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Taking a Look at Nexenta's Blend of Solaris and Ubuntu 248

Posted by timothy
from the little-a-this-little-a-that dept.
Ahmed Kamal writes "What happens when you take a solid system such as Ubuntu Hardy, unplug its Linux kernel, and plug in a replacement OpenSolaris kernel? Then you marry Debian's apt-get to Solaris' zfs file-system? What you get is Nexenta Core Platform OS. Let's take Nexenta for a quick spin, installing and configuring this young but promising system."
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Taking a Look at Nexenta's Blend of Solaris and Ubuntu

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  • debian debian debian!

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:07PM (#25860261)
    • Solbuntu
    • Ublaris
    • Blarunt
    • UbunSunTu
    • or just Usuntu
    • Gnolaris
    • Somnambulent

    But seriously, sounds like a great idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:07PM (#25860269)

    These are the types of stories I miss on /. No, politics, no civil procedure/court news, no DRM wars. Just plain old news for nerds (even if it doesn't matter all that much).

  • by gd23ka (324741) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:09PM (#25860289) Homepage

    I'll look at it when there's a Redhat/CentOS userland to go with it. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with both Redhat Linux and
    Solaris and the BSDs but you would have to give me some really compelling reasons I should go through the Debian/Ubuntu
    learning curve.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269)

      You should be able to run red hat linux within a branded zone [wikipedia.org].

    • by gerrysteele (927030) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:32PM (#25860767)

      >really compelling reasons I should go through the Debian/Ubuntu learning curve.

      A 7 year old child can?

  • 64 bit? (Score:2, Informative)

    by viridari (1138635)

    The only downloads I see seem to be for 32 bit x86 systems. No 64 bit at this time? No sparc64?

  • Even if.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:20PM (#25860337)

    Even if the idea behind all this is sound.. Try to consider that Nexenta has been around for 2+ years and still not finished the process to being a Debian port. Is it because the parent company is too busy trying to sell storage appliances or they simply don't have any developers to pull it off? The long term maintenance plans for the project to stay in sync with both upstream OpenSolaris and Debian/Ubuntu is fatally flawed and will cause extraneous effort. Then ask yourself.. why? If you really want ZFS + Ubuntu/debian/linux then please.. start work on that.. smf and a lot of the other useland tools *can* be ported to linux with relative ease if you guys actually knew what you were doing..

    • Re:Even if.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by TechForensics (944258) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:34PM (#25860415) Homepage Journal
      Note too the latest releases of FreeBSD have begun to integrate ZFS support....
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lennie (16154)

        Well, there is a kfreebsd-port for Debian, but it's not gonna be in the upcoming release of Debian (Lenny) so it seems.

    • Re:Even if.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:36PM (#25860431) Journal
      If you read the flame wars on Debian Legal - which is usually a bad idea - yu'd see that the reason it isn't an official Debian is because Solaris' libc is CDDL, which is not GPL-compatible. The Debian people believe that distributing GPL'd code that links against a GPL-incompatible libc is a violation of the GPL (and they are probably right). Something to think about when you use the GPL for your own code - you may be preventing it from being bundled with other Free Software.
      • I think you mean "preventing it from being bundled with other Open Source software." Free software is pretty much GPL'd software. Or have I been drinking too much Stallman Kool-Aid?

        Whoever modded you down is a jackass tool and their moderator access should be revoked!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I claim that it is you who has drunk the kool-aid. GPL is not the be-all-end-all of free software.
      • Re:Even if.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by russotto (537200) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:27PM (#25860733) Journal

        The Debian people believe that distributing GPL'd code that links against a GPL-incompatible libc is a violation of the GPL (and they are probably right).

        Not quite that simple. You can distribute GPL (V2) code which links against an incompatible (or even closed-source) libc, provided you don't also distribute libc. This is the "special exception" in section 3. Of course, a distro like this does distribute libc, so it's not eligible for the exception.

      • Re:Even if.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ray-auch (454705) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:29PM (#25860749)

        The Debian people believe that distributing GPL'd code that links against a GPL-incompatible libc is a violation of the GPL (and they are probably right).

        The FSF themselves distribute GPL'd code that links against GPL-incompatible libcs (including Suns) - and they have done for years (in fact decades), way before CDDL exsited, when Solaris / SunOS libcs were proprietary.

        The FSF are right, "the Debian people" are wrong. If there was one thing the system libraries exception clearly covers, it is libc.

        • Re:Even if.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @08:05PM (#25860959) Journal
          You are missing the point. The FSF is not also distributing the libc in question. You can distribute the CDDL libc, and you can distribute the GPL'd app, but if you distribute them together then the combination has to be under the GPL (slight simplification, the exact requirements are slightly different, but that's effectively what it means) and this is not possible with a GPL-incompatible license.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by larry bagina (561269)

            *BSD distros include their own libc and GPL software that links against it. OS X includes their own libc and GPL software that links against it. BeOS included their own libc and GPL software that linked against it. Microsoft SFU includes their own libc and GPL software that links against it. OpenSolaris includes their own libc and GPL software that links against it.

