Ars Technica took a first look, and was moderately positive about the release. They very much liked the slick installation experience, which was never one of Solaris' strong points (I repeatedly beat myself with a metal rod during Solaris 9 SPARC installs to ease the pain). According to Ars, the installation procedure is "painless, intuitive, and easily on par with Ubuntu and Fedora". OpenSolaris boots into a live CD, and the installer can be launched from there.
Ars says that another good point is the clean GNOME theme used by 2008.05. The new theme, Nimbus, "has soft colors, smooth gradients, and a slightly bubbly look. It's not as snazzy as Murrine, but it's a nice improvement over Clearlooks and it beats the crap out of Ubuntu's brown". The GNOME installation is fairly default, albeit slightly outdated in some areas. In addition, it does not include anything Mono-related - a positive point for some, I'm sure.
Hardware-wise, there were some quirks, especially in the network area. Ars could not get OpenSolaris to connect to the network at all, which brings back bad memories on my end; getting the network up and running on Solaris 9 on my Ultra 5 was always utter hell, and I've more than once wanted to throw my Sun Type 5 keyboard through the window. And Sun aficionados will know how heavy a Type 5 is. Because Ars couldn't get the network up and running, they were unable to properly test the new IPS package management system.
Another reviewer, our very own Kaiwai, tested 2008.05 on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61p, and concluded:
In light of the new release, ComputerWorld decided to interview Ian Murdock. The interview is quite interesting, but the following stands out. Upon asking which Murdock thinks is better, Debian or OpenSolaris, he answers:
Which happens to be a whole lot of wisdom and clarity put into a single answer. Something for us OSNews editors and readers to think about.