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Unix Bug Open Source Operating Systems Oracle

OpenIndiana Hipster 2015.10: Keeping an Open-Source Solaris Going 149

An anonymous reader writes: It's been five years since Oracle killed off OpenSolaris while the community of developers are letting it live on with the new OpenIndiana "Hipster" 15.10 release. OpenIndiana 15.10 improves its Python-based text installer as it looks to drop its GUI installer, switches out the Oracle JDK/JRE for OpenJDK, and updates its vast package set. However, there are still a number of outdated packages on the system like Firefox 24 and X.Org Server 1.14 while the default office suite is a broken OpenOffice build, due to various obstacles in maintaining open-source software support for Solaris while being challenged by limited contributors. Download links are available via the OpenIndiana.org release notes. There's also a page for getting involved if wishing to improve the state of open-source Solaris.
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OpenIndiana Hipster 2015.10: Keeping an Open-Source Solaris Going

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  • How do you "kill off" an open source project if the public is willing to take over the development and maintenance? Sure you may be continuing with a non-open-source branch of the code for your own products, but that doesn't stop anyone from working with the last released code base.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How do you "kill off" an open source project if the public is willing to take over the development and maintenance?

      According to the summary the public has not been very interesting to step up.

    • The vitality of an open source project isn't defined by its developers. It's defined by its users!

      Look at Firefox starting with version 4, or GNOME 3. They have a number of developers, but users just don't want to use Firefox or GNOME 3. GNOME 3 hasn't seen much use, due it being ineffective and almost unusable for many desktop users. Many potential GNOME 3 users have been opting to go with KDE, XFCE, MATE, and other environments instead of GNOME 3, even on systems where GNOME 3 is the default environment.

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        *shrug* Gnome 3 is different, but it isn't that bad if you take the time to learn how to work with it. I was frustrated with KDE 5 after many years of being a KDE advocate, so I gave Gnome 3 a serious try a few months ago and am now quite comfortable with it on my desktop. Contrary to the bleating of people who whine about it being "touch-oriented", I don't find it to be so at all.

        But I'm not a "normal" desktop user. I've used so many desktop environments since the '80s, starting with the Amiga and A

        • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday October 04, 2015 @05:23PM (#50658227)
          But GNOME 3 is horribly slow. On my PC BSD box, I use several DEs - Lumina, KDE 4.10 (which is bad, even after I've disabled Akonadi and Nepomunk), LXDE and GNOME. Only Lumina and LXDE are any good. Logging out of a GNOME 3 session takes forever. Also, FireFox and Chromium are a lot slower under GNOME than they are under Lumina or LXDE.
          • I've been using Gnome 3 since its incarnation. It had some struggles but overall it's now quite solid. As a desktop user I find it quite usable and is currently my preferred DE.
          • I suspect it's because you're using a BSD. I don't mean that as an insult to the BSDs but to the Linux-centric cruft the Gnome developers have been adding to their beloved DE, not the least among them the hard-coded dependency on SystemD(ead).

            Just stick to Lumina (hope it gets a proper Linux port) or LXDE or its even more awesome-looking QT-based successor.

            • Too bad that the QT based successor seems to be Linux only. I actually asked one of the BSD guys in a LinuxFest whether Razor-qt could run on PC-BSD, and he said no - due to the Linux based dependencies. Which is fine - Lumina does a good job, as does LXDE. As for a Linux port of Lumina, think that can happen - since Lumina is based on Fluxbox.
              • by fnj ( 64210 )

                Razor-qt is not only linux-only, it is all but dead, as is LXQt. Which is, frankly, fine as long as Lumina continues to be perfected.

          • In particular it is dumb that a linux DE mandates 3D acceleration, given how brittle and slow it can be and given that linux is often installed on random old computers.
            There may be some 2D fallback, but then it doesn't count as it isn't the same desktop. Or fast software opengl (llvmpipe) which again doesn't count because it uses up all CPU, for a result of still slow.

            • by armanox ( 826486 )

              Extremely slow, mind you, because most desktop systems that do not support the required level of 3D acceleration have fairly slow CPUs in them (usually Pentium IV and Pentium III systems. May God have mercy on people trying to use a Pentium II or older for a desktop these days)

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Each of those represent a set of preferences. People know what they like and what they want. They certainly won't have crap shoved down their throats if they have an alternative, and Free Software provides that.

          When GNOME3 was released, the forks pretty much started immediately.

