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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personal impressions...
by kawazu on Tue 21st Jul 2009 14:30 UTC
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Been playing with OS ever since its first release on a developer notebook, though I overally like the platform, so far I yet have to find a reason to really use it in day to day life. Outline: I'm a Java developer, heavily using IDEs like NetBeans or Eclipse and app servers locally installed for testing purposes. Observations:

- Generally, in virtually everything I do OpenSolaris is considerably slower than a trimmed-down, optimized Xubuntu installment on the same hardware. I have yet to find why it is this way.

- Package management: IPS is a pretty good thing IMHO, but in terms of performance it is somewhat behind dpkg or rpm, and, worse: The "official" IPS repositories are somewhat limited compared to, say, Ubuntu universe, and adding blastwave packages seems to pull half the system (GNOME libaries?!) once more to some arcane location (/opt/csw?). Package naming is completely obscure, in most situations (SUNWwhatever - just try to find "the gimp" in IPS repo...).

- These issues aside, OpenSolaris is not really worse than Xubuntu, but, and this is what is important to me, it's also not "better", it doesn't unfortunately provide no real benefit in day-to-day use to consider using it in everyday work. Sure, it has an astounding set of features worth looking at (ZFS, DTrace, Zones, SMF, ...), but most of them (at least to me) seem completely meaningless on a desktop system. Eventually, Time Slider is the only "Solaris thing" on an otherwise pretty plain GNOME desktop, and exactly this is a feature so far I never needed (and if I actually did, I could go with TimeVault in Ubuntu having the same effect).

My bottom line is: OpenSolaris, as a desktop, needs to have more "desktop things specific to OpenSolaris" to be interesting. On the server, it surely does excel. On the desktop, there's IMHO no real need for it right now...

Reply Score: 1

RE: personal impressions...
by Kebabbert on Tue 21st Jul 2009 15:55 in reply to "personal impressions..."
Kebabbert Member since:

Really? Have you read what I wrote about BE, two posts above yours? And you can install whatever you want, and if it breaks anything you just rollback in an instant via snapshot. This way you can have an environment for Eclipse java 1.5 in one BE in GRUB, another with Eclipse Java 1.6, Netbeans, etc etc etc.

This is not useful for desktops, you think??

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: personal impressions...
by kawazu on Tue 21st Jul 2009 18:26 in reply to "RE: personal impressions..."
kawazu Member since:

This way you can have an environment for Eclipse java 1.5 in one BE in GRUB, another with Eclipse Java 1.6, Netbeans, etc etc etc.

This is not useful for desktops, you think??

Not sure, but at the very least for keeping different Java environments separated, I don't really need boot environments (although they are a nice feature, no doubt about that). Been working with OpenSolaris 2008.x for about two months in total in production work, trying to figure out whether this is what I want, and never found a real reason making me thing "wow, now _that_ is amazing a thing to have..." - on a notebook, not on the server.

Overally, stating this again, comparing the "experienced negatives" (overall performance, IPS issues, eventually lack of pre-compiled software) with the set of additional features of some use _to me_, I don't really see a reason to switch to OpenSolaris as my main OS. I'm still cautiously enthusiastic about OpenSolaris, both hoping for it to actually grow a real "community" (rather than just being a "public Sun code repository"), maybe for becoming the first operating system to be GPLv3 licensed (yes, this matters to me), maybe for coming to life in a more "lightweight" incarnation (StormOS with XFCE is pretty good about that actually) for desktop or notebook usage, but so far IMHO it is not yet there. YMMV of course.

Reply Parent Score: 1