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OpenSolaris From a Linux Admin and User Perspective

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the looks-quite-nice dept.

Unix 370

MSa writes "How does OpenSolaris, Sun's effort to free its big-iron OS, fare from a Linux user's point of view? Is it merely a passable curiosity right now, or is it truly worth installing? Linux Format takes OpenSolaris for a test drive, examining the similarities and differences between the OS and a typical Linux distro. If you want to sample the mighty ZFS filesystem, OpenSolaris is definitely the way to go."

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370 comments

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FUCK THE EASILY OFFENDED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658419)

Whenever you see a word like NIGGER just get your panties in a wad over it.

Re:FUCK THE EASILY OFFENDED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658551)

omg, you said the n word. Your mother will be very happy when I am putting 10" of black in her end and I introduce her to my friend dirty sanchez.

maybe I should go and play around with this! (5, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658427)

Ever since the demise of SGI I haven't looked at anything but Linux / BSD, but this makes me wonder if there is maybe life for Solaris after all.

Would be nice if this was more geared towards the server end of things, which is where I would expect you'd deploy solaris much sooner than on the desktop.

Re:maybe I should go and play around with this! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658493)

What do you mean, the demise of SG-1? The Apophis was defeated and the replicators contained.

Oh, SGI. Sorry.

Re:maybe I should go and play around with this! (3, Interesting)

Ruud Althuizen (835426) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658849)

I've been a sys admin for FreeBSD and Linux machines for a computer club for a few years now. We've had one Solaris machine in the lineup for a long while (its three PSUs loudly exploded while debugging the hw yesterday). And I must say that it is a robust OS on robust hardware; we've never had to look at it much: it just worked (really, it did). Though I never got the hang of it. The OS has some oddities here and there, stuff you need to know that are specific to the OS.

Re:maybe I should go and play around with this! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659503)

I've been a sys admin for FreeBSD and Linux machines for a computer club for a few years now.

I bet you have to beat the ladies away with a stick...

Nexenta (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658443)

I'd try Nexenta, except I don't really want to use the Ubuntu repositories for my Linux packages. I'd prefer something with a good KDE desktop.

I'd consider it for a web-server box to test how the kernel handles I/O.

Re:Nexenta (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658469)

There is also 'glusterfs', which has some pretty impressive specs.

Re:Nexenta (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658539)

I'd prefer something with a good KDE desktop.

What, exactly, don't you like about Kubuntu?

Or is that not among the packages ported? Because to bootstrap from ubuntu-minimal to kubuntu is fairly easy.

Re:Nexenta (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658613)

Someone asked me this question recently. And for the sixth time I answered with a laundry list of things I didn't like about it. Agian, I was modded Troll for stating I don't like Ubuntu/Kubuntu, and then people got all in a huff.

Like I always say, it is marketed at a certain target audience, and it isn't me.

I suggest that you try out a really good KDE desktop (Arch's KDEMod, Sabayon, openSUSE 11, etc) and the differences should be immediately apparent to you.

As far as whether or not the KDE packages are available in Nexenta, I'm not sure actually.

If you think... (0, Flamebait)

hummassa (157160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659215)

openSUSE is a good KDE, then you are a lost cause :-)
disclaimer: Kubuntu user, for a relatively long time now.

Re:If you think... (1)

chubs730 (1095151) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659325)

Kubuntu is a poor KDE desktop compared to most of the other majors. Ubuntu is solid, but Kubuntu isn't quite up to par. OpenSUSE is certainly far superior.

Re:Nexenta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659527)

Someone asked me this question recently. And for the sixth time I answered with a laundry list of things I didn't like about it. Agian, I was modded Troll for stating I don't like Ubuntu/Kubuntu, and then people got all in a huff.

Like I always say, it is marketed at a certain target audience, and it isn't me.

I suggest that you try out a really good KDE desktop (Arch's KDEMod, Sabayon, openSUSE 11, etc) and the differences should be immediately apparent to you.

As far as whether or not the KDE packages are available in Nexenta, I'm not sure actually.

Kubuntu includes the "KDE Desktop Environment". So... I have no idea what the hell you are saying. I am assuming that you mean another distro with KDE?

Re:Nexenta (2, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659539)

You might also want to try Zenwalk... it's an XFCE desktop out of the box, but there's KDE packages in the repository... I don't actually have kdebase installed on my system (the only things from KDE that I actually use are Konqueror and Kopete, which are in the kdenetwork package, and work without kdebase), but it's actually a stock, unmodified, compiled from source package that, if it's anything like every other package on the system, is about as close to what the KDE devs want it to behave/look like that you'll find.

I'm not saying that other systems, like arch, Sabayon, or openSUSE aren't great systems. But if you're interested in tinkering and trying things out, you may want to give Zen a try. :)

Re:Nexenta (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659777)

I suggest that you try out a really good KDE desktop (Arch's KDEMod, Sabayon, openSUSE 11, etc) and the differences should be immediately apparent to you.

Well, let me answer this by referencing two other posts. First, the sibling to mine:

openSUSE is a good KDE, then you are a lost cause :-)

And the reply to that:

Kubuntu is a poor KDE desktop compared to most of the other majors. Ubuntu is solid, but Kubuntu isn't quite up to par. OpenSUSE is certainly far superior.

Sorry, but no, it's not readily apparent, not to me, and not (apparently) to hummassa. If you want me to see the difference, you'll have to point it out.

Agian, I was modded Troll for stating I don't like Ubuntu/Kubuntu, and then people got all in a huff.

Care to point me to that post?

It's very possible that the things you didn't like really were trollish, or that you weren't able of wording them in a non-trollish way.

But you know what? Saying "it's just bad, and I'm afraid to say why" is the real troll here.

From an experienced Admin's perspective (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658457)

Stay away from Solaris, unless you have to use it.

That being said, I have never seen a large shop without 'some' SUN/Solaris machines.

