Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2009 19:16 UTC
Sun Solaris, OpenSolaris The Linux desktop has come a long way. It's a fully usable, stable, and secure operating system that can be used quite easily by the masses. Not too long ago, Sun figured they could do the same by starting Project Indiana, which is supposed to deliver a complete distribution of OpenSolaris in a manner similar to GNU/Linux. After using the latest version for a while, I'm wondering: why?
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OpenSolaris is a tightly-integrated operating system comprised of a kernel, drivers, system libraries, management frameworks, and other technologies.

...which is a tiny portion of all the software installed in a common distro, and pretty much all desktop software doesn't really care about "management frameworks" (except everything about hardware management, which is abstracted properly in HAL/DeviceKit). They care about basic POSIX operations. In fact they don't even care about that, most of them can run/will run on Win32. The fact that many FOSS apps are so portable shows how irrelevant kernels have become - there is nothing on linux or solaris or any other kernel that "ties" the app to that specific kernel and makes impossible to port the app to other systems.

At the end of the day, what you have is the Firefox/Evolution/Nautilus/Openoffice GUI. Users press buttons and the apps do something. There is nothing special in kernels these days that make the buttons better, and they can't improve sucky aplications either. The last time I saw kernel changing something on the desktop was with the nautilus "snapshot" functionality that only works in ZFS systems - and that can be emulated with LVM and the corresponding NT equivalent...

Management frameworks, etc. matter more than you want to admit. Management frameworks deal with things like network failures, configuration, etc. which obviously *do* matter to users -- as just one example.

Another item is the audio subsystem, Boomer, which unlike Linux-kernel-based OS distributions has fully virtualized audio much like (apologies for the comparison) Windows 7 or Vista. And depending on your hardware, it can support surround sound as well.

So management frameworks and subsystems do matter, and a key differentiator for OpenSolaris is that many applications have been tightly integrated with those management frameworks and subsystems. As opposed to the usual GNU/Linux approach, which is to cobble together a disparate set of software components without tightly integrating them.

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