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OpenSolaris One Year On 141

daria42 writes "In June of last year, Sun Microsystems open sourced its flagship operating system Solaris. This article asks the question, where is the OpenSolaris project after one year of operation? It contains views from Sun itself as well as insights from an external contributor to the code." From the article: "Sun is yet to release some aspects of Solaris as open source software, although that process is due for completion by the year's end. Meanwhile, non-Sun programmers have to date offered some 165 code contributions to the OpenSolaris project, said Eagleton. Of those, 70 have been accepted into the project's code base, while another 95 are still in the review process. To allay early community concerns that the process of getting external code contributions accepted was taking too long, Sun has a temporary buddy system whereby external contributors are partnered with Sun employees."
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OpenSolaris One Year On

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  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:33AM (#15523440) Homepage
    Sun is new to Open Sourcing its proprietary products. Solaris is a good step and a few glitches here and there are likely to be minor youth problems. The important thing is to know whether Sun will find in this experience enough incentive to open source other stuff (Java anyone?)

    --
    Krazy Kat, George Herriman [ignatzmouse.net]
    • Hopefully this will raise Sun's $4.11/share price; if at all in the future. They better start to shape up.
    • As long as I understand, Java is being develope by a group of companies/developers, and Sun is only "leading" that development... so which will be the benefit os OpenSource completely java, when one of its biggest advantages is that it RUNS on any platform, and all the platforms accepted it and certified it?

      Perhaps, I'm not seeing the benefit here...

      -H-
    • Sun is new to open sourcing its proprietary products? That strange, because amongst other things, they open sourced their implementations of RPC and NFS years ago. Sun are by no means new to this open source thing and as well as their own stuff, they've acted as mentors to a number of outside projects. For instance, Sun provided John Ousterhout with an office to use while he worked on Tcl/Tk.

      • Don't forget Staroffice/openoffice, the GNOME bits (particularly i18n, A11Y and docs). Actually there are many opensource projects with contribution from Sun. Methinks the "propietary" label was assigned to Sun by less open competitors.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I want to know why these guys switched from Solaris to Linux [zdnet.co.uk] when Solaris is now free?

    Can anyone with first hand knowledge answer my question?
    • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:12AM (#15523671) Homepage
      I don't have first-hand knowledge, but I can certainly think of a number of reasons why they might have done so...
      1. They found that Linux met their specific needs better, or
      2. they found that SUSE in particular met their needs better, or
      3. they got a better deal on support from Novell than Sun was willing to offer, or
      4. they wanted to use SUSE because it is (or was) a German company, while Sun is a US company, or
      5. they discovered that Linux admins are more plentiful/cheaper than Solaris admins in their area, or
      6. their brains exploded when they tried to decypher Sun's convoluted licenses (or maybe that's just me), or
      7. some combination of the above.

      I've used Solaris since...well, since before it was named Solaris, and I've used Linux since not long after the first experimental releases, and BSD for nearly as long, and I think all three are great systems, but they're not interchangable. They each have different strengths and weaknesses. If I had to pick just one, I'd probably pick Linux, as it seems to be the most versatile overall, but I'm very glad I don't have to pick just one, and can instead use the one that's best for a specific job or role.
    • SuSE [wikipedia.org] and KDE [wikipedia.org] both have some German roots which is probably a big reason for it. Linux is outrageously popular in Germany and that means that (much like here) on any given day there are more Linux admins looking for a job than Solaris admins, which drives costs down.

      my 00000010

      Nix

    • I've been using SunOS since 3.5 and Linux since 0.93. I prefer the overall "feel" of Solaris over Linux but the driver support for those of us who prefer the commodity X86 hardware is not all that good on Solaris. That's the main reason I choose Linux over Solaris.

      Cheers.
  • Why is this bit of "news" listed under Linix-category?
    • by Orange Crush ( 934731 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:51AM (#15523533)
      Obviously, it's because Solaris is one of many Linux-like operating systems.
      • Nonsense.

        Solaris is Unix-like and Linux is Unix-like. That doesn't make Solaris any more Linux then it is today: not.

        In your view, we might break all the news there is about *BSD, MacOS X and ancient Unices / Multics under this category. Fine with me, but rename it to "Operating Systems" or "Unix, Unix-clones, Unix-likes and Unix-deriatives". (Windows news can be included in both, thank you)
    • Why is this bit of "news" listed under Linix-category?

      From the article: As an example, Eagleton cited recent cooperation between Sun and the wider programmer community that occurred at the LinuxWorld Australia conference.

