OpenSolaris 2008.11 Problem Statement

4:17 am General

While we’re already neck deep in development towards producing a release in November, it seemed like a good idea to start putting together a problem statement for 2008.11, much like we did for 2008.05.

Back then, the problem statement stood for a set of lofty goals for what we wanted to achieve, rather than a set of hard requirements we needed to keep. It was intentionally high level and vague to provide an artistic license when deep diving on the individual items.

So, with some caveats of

  • This is a first draft
  • Some of the language used is no doubt poor and vague
  • The numbers mentioned are stakes in the ground for spark discussion
  • This is not an exhaustive list – it doesn’t try to be
  • Some items are intentionally vague, otherwise they become a bug list
  • Some items may be optimistic or even ridiculous – this is a reflection on the level of feedback that I’ve got so far (little), and an opportunity to contribute

So go read, and let me know what you think!

18 Responses

  1. rawsausage Says:

    About PKG-7… Perhaps desired by nerds, but if you’re even going to have one single Average Joe, don’t burden them. The lack the expertise to understand, and judge, even the simplest way you could ask for a decision. Plus, they’d better off updating anyways. That’s a usability sinkhole if you spam the user. It is mundate computer stuff, not something that helps user in achieving their real world tasks. In such the ordinary (non-nerd) users really should never be bothered with that stuff.

    It’s not contradictory with having a “security” center although, from which more advanced users might be able to set notifications, and in generally inspect the state of the security related features in the system. As long as it by default does not spam.

  2. Chris Says:

    I see including the Eclipse IDE in the package repository as being problematic since the Eclipse Foundation seems inexplicably reluctant to include Solaris x86 as an officially supported platform.

    Even getting a Solaris GTK x86 source build seems to be going nowhere. The relevant bug ( has been flailing about since early 2005.

    Perhaps Sun needs to push on the Eclipse Foundation…

  3. Peter Schow Says:

    Is this one too ambituous?

    DSK-9 Modern multimedia support should be available by default, including
    MP3 audio capability, Flash in the browser, viewing of popular image
    formats (JPG), and DVD playback.

    All of these make a developer system more comfortable to use.

  4. Florin Says:

    Please, please, add to the “Power Management” section the need to support CPU frequency scaling. There are some supported CPUs and chipsets, but it still lags terribly behind Linux.

  5. herrib Says:


    I would like to suggest some more goals with regard to my experience in the French Linux community …


    to include partitioning tools (the reference should be what Ubuntu is providing …) and to support extended partitions

    to propose various choices for the packages to be installed (pre configured set of packages, …)

    to propose different desktop environments (Gnome as the environment by default but also Kde and Xfce)

    to improve the detection of other systems (mainly Linux)

    to permit a simple management of Grub (parameters, installation of stage_1 in the MBR or not …; the reference could be OpenSuse)


    to reinforce the controls and particularly, to prevent any uninstallation which could drive to cripple / alter the core system

    to clearly indicate what dependencies are at stake both in case of installation and uninstallation


    to directly integrate in the distribution some useful tools already available in the Gnome environment, which aim at supervising / monitoring the system (temperature control, fan control, UC frequencies control …)

    also, to integrate GNU tools (top, iftop, emacs…)

    and directly, to propose multimedia softwares (Xine, MPlayer, VLC ..) (blastwave and sunfreeware should be dedicated to specific codecs… The reference could be what Fedora does in terms of positioning Fedora vs Livna)


    to benefit from NetworkManager (excellent tool!)


    to propose graphical tools to manage the partitions and to mount / unmount

    to propose graphical tools to support RBAC management

    to support ext3 partitions

    It is only a very short contribution. Let me know if it could be of any interest to develop some aspects …

    Best regards,


  6. andrewk8 Says:

    Why are you not doing a live CD for SPARC?

    PKG-4 looks interesting – I would be very interested in something to play back CSSed DVDs – Ubuntu has this, I don’t see why we can’t.

    FAM-3 also looks interesting – Does this mean reviving the “happy face” code that stopped working when direct boot was integrated?

