OpenSolaris 2008.05 had given a new face to Solaris through a vastly improved desktop experience. While OpenSolaris 2008.05 was not perfect, it was quite pleasant and a very nice first step. Sun Microsystems is now preparing for the release of OpenSolaris 2008.11 to incorporate their latest set of changes. In this article we are looking at some of the latest advancements in this pre-release.
Back in July we had provided an early look at OpenSolaris 2008.11 that was based upon Solaris Express Community Edition Build 93. There were a few updated packages and some fixes, but nothing major to spot in that early release. As you can see from the screenshots, more changes have made their way into OpenSolaris 2008.11. In fact, OpenSolaris has a new GNOME desktop theme. The default desktop wallpaper isn't as dark and there are some other nice touches. There are also other minor user-interface improvements too. In this article we are using a pre-release of OpenSolaris 2008.11 that is based upon SXCE Build 99.
In SXCE Build 99, the version of GNOME in use is 2.23.91, which was one of the test builds for GNOME 2.24. GNOME should be updated to the final 2.24 release prior to OpenSolaris 2008.11 being released next month. In another Phoronix article you can read about some of the interesting improvements in GNOME 2.24. Additionally, Sun has made a few improvements such as creating a Nautilus extension for OpenSolaris to easily view ZFS file-system snapshots.
As part of the original OpenSolaris release known as Project Indiana and led by Debian-founder Ian Murdock was the inception of IPS, or the Image Packaging System. IPS is the package management system for OpenSolaris and there are a number of CLI package commands along with the GUI-based Package Manager that is similar to the Synaptic Package Manager on Debian distributions. In the build of OpenSolaris 2008.11 we were testing in this article were not any major end-user changes to the Image Packaging System.