LinuxHappy's Weblog

Failures and Successes of Linux-based Development

Opensolaris 2008.05

Posted by linuxhappy on May 13, 2008

This is going to be the most retarded review you’ll probably ever read. It probably shouldn’t even be considered a review.  I’m not a solaris guy.  I’m a networking guy who has mostly worked on Linux, Windows, and embedded linux.. if you consider that any different than regular Linux distros..

Anyways I was over at distrowatch.com the other night and I noticed that opensolaris was released  on May 5th 2008.  Wow that’s sorta recent..  After doing some research,  it looks like the guy who started the Debian project headed up this release of open solaris (Project indiana) so I figure I give it a shot.

Initial reactions.. after about an hour of playing with it.
1.  Wow, it’s got alot of mounts. (`mount |wc -l` comes out to about 18)  What is it mounting? I’m not sure. There’s no /etc/fstab
2.   Proc filesystem.  Wow, what a mean lean fighting machine (unlike linux).  Linux puts everything under the sun in here.  On solaris it seems to be a place for ONLY processes and that’s it.
3.  How do I get gcc?  The easiest way I found to install gcc is with Solaris’s new package Managment:
pkg install SUNWgcc

4.  There is something called pkg-get, which seems to be a not-so-official way of getting packages.  I’m not sure if I really understand this completely.  You can use pkg-get to install  stuff from blastwave.org… which seems to install everything under /opt/csw.  Very odd.  Probably because they’re not-so-official packages?
5.  Gnome seems to be just as sexy as it is on ubuntu
6.  Headaches getting emacs with the pkg command.  Compiling from source works a-ok, but if i want X support, I think I’m going to have to compile a bunch of dependencies *ugh*. Getting emacs from pkg-get works like a charm.. but seems to be from a not-so-official server.. eww, makes me feel dirty.

On a philosophical note, I believe that developers/users choose a particular distribution for a number of reasons.  Here’s some of the criteria I live by for choosing a particular distribution:
1.  Package support
2.  Ease of compiling/configuring/customizing kernel
3.  Virtualization support
4.  Ability to extend and redistribute
5.  Software/security updates
6.  Fast release cycles
7.  Compatibility with binary-only 3rd party software packages (these always suck)
8.  Active user community
9.  Device support
10.  Colorful backgrounds for your desktop (not really)

Being a complete n00b to OpenSolaris, items 1-8 seem to well.. not so hot…. Ohwell. It’s more likely that I just need to get familiar with this thing.. I’m a n00b.  Anyways, here’s the plan:   I plan to keep OpenSolaris around a bit more, because I’ve been hearing such great things about this nuclear powered tool called “dtrace”. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6chLw2aodYQ&feature=related )  Also, I have a feeling by learning other peoples systems you can write more portable, robust code.  Eh. We’ll. see.

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