Solaris 11 was released on Wednesday as the first major update to the former Sun operating system in seven years. A lot has changed in the Solaris stack in the past seven years, and OpenSolaris has come and gone in that time, but in this article is a brief look through the brand new Oracle Solaris 11 release.
Oracle Solaris 11 is available for download from Oracle's web-site. It is freely available for non-commercial use, etc, while others will need Oracle licenses to use it in a production capacity. Oracle advertises Solaris 11 as being the "first cloud OS" and the "first fully virtualized operating system." Solaris 11 is available for x86/x64 and SPARC architectures. There is the traditional text installer for Solaris, but the x86/x86_64 build does have the live mode with graphical installer that came about during the OpenSolaris days with Project Indiana, Caiman, etc.
Solaris 11 is using the GNOME 2.30 desktop. Oracle has not jumped to supporting GNOME3 or any other desktops by default. One change from Solaris 10 to Solaris 11 is that the Compiz window manager is now used on the desktop when the graphics driver/hardware is supported. Many of the GNOME packages are bundled onto the Solaris 11 installation image or can be fetched from the package manager. GParted has also finally been ported to Solaris for disk partition management.
While many GNOME packages are available under Solaris 11 and there is many more open-source / Linux packages from the package manager, it is not an experience just like most Linux desktop distributions. For example, NetworkManager is not there but rather the Solaris Network Preferences and various other changes. Separately, Solaris 11 continues to build upon longstanding Solaris features like the ZFS file-system, Zones, and D-Trace.