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OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the give-it-a-whirl dept.

Operating Systems 303

An anonymous reader writes "With Sun busy being swallowed up by Oracle, should Linux geeks pay any interest to OpenSolaris? TuxRadar put together a guide to OpenSolaris's most interesting features from a Linux user's perspective, covering how to get started with ZFS and virtualisation alongside more consumer-friendly topics such as hardware and Flash support."

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Its a Server OS... (-1, Troll)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29420421)

Why try to hack it on to a desktop?

Re:Its a Server OS... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420537)

Yeah, I never could understand why people tried to turn Loonix into a desktop OS either.

Re:Its a Server OS... (5, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | about 5 years ago | (#29420615)

You could say the same about Linux. Doesn't mean it's a bad idea to try it.

In fact, I quite like the fact that there are enterprise-grade features lying around my system, just in case I ever happen to need them. As long as they don't get in the way of day-to-day tasks, what's the harm?

(A good current example of this is ZFS. Although casual users won't have a use for this, I find ZFS's awesome filesystem-creation and pooling features to be a godsend for managing my central backup repository and media store. If I need more space, I add another drive, type a short line into the console, and the space is available instantly to use with my existing filesystems with full-redundancy built in. Removing an old/small/broken drive from the pool is just as easy.)

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29420723)

You could say the same about Linux. Doesn't mean it's a bad idea to try it.

Well not exactly, Linux wasen't written with servers in mind, Solaris was, but anyway thats by-the-by now. Im not against Solaris, I think its great also, infact ive even been toying with the idea of putting it on my home server for the exact same reason you just stated regarding ZFS. I just think that at the moment, the only Open Source OS thats even nearly practical for typical day-to-day desktop use is Linux. OSS is pretty thinly spread as it is, I think as a community, we need to just concentrate on getting at least 1 OS totally practical for desktop use before we start peddeling others.

Re:Its a Server OS... (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29420849)

the only Open Source OS thats even nearly practical for typical day-to-day desktop use is Linux

This is not true. Most applications that run on Linux compile just as well on a variety of platforms. Gnome and KDE4 both have packages for FreeBSD for example. If you really want something simple and portable run Fluxbox or Openbox.

A lot of things are written in Java as well, which means you even have binary compatibility. Things written in Python and other scripting languages are also portable.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Informative)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29420873)

Most applications that run on Linux compile just as well on a variety of platforms...

That is why Linux is practical and others aren't. Most isn't good enough. Only ALL is satisfactory.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421023)

That's just stupid.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

CountOfJesusChristo (1523057) | about 5 years ago | (#29421163)

Seems to be the reason givem by a lot of people who are not moving away from Windows when they want to... "If Photoshop were available on Linux, I'd ditch Windows for good" seems to be a recurring theme.

Ironic (2, Insightful)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | about 5 years ago | (#29421219)

considering Photoshops runs just fine under wine...

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

armanox (826486) | about 5 years ago | (#29421443)

I've got photoshop on UNIX (IRIX)...

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29421177)

Really, so there are no programs that support something else and not Linux? That's funny, because I could swear there were somethings that hadn't yet been ported to Linux.

Linux will always have a larger number of packages available than pretty much anybody else due to the decision to not actually have a base system. You get a kernel and the rest you have to add via third party developers. On top of that, there isn't any particular reason for a number of the other packages to be available as most people will gravitate towards the best anyways, requiring a third tier program is silly.

It's nice to have choices, but there isn't any inherent reason why say FreeBSD needs to have Ice Weasel, we're perfectly happy with Firefox and the other ones we can install. We don't really need a dozen different multimedia applications when there's just a couple that fill the niche that people are looking for.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 5 years ago | (#29421333)

Then Linux fails too, by your own definition it can only run *most* windows programs (via hardware emulation or Wine).

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421261)

A huge problem is that Flash doesn't run on FreeBSD. Unfortunately, Flash is something that most people expect to just work.

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421387)

With all the abuse of Flash for ads and storing shared objects for cross site cookie tracking, maybe it is a plus for the OS that Flash doesn't work on it.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#29421539)

Lets see here, I use flash to:

A) Use YouTube and a multitude of other video sites
B) Play Flash games
C) Use parts of Google Maps
D) View some sites with webmasters who sought fit to put the navigation in 100% Flash

Just setting up a decent /etc/hosts file can eliminate 95% of ads, and Adblock plus or noscript can eliminate all the others.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#29420879)

OpenSolaris is perfectly practical for the desktop, just maybe not EVERY desktop.

