Ordinary user impressions of OpenSolaris updated to build 126

Its being a while since my last blog. And since many projects still in progress I will share my impression about recent build of OpenSolaris b126.

I am long time user of OpenSolaris. This is my tool for everyday work and I have it on my notebook. But still I am just a user, a little of admin, totally not a developer of this system. OpenSolaris 2009.06 was a major milestone with most every features polished to that date. But some was not as good as I wanted them to be. So I came a long road of updating to dev builds. I had all of them starting from 116 till 126. In every build there were improvements as well as new bugs. Only starting with 126 I can say that I feel good about it.

So here is the list why go dev and what you should be ready to. I am not writing in which release bug was fixed. Consider this as a "diff 111a 126" and I am not pretend to show all diff, this is only what is sensitive to me:

  • Firefox was beta in 2009.06 and bunch of needed addons does not work in this beta. That was first reason why I started to go dev. Probably I can go updating applications only, but I decided to have whole system recent. Firefox is 3.5.3 now.
  • System monitor applet had disk activity broken, but now it is fine.
  • Overwall system performance (Compiz at maximum visual, Firefox) performs much better. This is purely subjective.
  • Sound subsystem has changed. Keyboard beep annoying my coworkers. Did not get how to mute it or lower volume permanently.
  • Pidgin's yahoo icon problem is fixed. It was showing offline even when you connected. Pidgin is 2.6.2
  • In some builds printer monitor applet gone wild eating cpu. But now its fine.
  • I noticed that my /var was growing. This is due to each 'pkg update' is storing downloaded packages. Can be fixed with
$ pfexec pkg set-property flush-content-cache-on-success true
  • No more Ctrl-D in Terminal, have to use "exit". Didn't look at it yet. Typing "exit" may be annoying, but it saves from accidental closing of terminals. Right now I have just 5 opened sessions in terminal, usually more.
  • I have strange problem with Marvell Yukon Ethernet. Before 125 I had a driver from the vendor. But it does not work for build 125 and 126. So I decided to remove YUKONXsolx and give a try to yge. Something strange happening here. I have external USB disk drive attached. I use this drive periodically as rpool mirror to have a spare. As soon as I have this drive attached before the system booted my ethernet refuses to work. So I need to have USB disk drive detached when system boots. Details are here.
  • Now waiting for zfs dedup
  • Other frequently used applications: Rhythmbox with Audio.fm, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, QCAD, Gimp, Stellarium (Blastwave please update your repository with recent versions! and why it so rare online?), Adobe Reader.
Comments:

Like the blog. I have a similar experience to you, it's comforting to read someones thoughts that are similar to mine. I'm just about to update to 126 and am hoping it will fix the media mount/unmount problem, some permissions issue.

What is zfs dedup?

I also find it frustrating when blastwave and sunfreeware are offline. I think it may be because IPS is evolving quite fast over the last year. When it matures and stops changing, then I hope the third party repos will also become more stable. We need more though, with more recent versions.

Go OpenSolaris! I'm loving it.

Posted by Euan Thoms on October 30, 2009 at 02:30 PM PDT #

Thanks, Euan. Nice to hear it.

Regarding zfs dedup. Here is quote from the architect.request:
"Deduplication is a feature of modern storage platforms by which
varying mechanisms are employed to reduce the amount of total data
stored by eliminating and sharing common components. We are adding
deduplication to ZFS in order to further enable market penetration
with ZFS and the Sun Storage 7000 series."

PSARC 2009/571 ZFS Deduplication Properties
6677093 zfs should have dedup capability
from http://hg.genunix.org/onnv-gate.hg/rev/e2081f502306

Posted by Roman Ivanov on November 01, 2009 at 06:56 PM PST #

I confirm almost everything, only one problem I get, somtimes the cursor freezes for few instances, it is awfull. What does it depends on?

Posted by Andrea Galantini on November 04, 2009 at 08:18 PM PST #

Andrea,
please check
http://blogs.sun.com/jimgris/entry/127
"That freezing mouse bit is gone."

Posted by Roman on November 19, 2009 at 04:56 PM PST #

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Roman (pomah) Ivanov, ISV Engineering. Tips how to run Oracle best on Sun. Performance monitoring and tuning for system administrators. OpenSolaris user experience.

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