Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Operating Systems Sun Microsystems Unix Linux Technology

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users

Comments Filter:
  • by hilather (1079603) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:19PM (#29420483)
    At home I love to use Ubuntu, I've long given up on Windows. I've tried out OpenSolaris a few times, mainly to get use to the subtle differences between Linux and Solaris. As part of my job heavily involves using Solaris its nice to use the OpenSolaris system to learn what I can in my spare time. I know there are many differences between Solaris and OpenSolaris, but the gap isn't as large as from Linux. That said, personally I think the icon theme in Gnome for OpenSolaris is pretty nice looking. Gnome has a very polished look in OpenSolaris. It would be a shame to see Oracle kill this project, I think OpenSolaris has a lot of potential. If anything, they should invest more in OpenSolaris. If I had a home server, I would definitely consider using it.
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:27PM (#29420545)
    I'm curious about the differences between Open Solaris and Linux, and Open Solaris and Solaris.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:37PM (#29420615) Homepage

    You could say the same about Linux. Doesn't mean it's a bad idea to try it.

    In fact, I quite like the fact that there are enterprise-grade features lying around my system, just in case I ever happen to need them. As long as they don't get in the way of day-to-day tasks, what's the harm?

    (A good current example of this is ZFS. Although casual users won't have a use for this, I find ZFS's awesome filesystem-creation and pooling features to be a godsend for managing my central backup repository and media store. If I need more space, I add another drive, type a short line into the console, and the space is available instantly to use with my existing filesystems with full-redundancy built in. Removing an old/small/broken drive from the pool is just as easy.)

  • by kjart (941720) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:37PM (#29420621)
    Isn't that what people have said about Linux?
  • Where are the forks? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xiando (770382) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:46PM (#29420691) Homepage Journal
    I do not consider OpenSolaris future safe until we get a few forks. Now there is The OpenSolaris and it's future depends on just one (evil) corporation. If one GNU/Linux distribution dies a horrible death then it is of no importance since there are dozens of other BNU/Binux (with a B) distributions. If Bubuntu dies then that does not stop Bedora or Bentoo from carrying forward. I'll take a look at OpenSolaris when there's at minimum 3 variants of it being developed.
  • by skyride (1436439) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:50PM (#29420723)

    You could say the same about Linux. Doesn't mean it's a bad idea to try it.

    Well not exactly, Linux wasen't written with servers in mind, Solaris was, but anyway thats by-the-by now. Im not against Solaris, I think its great also, infact ive even been toying with the idea of putting it on my home server for the exact same reason you just stated regarding ZFS. I just think that at the moment, the only Open Source OS thats even nearly practical for typical day-to-day desktop use is Linux. OSS is pretty thinly spread as it is, I think as a community, we need to just concentrate on getting at least 1 OS totally practical for desktop use before we start peddeling others.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:53PM (#29420743)

    * Solaris only includes Unix versions of system tools.
    * OpenSolaris includes a mishmash of crappy Unix tools and crappy GNU tools.
    * Linux only includes GNU tools.
    In other words, if you thought the Linux ecosystem was a mess, Solaris will not surprise you - pleasantly, that is.
    The only selling point for OpenSolaris is SUN's ZFS that seems to give some geeks a hard-on.
    If you are looking for a consistent system any BSD will beat OpenSolaris and FreeBSD has also better performance.
    Hardware support is also a lot better for BSDs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:55PM (#29420777)

    I've wanted to use ZFS for years, but my current customers aren't interested in supporting another OS. Previous customers were addicted to ZFS. They loved it on Solaris.

    I know ZFS was released under CDDL, which is open source, but not compatible with the GPL or LGPL.

    That means I either don't use ZFS or I need to convince my customers the worth of ZFS overrides the issues of having another OS (Solaris or OpenSolaris) to support. Doubtful.

    BTW, I grabbed a OpenSolaris a month ago and it was incompatible with my hardware. It didn't like the IDE controller nor the ethernet chips, so you definitely want to check the "supported hardware list" before going too far. Don't get me wrong, this isn't like VMware's **very short** AHL, but it isn't like Linux or cough, that MS-OS.