    DSK-7 – yes please! KDE rocks.

    DSK-8 looks challenging. I’ve not heard of anyone having proper support in Xorg for SPARC graphics on Solaris. By contrast, Ubuntu 6.04 will happily run X on my Ultra 10, but apparently Sun is not interested in supporting anything other than the very newest cards under Xorg – and the one non-Sun developer who was working on SPARC Xorg drivers has given up. :-(

    Can you please add another requirement to the list? GOOD DOCUMENTATION. Ideally a wiki so folk can add their own hints and tips as well. Also, a live HCL based on feedback from a tool built into the distro that submits the user’s hardware configuration (with their permission obviously) would be nice.

  7. Arnaud ZIEBA Says:

    Thanks for this roadmap which helps clarify what we might be expecting from 2008.11 – OpenSolaris gets better and better… no doubt all that will foster participation
    Arnaud ZIEBA

  8. Alan Pae Says:

    Looks like a great list. A couple of additions would include:

    Full zone support.


    A method is needed to patch the system in case something like the current DNS problem comes up and needs to be addressed.


  9. gman Says:

    Chris: By the looks of it looks like they’re making steady progress on it. It would be real good to leverage their work, and get both Hugo and Tim involved in pushing it into

  10. gman Says:

    (and I’ve contacted both Hugo and Tim offline about this)

  11. Rahul Sundaram Says: for graphical boot might be useful to look at

  12. Rahul Sundaram Says:

    Also system-config-printer for printer management, provide a ips backend for PackageKit and so on. In short, there is a lot of stuff you can cherry pick from Linux distributions. If you need more detailed ideas, feel free to email me.

  13. herrib Says:

    Few more things …


    The boxes (DSL connection + support of a small network) are largely deployed in Europe. Multi equipment is also a basic fact.

    It could be therefore of great interest to provide enhanced tools to set up and monitor samba services:

    * printer management (system-config-printer, in which Fedora is deeply involved, is a good example whereas Solaris Print Manager cannot be used out of the box to configure shared printers throughout Samba …),
    * discovery / management of networks (smbk4 like tools) ,
    * configuration tools (see for instance system-config-samba -Fedora-).


    Services management could be improved (see for instance what system-config-services -Fedora- provides) in order to provide some more information concerning the services (explanation, status …) and to allow their management runlevel by runlevel.

  14. James Mansion Says:

    DSK-7: KDE 4.1 is released now. Is there any point targetting 4.0?

  15. gman Says:

    James: almost certainly not, and likely it may only be 3.4. I’m not sure to what degree the 4.x series is in terms of maturity.

  16. gman Says:

    Peter: I think ‘out of the box’ is going to be hard, and may hinder the opportunity of a re-distributable install image. Unfortunately any other plan is going to hinder the user experience a great deal. It’s a no-win situation it seems.

  17. gman Says:

    Florin: Good idea – will check it out. I know there’s been some degree of support to add CPU frequency scaling. The recently integrated GNOME power management utilities include this, AFAIK.

    HervĂ©: good ideas, thanks! (some of which are already included, but perhaps not specifically called out). Don’t think we’re going to be able to leverage Network Manager, since the underlying layer is so different to that of OpenSolaris. I know the NWAM guys are looking at something pretty similar from a UI point of view – check out and their mockups.

    andrewk: Yep, I think someone’s already started to look at Happy Face – here’s hoping some derivative of that is possible. I know there’s a dependency on getting Virtual Consoles landed so you can get to the console if all else fails.

    Rahul: I’d personally *love* to see an IPS backend for PackageKit, and having a quick look of the code it doesn’t seem that hard. I wonder if the underlying concepts that IPS introduces map to the existing PackageKit assumptions? Will check out Plymouth though – thanks for the tip!

  18. rman Says:

    Eclipse on OpenSolaris for many people will only be viable when it supports visual GUI building, either using one of the available builds of Eclipse VEP for 3.4 (e.g. or even better, if it becomes supported by Instantiations for their WindowBuilder Pro.