Solaris isn't bad. There are just 'linux' OS's that do most of the same jobs w/o you getting tied to Solaris.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (5, Informative)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658603)

I run a mixed Linux and Solaris shop, but having replaced some Solaris boxes with Linux we're swinging massively back to Solaris 10.
  • ZFS, of course.
  • SMF. Being able to start services in a dependency tree is excellent if you have a multi-processor machine. And having services self-heal, including restarting any dependencies, is good for things like mail servers that use a lot of flakey milters.
  • FMA. Hardware self-healing (admittedly, this is essentially Sun hardware only, and in my experience better on Sparc than on AMD) is good.
  • Zones. Because sometimes full-blown virtualisation is too much like hard work.
  • Binary compatibility. I've got some SunOS 4.1.1 binaries from 1989, for which the source is long lost, running fine.
  • There's probably a Linux equivalent of rcapd, to limit the physical memory use of particular groups of processes, but I've never found one.
  • There's probably a Linux equivalent of processor sets, CPU shares and the Fair Shares Scheduler, but again I've never found one.

Horses for courses, but Solaris has much to offer even for shops that aren't traditionally tied to Sun. Hell, even my private ``1U box in someone else's datacentre'' server for my family is now a Solaris machine.

ian

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658755)

What about hardware support? I keep hearing that the openSolaris kernel just frankly doesn't have many drivers. If I can't install it on my hardware, it isn't doing me any good.

Also, I'd really like to see some basic benchmarks between the kernels. People benchmark the BSD kernel against the Linux kernel on IO, networking, etc.

Show me some quantifiable numbers on openSolaris.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659029)

It doesn't matter how many drivers any given kernel supports. All that matters is if it has drivers for the hardware you want to run it on. If you're buying a server then you will typically buy one which comes with support for the OS you want to run and so you won't encounter driver difficulties (although you might pay a bit more).

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658859)

There's probably a Linux equivalent of processor sets, CPU shares and the Fair Shares Scheduler, but again I've never found one.

Newer kernels allow you to put processes into a tree and assign priorities at each level, or assign priorities per user. Look for "CFS" or "Completely Fair Scheduler" and "group scheduling" or "fair user scheduling". Not sure how exactly this compares, my only run-in with it has been that various system cron jobs that used to run at nice 19 don't act like they're at nice 19 any more.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659895)

Yeah, Linux has CFS and all... but does it have it /AT THE SAME TIME/ as other schedulers?

Solaris has 5 schedulers and they can all be running at the same time ( they all have different priorities ), no need to pick on boot or compile which algo. you want to use

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Insightful)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658929)

What, no mention of dtrace? Now that's been an excellent part of the Sol10/OpenSol movement IMO.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Interesting)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659005)

dtrace is great, but actually my experience as an administrator is that I use it less than I expect, because the kernel `just works'. I use it to attack badly behaved applications, but I've not used it for tuning anything like as much as I thought I would.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659481)

You should try using it to debug applications. I use it a lot for this, and it's amazing. It's basically like a programmable debugger that can monitor a running process without really affecting its performance.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659127)

Some suggestions for linux users. (Note, I'm not a solaris user, so I'm sure there are some differences between features.)

--OpenVZ or vservers should give something similar to zones

--They're working on memory resource controllers for the "cgroups" functionality. There have been out-of-tree patches for years now, but I think this may be included already, or will go into 2.6.27.

--cpusets and processor affinity masks are available, cpu shares are available as part of the cpu resource controller for cgroups, and the "completely fair scheduler" went in around 2.6.23 or so.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Interesting)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659405)

ZFS - Are you really using your server for data storage? SAN or NAS should be a better option depending on your price point
SMF - while nice, i have experienced many different kinds of errors. If one of the dependencies has a problem, the chain breaks and it is a pain to discover the problem.
FMA - if hardware is broken, i would rather the machine be fully broken and out of service. Running on degraded hardware is too much of a risk. if a few bits get switched or some data is not written correctly, you could corrupt data.
Zones - I still have yet to see a reason to use this except for dedicated virtualization servers.
binary compatibility - if you are running custom code without the source, sounds like you have a setup for failure.
rcapd - ulimit can do this per process, and there are also multiple 3rd party open source resource limiters.
processor sets, cpu shares, fair share scheduler - Yes, there are.

I've been in many different places with Solaris, Linux, and a few other random UNIX environments. In almost every case, the Solaris and other random unix environments could be replaced with Linux at 1/10th the cost.

I manage some HPUX servers right now and just the hardware maintenance on each of the servers is more than a few brand new Linux servers each year.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659597)

On the ZFS point, just what filesystem do you think I put on my 20TB SAN?

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

Gerald (9696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659595)

You forgot 'lsof -o'.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659693)

# There's probably a Linux equivalent of rcapd, to limit the physical memory use of particular groups of processes, but I've never found one. # There's probably a Linux equivalent of processor sets, CPU shares and the Fair Shares Scheduler, but again I've never found one.

Just starting to get added in the latest kernels.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (3, Interesting)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658629)

Ahem...

Actually the reverse is true...

Since release 10, Solaris has been pretty well stomping the competition in price, performance and throughput. With Solaris supporting pretty much every type of virtualization (including some not offered anywhere else), it's hard to beat.

Solaris as well as OpenSolaris are free, you can download and use either flavor with no cash outlay. Want support? It's cheaper to buy Solaris support from Sun than to buy Linux support from RedHat.

There's no *tying* with Solaris, it's all about choice. I personally choose Solaris over Linux for pretty much any task.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659115)

"Since release 10, Solaris has been pretty well stomping the competition in price, performance and throughput. With Solaris supporting pretty much every type of virtualization (including some not offered anywhere else), it's hard to beat."

I think you have been drinking a bit too much of the marketing cool-aid. Well, you haven't ever been in my shop. I'm a Solaris guy - Admin, instructor, blah... These days our Sun boxes just don't cut it. They are being out performed by *AIX* machines!!! (yes, solaris 10)

"It's cheaper to buy Solaris support from Sun than to buy Linux support from RedHat."

You had better not rely on either. Sun support SUCKS!!!! (at least since 2003) RedHat doesn't do much better either. You need to have experienced admins. Platinum support means nothing when Sun doesn't know what to do.

"There's no *tying* with Solaris"

Oh yes there is. Once you start developing and using a platform in production, you are tied to it. Sure, you can always move off of it - at least in your utopia, not reality very easily.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (4, Informative)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659295)

Having been a UNIX admin for 23 years and Solaris for 10 years, I'm not sure what you're drinking, but I'm staying away from it.

Solaris support has rocked. We've never had an issue that Sun hasn't been able to solve, and yes, we've thrown them some curves (and sliders for that matter). IBM's support has told us on multiple occasions to re-install the system as a fix for a problem. RedHat we've stumped more often than not. HP? Well - they still can't figure out how to handle more than 8 luns per target for scsi (as well as fibre)...

