OpenSolaris: Even the download system puts you off

Like many out there, I’ve got an itch to check out what OpenSolaris has to offer. With DTrace (something I’ve played with extensively in OS X Leopard betas), ZFS (something that might show up in OS X for file system storage), Zones, and a whole bunch of other features, I’d be a luddite not to check it out.

But I must admit, Sun has got a way of confusing you. Going to the Downloads page tells you that their main intent is to confuse users. How am I supposed to choose between Solaris Express Community or Developer edition? The former is updated every other Friday, does that necessarily turn me on? Then there’s NexentaOS and the like.


Who distributes operating systems in segments? Sun do!

An OpenSolaris newbie like me, ended up picking the Community edition as well as NexentaOS. I think I’ll get them to dual-boot on my soon-to-be-dedicated Solaris box. Now, once you’re done getting their Community edition (the Sun download system doesn’t allow you to get all 3 segments at once as well, mind you – you’re limited), all 3 1GB zip files, you get the pleasure of unzipping each and every one of them, and then (get this, its really funny), use cat to make them into one large DVD ISO.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this sucks. Ian Murdock has adressed this (or well, is open to comments on how to address this). Glynn Foster has also spoken about building the community mojo – Ubuntu’s ShipIt program was a great success, maybe Sun should consider this for OpenSolaris? Time-based releases are better than “builds every other Friday”. Take a cue from Ubuntu’s download page. Redmonk’s Stephen O’Grady has his traditional Q&A on Project Indiana – a must read.

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  • They have something similar to shipit already. :-)

  • I don’t think either there is much of purpose to distribute in segments.

    If the servers support to resume downloads, then one can use a download manager for the task. Even wget can do the job well, http://simos.info/blog/archives/620 (downloading the Ubuntu DVD ISO).

    With segments, one needs about twice the disk space to put the segments together.

    The benefit of open-source is you can get all these fast academic mirrors to mirror for you. If you are interested in stats, simply set the home page of the browser to reference an image, just like Fedora did for F7.

  • Hmm, does the OpenSolaris license prohibit you from distributing benchmark results without written permission ?

    I know the Solaris 10 license does prohibit these.

  • Just to quickly answer my own question (mea culpa) – , it’s just the CDDL.

  • Bah – typo in above comment! Colin could I beg you to fix that and then delete this comment please ? Thanks!

  • cos

    I got my free media kit within a couple of days (which I’d accidentally ordered, but never mind) – it’s the “developer express” release from 02/07 (sunstudio, netbeans, etc. included), so if you really give a stuff you’d probably want to download a newer one.

    On a similar note, I’m annoyed that RHN doesn’t let you download DVD images *at all* – I had to download 11 CD images of RHEL5 (32- and 64-bit) instead.

    I’d be happy if Sun could do something like the Ubuntu single CD server install, grabbing the rest off the net afterwards.

    In any case, it’s going to take time for this kind of stuff to change. I’m happy for Sun to do it, but they’d better not stop innovating (ZFS, DTrace, SMF, etc.) in order to play catch-up…

  • l3v1

    Well, I also voted for the free kit, the dvd with everything on it arrived in about a week or so. Previously I used to download the images from time to time, yet I dind’t find cat-ing the images together to be such a hassle. This is not Ubuntu – oh, how happy that makes me – and if someone can’t create the writeable image, then stepping a step back into Windows maybe isn’t such a bad idea. If you complain about the hassle… all I can say is in this life, on this planet, in software land, in OS land, there are much bigger hassles we have to live day by day, one Solaris image cat-ing isn’t really the last drip of water yet.

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  • Do You know about this fairly obscure legacy Operating System known as Win Doze? Well, some lunatics still use it. And guess what, it’s legacy File System cannot hold a file as large as the Slowlaris DVD image. It does, however, have a DVD burning program that supports burning from a segmented image.

    Sure, if you live on the trendy side you may have never even considered touching this peculiar legacy OS, but it’s still nice to know that the glorious Sun thought about this minor and feltering population of Windows users, and helps them spot the Light at the end of the tunnel.


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