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Sun Microsystems Operating Systems Software Unix

Previewing the Next Solaris OS 278

Eric Boutilier writes "Amy Rich has written an excellent Solaris Express (Solaris 10) how-to and general overview. It covers how the program works, using the community web site, and what's new in Solaris Express." Among many new features, the TCP/IP stack has been redesigned, IPv6 support improved, and both NFSv4 and USB 2.0 support added.
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Previewing the Next Solaris OS

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  • Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Good alternative for my boxes, diversity is good, to put along side my FreeBSD, NetBSD and Windows machines.

    Now, all I need is a PowerBook and I'll be set.
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @07:33AM (#8338113) Journal
    (In case the first post is modded down to hell, that's what it said :-)

    The market for Solaris is very different from Linux, it's datacentre-land, not home user. I still don't see it lasting too long though... One of the microsoft lines that really is true is that Linux is a larger threat to Unix than to MS, at the moment (MS forgot the 'at the moment' bit :-)

    Two wars: The desktop and the datacentre. Despite the cliche of fighting a war on two fronts, Linux is porbably uniquely positioned to fight a war on N fronts (where N is a positive, large integer). The way it's set up is to leverage groups of people whilst folding the advances back into the core.

    SGI are turning to Linux, Sun will too. There'll be a few releases of both OS's first, though, IMHO.


    • > SGI are turning to Linux, Sun will too. There'll be a few releases of both OS's first, though, IMHO.

      There is the same story with the Sun hardware... the Ultrasparc architecture. It is hard for one company to keep up with development of their own CPU's for long. The latest word has been that they have put new core's on the ice, and instead try to spinn on the ones they already have.

      It is hard to compete with the main stream hardware, and at the desktop it's definitely impossible to beat x86 at best ba
      • by __past__ ( 542467 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:39AM (#8338363)
        There are rumors that Sun might join forces with Fujitsu Siemens, i.e. closer collaboration of the UltraSparc and SPARC64 design teams. This would seem like a pretty smart move - if you make your processor arch publicly available, you might as well try to benefit from it. Two independent groups developing 64bit sparcs for servers is a little wastefull, and maintaining an alternative architecture is hard enough.
      • Sun is all about throughput (bandwidth). Their biggest customers run heavily threaded workloads such as databases. Hence single CPU performance (latency) isn't as important. You will see Sun be a leader in chip-multiprocessing-- that is, don't be suprised if Sun releases a chip with 8 cores on it in the next 2-4 years.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:20AM (#8338291)
      The market for Solaris is very different from Linux, it's datacentre-land, not home user.
      Linux is still a long way behind Solaris with things like NFS - massive speed differences. A home user isn't going to care much about NFS, which is probably the main reason why NFS still sucks under linux (though not so much in 2.6). I'm sure there's other things as well.

      One of the microsoft lines that really is true is that Linux is a larger threat to Unix than to MS
      I disagree. Linux is a bigger threat in server space, you have to remember that even after a decade NT et al are the upstart operating systems that have steadily been getting commodity PC hardware into server space - linux challenges that head on by providing a solid multiuser OS that runs on PC hardware, and does it much better than the steadily improving NT operating systems. You only run a Microsoft operating system if you want to run the programs that come with that platform or if you want to use cheap PC hardware as a server. Linux does threaten Microsoft in that way, and I suspect that has contibuted to them improving their software (security patches when they didn't care about them before, and the numerous new features in longhorn).
      • by jadel ( 746203 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:48AM (#8338398)
        Note the following is my opinion, I don't claim to have all the answers or any more insight than regularly reading IT news...
        The biggest difference (IMNSHO) between the open source community (including what is commonly referred to as the Linux community) and Microsoft is cultural. MS is a marketing driven organisation - features are chosen and development is directed based on what will shift boxes - even the current security initiatives are aimed at minimizing the amount of damage the reputation of the company was incurring due to its repeated and high profile security problems.
        OSS projects seem to come in a huge range of styles and with a similarly huge number of objectives, however there is a larger emphasis on technical merit. Linus has a reputation for being draconian in what he will allow into the kernel, he is entirely willing to throw patches away that don't meet his standards no matter how wonderful the functionality they provide may be.
        The result of this is that although OSS is generally not as "shiny" as MS products tend to be, it seems to be built on a much more solid foundation. Whether that is enough of an advantage for it to take a sizeable bite out of MS' market share remains to be seen.
        Of course MS also seem to be their own biggest enemy. The new licensing arrangements and product activation seem to be designed to make life difficult for businesses. Likewise the way they seem to alternate between smear campaigns against Linux and running scared any time a business talks about moving there desktops over to an OSS solution has been raising the profile of alternatives to people who would not have otherwise heard of them.
        Truly we live in interesting times (in both senses of the phrase.)
      • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @11:11AM (#8339392) Homepage Journal