This really depends on what you want to do with your computer. If it's a gaming rig, neither OpenSolaris nor Linux will be perfect for that. If you're looking for maximum software compatibility within the Unix-y realm, Linux is your answer.

If your desktop is a part time file or mail server, OpenSolaris has some features you might like. ZFS and fault management are big ones in that. DTrace also goes way beyond what is available on Linux, that I am aware of. I heard DTrace is available on Linux now, although with varying levels of success.

Re:Its a Server OS... (3, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 5 years ago | (#29421727)

I'll throw in that Open Solaris has the best accessibility software for the blind, in Sun's Orca project. It works in Linux, but not as well as where it's developed... in Solaris. This is a key indicator of just how ready an OS is for the desktop, IMO.

Anyway, the whole Windows vs Linux flame war is pointless. Linux is the best OS ever developed for hackers, period. I couldn't be happier with it (unless it ran cool software like Orca stably). Windows is for Joe Sixpack who needs games and porn. Joe will always outnumber the hackers. It's ok. Just learn to live with it.

Re:Its a Server OS... (-1, Offtopic)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29421019)

Wow thats impressive....

My OP post gets Modded +3 Insightful, and then my reply to someone who commented on it gets modded troll.

Slashdot, well done, you never fail to amaze me.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421473)

I just think that at the moment, the only Open Source OS thats even nearly practical for typical day-to-day desktop use is Linux.

I am sorry for saying that, but please don't say a BS to the public. There is also PC-BSD, if you know it. And it is quite decent stuff for desktop. Besides, filesystem there is way more stable and rock solid, although not very modern. And TCP stack is also faster.

Is BSD is open source enough for you?

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421485)

Now, PC-BSD is also has ZFS running. Linux does not have ZFS, only through FUSE, which is... fun, but it is userland layer, so not really you want run entire OS on top of it.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29420981)

No. What gave you the idea? Linux always was a "everything" OS. From the smallest portable and embedded devices capable of 32 bit, to the biggest supercomputers on the world.

But I agree on the enterprise-grade features. We're professionals. Professional craftsmen wouldn't use tools from the local DIY store. They use tools like this: http://www.us.hilti.com/holus/modules/prcat/prca_main.jsp [hilti.com]

Besides: I use ZFS on my small Linux server via FUSE, which unfortunately makes it a crazy resources hog, with using up 600 MB of RAM, and one of the two cores of hat thing. But the scrubbing — which I absolutely need — makes it worth it. I wonder how much resources it takes under OpenSolaris, and if a OpenSolaris virtual server, just for the ZFS, would make sense...

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421117)

You could say that a walrus is a taco, doesn't mean you're right. Linux is already a server and desktop OS. Works fantastically for many as a desktop right now.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

viper66 (412839) | about 5 years ago | (#29421185)

Its not quite that easy to add more space. RAIDZ and RAIDZ2 pools don't support expansion yet, so you have to be using mirroring to achieve expandability. And when you are using mirroring you have to add 2 more drives to expand an existing pool. Even when using mirroring I don't think you can remove drives like you say.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421455)

+1. Moreover, Solaris was desktop OS for years in specific, professional niche. Maybe not as cool & pimp as OSX is, but certainly enough to run some industrial stuff (plants, banks etc).

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

kjart (941720) | about 5 years ago | (#29420621)

Isn't that what people have said about Linux?

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421075)

linux has been my desktop os for nearly a decade now.. Its the best desktop i have used with the exception of Workbench3.1

Re:Its a Server OS... (3, Insightful)

andersenep (944566) | about 5 years ago | (#29420623)

Why try to hack it on to a desktop?

Who said anything about using it for a desktop?? I use OpenSolaris at home to run my NAS for one reason: ZFS. I strongly considered using BSD, but figured OpenSolaris was a better choice for my needs. So far I have had zero issues with it. It just sits in a room and quietly does what it was supposed to do. I am sure I would never try to use it for a desktop OS, but then again I'd never use Linux, BSD or Windows either. For that matter, why try and hack Linux on to a desktop??

ZFS is great, but.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420867)

It still has some real rough edges.