            • Re:Even if.... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @08:33PM (#25861117) Journal

              *BSD distros include their own libc and GPL software that links against it. OS X includes their own libc and GPL software that links against it

              All of these have a BSDL'd libc, which does not have this problem because it's not a GPL-incompatible license. It's been a great many years since I used BeOS so I can't speak for their case, but possibly they were in violation. As I understand it, GPL'd software in SFU links against the libc which is part of Windows (and not distributed with SFU) and so falls under the 'system libraries' exemption in the GPL.

      • by HighOrbit (631451) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:57PM (#25860931)
        This isn't the only problem with libc/compilers in Solaris. A few years ago, I was trying to use Solaris 10 to do a project in perl. The project had to do with parsing street addresses, so I was trying to use the CPAN module for that. Turns out that the Sun provided perl binary on Solaris is absolutely borked because it is compiled on the Sun Forte compiler and it won't work with CPAN, which expects to build parts of its modules against GCC and there are some fatal incompatabilities. There are some work-arounds involving shims, but they are serverly non-trivial and I never got them working properly. I was using solaris because all the data was in a berkley-db on the solaris box. I ended up runing the perl part on linux and mounting the berkley-db directory via NFS, which was far easier and reliable than trying to untangle the entire shim business. The other option, I suppose, might have been to compile a completely new perl binary against GCC/glibc and call that whenever I used my project. But still, a major tool like perl should "just work". Perl without CPAN isn't much use. I was completely flabergasted.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Brandon Hume (73471)

          The Sun compilers are free... and, in many cases, produce superior compiled code to GCC (which is why Sun uses them!). You could have just installed them.

          And even then, making the Sun perl work with GCC is trivial. I don't know where the hell you got this "shim" business. It's just a matter of fixing some compiler flags kept in Config.pm.

          Sorry to say it, but it sounds like you just didn't know what you were doing.

      • Something to think about when you use the GPL for your own code - you may be preventing it from being bundled with other Free Software.

        Of course the same applies to the CDDL. Whenever this example is mentioned people like to blame the copyleft provisions of the GPL, not mentioning that the CDDL is also copyleft which is in fact why the incompatibility arises. If you replaced either the CDDL or the GPL with the X11 license there would be no problem. It's just that the GPL and CDDL, both of which are copyleft

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @08:14PM (#25861007) Journal

          In this case, the GPL is the problem. The CDDL is a per-file license. This is why Apple can put ZFS and DTrace into OS X, linking directly against their code. Because the CDDL'd code they get from OpenSolaris is under a per-file license. The same is true of FreeBSD - they can put ZFS code into their kernel and the CDDL only affects those portions of the kernel. People who don't want to use ZFS still get a BSDL kernel, people who do get a BSDL kernel with a few CDDL components. Linux, on the other hand, can't incorporate any of this code, because of the GPL.

          The CDDL isn't the only license to be incompatible with the GPL. The FSF maintains a long list of Free Software licenses which are incompatible with the GPL [fsf.org]. Other notable examples include the Apache Software License (version 2 is compatible with GPLv3), the Apple Public Source License, and the Mozilla Public License. None of these license place any requirements on the final product, only on the code released under that license, and so all three can be mixed together without issue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Raven64, please stop trolling about the GPL and go back to where you came from.

        If you bother to read the OpenSolaris FAQs [opensolaris.org], you'll find that there are two licensing shortcomings with OpenSolaris still. The first one, as you skirt around, is the granularity of the CDDL - it does not apply to whole packages. And that leads the to the real problem: OpenSolaris, as fantastic as it is in many other ways, it is partially closed-source binary [opensolaris.org].

        That's not good for either portability, long-term maintenance or, e

  • Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kawabago (551139) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:32PM (#25860399)
    We need to prevent another monoculture in the information sector, even in open source. If everyone uses the same kernel, they will all have the same vulnerabilities. Safety in numbers means having more than one popular kernel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by postbigbang (761081)

      Yes: more is better. And it might breathe some life into Solaris. Sun could use some of that right now. Solaris has the benefit of solid code developed at a comparative snail's pace, but with the energy of being hard, and toughened. Any distro mix is a good mix, because you learn from it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bcrowell (177657)

      We need to prevent another monoculture in the information sector, even in open source. If everyone uses the same kernel, they will all have the same vulnerabilities.

      Good point, but we already have the whole BSD family. Having a third family of kernels available is probably a lot less important than having a second one. I would think that avoiding monoculture would be a much less important argument in Nexenta's favor than the availability of ZFS, for people who need specific features of ZFS. Hmm...but then

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Having a third family of kernels available is probably a lot less important than having a second one.

        For the major kernels I'm counting 7: Linux, BSD/Darwin, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, QNX, Win..

        Probably forgot some, but the point is, that this kind of number is ok, could also be more, but not less. I mean, some also have kind of specialized uses and the larger number of kernels also ensures, that somebody cares about standards (because if that would not be the case, then the whole tool set for every platfor

  • Looks interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW (99712) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:50PM (#25860505)

    Looks fun but I am still waiting for 3ware Solaris drivers. And I am not holding my breath either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pyite (140350) *

      Looks fun but I am still waiting for 3ware Solaris drivers.

