[SATLUG] Solaris by Sun Micro

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Thu May 15 21:37:23 CDT 2008

On 5/15/08, John Chalinder wrote:

>  Thankfully, it was only the typical 15 minutes to reinstall Ubuntu and
>  the typical 5 minutes to fully update, to return to my fully functional,
>  friendly Ubuntu system.

Obviously, your install did not go well.  Without further 
information, it's hard to tell what may have gone wrong.

However, try putting yourself in the shoes of someone on the other side.

Knowing what you know about Ubuntu, what would you say to a person 
knowledgeable about Solaris who tried Ubuntu but then got exactly the 
same kind of problems as you had with Solaris, and then gave up?

Although it is possible that Solaris is not compatible with your 
hardware, I am not at all convinced you gave Solaris a fair try. 
Certainly, I've had plenty of problems with various distributions on 
various pieces of hardware, but that doesn't mean that their 
platforms are total trash and everybody should be forced to throw 
them away.

You're like one of the blind men who has encountered the Solaris 
Elephant for the first time, and when you feel a rope-like object in 
your hand, you conclude that you know all you need to know about an 
Elephant and you walk away.

Now, you may still feel you don't need to give Solaris another try. 
That's fine, that choice is entirely up to you.  But you shouldn't be 
making snap judgements across the board without having a lot more 
experience, especially since there may be some others out there who 
see your comments and conclude they don't even need to try it -- on 
false grounds.

I use Solaris quite extensively at work.  And I have four Sun 
Ultra-10 clones sitting in a storage facility right now, waiting for 
me to get enough space and time to bring them out and set up my own 

Sun Solaris, HP HP-UX, IBM AIX, are the three leading commercial 
versions of Unix, and they're all pretty much rock-solid.  For any 
mission-critical production network, I'd choose any of them over any 
freely available OS (including my favourite, FreeBSD), or any 
commercial distribution based on a freely available OS (e.g., RHEL).

However, I will agree that they don't tend to have as much freely 
available software made or built for them.  For Solaris, you can 
always install the SunFreeware or Blastwave packages, but those 
aren't as extensive as the packages available for most Linux 
distributions.  Historically, that kind of thing has not been the 
focus for commercial versions of Unix -- they're all about stability, 
manageability, robustness, etc....  So, you're just not going to see 
as much software available for them.

Personally, I'm not sure about Sun's attempt to go open source. 
They've tried to support Intel and other non-SPARC hardware in the 
past, but they were never committed to that path, and they never 
bothered to make patches as widely available for the Intel/non-SPARC 
platforms, they never bothered to work with their third-party 
developers to get software ported over and as widely available, 

In particular, I know that the just-released "Indiana" stuff is not 
yet fully baked.  Try the older Solaris 10 for Intel stuff instead. 
That works much more like "real" Solaris.  They have more work they 
need to do on "Indiana" before it will look and feel right.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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