1. If your pool does fail, good luck recovering data from it.
2. There's no way in hell you'll get predictable, deterministic performance from it. This one really sucks, because I really don't care if 99 times it serves file faster than any other file system (and really, it *doesn't*!), but then on the 100th time it takes three orders of magnitude LONGER (and ZFS sure as hell does exactly THAT!). Along the same lines, the way ZFS batches writes is a performance KILLER. What's faster? Writing to your disks continuously, or batching everything up for ten to twenty seconds and then bringing the entire disk system to its knees for a few seconds by flooding it with writes, in between which the drives are idle. (And yes, that's DISK SYSTEM, as in Sun StorageTek 6140 fully-populated with 112 drives...).

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29420877)

I am sure I would never try to use it for a desktop OS, but then again I'd never use Linux, BSD or Windows either.

Hmm... OS/2?

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29420901)

Same here? What Operating System do you use Sir?

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

andersenep (944566) | about 5 years ago | (#29421085)

For now it's OS X. On the desktop and for my needs, nothing else even comes close in terms of reliability, ease of use and looking pretty. It's all about the right tool for the job. Every OS, even (ugh) Windows has it's specific strengths and weaknesses. All depends on what your needs are. I really don't think OpenSolaris's strengths and weaknesses make it a very logical choice for most people as a desktop OS, but for someone to write it off for that reason is stupid.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29421149)

Agreed. Personally I'd never use OSX as I absolutely refuse on principal to use an OS I can't run on my own custom built PC, but thats another story. I still only see Solaris as being particularly practical in a server enviroment.

One of the lovely things about linux is this: I have my HTC Hero sitting next to me, One the box it says Android but I know that under the hood (and a very thin one at that) its still running a standard linux kernel. Aswell as running on my phone, the exact same Operating system is also running on a couple of servers I run my buisness from. That is the true greatness of linux. Although as the saying goes: Jack of all trades, Master of none.

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420719)

Having DTrace on a development platform would be nice. That alone is worth the trouble.

I especially welcome different flavours of OpenSolaris. Having worked with Solaris 10 on numerous servers, I have to say that it has a fantastic feature set, but an absolutely insane implementation. Poor man pages, terrible defaults and horrible package management.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 years ago | (#29420741)

it's also a good workstation OS. I know of places using it that way...

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | about 5 years ago | (#29420761)

Opensolaris is just as desktop-ready as Linux. Open source desktops are the same in Linux, Opensolaris and BSD: Gnome, KDE, Openoffice, Firefox, X.org, dbus, etc. They all use the same code. From the user POV they are the same.

The one real difference is the hardware support (where Linux is the king). But once you have hardware support in Opensolaris and BSD, the rest of the software stack is identical (and the same applies for servers, BTW).If Linux is desktop ready, opensolaris is also desktop ready.

Re:Its a Server OS... (2, Interesting)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29420853)

You miss my point. Thats user ready for US - me and you - who are interested in computers and are happy to take the time to learn all about it. Most people are too damn lazy (i refuse to accept stupid to be the case given personal experience, its pure laziness) to learn a new OS. Setup Ubuntu on a laptop, then show someone how to open Firefox and thats it; their sorted.

Thats really not the case for OpenSolaris; nowhere near it.

But anyway, Im on the side as you here, anything that gets more people off Windows, the better. Personally im a hypocrite in that as both my laptop and Desktop are running Windows 7 but those are the only computers I own which do. At the moment, I have such a huge number of Windows-only programs that its simply impractical to switch. But given good reason - whether that be a bad new mistake in windows or something new in linux - I wouldn't hesitate to.

Re:Its a Server OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420847)

Because developers use desktops and write server software?

There has been a massive amount of work going on with improving the desktop experience in OpenSolaris over the last two years.

The sound system in place now for example has greatly expanded hardware support, and even has native features that GNU/Linux distributions have to rely on PulseAudio for.

Compiz works out of the box and is enabled by default for nVidia users.

Re:Its not just a server OS anymore (2, Informative)

Freaky Spook (811861) | about 5 years ago | (#29420975)

OpenSolaris 2009.06 has some excellent new desktop features,

TimeSlider which is similar to Apples Time Capsule
Image - GUI Package Mangement
AutoMagic - Network Configuration Wizards including wifi
Multimedia Codecs and Support
Improved OpenSolaris CIFS for interoprability with Windows networking.