          It's not unlike what happened when Oracle bought Sun.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Gnome3 is so slow that Wayland fanboys use it to to try to prove that remote access via X is slow. It's only accelerated video cards that make it usable on the desktop. Try to put it on another screen and that crutch gets kicked away. Meanwhile plenty of workplaces are using Gnome2 remotely as if the applications were on their desktop (eg. in RHEL6/CentOS6)
    • Theoretically, true. However, in practice, whenever the key movers of any software project abandon it, the project practically dies - regardless of whether it's FOSS and has sources that can easily be obtained.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      OpenSolaris wasn't fully open source. There are large portions (such as the kernel) that had to be replaced with truly open code and there are still large projects that made OpenSolaris usable ("Open" HA) that were never released.

      People are working on OpenIndiana, it may be slow and packages may look outdated but that's quite on par with Solaris releases, these things are rock solid.

  • Systemd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Never looked much at Solaris but this thing is both a systemd-free zone AND has GNOME 2. Not bad, might take a look at it.
    • Re: Systemd (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you think it has SysVInit then you are in for a big surprise.

    • For that, you could look at either Gentoo or Slackware - neither of which have gone the systemd route - or you could look at the BSDs. All of them - at least the BSDs - are way more mature than OpenIndiana. If you want GNOME2, it's probably a good idea to select MATE for your system.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It still perplexes me why do they insist on keeping the desktop aspect of OpenIndiana alive instead of focusing on the server aspect where it can shine the most?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday October 04, 2015 @04:37PM (#50658031) Journal
    I know that Solaris did have a workstation presence at one point; back when each vendor with a pet Unix had a line of workstations to run it, usually on their pet CPU architecture; but it seems very, very, strange that they'd be focusing on desktop features at all(especially if they don't have the resources to do them properly; especially with web browsers outdated and/or broken is worse than nothing).

    You certainly hear about cool stuff that Solaris has; and others either lack or have only by virtue of pulling from Solaris(Dtrace, Solaris Containers, ZFS, probably some others); but 'desktop experience' sure isn't one of them. Especially when 'the desktop' also tends to imply needing workable support for a variety of desktops and laptops of various degrees of unfriendliness, it seems a strange place to put any resources.
    • Solaris had been running on x86 since about 1990. One motivation for running on two different processors is that the porting process uncovered a fair number of bugs, I would go so far as to say the reputation of the open source UNIX software from the late 1980's and early 1990's was due to the process of porting to the various flavors of UNIX.

      Sun was in the process of migrating away from CDE when Oracle bought them, so implementing a desktop was more a matter of porting GNOME and KDE to run on Solaris. The

      • True, but the Unix on Intel market had pretty much fallen off since the late 90s, which is why we had the saga over SCO. As one may recall, Sun had acquired Interactive Unix, and had that as well as Solaris on the x86. However, that market moved pretty completely to Linux, so there is little reason for Sun to keep supporting it, except for legacy users. Wondering whether there are any - even Solaris on Sparc is tough to find these days.

        I also thought that Sun had already moved to GNOME 2, having change

      • Solaris had been running on x86 since about 1990.

        Solaris for x86 was a pathetic joke, Linux was already becoming a thing (and you could get Motif for it) and anyone who spent money on Solaris for x86 was making a grave mistake as hardware support was never any better than piss-poor.

        • Which is what begs the questions about OpenIndiana, which is there on x64 but not there on SPARC.
        • by kriston ( 7886 )

          This just isn't correct. Solaris on x86 still has the most complete and robust implementation of pthreads and the best symmetric multiprocessing support.

          However, now that the kids are moving projects to Nodejs, there's not much need for pthreads in the open-source community, so nobody cares.

    • I know that Solaris did have a workstation presence at one point; back when each vendor with a pet Unix had a line of workstations to run it, usually on their pet CPU architecture; but it seems very, very, strange that they'd be focusing on desktop features at all(especially if they don't have the resources to do them properly; especially with web browsers outdated and/or broken is worse than nothing).

      You certainly hear about cool stuff that Solaris has; and others either lack or have only by virtue of pulling from Solaris(Dtrace, Solaris Containers, ZFS, probably some others); but 'desktop experience' sure isn't one of them. Especially when 'the desktop' also tends to imply needing workable support for a variety of desktops and laptops of various degrees of unfriendliness, it seems a strange place to put any resources.

      Is that what they are doing? Then this project seems even more useless. Earlier above, I asked why would anyone prefer OpenIndiana to, say, FreeBSD or Linux. But this would make that question even stronger - why prefer OpenIndiana to Ubuntu or Mint or PC-BSD or even OS-X (since there're probably people trying to get OpenIndiana working on an Airbook or a Mac Pro).