  • ZFS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zorkmid (115464) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:56PM (#29420783)

    Having had a few EXT3 filesystems go tits up because they've been quietly borking themselves on a 24/7/365 server being able to do a weekly "zpool scrub" in a 4TB array without the downtime is a beautiful thing. Kernel CIFS with proper ACLs and integration with ZFS snapshots is pretty great as well. When btrfs is released and gets a few miles on it I may switch back. But for now my file server stays OpenSolaris.

  • by skyride (1436439) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:04PM (#29420853)

    You miss my point. Thats user ready for US - me and you - who are interested in computers and are happy to take the time to learn all about it. Most people are too damn lazy (i refuse to accept stupid to be the case given personal experience, its pure laziness) to learn a new OS. Setup Ubuntu on a laptop, then show someone how to open Firefox and thats it; their sorted.

    Thats really not the case for OpenSolaris; nowhere near it.

    But anyway, Im on the side as you here, anything that gets more people off Windows, the better. Personally im a hypocrite in that as both my laptop and Desktop are running Windows 7 but those are the only computers I own which do. At the moment, I have such a huge number of Windows-only programs that its simply impractical to switch. But given good reason - whether that be a bad new mistake in windows or something new in linux - I wouldn't hesitate to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#29420979)

    I've been running Solaris machines for years, but the main problems I have are:
    * blastwave repository occasionally pushes a botched package, moves something, etc, making upgrades a scary process.
    * patches are sort of a pain to find and update with.
    * the out of the box config has all kinds of crap running for CDE/fonts/etc that take a bit of work to turn off on a true server box.
    * the out of the box config has all kinds of open ports and whatnot

    the first two problems generally lead to systems that are way out of date. the second two problems mean you really have to know what you're doing to turn off (or bind to localhost) the things that leave ports open and not turn off the things that you need (volmgt can me handy).

    solaris is great if you want to run an nfs,afs,etc server or any of the sun provided packages in fairly basic settings (not a bunch of plugins, extensions, etc), but if you want to do anything pushing it and still want stability, it's quite a process to not break things and you really absolutely need an identically configured dev/test box if uptime is important. You need to know how to secure everything. Solaris is definitely harder to use, though solaris 10 both helps and hurts (hiding some things in service props and some things in files, etc).

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#29420981)

    No. What gave you the idea? Linux always was a "everything" OS. From the smallest portable and embedded devices capable of 32 bit, to the biggest supercomputers on the world.

    But I agree on the enterprise-grade features. We're professionals. Professional craftsmen wouldn't use tools from the local DIY store. They use tools like this: http://www.us.hilti.com/holus/modules/prcat/prca_main.jsp [hilti.com]

    Besides: I use ZFS on my small Linux server via FUSE, which unfortunately makes it a crazy resources hog, with using up 600 MB of RAM, and one of the two cores of hat thing. But the scrubbing — which I absolutely need — makes it worth it. I wonder how much resources it takes under OpenSolaris, and if a OpenSolaris virtual server, just for the ZFS, would make sense...

  • /tmp and /var/tmp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foorilious (798451) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:33PM (#29421095)
    There's a lot of little things you'll notice over the years about Solaris / OpenSolaris that are unique, cool, neat, or useful -- too many to list in an article like this, of course. One example I was reminded of by the "differences" table -- the authors note that the Solaris equivalent of Linux's "/tmp" is "/var/tmp" -- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test. Of course, linux also has ramdisks, but this is generally far more convenient.

    $ time dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128
    128+0 records in
    128+0 records out
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128 0.00s user 0.71s system 24% cpu 2.910 total

    $ time dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128
    128+0 records in
    128+0 records out
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=128 0.00s user 0.43s system 98% cpu 0.438 total

  • by CountOfJesusChristo (1523057) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:43PM (#29421163)
    Seems to be the reason givem by a lot of people who are not moving away from Windows when they want to... "If Photoshop were available on Linux, I'd ditch Windows for good" seems to be a recurring theme.
  • Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dserpell (22147) <dserpell AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:16PM (#29421361)

    -- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test.

