OpenSolaris vs Linux

Operating systems

So you've been playing around with alternative OSes for a while and you reckon you've got this Linux thing mastered. Maybe you're tried Mac OS X and found it a bit too restrictive (or expensive); perhaps you've kicked the Hurd's tyres and thought you'll come back to it when it's something more than just a clever name.

If you're looking for something else to play with, we humbly suggest OpenSolaris. Like Mac OS X, which we looked at recently, OpenSolaris is based on Unix; also like OS X, it's best known for running on a specific processor (in this case Sun's SPARC architecture) but now works on a range of architectures including x86. Unlike OS X though, OpenSolaris is open source, so you can download it for free and start fiddling with it.

We're not interested in a direct, head-to-head comparison, because for many people it's largely a matter of taste which one they choose. But we do want to help people see what makes OpenSolaris a little different from Linux, so read on for our quick-start guide for Linux users wanting to dip their toe into OpenSolaris and see which they prefer...

The source code to Solaris (well, most of it) was released to the community in June 2005, and to make sure that it became a usable home system rather than just a server OS, Sun hired Ian Murdock, founder of the Debian project, to produce OpenSolaris. The first release appeared in May 2008 and the distribution adopted an approximately half-yearly release cycle: after OpenSolaris 2008.05 we got versions 2008.11 and 2009.06.

Sun advertises its operating system as a full-blown distribution, including the Gnome desktop. But is OpenSolaris interesting enough for a Linux user? If you're happy with your favourite Linux distribution, why would you try OpenSolaris? In some aspects it's much like a regular Linux distribution, but in other aspects it's completely different. Do the exciting features of this operating system outweigh the trouble of learning another Unix environment with other tools?

Installing OpenSolaris

Just like most Linux distributions, OpenSolaris comes with a live CD and a graphical installer that asks you for the standard information, including your location, preferred keyboard map, time/date etc. This will be familiar for Linux users, and if you're installing OpenSolaris as the sole OS on a computer you'll hardly notice the difference, but if you want to create a dual-boot system with OpenSolaris and Linux you might run into problems at the disk-partitioning stage.

The OpenSolaris installer considers all logical partitions on the disk as one extended partition, so it can't be installed on a logical partition. If you choose to install OpenSolaris on this extended partition, all enclosed logical partitions get overwritten. Second, OpenSolaris uses ZFS instead of ext3 as its filesystem. Linux has no ZFS support in the kernel because the Free Software Foundation doesn't consider it free enough to be bundled with GPL software, so if you want to get access to your OpenSolaris documents in Linux you have to mount the ZFS filesystem with Fuse as a filesystem in userland.

A third issue is that the standard Grub version that comes with Linux distributions doesn't understand the ZFS filesystem. So when you install OpenSolaris first and then your favourite Linux distribution, you can't boot into OpenSolaris anymore. The solution is to first install Linux and then OpenSolaris, and add the section for your Linux distro to Grub's menu.lst in OpenSolaris.

Some filesystem differences

Linux directory OpenSolaris directory
/home /export/home
/var/log /usr/adm, /var/adm, /var/log
/tmp /var/tmp
/sys /devices
/dev /dev
/lib/modules/foo/* /kernel/drv/*
/boot/grub /rpool/boot/grub

Some command line differences

Linux command OpenSolaris command Aim
sudo pfexec Execute a command as root
apt-cache search foo pkg search -r foo Search for a package containing foo
apt-get install foo pkg install SUNWfoo Install package foo
apt-get dist-upgrade pkg image-update Upgrade all packages that have updates available
lsmod modinfo List loaded drivers
insmod modload Load a driver
rmmod modunload Unload a loaded driver
top prstat List the running processes
free vmstat List the free memory
cat /proc/cpuinfo psrinfo -v List processor info
ifconfig ifconfig -a List all network interfaces
parted format Format a disk

Hardware support

Linux has a big advantage over OpenSolaris in that it supports a lot more hardware, but OpenSolaris makes up for this by having a fixed device driver interface. Where the Linux kernel developers give priority to adding features even when they break compatibility with hardware drivers (which creates more work for the distro makers) OpenSolaris keeps the driver interface static, so if your printer worked with OpenSolaris 2008.05 it'll work with 2009.6 - users can even run 10-year-old drivers written for the original Solaris platform.

