The End Of An Era: A Look Back At The Most Popular Solaris Milestones & News
Written by Michael Larabel in Oracle on 19 January 2017 at 08:30 AM EST. 23 Comments
ORACLE --
With it looking certain now that Oracle is ending Solaris feature development with the cancelling of Solaris 12, here's a look back at the most popular Solaris news and milestones for the project over the years on Phoronix.

There were many great/fun Solaris memories.



During the Sun Microsystems days, I was genuinely interested in Solaris. There were frequent Solaris articles on Phoronix while Linux was always our main focus. Solaris was fun to play around with, OpenSolaris / SXCE was great, I ported the Phoronix Test Suite to Solaris, we had great relations with the Sun Microsystems folks, was at many Sun events, etc.


Sun had some rather unique events back in the day...


Unfortunately since Oracle acquired Sun, Solaris basically went downhill. The biggest blow was arguably when Oracle ended OpenSolaris and moved all their Solaris efforts back to a proprietary model...


Lots of great memories for Solaris during the Sun days, so given Oracle wiping "Solaris 12" off their roadmap, I figured it would be fun to look back at the most-viewed Solaris stories on Phoronix while waiting to hear from Oracle about "Solaris 11.next" as their final step to likely winding down the operating system development.


Though in a post-Solaris world it will be interesting to see what Oracle does with ZFS and if they double down on their RHEL-based Oracle Enterprise Linux. Time will tell.


Anyhow, here's a look back at our most-viewed Solaris stories since 2004:

ATI R500/600 Driver For Solaris Coming?
While no ATI fglrx driver is available for Solaris/OpenSolaris or *BSD, now that AMD will be offering up specifications to X.Org developers and an open-source driver, it certainly is promising for any Solaris user depending upon ATI's Radeon X1000 "R500" or HD 2000 "R600" series. The open-source X.Org driver that will be released next week is far from mature, but it should be able to be ported to Solaris and other operating systems using X.Org with relative ease. What AMD announced today is targeted for the Linux community, but it can certainly help out Solaris/OpenSolaris users that use ATI hardware. Especially with "Project Indiana" coming out soon, it's only a matter of time before the open-source R500/600 driver is ported. Tell us what you think in our Solaris forum.

Solaris Express Community Build 71
Build 71 of Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) is now available. You can find out more about Solaris Express Community Build 71 at OpenSolaris.org. On a side note, with news at the Linux Kernel Summit that AMD will be providing GPU specifications, the resulting X.Org driver could lead to an improved state for Solaris/OpenSolaris on ATI hardware in the future.

Farewell To OpenSolaris. Oracle Just Killed It Off.
Oracle has finally announced their plans for Solaris operating system and OpenSolaris platform and it's not good. OpenSolaris is now effectively dead and there will not be anymore OpenSolaris releases -- including the long-delayed 2010 release. Solaris will still live-on and Oracle is busy working on Solaris 11 for a release next year and there will be a "Solaris 11 Express" as being a similar product to OpenSolaris, but it will only ship after Oracle's enterprise release.

Solaris Express Community Build 72
For those of you wanting to try out the latest and greatest in OpenSolaris software right now prior to the release of "Project Indiana", build 72 of Solaris Express Community Edition is now available. Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) Build 72 can be downloaded from OpenSolaris.org. Meanwhile, the preview release of Sun's Project Indiana is expected next month.

OpenSolaris Developer Summit
Announced earlier today on the OpenSolaris Forums was the first-ever OpenSolaris Developer Summit. This summit is taking place in October at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Sara Dornsife describes this summit as "not a conference with presentations or exhibitors, but an in-person, collaborative working session to plan the next release of Project Indiana." Ian Murdock will be keynoting at this Project Indiana fest, but beyond that the schedule is still being planned. Phoronix may be covering this event and you can discuss this summit in our Solaris forums.

Solaris Containers For Linux
Sun Microsystems has announced that they will soon be supporting Solaris Containers for Linux applications. This will make it possible to run Linux applications under Solaris without any modifications to the binary package. The Solaris Containers for Linux will allow for a smoother migration from Linux to Solaris, assist in cross-platform development,and other benefits. As far as when the support will arrive, it's "coming soon".

Oracle Still To Make OpenSolaris Changes
Since Oracle finished its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, there have been many changes to the open-source projects that were once supported under Sun now being discontinued by Oracle and significant changes being made to the remaining open-source products. One of the open-source projects that Oracle hasn't been too open about their intentions with has been OpenSolaris. Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) already closed up last month and there hasn't been too much information flowing out about the next OpenSolaris release, which is supposed to be known as OpenSolaris 2010.03 with a release date sometime in March.

