OpenSolaris 2008.11 Released!

OpenSolaris, Sun 7 Comments

So there we have it – another launch event and OpenSolaris 2008.11 goes officially out the door, blessed by holy goat pee. Another release out on time. Hooray for time based release schedules – they really are excellent, thanks GNOME!

There’s a couple of really big milestones for this release –

  • The pkg team have done wonders in this release. There are now a few new repositories – release, contrib, pending and dev, along with an encumbered repository (including VirtualBox and Flash for Firefox) and supported repositories on
  • I talked about mirroring the ISO images (thank you for those who have already signed up), and now Stephen has posted instructions to allow others to mirror the package repositories themselves. There’s still a few hurdles here, but this is a significant step for users right around the world.
  • Erwann has written extensively about Time Slider, and has has a lovely screencast demo of it that I’d encourage everyone to look at. More importantly though, it’s one of the first projects to really include the benefits of using OpenSolaris into an easy to use interface (ZFS + GNOME – mmmm, tasty!). Nice work Erwann, Niall and Tim!
  • Really, really excited by the pkgfactory and source juicer projects – along with Jim’s excellent guidelines for how users can contribute packages, I hope to see the repositories above be full of the best of breed open source software that are being used regularly on other platforms. It’s embarrassing to think that Solaris was such a second citizen when it came to open source software previously, and I’m thrilled we’re making progress on this front.
  • Continual progress from the Install team – with the likes of distribution constructor and automated install really coming along nicely. The team put in some really hard work in keeping the memory footprint to 512MB in the LiveCD (and absolutely delighted to see Jürgen’s work in improving the performance of LZMA compressed LiveCDs).

6 months has really flown, and it’s really been great to see some awesome progress being made. We’ve taken a leaf out of the GNOME community once again, and put together a What’s new in 2008.11 guide, similar to their release notes. This is a very graphically oriented guide to just a small selection of new features that you can get your hands on with this release – looking forward to seeing blogs and screencasts of the features that you are excited with.

If you’re updating from a standard 2008.05 install, make sure to check out Markus’ excellent screencast – there are some tricky bits here due to a couple of bad bugs in 2008.05, but once you get to 2008.11 you’ll never look back!

Mirroring OpenSolaris ISO Images

OpenSolaris 2 Comments

One thing we’ve taken very seriously in OpenSolaris is the opportunity of getting our software everywhere. That’s why we started the free media shipping program, and made our install image 100% re-distributable. There’s nothing new here, and other communities get the credit for coming up with the idea first. But it makes so much sense in today’s world, reaching out to new communities that we would not have reached previously.

A number of people stepped forward to mirror the OpenSolaris 2008.05 ISO install image. Thank you, thank you! – If any of you ever get to NZ, I’d buy you a beer in an instant. Now we’d like to ask you to do this again with the upcoming OpenSolaris 2008.11 release, and the following rsync instructions –

  rsync -avz .

The total disk requirements to mirror the ISO images is about 14GB at the moment, which includes 2008.05. We are restricted by 4 concurrent connections, but we can bump this up if there’s enough demand. If you do mirror, drop me a mail, so I can make sure to list you on

More details about mirroring the package repository itself coming soon. Thanks due to Stephen and his team for getting this set up.

OpenSolaris Repository Gets a Makeover…

OpenSolaris, Web 3 Comments

Dan mailed a heads up to pkg-discuss list today about the makeover that has now been delivered to, introducing a couple of great changes.

From now on, users will be able to choose between 2 streams of change

  • A stable stream which contains a snapshot of packages that have been tried and tested for a particular release. This repository may get an occasional putback for some particularly horrid bugs that may occur – if you have a Sun Subscription you get more support
  • A developer stream which receives the latest and greatest packages as and when they are available. This comes at a cost though – potentially less testing, and therefore more risk.

Switching is easy – for the upcoming OpenSolaris 2008.11 release the default authority will be the stable stream, so you do nothing! To switch to the faster moving developer stream, you can quickly use the pkg(1) command line –

  $ pfexec pkg set-authority -O

You'll also notice that the web interface has undergone some surgery too. Nice work Shawn, Brad and Brock (and others!).

OpenSolaris Student Packs

OpenSolaris, Sun 7 Comments

If you’re lucky enough to spot them and get your hands on one (they’re relatively rare, and not part of the free media program), these are the OpenSolaris Student Packs – referred to as ‘BTS’ or Back to School on the mailing lists. Essentially it’s a CD and DVD pack in a nice cardboard (printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks) case.

The CD is a re-spin of OpenSolaris 2008.05 to fix some of the bad package management bugs that were included in the May image. We’ve updated the download servers too, so you can download the ISO image from one of the increasing number of mirror sites (thank you!)

The DVD is slightly more interesting. It includes OpenOffice 2.4.1 (for Linux, Mac and Windows) and VirtualBox 1.6.4 (for Linux, Mac and Windows), though our timing on getting these printed misses out on the latest version 2.0.2 which, of course, you can download for free. But best of all, we also include Virtual Image of OpenSolaris where we’ve already downloaded some of the developer software from the network package repository (Java, Sun Studio, AMP, HPC). I like this idea a lot, because I think the virtual image (through VirtualBox or others) is becoming a better LiveCD allowing people to try out OpenSolaris with little or no commitment and enjoy some of the technology included.