I've been using it at home for a month or so and I'm enjoying it. I've also just gone to Windows 7 which I'm loving so its becoming a bit of a hard choice what I want to run on my notebook.

Re:Its not just a server OS anymore (1)

skyride (1436439) | about 5 years ago | (#29421055)

OpenSolaris is likely your better option for your netbook. Its likely that all you'll do on a netbook, is... well... the net. And OpenSolaris is certainly better for that purpose than Windows 7.

It's a RAID server and partition map... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#29421091)

Why try to hack it into a filesystem?

Re:It's a RAID server and partition map... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29421207)

Could you please link to a hardware implementation that actually does all of what ZFS does? I'm not aware of any hardware option that gives you all that, the best you can get in hardware is RAID, and that's not the same thing. Some functions you can get via hardware, but you're still missing some significant features like having it actually fix errors rather than giving you another shot at getting the right data.

Re:M$ is a desktop OS.... (1)

uassholes (1179143) | about 5 years ago | (#29421215)

Why try to hack it onto a server?

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421445)

Linux is not desktop OS either.

Re:Its a Server OS... (1)

smash (1351) | about 5 years ago | (#29421635)

Because its scheduler doesn't suck, its stable and usable under extreme load and it has a stable ABI. Also, its not Linux (i.e., unix reinvented and fucked up in various ways for no reason other than various components "not invented here" (eg, dtrace vs kerneltrap), and is more true to the traditional UNIX way of doing things, like FreeBSD.

Linux is great and all, but after using various other UNIX for a number of years, its just "different" in many ways for no good reason at all. Sure, if you've come from a windows background its probably a godsend, but if you're from a unix background, linux probably pisses you off in many ways due to the "different for no good reason" stuff everywhere...

OpenSolaris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420427)

I tried to dualboot OpenSolaris with Linux on a new computer and all it did was drag ass.

Re:OpenSolaris (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#29420469)

how long did it take you to copy a 17 meg file from one folder to another?

Re:OpenSolaris (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420497)

Using JFS:

$ time cp data test2

real 0m0.062s
user 0m0.000s
sys 0m0.040s

Re:OpenSolaris (0)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421523)

P4 2,7GHz, 2G RAM (running lots of stuff though at the moment):

$ mkfile 17m foo
$ time cp foo foo2

real 0m0.016s
user 0m0.004s
sys 0m0.012s

Re:OpenSolaris (1, Informative)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421531)

...that was ZFS, :-)

I really like OpenSolaris (5, Interesting)

hilather (1079603) | about 5 years ago | (#29420483)

At home I love to use Ubuntu, I've long given up on Windows. I've tried out OpenSolaris a few times, mainly to get use to the subtle differences between Linux and Solaris. As part of my job heavily involves using Solaris its nice to use the OpenSolaris system to learn what I can in my spare time. I know there are many differences between Solaris and OpenSolaris, but the gap isn't as large as from Linux. That said, personally I think the icon theme in Gnome for OpenSolaris is pretty nice looking. Gnome has a very polished look in OpenSolaris. It would be a shame to see Oracle kill this project, I think OpenSolaris has a lot of potential. If anything, they should invest more in OpenSolaris. If I had a home server, I would definitely consider using it.

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29420545)

I'm curious about the differences between Open Solaris and Linux, and Open Solaris and Solaris.

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420743)

* Solaris only includes Unix versions of system tools.
* OpenSolaris includes a mishmash of crappy Unix tools and crappy GNU tools.
* Linux only includes GNU tools.
In other words, if you thought the Linux ecosystem was a mess, Solaris will not surprise you - pleasantly, that is.
The only selling point for OpenSolaris is SUN's ZFS that seems to give some geeks a hard-on.
If you are looking for a consistent system any BSD will beat OpenSolaris and FreeBSD has also better performance.
Hardware support is also a lot better for BSDs.

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (0, Flamebait)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421553)

Bullshit.

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (2, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#29421009)

Here's a short list of keywords or programs you'll need to know abotu. Google for anything that interests you.

Role based access control
prstat instead of top
prtconf
vmstat
iostat
svcs, svcadmn
dtrace

OpenSolaris??? You mean GNU/Solaris! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421537)

That's GNU/Solaris, you schmucks! Solaris with all the GNU goodness in userland without all that fancy hardware support you get with the Linux kernel. Oh, and you get dtrace instead of systemtap, and zfs or ufs instead of xfs, ext4, jfs ocfs2, btrfs, ...