        Linux is still a long way behind Solaris with things like NFS

        Behind yes, but not a long way, and the gap has been closing over the past several years.

        I'm really looking forward to performance and security of NFSv4, but am apprehensive that the setup [] appears to be more complicated than just editing a couple files in /etc.

        BTW, given all the recent hoopla over Sun's commitment to free and open source software, they ought to be recognized for sponsoring the CITI group at UMich [] that had a lot to do with Linux NFSv4, and for sponsoring the Connectathon [] series of conferences that I'm hoping will make my Linux desktop NFS client interact better with my Sun NFS fileserver.

    • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:34AM (#8338345)
      In the datacenter for a good while yet. Several years, at least 3 and probably longer. Basically the hardware is better than Intel for the non sparcified PC clones anyway. Bigger caches, more I/O, more memory bandwidth etc. Linux isn't yet trusted on this stuff and it won't kill Solaris off until 3-5 years after it is trusted on the big iron.

      I have no problem with Solaris and Linux side by side and neither do the management. We are actively and with prejudice trying to kill off HP-UX as soon as possible though.

    • by cyb97 ( 520582 ) * <> on Friday February 20, 2004 @09:43AM (#8338699) Homepage Journal
      > Despite the cliche of fighting a war on two fronts

      The biggest reason this cliche doesn't really hold water is because Linux isn't really fighting in the same sence of the word as Microsoft, Sun, SCO (not flamebait) and other OS-makers are.
      Linux, or rather the development of it, isn't based on sales and income. Linux development will (and does) go on without having to produce financial profits and results.

      Sun for example wouldn't be able to produce an OS that nobody use. It just wouldn't go down well with shareholders, and would frankly be a right out stupid idea businesswise.
      Linux on the otherhand isn't dependand on one single company or entity. It's made by the people for the people. So it hasn't got anything to loose, and we all know that those who can make the ultimate sacrifice usually wins the battle, if not the war.
    • by bwy ( 726112 )
      True, it is pretty obvious most folks here have never actually been in a corporate data center for a medium to large sized company.

      When you see what these guys are doing with big boxes (Sun 6500's up to the 15K) you realize how much of apples and oranges this dicussion really is. Anyobody who thinks that Linux on Intel is a threat to this type of a market is crazy.

      That being said, Linux is making a little ground on other architectures, but to be honest I haven't seen a single customer yet who is actu
  • What about Gnome ?
    Will the next Solaris version ship Gnome as the default desktop ?
    And also important, what are the Solaris users opinion on Gnome(vs CDE) ?
    • Can't stand it!! Prefer KDE. Was disappointed to see no CDE improvements. It would great if it was brought up to date.
    • Re:Gnome ? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zz99 ( 742545 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @07:54AM (#8338195)
      I'm using Solaris at work, and I'm no fan of Gnome, but compared with CDE I'll pick it any day. reality I'm actually running KDE 3.2, installed in my home directory :)
    • The current version of Solaris 9 already installs Gnome by default - it is not the "default desktop", but only because users have to choose it from a dropdown list in the login screen. I doubt that Sun will drop it again, after all the work they put in it.

