Short Review: OpenSolaris 2008.11

The installation was fast and easy, comparable to the installation of Ubuntu.

OpenSolaris seems to have big problems in terms of wireless LAN. I am using a WPA/WPA2 encrypted wireless LAN, and it asked to me to enter my passphrase. I entered it, and nothing happened. I was able to get wireless working via commandline, but this lead me to the problem that domain names were not resolved. I could solve this, too. But none of this was permanently, and it should work the graphical way or tell me it does not work. Maybe this whole thing happened because I have a space in the name of my Wi-Fi network.

Another problem is suspend/resume, which is not yet working for most laptops; whereas recent Linux distributions support suspend/resume out-of-the-box.

OpenSolaris ships non-free components, e.g. NVIDIA display drivers, or Java 6 Update 10. Hopefully, there will be an option in future to install it without this stuff.

Talking about the desktop, there is GNOME 2.24 with a custom theme. In my opinion, the theme looks quite good, although I do not like the colours of the minimize,maximize,close buttons of the windows sometimes.

One feature introduced with this release is Time Slider. Time slider worked very well, although for  reasons I do not know, I do not really like it. The integration with nautilus is good, but I would still like to see an interface using a calender widget instead of this slider. I remember that the slider sometimes did not work as I expected, e.g. it jumped from left to right.

The package management is interesting, but it is to hard to use in my opinion. Debian and derived distributions provide far better package managment in my opinion. Especially the graphical part needs a lot of work in order to compete with Debian.

The overall speed was quiet good, and memory usage was 512MB. There is one problem with measuring memory consumption in gnome-system-monitor: I installed netbeans 6.5 and started it, and gnome-system-monitor showed a memory usage of around 20MB, while the program used more than 200MB (according to top).

All in all, OpenSolaris gets closer to modern Linux distributions like Fedora 10 or Ubuntu 8.10, but it is not there yet. But with improvements in the area of Wi-Fi and Suspend/Resume,  future releases of OpenSolaris might become a good alternative to Linux distributions, at least if you do not really care about the ideas of free software.

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10 thoughts on “Short Review: OpenSolaris 2008.11

  1. “if you do not really care about the ideas of free software”

    What part of “Open” in “OpenSolaris” is so hard to get? Anyway, the GPL is not the only “free” license, you also have all the OSI approved licenses, and CDDL is one of them.

    Get the facts, then write.

  2. OpenSolaris (the distro) is, however, completely freely-redistributable. There are other OpenSolaris (the project) distros available if you want one that only ships FOSS components.

  3. @ubersoldat

    GPL is essence of Open Source.

    @Julian Andres Klode

    Open Solaris will never be where Linux is, because it’s making really slow progress in comparison to Linux. I bet it will reach its end in few years next to *bsd.

  4. “OpenSolaris is not completely free, e.g. it ships NVIDIA drivers and of course Java 6 Update 10.”

    So does Ubuntu. NVIDIA and ATI closed drivers, flash, etc… just do apt-cache search nonfree as an example.

    I dont mind though, I think it is better for new users to watch youtube and have 3d acceleration and good graphics in a 99% free os, than having a 100% free system they don’t really enjoy fully.

    I dont want to start a flamewar. Just a small comment and Im out.

  5. I think it’s quite nice – a tad slow in boot up/shutdown and a few ‘rough edges’ that need ironed out. It installed better than ubuntu on my core duo desktop, seting up nvidia drivers correctly unlike all the linux’s I tried. Installing OSS for sound support was equally painless. All in all I’m impressed, a great effort with oodles of potential to become a fine OS. Far better that that damned vista rubbish anyway!!

  6. “OpenSolaris ships non-free components, e.g. NVIDIA display drivers, or Java 6 Update 10. Hopefully, there will be an option in future to install it without this stuff.”
    OH, THE HUMANITY!
    Seriously, you must be joking.

    “But with improvements in the area of Wi-Fi and Suspend/Resume, future releases of OpenSolaris might become a good alternative to Linux distributions, at least if you do not really care about the ideas of free software.”
    Well, Opensolaris IS released under a free license… Maybe not a die-hard communist one like GPL, but a free license nevertheless. And remember, software is supposed to serve humans, not the other way around.

  7. @Sigmoid:

    OpenSolaris will be free the day when they do not ship non-free stuff. In contrast to Debian they willingly ship non-free things like NVIDIA drivers.

    Furthermore, the parts licensed under the OpenSolaris Binary License are non-free as well.

    The CDDL is a free software license. It may not be GPL-compatible, but it is free software and open source.

    The most important part is to not ship non-free unless you have too, because the system would not work otherwise. And the NVIDIA drivers can be installed additionally, so they don’t have to be included.

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