      3ware is redundant on Solaris. There's no reason to be doing hardware RAID if you can do ZFS. Take all your drives on 3ware and put them on commodity controllers.

      General purpose hardware today is fast enough that dedicated RAID controllers are getting nearly obsolete.

  • by neonsignal (890658) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:09PM (#25860619)

    > you... unplug its Linux kernel, and plug in a[n]... OpenSolaris kernel...

    What happens?

    Neither Linus nor Richard are happy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by russlar (1122455)

      Neither Linus nor Richard are happy.

      And nothing of value was lost.

    • Neither Linus nor Richard are happy.

      Sounds like the reason enough to do it. Shut some loudmouths up

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nextekcarl (1402899)
        I don't know about Linus, but how would this shut up Richard Stallman? This is the exact sort of thing he would rail against and he is not the type to shut up. Ever. Maybe he goes too far, but I wish I had the kind of drive that guy has about anything. I'm just too apathetic. Or perhaps just pathetic. I haven't decided yet.
  • by anlprb (130123) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:17PM (#25860667)

    I have been working with Solaris for many years. When OpenSolaris was announced, I jumped for joy at what could be accomplished. When it was just a re-release of Solaris major, I said, ok, well, it is a certified Unix(tm) and now open source. But when they started working on Indiana, their replacement for the old Solaris system, I again jumped for joy, a chance to remove the cruft, while keeping ZFS and other Solaris goodies. When Ian jumped on the project, I thought, HOLY cow, we can get Debian GNU/Solaris. Well...... Guess what, they had to re-implement dpkg, why, well, I don't rightly know. Sure, you can install the old packages on the system and you now get a network repository, but darn it, why not just go with the darned proven system. Their current ipkg will break a system if the upgrade doesn't go well. I know dpkg can theoretically do this, but why re-code something that has had YEARS of testing and is used by almost half of the Linux community? I don't get it. Why the heck did they decide to re-implement something that could work so well? Just because it is GPL doesn't taint the core OS, it sits in userland. This must be so that they can sell proprietary Indiana builds to those who don't want to play out in the open. That is the only reason I can see. I really hoped for a good package system, but instead, we get a "me-too" system. It just doesn't make sense. And yes, I have been following OpenSolaris since it was barely usable, about nv 40 or something like that. I really wanted an old school Unix to survive, but at this point, I can't see it happening. They are now, not "Unix" they are "Not Linux" and I don't think they can handle the new market. Their Open Source strategy doesn't make sense. Their new storage line, I cannot see where this has a market. Sure, you get support, but once it is up and running well, there isn't much need for that support. There are much cheaper solutions for the SMB to MB segment, with much better support plans. I hope they survive for MySQL, VirtualBox, Java and NetBeans' sake, but I am not quite sure about it. I cannot find a revenue stream that they are first in class for anymore. Their workstations are a joke. I put together a home made Ultra 24 with the same specs for half of what they are asking. This was when they used the slower Q6600 quad cores. I see they upgraded. For outfitting a small to medium development group, I can't see going with the support premium. I know, support, etc... but hey, I can buy a service plan separately for OpenSolaris and when the H/W fails, just buy a new quad core workstation, which will be faster than the one it is replacing. I can't see the price premium. Apple is another story. Their system is integrated and will only work on their hardware. Sun is trying to compete in the commodity OS market. I just don't see it happening. Comments are welcome.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lally Singh (3427)

      There's a lot of solaris-specific software out there. Linux users tend to forget there was a Unix community long before they showed up.

      As for IPS, you know you can just roll back through ZFS, right? As for why they're using IPS, why not ask Ian Murdock? He's the founder of Debian and works for Sun and worked (he's been promoted) on OpenSol.

      Sun's workstations have stagnated in 2008, I don't know why. Their Amd64 line was the best deal from a real vendor when they came out.

      As for the rest... yeah, support

  • So GNU's Not Unix, but what is it when it is sitting on a true SVR4 UNIX Kernel? GNU iNcludes Unix? Can we say "GNU/SVR4 Unix" without risking RMS having an apolexy?
  • by Blackknight (25168) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @11:53PM (#25862311) Homepage

    I've set up Nexenta on a few of my servers and it is a nice system but I just don't see the point any more, SXCE or Solaris 10 do everything Nexenta can do plus more.

    Another thing that bothers me is that NC 1.0 hasn't been updated in forever, SXCE builds are released every two weeks.

    • by dirtyhippie (259852) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @05:14PM (#25867271) Homepage

      Let's get this straight, an article about the new version of Nexenta (2.0alpha - you did RTFA, right?) comes out, and you complain that nexenta hasn't been updated ;-) ? The reason for the delay is nexenta tracks ubuntu's long term releases.

      I agree with you on Nexenta's irrelevance, though. Nexenta just isn't worth it unless you need untrained monkeys to administer the thing.

  • Nexenta homepage: http://www.nexenta.org/ [nexenta.org]
    Planet Nexenta: http://blogs.nexenta.org/ [nexenta.org]
    IRC: #nexenta@freenode [nexenta.org]

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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