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posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 12:16pm on 02/11/2005 under , , , , ,
(Yeah, I know, none of you care about this....)

I first heard rumblings of this a week or two ago, but now the announcement is official: There's now a Debian GNU/Solaris. (Unfortunately things aren't entirely open yet.)

Why does this interest me? Although I've used and run at least seven different flavors of Unix, I learned most of my "real-world" system administration skills on Solaris, and it was my primary operating system at work for a few years, while simultaneously running Linux at home.

But on Solaris I always needed to add the GNU programs (and others) that came with Linux, and then try to keep up with their updates. (I made a now-obsolete web page [Funknet version] just for this purpose.) Also, release upgrades were best done as reinstalls. In the Linux world, I found that Debian made keeping up with updates and upgrades quite simple. Now I run Debian on production servers primarily because of those attributes (plus the long-term stability of Debian's stable releases).

It will be interesting to see a Solaris with some of my favorite server-relevant features of Debian. I wonder if it will run on the old sun4c and sun4m shoeboxes I have in the basement. Of course, I also wonder what I'd do with them if it did; I haven't even put Linux on them, and I know that would work.

Meanwhile, OpenBSD has a new release with some interesting new networking features, but until they improve the update/upgrade mechanism quite a bit (preferably to Debian's level), I'm unlikely to use it for much.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
There are 2 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] cowlumbushacker.livejournal.com at 11:45pm on 10/11/2005

I wonder if [Debian GNU/Solaris] will run on the old sun4c and sun4m shoeboxes I have in the basement.

Unfortunately not. Debian GNU/Solaris is based on OpenSolaris (http://www.opensolaris.org/), which only runs on SPARC systems that are of the sun4u architecture and later (well, nothing newer than sun4u has been released, but Sun will soon be releasing processors with on-chip multithreading, the Niagra (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/09/niagara_many_cores/); this will be "sun4v", based on what I've heard). Also, OpenSolaris only runs on 64-bit capable sun4u systems. This effectively excludes all Ultra 1 systems and some lower-speed Ultra 2 systems due to 64-bit related bugs in the CPUs. You can get an 64-bit friendly Ultra 2 pretty cheaply nowadays (low hundreds; a lot better than when I saw people paying $15-$30k for them new).

Oh, Solaris/OpenSolaris also runs on x86 and x64, too. I don't know if the Debian GNU/Solaris folks are doing x86/x64 releases, as well.
posted by [identity profile] rfunk.livejournal.com at 12:38am on 11/11/2005
Wow, I really never thought anyone would care about this one... :-)
(I assume you got here via [livejournal.com profile] taokodr?)

Anyway, it doesn't surprise me that OpenSolaris won't run on the old machines, especially considering memory issues; even Solaris [2.]7 would struggle on them. It slightly surprises me that it won't run 32-bit on sun4u, but I guess that Sun 64-bit transition was a while back now. Tech time flies.

I would hope and assume that any GNU/Solaris release would include x86 just to keep a wide audience. At this point though it'll be interesting to see if the venture survives the licensing dispute with Debian.

Maybe I should get consider Debian or OpenBSD on those shoeboxes before there's nothing current left that runs on them. Though I still haven't come up with a good use for something that old and memory-constrained.


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