I’ll send some out to the first 5 people who add a comment to this blog. Update: This is now closed, and the 7 lucky winners who managed to comment before I shut off the comments will get a student pack sent to them.

New OpenSolaris Fan Buttons

OpenSolaris 7 Comments

Thanks to David Galán, there are now some new fan buttons available for OpenSolaris. Rocking, awesome work David!

Software Freedom Day

FOSS, GNOME, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 1 Comment

The Wellingtonites, led by my very own Jayne, launched their initiative for Software Freedom Day. The event will, predictably, held on Saturday 20th September at the Convention Centre. We’re planning on having a hackfest organized by SuperHappyDevHouse (and br3nda), an installfest organized by WellyLug, and best of all, an open source BarCamp.

Really looking forward to this, and hoping a large crowd get out and register for this event. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’ll be doing a quick session on OpenSolaris, DTrace, and anything else I’m asked to do (perhaps an impromtu GNOME session?).

Hoping this is going to charge up the other teams around NZ into organizing events!

Playing with IPS and SFE, Part II

General, OpenSolaris 2 Comments

After picking up Petr’s excellent work to add IPS support to pkgbuild, generating IPS packages from SFE is now even easier.

Download an updated install image of pkgbuild, and put it in /opt. Now set up your usual desktop CBE environment, but add /opt/pkgbuild-beta/bin to the front of your path.

With the latest changes, pkgtool will automatically create an SVr4 package and generate the necessary IPS scripts and manifests and automatically publish to http://localhost:80/ (or $PKG_SERVER).

gman@rampage:~/SFE/$ pkgtool --interactive --download --ips build SFEmonkey-bubble.spec

though does not yet install them by default. It will however install an SVr4 package if you provide --svr4 at the command-line instead of --ips

If for some reason you decide to delete the contents of your repository, then you can simply

gman@rampage:~/$ cd packages/PKGMAPS/scripts
gman@rampage:~/packages/PKGMAPS/scripts/$ ./SFEmonkey-bubble_ips.ksh

to import the package.

The enhancements also try and detect the appropriate grouping from the menu spec if you’ve defined ‘Group’ in your spec file, and will also attempt to add a license if you’ve specified it in ‘SUNW_Copyright’.

Next step, cleaning up SFE packages to include the right meta-information and copyrights/licenses.

Playing with IPS and SFE

OpenSolaris 2 Comments

Decided to spend some time playing around with IPS and SFE on Friday afternoon, to figure how easy it would be to contribute a package to our contributor package repository.

Set up an IPS repository

First things first, I set up a package repository locally. This was a piece of cake –

gman@rampage:~/# svccfg -s pkg/server "setprop pkg/inst_root=/var/repo" 
gman@rampage:~/# svcadm refresh pkg/server 
gman@rampage:~/# svcadm enable pkg/server 
gman@rampage:~/# svcadm restart pkg/server

I tweaked the default configuration through SMF, changing the install root for the repository to be /var/repo.

Install the desktop CBE

Next, I set about installing the very useful desktop CBE, version 1.7 rc1, a test version which has support for OpenSolaris, multiple compilers, and new interactive goodness in the installer.

gman@rampage:~/desktop-cbe-1.7.0-rc1# cbe-install

The CBE tools install into /opt/dtbld and mostly consist of a bunch of GNU utilities whose versions are a little bit newer than what’s on

Download SFE

Next up, was grabbing a copy of the SFE repository. SFE, or spec-files-extra, is a repository full of build recipes for various open source component, which the pkgbuild tool uses to build into a SVr4 package (native IPS packages are coming soon). SFE has just over 800 recipes at the moment – it used to be 1000+, but as packages get added to, they get removed from the repository.

gman@rampage:~/# svn co SFE

Build a package

I figured I’d start off building monkey-bubble, using the SFEmonkey-bubble.spec build recipe. A simple command started off the build

gman@rampage:~/SFE# pkgtool build --interactive --download SFEmonkey-bubble.spec

As it turns out, I had issues with the current version of GNU m4 on the system, and had to quickly install CBEm4 from the desktop CBE. Once it did that, I had some shiny monkey-bubble packages in ~/packages/PKGS/.

Import this package into IPS

This was by far the most tricky step, though not ridiculously so. There are a number of ways to import a package into IPS, including the pkgsend(1) command-line utility (Volker gives a good tutorial here). I decided to cheat somewhat, and use the utility that we’ve used to import packages from the old Nevada dock. To get the gate, a simple hg(1) command is used –

gman@rampage:~/# hg clone ssh:// pkg

Creating the import files

While a little overkill for this purpose, I created a cluster import file, and import files for both SFEmonkey-bubble and SFEmonkey-bubble-root –

gman@rampage:~/ cat cluster.all
include SFEmonkey-bubble
gman@rampage:~/ cat SFEmonkey-bubble
package SFEmonkey-bubble
import SFEmonkey-bubble
import SFEmonkey-bubble-root
version 0.4.0
end package
gman@rampage:~/ cat SFEmonkey-bubble-root
package SFEmonkey-bubble-root
depend SFEmonkey-bubble
end package

With IPS we’ve taken the decision to merge multiple packages into a single one, and use filtering if want want to separate them eg. documentation, developer headers, licenses, etc.. I’ve decided to create a single SFEmonkey-bubble package in the IPS repository.