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (1)

kregg (1619907) | about 5 years ago | (#29421677)

Solaris doesn't have as many prepackaged open source apps compared to Ubuntu last time I checked. It has a cool theme, runs Gnome, Openoffice, firefox and when you run tools like ifconfig/ping you will get a slightly different output/experience.

I want to be precise here... (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | about 5 years ago | (#29420551)

Sun doesn't suck.
Solaris doesn't suck.
What does suck?

"Chasing after an open version of Solaris" sucks. (Remember the statement they made, as a reason for not supporting an OS so very similar to theirs?

They've made good (though expensive) hardware. They have top-notch utility programs- everyone says so. I'm just not inclined to persue something that's already declared it's hatred of the OS I call 'home'. :)

Re:I want to be precise here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421263)

All the hatred I hear is from the Linux crew bitching about how Solaris and Sun should just die. I guess they feel personally slighted that Solaris exists.

Re:I really like OpenSolaris (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420979)

I've been running Solaris machines for years, but the main problems I have are:
* blastwave repository occasionally pushes a botched package, moves something, etc, making upgrades a scary process.
* patches are sort of a pain to find and update with.
* the out of the box config has all kinds of crap running for CDE/fonts/etc that take a bit of work to turn off on a true server box.
* the out of the box config has all kinds of open ports and whatnot

the first two problems generally lead to systems that are way out of date. the second two problems mean you really have to know what you're doing to turn off (or bind to localhost) the things that leave ports open and not turn off the things that you need (volmgt can me handy).

solaris is great if you want to run an nfs,afs,etc server or any of the sun provided packages in fairly basic settings (not a bunch of plugins, extensions, etc), but if you want to do anything pushing it and still want stability, it's quite a process to not break things and you really absolutely need an identically configured dev/test box if uptime is important. You need to know how to secure everything. Solaris is definitely harder to use, though solaris 10 both helps and hurts (hiding some things in service props and some things in files, etc).

solaris is better (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420503)

yes it is

Nexenta (4, Informative)

Korin43 (881732) | about 5 years ago | (#29420505)

Anyone who likes Linux and wants to try OpenSolaris should give Nexenta [nexenta.org] a look. It's basically Ubuntu using the OpenSolaris kernel instead of Linux (so GNU/Solaris?). All the fun of Solaris, all the ease of apt. I can't find builds for anything except x86 though.

Re:Nexenta (2, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29420563)

First an alternative OS like Open Solaris and now a garage OS? What next, an Indie OS? The developers go around on tour and sell the CDs at the OS Concert?

Re:Nexenta (2, Funny)

Crimsonjade (1011329) | about 5 years ago | (#29420763)

Emo OS - supports a wrist peripheral for easy cutting.

Re:Nexenta (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420699)

Why would I want my OpenSolaris kernel tainted by the Niggerbuntu userland?

Re:Nexenta (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420731)

Because Solaris userland sucks donkey balls?

Re:Nexenta (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421059)

all the ease of apt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxymoron [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nexenta (2, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | about 5 years ago | (#29421481)

That's because SPARC support wasn't added to OpenSolaris until 2009.06. I expect downstream distros to add the support before too long though.

Re:Nexenta (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421589)

Not really. First, Nexenta is GNU foundation with a different kernel. However, the way they do things is all Linux way, which is really different than you have culture in Solaris.

Also don't forget that Nexenta is very Alpha practically, and really unstable in use. Even first co-called "stable" version is very shaky, packages deps broken sometimes etc. X11 part was http://www.stormos.org/ [stormos.org] but now server gone...

So your experience will be sort of like "broken Linux" or "Debian release of 1999th". Don't.

My Hope for OpenSolaris (5, Insightful)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 5 years ago | (#29420561)

OpenSolaris looks polished in many areas, but I see Linux as ahead of it as a Desktop OS. I hope that Desktop Linux distributions (and Linux kernel hackers) take note of what OpenSolaris does right (easy snapshot support - sure Linux doesn't have ZFS, but it has LVM which appears to be able to do snapshots) and play a bit of catch-up. And who knows, maybe OpenSolaris will do the same and try to catch up to Linux.

