Experiences with OpenSolaris
By stanford on Sep 02, 2008
On a previous post, a commenter suggested that instead of a NAS device, I try OpenSolaris + ZFS. I thought it was an interesting concept, so I decided to build a prototype on my x86 PC using the 2008.05 release to see how it might go. Here is a summary of my experience:
- The OpenSolaris install process is much more intuitive (and less flexible) than the Solaris process I remember (+1)
- It was nice not having to partition the boot drive manually or accept crazy old-school default (+1)
- I didn't find a GUI based ZFS tool in the administrative menus, so off to the man pages (-1)
- The pkg tool was interesting and a significant improvement in theory (+1)
- The netbeans package was out of date (6.0 vs 6.1 or 6.5 beta) (-1)
- The downloaded netbeans bundle and openesb bundle couldn't find Java until after I installed the old netbeans via pkg (-1, but not sure who loses the point)
- I also wanted to create a bootable USB stick so I didn't have to allocate a drive to OS, but couldn't get the system to boot from the stick (-1)
- I also wanted to install Subversion, so I selected it in the pkg tool and everything hung up. Upon reboot, the system couldn't start anything and was trashed (-10)
- I tried everything again from scratch and subversion package seemed to hose it again, so I'm back to the DVD again (-100)
At that point I came to the conclusion that it probably is not a stable enough platform for my home office NAS solution, but could be a good developer platform for someone who knows Solaris and has spare time. I'll probably install it again on this PC since I didn't use the Windows OS on it for anything significant, but until someone tells me why I have to rebuild the OS after failing to install a source control package, I'm not willing to let my productivity depend on it.
In all fairness, OpenSolaris is not intended to be a production OS, so I wasn't expecting miracles. On the other hand, this is the sort of thing that might discourage someone enough to go somewhere else for a dev platform or a unix playground...