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Why Solaris Is Different To Other Unix? a general description of some diferences of Solaris 10


10 replies to this topic

#1 Andres Martinez Andrade

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 05:08 PM

Why SOLARIS is different to other UNIX?

Well, Solaris has some important differences with other Unix. For example the FileSystem. They use ZFile which is file system created by Sun Microsystems an it is a 128bits file system capable for managing a unlimited capacity (2^128 bytes! it's a very huge number!) which could be a single Hard Disk or multiple hard disks or a cluster of computer. Another difference is the Console managment which makes the creation of users, roles and permission a very fast and easy task by using some wizards and a graphical interface. It also could be used to manage computer remotely so you can easily manage an entire network from one single Solaris Server. Also security is enhanced by the use of TCP wrappers. This management tools for Unix Administrators are one of their most important differences. They have the Java Desktop that is based in Gnome. They also are good in managing concurrent virtual machines.

An important internal difference is that it is completely an multi-threating operating system because it not only manages multiple concurrent threads at user level, it also manages multi-threat at system level, which leave us to an N to N relation between user and system threads. Other Unix do not have this. The advantage of having a multi-thread at system level is that the operating system is faster, because it do not have to make too many context changes because most of the system's process are really another thread that use the same process context, is like having a single process to be the operating system so it is easier to manage this "single" process instead of multiple process. This multi-threat performance is even greater if Solaris is used by a multicore processor such as Turion64X2, Intel CoreDuo or even better an UltraSparc with a eight-core processor.

However in almost everything else it looks and works like another Linux/Unix. I have to confess that I also have problems to install it in my laptop Dell Inspiron 1501 because some drivers were unavailable or their installation may cause Kernel Panic, so I installed in my friend's laptop (an HP) and we do not have any problems (unless the Wireless card).

I recommend Solaris as a very good option if your looking for a Unix to be used as a Server to manage a network, services, clusters, etc (administrator's tasks). It is probably the best option in the market for this. And it is used by many big and important companies around the world (i.e eBay, High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory, Engineering DataXpress, etc).

If you look for a Linux to be used by a single user at home (like a normal person ja) I recommend OpenSuse, I like it more than Ubuntu (:S) and other linux. It is very easy to install and use, and it is focus for common users (not companies as Solaris). It has a very intuitive user interfaces, and it cames with many applications. It is almost as easy as windows, because it has automatic updates, YaSt to manage the system's config. and more.

I hope this reply is useful to understand the some differences between Solaris and other Linux.

#2 xboxrulz

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:49 PM

Actually, Linux is also a multithread operating system. I'm not so sure about other Unices like BSD or AIX or what-not. Most modern operating systems are multithreaded for multiple core support. The only main advantage I see right now in Solaris is the ZFS support, but there's already a preliminary Linux support for it, so I won't really hold my breath to jump to Solaris, although it'd be fun to try.

Also, I agree with openSUSE, I'm running a heavily modified openSUSE at the moment, it's great!

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#3 wutske

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 06:44 AM

and what about OpenSolaris ? I have 2 DVDs here at home featuring some distributions of OpenSolaris (Belenix, Schillix, Nexenta and Solaris Express). I haven't been able to get them running (and the LiveCDs are incredibly slow and I'm incredibly unpatient << ) but they don't look like server OSes.

Is openSuse realy that good ? I might install linux during the upcomming vacations and maybe I'll use openSuse (cus I don't like Ubuntu either because it boots so slow on my main computer and I do prefer a more mature distribution like Slackware, but I don't want to waste my time on configuring it descently because I have exams after the vacations).

#4 Andres Martinez Andrade

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:19 AM

and what about OpenSolaris ? ...


OpenSolaris is only like a "testing Operating System" where developers test their beta products. It is an open source project sponsored by Sun Microsystems, Inc; and it was initially based on a subset of the source code for the Solaris Operating System. The idea of this project is to create a community where developers from Sun and elsewhere can collaborate on developing and improving operating system technology.

OpenSolaris only provides the core kernel, some common libraries and commands that are currently distributed with the Solaris Operating System. Over time, it is expected that additional parts of the Solaris OS will be made available through OpenSolaris.

In the future, Sun Microsystems may include part of the OpenSolaris source code as the basis for new versions of products and components that will be included in future releases of Solaris OS and third-party products distributions.

The main difference between the OpenSolaris and the Solaris Operating System is that the OpenSolaris does not provide an end-user product or complete distribution. Instead it is an open source code base, build tools necessary for developing with the code, and an infrastructure for communicating and sharing related information. Support for the code is provided by the community; Sun offers no formal support for the OpenSolaris product in either source or binary form.

The Solaris OS is Sun's operating system distribution and is branded, tested, maintained and supported as a Sun product. Future releases of the Solaris OS will be built from the OpenSolaris source code, but will still be supported in the same manner as current versions of the Solaris OS.

So, it is only good idea to install this operating system if you wanna test or be a developer for the OpenSolaris project. I would not use it as my Operating System at work and of course not as a server, because it is not stable in any way. I have never installed it, but I think that it should be tedious to make it work.

Is openSuse realy that good ? ...


As I said it is very straight-forward to install and can be easily customized during installation or when installed. I think that it is based in the Knoppix distribution, but I like it more. I also installed because I don't want to spend too many time configuring (only the necessary).

#5 Jeigh

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 11:58 AM

I've only used solaris briefly over the years and it is indeed an interesting OS. I would agree that it's not wonderful for a single user desktop system probably but I know for servers it does have some great things to offer. I'm glad to see it is still around and still in use and hope it sticks around.

