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Thread: ideas to opensolaris as desktop

  1. #1
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    Default ideas to opensolaris as desktop

    well, im a linux fanboy and windows hater since win95. so since many years i have been using almost exclusively linux and winxp only for games that dont work on wine/natively. but since some time ago solaris is calling my attention ( from a sun events a couple of years ago).

    so i put in my office pc the 2 oses
    kubuntu 9.10 64 latest updates + some ppa like xorg edgers
    opensolaris 2009.06 and belenix 0.8 alpha.

    so after testing all of them these are my points that from my point of view make solaris not a linux competitor rigth now. but i think i wanna make something clear here, im not actually a linux fanboy im a linux distro fanboy wich is entirely different aka linux, bsd, solaris are kernel with their goods or bad but you cant work just with a kernel and for most non-geek there should be transparent actually in almost everything, by linux like distro i mean all the good software include beside the kernel in a installalble way cd.

    so to the point
    scale 1 to 10

    kubuntu 9.10
    speed 9.5 : boot pretty fast, with my intel igp the desktop is super responsive and clean (no render errors so far)
    i/o 10: my very heavy files copy through nfs to my server at 35mb wich i feel pretty good for only sata disk
    software availability 9.8: well the godly debian apt system do his thing here, is not 10 cuz i cant find qt 4.6 ppa packages
    stability 7: the software per se is 10 stable so far except koffice beta2 but that is a beta. my issues here is actually linux (see at the end for more details)
    hardware availability 9: lately is hard to find something not working at least basically in linux these days

    opensolaris 2009.6
    speed 8: decent boot time, not too ugly boot process, gnome feels very slow to me at least not as responsive as kde4.3.2 in kubuntu and clean with intel igp.
    i/o 9 : i get 28mb here doing the same thing wich is still very good + zfs
    software availability 4: is a complete real pain in the ass, the installer remember me the old redhat 5 rpm days, most the time you need sources and patches to get oss software working
    hardware availability 7: well i got surprised here, very nice improvement since last checked, jajaj wifi and sata works most of the time now

    *my problem here is well, sun have created some really nasty technologies like zfs, zones, snapshots, dtrace, svc,etc. but the way the think the distro concept is very very wrong. first in the name of god make something with the hardware path names (/dev/s0d0c0/XXXXXXXX is not pretty to get especially for desktop users), on the other hand ok wifi and ethernet works cool but really put wlan0 and eth0 as device name is that hard?? use a more linux like ifconfig system will kill ya?? i know these are small issues but lol i have a hardtime remembering what plmb up was for but in this small details linux even unstable like hell and with regression every 2 days make users a bit more comfortable my point here is not make opensolaris a linux, im just pointing out that linux make this stuff more user friendly and opensolaris can use this small changes to be more friendly, lol even my dad wich is a normal winduser understand that eth0 is his ehternet card and /dev/sda is his hardrive

    *the other point is while rethink the wheel again and again, really why?? apt kick the opensolaris packaging system ass all the way around again and again, so why for god sake dont you use apt instead of that nigthmare of packaging system. really apt is proven,OSS,fast, easy to use, lol i even heard apt have several gui frontends believe it or not!! so even if i loved all these exceptional technologies provided with opensolaris (wich actually make me wanna switch to opensolaris btw) i cant cuz im gonna kill myself before get all my software in kubuntu running in opensolaris stable and nexenta well is the rigth path but the software repo is very old for me, nexenta would be close to replace ubuntu if they can keep up with lastest kubuntu packages.

    * i dont think is smart to marry one desktop enviroment in opensolaris. i mean ok gnome is a big desktop enviroment but for me kde is vital to work (im a C++ qt/kde dev for comercial goverment apps), so i tried kde4 in solaris and dammit i never think would be so unstable, ofc i know kde team is working in migration but later i founded out that vanilla lateast gnome dont work too good either, so i assume opensolaris have their own custom patched gnome system to access the cool solaris stuff and stability but well thats not smart. lol plz make a set of userspace tool library for all this functions in clean C++ and let the desktop team to implement the functions in their respective enviroment so we all can enjoy the goodies.