Re:My Hope for OpenSolaris (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421607)

I see Linux as ahead of it as a Desktop OS

It is not. Because OpenSolaris is very young OS, yet it catching up very quickly. Besides, WiFi on my EeePC works much better than Ubuntu does -- i.e. it just works, while Ubuntu smashes eggs in my face with "hidden account" thing, looking for access point forever, unless you specially kick it.

Where are the forks? (2, Interesting)

xiando (770382) | about 5 years ago | (#29420691)

I do not consider OpenSolaris future safe until we get a few forks. Now there is The OpenSolaris and it's future depends on just one (evil) corporation. If one GNU/Linux distribution dies a horrible death then it is of no importance since there are dozens of other BNU/Binux (with a B) distributions. If Bubuntu dies then that does not stop Bedora or Bentoo from carrying forward. I'll take a look at OpenSolaris when there's at minimum 3 variants of it being developed.

Re:Where are the forks? (5, Informative)

Vardamir (266484) | about 5 years ago | (#29420735)

OSOL's own site lists several different distributions. There's also auroraux, which aims to have its own kernel source repository and freedom from any remaining binary bits: http://www.auroraux.org/index.php/Main_Page [auroraux.org]

Re:Where are the forks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420769)

Ahem:

http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/distribution/links/

Re:Where are the forks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420775)

Why are you so worried? If you're a typical Linuxy-Slashdotter you're installing a new distribution every couple of weeks anyway.
Note to Mods: Poll Topic: How long do you keep a specific distro installed on your personal, non-production machine before re-installing or installing something else?

Re:Where are the forks? (2, Funny)

legojenn (462946) | about 5 years ago | (#29421195)

I am waiting for Blackware, but don't want Batrick Bolkerding to over-extend himself.

ZFS Rocks, except the license (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420777)

I've wanted to use ZFS for years, but my current customers aren't interested in supporting another OS. Previous customers were addicted to ZFS. They loved it on Solaris.

I know ZFS was released under CDDL, which is open source, but not compatible with the GPL or LGPL.

That means I either don't use ZFS or I need to convince my customers the worth of ZFS overrides the issues of having another OS (Solaris or OpenSolaris) to support. Doubtful.

BTW, I grabbed a OpenSolaris a month ago and it was incompatible with my hardware. It didn't like the IDE controller nor the ethernet chips, so you definitely want to check the "supported hardware list" before going too far. Don't get me wrong, this isn't like VMware's **very short** AHL, but it isn't like Linux or cough, that MS-OS.

ZFS and FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421305)

That means I either don't use ZFS or I need to convince my customers the worth of ZFS overrides the issues of having another OS (Solaris or OpenSolaris) to support. Doubtful.

FreeBSD?

ZFS (4, Interesting)

zorkmid (115464) | about 5 years ago | (#29420783)

Having had a few EXT3 filesystems go tits up because they've been quietly borking themselves on a 24/7/365 server being able to do a weekly "zpool scrub" in a 4TB array without the downtime is a beautiful thing. Kernel CIFS with proper ACLs and integration with ZFS snapshots is pretty great as well. When btrfs is released and gets a few miles on it I may switch back. But for now my file server stays OpenSolaris.

Re:ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421243)

I would choose FreeBSD over OpenSolaris and it has real ZFS support also (versus Linux "fake" ZFS via FUSE support).

OpenSolaris is just chunky. All that Java crap clogs up the pipes. Performance-wise for server tasks it's no different than anything else really. I just don't see the point in using some ganky system like Solaris.

Re:ZFS (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421631)

You don't use BTRFS and that's why:

1. It relies on kernel layer of software RAID -- very bad idea.

2. It is developed by... Oracle! at that time, when Sun not really was about to release Solaris as open source. Now Oracle owns it.

3. It is very alpha and needs way more investment, time and testing to make it nearly as same as ZFS. On the other hand, ZFS is already in production and tested with a time. We know ZFS bugs and they are very annoying, sometimes frustrating, but still it works stable, as long you do not do stupid or risky things.

If you Larry Ellisson, do you really think Oracle now needs alpha-unstable-untested-not-really-scalable BTRFS if there is ZFS in your hands?..

gn"aa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29420851)

Fr,eebSD is already

/tmp and /var/tmp (5, Interesting)

foorilious (798451) | about 5 years ago | (#29421095)

There's a lot of little things you'll notice over the years about Solaris / OpenSolaris that are unique, cool, neat, or useful -- too many to list in an article like this, of course. One example I was reminded of by the "differences" table -- the authors note that the Solaris equivalent of Linux's "/tmp" is "/var/tmp" -- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test. Of course, linux also has ramdisks, but this is generally far more convenient.

