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Solaris Express 8/04

Alan Coopersmith
Senior Principal Software Engineer

Alan Hargreaves beat me to posting about this month's release of Solaris Express, but since he's Down Under, he's usually a day ahead of me anyway. While the high-level list is impressive, there's also a few hidden goodies and bug fixes people may appreciate - though to list them I'll have to reset my brain back to the build 63 used for SX 8/04 after spending the day working out the final kinks in build 65, hacking on code for build 67, and making plans for changes to go into build 68. Of course as an X developer, the changes in X and the desktop are the ones I know most about - no slight to the other parts of the system, I'm just sticking to what I know best. The following are in no particular order...

bugid 5045194: Xsun doesn't allow +xinerama to follow the -dev option
The -dev option parser in Xsun only recognized a word starting with - as the start of a new option, breaking on things such as -dev /dev/fb0 -dev /dev/fb1 +xinerama - this fixes it so that now works (or any other + option for that matter). The X server command line syntax is still a mess, even in Xorg, but that's where two decades of organic evolution has left us.
bugid 5031067: Xsun unsets interactive priority boost on itself
Xsun on Solaris uses the IA scheduling class to boost the priority of the process that currently has window focus - it also used to boost itself since the other processes can't get events or draw output without the Xserver getting CPU time. A while ago a bug was introduced that caused Xsun to give up it's boost - now that's fixed.
ATA driver improvements
Improvements for various ATA (aka IDE) controllers, including faster boot times on some, support for some SATA controllers and more
fbconfig -gui
A new gui mode for configuring various parameters on SPARC frame buffers.
A new CLI utility for converting internationalized domain names between the local character set and the ASCII-compatible encoding used in DNS, so you can make your scripts IDN compatible or work with programs not yet updated to support IDN.
Perl updated to 5.8.4
See the release notes from the open source release for changes. Also perlgcc was added to the release to make it easier to compile perl modules with gcc instead of the Sun compilers.
bugid 5034873 usb mouse wheel scroll is not smooth
The USB mouse driver was not passing up scroll wheel events when the mouse wasn't moved much - you could scroll much faster by wiggling the mouse while rolling the wheel - this fixes that.
kdmconfig support for more resolutions
kdmconfig allows selecting 1400x1050 and other common laptop resolutions now without having to manually create a config file.
GNU tar (/usr/sfw/bin/gtar) updated to 1.14
Adds bzip compression support and other new features - see the changelog on the GNU tar site.
wget updated to 1.9.1
OpenGL 1.3 for Solaris SPARC moved to main OS CD
No longer do you need the Supplement CD to install OpenGL - it's on the main CD's and part of the normal install
Numerous fontconfig, STSF, and Xft fixes and improvements
Too many to list, but hard to see since nothing in Solaris Express uses these yet. To see this, you'ld need to be one of the lucky few early testers in the Java Desktop System for Solaris beta program or build open source programs using the libraries in Solaris.
dtlogin starts Xsun with -defdepth 24 by default
I know this will make some users very happy, while others will laugh at us and say "welcome to the 21st century", but this has been a long fight thanks to legacy software that only works in 8-bit PseudoColor mode. If you've still got some of this, you can easily disable this in the dtlogin Xservers configuration file, but for most people, this will bring a welcome improvement in the graphics quality of modern applications (though at a small performance penalty on some cards, since it does mean transferring 4 times as much data across the system bus for images).
O_NOFOLLOW & O_NOLINKS options to open(2)
Makes it easier to write secure code

There's a lot more, especially in the kernel and drivers, but I can't do justice to all of them...

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Comments ( 6 )
  • Alan Wednesday, August 18, 2004
    I don't know why GNU tar was originally added or star hasn't been, just that the older version of GNU tar has been replaced with a newer one. Sorry.
  • Dan Price Sunday, August 22, 2004
    There is an engineer evaluating whether we can include star in the future; last I checked it was still undecided. Note that the tar Alan is talking about is not the same as /usr/bin/tar, which is still the SystemV derived implementation. We've had GNU tar available in /usr/sfw for a while now (I think in Solaris 9, and maybe in 8) for those who wish to use it.
  • bbr Tuesday, August 24, 2004
    any version of openGL for solaris x86 planned?
  • Volker A. Brandt Tuesday, August 24, 2004
    Will the new Xsun binary run under Solaris9 on sun4m systems?
    Will Sun eventually give proprietary driver software for older hardware to X.org? I am specifically thinking of cg14 acceleration... I'd love to run NetBSD + Gnome on my quad 12MHz Ross SS20! :-)
  • Volker A. Brandt Tuesday, August 24, 2004
    Hey, that was supposed to be 125 MHz...
  • Solaris Guy Wednesday, August 25, 2004
    Will the ultra3 SCSI driver ever be added to the install CDs? Maybe for Solaris 8 and 9 too? Please?
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