    *the other issues in opensolaris seems to be the uncommon api for accessing features aka ok solaris detected my soundcard just fine but no oss software can access the hardware interface correctly so if it sound is very crappy. i dont say use alsa cuz i know is linux specific but can you use an standard so the community dont have to rewrite every audio software. maybe an alsa api compatible interface (i mean userland api). mmm maybe port alsa kernel part to solaris cuz i think alsa support more devices correctly these days (dunno for sure)

    *well about X in solaris is an entire story, basically well is very inferior to the one in kubuntu. i mean kde4 feels soooo slow rendering even when all seems to load fine even 3d, fonts antialiasing is non existant too (well forcing kde to antialiasing helped but is very far away from kubuntu even without antialiasing), adopt latest x.org/mesa/gallim/drm/dri doesnt look like a bad idea here, you know. beside this well 3d composite in kde4+kubuntu is feeling great lately but when i try in solaris is very different like slow and sluggish

    my only problem with kubuntu rigth now is the linux kernel, dont get me wrong i love to play with the linux kernel and i love how it works, from an user standpoint is very polished in the details. but linux kernel never stabilize and i hate the drivers to be that much dependant on kernel internal api wich change so sickly often (aka from 2.6.30 to 2.6.30.1 anything can happen with the drivers) wich often force user to recompile drivers (assuming that some change didint break the code somewhere and make driver unusable) and isv to recode the driver every time a kernel is relased. and i especially love when a kernel api change break acpi or sysv scripts. so in this particular an important task solaris is enterprise made so i can avoid all that mess independently if i update the kernel or not.

    so opensolaris at kernel lvl can surpass or equal linux kernel ? yes after fixing some rough edges like i said before, disk path, hardware /dev names more standars and use /home instead of /export and better support for hardware interfaces with community standards like alsa, etc

    opensolaris distros can surpass linux like distros? no, no for a desktop user, no for a kde user, no for someone who actually need to install any software in the distro. except nexenta but still need a loot of work

    to me the perfect fit here is a community standard focused polished opensolaris kernel in ubuntu/debian not otherwise

  2. #2
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    Good points, well made ...

    Not dis'ing you but the Solaris ifconfig system is significantly better IMHO, I can do so much extra with my solaris box as regards network testing than i can do with my linux boxes, It's one of the main reasons that my laptop has Solaris on it unlike all the others in my office with Ubuntu. I guess you just have to know what it can do.

    Not that it is straight forward, but you can rename ethernet card's using dladm using 'Virtual NIC's http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/819-6990/ggixp?a=view so you can have wlan0 and eth0 ...

    there are advantages (and disadvantages) of naming cards separately, especially in machines with multiple interface cards, or multiple models ...

    a fair number of the issues you've mentioned, especially in regard to the X have (supposedly) been fixed in the newer versions, if you patch to the latest version of OpenSolaris it should perform significantly better on your hardware, I agree with you about Gnome though, you can download and install KDE as packages if you so desire ... I haven't yet done this: http://solaris.kde.org/ (Officially supported by KDE)

    OSS is integrated into OpenSolaris now, which should provide a relatively common interface, It's compiled into Mozilla Apps by default, and most games will support it, even if only via SDL.

    I consider myself to be an oddity in using Solaris on the desktop, and can live with it's foibles, because of it's advantages

    Thanks for your input and time

    Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    Good points, well made ...

    Not dis'ing you but the Solaris ifconfig system is significantly better IMHO, I can do so much extra with my solaris box as regards network testing than i can do with my linux boxes, It's one of the main reasons that my laptop has Solaris on it unlike all the others in my office with Ubuntu. I guess you just have to know what it can do.

    Not that it is straight forward, but you can rename ethernet card's using dladm using 'Virtual NIC's http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/819-6990/ggixp?a=view so you can have wlan0 and eth0 ...

    there are advantages (and disadvantages) of naming cards separately, especially in machines with multiple interface cards, or multiple models ...

    a fair number of the issues you've mentioned, especially in regard to the X have (supposedly) been fixed in the newer versions, if you patch to the latest version of OpenSolaris it should perform significantly better on your hardware, I agree with you about Gnome though, you can download and install KDE as packages if you so desire ... I haven't yet done this: http://solaris.kde.org/ (Officially supported by KDE)

    OSS is integrated into OpenSolaris now, which should provide a relatively common interface, It's compiled into Mozilla Apps by default, and most games will support it, even if only via SDL.

