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Solarisx86 as a hobbiest OS?
sinistertim101 wrote in netbsd
Does anyone use SolarisX86 on a regular pc that is a non server?

I am a former BSD user and I do not like Linux in its current state. Dont mean to flame the linux fanatics out there but its alot of work compared to my FreeBSD experience to install and maintain a system with ease with a degree in stability in its packages.

I need Java and 3d support so NetBSd and OpenBSD is not an option. FreeBSD is too unstable and no longer works wiht my hardware well like 4.x did.

I need Java5 for school and the only non Microsoft OS I can think of is solaris. I intend to use www.blastwave.com or is it www.blastwave.net? ... to update solaris10 with modern packages. I am aware there is opensolaris but it seems like alot of work from the beta builds of solaris11 with tons of patches so I am skeptical.

I would like to use something more modern than gnome 2.8 as that is what blastwave includes. Any suggestions on how to upgrade?

Also for those who have used solaris on the desktop is it really worth it? What are the differences over Linux?


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I used Solaris as a desktop and on x86 when it first came out around 7. It was definitely not worth it. Solaris on x86 just sucks in so many ways, but it's mainly the performance hit. You'll have to do a lot of work to get Solaris into a state like Linux, where it's able to compile most GNU software. I even have Solaris 10 running on a decent machine at work (Sun Blade 1500), and I never touch it because it sucks so much.

Why not just use Linux? Gentoo and Debian are similar to the BSDs.

If you don't like "the way linux is going" then I guess you're out of luck.

> but it's mainly the performance hit

that's a myth.

Re: > but it's mainly the performance hit

Maybe for later versions of Solaris, but 7 was very slow on x86.

I haven't looked into recent versions of Java on NetBSD, but it is on my list of things to do. (Primarily for a servlet engine.)

jdk15 has been in pkgsrc a while, and I saw a post about native Eclipse a couple of days back on the netbsd-java list.

As far as desktops go, I gave up on tweaking the Open Source solutions a few years ago. Too much time wasted on messing with X11. I've got OSX as my desktop now.

I run Solaris on my x86 desktop at work. I got pissed off with both NetBSD and Linux for different reasons, and I needed a way to easily test stuff on Solaris, so it was the logical choice. I installed Solaris Express build 35 because I need ZFS.

Solaris/x86 has come a LONG in the last few years. 10u1 has much better bootloader hardware support thanks to a new boot architecture based on GNU grub.

I guess the prior comment about "performance hit" on Solaris was referring to an earlier version, because Solaris 10 has won LOTS of awards for performance vs. Linux and lots of others. the Solaris scheduler is by far the best of the freely available systems, and does everything you'd expect out of the box without additional tuning.

for a pure desktop, it probably provides little advantage over other free systems. but when you consider features like ZFS (this is a whole topic of its own, put simply, it rocks - I can't live without snapshots anymore), zones, *real* backward binary compatibility, proper patches/updates.. nothing really compares in the land of free operating systems.

as for building GNU/whatever software on Solaris, it's trivial as long as you know what you're doing. I would highly recommend looking at www.pkgsrc.org if you want to build things yourself and/or don't trust binary packages built by someone else. a lot of work has been put into pkgsrc support for Solaris, especially using the Sun Studio compiler which is significantly better than gcc on Solaris.

I have 10 on my 6-OS laptop but haven't done a whole lot with it. I want to set it up as my Java playground.

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