Solaris performance has been fantastic - outperforming Linux, AIX, HP-UX on modern equipment.

We've migrated workloads to and from Solaris - no big deal - as long as you know what you're doing.
(Our misguided DBA's started migrating from old SunOS 5.8 boxes to Linux - and are now migrating back.)

If you use tools that are available on multiple platforms, migrating isn't all that tough.

If you are developing native language apps, porting isn't terribly difficult although finding workarounds for pesky native quirks is troublesome at times.

So I guess it depends on what you call "experienced"...

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (3, Insightful)

Marillion (33728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658663)

It all depends on the skill-set your admins already have. If you have a shop of 100% Linux admins with no Solaris experience, stay away. If your shop already has some Solaris machines on Sparc, go for it - although you should double check the license.

From my own perspective, I've invested several hours getting it running. Granted, I was running the 200805 OpenSolaris installed on ZFS which had some bugs in the boot process which left my system unbootable a few times. Some follow up releases fixed those problems. But as a guy who's been using Linux since 1993, old habits are hard to break.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (3, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658669)

Stay away?

What if you need real uptime with a load of 80 on a 32 cpu system? Can Linux handle the load and have years of uptime?

Solaris just works and its made for servers. Linux seems always beta quality with its cutting edgness and is desktop oriented. I would not trust my job to it unless its Debian or RHES which costs $$$ as cutting edge features are not needed on a mission critical server. Solaris scales far better than any BSD or Linux distro out there.

Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

Oh and the article discussed a scarcity of third party apps. I found the opposite as most server ERP and database apps are on Solaris than Linux.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (4, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659067)

Solaris scales far better than any BSD or Linux distro out there.

Yeah, you know, the roadrunner team would like a word with you, as would pretty much everyone in the Top 500. For some business loads Solaris scales better. But the claim the "it scales far better" in general is as absurd as it is patently untrue.

Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

Ah, and no true scotsman^W UNIX admin would run a supercomputer, right?

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (0)

Ruud Althuizen (835426) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659209)

Solaris scales far better than any BSD or Linux distro out there.

Yeah, you know, the roadrunner team would like a word with you, as would pretty much everyone in the Top 500. For some business loads Solaris scales better. But the claim the "it scales far better" in general is as absurd as it is patently untrue.

Some examples of where you think the one scales better than the other are welcome. Right now you are just trolling.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Interesting)

gclef (96311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659657)

I'm not the original poster, but I agree with him wholeheartedly. In my experience, tasks that can be easily parallelized work well in Solaris (web servers, polling servers, etc). However, tasks that are serial in nature (dealing with a stream of events like IDS or syslog) work *horribly* on Solaris.

When we moved some of our log parsing from Solaris/SPARC hardware to similarly priced Debian/x86 hardware, we expected a 3x improvement in performance just due to the CPU...we actually saw a 10x improvement in performance. We attributed this largely to Solaris' aggressive reservation of CPU cycles for other threads...even when we only had one.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (3, Informative)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659099)

One of our Linux servers regularly copes with a load in excess of 100. Things slow down, but nothing breaks.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Informative)

Enry (630) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659265)

Stay away?

What if you need real uptime with a load of 80 on a 32 cpu system? Can Linux handle the load and have years of uptime?

Yea, stay away. If you have a load of 80 on a 32 CPU system, you didn't design the hardware or software correctly.

Solaris just works and its made for servers. Linux seems always beta quality with its cutting edgness and is desktop oriented. I would not trust my job to it unless its Debian or RHES which costs $$$ as cutting edge features are not needed on a mission critical server. Solaris scales far better than any BSD or Linux distro out there.

Debian doesn't cost anything, and there's always CentOS if you want the RHEL reliability without the cost.

Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

Yea, these were the same Unix admins who used to ask me if I installed the latest kernel patch while they were still using sendmail (and patching it about as frequently). I didn't put a lot of faith in their opinion.

Oh and the article discussed a scarcity of third party apps. I found the opposite as most server ERP and database apps are on Solaris than Linux.

For the big big things, probably. Oracle? Works perfectly fine. I'm building a RAC now using commodity hardware that will probably be 1/3 the price of what it would cost to get something from Sun.

To be fair, I haven't used much Sun equipment (hardware or OS) in the past 6 years or so. There's a number of things they get right, like the Open Firmware. But from an OS and maintenance perspective, does Sun still have patch clusters? Do I have to head over to SunFreeware.com to get useful applications installed? I can provision a Linux server literally in a few minutes, but it would take the better part of a day to get Solaris set up (have to remember to disable telnet, find the latest patch cluster, reboot, install gcc and other apps). Bleah.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Insightful)

Abattoir (16282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659281)

Uptime?

Uptime is so 1997.

Anyone who needs serious uptime of "years" will have a high availability cluster implementation.

Or they'll use a *real* platform known for reliability like a mainframe, not some toy running on purple plastic hardware.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Insightful)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659759)

Not to mention that an uptime of years generally means someone hasn't been keeping their system patched properly. :)

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659419)

I guess you have never worked in supercomputing....where Linux is just about what everything runs.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659457)

Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

OK, you are free to doubt my reality (I am a 45-year-old old-timer when it comes to both Unix and Linux), but Linux isn't all about bleeding-edginess.

I would stack a nice solid Slackware distro against Solaris or BSD and expect sound results. Until very recently I used this for my desktop system too, but since my preference is for Gnome (for which development of the formerly excellent Dropline distribution appears to have stalled) I have had to go shopping.

I tried Ubuntu (again) and hated it (again), tried Gentoo for 3 weeks and not quite hated it, but found it frustrating enough to look elsewhere. Currently I'm playing with Arch linux, which is looking quite promising. Not quite as quick to set up as Slackware, but with all of its other (i.e. KISS) advantages.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659469)

Linux seems always beta quality with its cutting edgness and is desktop oriented.... Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

Get your head outta your ass. When even Wall Street firms use Linux on their grids/farms to crunch numbers using complex modeling on very very critical jobs ($$$$), reliability, scalability along with cutting-edgeness - everything comes into picture. And they are replacing their Sun boxes for last 3 years.
I have worked on these (as a developer, mind you), so at least I can attest Linux's readiness with its 'beta' quality. So, take your bullshit somewhere else.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659551)

I guess google have no "real" admins that look after 200,000 Linux servers. Obviously amateurs compared to monkeys like yourself. If you knew what you were doing, why would you be a lowly admin?