OpenSolaris also gives you a clear overview of what is supported, rather than the suck-it-and-see approach favoured by Linux. The best way to find out whether specific hardware components are supported is by searching the Solaris Hardware Compatibility List online.

Another option to test hardware support on a computer is simply to fire up the live CD. The Device Driver Utility icon should show up on the desktop, which detects all available hardware and lists which driver supports it, even if it is third-party. For example, when I fired up the Device Driver Utility on my Dell laptop, the program said that it didn't have a driver for my WLan chipset (from Broadcom), but referred me to a website where I could download a third-party driver.

There is also a related utility, the Device Detection Tool: this is a Java program giving the same information, which you can run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. So with this tool, you get a perfect overview of the hardware support before you even install OpenSolaris.

OpenSolaris's hardware support is a lot more predictable than it is in Linux, though not as extensive.

OpenSolaris's hardware support is a lot more predictable than it is in Linux, though not as extensive.

ZFS: the Zettabyte File System

One of the most important reasons to use OpenSolaris is its filesystem, ZFS. Conceptually, ZFS is simple: disks are assigned to pools, and data sets are made of pools. Filesystems and volumes are two types of data sets. For pools, OpenSolaris has the administration command zpool and for datasets OpenSolaris has the administration command zfs. We'll focus here on pools. This is how you list the available pools:

$ zpool list 
NAME	SIZE	USED	AVAIL	CAP	HEALTH 	ALTROOT
rpool	15.9G	1.28G	14.6G	8%	ONLINE	-

Rpool is the default pool created by the distribution's installer. With the zpool status command, you can display the status of all pools:

$ zpool status
 pool: rpool
 state: ONLINE
 scrub: none requested
config:
	NAME	STATE	READ	WRITE	CKSUM
	rpool	ONLINE	0	0	0
	c7d0s0	ONLINE	0	0	0
errors: No known data errors

One of the outstanding features of OpenSolaris is related to the filesystem: snapshots. A snapshot is a point-in-time copy of a ZFS filesystem or volume, saving the state for later reference or recovery. You can create a snapshot with the zfs snapshot command, but OpenSolaris 2009.06 has integrated this functionality in Nautilus and the Gnome Administration panel Time Slider.

Step by step: Take snapshots with ZFS

Enable automatic snapshots

Enable automatic snapshots: Go to System > Administration > Time Slider and click on Enable Time Slider. Now OpenSolaris will regularly take snapshots of all available ZFS filesystems. If you would like to fine-tune which mount points will get snapshotted, click on Advanced Options. You can also adapt the maximum proportion of filesystem capacity that should be used. The regular snapshots take a lot of space, so by default Time Slider reduces snapshots when storage space usage exceeds 80% of filesystem capacity.

Restore a snapshot

Restore a snapshot: If you suddenly realise that you've accidentally deleted or overwritten an important file, it's time to use the snapshots. Open Nautilus and navigate to the directory your file is in. If you click on the Restore button, you can navigate the snapshot history of the current location. For example, if you deleted a file you can use the slider to navigate to the time when the file still existed. You can open the file to see if it is the right version, or you can right-click on the file and select Restore To [directory]".

Compare different snapshots of a file

Compare different snapshots of a file: If you want to browse the file history of a given file, right-click on it and select Explore Versions (this option is only visible when there are different versions of the file to choose from). The Time Slider File Version Explorer window now shows you the different versions of the selected file. If it's a text file, such as code or plain text, you can compare the differences: just select an older version and click the compare button. If the file is an image, you'll be able to see the differences immediately.

Take or delete snapshots manually

Take or delete snapshots manually: To take a snapshot of a directory manually, just click on the camera icon on the right of the time slider in the directory. If you've moved the slider to a previous snapshot, you can delete this one by clicking on the Delete button. If after a time you discover you have a lot of space wasted by snapshots you don't need anymore, just open the System > Administration > Time Slider panel again and click on Delete Snapshots, which presents you a list with all available snapshots. Select the ones you want to get rid of and click on Delete.

Virtualisation with OpenSolaris

OpenSolaris supports a variety of virtualisation technologies with different degrees of isolation, flexibility, performance and ease of use. Of course it runs VirtualBox, but it also has a port of Xen, called xVM Hypervisor. A lesser known but equally interesting virtualisation technology in OpenSolaris is Zones, a feature resembling Linux-VServer, but with the advantage that it's not a separate patch set but supported in the official kernel.

