Yesterday, Oracle released Solaris 11 Express 2010.11 (complete with GNOME 2.30.2 as its default, and indeed only desktop), the first interim step along the road to Solaris 11 since OpenSolaris 2009.06 was released almost 18 months ago.
The change in name reflects that, unlike its OpenSolaris predecessors, Solaris Express is not a freely-redistributable distro (check out the OpenIndiana project if you need one of those), and it remains free to use only for “the purpose of developing, testing, prototyping and demonstrating your applications”—business or commercial usage now requires a support contract. However, the download itself for x86 or SPARC remains free of charge, and it’s also possible to upgrade from an existing OpenSolaris installation (see the release notes for details).
I know a lot of GNOME folks won’t be delighted by this apparent step backwards in Solaris open-ness. On the other hand, things are really no different now from how they were for the first five years or so of Sun’s involvement in GNOME, when nobody could have imagined there would ever be an open source version of Solaris. And we all got along just fine then, so I hope we can continue to do so now
It does require Java, there are only 8 slots available at any one time, and right now they’re still provisioning OpenSolaris 2008.11 rather than the newer and shinier 2009.06. But if you want to give OpenSolaris a quick whirl, you might find it more convenient than downloading the LiveCD.
In VirtualBox 2.2.0, which was released today, that is. The new OpenGL acceleration for Linux and Solaris guests allows compiz to run very nicely in a virtual machine. (Click the thumbnail for a Theora video of compiz running in an OpenSolaris guest in OS X.)
EDIT: I suppose I ought to add there’s some other cool stuff in 2.2.0 as well, particularly the ability to import/export appliances in OVF format.
Of course, 2008.11 still has all the usual Solaris goodness like ZFS, Zones and Dtrace built-in, with the Solaris Trusted Extensions now just a click away too, giving you access to one of the most secure desktops on the planet*.
Congrats to the VirtualBox team on being the first (that I know of) to provide a working Seamless/Unity/Coherence mode for OpenSolaris 2008.05 guests on OS X. (I don’t know how long this has actually worked, I only tried it last night, in VB 1.6…)
Obviously a bit of work to do before it rivals the sort of integration that Windows guests enjoy in Fusion and Parallels, but it’s a good step in the right direction…
Upgraded my MacBook Pro to 4Gb yesterday, and was eager to play around and see how much it would help. What better way than to fire up all my virtual machines at once and see how it performed? Here’s the video… sorry it’s a nasty .mov file, but in my defence, it really is encoded as a Theora movie (a plugin for which you may need to install from here, if you’re viewing on OSX or Windows).
I haven’t tried to see if I can trick it into playing in Totem et al. yet on Solaris / Linux– let me know if you have any joy. For the record, the OSes are OS X 10.4.11, Solaris Nevada b77, Ubuntu Gutsy, and Win XP, all running in VMware Fusion 1.1.
I’d been using Parallels 3.0 for the past few weeks to run SXDE 2 on my MacBook Pro, but started having problems when I upgraded to Solaris Nevada build 69– the X server wouldn’t start any more, and I just couldn’t get it going at all.I took the opportunity to try out the VMware Fusion Beta instead, and so far it’s the clear winner.
It does feel a trifle slower than Parallels (even with debugging turned off), and its snapshots aren’t as flexible, only allowing one per VM. But its VM tools for Solaris are way ahead of Parallels’ non-existent offering– clock sync, on-the-fly desktop resize, copy/paste/drag+drop from Solaris <-> OS X… nice. (Haven’t figured out if shared folders are supposed to work on Solaris yet or not– the settings are available which suggest they should, but the folders I’ve nominated don’t show up anywhere obvious, so I’m guessing they don’t.)
Assuming it’s just as happy at full screen on my Sun 24″ display when I get into the office, I’ll be sticking in the VMware camp for now.
Edit: Oh, and did I mention that Solaris sound and networking work out-of-the-box on VMware too…?
Inspired (partly) by some recentgripes about some of the patches Sun are applying to GNOME for Solaris, Laca has announced our first community patch day this coming Wednesday:
The desktop team at Sun would like to invite you all to a Sun-patch day. The goal of the patch day is to go through all Sun’s GNOME (JDS) patches and: – push the less controversial ones upstream – a great opportunity to vent your frustration about all the crack that may have slipped in – start a discussion about the more controversial patches.
Or, “Solaris printing finally makes it into the 21st century”.Check out Norm’s screencast of the first working bits of the automatic printer detection and config system that we’re working on for OpenSolaris. Only works for local USB printers right now, but loads more functionality to come over the next few months. Kudos to the printing team– Norm, Wendy (who doesn’t have a blog, AFAIK), Ghee and Halton*– for finally nailing one of the most-neglected parts of the Solaris user experience.