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Insightful)

Kennon (683628) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659661)

Uhh...try doing a little research asshat...

What if you need real uptime with a load of 80 on a 32 cpu system? Can Linux handle the load and have years of uptime?

Over 85% of the top 500 super computers in the world run Linux. http://www.top500.org/ [top500.org] as best I can tell almost none run Solaris as most of the Unix is AIX. So all you "Linux's uptime, stability and processing power sucks compared to Unix" old ass fanboys go back to your clubhouse and cry.

Ask any *real* Unix admin who uses both and more than likely they will say Linux is great for small jobs but Solaris is king for anything else.

Wow...if you are a *real* Unix admin it is no wonder Linux came along and is so successful.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Informative)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659705)

A load of 80 on a 32 cpu system sounds like a poorly architected solution to me. :)

As for the rest, give me a break. One of the benefits Linux is that if you want cutting edgeness and desktop goodies you can have them, but if you're looking for stability and vendor support you can have that too. And it doesn't mean spending a ton of money either - RHEL is relatively cheap and Debian is free (no idea what you're smoking there), as are a number of other options (CentOS, Ubuntu LTS, etc).

We run hundreds of servers on Linux servicing millions of subscribers and have absolutely no stability issues whatsoever. Machines occasionally go down due to hardware faults, power incidents or kernel upgrades, but only a handful of kernel related failures over the years. We've actually had more failures with our Sparc/Solaris machines, generally exhibiting as spontaneous reboots.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659713)

Ugh, *real* UNIX admins spell UNIX in uppercase, and run AIX on Power6 P595's, the fastest commercially available machines in the world.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Interesting)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658739)

I work with both Solaris and Linux on a daily basis. I'm looking forward to Solaris features with a full GNU userland as some times the Solaris CLI is a bit clumsy by comparison (Yes i know about sunfreeware.com but our clients don't necessarily have it installed on production boxes).

However I think this is probably a response to something I've noticed of late, in Asia and South America we don't sell support for Solaris installs any more, they've all moved to Linux, cheaper hardware, a pool of interested young (and therefore cheap) admins, and of course our wonderful software is available on Linux ;)

While Europe and to a lesser extent the US are almost exclusively Solaris (the odd godforsaken HP-UX or AIX box as well to keep me interested) the emerging markets, where the growth is, are moving en-mass to Linux/Open source.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658751)

Well, there are other more technical reasons for considering Solaris. I'm not sure how this applies exactly in detail to the OpenSolaris but Solaris handles threading a little differently than Linux and a few other minor things that can make a big difference depending on your application. When you get down to the fine technical details of each OS, there are differences that can make or break your application's efficiencies.

For the desktop, perhaps that kind of analysis is not needed but if you are planning on handling 10,000 bi-directional transactions per second, application performance is a big issue.

I am forced to use WinXP, Solaris 5.8-10, CentOS 5.x, Fedora Core 8/9, RedHat, and Ubuntu in my daily life. When it comes to desktops, it's more or less a choice of personal style, no more difficult than choosing a desktop background picture. OOorg and Mozilla have made them all function the same for me. My favorite text editor comes in win/nix flavors also. For the most part, they all function the same. Hard core performance is where they begin to vary a lot IMO.

Re:From an experienced Admin's perspective (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659111)

Solaris handles threading a little differently than Linux

It used to be that Solaris used an N:M model while Linux used an N:1 model. Now both use a 1:1 model. There are lots of reasons for this (Matt Dillon gave a really detailed description when explaining why Dragonfly BSD went 1:1 instead of N:M). Basically, it boils down to the fact that debugging threaded C code is such a bitch that people tend not to use high levels of parallelism in C code (which is where N:M really shines). If a language has better support for parallelism then it is easy build an N:M model on top of a 1:1 model (this is what Erlang does, and I believe Java does as well in some versions).

Love that they open sourced it... but... (4, Interesting)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658533)

I love that Sun open sourced it, however I think that the greatest benifit is not that it's open but that the technologies it offers are available to be reproduced on other nix os's. The biggest issue I have with OpenSolaris is that it's still a single vendor OS. If it forks a few times and actually develops a culture and some competition between vendors than I think it will be more appealing.

That's actually what I hate and love about linux. It's a fragmented and ineffecient community, but because it's fragmented I don't have to worry that it's going away any time soon.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658749)

Very insightful. One of the things I've always said was a strenght of OSS was that it provided redundancy of that nature. Even if one fork/project of a given set of code fails, if the idea is worthy it will live on.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658761)

but that the technologies it offers are available to be reproduced on other nix os's.

So why is ZFS for Linux not yet out of Beta?

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (2, Informative)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659477)

Because in order for it to operate optimally it must be part of the kernel, and Linus and crew refuse to put it in the kernel due to licensing issues.

It runs fine in userland with fuse, but it's slow.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658841)

I love that Sun open sourced it, however I think that the greatest benifit is not that it's open but that the technologies it offers are available to be reproduced on other nix os's.

Except the small detail that the CDDL is incompatible with the GPL, so you won't see things like Linux kernel-based ZFS. From what I've understood running it through FUSE (userspace) isn't all that great. I do understand why Sun doesn't want Linux to take all its crown jewels, but it's still annoying.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659169)

He said 'other nix os's' not 'Linux'. The GPL may be incompatible with the CDDL, but the BSDL isn't, and bits of Solaris, such as ZFS and DTrace, have found their way into FreeBSD.

Saying the CDDL is incompatible with the GPL is misleading - the CDDL doesn't say anything about code not explicitly released under it. It is the GPL which imposes constraints on third-party code. If Linux used a more permissive license then it would be able to use OpenSolaris code, and OpenSolaris would be able to use Linux code just as it used to use a lot of BSD code back in the SunOS days.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659471)

Saying the CDDL is incompatible with the GPL is misleading - the CDDL doesn't say anything about code not explicitly released under it. It is the GPL which imposes constraints on third-party code. If Linux used a more permissive license then it would be able to use OpenSolaris code, and OpenSolaris would be able to use Linux code just as it used to use a lot of BSD code back in the SunOS days.

