It was one year ago to the day that the first developer preview of Sun Microsystem's Project Indiana was released and was called OpenSolaris, the same name that Sun had been using for their open-source Solaris code repository. Since then we have had the official release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 and version 2008.11 of OpenSolaris has been under development but is scheduled to be officially released in November.
That first developer preview release of Project Indiana wasn't trouble-free and we had encountered numerous problems in less than 12 hours of testing. We found that preview release to be the most consumer-friendly version of Solaris, but at that time it was not much more than the default GNOME desktop thrown atop the Solaris Nevada kernel. In the second preview release that came out in February, it was more refined but still nothing to pull in hordes of desktop Linux users. With the final release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 it had given a new face to Solaris, but still nothing to dramatically separate it from the Linux desktop aside from the underlying features like ZFS and D-Trace. OpenSolaris 2008.05 didn't even ship with a word processor.
OpenSolaris 2008.11 will bring a new and improved desktop theme, many updated packages, improved wireless network management, Image Packaging System improvements, a Nautilus plug-in for rolling back ZFS snapshots, and various other Sun-sponsored work. Just last night Sun Microsystems had announced Solaris Nevada Build 100a with "major fixes" to the Caiman installer and Image Packaging System, along with Torrents for the OpenSolaris 2008.11 100a snapshot. This build also updates the proprietary NVIDIA driver to version 177.80.
With the Image Packaging System improvements in OpenSolaris 2008.11 is version 0.2 of Sun's Package Manager. As you can see from the screenshots, there are a few improvements to note. Sun Microsystems has announced today as well that an update to Solaris 10, Solaris 10 10/08, will be available shortly. This Solaris 10 update includes ZFS file-system enhancements, virtualization and Solaris Containers updates, and Intel architecture optimizations. The final release of OpenSolaris 2008.11 is expected sometime next month.