      That's as Linuxy as it gets. I think perhaps Sun has the idea that by going open source, they can tap into the Linux developer base. There may be more than one Linux developer that is thinking they could make vast improvements in how Solaris performs, while perhaps gleaning some new

      • From the article:As an example, Eagleton cited recent cooperation between Sun and the wider programmer community that occurred at the LinuxWorld Australia conference.

        Almost all articles about an operating system — any operating system — today make (at least, a passing) reference to Linux. Slashdot's own piece today on OpenBSD's WiFi drivers is an example.

        Do all such articles belong under "Linux" banner? No, they don't.

        That's as Linuxy as it gets.

        Actually, I'd say, this is more BSD-ish t

      • Don't know when you last looked at Solaris, but I'm guessing it's was about Solaris 7 from your comments.

        Since version 8, Solaris has performed on par with Linux on the same gear. As of Solaris 10, Linux is now substantially slower (~20%) for almost all tasks. As far as new life goes, Solaris 10 was a ground-up rewrite which in ten years will be 'the thing' that people talk about as the biggest change in Unix for ages. Service manifests, dtrace, zones, self-healing, and zfs are the five things that will cha
    • 'Cause Solaris is a type of Linux, duh!
    • Zonk

      Okay I guess I need to add something more, cause that took less than the quantum time period for a reply.

  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:55AM (#15523563)
    [qualifier]I've been working with Solaris 10, not OpenSolaris itself, but since the next Solaris will be a superset distribution of OpenSolaris, this should apply [/qualifier]

    I've done a few console installs of Solaris 10 on some headless (and ancient) sparc netras. Here are some things that would make my life easier.
    • Make then entire system available as a pkg-get repository, not just the blastwave contributed programs. I don't want to download 4 cds of nonsense. Let me have one CD for a base install and ftp just the parts I want with pkg-get.
    • In line with the above, smpatch update seams to be painfully slow process. Pkg-get update for the base system please!
    • I haven't done any X-based installs, but my main bitch with the console install is that it is fairly inflexible. You get four options for package selection 1)really stripped down 2)stripped down 3)everything, 4)everthing plus OEM drivers. Finer grained control in package selection would be nice. Also nice would be a task-based pre-canned install set a la tasksel in debian or like what anaconda gives you in RH. Example: selecting a DNS task would install BIND but not X.
    • Please add some polish and make the default paths sane. Yes, I know this is a minor thing, but why do I have to spend several minutes adding /opt/sfw/bin:/usr/bin/:/usr/local/bin to my skel and .profile .
    • /root. You should have one. Yes, contrary to popular advice, I don't just su, I sometimes actually find it easier to log in as root. I don't like to clutter the / with junk. please make /root a default. Why do I have to munge /etc/passwd to get myself a /root home?
    • Would somebody please statically compile bash already? I've scoured google and I can't find one. Yes, I know sh and ksh, but I prefer bash and think it to be more capable and easier to use. It would be nice to have it available in single user mode.
    • Rather than statically compiling bash, wouldn't the better choice be to have it's dependencies all available in single user mode?
      • No, because if usr is not mounted, the libs would have to be available somewhere in / and I would be responsible for maintaining and updating them myself (if I bothered to remember to do it at all). That would just increase the PITA factor and I might as well grumble and use sh at that point.
    • by allenw ( 33234 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:42AM (#15523864) Homepage Journal
      Make then entire system available as a pkg-get repository, not just the blastwave contributed programs. I don't want to download 4 cds of nonsense. Let me have one CD for a base install and ftp just the parts I want with pkg-get.
      You're basically looking for how to setup a jumpstart server. You dump the CD contents onto an NFS server. From there, you can pkgadd till your hearts content.

      pkgadd, BTW, also supports quite a few URL constructs (e.g., pkgadd http://blah/blah [blah]). In this form, the other end of the pkgadd has to be a package stream, however, so that limits its usefulness with the DVD contents.

      I haven't done any X-based installs, but my main bitch with the console install is that it is fairly inflexible. You get four options for package selection 1)really stripped down 2)stripped down 3)everything, 4)everthing plus OEM drivers. Finer grained control in package selection would be nice. Also nice would be a task-based pre-canned install set a la tasksel in debian or like what anaconda gives you in RH. Example: selecting a DNS task would install BIND but not X.
      It's been a while since I've done the text install, but finer grain control has been there in the past. I'd be surprised if it was removed. That said, using Jumpstart combined with a profile will also get you finer grained control without having to do it manually for each install. Information on network-based installs and the like is available here [sun.com] and here [sun.com].