Except, of course, that if it wasn't for the GPL, there would be no OpenSolaris. There would only be Solaris.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659511)

That's a tough argument... the GPL is very widely used but is hardly the only license. It's entirely possible that OpenSolaris would still exist if the GPL had never been used and something like BSD was used instead.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659741)

That's a tough argument... the GPL is very widely used but is hardly the only license. It's entirely possible that OpenSolaris would still exist if the GPL had never been used and something like BSD was used instead.

No, it isn't. Before the GPL existed, Sun used BSD code in their closed source offering without releasing control in the slightest. They are control freaks struggling to remain relevant in a world that has no tolerance for such.

Re:Love that they open sourced it... but... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659533)

...but because it's fragmented I don't have to worry that it's going away any time soon.

Exactly. Evolution at work. "The Selfish Code-snippet"?

And for some reason... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658569)

I thought the ZFS on the "free" version was crippled down to 1 TB.

On VirtualBox, it blows (1, Interesting)

theoriginalturtle (248717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658623)

I put up Sun's free VirtualBox VM environment on a MacBook Pro, and both OpenSolaris and Solaris 10 Intel were worthless. Both achieved speeds reminiscent of PearPC.

XP worked OK. Ubuntu was fine.

You'd think if you were going to release a VM, at least you'd make sure your flagship OS would run on it at speeds that would compare favorably to a 20-year-old Amiga.

Re:On VirtualBox, it blows (2, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659589)

The OS X version of Virtual box does not support (yet) any of the processor specific virtual machine extensions that speed things up considerably.

ZFS rocks (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658625)

ZFS kicks ass. Sun really raised the bar with it. There are some other FSs in development (Hammer, btrfs, etc), but they don't have the full integration that ZFS does. Maybe eventually, someone will write a patch so ZFS is just a patch and recompile away in Linux (although that approach is what made minix suck back in the day). Heh, minix will probably have ZFS support before Linux does.

Re:ZFS rocks (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658725)

Someone likely could easily issue ZFS as patch directly for the kernel as opposed to in FUSE. The problem is that it would be illegal to use it a such because of the license. Sun has talked about making it all GPLv3 if Linux takes their kernel GPLv3 as well. Linux would gain native ZFS in their kernel, but Sun would gain every device driver from Linux.

The problem is that too many individuals that you can't even contact own individual copyrights in the Linux kernel. It isn't just going to up and change to GPLv3.

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659175)

It depends: if it's the ZFS specification that's CDDL licensed you're screwed as kernel space goes. However, if it's only Sun's software that writes a ZFS file system (the ZFS drivers and toolchain) it's possible that an alternative implementation of ZFS could be created. Sun have said they're 'investigating' a Linux port [sun.com] .

I've used Solaris (I ordered the DVD over the Internet) and I like it: it's no slower than, say, Kubuntu (KDE4), in VirtualBox, and I love ZFS. Unfortunately, I've misplaced the DVD, and additionally my only DVD burner happens to be playing up, so I'm stuck with the VirtualBox image until I get round to opening up the DVD drive and cleaning it.

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659261)

Actually, it would be completely legal to use it. It would be illegal to distribute it, because it would be a derived work of the Linux kernel and the kernel is under a license which imposes a strict set of constraints on the third-party code you are allowed to link it with. Linux device drivers tend to be an unreadable mess (not helped at all by the fact that they often include changes to update them to new in-kernel APIs by people who have not looked at the overall design of the driver). FreeBSD has a similar level of driver support to Linux (better in some areas, worse in others) and Sun can already share drivers with them. Solaris has had a stable driver ABI for a very long time too, so drivers released a long time ago still work, while their Linux equivalents only work if someone is actively maintaining them and not just letting them bit rot. Drivers can't just be plugged into a new kernel. They need porting and modifying for the new kernel's interfaces. Linux has the worst layering of any free *NIX kernel when it comes to driver abstraction, and porting drivers from Linux is harder than porting them from pretty much anywhere else as a result (except possibly Darwin, but only because Darwin drivers are written in a subset of C++).

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659491)

Someone likely could easily issue ZFS as patch directly for the kernel as opposed to in FUSE. The problem is that it would be illegal to use it a such because of the license.

I don't think the problem would be "using it", it would be with distributing it.

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

silentsteel (1116795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659507)

Sun has talked about making it all GPLv3 if Linux takes their kernel GPLv3 as well. Linux would gain native ZFS in their kernel, but Sun would gain every device driver from Linux.

That is the point of FOSS, though, assuming the Linux kernel were migrated to GPLv3 and Sun migrated Solaris, ultimately, it would be a win/win situation for both sides.

I have run both OpenSolaris and Linux and found that, like any other quality OS, both have their positives and negatives, and preferred usages.

If both were licensed under GPLv3 individual positives, like ZFS and driver support, would then, potentially, start to be found in both OS's and individual negatives would decrease, making both Linux and Solaris better.

Re:ZFS rocks (0, Troll)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659139)

ZFS kicks ass.

This is not a troll but how can you get excited by a file system, FFS ?

Can you create directories ? - Check !
Can you write files to it ? - Check !
Can you read files back from it ? - Check !
Can you delete files ? - Check !

Job done !

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659541)

Can you create a filesystem in the time it typically takes to create or delete a folder?

    Can you take snapshots and/or clones, quickly, so that one always has a history of each and every file on disk, and easily accessible?

    Can you create automatically-expanding storage pools?

Re:ZFS rocks (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659585)

That actually does seem a little Trollish (as do most posts that start with "This is not a troll..."), but I'll bite anyway.

Disclaimer - I've not used ZFS and know zilch about it.

But your lack of excitement over FS capabilities is disturbing.

Does it make efficient use of the space available on the HD? Maybe.
Does it organize files in such a way that they can be quickly found and read? Maybe.
Can it recover from minor disk errors? Maybe.
Does it throttle the HD by constantly having to rearrange data in order to maintain the above capabilities? Maybe.
Etc.

Job continues indefinitely.

Re:ZFS rocks (2, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659813)

ZFS does have issues with NFS though. In particular NFS writes can lock up the client. Hopefully this issue will be fixed soon. it's not really ZFS's fault; it's NFS's fault. Yet no other FS has this issue, so I'm sure a workaround could be done. In the meantime there are times when the NFS clients on our 12 TB ZFS (Solaris 10) system are unusable.