    In any new Linux distribution, /dev/shm is also backed by ram, so you can do:

    $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/foo bs=1024k count=512
    512+0 records in
    512+0 records out
    536870912 bytes (537 MB) copied, 1.12253 s, 478 MB/s


    $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/shm/foo bs=1024k count=512
    512+0 records in
    512+0 records out
    536870912 bytes (537 MB) copied, 0.754747 s, 711 MB/s

    Obviously, I had to copy four times the data to reach the slowness of Solaris :-)

  • Re:/tmp and /var/tmp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:44PM (#29421535)

    One example I was reminded of by the "differences" table -- the authors note that the Solaris equivalent of Linux's "/tmp" is "/var/tmp" -- but they failed to point out that Solaris also has a /tmp, and that, by default /tmp is actually partially backed by RAM, which is extremely convenient and useful from time to time, when you want a little piece of lightning-fast filesystem space, or want to eliminate disk as a variable in some sort of timing test. Of course, linux also has ramdisks, but this is generally far more convenient.

    Is the way Solaris handles /tmp really all that different from the Linux tmpfs implementation?

    solaris-box:$ mount
    /tmp on swap read/write/setuid/xattr/dev=2

    linux-box:$ mount
    none on /tmp type tmpfs (rw,nodev,noatime,size=256m,uid=0,gid=0,mode=1777)

    Other than picking the maximum size at mount time, tmpfs seems to be the same thing. If you pick a size equal to swap space, I think it is the same thing:

    • Both use RAM if available but are backed by swap (just like any other memory allocation).
    • Both use essentially no RAM or swap until you write files to the mount point.
    • Both can set various permissions and features on the mount point.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:44PM (#29421539)
    Lets see here, I use flash to:

    A) Use YouTube and a multitude of other video sites
    B) Play Flash games
    C) Use parts of Google Maps
    D) View some sites with webmasters who sought fit to put the navigation in 100% Flash

    Just setting up a decent /etc/hosts file can eliminate 95% of ads, and Adblock plus or noscript can eliminate all the others.
  • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:19PM (#29421727) Journal

    I'll throw in that Open Solaris has the best accessibility software for the blind, in Sun's Orca project. It works in Linux, but not as well as where it's developed... in Solaris. This is a key indicator of just how ready an OS is for the desktop, IMO.

    Anyway, the whole Windows vs Linux flame war is pointless. Linux is the best OS ever developed for hackers, period. I couldn't be happier with it (unless it ran cool software like Orca stably). Windows is for Joe Sixpack who needs games and porn. Joe will always outnumber the hackers. It's ok. Just learn to live with it.

  • by pyite (140350) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:33PM (#29421823)

    I wonder how much resources it takes under OpenSolaris, and if a OpenSolaris virtual server, just for the ZFS, would make sense...

    ZFS will always try to take up as much RAM as it can for the ARC [wikipedia.org] (Adaptive Replacement Cache).

    While ZFS on FUSE probably works fine, it will always make me a bit scared. But kudos if it works for you!

    P.S. I like your Hilti analogy. The average do-it-yourselfer does not (and has no need to) know who Hilti is or what kind of products they make. Those who need to know, do.

  • by dushkin (965522) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @03:53AM (#29423601) Homepage

    I too verify that porn runs fine on Linux.

  • by david_thornley (598059) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @09:09AM (#29425879)

    Why do you think anybody complaining about GPL compatibility must be a FSF drone?

    There's lots of good software out there under the GPL, including the Linux kernel. Much of it is designed to be hacked and put together with other things. In its various incarnations, it's probably the most popular of the Free Software/Open Source licenses (second being the BSD-style licenses - and anything compatible with the GPL is compatible with those).

    This means that a GPL-compatible program is more versatile than a non-GPL-compatible one. It's not because of any inherent virtue of the GPL (that's another argument entirely), but because of what's available. It also means that some people are deep into GPL software, for whatever reason, and find it difficult to use system software that's incompatible.

    There aren't as many people who are Microsoft fanatics, at least proportionately, but somebody who won't consider software if it doesn't run well on MS Windows isn't necessarily a mini-Ballmer.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

Working...