    I consider myself to be an oddity in using Solaris on the desktop, and can live with it's foibles, because of it's advantages

    Thanks for your input and time

    Jon
    thx for your replies, ill try those tips, when i figure out how get latest software in solaris or ill just download 2010 preview. about kde, well yes it install and even log but the stability/speed compared to linux is unusable + non of the solaris feature as far i can tell is there yet nor in vanilla gnome either so i think ill wait for sometime until is more polished. solaris is trully polished for server and certain type of workstation but at desktop lvl need more time. about card names yes for nasty enviroments like nested network interfaces in a server is useful but for non server enviroments is hard to get, not for me btw i am geek so i can get used to it but my father nose bleed when i tried to explain it to him, in fact after that explanation my father replies "just leave kubuntu here, that is too much for me" so to average joe solaris need this changes out of the box, average joe is like money they fear everything they dont easily understand. dunno maybe two separate builds, 1 for server with default routes and 1 for desktop/netbooks, etc with all the path and commands more understandable for ppl.

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    They've got a "Network Automagic" thing: http://opensolaris.org/os/project/nwam/

    which will probably do what you want, when they've finished it

    The things for me that will really stop it going wholesale (and remember that I _do_ actually run Solaris 10 on a laptop) are: Bluetooth, NWAM, Nice Window Manager ...

    I use CDE (Yeah I know, but it's extremely fast), but it has been "Deprecated" in OpenSolaris, I have the Wireless stuff, and Power management stuff from OpenSolaris installed, I have OSS for sound, I have the latest X patches, and some hand compiled SDL libraries to take advantage of 3d/Xacceleration and OSS sound ... It does what I need, but I wouldn't give it to anyone else

    Don't get me wrong the kernel on Solaris is extremely good, the IP stack is very very robust ... some apps need work, Standard solaris printing has been shafted to try and lever in CUPS and the old solaris printing system was the easiest thing in the world (if you had a postscript printer) ... Where hardware is supported in solaris it works (IMHO) better than the hardware in Linux, but that support for hardware is not so good, although it's getting a little better.

    What Solaris needs, to get the desktop, is someone like Mark Shuttleworth who doesn't care specifically for the ideals of how it's done as long as it works and it looks very good. Not that I would want that generally, but it might be nice to see people in PC World looking at a Solaris box on the shelves

  5. #5

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    @Jadrevenge

    Where hardware is supported in solaris it works (IMHO) better than the hardware in Linux, but that support for hardware is not so good, although it's getting a little better.
    Don't spread FUD please. If there's a single driver which is better in Solaris it doesn't mean every driver is. It's not. It sounds something like this: we don't have any advantages (say less drivers), so we must present our disadvantages in good light.
    Last edited by kraftman; 10-13-2009 at 04:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kraftman View Post
    @Jadrevenge

    Don't spread FUD please. If there's a single driver which is better in Solaris it doesn't mean every driver is. It's not. It sounds something like this: we don't have any advantages (say less drivers), so we must present our disadvantages in good light.
    well is not entirely fud kraft, up to certain point yes some drivers work better in solaris but i suppose is cuz they have direct fabricant specs and stuff + solaris is basically a server enviroment trying to reach desktop so they try to get hardware to work better as possible. so ressuming for example solaris own linux in any type of drivers related to network and linux own solaris in graphic hardware support for example. beside solaris tend to feel more stable cuz drivers arent as tied to kernel inner core like in linux so is less traumatic with upgrades and stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrch2k8 View Post
    well is not entirely fud kraft, up to certain point yes some drivers work better in solaris but i suppose is cuz they have direct fabricant specs and stuff + solaris is basically a server enviroment trying to reach desktop so they try to get hardware to work better as possible. so ressuming for example solaris own linux in any type of drivers related to network and linux own solaris in graphic hardware support for example. beside solaris tend to feel more stable cuz drivers arent as tied to kernel inner core like in linux so is less traumatic with upgrades and stuff

    There's no rule to anything you said. There are examples on both sides network drivers being broken and there are examples of problems after upgrades on both sides too. So, not a rule :> Why Solaris should have some hardware specs while Linux not?

    Btw. Solaris on dekstops. It should support hardware, 3D (afaik only nvidia provides binary drivers for Solaris), flash player (I don't like it, but can't live without yt ), something like Apt would be great. I'd love to have good responsiveness and performance - I can't say too much about this, because I ran it only in vbox last time, but Ubuntu in vbox was snappier.
    Last edited by kraftman; 10-13-2009 at 03:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kraftman View Post
    There's no rule to anything you said. There are examples on both sides network drivers being broken and there are examples of problems after upgrades on both sides too. So, not a rule :> Why Solaris should have some hardware specs while Linux not?

