Solaris - Intro Notes - Back to Index



Nexenta Operating System is a free and open source operating system combining the OpenSolaris kernel with GNU application userland.


Since I no longer work with Solaris I have not been updating this page but there a couple of things I noticed in the news recently that are worth mentioning. Firstly, there was a lot of noise about a serious security vulnerability in the telnet daemon shipped with Solaris 10 - about as serious as they get! It is detailed in Sun Alert ID: 102802.

The other thing is that some people at Sun were thinking about how big a computer they could make. They quickly came to the conclusion that it would not be practical to make one larger than a standard shipping container and this led to the idea for Project Blackbox.


Released on 2005-06-17, ShilliX was the first OpenSolaris distribution.


I haven't worked on a Solaris box since I left work in February (currently using Mac OS X and Debian) so I haven't been making any notes here. I was just looking through some old files and was reminded about Patch Check Advanced which is a cool 3rd party patch management tool for Solaris.


Adrian Cockroft, author of "Sun Performance and Tuning" went to the same school as me in Hatfield in the late 1970s, during which time he made use of the computer facilities at Hatfield Polytechnic as it was then. When I started work as a Solaris admin at the University of Hertfordshire (as the Poly later became) I found a signed copy of Adrian's book on the shelf in my office, and I went on to meet him at SANE 2002 in Maastricht where I attended his tutorial on performance tuning. My former boss at UH just noticed that Adrian has left Sun after 16 years to join eBay.


SE Toolkit 3.4 is being offered exclusively at sunfreeware. It seems like it was put up on 2005-01-06, and it the first version which includes source code.


After almost six years working as a Solaris sys admin at the University of Hertfordshire I am finally moving and this is my last week at work. Whilst clearing up various files I came across a few interesting bits and pieces. One of them was a thread on the Sun Managers mailing list with the subject Cool OBP puzzle: Getting CPU manufacture info.


Groklaw covers Sun's response to criticism of the CDDL.


OpenSolaris might seem like a great idea but there is a problem. Although Sun's CDDL license is OSI-approved, OpenSolaris relies on Sun patents which they implied would be made available for use by the FOSS community. Not so - they are now saying that they retain the right to sue anyone who uses these patents in FOSS, the exemption is only for signed up licensees of the CDDL. Unless Sun does a dramatic U-Turn then my advice would be to steer well clear of OpenSolaris. Groklaw explains it in more detail.


Sun offers processing by the hour.


Pamela Jones discusses potential problems with Sun's CDDL license.


I just followed a link to Eric Boutilier's weblog. Eric is one of many Sun employees who maintains a weblog that is available through A load of Sun employee blogs are also available through

Solaris is being released under the terms of the OSI-approved CDDL - see for details.

As far as I can tell there has been no followup to my previous post. Many Groklaw readers submitted questions that they would like Jonathan Schwartz to answer; whether Pamela has even compiled a list of top questions yet I do not know.


Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems has agreed to answer questions from Groklaw.


About a month ago I downloaded Solaris 10 from Solaris Express and installed it on my Ultra 5. After a simple install I could log in to either the Common Desktop Environment or GNOME. I don't think patches are released for Solaris 10 so you just download the latest version whenever you feel like it. I noticed that UFS logging now seems to be enabled by default, but I have not really had much time to explore the system. I needed to add quite a lot of Open Source software, so I followed some advice and installed the client. Blastwave is a collective effort to do for Solaris what apt-get does for Debian, and it certainly does make things a great deal easier.

One of the features of Solaris 10 that is attracting a lot of attention is DTrace, which provides a powerful framework for doing performance analysis of Solaris boxes. I haven't tried it myself but Ashlee Vance published some glowing reports in Sun delivers Unix shocker with DTrace.


The JavaOne Conference gets underway soon, and on the final day there will be a debate about the merits of "open sourcing" Java. There will be some big names taking part, including Lawrence Lessig.


Hard on the heels of Sun's announcement about open sourcing Solaris, their Java technology evangelist, Raghavan Srinivas, has said that an open source version of Java will happen.


Sun has confirmed that it plans to "open source" Solaris.


I just found a Danish website (in English though!) called solaris4you which looks like it might prove to be a very useful resource.


Need a comprehensive list of Solaris 9 packages? Check out this page.


Check out Pamela Jones's take on the eWeek interview with Jonathan Schwartz - it seems more and more like Sun are defecting to the dark side. Fortunately I am not purely a Solaris Sys Admin now, having dabbled with Mac OS X, Debian and Red Hat. There may come a day when I put Solaris in the untouchable category along with Windows.


A couple of days ago, Sun and Microsoft announced that they had entered into a broad technology collaboration arrangement to enable their products to work better together and to settle all pending litigation between the two companies. See the press release.


Solaris Express 02/04 is now available and it includes the ability to partition a single Solaris instance into isolated application environments called zones.


I just had a look at which is a Sun sponsored site hosting community software packages for Solaris. Inspired by the Debian Linux project, the site promises automatic installation on both sparc and x86 using pkg-get.


Sun are going to be shipping Solaris on UltraSPARC for some time, but with the announcement of the Sun Java Desktop System they clearly have other sectors of the market in their sights.


Although I am still working as a Solaris System Administrator I have been neglecting this section of my site for various reasons, including the fact that I am now also a Mac OS X user. If you browse the rest of my site you will realise that I have many conflicting demands on my time, but I will try to keep this page slightly more up to date in future!

So for today, I would like to point out an excellent website maintained by Stoyan Angelov in Bulgaria. Stoyan also maintains an active Solaris-Users mailing list with a searchable archive at The Mail Archive.

Earlier today, while working on my iBook a student came to my office and I demonstrated the usefulness of the new Expose feature in Panther. He was reasonably impressed but responded by pointing out Sun's Project Looking Glass which takes things a step further. Ian Gregory 2010