Well, it may be December, but it is time for the OpenSolaris 2008.11 update, the second tweak of the open source variant of the Solaris Unix platform. With the new release today, it's getting some interesting storage enhancements as well as the usual update additions. The OpenSolaris project launched its first pseudo-commercial …
So long Linux...
...it's been real. With 2008.11 the desktop environment is now usable enough to ditch the two Ubuntu boxen I've been using thus far. Now it (and Windows) will live in Virtualbox from here on.
ZFS and Solaris Zones are just waayyy too good to miss out on, between that and random bullshit such as Linux kernel udpdates breaking shit every other week, and the uber-crap mess of documentation (compared to Sun's centralised and beautifully formatted and authored set of docs) it just isn't worth it anymore.
Funny thing is as far as this whole attempted "Mac OSX-ification" of Ubuntu, OpenSolaris has them beat all over. The default 2008.11 themes are beautiful, and fit/finish is great - features not lost in the Ars Technica review at least.
Latest RHEL updates already support Nehalem
"In which releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are the Intel Core i7 (codenamed Nehalem) processors supported?"
"Intel's Core i7 (codenamed Nehalem) CPU series are supported in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7 and 5.2."
Perhaps Sun want to split hairs on "supported" vs "full feature support".
Many of the people running Solaris 10 on SPARC will be using software which uses the kernel API: things such as Veritas Volume Manager/File System or EMC Power Path. These "enterprise" customers will clearly be sticking with Solaris 10 as it moves through its update cycle, because Sun guarantee that the kernel API won't change within a major Solaris release - remember that Solaris 10 went to GA in January 2005.
What this supported OpenSolaris release does is to make available to the userbase the features which haven't been backported to Solaris 10. These users don't need the backwards compatibility, and aren't using kernal API so don't mind if it changes.
Sun is slightly in a bind with Solaris 10. Its longevity is a huge, massive benefit for enterprise customers and a testament to the guys who designed and are updating it. The ability to port features from Open Solaris into Solaris 10 without a change in kernel API has enabled the use of Solaris, particularly in virtualised environments, to evolve. However, at a headline level they've been "stuck at Solaris 10" for nearly four years now, and I find myself having to explain to customers why this is such a good thing.
OpenSolaris 2008.11 is a useful counterpoint for such criticism: if you want the new goodness, supported by Sun, on your x86 boxes, it is there. If you want the enterprise longevity of Solaris 10 on SPARC, with the Binary Compatibilty Guarantee going back to Solaris 2.6, it is there.
I want Ashlee Vance back. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/author/ashlee-vance/
Whether you call it Solaris 10 or something else, Sun seems like they're getting their Solaris house in order. Impressive stuff.
This is good
This has got to be a good thing. Competition in the operating systems arena is exactly what we need.
In most fields of industry, parts are generic, specified by parameters and interchangeable with any other manufacturer's version of the same product; so one orders an M4x10mm. bolt, a 470Ω 0.5W. resistor, a 10ml. syringe, a ream of A4 80gsm. paper, and so forth. Why should it be any different with computers? As long as the necessary hardware is present, any Source Code should just compile and run on any OS on any architecture.
Just waiting your our friendly neighborhood Matt the HP Sales Grunt to chime in with his usual FUD.
Solaris 10 was SunOS 5.10, Open Solaris is SunOS 5.11. In Sun terms that's a minor update. 5.x to 6.x would be a major update, that's unlikely to happen any day soon.
Whether products like Veritas VM/FS followed the kernel API rules remains to be seen, of course.
A bigger problem is that Open Solaris is designed to work with ZFS root filesystem, and upgrading from S10/UFS to S11/ZFS is not going to be painless.
That said, I'm running Open Solaris 2008.11, and very nice it is :)
re upgrading from UFS to ZFS root
As a member of Sun's kernel engineering community, I've now had the
distinct pleasure of upgrading many systems from UFS root to ZFS root.
From NV/ufs to NV/zfs.
From S10/ufs to S10/zfs.
From S10/ufs to NV/zfs.
You use LiveUpgrade. It really is as simple as the following:
(install new LU packages from the target OS you want to install)
# zpool create rootpool
# lucreate -n zfsrootenv -p rootpool
# luupgrade -u -n zfsrootenv -s /path/to/install/media
# luactivate zfsrootenv
# init 6
(cue much joy).
The only pain I've had with it has been in waiting for the initial lucreate on UFS to finish, so AC - please, if you've got hard data to support your contention about pain, please provide it.
"Solaris 10 was SunOS 5.10, Open Solaris is SunOS 5.11. In Sun terms that's a minor update. 5.x to 6.x would be a major update, that's unlikely to happen any day soon."
Take in account that Solaris 7 was SunOS 5.7, Solaris 8 was SunOS 5.8 and Solaris 9 was SunOS 5.9 ... all of them were major updates and meant a new Solaris release.
In Sun terms, SunOS 5.11 means Solaris 11, or as they also call it, Solaris Next, a major update, stated to be released by next year or by 2010... or somewhere around that.
What Dunstan said is correct.
Follow up: major/minor updates
I forgot to mention that the number "5" preceding every SunOS version since Solaris 2.0 (SunOS 5.0) comes from it being a SVR4 (UNIX System "5" Release 4) derivative, unlike SunOS 4, the last BSD derived SunOS (later rebranded Solaris 1.0).
In conlusion, do not expect a SunOS 6.x release anytime soon...
Longevity of Solaris 10 is a beautiful thing
Dunstan Vavasour comments, "at a headline level they've been 'stuck at Solaris 10' for nearly four years now, and I find myself having to explain to customers why this is such a good thing."
Every operating system should have a life expectancy of greater than 5 years!
Considering how robust the feature set is in Solaris 10, one would wonder why we don't see these features in other operating systems with binary compatibility guarantees!
I don't know about you folks, but I love the fact that I have integration scripts that I build under Intel SVR4, which worked under Solaris 2.5.1 SPARC, and has moved painlessly to Solaris 10 SPARC - when I get bored, perhaps I will see if they work under Solaris 10 Intel...
About the only problem I have seen is that some software "flips out" at the tremendous quantity of resources available under Solaris 10, in comparison to Solaris 8 (i.e. file handles) and I had to "tune the box down" to stop offering so many resources (when all I do is upgrade the OS on the same hardware with the same software!)
I look forward to seeing some of the new OpenSolaris features in commercially supported Solaris. I do not look forward to the new packaging system... been making SVR4 packages for a decade under multiple operating systems - don't need another barrier for entry of software vendors.
Sun fanboys spotted!
Paging Matt Bryant to this thread.