One of the major problems that is an inhibiting factor for potentially new Solaris users is the installation experience. The Solaris 10 installer can be intimidating and isn't too attractive to say the least. Previously we wrote on the Solaris installation experience as we compared the Solaris install process to that of Red Hat's Anaconda installer found in Fedora 7. Well, with SXDE 9/07 most of the installation problems are thrown out the window. The new Solaris installer that is found in SXDE 9/07 is from Project Caiman and is much more graphically pleasing than the previous installer that has been around since Solaris 8. Sun advertises this new installer as a three-click minimum for Solaris upgrades and there are only six GUI screens for a full install process. There is also automatic partitioning in this new installer, permitting there is at least 20GB of free desktop space. This new installer is great, but there is still finer work left to be completed.
When it comes to the hardware support in Solaris Express Developer Edition 9/07 there are a number of wonderful improvements. SXDE 9/07 features support for some new wireless chipsets, Network Automagic, and finally Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology. The newly supported network devices include the RaLink RT2500, Realtek 8180 802.11b, and ADMtek Fast Ethernet DD. The popular Intel Wireless Chipsets (Pro/Wireless 2200BG/2915ABG and Pro/Wireless 3945) are already supported by Solaris. With the wireless networking improvements and EIST support, Solaris Express is becoming increasingly laptop-friendly. For those using NVIDIA graphics hardware, the NVIDIA Solaris binary graphics driver is included by default.
Aside from the major improvements, some of the other SXDE 9/07 features include Glade 3 for GTK+ and GNOME UI development, GNOME Desktop Notification support through libnotify, and GNOME DevHelp. One of the new features in X.Org 7.3 was DTrace support and this support has appeared in this new Developer release. Other updated packages include GNU make 3.81, Firefox 2.0, Thunderbird 2.0, Evolution 220.127.116.11, and StarOffice 8.