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Breaking Down OpenSolaris on the Desktop

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A lot has been said about OpenSolaris, the community-supported version of Sun's Solaris operating system. Is it for you? Not if you're a SOHO user interested in business productivity applications, says A.Lizard.
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This article discusses OpenSolaris version 2008.05 (Indiana), the community-supported version of the Sun Solaris *nix variant based on BSD and the its Sun OS derivatives. In this article, I'll tell you about some things that OpenSolaris does not do well, and a few things that it does. I'll tell you how to set up OpenSolaris on VMware Server, how to get multimedia running, and where to find the GUI package manager. I'll provide software and documentation resources so you can dig deeper, and show you where to find information on the few peripherals that are available.

Is This Version for You?

I'm running this version of OpenSolaris on a VMware Server 1.0.3 virtual machine; however, this review isn't about running OpenSolaris on a VM. This is about how OpenSolaris operates from the viewpoint of a small office/home office (SOHO) user.

From a usability standpoint, OpenSolaris is much like Linux was about 3½ years ago—lots of command-line stuff. How will it affect you?

  • Linux user. The simplest commands such as cd and mkdir work, but there are a stack of new commands to learn in order to get under the hood of the computer.
  • Business productivity user. Every hour looking up how-to information on system internals or using a text editor to edit configuration files manually is an hour that can't be billed to a client, so this version isn't for you.
  • Home user who wants email/web/word processing. You're better off with a user-friendly Linux distribution like Ubuntu or even XP.

I'm sure that most of the rough edges will be gone a year from now, but this review is a snapshot in time of what OpenSolaris is today.

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