Processes running in different Zones are completely isolated from each other. This type of virtualisation is called operating-system level virtualisation. Although each zone appears as a standalone operating system, in reality there's a single instance of the OpenSolaris kernel running behind all of them, which means that Zones are relatively light on processing power. Here's how to set up virtual instances of OpenSolaris with Zones:

Configure a zone

First we create a filesystem for the zones to reside in. Then we create a zone and configure the path where the root directory tree of the zone is placed. We add a virtual network interface to the zone and wire it to the physical interface nge0, and in the last-but-two line of code we configured this network interface with a specific IP address.

$ pfexec zfs create -o mountpoint=/zones rpool/zones
$ pfexec zonecfg -z myzone
myzone: No such zone configured
Use 'create' to begin configuring a new zone.
zonecfg:myzone> create
zonecfg:myzone> set zonepath=/zones/myzone
zonecfg:myzone> add net
zonecfg:myzone:net> set physical=nge0
zonecfg:myzone:net> set address=192.168.1.50
zonecfg:myzone:net> end
zonecfg:myzone> exit

To see all zones, we execute the zoneadm list -cv command, which shows the status of the myzone zone as we've configured it:

$ zoneadm list -cv
  ID	NAME	STATUS	PATH	BRAND	IP
  0	global	running	/	native	shared
	- myzone	configured	/tank/zones/myzone	ipkg	shared

As you can see, there's also a zone called global. This is the OpenSolaris installation itself.

Install the zone

Now that the zone has been configured, we have to install it. Essentially, this creates a second installation of OpenSolaris inside the zone:

$ pfexec zoneadm -z myzone install

This command could take several minutes to finish, after which the status of the zone will have changed from configured to installed.

Boot the zone and log in

Once our zone has been installed, we can boot it with the command pfexec zoneadm -z myzone boot. This takes only a few seconds, after which the status will change from installed to running. Now you can log in with pfexec zlogin -C myzone. During the first login, you have to configure the host name, time zone, root password etc, just like a regular install does.

Now you can execute commands in the zone just like you do on the global OpenSolaris install. You can also halt, reboot and shut down the zone from within it, but you can also halt a zone from within the global zone with the command pfexec zoneadm -z myzone halt.

OpenSolaris on the desktop

Because OpenSolaris is advertised as a desktop distribution, it's fair to compare it with current Linux distributions. However, the first thing you notice is that the operating system is much slower than Ubuntu on the same hardware, so don't think about installing it on older hardware. For the rest it looks like a fairly standard Gnome desktop, although NetworkManager is replaced by an application called Network Auto Magic, which does more or less the same thing but has fewer features.

While most high-profile applications (including OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Thunderbird and Rhythmbox) are installed or available via the package manager, you have less luck if your favourite application is less known. For many Linux users this will be a showstopper, although packages can be ported.

And finally... YouTube!

We told you OpenSolaris is a proper desktop OS, so naturally you'll want to get Flash installed and stimulate your left brain. To get Adobe Flash Player, go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer and click the Agree And Install Now button (the website will automatically detect that you're using Solaris). Select Save File in the window that pops up, then click OK, which saves it to your Downloads directory. Then open a terminal window and execute the following commands:

cd ~/Downloads
mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins
bunzip2 flash_player_10_solaris_x86.tar.bz2
tar -xvf flash_player_10_solaris_x86.tar
mv flash_player_10_solaris_r22_87_x86/* ~/.mozilla/plugins/

When you next restart Firefox, Flash 10 should be working. There - an advanced filesystem, easy virtualisation, Firefox, OOo and more. Could OpenSolaris be the new Linux? Give it a try and let us know in the comments below!

Some differences under the hood

Under the hood OpenSolaris is very different from a Linux distribution. You can see this in a different filesystem layout and different base commands. For many tools, OpenSolaris has two versions: the Solaris ones are in /usr/bin and the GNU ones are in /usr/gnu/bin. Because OpenSolaris wants to ease the transition for Linux users, /usr/gnu/bin comes first in the PATH environment variable.

Other tools are available only in a Solaris variant, which can be confusing. Ifconfig is such an example: as a Linux user, you'll soon find out that the syntax is different from what you expect. Even the network interfaces are called differently: the standard interface is not called eth0, but for example nge0 or bge0, reflecting the driver used. All in all, you have to relearn a lot of commands, which requires some effort.