      IMHO, the Solaris Gnome is not too pretty. Some stuff doesn't work right, and integration with Solaris tools is not as good as it is in CDE. Of course, CDE is not the perfect desktop either, so the main advantage is that now you can choose the way in whic

  • Program? (Score:4, Funny)

    by NicolaiBSD ( 460297 ) <spam@v[ ] ['and' in gap]> on Friday February 20, 2004 @07:40AM (#8338141) Homepage
    It covers how the program works

    But can you run this program called Solaris 10 on Linux? Or do you need wine for that?
  • by justanyone ( 308934 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @07:48AM (#8338176) Homepage Journal

    I know this is a trivial thing, but it's a real pain in the butt to have to use ksh all the time because most Solaris boxen I've worked on don't have Bash installed by default.

    The same goes for OpenSSL [] and a bunch of other tools that would be great to have but that I cannot count on being there.

    On the other front, having Gnome [] as a gui readily available is definitely deserving of kudos. If only I had more than ssh access to most of the boxes I work with, I could actually use it. We have Hummingbird [] Exceed, but it's such a HUGE pain to set up. Neither myself, a reasonably good programmer, nor any of the sysadmins at the very large bank where I work know how to set it up.


    -- Kevin J. Rice
    • by benwb ( 96829 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @07:55AM (#8338196)
      Solaris 9 has ssh by default, so I can only assume that 10 will as well.

    • by stephenbooth ( 172227 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:00AM (#8338213) Homepage Journal

      If you're not averse to free software then I suggest you try Cygwin ( It's a lot easier to set up than Hummbingbird eXeed. It's also free. I've been using it for a few years now to get X access to remote *nix boxen, never had any problems cos it's easy to setup and use. And did I mention that, unliek Hummingbird eXeed, it's free?


      • There are two things that I particularly hate about cygwin. One, its package management. The interface for that is just awful and I'm both shocked and appalled that there's nothing for the command line to manage cygwin packages.

        Two, don't even think of using cygwin for Win32 development for non-GPL code. I first got interested in cygwin because I wanted an easy unix-style environment in which to develop a couple of trivial BSD-licensed programs. Turns out, however, that the cygwin libraries are GPL'ed (not
    • most Solaris boxen I've worked on don't have Bash installed by default.
      A very quick download and one commandline later and you have bash. You don't even have to use ksh to run the package command, you can do it via csh if you prefer.
    • by larien ( 5608 ) * on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:02AM (#8338218) Homepage Journal

      # pkginfo SUNWbash
      system SUNWbash GNU Bourne-Again shell (bash)

      Perhaps not always installed by default, but it is available. That's on Solaris 8, BTW. As for other stuff, check out []

      • Is that on one of the Solaris install CDs? Or is it just available from sunfreeware?

        A couple years back, I worked at a mid-size datacenter that used Sun boxes almost exclusively (Solaris 2.6 and 7), and as far as I remember, we had to manually install bash (meaning, there wasn't an option during install to install it).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Can't speak for OpenSSL, but bash is certainly there in Solaris Express:

      % uname -srv
      SunOS 5.10 s10_49
      % which bash
    • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:09AM (#8338249) Homepage Journal
      I know this is a trivial thing, but it's a real pain in the butt to have to use ksh all the time because most Solaris boxen I've worked on don't have Bash installed by default.

      We keep a local sunfreeware mirror for new sunos installs. Bash, updated Perl with modules, wget, lynx, openssl, bzip, sudo, lsof, openssh, and ncftp. (no gcc) If it wasn't for sunfreeware [], I'd go nuts using Solaris. Anyone that has to move/push/alter data, needs common tools on all platforms, thank god for Sunfreeware.

      • Another relatively painless way to install lots of free software on Solaris is the NetBSD pkgsrc collection [] (what the other BSDs call "ports"). Like NetBSD itself, an important goal is portability, and in its case the result is that it is not actually NetBSD-specific and works on many other OSes, including Solaris.

        The only drawback is that it doesn't integrate with the Solaris-native package management scheme, it uses its own database and utilities. It is also not a good idea to use it with the Sunfreeware

      • Better than, is

        automatic package dependancy handling, bugtracking, and staffed by 30 volunteers instead of just 1 person.