      Also, I recall when I used to see Unixstations being used: usually, they were used for CAD work in my previous employers using VHDL or Verilo

  • 1. To see the date of http://hg.openjdk.java.net/jdk... [java.net]
    2. hg clone http://hg.openjdk.java.net/jdk... [java.net]
    3. cd *jdk7u* && sh get_source.sh

    It requires installed Ant ALSA CUPS and FreeType.

    4. It can be auto-compiled using the defunct JDK 7 or the alive OpenJDK7, it does not require JDK 6 for bootrapping, and should be specified ALT_BOOTDIR=path to the jdk.

  • 1) Can someone make it very clear just what the relationship of OpenIndiana to IllumOS is?

    2) How exactly does NexentaOS fit in? And NexentaStor? And StormOS? And SmartOS?

    3) At least several of those I mentioned are open source/free, and I believe there are others. Why so many forks? Which one looks like the leader?

    The product formerly (freely) available as OpenSolaris had a lot to recommend it. FreeBSD has been playing catchup and has come a long way, but is still lacking in various ways. Linux is an excell

    • by 0x000000 ( 841725 ) on Sunday October 04, 2015 @05:37PM (#50658283)

      1) Can someone make it very clear just what the relationship of OpenIndiana to IllumOS is?

      IllumOS is the base operating system, much like Linux, except that it comes with a full user land too.

      2) How exactly does NexentaOS fit in? And NexentaStor? And StormOS? And SmartOS?

      Those are all distributions of Illumos. All of them contribute to Illumos and build on top of it by providing their own packages/packaging systems and system that run on top of Illumos. Think of them like Ubuntu/CentOS/Debian to Linux.

      3) At least several of those I mentioned are open source/free, and I believe there are others. Why so many forks? Which one looks like the leader?

      Illumos is the "leader", and the base operating system that all of those products use (AFAIK). Each of them have different options/features. NexentaStor for example is built to be a ZFS based storage appliance solution, SmartOS is for datacenters/virtualisation and things of that nature. They each bring something unique to the table. Each of them is built by a different company that offers different types of support.

      The product formerly (freely) available as OpenSolaris had a lot to recommend it. FreeBSD has been playing catchup and has come a long way, but is still lacking in various ways. Linux is an excellent product, but glaring probems exist in the direction it is going, and I don't see it ever coming close to matching the OpenSolaris feature set in my lifetime.

      OpenSolaris is still around, just with the name changed to OpenIndiana. OpenSolaris after a pkg mirror location upgrade was readily renamed to OpenIndiana, and this was the upgrade path that I took personally.

      Hope this helps clarify things a little.

      1. 1. Illumos is the SVR4 kernel that Solaris is based on, and it's also used by OpenIndiana. I believe that the version of the kernel as it was when OpenSolaris was killed is what got used for OpenIndiana. Not sure whether that one has been developed further
      2. 2. Not heard of any of the others, but StormOS was a Debian based Linux distro from the 90s and early 2000s, from what I recall
      3. 3. All of these are fringe platforms. If you are talking about the x86, there is so much more established Unix-like OSs ou
      • by Anonymous Coward

        2. It was illumos based, rather recent. See: https://wiki.debian.org/Derivatives/Census/StormOS and http://wiki.illumos.org/display/illumos/Distributions

        StormOS – originally a Desktop focused distribution based on Nexenta Core Platform 2.0 (NCP2) with thousands of packages backported from Ubuntu Jaunty and later Debian Sid. Project was abandoned after rebasing on NCP4 and becoming unmaintainable. (Superseded by http://osdyson.org).

        3. I'm not really sure they are a joke, as there are some decent sized

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Rather than get into a discussion of what "fringe platform" even means, here is the unbeatable trifecta that OpenSolaris had way back when, and its successors still have:
        1) DTRACE
        2) ZFS seamlessly integrated
        3) Zones
        FreeBSD has DTRACE and seamless ZFS, but jails and Bhyve are a very, very faint suggestion of ZONES.
        Linux is way behind in that there is no DTRACE and there never can be a seamless ZFS (a GPL casualty), but KVM and Containers are excellent competitors to Zones.

        I use ZFS both on FreeBSD and Linux

        • jails and Bhyve are a very, very faint suggestion of ZONES.

          In what way?

          • by fnj ( 64210 )

            jails and Bhyve are a very, very faint suggestion of ZONES.

            In what way?