$ time dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128
128+0 records in
128+0 records out
dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128 0.00s user 0.71s system 24% cpu 2.910 total

$ time dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128
128+0 records in
128+0 records out
dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128 0.00s user 0.43s system 98% cpu 0.438 total

Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (1)

aysa (452184) | about 5 years ago | (#29421355)

Linux has tmpfs which is much better than a ramdisk and uses virtual memory assigned dynamically. From wikipedia tmpfs is supported by the Linux kernel from version 2.4 and up.[3] tmpfs (previously known as shmfs) distinguishes itself from the Linux ramdisk device by allocating memory dynamically and by allowing less-used pages to be moved onto swap space. ramfs, in contrast, does not make use of swap (which can be an advantage or disadvantage). In addition, MFS and some older versions of ramfs did not grow and shrink dynamically and instead used a fixed amount of memory at all times. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TMPFS [wikipedia.org]

Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (3, Interesting)

dserpell (22147) | about 5 years ago | (#29421361)

-- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test.

In any new Linux distribution, /dev/shm is also backed by ram, so you can do:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=512
512+0 records in
512+0 records out
536870912 bytes (537 MB) copied, 1.12253 s, 478 MB/s


$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/shm/foo bs=1024k count=512
512+0 records in
512+0 records out
536870912 bytes (537 MB) copied, 0.754747 s, 711 MB/s

Obviously, I had to copy four times the data to reach the slowness of Solaris :-)

Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421389)

Obviously, I had to copy four times the data to reach the slowness of Solaris :-)

Have you ever kissed a girl?

i r soooo funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421577)

yes, he has kissed them......kissed them goodbye.....hahhahahhahaa...get it?

Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (4, Interesting)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 5 years ago | (#29421535)

One example I was reminded of by the "differences" table -- the authors note that the Solaris equivalent of Linux's "/tmp" is "/var/tmp" -- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test. Of course, linux also has ramdisks, but this is generally far more convenient.

Is the way Solaris handles /tmp really all that different from the Linux tmpfs implementation?

solaris-box:$ mount
/tmp on swap read/write/setuid/xattr/dev=2

linux-box:$ mount
none on /tmp type tmpfs (rw,nodev,noatime,size=256m,uid=0,gid=0,mode=1777)

Other than picking the maximum size at mount time, tmpfs seems to be the same thing. If you pick a size equal to swap space, I think it is the same thing:

  • Both use RAM if available but are backed by swap (just like any other memory allocation).
  • Both use essentially no RAM or swap until you write files to the mount point.
  • Both can set various permissions and features on the mount point.

more like OpenS vs. Ubuntu (1)

anglophobe_0 (1383785) | about 5 years ago | (#29421221)

Seriously, "apt-get". Tut-tut. Other issues I see: KDE 4.0 doesn't run on OpenS yet. Virtualization options listed in the article sound uncompelling. Should I choose the option with mediocre performance or the one that is currently being ruined by Citrix? I want me some KVM. Also, ZFS does sound great, but its treatment of extended partitions sounds barbaric, and many of those features are available using LVM in Linux. AFAIK Ubuntu still doesn't implement LVM, but Fedora does. Firewalling doesn't look fun, and AFAIK OpenS currently has no equivalent to SELinux. It sounds to me like it might be great for running your NAS, but it certainly doesn't sounds to me like it fits for desktop use yet, nor like it fits the jack-of-all-trades role Linux does.

Linux Wins (4, Informative)

rainmaestro (996549) | about 5 years ago | (#29421251)

I was recently tasked with doing an inventory and repurposing of a stack of older Sun machines (Sunfire, Netra, etc).

What I discovered is that OpenSolaris won't even install on some of the models. Install from CD? Nope. Install remotely via a network install? Nope, and let me go on record as saying that the network install process is *absurdly* complex.

On the other hand, I popped a Debian CD in, and it installed beautifully once I booted into expert mode and loaded fdisk (parted blows when dealing with Sun tables).

That's right, Linux was easier to work with on these Sun servers than OpenSolaris. OSOL has some really cool features (ZFS and DTrace, for example), and I've mucked around in it on my x86 boxes before, but overall Linux is still easier to work with in my experience, even on Sun servers.