        Plus, 64bit versions of libraries, if you ever need that sort of thing.
    • by Gollum ( 35049 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:13AM (#8338261)
      ssh access is all you really need to execute X11 commands. Install Cygwin and Xfree86 if Exceed is too complex. Then SSH in to the box, and check what your DISPLAY variable is set to (echo $DISPLAY). It should point back to your IP address (or hostname), followed by :0.0

      if it is not, do "export DISPLAY=your.ip:0.0" and execute an xterm, or start gnome, or do whatever you want to.
      • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @09:34AM (#8338633) Homepage Journal


        When I do

        $ ssh -X solarisbox
        my X network traffic is nicely hidden taken caer of by ssh; the Solaris box puts X traffic onto a fake local framebuffer DISPLAY like
        before sending it back to my realbox:0.0.

        It might be slower than what you suggest, but I think it's a lot more secure. Without ssh doing the job of making your X network traffic secure you'll have to worry about Xauthority. Too many people (and I was one once) get around Xauthority hassles with an

        $ xhost +
        and I can't begin to tell you just how Bad that is.
        • It's not a fake local framebuffer. It's just port redirection (tunneling, what ever you want to call it) over ssh. It's is much more secure (as secure as ssh itself) and it's probably faster if you're using ssh compression on a slow link.

          However, in either case, there's no reason to do xhost + on the server. You could use xauth +server on the client, but you're right, that sucks too, because anyone on the server can display applications, read keystrokes and grab screenshoots. Also, DISPLAY=client:0 probab

    • Just configure it to perform and XDMCP query on your login servers.

    • Yes, they have bash and OpenSSL. Bash has been in at least the `everything' install since 8 (and probably smaller ones too, and of course you can always just add the packages), OpenSSL since 9 I think.

      If you install the Sun bonus CD (? I forget the name, anyway its one of the ones that comes with the media if you have that, and you can also download it), you also get a load of free software packages including emacs (both of them), most of the gnu stuff including gcc &c &c, kde and so on. And ther
    • I hate working on linux boxes that don't have ksh installed. (Yes, I know some do, just like some Suns have bash.)

      I don't really have a problem with Sun giving you the bare minimum tools. I admit it can be a PITA to install stuff, but if you're doing a lot of builds, Jumpstart should be churning out boxes exactly how you like them.

      I personally don't like the way more and more stuff has been creeping in to the standard Solaris install, even into the core cluster. If I'm building a DNS server. I don't *want
  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:08AM (#8338246)
    Something like AFS which can scale across an entire enterprise.

    • They do have the poorly documented/marketed QFS which allows for multiple hosts to share a common fibre channel disk array.
  • devfs (Score:3, Funny)

    by binford2k ( 142561 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:10AM (#8338254) Homepage Journal
    Nice, Solaris is getting devfs support . . . just as it is marked deprecated in Linux 2.6
    • Re:devfs (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nice, Solaris is getting devfs support . . . just as it is marked deprecated in Linux 2.6

      Solaris lack of change is one of the main reasons why it's so damn stable as an OS. They do not want to be like Linux where there is a new API every year. A new API or new low level things are not bad per-se but it's something else that needs to be debugged, something else that needs to be learned and something else that may not be compatible with current software.

      Case in point: Oracle on Linux, or any commercial a
    • Why is devfs deprecated exactly? Seems to work fine on all the Gentoo workstations and servers I have here.
  • DTrace (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:18AM (#8338283)
    DTrace definitely seems to be worth checking out. As the article indicates, more info is available here [].
    As the article does not indicate -- but it seems to be worth mentioning -- DTrace was introduced in a comp.unix.solaris post here []. Seems pretty damn cool...
  • more power to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuckin futs ( 574289 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:22AM (#8338298)
    Any OS that is out there that can take away from the 90%+ market share that Microsoft holds is a good thing.
    Of course Microsoft's market share won't go down if this OS just replaces one *nix variant with another, but that's another story.
  • Fire Engine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zz99 ( 742545 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:57AM (#8338435)
    The register has an old story [] about the new TCP/IP stack in Solaris 10, that is good reading.

    A quick summary of the story:

    The new stack has:
    - Efficient at handling multiple NICs
    - Low CPU usage (30% lower than Linux)
    - Build for targeting 10/100 Gbps in the future. Has a new construction where it is possible to offload the cpu by routing packet to dedicated packet processing processors.