First published in Linux Format

First published in Linux Format magazine

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Your comments

ZFS - nuff said

sry, I forgot to mention that with "Linux: above, I meant to include "Linux AND the *BSD/Unix OS's".
Albeit, I assumed this was a given, since basically both MacOSX, and Open/Solaris have a deep-rooted history in both being based on the original BSD/Unix.
Although Solaris today has went in some very different directions and needs.

OpenSolaris Rocks!

Not sure why people can't get along. I love linux on the desktop, however, OpenSolaris rocks. Dtrace and ZFS are amazing. Anyone who says otherwise, does not know what they are talking about. How can anyone compare zfs to linux filesystems and lvm? I have had to recover many different implementations of lvms through the years (VxVM, hp lvm, linux lvm, raidtools, etc.), and if anything... linux lvm and filesystems have a long way to go.

In my basement, I will continue to have debian on my shuttle and my servers running opensolaris.

Solaris problems

Listen, I've been a vigilant user of Solaris since it's inception including both Sparc and X86. I love if for it's under the cover innovations, but now is the time I must leave it behind for Ubunutu. Why? - Solaris is still centered on being a server platform at it's roots and Linux has really leaped over it many times in terms of usability applications.

With Linux, printers, WIFI networking, multimedia applications work out of the box. Solaris is a constant challenge and still does not have a good MPEG application available. Linux is on par with MAC's and Windows in these areas, so while I'll continue to standby Solaris behind the data center door, I have given up on it at home.

EE

"(3) The best operating

"(3) The best operating systems work with minimum effort. Bugs - embarrassing program errors - ought not be to present in any form of software issued to the public whether free or not despite Micro$oft making US$ billions of profits by repeatedly selling expensive bug enhanced software since MS-DOS 1."
If I post my RHEL Errata on this blog I will likely crash the server. I can post all my Errate for RHEL 3, 4, and 5 if you want.

BTW, Errata = bulletins for patches that fix bugs and security exploits. The fact that Linux isn't hacked or exploited as much as Windows is due to the fact that Windows has huge desktop penetration (marketshare) and there are lots of dumb Windows users (like the idiots still running XP, and probably using Admin (i.e. root) accounts for day-to-day use).

I haven't gotten a Virus since I was in high school running MS-DOS/Windows 3.1 accessing bulletin board systems and downloading files off of them over a modem and telephone line.

Windows is "winning" because although there are millions of ignorant users running it, there are just as many decent users running it that know how to set themselves up in a way that they can browse with as much leisure as they would on any Unix or BSD-based system...

Vista SP2 outperforms XP SP3 on my machine (just put it on after having the DVD sit there for like... 2 years listening to FUD on the web - a habit that took a long time to break, admittedly).

3. The default applications in Windows suck. I like the apps in Linux!

- Most of the decent Open Source Applications on Linux have been ported to Windows. Some of those Windows Default applications are better than much of what Linux has to offer, especially the multimedia apps like Windows Media Player, Media Center, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery. Not that it matters, cause the alternatives are usually ported to Windows, anyways.

The only thing that is rather big that hasn't been ported over is KDevelop, and I have no clue why anyone would wanna use that steaming pile of feces.

Works for me

I switched to OpenSolaris when Ubuntu wouldn't allow me to reliably connect to the Internet with any wireless card I had available. OpenSolaris just worked for me. The sound, the video, and my wireless worked from the live CD on. From my albeit limited perspective OpenSolaris is putting priorities straight: function over features. Also, ZFS might have been a great help to me earlier when my term paper was handed in corrupted, unbeknownst to me.

BSDs are all hobby OSs

BSDs are hobby OSs.
Linux is a mess, Linus cannot keep up with the commits. It's a free-for-all.

Opensolaris has a long way to go but it's getting there. Was able to install it on an old laptop with 512MB ram.
You will find that drivers exist for a lot of hardware.
Also that HW detection tool is very good and you can run from any browser with java.

Opensolaris would be better if it had options for the desktop. Offer up a different desktop. One that's small and light with just the bare minimum.

