Will OpenSolaris 2008.11 Attract Linux Users? - Page 2

 By Charlie Schluting
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Other updates in OpenSolaris 2008.11 include:

  • For sysadmins, two interesting additions:

    • Project COMSTAR: the new storage server project. At this time, only Fibre Channel is supported, but iSCSI support is coming.
    • Auto Install: a JumpStart-like installation system to automate OpenSolaris installs, but much simpler than JumpStart.
  • Desktop features:

    • GNOME 2.2.4: a very new version with an amazingly beautiful default theme.
    • Print Manager: with automatic detection. Still not using CUPS, but this is planned for a future OpenSolaris release.
    • Firefox 3: the latest Firefox Web browser, and Thunderbird mail client.
    • Songbird: the iTunes clone for Linux is now available in the main repository.
    • Tracker: the desktop indexing and search tool for GNOME now runs by default.
    • OpenOffice 3: available in the repository, but is not installed by default.
    • Suspend to RAM: works now for a very limited set of computers.

This new set of features for OpenSolaris is definitely a step in the right direction. We only hope that they do not get bogged down in the cool new projects and neglect the main contributors to success: being more Linux-like in the userland. New features are great, and Time Slider is the premiere example of really neat advances, but no CUPS yet? No SPARC support until the next release? Only 1506 packages in the main repository? If OpenSolaris spent the next 1-2 years focusing primarily on adopting standardized open source software rather than implementing shiny new features, the project would stand a much better chance of attracting long-time Linux users. OpenSolaris doesn’t need the exclusive community that Solaris enjoyed all these years, it needs the huge Linux community. I think it will happen; the question is, “how quickly?”

So take OpenSolaris seriously, and also try it out. The hardware issue isn’t a big deal for testers, as OpenSolaris runs perfectly in VMware and QEMU+KVM — just make sure you let it hang on to the mouse during bootup and when X starts.

When he's not writing for Enterprise Networking Planet or riding his motorcycle, Charlie Schluting is the Associate Director of Computing Infrastructure at Portland State University. Charlie also operates OmniTraining.net, and recently finished Network Ninja, a must-read for every network engineer.

This article was originally published on Dec 10, 2008
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