I always keep an OSOL VM in VirtualBox, but it doesn't see much use. I'd rather use Linux or BSD.

Re:Linux Wins (2, Informative)

armanox (826486) | about 5 years ago | (#29421505)

OpenSolaris didn't even include SPARC support till the current version. It was intended for IA-32 and amd64 desktops first.

Re:Linux Wins (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421665)

What you mean by "Linux is easier to work"? Adding users? Installing software?.. Personally I find upgrades, RPM and LVM an utter nightmare versus snapshots, IPS and ZFS respectively. Try to run in Linux or BSD anything on network port less than 1024 securely from completely non-root (dropping privileges does mean you running as non-root) and then say what is easy.

Re:Linux Wins (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421671)

Oh, sorry, I've made a typo. Here is correction to parent: "dropping privileges does NOT mean you running as non-root". :-)

Re:Linux Wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421729)

I know this isn't the topic of the story, but what about plain jane Solaris?

OpenSolaris really isn't meant to be taken seriously in a production environment. Its just a hacker toy more than anything - Sun's hope that they can attract some free developers and free PR to the Solaris codebase.

file system backups (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29421339)

That's a fantastic feature... I'm trying to think of another OS that has that.

Open Solaris is still INMATURE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421367)

I am a long time Linux user (RedHat and now Ubuntu) and I gave it a try 3 weeks ago to Open Solaris.
It crashed 3 times in an hour and finding software packages for it, is a pain in the eyes...
The ZFS filesystem is awesome but it sucks RAM like a thirsty camel would suck water after the Sahara crossing.
The only positive is that it comes with a huge amount of drivers for every kind of device.
I think that SUN were too in a hurry and released an inmature system.

Re:Open Solaris is still INMATURE. (1)

hotfireball (948064) | about 5 years ago | (#29421687)

RAM: it is because of Solaris takes everything in RAM anyway. Don't believe what you see on top/ps. This is the way Solaris works: to allocate all-or-maximum-needed RAM possible. Then it will give RAM back to your software, once requested. Just different memory management, that's it.

Just for a record: I've killed all RedHat's around with OpenSolaris and it works like a charm without any failures. Some systems now on snv_121, some on 2009.06 release (AKA snv_111b). So I don't know what you mean by "crashing 3 times". Provide some reproducible steps and it will be fixed, if it is really a problem, not a PEBKAC one. :-)

Another review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421669)

I did a review of OpenSolaris this past summer. It's come a long way on the desktop and worth a look. It's not just a server OS anymore.

This site is full of Ubuntu wankers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29421693)

I'm so damn glad glad I moved on from Linux. (But you still have my subscription Pat. You're the man, and you're on the right path.)

No, Thank you! (0, Troll)

omb (759389) | about 5 years ago | (#29421715)

As I have already commented here SUN was fixated in repeating all DEC's strategic mistakes, so while Open Solaris might have been interesting in 1995, it is now just a footnote to OS history, and much of what is said about it is just false. To try to hype it up now is the clasic case of trying to 'polish a turd'. There are two major threads here, and the outlook is complicated by tools, eg GCC, and semi-conductor development.

(1) SUN repeated DEC's mistake of giving the company to Marketing when revenue began its long fall. This never works and has been responsible for the demise of so.o.o much US industry eg GM. Marketing, since it works with Focus Groups, suveys ... and picks a biased group of responders, current customers, biggest first, _always_ gets the wrong answers, the company ceases to innovate and be the market leader and better engineered and more economic competitors start to eat their lunch, and further depress profitability eg Linux/86_64.

(2) A consequence of (1) is the best leave. When second rank management & engineers gain control, often driving out the best eg Rob Gingell, the former Solaris Development manager, they begin to behave like politicians and develop 'talking points' which are exactly like emperors cloths. In spite of the fanbois that is exactly what Dprobes, ZFS and Java are. They are a money sewer, and if that were not bad enough, a combination of political correctness and stupidity quickly stifles any real innovation or rational business analysis while the sacred ideas continue unquestioned.

SUN's undoing is entirely its own fault, and no-one should waste any more time on Solaris, open or otherwise. Both Solaris and Java were born and grew up in the Cathederal and their arrogant mid-wives (Dr. James Gosling) do not want their children in the grubby Bazar making money.

Solaris, overmanaged like MySql and OOO can never catch Linux, because of weight of GOOD developers and mindset.
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