UNIX USER

See this is the reason so many of you got beat up in Highschool..
I use them all. I'm a Solaris guy back to 2.5.1. I'm a Linux guy back to when you were all complaining about running it on Diamond Multi-media computers.. With how cheap hardware is these days.. I don't understand what all the fuss is.. I run a Cisco 851w behind that I have a couple switches connected I run Solaris 10, Opensolaris, Redhat Rhel5, CentOS,Freebsd and Windows XP (Vista Sux) .The Solaris 10 has a couple zones created as well as the Opensolaris. I run Proxmox VE cause it's a pretty cool bare metal solution with built in virtualization. I keep my Unix Rosetta stone blown up on the wall. If you don't understand my point. Then you really need help.. I never worried about what one couldn't do vs the other. But then I Was a jock growing up. To me it was "All Good"...
Later Nerds.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Opensolaris works in Virtual box from my Xp

With Cricket Broadband!!! Not to mention when the Dell can Wifi. The others can too all of them. REAL COOL.. Nat'd out some ports for access to various services and apps.. blah blah running on a Dell Latitude D800. Installed the Opensolaris, the CentOS, and The Rhel 5 and have then all up and running as I type this.. To me that was pretty cool.. I have access to anything and everything and that's just one Laptop.. I import and export from my servers to my laptop and I Walk with a Ghetto Version of my Network.. Tech Can Coexist why can't we..
Wordss for the nerd from the Tech Jock
Peace Out..

Who cares!

It's what gets the job done!.

You use the tools required to get the job done in the least amount of effort. Not many people want to spend time hacking operating systems. I would like to see more distros based on QNX. I could use a floppy disk to retrieve my e-mail on my crap dial-up connection when at that time win 98 would crap itself. I just could not believe my eyes when I booted into QNX! after that I thought why is'nt linux that small. To be honest comparing bloatness they are all to big. I'm sick of my broad band limit being chewed up by constant updates. Which they all do BSD and linux because I can not afford a to have 512 unlimited connection like everyone else.

Anyway at the moment I'm using ubuntu 9.04 because it's allowing me to get what I need done with the least amount of effort!.

OpenSolaris And Linux's million different versions are Trashware

Is there a way to convince the OpenSolaris OS to detect the rest of the computer outside of the Solaris's own installed files and folders? It takes longer than the best Windows-OS to install it. Another several hours, and you might be able to convince it to connect to the internet. But all the time it lives in its own little OpenSolaris bubble, unable to see anything outside of its own installed files and folders. I realize that most people probably don't care to see the rest of their computer's files and folders and disks, but if you wanted to see what else is on your computer, outside of the immediate folders that were installed by OpenSolaris, is that possible?

The Article

Great article. But the comments - uhh, what's wrong with BSD people [?!] - they seem such grumpy people, it's an article "opensolaris-vs-linux", I cannot see in this equation BSD - and I'll not continue elaborating the manner and the 'language' of these guys - but strange. Go watch "March of the Penguins".

I will though - try out OpenSolaris!

The Article 2

Ok, i've just give it a chance to OpenSolaris, first impression was fine when booted Live, but the install takes ~60 minutes - even a MS Windows installs faster, and after Reboot - surprise, grub loads - but none of the OS's booted ever! OpenSolaris just hangs after the red moving line stops at the middle and that's all, frozen! Other OS's installed before also not booting. Erdekes! Phh. Nice.
Maybe next time.

Who's the bitch now

Anonymous NetBSD user:

I use Linux but like to play around with BSD and Unix. On the most part I'm a Linux user. Does that make me a bitch, and a dumb one at that? Well I am 47 with degrees in Quantum Physics and Philosophy. But I am by no means a geek. I have had plenty of hot ass woman, which I'm willing to bet is not the case with you. I have been an avid surfer and golden gloves boxer. I am well respected by hard asses and intellectuals alike. The fact of the matter is that if the typical BSD geek elite dork like yourself were to step into the boxing ring or the football field or what have you, it would be quite apparent who the bitch really is. In fact I'll bet that the reason you're so bitter is because you actually are punked like the bitch you are every time you go out into the real world. Which is why you rarely leave your mother's basement. Grow the hell up there Dickweed.

Linux has no future

If the yardstick of success is the mis-information and suppression of technical facts that the free software community engages, then they have certainly succeeded !

All that points to is, 'Linux has no future' !

Think about it.

OpenSolaris is almost there

I've worked in Unix environments (Solaris, HP-UX, Linux and BSD) since re-training from VAX/VMS in around '95 with a short stop on Netware & Windoze but I'm a little embarrassed about those.

