A Tour Of Sun's Project Indiana Preview 2

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 2 February 2008. Page 2 of 5. 6 Comments

In general, Sun has done a great job at improving the desktop usability of OpenSolaris but a few rough edges are still visible in this second developer preview. When booting to this LiveCD, prior to initializing the X server there still is the need to manually select the keyboard layout from the command-line interface. It's unfortunate that they haven't yet built in the auto-detection capabilities or simply improved this screen, but hopefully it's on their agenda prior to the 3/08 release of OpenSolaris. Once going with the default, the system continued booting and we were quickly within the GNOME desktop environment. OpenSolaris Developer Preview 1/08 is shipping with GNOME 2.20.2 and nearly the same theme as what was found in the first preview release.

When running this test release we were using a Lenovo ThinkPad R52 notebook, which uses Intel's Centrino platform and has an integrated Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG module. This 802.11g WiFi adapter was automatically detected by this new preview release and when the system started was a pop-up box asking which wireless network it should activate. It's great seeing this wireless networking capabilities working out of the box (thanks to the OpenSolaris Network Auto-Magic project) and had successfully connected to our network. After selecting our wireless network, however, the box had disappeared for roughly fifteen seconds before a message box had displayed alerting us that the wireless interface was connected and our IP address. After that, however, was no indicator on the desktop to whether we were still connected to the wireless network or any readily accessible controls for switching networks. The Network Auto-Magic project has a few things that it should learn from NetworkManager for improved usability.

Found on the Project Indiana CD are all of the basic GNOME 2.20 utilities that one would expect and a few desktop applications. For basic graphics needs there is GIMP 2.4, Gtkam digital camera browser, gThumb, and Eye of GNOME -- all of which are common to GNOME-based Linux distributions.


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