    The last part seems like a preparation for the Sun hardware of tomorrow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 20, 2004 @09:08AM (#8338473)
    i try with solaris express and I find a cool feature called "ppriv" like this:

    gta3# ppriv $$
    1124: bash
    flags = 0x0
    E: all
    I: basic
    P: all
    L: all

    Ok, so I am root I have all privileges I think

    but now look at rpcbind, it is runnign as daemon but has less priviliges even than normal processes

    gta3# ppriv 100182
    100182: /usr/sbin/rpcbind
    flags = 0x2
    E: net_privaddr,proc_fork,sys_nfs
    I: none
    P: net_privaddr,proc_fork,sys_nfs
    L: all

    see, it does not have privilege to do 'exec'... there are 30 or more privileges and it has only 3. So i guess this means some stack attack will not work against it like exec shell

    also i can run and see privileges like thids

    gta3$ ppriv -D -e cat /etc/shadow
    cat[100619]: missing privilege "file_dac_read" (euid = 77293, syscall = 225) needed at ufs_iaccess+0xd2
    cat: cannot open /etc/shadow

    not sure what this means?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      that looks very usefull. maybe it's the implementation of this point from the article?

      "Solaris Express is moving from always requiring superuser rights to a privilege-based model. The system now restricts processes to only those privileges that are required to perform the current task. This results in the vulnerability of fewer root processes and the reduction in the number of setuid root programs."

  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @09:16AM (#8338519)
    Ace's Hardware had a post about Solaris 10 [] back in November.

    There is an alternative introduction on the main Solaris 10 page [] too. Eg:
    N1 Grid Containers is a breakthrough approach to virtualization with multiple software partitions per single instance of the OS. N1 Grid Containers make consolidation simple, safe and secure.

    * Superior Resource Utilization. N1 Grid Containers dynamically adjust resources to business goals within and across the container. With little management overhead (less than 1%), it offers over 4,000 containers per system.
    * Increased Uptime. With N1 Grid Containers, applications are isolated from each other and from system faults. Using Instant Restart, each Container can be restarted in just seconds. Boot time in large systems can be reduced by as much as 70%.
    * Reduced Costs. N1 Grid Containers simplifies and accelerates consolidation. It also significantly reduces system, admin and maintenance overhead.

    The containers (previous called Solaris Zones) can also each have their own root password and own IP address, as well as min/max/QoS resource settings.
  • DTrace probes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haggar ( 72771 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @09:19AM (#8338533) Homepage Journal
    Dtrace probes was be the most important factor for our decision to upgrade all development servers to Solaris 10. We'll mostly skip Solaris 9, actually.

    The fact is that we need as much insight in our processes as we can possibly get, as every little performance increase helps. Plus, we get to inspect possible sources of instability.

    Typically our products interact with several third-party products, and the DTrace probes will be very useful in tracking down memory leaks and utilization details in such complex environments.
  • I am eager to check how it will run on my next laptop. An installation report about Solaris 10 on a laptop [] will be available soon.
  • I spent the better part of yesterday installing this thing on an old Ultra2 system. It's obvious why HP and IBM are eating Sun's lunch... you spend the better part of four hours installing the OS from the fancy new installer, cramming 3 CD's worth of stuff onto your system, only to reboot and find nothing was configured right, the drivers you need aren't installed, and none of the sexy stuff, like the Gnome 2.0 desktop, is anywhere to be found.

    I toss the 10 installer CD, and slap in the "disk one" CD, whic

  • The Software Express site says that in order to use Software Express, you have to have an existing Solaris license, but I downloaded the ISOs a few days ago just fine without having to prove that I had one.
  • suninstall (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rice-Pudding ( 167484 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @12:38PM (#8340239)
    The Solaris Web Start command-line interface has been replaced with suninstall to improve usability.

    Did anyone else read this as s-uninstall? I was wondering why it was so important to include an uninstall option right away, and to feature it so prominently in the article. :-)

  • by greygent ( 523713 ) on Friday February 20, 2004 @01:49PM (#8340864) Homepage

    Solaris Express is Sun's program to allow users to preview upcoming versions of Solaris. It IS NOT Solaris 10.

    Now you know.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.