IMHO Solaris 10 is not ready for desktop, however OpenSolaris is there for the majority of tasks. If you want to run a server then OpenSolaris has a lot of compelling features which have already been covered. Currently I have an OpenSolaris server with Solaris 10, Ubuntu and Windows XP running in different VirtualBox containers and this provides everything I need - and I am very demanding ;-)

And one more thing - I specialise in performance tuning and if the app/db supports running on it I would recommend Solaris every time.

Build 134

Running Build 134 right now (2009.06 stable had sound issues for me). Most everything is working with a minimum of fuss. Add the homeunix repo and you can get pretty much all the MM codecs you need, plus MPlayer.

Some minor issues:

CD/DVD passthrough to a VirtualBox guest seems to be broken, whether VBox is run by root, or a regular user. Guests can still see and mount the discs, but ripping and burning are likely to be problematic.

DVD playback works if you get MPlayer and dvdcss installed. Fluendo has a commercial player available now for OSOS. MPlayer has a hard time with some DVD menus. I'd like to get VLC working, but that sounds like it will be a bit of an undertaking.

Sound Juicer is short-cutted to run with gksu. To me, that is an indication that it shouldn't be installed by default. Rhythmbox rips CDs fine, and will do mp3 and other formats, if the requisite codecs are installed.

CD burning works fine. Haven't tried DVDs, yet.

Totem seems to be worthless without the Fluendo codecs.

More on Build 134

So far, so good. I've had one kernel panic that I haven't been able to reproduce, but I am on a development build.

As far as a desktop OS, OpenSolaris has a ways to go, but I think the progress has been pretty impressive, so far. Some issues that will likely turn off casual users include lack of games, lack of 3D modeling and other multimedia software (I've got Blender 2.5a running, but it is throwing a lot of Python errors, and it doesn't seem to be fully functional), and difficulty in upgrading things like drivers.

Updating the nVidia graphics driver, for example, requires creating a new boot environment, mounting it, uninstalling the old driver from the new environment, installing the new, activating the environment, and rebooting. The process isn't that difficult, but the packaging commands are a little different from the normal commands used to install software from the repos and the process seems likely to turn off Windows users or Linux users used to a simple apt-get or rpm -Uvh from a ppa or contrib repo.

The beta ntfsprogs build from the OpenSolaris Fuse project seem to work okay for mounting / reading / writing to USB NTFS drives, but again, requiring more command-line magic than a casual user will like; an NTFS kernel driver seems like a no-brainer to be high on the list of proposed features: FAT-formatted devices can't handle large files, like VMs or Videos, and most OSes / media devices seem to be able to read NTFS just fine, these days.

As for why anyone would bother, there are a few good reasons for running OpenSolaris:

1. For developers, it's a chance to contribute to a project that really needs it. With Linux, you can already do pretty much anything you can do on Windows / Mac without much fuss. It's almost boring, at this point.

2. You have objections to the GPL and are looking for a platform with "freer freedom." While the GPL aims to protect software freedoms for people as a group, the BSDL and CDDL are more about individual freedom. In this sense, the BSDL is "freer" than the CDDL, but OpenSolaris provides non-GPL tool chains and libraries for those that are interested in that. The BSD crowd still has a ways to go getting LLVM / clang working well enough to serve as a principle tool chain. Of course, you can build BSD / CDDL software with GNU tools, but you may need to do a little more thinking about your design to avoid copyleft violations.

3. To learn. There are some pretty interesting innovations here, with ZFS and the boot management system, among others, and it's good to get out and expand your horizons.

As far as the running flamewar goes, operating systems are a tool, not my religion. I tend toward libertarian views, so to me, the BSDL is more "free" than the GPL, with the CDDL falling in between. On the other hand, "cleaner" code that supposedly results from a less open development effort is an intangible benefit that users are not likely to care about, as long as the product works. Besides, the actual kernel code for Linux is pretty strictly controlled, as far as I understand the process.

Obsolete is the thought that an OS for select few is better

I find it odd that some brag about their BSD being for a dwindling minority intellectual group. Idiot I am, but not so stupid as to want to install or continue to promote anything that less people will decreasingly use in future.

Have you no kids? - You going to teach anyone you love about dinosaurs? (For school fun maybe, but not for any length of time cause it ain't going to do them any good - I ain't teaching mine BSD). While I know at school my kids learn math and reading, the rest of what they learn is of equivalent value to the posts made here. That is why I teach all those I love about religion and self-presentation (I want my kids to do the least effort per second for the most positive return results per second - we BSDers should have always thought that way too - this is politics & marketing, the only skills that increasingly get fed in America).

