Playing With Solaris In 2015
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 11 January 2015. Page 1 of 3. 4 Comments

This weekend when deciding what extra benchmarks to run and planning more tests for the week ahead, I decided to explore doing some fresh Oracle Solaris benchmarks since my most recent Solaris benchmarks were back in 2012. I also haven't had much (any?) Solaris news to relay recently so wanted to see if there was anything new within the ex-Sun camp.

The latest official release of Solaris is still Solaris 11.2 (SunOS 5.11), which was released in April of 2014. The Solaris 11.2 update brought an integrated hypervisor, full OpenStack support, and other improvements. It's been out for nearly one year but there hasn't been any public activity to talk about with regard to Solaris 11.3 or even Solaris 12, but 2013 slides from an Oracle presentation show the updates are still supposed to come at some point. Contrary to rumors, Solaris isn't dead although anecdotally Oracle seems to be emphasizing more Oracle Linux these days.

There's also nothing new to report in the independent OpenIndiana camp with their latest build still being 151a8 from August of 2013. One of the newer OpenSolaris/Illumos-derived distributions with a recent release is Dyson, which is a Debian derivative using the Illumos/Solaris kernel. OpenSXCE, another Illumos distribution, did its last update in the summer with the 2014.05 release, but its development doesn't appear to be exactly fledging. NexentaStor is still around too as the Illumos-based storage appliance OS by Nexenta Systems.

In deciding to pursue doing some fresh Solaris 11.2 benchmarks on modern hardware, I first decided to try it out on an Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 box with X99 chipset. This system has worked fine with countless Linux distributions and most recently finished up some FreeBSD/PC-BSD 10.1 benchmarks on it. However, when booting up the Solaris 11.2 media from a USB drive, it failed in UEFI mode.

Next I enabled the legacy booting support from the MSI X99S SLI motherboard BIOS, but there this year-old Solaris release didn't end up getting past the copyright message for the SunOS 5.11 64-bit kernel. In not wishing to waste much time, I decided to try booting up the Solaris 11.2 USB media on an Intel Ivy Bridge laptop that was handy. Fortunately, there it didn't have issues booting the media so here's a walk-through of the latest Solaris state for those curious.

Before getting to any GUI environment, from a text prompt you still need to select the keyboard layout and language.

While I don't know anyone using Solaris on a laptop, at least with this older hardware it ran fine for checking out the current state of Solaris. GNOME 2.30.2 remains the default desktop environment for those running Solaris in a GUI mode. I haven't heard if Oracle plans to migrate Solaris eventually to GNOME 3.x or an alternative desktop environment.

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