Xen For Solaris Updated
It's been a while, but Xen for Solaris has finally been updated. John Levon poimts out that this latest build is based upon Xen 3.0.4 and Solaris "Nevada" Build 66. Some of the improvements in this latest build include PAE support, HVM support, new virt-manager tools, improved debugging support, and last but not least is managed domain support. The download for the July 2007 Solaris Xen update can be found over at Sun's website.

IBM To Distribute Sun's Solaris
Sun Microsystems and IBM are holding a teleconference right now where they have just announced IBM will begin distributing Sun's Solaris operating system on select servers. These IBM servers include the x86-based system X servers as well as Blade Center Servers. The official press release has just been issued and can be read at the Sun news room.

Oracle Solaris 11 Kernel Source-Code Leaked
It appears that the kernel source-code to Solaris 11 was leaked onto the Internet this past weekend.

Solaris 12 Might Finally Bring Radeon KMS Driver
It looks like Oracle may be preparing to release their own AMD Radeon kernel mode-setting (KMS) driver for introducing into Oracle Solaris 12.

OpenSXCE 2013.05 Revives The Solaris Community
OpenSXCE 2013.05 is out in the wild as the community revival of the Solaris Express Community Edition.

OpenSolaris Will Not Merge With Linux
At LinuxWorld 2007 in San Francisco, Andrew Morton said during his keynote that no key components of OpenSolaris will appear in the Linux kernel. In fact, Morton had even stated that "It’s a great shame that OpenSolaris still exists." Some of these key OpenSolaris components include Zones, ZFS, and DTrace. Though there is the possibility that Project Indiana could turn these into GPLv3 projects... More information is available at ZDNET.

Oracle Has Yet To Clarify Solaris 11 Kernel Source
It was one month ago that Phoronix was the first to note the Solaris 11 kernel source-code was leaked onto the Internet via Torrent sites. One month later, Oracle still hasn't officially commented on the situation.

Oracle Might Be Canning Solaris
Oracle might be pulling the plug on the Solaris operating system, at least according to some new rumors.

Solaris Express Community Build 70
Build 70 for Solaris Express Community Edition "Nevada" (SXCE snv_70) is now available. The announcement with download links can be found in the OpenSolaris Forums. Also announced was the 71st build of their Network Storage that includes source-code from Qlogic for the fibre channel HBA driver.

Solaris 10 7/07 HW Release
The documentation is now online for the Solaris 10 7/07 HW Release. As noted on the Solaris Releases page, Solaris 10 7/07 is only for SPARC Enterprise M4000-M9000 servers and no x86/x64 version is available. The latest Solaris update for all platforms is Solaris 10 11/06. You can discuss Solaris 7/07 in the Phoronix Forums.

Solaris Telecom Servers From Intel
Intel has announced today the availability of Intel-powered Sun Solaris telecommunications rack and blade servers that meet NEBS, ETSI, and ATCA compliance. Of these new carrier grade platforms, the Intel Carrier Grade Rack Mount Server TIGW1U supports both Linux and Solaris 10 and the Intel NetStructure MPCBL0050 SBC will support both operating systems as well. Today's press release can be read here.

The Sad State Of GPU Drivers For BSD, Solaris
Yesterday a discussion arose on the mailing list about killing off all the old Mesa drivers. These old drivers aren't actively maintained, support vintage graphics processors, and aren't updated to support new Mesa functionality. They're now also getting in the way as Intel and other developers work to clean up the core of Mesa as they bolster this open-source graphics library for the future. There's also some implications for BSD and Solaris users by this move to clean-up Mesa.

Oracle Solaris 11.1 Brings 300+ Enhancements
Oracle released Solaris 11.1 from their Oracle OpenWorld conference yesterday in San Francisco.


And then of the most-viewed featured articles with Solaris:

Ubuntu vs. OpenSolaris vs. FreeBSD Benchmarks
Over the past few weeks we have been providing several in-depth articles looking at the performance of Ubuntu Linux. We had begun by providing Ubuntu 7.04 to 8.10 benchmarks and had found the performance of this popular Linux distribution to become slower with time and that article was followed up with Mac OS X 10.5 vs. Ubuntu 8.10 benchmarks and other articles looking at the state of Ubuntu's performance. In this article, we are now comparing the 64-bit performance of Ubuntu 8.10 against the latest test releases of OpenSolaris 2008.11 and FreeBSD 7.1.