Now, unemployed, I too do not want to be doomed to a life with Whatever UNIX Systems Development. I rather be saved from a lot of things, than doom myself to unpaid time in the continued unappreciated efforts of decoding driver code that some hacker tomorrow will steal, sabotage, and leave me with a piece of junk to recover from anyway (I don't care how well you think you secure BSD, it does not compare to the peace and quite of working a few minutes on a stand alone machine setup from scratch in 10 minutes - if you truly need a secure environment // nobody is going to waste time to attack me with TEMPEST type strategies).

I find it more troubling that more people want to study less and work less, and not study more to work less. But then some poster boys here know that BSD is a system that requires you to study more, and to then work more (unpaid now) and to what end (a lose lose proposition). I find it interesting how some Java programmers make so much money, and the BSD guys stay at their thing, letting Microsoft get away with crap. If you got skills, guide those skills to selling them in a manner that keeps to your principles and gives you life & long journey meaning. Don't continue again and again to go back and forth downgrading others.

Better life according to Ceasar, is defined by where you are at in Maslow's pyramid of needs (self actualization is passing on good stuff and good words to the next generation of mankind). Better life according to God, is said by him to be defined by your acceptance of Him, His Son and Savior, and Holy Scriptures. However you decide the options are yours, but don't waste time increasing your robotic frustrations into attempts to prove your intelligence to the clueless (some like myself wish to be more clueless in BSD and better off in marketing). Play to the interests of someone who may like to call you for help, that will return in kind with making your life a little happier. I for one would like good people to reach me, and am anonymous only because evil idiots with nothing better to do waste my time.

I'm a security guy. I got a lot of experience in securing systems. I secure my home PC above and beyond 3 layers deep (hardware overwrite system, firewall, and anti-malware/virus software)? NO

Do I do home backups? NO. Why backup a virus or a system with a hacked in back-door that you don't have the time to dissect? Just overwrite the whole thing after a reformat and be done for just about the same amount of time until the next hacker entry.

But, I must say that I appreciate the speed comparisons of those that did their timings to come with actual experienced numbers and valid descriptions of their experiences with features. Calling some people dumb bitches (males too) is useful as some here I shall call Windows Automatic Execution Installation Administrators (for those unobservant to personnel management - the longer the title the lesser the "rank" not only on the totem pole but in the between the ears vacuum tube space) profess themselves to be expert in all matters related to I.T. (yes-yuk) But, I wish BSDers would just by miraculous intervention become first marketers, and then have integrity to become BSDers.

I shiver as I recall a nightmare that actually happened between a guru systems admin and a polished suit "DVD" administrator - on a security discussion the DVD'er beat the BSD'er (and management did not care to even listen to security). Just the memory, makes me wish to communicate again why BSDers need to polish up and behave with more social graces.

Just remember! The wrong people are making decisions everywhere, and that is why marketing is sooo important (the guys up there are soo into themselves that they need to be sold stuff with political coating - also, remember that in some places in America the word fag and bitch is good (huh-oh-no-ohh-yes) and other places it is bad (like in our day), so avoid using the term since you are always taken at their idiotic good or bad worst interpretation).

Let's get BSD and those other good Operating Systems revised and back into a solid long term niche, for the good of all. Windows and catch all/do all populist systems will fall eventually, when people are fed up with maintenance and want systems to be like dead bricks for stupid appliances that never get changed.

ATTN: All responding to NetBSD User

Please stop feeding the troll. You are not getting anywhere.

Thanks to the author for this article.

The comment section is full

The comment section is full of win.

Kudos to both of you, you know who you are!

Both Linux and OpenSolaris are inferior.

For those that haven't RTFM'ed enough yet, I'll spell it out nice and simple for all you droolers:

1. Solaris is real UNIX. OpenSolaris is the guinnea pig version (think Fedora for Red Hat).
2. Linux is NOT real UNIX - it is a cheap UNIX wanna-be, and those are the direct words of Linux Torvalds, Mr OpenSource who laughed all the way to the bank and duped all you little OpenSource cultists.
3. We use Solaris (not OpenSolaris) to run mission/survival-critical systems in the military and trust our lives to it. We do NOT do this with Linux, Windows or OpenAnything.
4. Linux popularity does not change the fact that it is a a public, unstable, cheap, get-what-you-pay-for hack of early 90s UNIX code. Fact is, SCO was telling the truth - massive amounts of Linux kernel code were in fact stolen from IBM AIX, all the way down to the spelling errors in the comments.
5. I have yet to meet a stable Linux GUI - I can crash them like snapping toothpicks. Solaris, on the other hand, is rock solid enough to be used by NASA for sending men into space. The entire world image of the United States has rested on Solaris time and time again. NASA doesn't use Linux, and the military thinks Linux is nothing more than a "cute" toy for little hacker kiddies.
6. Hate Micrsoft? if so, then you've obviously turned a blind eye to today's Linux distros, which are new levels of bloatware that all look like the most recent version of Windows. Only the Windows GUIs are 10 times faster because Windows isn't based on ancient, convoluted, easily-broken, clunky, client-server crap under the hood.
7. Is Linux faster than Solaris? If the hardware is x86 PC junk, then yes, but only barely. But Solaris is deeply intertwined with the fantastic SPARC platform, and holds a significant edge on that platform, even against SPARC-based Linux distros. The greatest weakness of Linux is not just the operating system itself, but the cheapo junk x86 hardware it runs on.
8. Let's face it: The only thing driving Linux popularity is anti-Microsoft zealotry. Once you understand that fact, your eyes can be opened to another truth: half-century-old UNIX, as an operating system in the 21st century, quite honestly, sucks no matter what flavor or distro we "convert" ourselves to. Read the age-old story "The Emporer's New Clothes" and you'll understand Linux better than anyoe else.
9. Reality: Windows doesn't own 90% of the market by force or evil Microsoft plots - it owns it by customer choice. The entire UNIX platform has been soundly rejected by 90% of the world. Linux can be considered a UNIX in this respect - it has been rejected by the market for its entire two decade hostory, and that's two decades of being given away for free.
10. Applications: Yup, Linux stomps Solaris in app availability - the problem is Linux having any real worthwile apps that dont come across as mere shadows of the Windows versiosn they are attempting to copy in usually the msot cheap, "beta" way.
11. And finally: Solaris is rock solid platform-wise. You know what you're getting now and you know what you'll be getting in the future. The world of Linux, however, is fragmenting and splintering so badly in so many different directions that it can no longer be taken seriously by any organization that cares about the long-term projection of its IT infrastructure. Solaris is solid. Linux is an increasingly big question mark. In the 2 years since the first release, OpenSolaris has made huge intrusions into Linux popularity. Very soon, we will see smartphones based on Solaris instead of Linux. Imagine a smartphone that never hangs or needs to be reset.

Quite honestly, I simply like the idea of using a real bona-fide bullet-proof version of real UNIX (from the SVR4 bloodline) instead of a trendy kiddie OS that's not even UNIX-compliant.

Love OpenSolars

I was a Unix System Architect for many years. Now I'm a retail trader. (Trading Stock and Options) My trading work station is OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris and Intel i7 are rock solid and super performance.

pointless

Why are people talking about their personal lives? Whatever.

opensolaris cifs broken

hi,

i read with interest that someone was using opensolaris CIFS to talk to a beyonwiz.

i can't figure out how this could possibly work as i've never managed to get it working.

with that in mind, i'd say opensolaris is fine for shares involving windows and mac machines but it's broken out of the box with PVRs.

-jason

Linux forever

We have a datacenter with over 200 actively used Linux servers (some RHEL4 and mostly 5 and going to 6 shortly), and many of them (to the chagrin of network security guys) have uptimes of over 300, over 600, 800 and over 1000 days (actually another was 2000 days) between reboots and kernel patches, while running Oracle, Psoft and more, some including Oracle RAC. You can't get much more stable than that. I'm afraid those touting the splendor of OpenSolaris, either work for Oracle or are simply not being totally truthful about the capabilities of Linux, or are simply headstrong stuck in the 1980's, or possibly don't know how to fix a hardware problem. The truth is Linux excels. We also have direct comparison to our HPUX old days when all our Oracle ran on HPUX, and the darn servers needed rebooting every 100 days to be stable. Linux has been a charm for us, for 8 years and counting. Go Linux.

Wow.

Some of the comments on here are mind boggling and utterly pathetic; talk about a pointless pissing contest. I use Solaris at home and work, but Linux distros such as Arch, Gentoo and Slackware are brilliant and so configurable - I don't get the argument. If you know what you are doing, either OS should serve your needs. I'm so lucky I don't have to work with pricks like most of you guys.

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