ZFS will never come to Linux while the license remains incompatible with the GPL. I predict that one day Sun will relicense it, but not before they've really tried and failed with OpenSolaris. I think the FUSE idea is viable though. Just that the developer who was doing it is now working for Sun and has no time/inclination to do more with it. In theory all file systems should be implemented with a FUSE-type of separation from the kernel. This hearkens back to the Mach days where file systems were envisioned to just be user-space servers. Now it just might work. NTFS-3g has really good performance, really, and it is fuse. And when it crashes, it won't take down the OS.

So far the community or lack of, surrounding OpenSolaris is pretty disappointing. I think Sun just thought it would magically happen. Long term, I'd rather see the best technologies of Linux and Solaris merge (Linux massive hardware support, scheduler, dtrace, zones, zfs), rather than continuing in separate directions.

I have a problem with this kind of "open source" (1, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658641)

Sure, it's Open Source and everything. But the problem is that complex programs like this are often designed with a top-down instead of a bottom-up approach. I mean, this isn't a bazaar, it's a cathedral. Oh, and OpenSolaris is not GPL. *buzz*

There's still one company responsible and only that company will make the changes, because the codebase is so huge that it's a pain in the *** to maintain. Well, eventually many open source projects end up like that, with a huge codebase and with a company. BUT, this wasn't built by the community and it's not likely that it will get enough userbase so that a dev will become interested.

Compare this with the Linux Kernel. Linus message, which was more or less like "Hey guys, I'm making a unix-like kernel, anyone want to join?", was followed by a stampede of developers and testers like you can't imagine.

So, if we want competition, it's very improbable that a cathedral project such as OpenSolaris can compete with Linux, a 100% GPL'ed project built by the whole community.

Maybe it can compete with the bsd clones, but Linux? I don't think so.

Re:I have a problem with this kind of "open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659347)

you are a complete and total tool.

Slashdotted?! Whatever. Site's fast and snappy. (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658711)

Sun is battling hard to break into the open source operating system world with OpenSolaris. Juliet Kemp takes it for a test-drive, sampling its unique features and seeing how it fares against Linux...

OpenSolaris is an open-source project based on (some of) the Solaris operating system code, and sponsored by Sun, but being developed independently. The main aim of the project is to create a downloadable codebase. Currently, though, there's a Live CD/install image available which gives you a full OpenSolaris distro - a project which arose after Ian Murdoch (founder of Debian) was hired by Sun in 2007 to head "Project Indiana". OpenSolaris 2008.05 was released in May 2008. It is, as advertised, a full-featured distro, which includes the GNOME desktop and the ZFS filesystem (which does snapshots and some other interesting things - more on that below).

It's released under the CDDL (an open source copyleft license based on the Mozilla Public License), and can be downloaded from the OpenSolaris website. The majority of the source code is fully accessible, but some components are only available in binary form (under the OpenSolaris Binary License).

The OpenSolaris desktop (click for full size)

Installation

Installing OpenSolaris is pretty straightforward - it's a LiveCD (as is increasingly common in Linux distros these days), with standard click-to-install. You answer a couple of questions about your location, keyboard map, and time/date, and you're also asked about disk partitioning. Solaris uses ZFS rather than ext3, which is important in that Linux support for ZFS is still in the fairly early stages.

The rest of the install is handled for you, and worked fine for me. It picks up the network fine (at least, it does if you plug the cable in...). I didn't test it with wireless, but wireless support is supposed to be available.

In use

The first thing to note is that it's not lightweight. My test box is fairly old and slow, but I found OpenSolaris significantly slower than Ubuntu or OpenSUSE on the same box. So it's not really useful for putting that ageing hardware to work.

It comes with a Gnome 2.20.1 desktop by default, and consequently looks pretty similar to more or less any Linux Gnome desktop. The usual array of applications are in place to start off, including Firefox 2.0.0.14, Thunderbird, Rhythmbox, and so on. OpenOffice isn't installed, but version 2.4.0 is available via the package manager, which uses the Image Packaging System (IFS) software.

Is there really a need to have 'SUNW' before everything?

There is documentation available showing how this package manager compares with apt-get - there's also a graphical option if you prefer that to the command line. Both deal with dependencies for you, as with Debian's apt-get and aptitude. There are fewer packages available than for a mainstream Linux distro, although they do have over a thousand (and certainly enough for a fully-functioning system). The package naming is slightly odd; package names begin with a handful of capital letters (eg SUNW or FSW).

Networking works differently to Linux - ipconfig exists but has a different syntax, and eth0 isn't the standard interface. There's a graphical networking manager, but it gives an error message if started when the network management tool nwamd is configured, which is true by default. This seems wrong: either the graphical tool should play nicely with nwamd, or it shouldn't show up on the default config menu.

Services and the starting/stopping of them works differently from Linux, as well. Instead of /etc/init.d or similar, OpenSolaris uses smf, the Service Management Facility. Services are referred to as svc:/servicetype/servicename (where service types include network, system, and application, among others) and can be started/stopped via the svcadm command. The man page is helpful, as are the online docs, but it's something that you need to get used to, and as ever there's a learning curve before you'll be comfortable with it. There's a list available of services that run via SMF. SMF does have definite advantages: it improves service restarting (making it automatic), and can snapshot service configuration, which makes backup easier and also makes it easier to roll-back changes if they go wrong.

The other major difference between OpenSolaris and Linux is the ZFS filesystem. The docs explain the differences between ZFS and ext3 fairly succinctly. ZFS is intended to be massively scalable, and uses the concept of storage pools, which filesystems can grow over (rather than having space allocated in advance). A bit like virtualisation without actually having to put virtualisation in place, really, and certainly very convenient (for example when you realise that /var could really have done with being a bit bigger -- with ZFS it'll just expand as required without any intervention).

Many of the services are missing description text

ZFS is transactional, meaning that the filesystem is always consistent (so fsck or equivalent isn't used or needed), and snapshots are intentionally both easy and cheap in terms of disk space. I'm very impressed with the concepts behind ZFS, but I'm also concerned that cross-functionality with Linux is limited. There is a ZFS on FUSE/Linux project, so you should be able to access your ZFS filesystem from Linux, but it's still only in beta. This does mean that you can't switch a disk into another machine (e.g. in case of system failure) and have it work.

