316K and a heap size of 9956K while Firefox had a total memory size of 38096K and a heap of only 7364K. So Firefox is only 57% of the size of Mozilla. But when my laptop has 512MB do I really need to worry about 28MB? The prstat and vmstat of the startup of Mozilla and Firefox seem very similar. I guess I am going with my own aesthetic opinion. Perhaps a developer or a browser guy can comment on my font issues.

Comments:

The reason that nslookup and dig don't complain about /etc/nsswitch.conf is that they don't use it (at least, for host name lookup). They only use /etc/resolv.conf.

'getent hosts somehostname' will use the gethostbyname routine, which ends up using /etc/nsswitch.conf to determine what name service to resolve the host through.

Beware nscd when messing around with nsswitch.conf, by the way: if you change nsswitch.conf but don't restart nscd, you can end up doing resolution using the old nsswitch.conf settings (at least in Solaris 7, 8 & 9).

Posted by Jason Ozolins on janar 10, 2005 at 01:50 MD PST #

Hi Paul, the fonts thing can be explained by the fact that the firefox & thunderbird binaries you're using probably weren't compiled to use libXft2 whereas /usr/sfw/lib/mozilla/mozilla-bin is.

timf@argentum[529] ldd firefox-bin | grep Xft
timf@argentum[530] cd /usr/sfw/lib/mozilla/
timf@argentum[531] ldd mozilla-bin | grep Xft
        libXft.so.2 =>   /usr/openwin/lib/libXft.so.2

All you need is to find (or compile) a copy of firefox that uses gtk2+Xft : I can find sparc builds alright, but not x86 unfortunately (I ran into the same problem on my laptop)

Posted by Tim Foster on janar 10, 2005 at 05:46 MD PST #

Is it true that Solaris x86 doesn't have ZFS or Zones, or is that just rumors on the Internets?

Posted by Laen on janar 12, 2005 at 03:14 PD PST #

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Posted by rwerwe on tetor 13, 2006 at 11:50 MD PDT #

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