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OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users 303

Posted by timothy
from the give-it-a-whirl dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With Sun busy being swallowed up by Oracle, should Linux geeks pay any interest to OpenSolaris? TuxRadar put together a guide to OpenSolaris's most interesting features from a Linux user's perspective, covering how to get started with ZFS and virtualisation alongside more consumer-friendly topics such as hardware and Flash support."
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OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users

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  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:21PM (#29420497)

    Using JFS:

    $ time cp data test2

    real 0m0.062s
    user 0m0.000s
    sys 0m0.040s

  • Nexenta (Score:5, Informative)

    by Korin43 (881732) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:22PM (#29420505) Homepage
    Anyone who likes Linux and wants to try OpenSolaris should give Nexenta [nexenta.org] a look. It's basically Ubuntu using the OpenSolaris kernel instead of Linux (so GNU/Solaris?). All the fun of Solaris, all the ease of apt. I can't find builds for anything except x86 though.
  • Re:Nexenta (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:51PM (#29420731)

    Because Solaris userland sucks donkey balls?

  • by Vardamir (266484) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:51PM (#29420735)

    OSOL's own site lists several different distributions. There's also auroraux, which aims to have its own kernel source repository and freedom from any remaining binary bits: http://www.auroraux.org/index.php/Main_Page [auroraux.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:06PM (#29420867)

    It still has some real rough edges.

    1. If your pool does fail, good luck recovering data from it.
    2. There's no way in hell you'll get predictable, deterministic performance from it. This one really sucks, because I really don't care if 99 times it serves file faster than any other file system (and really, it *doesn't*!), but then on the 100th time it takes three orders of magnitude LONGER (and ZFS sure as hell does exactly THAT!). Along the same lines, the way ZFS batches writes is a performance KILLER. What's faster? Writing to your disks continuously, or batching everything up for ten to twenty seconds and then bringing the entire disk system to its knees for a few seconds by flooding it with writes, in between which the drives are idle. (And yes, that's DISK SYSTEM, as in Sun StorageTek 6140 fully-populated with 112 drives...).

  • by skyride (1436439) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:06PM (#29420873)

    Most applications that run on Linux compile just as well on a variety of platforms...

    That is why Linux is practical and others aren't. Most isn't good enough. Only ALL is satisfactory.

  • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:17PM (#29420975)

    OpenSolaris 2009.06 has some excellent new desktop features,

    TimeSlider which is similar to Apples Time Capsule
    Image - GUI Package Mangement
    AutoMagic - Network Configuration Wizards including wifi
    Multimedia Codecs and Support
    Improved OpenSolaris CIFS for interoprability with Windows networking.

    I've been using it at home for a month or so and I'm enjoying it. I've also just gone to Windows 7 which I'm loving so its becoming a bit of a hard choice what I want to run on my notebook.

  • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity.yahoo@com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:22PM (#29421009) Homepage

    Here's a short list of keywords or programs you'll need to know abotu. Google for anything that interests you.

    Role based access control
    prstat instead of top
    prtconf
    vmstat
    iostat
    svcs, svcadmn
    dtrace

  • Linux Wins (Score:4, Informative)

    by rainmaestro (996549) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:55PM (#29421251)

    I was recently tasked with doing an inventory and repurposing of a stack of older Sun machines (Sunfire, Netra, etc).

    What I discovered is that OpenSolaris won't even install on some of the models. Install from CD? Nope. Install remotely via a network install? Nope, and let me go on record as saying that the network install process is *absurdly* complex.

    On the other hand, I popped a Debian CD in, and it installed beautifully once I booted into expert mode and loaded fdisk (parted blows when dealing with Sun tables).

    That's right, Linux was easier to work with on these Sun servers than OpenSolaris. OSOL has some really cool features (ZFS and DTrace, for example), and I've mucked around in it on my x86 boxes before, but overall Linux is still easier to work with in my experience, even on Sun servers.

    I always keep an OSOL VM in VirtualBox, but it doesn't see much use. I'd rather use Linux or BSD.

  • Re:Linux Wins (Score:3, Informative)

    by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:37PM (#29421505) Homepage Journal
    OpenSolaris didn't even include SPARC support till the current version. It was intended for IA-32 and amd64 desktops first.
  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:1, Informative)

    by hotfireball (948064) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:43PM (#29421531)
    ...that was ZFS, :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:30PM (#29421809)

    Actually, you can just create a new RAIDZ[2] and append it to the pool. At least I think you can.

    Since a pool can include multiple RAID sets, it would seem that you could just add another one to it.

  • I'll weigh in... (Score:2, Informative)

    by wh1pp3t (1286918) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:54PM (#29421955)
    I have been using OpenSolaris development builds for over about a year now(?).