      Please add some polish and make the default paths sane. Yes, I know this is a minor thing, but why do I have to spend several minutes adding /opt/sfw/bin:/usr/bin/:/usr/local/bin to my skel and .profile
      ... except I don't have /usr/local/bin or /opt/sfw/bin on my machines. :) Also, /bin==/usr/bin on Solaris. That said, /usr/ucb really needs to get removed and /usr/sfw/bin and /usr/sbin added. (or perhaps that is what you meant?)

      Would somebody please statically compile bash already? I've scoured google and I can't find one. Yes, I know sh and ksh, but I prefer bash and think it to be more capable and easier to use. It would be nice to have it available in single user mode.
      Solaris 10 and up doesn't come bundled with *any* statically built binaries anymore. The /sbin/sh and friends are all dynamically linked. Building your own statically linked bash puts you at risk from a security perspective unless you rebuild it after every patch installation. This is because the static binary won't be getting fixes that were in the library fix.
      • Thanks for the great advice and information.

        Jumpstart would be great if I was setting up dozens of boxes, but I'm not. Just two or three. I still think pkg-getting off the internet would be the optimal solution if you just want a few boxes (although that would be leeching bandwith depending on how much you are downloading).

        Solaris 10 and up doesn't come bundled with *any* statically built binaries anymore. The /sbin/sh and friends are all dynamically linked.

        That suprises me. Isn't a static /sbin dire
        • What if /usr is down or needs a low-level fsck? I've always been told that that would mean you are totally screwed, unless you have static binaries in /.

          Lots of things to cover... :)

          1. By default, all UFS slices have logging enabled in S9+patches and up. The chances of requiring to do a low-level fsck are fairly remote.
          2. If you do lose /usr, chances are good you're going to want to recover it from backup anyway just to be on the safe side.
          3. In most cases, / and /usr are on the same disk. If you lose one
      • Not to mention that it's pretty hard to build a fully static binary because Solaris 10 does not include static analogs of libc and friends.
    • So - basically, you want Solaris to be Linux. Sorry, d00d, not gonna happen. Sounds like you started with linux, and now anything that's not linux sux.
  • Specially from a user point of view, but also for servers and supercomputers, how do Linux and Solaris compare?

    I know there isn't an easy answer to this, but a knowledgeable person could shed some light on us.
    • Specially from a user point of view, but also for servers and supercomputers, how do Linux and Solaris compare? I know there isn't an easy answer to this, but a knowledgeable person could shed some light on us.

      You're right, there isn't an easy answer. Basically Solaris rocks for some things, sucks for other things. There are situations where I would recommend one over the other, and situations where either one would be fine, and there are even situations where Solaris is the only option. It's not even

    • Linux is great for firewalls, Apache, web devel, software devel, could possibly be a desktop replacement. Solaris is not a user-friendly as a modern Linux distro would be. Solaris would be for large size databases (Oracle, Sybase), enterprise class software type items. Sun is trying to change that though with the newer AMD64 machines/servers that perform very fast in terms of webserving. For the price and if you were trying to maintain say a medium size website then you really couldn't go wrong with a l
      • Re:SolarisxLinux (Score:3, Informative)

        by MROD ( 101561 )
        Or you could say "Anything you can run on Solaris you can run on Linux to some extent (DNS, DHCP, LDAP, Firewall, Apache, MySQL)." seeing as Solaris is older than Linux. :-)

        Though on the subject at hand, I run a cluster of Sun v20z's (and 2 v40z's) which run Solaris 10 x86_64. On the whole it's no different to running one with Linux other than the Sun system management tools for clusters are not as advanced as some of the Linux cluster tools sold (yes, sold for lots of money and are closed source) by the Li
        • It's difficult to compare several thousand task specific GNU/Linux distributions to the 3 or 4 opensolaris distributions. But here is my .02$ oversimplification:
          • GNU/Linux (e.g. SuSE)

          Good: Support for unusual or "cheap" X86 hardware. User-friendly default environment. Excellent package dependency and installation tools. Good support for the casual developer. Enormous number of hobbiest or unique applications packages are available.
          Bad: Poor API stability, short shelf life for drivers and commer

      • Linux is great for firewalls...

