Sunday, June 01, 2008

First glance at OpenSolaris 2008.05

After three years of incubation development, is the announcement of OpenSolaris 2008.05 release. OpenSolaris 2008.05 is the first official OpenSolaris release with support, but I expect there will be more release update after this. I take a quick look at it before the end of May (while it still fresh and hot).

OpenSolaris 2008.05 is LiveCD for desktop (but Solaris is always a server OS than a desktop OS), you can use the same LiveCD for installation as well. The 700Mb (685Mb) iso image can be downloaded from, or website.

With the release of OpenSolaris 2008.05, it also mark as an end of SXDE (Solaris Express Developer Edition). OpenSolaris is the quick peek at what may look like in Solaris 11. OpenSolaris should be binary compatible with Solaris 10, that means your device driver for Solaris 10 can be used in OpenSolaris as well(*).

If you are able to install OpenSolaris without much problems, congratulation. You may have nVidia video card and plenty of Ram. There are some problems that I have encounter that I want to share with you all.

1. Bloated desktop? The LiveCD running very slow on 512Mb Pentium 4 machine. May be the Java Desktop Environment take up a lot of Ram, but don't blame it on Java. Java Desktop Environment is not Java, is just a marketing term, is actually Gnome. I think Gnome are bloated. That's why some Solaris distribution like Belenix use XFCE for the Desktop.

2. Limited Driver support. Don't expect it work like Windows, boot successfully on most desktop hardware, even ubuntu linux will have better support than OpenSolaris 2008.05. For display, tested and work well with Nvidia and Intel video chipset, but ATI display may have some problem (a blur screen display).

Network is a very important device other than the video display, it could be much more important than the display. A very common Intel PRO100/VE network card is not included, even through driver provided by third party is available.

3. Limited installation mode. Unable to use VESA VGA or text mode for installation, if you can't get your display setup properly, you are in trouble.

4. Unable to load extra driver. Unable to load extra driver disk, if hard disk controller card (eg. HP Smart Array) is not supported, it was unable to install.

After all the bad comment, does OpenSolaris has any good? Yes.

New package system (IPS, Image Packaging System), may improve software installation process. There are more... which I am not listed here.

Not everyone need OpenSolaris, don't get it just because is open source. I have told you my reason here, so what's yours?

* You might need to change the name from 10 to 11.

Review on zdnet.
Another installation review.

No comments: