Oracle Solaris is Unix but not easy to use

Nicola Mingotti

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#26
Cthulhux, it is a fundamental point IMO. If there is not a critical mass of users it will become very difficult to find help once you are stuck on some point.

"Users" here means "system managers", since I am referring to server OS(es).

Oh, exception to my rule, of course, If you made a contract of assitance with somebody, you don't care about community, you simply call them whenever you have a problem.
 

priyadarshan

Active Member

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#27
If you need more of a general-purpose host, you should go with omniOS (very lightweight base installation, great for server use but can also be set up for desktop use) or OpenIndiana (more biased towards desktop use).
sko Thank you for your comments, informative and inspiring.

I have just installed OpenIndiana on a Lenovo ThinkPad W541, in a few minutes, with not a single glitch. Not even Linux Mint went that smoothly (let's not mention Win 10, which takes several hours to bring up to date). The only driver missing is wireless, otherwise all seems to work. Booting seems a bit faster than FreeBSD 11.1, with Mate desktop.

We run FreebSD on all of our servers, and most of our engineers workstations, but it seems I have a new toy now.

I must say, when I saw the booting line "Loading unix..." it felt wonderful.

The Mate install is really well done, a bit retro perhaps, but better than my own "custom made", for sure.

Thank you again, I think I am going to enjoy playing with it. Best wished to the illumos community for keeping such a great project alive.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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#28
I wanted to try Solaris a long time ago but it needed 500MB RAM as I recall and the machine I had at the time only had 250MB. I should still have the disk somewhere.

UNIX has an appeal to me and all things considered, now may be the time for me to try OpenIndiana. Though I do hate the name "Hipster".
 

priyadarshan

Active Member

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#29
Same here, "hipster" is not the best-sounding of names.
At first impact, after looking around for a few hours, I really like the man pages, some are even better then FreeBSD's, which I thought an impossible achievement.
Also, the feeling at the shell is different, it almost feel like a natural progression, coming from Linux, then FreeBSD, now illumos.
Once pkg update is run, it automatically creates a new booting environment, in case one wish to roll back.

On the con side: ThinkPad w541 audio is not yet active, and when the system tries to beep or play a sound it will kind of freeze Mate. Mouse still move around, but I need to login with other client and reboot. I need to fix that.
If you care for nullfs, it is called lofs in illumos.
I will play around some more when I have time, and perhaps post a brief info here, if allowed. It is definitely a nice cousin to FreeBSD.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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#31
I couldn't find the disk I referred to, I had it marked 500MB RAM, but did find my OpenSolaris 2008-05 Live disk.

Edit: With the exception of it not recognizing my FAT formatted USB sticks, and a few other differences like using prstat instead of top, I think I can handle this without too much fret. :)
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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#32
I must say, when I saw the booting line "Loading unix..." it felt wonderful.
Yes it does.

After looking over my OpenSolaris disk I installed OpenIndiana on my least favorite FreeBSD box. It looks exactly the same and even more familiar. top works, pkg update --accept updated 1001 packages in about 20 minutes and went through its own process of preparing to do so that was interesting.

It has some quirks. My root password had already expired when I used su and had to make a new one. You can run pf on Solaris and right now I'm trying to figure out how to do it on OpenIndiana.

It's different and will no doubt take some work, but I figured out FreeBSD and OpenBSD and will figure this out, too.
 

sko

Well-Known Member

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#33
My root password had already expired when I used su and had to make a new one.
Usually you want to leave the root account disabled. Solaris/Illumos has role based access control, so you can delegate very fine grained authorizations or use pre-defined profiles such as e.g. "database admin" or "primary admin" (=equivalent to the superuser).
Search for RBAC, there is lots of documentation out there.
You might also want to try to get your hand on a copy of the "OpenSolaris Bible" which can usually be found for a few bucks (used). Despite being ~10 years old, the basic concepts and architecture described in the book still apply to current illumos distributions. Especially the chapters on FMD, SMF, Dtrace, Zones and RBAC are highly valuable if you want to get started quickly. Crossbow wasn't a thing when the book was written, but the paper from its introduction at LISA09[1] provides essentially all you need to know of the overall architecture and to get you started. The manpages of the involved tools will fill the voids.

[1] http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/servers-storage-admin/crossbowlisa09-304604.html
 

Trihexagonal

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#34
Thanks, I'll see if I can pick up a copy on ebay. I'll have to research the profile delegation part. I'm used to running as root when I need to Admin something.

I'm getting the hang of it now, I've only used it a few hours. The command syntax is different, but so are some for OpenBSD. The one thing I haven't got yet is how to mount my FAT USB drives so I can pull my files

I went with ipf since it's already installed but the ruleset was empty and it is not turned on by default. There were ruleset examples and I just modified one of them.

SSH and portmap were enabled by default with open ports, which I didn't want. Disabling SSH was easy enough but it's not portmap, sunrpc, or rpcbind, it's svcadm disable rpc/bind so the syntax is different. I scanned it from the LAN and everything is kosher with ipfw now.

I do get sound out of my Gateway/Acer clone and have watched a youtube video on Firefox.

Gkrellm is available so I'm happy with that, aside from the pkg repository being quite small.

The rest is very familiar. I just need to use it a while and read the documentation further.

Edit: My Oracle account finally went through, so with laptops to spare I might as well have a Solaris 11.3 box, too. :)
 
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TomHsiung

TomHsiung

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#35
For a commercial server OS, the technology teams would develop that OS and make it nice, macOS is an example. For an open server OS, the more people use it, the better developed it would be. Money drives the development and evaluation of commercial server OS, therefore once the money supply is cut off, it dies. In contrast, open server OS's development and evaluation is not driven by money. Instead it is driven by the interest of computer fans who like to make a difference.
 

_martin

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#36
Well, solaris is probably not the #1 OS to try at home when setting media center. Though I must say I had my "mediagw" server running solaris 10 and later solaris 11 at home for few years :)

It's an OS you need to invest time to learn it. It doesn't help that many solutions to problems are locked under MOS (my oracle support) -- if you're not a paying customer solution is harder to reach.
In _my opinion (stressing the word my) there's no better OS for setting up storage server. The whole SCSI framework (STMF) is just .. \o/. I always say: "yes!, that's how it should be done!"
All around zones, ZFS, SAN, iSCSI .. just perfect.

Oracle does have solid documentation though. As mentioned, it takes time to dig through it but in my opinion it's worth it.

But as with PC where P stands for personal, server is there to serve. So it's up to you to choose the best fit there for you.
 

Trihexagonal

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#37
You might also want to try to get your hand on a copy of the "OpenSolaris Bible" which can usually be found for a few bucks (used).
Right time looking, I got a copy for $4.57 total on ebay. The others were going for $35-$76. :)

I've got a working desktop out of OpenIndiana and posted a screenshot on my site tonight.

I still haven't got my USB drives to mount though. It's automount, I know where to look and the designation for it, but it says it cannot be mounted no matter what I've tried so far. This is only the 2nd time I've used ZFS, and with 4GB RAM, so it's still mostly a mystery to me but seems to be doing fine.

Now all I get out of dmesg are multiple "Notice" pointing to my Ethernet card flags "not updated?" That was not the case initially, but I have got internet and listened to radio on Rhythmbox.

I have boku HDD for my Thinkpads and will swap one out to work on Solaris later
 

mefizto

Well-Known Member

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#38
Greetings all,

interesting discussion. Just like _martin, I have been running a Solaris based server, (OmniOS), and like he, I have been thrilled with the SCSI framework.

sko, _martin,

since you seem to have quite experience, which of the surviving Solaris based OS would be the one to try for with X11/GUI form the perspective of (hopefully) longer term survivability?

Kindest regards,

M
 

ronaldlees

Aspiring Daemon

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#39
You don't have to use OpenIndiana - there is always Tribblix (which is really lovely - and installs incredibly fast).
The site for Tribblix says it's the pet project of an astrophysicists or some such thing. That infers it has some of the kind of stuff he'd likely use preinstalled, so it's probably a pretty full boat GUI setup I'd guess.
 

Cthulhux

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#40
By default, there is no "full boat GUI setup" (as even x11 is optional). You are advised to install "the kitchen sink" though, so you won't have to think about particular packages too much.

