Earlier today there was the unexpected surprise of Oracle releasing Solaris 11 Express. There wasn't any public betas or preview releases of Oracle Solaris 11 Express and the last time we got to look at anything new from the OpenSolaris code-base was months ago before Oracle decided to dismantle that once promising open-source Sun project. In the hours following the release of Oracle Solaris 11 Express we tried it out on a few different test systems. Here is a brief, visual tour of Oracle Solaris 11 Express for those interested.
When booting up the Oracle Solaris 11 Express LiveCD we were presented immediately with the GRUB boot-loader. Solaris 11 is still using GRUB 0.97 and not the newer GRUB2 now being used by most Linux distributions. The GRUB boot-loader also shows that this 11 Express release is based upon "snv_151a", or the Solaris Nevada 151a build. The last OpenSolaris preview ISO that was spun by Oracle/Sun was on Solaris Nevada Build 134, which was supposed to be the basis of the OpenSolaris 2010.1H release that never came. The last official release of this operating system was OpenSolaris 2009.06 and came last year atop Nevada Build 111b. For reference, Nexenta Core Platform 3.0 is based upon Solaris Nevada b134 and the current OpenIndiana preview is based upon Nevada b147.
When booting to the Solaris desktop in 2010 you are still asked to select your keyboard layout and language from a text interface.
The Oracle Solaris 11 Express desktop uses GNOME 2.30 packages. The kernel string is still reported as Solaris 5.11 but with snv_151a. X.Org Server 1.7.7 is deployed with Solaris 11. There is also the Firefox 3.6 web-browser.