NVIDIA Performance: Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris
Earlier this week we previewed the Quadro FX1700, which is one of NVIDIA's mid-range workstation graphics cards that is based upon the G84GL core that in turn is derived from the consumer-class GeForce 8600 series. This PCI Express graphics card offers 512MB of video memory with two dual-link DVI connections and support for OpenGL 2.1 while maintaining a maximum power consumption of just 42 Watts. As we mentioned in the preview article, we would be looking at this graphics card's performance not only under Linux but also testing this workstation solution in both Microsoft Windows and Sun's Solaris. In this article today, we are doing just that as we test the NVIDIA Quadro FX1700 512MB with each of these operating systems and their respective binary display drivers.

FreeBSD 8.0 Benchmarked Against Linux, OpenSolaris
With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.

Fedora, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OpenSolaris Benchmarks
Last week we published the first Debian GNU/kFreeBSD benchmarks that compared the 32-bit and 64-bit performance of this Debian port -- that straps the FreeBSD kernel underneath a Debian GNU user-land -- to Debian GNU/Linux. We have now extended that comparison to put many other operating systems in a direct performance comparison
to these Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD snapshots of 6.0 Squeeze to Fedora 12, FreeBSD 7.2, FreeBSD 8.0, OpenBSD 4.6, and OpenSolaris 2009.06.


AMD Shanghai Opteron: Linux vs. OpenSolaris Benchmarks
In January we published a review of the AMD Shanghai Opteron CPUs on Linux when we looked at four of the Opteron 2384 models. The performance of these 45nm quad-core workstation/server processors were great when compared to the earlier AMD Barcelona processors on Ubuntu Linux, but how is their performance when running Sun's OpenSolaris operating system? Up for viewing today are dual AMD Shanghai benchmarks when running OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu 8.10, and a daily build of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04 release.

OpenSolaris vs. Linux Kernel Benchmarks
Earlier this week we delivered benchmarks of Ubuntu 9.04 versus Mac OS X 10.5.6 and found that the Leopard operating system had performed better than the Jaunty Jackalope in a majority of the tests, at least when it came to Ubuntu 32-bit. We are back with more operating system benchmarks today, but this time we are comparing the performance of the Linux and Sun OpenSolaris kernels. We had used the Nexenta Core Platform 2 operating system that combines the OpenSolaris kernel with a GNU/Ubuntu user-land to that of the same Ubuntu package set but with the Linux kernel. Testing was done with both 32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu server installations.

Netbook Performance: Ubuntu vs. OpenSolaris
In the past we have published OpenSolaris vs. Linux Kernel benchmarks and similar articles looking at the performance of Sun's OpenSolaris up against popular Linux distributions. We have looked at the performance on high-end AMD workstations, but we have never compared the OpenSolaris and Linux performance on netbooks. Well, not until today. In this article we have results comparing OpenSolaris 2009.06 and Ubuntu 9.04 on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook.

NVIDIA Graphics: Linux vs. Solaris
At Phoronix we are constantly exploring the different display drivers under Linux, and while we have reviewed Sun's Check Tool and test motherboards with Solaris in addition to covering a few other areas, we have yet to perform a graphics driver comparison between Linux and Solaris. That is until today. With interest in Solaris on the rise thanks to Project Indiana, we have decided to finally offer our first quantitative graphics comparison between Linux and Solaris with the NVIDIA proprietary drivers.

OpenSolaris 2008.05 Gives A New Face To Solaris
In early February, Sun Microsystems had released a second preview release of Project Indiana. For those out of the loop, Project Indiana is the codename for the project led by Ian Murdock at Sun that aims to push OpenSolaris on more desktop and notebook computers by addressing the long-standing usability problems of Solaris. We were far from being impressed by Preview 2 as it hadn't possessed any serious advantages over a GNU/Linux desktop that would interest normal users. However, with the release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 "Project Indiana" coming up in May, Sun Microsystems has today released a final test copy of this operating system. Our initial experience with this new OpenSolaris release is vastly better than what we had encountered less than three months ago when last looking at Project Indiana.

A Quick Tour Of Oracle Solaris 11
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.

New Benchmarks Of OpenSolaris, BSD & Linux
Earlier today we put out benchmarks of ZFS on Linux via a native kernel module that will be made publicly available to bring this Sun/Oracle file-system over to more Linux users. Now though as a bonus we happen to have new benchmarks of the latest OpenSolaris-based distributions, including OpenSolaris, OpenIndiana, and Augustiner-Schweinshaxe, compared to PC-BSD, Fedora, and Ubuntu.

FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.1 Benchmarked Against Linux, Solaris, BSD
While FreeBSD 9.1 has yet to be officially released, the FreeBSD-based PC-BSD 9.1 "Isotope" release has already been made available this month. In this article are performance benchmarks comparing the 64-bit release of PC-BSD 9.1 against DragonFlyBSD 3.0.3, Oracle Solaris Express 11.1, CentOS 6.3, Ubuntu 12.10, and a development snapshot of Ubuntu 13.04.
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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