Run the import script

Now we’ve got everything ready, it’s a simple command to run (so long as you remember the locations of where things are!) –

gman@rampage:~/ pkg/src/util/distro-import/ -b 0.4 -w ~/packages/PKGS/ cluster.all

The command will output a bunch of stuff, but by the end of it, you’ll be able to go to http://localhost:10000 in a browser and see the SFEmonkey-bubble package in the repository.

Install the package

Now that you’ve created a repository, and seeded it with a package, it’s time to add it to your system. You’ll need to add the new repository to the list that IPS should search through, and refresh the catalog before you can install it –

gman@rampage:~/ pfexec pkg set-authority -O http://localhost:10000/ localrepo
gman@rampage:~/ pfexec pkg refresh --full
gman@rampage:~/ pfexec pkg install SFEmonkey-bubble

Refresh the desktop cache

After successfully installing it, you’ll need to do a temporary step to ensure the GConf schemas are properly installed – this is because we now have a new SMF service to update the various desktop caches, but unfortunately IPS does not yet start this service when it installs a new package yet.

gman@rampage:~/ pfexec svcadm restart desktop-cache/gconf-cache

Pull my package

The final step is to send my IPS repository URL to the maintainers of, so they can run a simple command to pull in the package –

admin@pkgserver:~/ pfexec pkgrecv -s SFEmonkey-bubble

Final thoughts

Setting up an IPS repository isn’t the hardest thing in the world, though it does show that we’ve still got a little way to go to simplify the procedure. More and more packages are continuously getting added (ARC mail archives), and over time I expect this to be much, much easier to do. With Petr’s work to make pkgbuild output native IPS packages, I’m very hopeful to see OpenSolaris really starting to provide the common packages that people are using. If you are keen to help, join the pkgbuild team and start packaging for OpenSolaris today!

Update: Petr has published a first beta release of the pkgbuild IPS conversion – go check it out!

OpenSolaris gets Firefox 3 and Javascript probe love

Indiana, OpenSolaris, Web 4 Comments

Old news for a lot of Linux distributions, but the build 94 update that David posted finally brings Firefox 3 to OpenSolaris. Yay. What’s better is

gman@rampage:/var/pkg# pfexec dtrace -l | grep moz
   30 javascript1491             jsdtrace_execute_done execute-done
   31 javascript1491                        js_Execute execute-done
   32 javascript1491            jsdtrace_execute_start execute-start
   33 javascript1491                        js_Execute execute-start
   34 javascript1491            jsdtrace_function_args function-args
   35 javascript1491                      js_Interpret function-args
   36 javascript1491           jsdtrace_function_entry function-entry
   37 javascript1491                      js_Interpret function-entry
   38 javascript1491            jsdtrace_function_info function-info
   39 javascript1491                      js_Interpret function-info
   40 javascript1491          jsdtrace_function_return function-return
   41 javascript1491                      js_Interpret function-return
   42 javascript1491            jsdtrace_function_rval function-rval
   43 javascript1491                      js_Interpret function-rval
   44 javascript1491            jsdtrace_object_create object-create
   45 javascript1491        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create
   46 javascript1491       jsdtrace_object_create_done object-create-done
   47 javascript1491        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create-done
   48 javascript1491      jsdtrace_object_create_start object-create-start
   49 javascript1491        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create-start
   50 javascript1491          jsdtrace_object_finalize object-finalize
   51 javascript1491                 js_FinalizeObject object-finalize

Yes, you’ve got it – DTrace Javascript Probes have been included.

OpenSolaris 2008.05 Development Updates

Indiana, OpenSolaris 1 Comment

For those people who like living on the bleeding edge of development, you can now update your system to include the latest builds coming out of the OpenSolaris sausage factory. Alan has been posting updates on indiana-discuss when they are available. Those who have been used to SXCE should be pretty comfortable updating, and both IPS, ZFS and beadm have made this a breeze.

The current update is build 91, and here’s the steps to clone your ZFS file-system, and download the latest packages –

# Refresh the package catalog
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg refresh
# Install an updated version of SUNWipkg (which avoids a few bugs)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg install pkg:/SUNWipkg@0.5.11,0.5.11-0.86
# Refresh the package catalog again (to get fixed up content)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg refresh
# Image Update for the win! (sit back and watch the progress)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg image-update
# Now you need to ensure to active your new boot environment (temporary step)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec mount -F zfs rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1 /mnt
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec /mnt/boot/solaris/bin/update_grub -R /mnt
# Now reboot and enjoy!

In the works is build 92, that should be available in a week or so – including GNOME 2.22. Hopefully by the time 2008.11 rocks around, we’ll have 2.24 included!

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