NFS, however, works absolutely fine between Linux and OpenSolaris. The config is a bit different: it uses /etc/dfs/dfstab rather than /etc/exports, and you're not supposed to edit it manually anyway. I experimented a bit with the sharemgr command, but in the end found the graphical NFS manager (under the System > Administration menu) easier to manage. Note that by default permissions are very paranoid; you have to explicitly allow access to machines or networks.

Why bother?

Well, one good reason is "because playing with alternative OSes is fun"! More seriously: ZFS has some very good features, notably the concept of using pools rather than restricting filesystems to a particular physical device; and the snapshotting capabilities. I can also see the advantages of the SMF approach to service management - although after many years of dealing with /etc/init.d I fear it would take me a while to change my habits!

I did find it frustrating to have to relearn commands that I've been using without thinking for years now (eg ifconfig), and right now I'm not convinced that for me it's worth the mental effort, especially given the relative scarcity of external software available. ZFS does very nearly swing it, though. I'd certainly like to see ZFS brought more into Linux, and SMF does highlight that it may well be time to update the init.d system.

Belenix is a distribution of OpenSolaris that
includes whizzy Compiz 3D effects

Whether or not OpenSolaris will win Free Software mindshare in the same fashion as GNU/Linux remains to be seen, but it certainly boasts some impressive technology. Nonetheless, it needs improvements on the sprightliness front, so that it doesn't develop an image as a huge, lumbering enterprise OS clumsily trying to make inroads on the desktop.

But it's well worth trying to see what competition Linux is facing, and to expand your overall Unix skills. Head over to opensolaris.org/os/downloads/ to grab a copy.

Why is this bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658787)

Note that by default [NFS] permissions are very paranoid; you have to explicitly allow access to machines or networks.

So basically when you do it right in linux (as opposed to the openness of windows filesharing), it's bad? Please.

Excerpts from the article: (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658819)

Excerpts from the article:

"... I found OpenSolaris significantly slower than Ubuntu or OpenSUSE..."

"There are fewer packages available than for a mainstream Linux distro, although they do have over a thousand (and certainly enough for a fully-functioning system). The package naming is slightly odd; package names begin with a handful of capital letters (eg SUNW or FSW)."

"ZFS is transactional, meaning that the filesystem is always consistent (so fsck or equivalent isn't used or needed), and snapshots are intentionally both easy and cheap in terms of disk space."

"I'm very impressed with the concepts behind ZFS, but I'm also concerned that cross-functionality with Linux is limited."

"I did find it frustrating to have to relearn commands that I've been using without thinking for years now (eg ifconfig), and right now I'm not convinced that for me it's worth the mental effort, especially given the relative scarcity of external software available."

Mind the install. (Take backups first) (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658877)

I had a box with a drive with an empty primary partition at the beginning and Linux on a few extended partitions at the end. The OpenSolaris install documentation and the installer itself promised not to touch the existing extended partitions. Which it didn't. It did, however, wipe the partition table so I could not find my extended partitions and had to restore from backups.

I will not be using OpenSolaris anytime soon.

The syntax for ipconfig is different? (2, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658901)

That's because the Linux folks were worried about the pending USG/CSRG lawsuit so they reimplemented TCP instead of using the BSD TCP stack and utilities like almost everyone else (including Microsoft) did.

Just about any non-Linux UNIX implementation is going to have the BSD TCP.

On the upside the lawsuit did set SCO up the bomb. Oh, it wasn't the only thing by any means (did they actually do ANYTHING right in that lawsuit?), but one of the side effects of the USG/CSRG lawsuit was that a lot of early UNIX code code was open-sourced. Including some of the SCO claimed were examples of "infringing code" in Linux. Come on, folks, wasn't it great to have Dennis Ritchie himself point that out?

Re:The syntax for ipconfig is different? (4, Informative)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659615)

Actually, Solaris doesn't [sun.com] use the BSD TCP stack. They completey replaced the stack in Solaris 10.

It's a bit late (3, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658905)

I was a Solaris admin back in the early 90s. I preferred SYSV to BSD for a lot of things. But at this point, I'm just not seeing a compelling reason to go back. Sure, ZFS sounds nice, but I don't really want a system that's slower and more RAM-hungry than Linux, and I don't want an OS with a GPL-incompatible license.

Re:It's a bit late (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659159)

Honestly, with LVM on Linux, I don't really see the benefits of ZFS over it (note: you can get ZFS over fuse on Linux if you really wanted).

The only thing I ever hear about what's good about Solaris is the fact it has ZFS and dtrace. Both of which I'm not interested in. Seriously, just go look on sun.com for information about what's good about Solaris. They come up with the regular buzz words such as 'scalable' etc. But the only meat I ever find is 'ZFS' and 'dtrace'.

Trivial Review (1)

semerus (1) (1347433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658913)

This is a superficial review.

My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658997)

While it might be good for people who want to spend a lot of time in the OS, I can't even get that far. I installed Ubuntu on a Sparc machine to test it out. Didn't work so well since there is no good JDK for Linux on Sparc.

So then I tried to install Solaris back on the machine. It doesn't give you an option to format the disk. Seriously.

The entire user experience around getting the OS installed and an environment setup is so inaccessible to a person who doesn't want to make it their main focus and job. If you're a Sun shop, or if you're a sysadmin, it might be great.

But the majority of web 2.0 style folks need a faster way to get going. If you have been used to Linux where the entire experience makes it very easy to get up and running, Solaris is like going backwards 20 years.

Also, my pet peeve about Linux and Solaris *both* is that they still both fight the GUI vs. CLI war. 99.999% of functions should be accessible from a GUI. Period. End. Of. Story.

Re:My experience (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659757)

It's not so much them believing that CLI is better, I think it's more a case of CLI tools being far easier to develop. Writing a good GUI is non-trivial, and writing a good GUI for something incredibly technical and involved will often result in a harder to use solution than just making the CLI.

Furthermore, admins are typically highly proficient with a keyboard, and can manipulate the CLI faster than they can a mouse.

It's a case of tool for the job. Many tasks are just better suited to CLI due to complexity, target audience and design experience of the developers.

Narrow the choice.. (2, Insightful)

doomicon (5310) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659003)

If your main concern is whether or not it runs KDE? Then stick with Linux.

