Sun Microsystems still has some work to do in improving the OpenSolaris experience, but they are now making some excellent headway. The theme for OpenSolaris 2008.05 is great by our tastes and goes to providing a feel for a richer experience. The biggest feature we feel that has been added to OpenSolaris is the graphical package manager for IPS. Sun Microsystems is clearly trying to use OpenSolaris to increase their desktop OS market share and expecting some users to use the command-line to install packages is not an option. Sun Package Manager 0.1 isn't fully polished but it looks and works similar to the Synaptic Package Manager and makes it simple to add/remove new packages over the network. Compiz by default is another item that can now be scratched off our gripes list. This test release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 has also offered the best hardware support from our testing and corrects some issues we previously encountered with Solaris/OpenSolaris. Overall, OpenSolaris 2008.05 provides a new user experience and gives a new face to Solaris.
While Sun Microsystems should celebrate over these recent OpenSolaris advancements, there still are items to be addressed and improved for future releases, such as including a word processor by default. OpenSolaris 2008.05 is reaching a better parity with Linux, but it still lacks advantages that would make an average desktop user switch from Windows or Linux over to Sun's operating system. With these recent OpenSolaris improvements, it even makes us even more excited to see what innovations will be delivered with OpenSolaris Jericho towards the end of the year.
We anticipate OpenSolaris 2008.05 will be released in early May. This test release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 follows the release of Solaris 10 5/08 earlier this week. Tell us what you think about this Project Indiana release in the Phoronix Forums.