I’ve never really played with Solaris before. I’ve looked at it once or twice, briefly, but that was about it. The other day I downloaded a vmware image for Nexenta GNU/OpenSolaris, one of these OpenSolaris-based distributions that apparently uses a lot of GNU software.

My first impressions are this: the boot was extremely quiet. That’s ok, but I wasn’t sure what was happening at first. Then I get in, start poking around a bit, and decide to run their update utility. Says I have to run “apt-get install -f”. That’s a clear sign something is borked.

Sure enough, apt wants to remove all of GNOME. So I let it (it’s a vmware image, after all… no harm there). Ok, so now my install is ok, but I’m in GNOME in a gnome-terminal, and apparently all these programs are gone and I’d kinda like to have them back. Do you think apt tells me where the problem is? Nope. It keeps telling me about unmet dependencies until my “apt-get install gnome-core …” line is getting ridiculously long as I keep adding new packages. And then finally it tells me what’s wrong. Apparently “libsoup2.2-8” is not available. It could have told me that right at the beginning. And people think RPM has dependency hell? Ummm… ok… this is apt, using (from what I can tell) deb packages, and clearly it has issues too.

I guess the appeal of Nexenta is… hmmm… I’m not really sure. It’s running GNOME. It’s brown. Looks an awful lot like Ubuntu. It’s not using all GNU tools. Heck, it’s not even using BSD tools. I mean, really, “ps ax” works on my mac and on my linux boxen. Does it work here? Nope. Gives me usage. The man page lies too. Oh, it talks all nice and sweet about using -a and -x, but there is no -x, and -a doesn’t give me all my processes, it gives me one process (and probably the most useless at that)… ps itself. How cool is that? So if you want to know how long it took to run your ps command, and what it’s pid was, use “ps -a”. The closest thing to “ps ax” that I can see is “ps -e”.

It uses GRUB. That’s kinda neat. No idea where the kernel is hiding.

Of course, these aren’t really comments against Nexenta, OpenSolaris, or Solaris/SunOS themselves… it’s largely my own ignorance, but why are they calling themselves “GNU/OpenSolaris” and not using better GNU tools? I mean, OS X uses the BSD ps and it’s more feature-rich than the SunOS ps. Nevermind the Linux ps.

Oh well. Again, I’m just ignorant of anything other than *BSD or Linux. It was interesting, and maybe I’ll try again once someone has a libsoup2.2-8 package for apt to install (not too keen on just plain old not having GNOME around anymore because then it would make for some fairly boring playing around).

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