        Has Linux gotten as simple as OpenBSD for firewalls, lately? Last time I looked (couple years back or so), I saw OpenBSD's two or three clear-as-day manual pages and compared that to a myriad of man pages, info pages, and HOWTOs on Linux and just went the (percieved) easy route at the time.
  • I had written a patch for ns_ldap.c to fix an obscure bug. After 2 frustrating weeks of dealing with online registration, which resulted in a heated exchange with one of Sun's adminstrators, I simply gave up trying. They've made it too hard to get involved in the project. For any normal open source project I simply download the tarball, run configure, make, make install, and submit patches to the email address of the most convenient maintainer. With OpenSolaris it's like trying to pull teeth. Even building
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If they want more people to try out OpenSolaris they need to reduce the barrier to entry, i.e. an .iso file or even a bootable CD that folks can order for a minimal fee. The ugly, several step manual process they require now is just too painful.
  • by bos ( 25159 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:23AM (#15523743) Homepage
    I used to work at Sun, and it's a company with a slow-moving internal culture. Pretty much any organisation that contains 30,000 people will necessarily not be zippy. The lack of speed says nothing about their intentions, though. For example, I've been talking to a number of Sun people over the past several months as they've been choosing a revision control system for OpenSolaris to use, and they've been keenly aware of the benefits of both doing things in an open manner and doing them carefully. They ended up choosing a wonderful revision control tool called Mercurial [selenic.com], but first they spent a few months evaluating the alternatives and, even better, writing up their evaluations and posting them in public. This is a very useful service to the open source community, as few people have time to evaluate tools in such depth, much less write in detail about why they did or not choose any of half a dozen alternatives.
  • OMG! Too long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:25AM (#15523758) Homepage Journal
    To allay early community concerns that the process of getting external code contributions accepted was taking too long,

    You're kidding, right? Solaris is one of the most mature operating systems out there. It runs some of the most powerful servers on the face of the planet. It is the core for a number of institutions, especially in the financial sector. I am not over-dramatizing when I say that Solaris runs a hell of a lot of crucial systems that make our lives easier in a lot of different ways.

    That being the case, do these people really think that Sun is just going to say, "Oh, I see. You tested it in a limited fashion and we tested it in a limited fashion in the matter of a few months. Okay, we'll release it to the customers who run massive databases and financial applications on our servers because of a few months of limited testing." I would much prefer Sun take a year if need be to make sure that any modifications will be completely compatible with as many of their customers and equipment as possible, particularly the higher-end systems and major corporate environments.

    I understand and share a lot of the aggravation that people feel when it comes to the lack of features, particularly device drivers, in Solaris. This is the one of the main reasons wy I think that Solaris has become so niche, particularly on the x86 side of things. If we're talking about modification to a common tool or enhancements to a graphical interface, okay, I don't see why it would take a year. But if Sun needs a year to make sure that a new device driver doesn't crash a SunFire 25K running a clustered Oracle server during end-of-month, transaction processing, then I'll grant Sun that year.
    • Re:OMG! Too long? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by twiddlingbits ( 707452 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:41AM (#15523860)
      Very good points. I for one don't want minimally tested extensions to Solaris (or any other O/S) to be on any system that controls my money! I wonder why no one mentions that IBM isn't doing ANYTHING to make AIX open source, nor is HP doing anything with HP-UX. And hell will freeze before MS does anything open-source with Windoze.
    • My kingdom for some mod points. You've made some great points that NEED to be taken into account.

      Sure, Linux is cool and all, but in terms of maturity - Give me Solaris, or give me Death (actually i'd also accept a flavor of BSD, but that's a whole other post).
    • That being the case, do these people really think that Sun is just going to say, "Oh, I see. You tested it in a limited fashion and we tested it in a limited fashion in the matter of a few months. Okay, we'll release it to the customers who run massive databases and financial applications on our servers because of a few months of limited testing."

      That's right, all of the best software engineers in the world are working for Sun and everyone else is on crack ... and Linux is losing to Solaris in such a b

      • Wow. The clue meter is reading zero.

        One of the main reasons behind OpenSolaris is for people outside of Sun to make drivers, tools, utilities, etc. that can be included into future versions of (non-open) Solaris. Because of the nature of the systems that run on Solaris, it's critical for Sun to make sure that changes, regardless of how benign it might seem, have no impact on any kind of potential, mission-critical appliction. What one indeveloper might think is a great driver or enhancement for their p
      • That's right, all of the best software engineers in the world are working for Sun and everyone else is on crack ... and Linux is losing to Solaris in such a big way on Wall St. and Sun have been able to keep using their same old development methodologies, don't change what works right?