            Jails are just chroot on steroids. They have no console device, and no resource control. Setting them up, updating them, and working with them has been a tedious manual process (this is starting to be alleviated by ezjail, and by Warden in PC-BSD).

            Zones have proper resource limits. The filesystem remapping is sparse, with a bunch of stuff linked read-only to the global filesystem. Those particular files thus get automatically updated whe

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1) OpenIndiana is the direct successor of OpenSolaris the distribution; it is built from the illumos OS/Net consolidation, which is the kernel + AT&T System V userland). illumos himself is the fork of OpenSolaris, but is binary compatible with both OpenSolaris and Oracle Solaris;

      2) NexentaOS is also built from illumos, but instead of the AT&T System V, it uses APT from Ubuntu, DPKG packages, and GNU userland. It's almost Debian with the illumos kernel; NexentaStor is the commercial storage appliance

  • why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 )

    I have nothing but love for old Sun OS's but can someone please explain why anyone these days would choose to run Open Solaris over Linux?

    • Better hardware support than Linux and you possibly have old applications that cannot easily be ported to another architecture.

      • by tbuskey ( 135499 )

        Solaris is pickier about hardware than Linux.

        Hardware gets ported by the vendor to Windows. Sometimes Linux, but there are lots of people that will also do it.
        For Macintosh, Apple has to licence a port, but is specific about which hardware is supported. And sells a decent number of units to make it not much more $$ than the Windows version.

        Solaris has so few users that the cost of the port for a graphics card doesn't get spread across many units. The driver is the cost. If Oracle doesn't sell the hardwa

        • by hjf ( 703092 )

          Many common (scsi) cards in Solaris had 32 bit support and never got 64 bit support.

          Yes. Adaptec AHA-2940. Holy shit. That was like THE most common SCSI card.

          Also the error was cryptic, and the installer (being 32 bit at the time - 2006 IIRC) let you install it but it wouldn't boot after install - there was no 64-bit driver for the card.

        • by armanox ( 826486 )

          Actually, nVidia and Intel GPUs are fully supported in Solaris (on x86).

      • Better hardware support than Linux

        Are you insane? Nothing has better hardware support than Linux, not even netbsd (though there was a time.) OpenSolaris isn't even playing the same fucking sport.

      • Better hardware support than Linux and you possibly have old applications that cannot easily be ported to another architecture.

        Only true if you're talking about SPARC

      • Are you kidding? I've found that Illumos is not at all friendly to white-box hardware. Examples:

        Some 2-port AHCI cards mysteriously fail after a random amount of time (oops, there goes my L2ARC device until I reboot).
        AHCI hot-swap on my motherboard SATA ports is a game of Russian roulette. I'll randomly get write errors on other drives when I slot a drive in. At least hot-swap worked well on my SAS HBA.
        Hardware sensors that work fine with lm_sensors on Linux are not at all usable on Illumos, which expects I

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      I have nothing but love for old Sun OS's but can someone please explain why anyone these days would choose to run Open Solaris over Linux?

      I'll give you three reasons:
      1) DTRACE
      2) Seamlessly integrated ZFS
      3) Zones

      • Then one can get FreeBSD, w/ an iXsystems contract if support is important, and one will readily get 1 & 2, w/o having to fork out 2 arms and a leg to Oracle. As for 3, in what way are Zones superior to Jails, Bhyve and Capsicum?
        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          Then one can get FreeBSD, w/ an iXsystems contract if support is important, and one will readily get 1 & 2, w/o having to fork out 2 arms and a leg to Oracle. As for 3, in what way are Zones superior to Jails, Bhyve and Capsicum?

          I do have FreeBSD and I am very happy with the first two :-) I do not require support. But I find jails very obnoxious to work with and not really practical and feature-complete. They remind me a lot of the chroot-daemon band-aid in linux. They are getting better, with ezjail, P

  • Come on, if you're going to go Solaris, at least ship it with SunView or NeWS as the window system!

    • Those were there on SunOS - the BSD based version of Sun's Unix, but went away when Sun went to the SVR4 based Solaris, where they went w/ CDE. I really wish there was an FOSS version of NeWS just like there is a GNUSTEP and derivative 'NEXTSTEP's
  • RHEL.. Because it is the best and most well supported choice. Is anyone really deploying Solaris in anything serious these days? Or anything other than RHEL? I don't see the point.
    • People above mentioned Dtrace, ZFS and Zones. The first 2 are there on FreeBSD and the last 1 - a variation of that is there on FreeBSD as well.

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