It's been a while since last looking at a Solaris Express Community Edition release (SXCE Build 75 to be exact) and since then Solaris Express Developer 1/08 and OpenSolaris 2008.05 have been released, which are both based off the same SXCE "Nevada" code-base. With Solaris Express Community Edition Build 91 having been released this past week, we took this opportunity to see what new work is going on within this Solaris community.
Project Indiana had brought the LiveCD mode support to OpenSolaris, but this work hasn't made its way back into Solaris Nevada / SXCE. When booting to the series of CDs or single DVD required for SXCE, there is still the old Solaris Interactive installer and even the text-based installer. Caiman -- the project designed to bring a new installation experience to OpenSolaris and provides the Live CD/DVD capabilities -- hasn't made its way into Solaris Express Community Edition.
Once installing Solaris Express Community Edition Build 91 to a test system we proceeded to boot to the desktop, which by default is GNOME. Shipping with Build 91 is GNOME 2.20.2. GNOME 2.22.2 is the latest stable release for this free software desktop environment, but unfortunately the Sun developers have yet to adopt the 2.22 series, which brings a number of new features (Eight Interesting Improvements In GNOME 2.22). GNOME 2.22.0 was released in March while the next major release, GNOME 2.24, is coming in September.
Some of the packages shipping with Solaris Express Community Edition 91 are Mozilla Firefox 2.0 (not yet upgraded to Firefox 3), StarOffice 8 Update 9, GIMP 2.4.1 (the latest is 2.4.6), Pidgin 2.1.1 (the latest is 2.4.2), and Real Player 11. While SXCE is generally updated on a bi-weekly basis, it's unfortunate that many of these popular desktop programs aren't at their latest stable versions. OpenSolaris 2008.05 was based upon Build 86, yet we see many of the same out-of-date packages.