Re:Narrow the choice.. (1)

doomicon (5310) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659131)

If you work in an environment that has the luxury of dismissing products and solutions because they are NOT GPL...

stick with Linux :-)

Solaris has packaging design issues (3, Informative)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659007)

Trying to harden Solaris is a nightmare. Mostly because so many packages in the Solaris install are interdependent. It is either install 90% of the packages or install nothing. Why do they even bother breaking the software packages if this is the end result? Getting rid of RPC can create so many problems it isn't even funny. Both BSD and Linux offer the option of only installing the base package and only choose the services you want with little to no other packages to depend on. This however absolutely cannot be the case for solaris because a single needed software package will require you to install nearly all services.

Funny you should ask (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659171)

I just installed it a couple of weeks ago. Open Solaris starts in a GNOME shell and feels quite like Ubuntu in that way. Main difference is that the booting is much slower, but that's not unreasonable for a server OS that isn't supposed to get rebooted very often. I haven't really used it that much, but mostly it seemed to be okay. (Reference basis is that I'm a heavy Ubuntu user, though my company distro is a custom version of RHEL5, and I've experimented with about half a dozen of the live CD versions.)

However, overall I still have to rate it as rather betaish. The first major upgrade tends to be fatal when it tries to update GRUB, and I wound up reinstalling pending the fixes. It wasn't just the lack of basic testing that bothered me, but also the unhelpful attitude in the newsgroups: "That's a well known problem." Gee, thanks, so how about a hint of how to fix it? (Yes, I eventually found the description of the fixes, but by then had run out of motivation... I prefer to be virtuously lazy in the Perlish sense and just wait for a more mature product.)

Disclaimer or statement of limitations or something: I'm running it with the VMware Player, and it's only my fourth client OS, and I certainly can't claim to be an expert in that environment.

I love the ReiserFS, Myself (0)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659185)

It's KILLER.

Solaris is great. So is choice! (1)

jregel (39009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659193)

As someone who uses Linux at home and work, and also uses Solaris at work, I'm very pleased to see what Sun are doing. Solaris is a great operating system and I'm a bit bemused by the attitude that some Slashdotters have of "Why bother when I've got Linux?". I thought we were supposed to be geeks here and fascinated by interesting technology!

The biggest grumble I usually hear is that the default Solaris commands are not as feature rich as the GNU equivalents. The easy answer is that the GNU tools are most probably already installed in /usr/sfw and that to use them requires nothing more than a minor tweak to /etc/profile.

The reality is that, while Linux is great, it's not the only decent open source operating system out there and there are plenty of reasons to look at the alternatives (try it and see for yourself).

ZFS and Dtrace are finding thier way into other OS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659211)

I find quite interesting that the coool features are finding their way into FreeBSD but not linux. Makes you think which users really have more freedom.

Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659291)

I am with Linus on this one. Our community should shun Solaris

Re:Linus is right (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659727)

I am with Linus on this one. Our community should shun Solaris

Shun the non-believer !!! Shuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnn !!!

One significant difference... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659545)

... between Solaris and Linux in the Enterprise is how they react to abuse - namely stupid people running ton of stupid memory hog applications.

Where I work we have Solaris 9 and 10 boxes running literally unattended for 600+ days - they are shared boxes, meaning lot many different applications run on the same OS/FS/Memory/CPUs .

When a particular app goes haywire and starts (many of them are 64-bit apps) - that particular app just gets a NULL back when there is no longer any memory available. The app can hopefully then calm itself down or release some of its caches etc. but the main point is that the other apps are unaffected and so is the OS.

I would not even begin to think how Linux could handle this. It has this insane notion of handing out virtually any amount of memory to applications whether or not there is actually that much memory and swap available. So when things get out of control the ugly and stupid OOM killer thinks it knows better which app to kill - depending on your luck you could end up with sshd or some other good behaving app being killed to give memory to this bad app.

That is scary. Arguably this is all fixable within the applications but ground reality is that App developers are incompetent - at least where I work, they are.

Plus the newer Solaris releases are close to Linux when it comes to performance. So the only incentive to run Linux is hardware support - if you are on non SPARC hardware that is.

Linux hopefully some day will have a good memory management subsystem soon - less fragmentation, more predictability, good accounting etc. But till that time Solaris for the stupid "Enterprise" .

Re:One significant difference... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659907)

Where I work we have Solaris 9 and 10 boxes running literally unattended for 600+ days - they are shared boxes, meaning lot many different applications run on the same OS/FS/Memory/CPUs .

When a particular app goes haywire and starts (many of them are 64-bit apps) - that particular app just gets a NULL back when there is no longer any memory available. The app can hopefully then calm itself down or release some of its caches etc. but the main point is that the other apps are unaffected and so is the OS.

Or maybe it won't, since we already know that it probably isn't written very well (or maybe you just didn't buy enough ram for your server). And other programs will end up unable to allocate more memory when they need it.

I would not even begin to think how Linux could handle this. It has this insane notion of handing out virtually any amount of memory to applications whether or not there is actually that much memory and swap available. So when things get out of control the ugly and stupid OOM killer thinks it knows better which app to kill - depending on your luck you could end up with sshd or some other good behaving app being killed to give memory to this bad app.

You do realize that out-of-memory behavior is configurable, right? The default setting is to use the OOM killer, but it's trivial to tell it to behave "properly".

Get your head out of the sand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659773)

1) OpenSolaris is as open as Microsoft's own "shared source" CodePlex projects. Who controls (or in this case dominates) the source code development tree. If you want to submit a patch, your code has to be reviewed and approved by the Sun Solaris Architecture Review Committee??

2) OpenSolaris is just Sun... even Oracle ditched them for Linux. How can Sun out-invest all the players investing in Linux? Sun had to hire Ian Murdock just to make Solaris look usable like Linux.

3) Who needs 32 cores on a server when you can buy 64 $4K servers for less? If you really need that muscle, buy a p server from IBM that blows the SPARC boxes out of the water.

4) For every "feature" that was stated above as revolutionary (a) how often do you actually use it and (b) have you done any recent training worth a grain of salt? Linux has grown up - check out the latest versions.

5) Windows is better. Seriously, Windows Server 2008 blows Solaris/x86 away. Try it. I'll almost always choose Linux over Windows, but if you want something different give Win 2008 a try and be productive.

It's stupid nonsense like this article and comments that makes business line people want to ignore what the real IT people who have some sense know is true.

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