    One thing I thing the Linux community could take from OpenSolaris is its concentration on the approval and standardization of applications, so long as you stay on the OpenSolaris repositories. There is pretty much one tool for each job. That's it -- generally speaking of course.
    It is exactly why the Linux community shun it (cannot find binaries of specific software). When I use a Linux based OS, I feel the ADD in me kick in; too many options. I cannot imagine I am alone.

    Anyhow, I think OpenSolaris is rock solid and a powerful option for people to try. It may not have all the bells/whistles of Ubuntu, but it aids me in getting my work done very efficiently.

    FWIW, I purchased the Fluendo codec pack, which made a huge impact on usability -- I need my tunes while working. Well worth the money IMO.

  • by smash (1351) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:57PM (#29421975) Homepage Journal
    Take GNU out of the path and just use the sun tools...
  • by cenc (1310167) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @12:13AM (#29422395) Homepage

    That is why they are developing btrfs file system, which in theory should be superior to ZFS or at least do more.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs [wikipedia.org]

    If you really want ZFS in linux right now, it can be done through fuse in linux as I understand.

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @12:14AM (#29422405)

    its scheduler doesn't suck, its stable and usable under extreme load

    It's sort of true... Solaris isn't that snappy to begin with, but it doesn't get bogged down easily either. It says at a pretty consistent speed from my experience.

    and it has a stable ABI.

    Amusingly, this hasn't really helped the hardware support much for Solaris, when you compare all the hardware Linux supports with it's unstable ABIs.

    (eg, dtrace vs kerneltrap)

    Which, is great if you're doing kernel development - it really is. But if you're not doing kernel development - Not much use in that.

    and is more true to the traditional UNIX way of doing things, like FreeBSD.

    Yes, like. Not using initd for daemons but using some assine svcadm thing that uses XML files for that pure basic Unix roo.. Wait what?

    if you're from a unix background

    I come from a unixish background and I have to say, the way Solaris just kind of stunted in growth the past decade in the userland itself. As an example, take the system utilities. Compared to GNU is getting pathetic. GNU's toolchain doesn't exactly have that many changes over the years, but when Solaris lacks features like compression in tar, less defined regular expressions in grep, crontab not supporting options like */2, @reboot etc. It makes it look quite backwards.

    On top of that, the reliance on starting giant java runtimes to just display simple configuration utilities that take forever to load for this reason just seems a bit assine.

    linux probably pisses you off in many ways due to the "different for no good reason" stuff everywhere...

    This is really no different from the BSDs, the different Solaris-based distributions.

    That said, unlike older Unix admins, I have a tendency to actually learn the reason why things are done differently. I find the philosophies of different Unix, BSD, Linux systems quite fascinating.

    You know -- if I wanted to promote Solaris, I'd discuss the less known features like containers or zones and just to what extent they can be used, setup to do etc.

  • by An dochasac (591582) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @06:35AM (#29424123)

    I'll take a look at OpenSolaris when there's at minimum 3 variants of it being developed.

    Here is a list of 13 OpenSolaris distros [opensolaris.org] as of March 2009:

    1. Solaris Express Community Edition DVD (b110, GNOME 2.24.2,SPARC/x86)
    2. OpenSolaris 2008.11 'preview' Live CD (b109, GNOME 2.24.2, SPARC/x86)
    3. BeleniX 0.7.1 (b93, KDE 3.5.9)
    4. Milax 0.3.3 (b105, JWM 2.0.1, SPARC/x86)
    5. Pulsar 0.3a (b104)
    6. MartUX Natamar 0.4 (b96, IceWM 1.2.35, SPARC)
    7. SchilliX 0.6.7 (b92)
    8. NexentaCore 1.0.1/2.0b2 (b85+/b104+)
    9. NexentaStor 1.1.4 (b85+)
    10. EON 0.58.9 (embeddable NAS, b104)
    11. OpenSolaris for System z (release 20081023)
    12. Polaris (OpenSolaris on PowerPC project, b104+)
    13. AuroraUX (b101, Xorg 7.2)
  • by Informative (1347701) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @07:12AM (#29424265)
    to explaining the common misperception of Unix or Linux as a "server OS".
    • Unix was conceived as an interactive environment for programming, and is sill the only OS worth using for a programmer
    • Sun started in business selling workstations running Unix, later modified BSD to create SunOS, which eventually became Solaris. Sun Microsystems [wikipedia.org]
    • And, as you're alluding to, in the beginning Linux was something fun to play with on the desktop.

    But then the WWW came along and the only OSes up to the task were Unix based or Unix like. And, "Windows" certainly never was a "server OS", but it's good for spreadsheets, so in certain types of people's minds "It's a Server OS".

  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @07:49AM (#29424455)

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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