I found this installation video to be enlightening:

 
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TomHsiung

TomHsiung

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#41
TomHsiung Let us know how it is going with OpenIndiana. I was always curious about illumos vs *BSD differences.
The software packages for OpenIndina is old (e.g., CUPS service package for network printers), even much older for Solaris. You know, if few people use an open-source OS, their contribution to the development and evaluation of that OS is small. macOS is not so because it's an commercial system, Apple spent money on it and those who developing it get paid. What's interesting is that hackintosh develops and evaluates well, I think the most primary reasons for this is that many people want to use macOS as their OS (indeed, macOS is a very effective and nice system) but don't want to pay the cost of Apple hardwares which are incredibly expensive.

Tom
 

ronaldlees

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#42
Cthulhux: thanks for the link - Tribblix looks like a very easy setup. Boot, then do the install with the "kitchen-sink" specified. Maybe I'll give it a whirl someday when I have the time.
 

sko

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#44
since you seem to have quite experience, which of the surviving Solaris based OS would be the one to try for with X11/GUI form the perspective of (hopefully) longer term survivability?
I'm exclusively using illumos on servers (smartOS in production and omniOS for testing/learning/personal entertainment), so I can't really give any advice on that.

Regarding the survivability I'd say the number of distributions isn't that big and every one fills a specific niche, so there is no competition going on which might break things apart and send single distributions to void in the foreseeable future.
Maybe a key point - at least that's how I perceived it - in the illumos community is, that basically all major developers are former Sun (or Oracle) employees and they seem to keep that mild BDFL-model alive for various parts of the OS. There are only a few (or even just one) specialist for a given topic, mostly the original authors for a given technology, which keep an eye on and overwatch/steer the ongoing development of their "pet".
Also the huge overlap of user/developer groups is unmatched by any other OS - most distributions are backed by (big) companies which build their infrastructure or even their whole business on illumos and "their" distribution of it. So the level of "dog-fooding" in almost all these distributions is exceptional.
With this also comes the high level of paid full-time developers and very high professionalism of the whole community. Where Linux is to a large extent driven by hobbyists and tinkerers, illumos is almost exclusively driven by professionals who use it and depend on it in their jobs.

So to sum it up: I think the handful of distributions that have established during the ~7 years since illumos is a thing are here to stay, especially considering they all serve their own niche.
If I'd have to choose now I'd probably just go with OpenIndiana but have a closer look at XStreamOS beforehand - this is kind of a newcomer and seems to be targeted at professionals/developers as it incorporates all major server technologies (including stuff you won't need on a regular desktop) with a GUI and tools.
 

Trihexagonal

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#45
The software packages for OpenIndina is old (e.g., CUPS service package for network printers), even much older for Solaris.
When I updated OpenIndiana I got Firefox ESR 52.6.0 and www/firefox-esr is showing 52.6.0_3.1 in ports. x11/mate is in sync on both platforms.

I watched it go through its process of updating 1001 packages, though those are the only ones I've checked to see how current they are.
 

_martin

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#46
since you seem to have quite experience, which of the surviving Solaris based OS would be the one to try for with X11/GUI form the perspective of (hopefully) longer term survivability?
It's been few years since I saw an X server (if I don't count Xming or accidental startup of CDE on one HP-UX server :) ). All my servers are servers, so no X at all. I'm using Solaris 11.3 on my personal servers, OpenIndiana in LAB.

But sko summed it up good. :)
 

forquare

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#47
Since I was taught Unix on Solaris, I find it quite a nice system to use. I’ve not got any boxen running it (or derivatives) at the moment, but that’s because I’m loving FreeBSD at the moment.

What's interesting is that hackintosh develops and evaluates well, I think the most primary reasons for this is that many people want to use macOS as their OS (indeed, macOS is a very effective and nice system) but don't want to pay the cost of Apple hardwares which are incredibly expensive.
Obligatory “just a note that this goes against the macOS licence since to comply you need to run macOS on Apple hardware.”
 

Trihexagonal

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#49
My OpenSolaris Bible arrived today, the guy who owned it took good care of it. It's very similar to my XML Bible.

My new Thinkpad T400 with Intel Core2 Duo P8600 @ 2.4GHz and Crucial 8GB RAM to max it out came today, too. I'm still waiting on the battery and a 250GB @ 7200RPM WD Scorpio Black HDD to get here but they will shortly. It will be my new Solaris 11.3 box. :)
 

Datapanic

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#50
I initially learned unix on xenix, and later BSD 2.something, and Solaris 7 shortly came after. Solaris was/has always been easy if you have the aptitude to take it on. Otherwise, do linux...
 
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