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OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users 303

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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  • by Agent ME ( 1411269 ) <agentme49@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:29PM (#29420561)

    OpenSolaris looks polished in many areas, but I see Linux as ahead of it as a Desktop OS. I hope that Desktop Linux distributions (and Linux kernel hackers) take note of what OpenSolaris does right (easy snapshot support - sure Linux doesn't have ZFS, but it has LVM which appears to be able to do snapshots) and play a bit of catch-up. And who knows, maybe OpenSolaris will do the same and try to catch up to Linux.

  • by andersenep ( 944566 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:37PM (#29420623)

    Why try to hack it on to a desktop?

    Who said anything about using it for a desktop?? I use OpenSolaris at home to run my NAS for one reason: ZFS. I strongly considered using BSD, but figured OpenSolaris was a better choice for my needs. So far I have had zero issues with it. It just sits in a room and quietly does what it was supposed to do. I am sure I would never try to use it for a desktop OS, but then again I'd never use Linux, BSD or Windows either. For that matter, why try and hack Linux on to a desktop??

  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:04PM (#29420849)

    the only Open Source OS thats even nearly practical for typical day-to-day desktop use is Linux

    This is not true. Most applications that run on Linux compile just as well on a variety of platforms. Gnome and KDE4 both have packages for FreeBSD for example. If you really want something simple and portable run Fluxbox or Openbox.

    A lot of things are written in Java as well, which means you even have binary compatibility. Things written in Python and other scripting languages are also portable.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:07PM (#29420879) Homepage

    OpenSolaris is perfectly practical for the desktop, just maybe not EVERY desktop.

    This really depends on what you want to do with your computer. If it's a gaming rig, neither OpenSolaris nor Linux will be perfect for that. If you're looking for maximum software compatibility within the Unix-y realm, Linux is your answer.

    If your desktop is a part time file or mail server, OpenSolaris has some features you might like. ZFS and fault management are big ones in that. DTrace also goes way beyond what is available on Linux, that I am aware of. I heard DTrace is available on Linux now, although with varying levels of success.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:24PM (#29421023)

    That's just stupid.

  • Ironic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheBilgeRat ( 1629569 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:50PM (#29421219)
    considering Photoshops runs just fine under wine...
  • by aztracker1 ( 702135 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:11PM (#29421333) Homepage

    Then Linux fails too, by your own definition it can only run *most* windows programs (via hardware emulation or Wine).

  • Re:Nexenta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by armanox ( 826486 ) <> on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:33PM (#29421481) Homepage Journal
    That's because SPARC support wasn't added to OpenSolaris until 2009.06. I expect downstream distros to add the support before too long though.
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @10:24PM (#29421761)

    Gnash can handle most Flash navigation, as well as YouTube. And you're aware that Flash wasn't available for 64 bit Linux users until recently right? Even now I think only an alpha release is available.

    Just setting up a decent /etc/hosts file can eliminate 95% of ads

    Horror. You actually iterate through a list of hundreds of blocked domains every time you do a domain lookup?

  • Re:Linux Wins (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:04PM (#29422029) Journal

    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.

    If you want the best of the Solaris and Linux world, install FreeBSD. Stable ZFS support, DTrace, etc. Plus ports and packages, and Linux binary compatibility if you need it.

    It still heavily favors the BSD side of things, rather than SysV style... in fact, much more than any Linux distro I've seen... but it still definitely has far more of the nice features of the old commercial Unix systems than Linux.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:08PM (#29422047) Homepage Journal

    I've used that HOSTS file on Windows as well as Linux, to speed up browsing. Reading the HOSTS file might take me a couple minutes, but the computer does it in an instant or two. Why should I download all the trash the ad servers offer, when the content I want makes up only a fraction of the entire page? With limited bandwidth, HOSTS can make browsing a lot more enjoyable, as well as making a browser hijack somewhat less likely. Ever been Rick Rolled? Are you always aware of cross site scripting as your page loads? HOSTS is your friend, in more ways than one.

  • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:28PM (#29422189) Journal

    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.

    As a quick example off the top of my head, I'll take GNU's tar, cron (Solaris' doesn't even have */5 or @reboot), grep over Solaris' default equivalents. From my own experience, I don't find this "standardization" allowing much room for any kind of innovation.

    It may not have all the bells/whistles of Ubuntu

    The utilities don't even have the past decade of enhancements we've seen on BSDs and Linux, never mind Ubuntu.

  • Re:Nexenta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rantingkitten ( 938138 ) <(kitten) (at) (> on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:40PM (#29422271) Homepage
    I love the idea of Nexenta but I have never gotten it to successfully install and boot on any machine I've tried. OpenSolaris, on the other hand, has never failed me. As of right now, I completely suck at administrating it, but it does install, boot, and I can get around it well enough for my day to day tasks.

    What I liked about this article is that it has nice clean tables showing the Solaris verison of the Linux commands I already know. Nexenta seems to want to hide me from all the Solaris stuff under the hood and let me carry on with my Linux ways -- which is nice if I'm just doing this for myself, but if I want to actually learn something about Solaris, isn't so nice.
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:41PM (#29422283)

    If you're depending on a static blacklist of bad sites to protect yourself from bad scripts then you're doing it wrong.

    Just don't run scripts without your explicit approval, require a click to enable flash/java objects, and use a secure browser (chromium, konqueror, probably kazehakase over firefox if you're in GTK+).

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @12:32AM (#29422517) Homepage

    I grew up on Slackware. If Patrick switched to the dark side and forked OpenSolaris, I would probably drop Linux from my home server and switch just on principle.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @09:04AM (#29425071) Journal

    TimeSlider which is similar to Apples Time Capsule

    I think you mean Time Machine (Time Capsule is Apple's NAS product). Saying TimeSlider is similar to Time Machine is doing TimeSlider a gross injustice. Time Slider works how Time Machine should. It uses the ZFS O(1) snapshot feature, making it very cheap to use and very robust. Time Machine creates a tree of hard links, which are not created atomically. The fact that it works at all is impressive, but it's very fragile. From an end-user perspective they are similar, but TimeSlider is a much cleaner implementation.

    I'm not sure if it made it into the main OpenSolaris tree, but Nexenta also uses ZFS snapshots for package management with a wrapper around apt. When you do an update, it snapshots the system first, so if something went wrong (e.g. one package didn't update cleanly, or had regressions) you can revert trivially. Once you're happy, you can discard the snapshot. This is really great for testing experimental code; you can install the development version and revert it trivially if it broke anything.

  • by bconway ( 63464 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @09:25AM (#29425319) Homepage

    Well not exactly, Linux wasen't written with servers in mind.

    Yes it was [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @09:31AM (#29425403)

    Those long options have the advantage that they are almost self-documenting. There's a reason most coding standards forbid using cryptic identifiers like r, x, q for anything but the most self-contained pieces of code.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.