    Btw. Solaris on dekstops. It should support hardware, 3D (afaik only nvidia provides binary drivers for Solaris), flash player (I don't like it, but can't live without yt ), something like Apt would be great. I'd love to have good responsiveness and performance - I can't say too much about this, because I ran it only in vbox last time, but Ubuntu in vbox was snappier.
    well about drivers, well linux mostly reverse engineer drivers or sometime some vendor release crippled documentation. on the other hand sun have relations with hardware makers so they can get all docs and hardware to write drivers most the time not always ofc, so sun tend to get more complete driver but closed source most of the time and linux are oss but sometime miss functionalitys cuz lack of info but is not a rule is more like a pattern maybe aka you have more odd to find a fully compliant hardware driver in sun than linux just that. about stability well yes in any os youll find broken drivers here and there thats natural.

    about the rest yes ill love that too

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrch2k8 View Post
    well about drivers, well linux mostly reverse engineer drivers or sometime some vendor release crippled documentation. on the other hand sun have relations with hardware makers so they can get all docs and hardware to write drivers most the time not always ofc, so sun tend to get more complete driver but closed source most of the time and linux are oss but sometime miss functionalitys cuz lack of info but is not a rule is more like a pattern maybe aka you have more odd to find a fully compliant hardware driver in sun than linux just that. about stability well yes in any os youll find broken drivers here and there thats natural.

    about the rest yes ill love that too
    haha lols,

    That was true maybe 10 years ago, Sun have to pay money to get drivers ported to Solaris at all these days, no vendor writes a Solaris driver willingly anymore, they don't get better hw specs or any more info.

    If you've gotten a reverse engineered driver on Linux you most likely have no driver on Solaris.

    Some fool also claimed as Solaris was a server OS it had more stable drivers, this is also a load of horseshit, Linux is a server OS, and most of the server hw drivers are rock solid and far better than Solaris equivs, and have full vendor support. Consumer hw support is where things suck, and Solaris consumer hw support sucks more than Linux.

    Dave.

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    Sorry, I really shouldn't have posted that ... it was only going to be flame-bait.

    I've written both Solaris drivers _and_ linux drivers.

    If you look for me on the internet you'll find my name next to the Canon scanner driver under SANE and related kernel changes that i needed to do because the SCSI interface on Linux was written by a guy who wanted to get _his_ scanner working and didn't know what settings were useful for everyone else, just what worked for him. At one point in time they create a packet of information and send the packet and the size to another procedure where it throws away the size and passes it to another procedure that guesses what the size should have been based on the first element in the packet.

    Sorry even after all these years I still feel slightly bitter ...

    The Solaris drivers I wrote weren't great though, they were for a USB scanner, in Solaris 8, whilst the USB bus in Solaris 8 was new ... if you powered off the scanner (or got a paper jam) it halted the bus and you had to force a bus reset before it would work.

    Look, where a manufacturer posts a driver, it in general has been through much more testing ... Check out the Intel drivers for linux.

    Where a driver is written by the guys that are paid to keep the kernel of an operating system clean and working in conjunction with the manufacturer it makes sense that the driver is gonna be good.

    For instance the Networking system in Solaris that enables 10Gb ethernet (http://opensolaris.org/os/project/crossbow/) has been significantly modified to enable full speed CPU utilising streaming of network traffic ... It's the first system to get that kinda performance ... and the Manufacturers were pretty much lining up to make sure that their cards worked with it, and were the best they could be.

    With USB3 (not yet released) the first box in the world to run it was a Solaris box with a modified USB driver at Intel ...

    Look don't get me wrong, I've had sh*tty drivers on Solaris, I have a machine sitting opposite me that has a Broadcom 5787 onboard card in it that works 1/8th the time, and that was during install after patching the install server and crossing my fingers, and in the past I've managed to completely foobar a machine by installing a schilling driver to access a CDrom drive on a machine with SCSI disks ...

    When my new laptop arrives in 4 days (It comes with Vista <SHUDDER>) it will have Ubuntu on before I let my family near it so that it has proper 3d support, very useful if you wanna do silly little things like watch BBC iplayer with no lag, or play games on lego.com without thawing out an Iceberg with CPU usage, that I'd have to do if I installed Solaris on the thing ...

    I'm possibly undervaluing Solaris at this point, but I truly wouldn't put my family through something on the desktop that feels unfinished at the moment, they're not exactly computer literate to administrator level, my eldest being only 8.

    My point was only that the drivers on Solaris have a more finished feel to them on the whole, and as you've probably noticed I have a tendency to waffle.

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