        You're right. Some of the best software engineers in the world are working for Sun. Sun's been hammered in the market place because it didn't react well to the dot-com bust. No layoffs, no significant restructuring or

        • frankly you seem to be implying that they are somehow trying to impede progress or shut developers out of Open Solaris

          I wasn't trying to say that, I think people wouldn't have missed my point if I'd said the same thing in person ... Ahh well, communication via. text sucks sometimes.

          Personally I think that the license and the time of release have impeaded adoption of OpenSolaris, and has certainly imeded people from contributing (everyone I know has been told that legally they can't even look at it,

    • Something I also never knew about was that if any developer makes a change that causes Solaris to run any slower, that change is immediately rejected until the code can be reworked. I love my linux, but it is definately taking much longer to boot these days - totally in contrast to my experience with Solaris from 2.6 till now.
  • by GrumpyOldMan ( 140072 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:25AM (#15524283)
    Sun and Apple both ship a proprietary OS based around an "open source" core. Sun's core is OpenSolaris, and Apple's is Darwin. Sun has done a far better job open sourcing their operating system. I do a 3rd party hardware device driver for both MacOSX and OpenSolaris. To compare Apple's to Solaris' "open source" OS
    is quite interesting:

    - Source code: Darwin: Must sign up for an Apple account to view source, source code for Intel kernel not even available. Solaris: Source code browseable on web, and available to anybody.
    - Installable OS: Darwin was never updated from 8.0.1, which was released over a year ago. Solaris: Solaris Express is released at least monthly.
    - Project direction: Darwin code appears after a MacOSX release. There is no way to see the source code of an upcoming MacOSX version, there is no way to even know what features will be present aside for signing up for a $500/yr ADC account. You are not allowed to talk about this in public. This is in stark contrast to OpenSolaris, where Sun engineers publically debate virtues of different features, and future directions on their forums/mailing lists, and anybody is welcome to contribute.

    In short, OpenSolaris is a real open source project. Darwin is a sham, and would not survive without Apple.
    • Sun and Apple both ship a proprietary OS based around an "open source" core. Sun's core is OpenSolaris, and Apple's is Darwin. Sun has done a far better job open sourcing their operating system.

      Agreed.

      I do a 3rd party hardware device driver for both MacOSX and OpenSolaris. To compare Apple's to Solaris' "open source" OS is quite interesting...

      This merely reflects the interests of the individual companies. Sun wants to sell more servers to both Solaris and Linux users. They are competing in the server

  • is it possible to download an iso file of OpenSolaris ? On the solaris website, only the source files and some tools are ready to download. Schillix (which is based on OpenSolaris) is available in iso file.
  • Opensolaris is often referred to as ON and it looks like even the fellow Slashdot Mason couldn't resist the temptation with the title "Opensolaris One Year On". The designation ON appears quiet often on their site such as in "ON Copyright Notice"
    "TOI for ON Developers"
    and on a dozen other places.

    I like to think that the designation 'ON' that appears all over the Opensolaris pages refers to Heliopolis, the CITY OF THE SUN, in fact I'm pretty sure it does.

    Check out the relevant Wikipedia article on Heli [wikipedia.org]
  • Well, they had the docs. They had the code. But dtrace and some nasty bug lopped it all off. It would have been better to lop off that specific breaking feature, and not a whole architecture that didnt have the release. If you can keep enough of sbus to run a U2 and the sbus hardware, the u1/ss5/ss20 should be a (relative) piece of cake (notwithstanding dtrace, the way to HCL out anything before a Ultra2).

    • The sun4m architecture is dead dead dead. You're talking about machines that last shipped 10 years ago.
      The u1 had very serious and real issues operating in 64-bit mode, that were well-known back in Solaris 8.

      They didn't just sort of stop supporting the stuff, they dropped 32-bit support entirely from the S10 kernel.
      That means the sun4m, sun4c, and early edition of ultrasparc machines are impossible to use. It also means
      no expensive engineer time spent trying to deal with 32/64 bit issues in existing code.
  • I would love to see OS X and Solaris 10 merge into an insanly great OS. They would seem to compliment each other. I love OS X. It has a wonderful interface but, IMHO, it is lacking on the UNIX side. Darwinports and the Fink project have done much to fix this, but it is not perfect. Solaris is wonderfully advanced with features like predictive self healing and tools like dtrace. But Solaris is really lacking on the user interface side (last time I tried Solaris, the Desktop was a modified version of Gnome 2.

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