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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Comment by OddFox
by OddFox on Mon 20th Jul 2009 19:35 UTC
OddFox
Member since:
2005-10-05

I pretty much came to the same conclusions that you did the few times that I've gone and loaded up OpenSolaris or even Nexenta in VirtualBox, never had the cajones to actually install it to disk and see how much fun I have with that. The install process is painfully slow I noticed and the actual user experience is just so incredibly lacking. I like some of the look and feel in OpenSolaris but think it needs some TLC in a few areas, it just kinda feels bland and, I dunno, corporate? Application availability is understandably sparse as far as the repositories go, and that's something which is hard to fault the developers on because really, if you wanna have a respository as big as Debian, et al. then you need to have as team as big as they have. I can easily see OpenSolaris catching on with a certain crowd because it offers a neat feature set, though for a decidedly niche market at least for now. Your average desktop user does not need nor want something like ZFS, at least not until it becomes a little less resource hungry though I have no idea how they will manage that due to the inherent design of ZFS. Half a gig to 1 gig of memory for the filesystem is really asking quite a lot still of the average user. Dtrace is supposed to be great for developers but again, your average desktop user has absolutely zero need or desire for this.

Ultimately though driver support combined with a lack of performance optimization are the biggest barriers here. I didn't speak much about Nexenta by the way because when I tried it in my virtual machine I gave up after discovering the default install didn't put X and GNOME on, and the amount of effort it took for me to get just the desktop running was a big turn off for me.

Even with all of this said, though, I probably wouldn't mind any of the systems shortcomings as long as I could play my games. Wine is supposed to be working on OpenSolaris well enough to play World of Warcraft, for example. http://opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?threadID=33766&tstart=0 Now if only all my other games would run so happily under Wine...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by OddFox
by phoenix on Mon 20th Jul 2009 21:19 in reply to "Comment by OddFox"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Your average desktop user does not need nor want something like ZFS,


Your average desktop user would absolutely love something like ZFS with all the snapshot-y goodness, especially when it is integrated into something like TimeSlider in Nautilus. It's similar to how TimeMachine works on MacOS X, but with better technology (ZFS) behind the scenes. If Apple ever gets around to completing ZFS support in MacOS X, they'll have a truly killer feature once TimeMachine makes use of it.

at least not until it becomes a little less resource hungry though I have no idea how they will manage that due to the inherent design of ZFS. Half a gig to 1 gig of memory for the filesystem is really asking quite a lot still of the average user.


Absolute FUD. You can run ZFS on 32-bit systems with as little as 512 MB of RAM (total system RAM). You can also run in it on 64-bit systems with 64 GB of RAM. And everything in between. ZFS works better with more RAM, and can do more caching as RAM increases, but it can be tuned to run in very low memory setups.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by OddFox
by OddFox on Mon 20th Jul 2009 21:35 in reply to "RE: Comment by OddFox"
OddFox Member since:
2005-10-05

Your average desktop user would absolutely love something like ZFS with all the snapshot-y goodness, especially when it is integrated into something like TimeSlider in Nautilus. It's similar to how TimeMachine works on MacOS X, but with better technology (ZFS) behind the scenes. If Apple ever gets around to completing ZFS support in MacOS X, they'll have a truly killer feature once TimeMachine makes use of it.


When the average desktop user begins to understand even something like System Restore then I will concede that the average desktop user might appreciate something like automated snapshots. A small amount of people make a large amount of fuss over snapshots which I argue A) most average desktop users are not technical enough to understand or utilize properly and B) waste a lot of disk space when enabled by default and utilized by few. Maybe I'm just out in the dark here because nobody I talk to outside of tech enthusiasts or people creating an infrastructure that can utilize these features really care about this particular feature. It is wonderfully useful for certain environments, but I don't think the average desktop user needs this kind of functionality. I would turn it off because I frankly don't need the overhead and have never thought to myself "Gee, I really wish I could revert this file back to a previous version, or undelete something I still want after all". Most of my unintentional data-loss is because of things like a partition getting FUBAR'd, not because one way or another the files ended up deleted.

Absolute FUD. You can run ZFS on 32-bit systems with as little as 512 MB of RAM (total system RAM). You can also run in it on 64-bit systems with 64 GB of RAM. And everything in between. ZFS works better with more RAM, and can do more caching as RAM increases, but it can be tuned to run in very low memory setups.


What I said was not FUD, you explicitly confirmed what I had said which was "Half a gig to 1 gig of memory for the filesystem". 512MB = Half a gig? I realize that ZFS works better with more RAM, but my point is that I don't see its feature-set as an acceptable trade-off on your average desktop.

ZFS is a great filesystem for a lot of purposes, but I just don't see how right now anyone could seriously consider any of its features as something vital the average desktop user needs to be exposed to. Ugh, have said "average desktop user" way too many times already and just did again.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by OddFox
by segedunum on Mon 20th Jul 2009 23:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by OddFox"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Your average desktop user would absolutely love something like ZFS with all the snapshot-y goodness, especially when it is integrated into something like TimeSlider in Nautilus.

Ahhhhhh. The sad ramblings of someone who believes that telling people of the technical merits of something will prove to be good enough. It might prove to be a differentiator when all other things, especially application availability, are equal. Everything else, however, is not equal and Nautilus isn't even a good enough file manager and is the same as you'll find elsewhere.

Absolute FUD. You can run ZFS on 32-bit systems with as little as 512 MB of RAM....ZFS works better with more RAM, and can do more caching as RAM increases, but it can be tuned to run in very low memory setups.

For the benefit of the uneducated I shall translate. You can run ZFS on systems with lower memory requirements, but you will have to tune it if you want it to run trouble-free with acceptable performance. All the evidence thus far says that ZFS grows unbounded to whatever workload you throw at it and you will need to create those boundaries yourself.

The day you see ZFS running on an ARM NAS system with 128MB of memory is the day you see Satan skating to work. They just aren't going to materialise.

Edited 2009-07-20 23:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by OddFox
by glynnfoster on Tue 21st Jul 2009 15:57 in reply to "Comment by OddFox"
glynnfoster Member since:
2009-07-21

I disagree with your suggestion that the average user doesn't care about ZFS. That might be true for the awareness of what their filesystem is actually called (just like ext3, btrfs, ...), but they're definitely aware of the features it provides. Being able to take regular snapshots of their data is *incredibly* useful - if you don't think so, you've obviously not accidently lost some data. At some point in the future we'll also be able to provide encryption support at the file system level.

Reply Parent Score: 1