As far as the desktop debate for linux choices, I usually stick to ubuntu but I haven't used any new distros this past 8-12 months sooo, yea haha.

#6 ethergeek

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 10:04 PM

I had (and I stress had, it was painful) to use Solaris (we called it Slowaris) in college...it blew hard. The only benefit of it was to encourage people to use htons and ntohs when coding network applications. Other than that...it just showed that when 200 students are trying to make use of a SunOS 5.9 system at the same time, it slows to a crawl...the box was replaced the semester I graduated with a dual core machine running Fedora Core...and had no problems handling 200 users at a time.

Sun needs to kick the Solaris bucket and just focus on Java.

#7 Andres Martinez Andrade

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 11:41 PM

Actually, Linux is also a multithread operating system. I'm not so sure about other Unices like BSD or AIX or what-not. Most modern operating systems are multithreaded for multiple core support. The only main advantage I see right now in Solaris is the ZFS support, but there's already a preliminary Linux support for it, so I won't really hold my breath to jump to Solaris, although it'd be fun to try.

Also, I agree with openSUSE, I'm running a heavily modified openSUSE at the moment, it's great!

xboxrulz



Yes Linux is multi-thread but only in user level threads and do not in the kernel threads as Solaris do. This kernel level threads allow the system to change between threads faster than changing between process when running system's tasks.

Actually Linux kernel only sees process and not threads because it uses the same control structure to manage process and threads, it uses what is called a task_struct for both threads and process. So in Linux changing between threads has the same overhead for the system as changing processes.

In the other side, Solaris will change faster from thread to thread because it creates an equivalent structure for managing the process (called in Solaris proc_t) and individual structures for each thread (kthread_t) inside the process, so when the changing between threads is required the dispatcher only changes the thread structure, which is smaller and retains the process structure that contains common data for the threads inside the process. Also an klwp_t structure is provided in a Solaris process as a save area for threads switching between user and kernel modes.

In FreeBSD it has a proc struct, a thread struct, and a ksegrp struct. Effectively, all three Unix OSes schedule threads, where a thread is a kthread_t in Solaris, a thread structure in FreeBSD, and a task_struct in Linux and the difference is how they manage them.

As a conclusion one important difference for Unix flavors is the kernel. Each Unix implements their own kernel. Linux uses the Linus Torvalds implementation, Solaris and BSD do their own implementation. These kernels use different subsystems (scheduling, memory Management, paging, etc), rules and policies. They have different code, that should perform equivalent tasks to the others kernel implementation. All kernels have their own advantages and disadvantages.

#8 Andres Martinez Andrade

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 11:57 PM

I had (and I stress had, it was painful) to use Solaris (we called it Slowaris) in college...it blew hard. The only benefit of it was to encourage people to use htons and ntohs when coding network applications. Other than that...it just showed that when 200 students are trying to make use of a SunOS 5.9 system at the same time, it slows to a crawl...the box was replaced the semester I graduated with a dual core machine running Fedora Core...and had no problems handling 200 users at a time.

Sun needs to kick the Solaris bucket and just focus on Java.



Nowadays we have a Solaris 9 Server (SunOS 5.9) in our campus, and it serves to 250 or more collage students. It works just fine and fast and it had to been shut down only once since the last 3 years and was only because a general failure in electricity power. It runs in a Sparc, I don't know what version of sparc but definitive it is not a new and powerfull one. Maybe the Solaris server in your collage just need a good config. and system tunning, maybe I dont know your situation.

But I also thing Fedora is ok, I heard that in other campus of my university they use Fedora or Suse an works all right. I think that it depends more of the system's and services configuration, network settings and a good administrator to have any Unix running to fit the users requirements.

And about Java, selling and supporting servers is the principal business of Sun Microsystems and Java was only launched as another project and it is not to intended to be the main income's source of the company. The Solaris guys said that Java is optimized in their Operating system and that it runs better on it. Maybe is true because they are the creator, i have never test it.

#9 xboxrulz

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 02:01 AM

Yes Linux is multi-thread but only in user level threads and do not in the kernel threads as Solaris do. This kernel level threads allow the system to change between threads faster than changing between process when running system's tasks.

Actually Linux kernel only sees process and not threads because it uses the same control structure to manage process and threads, it uses what is called a task_struct for both threads and process. So in Linux changing between threads has the same overhead for the system as changing processes.

In the other side, Solaris will change faster from thread to thread because it creates an equivalent structure for managing the process (called in Solaris proc_t) and individual structures for each thread (kthread_t) inside the process, so when the changing between threads is required the dispatcher only changes the thread structure, which is smaller and retains the process structure that contains common data for the threads inside the process. Also an klwp_t structure is provided in a Solaris process as a save area for threads switching between user and kernel modes.

In FreeBSD it has a proc struct, a thread struct, and a ksegrp struct. Effectively, all three Unix OSes schedule threads, where a thread is a kthread_t in Solaris, a thread structure in FreeBSD, and a task_struct in Linux and the difference is how they manage them.

As a conclusion one important difference for Unix flavors is the kernel. Each Unix implements their own kernel. Linux uses the Linus Torvalds implementation, Solaris and BSD do their own implementation. These kernels use different subsystems (scheduling, memory Management, paging, etc), rules and policies. They have different code, that should perform equivalent tasks to the others kernel implementation. All kernels have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Interesting, I'll keep that in mind.

Nowadays we have a Solaris 9 Server (SunOS 5.9) in our campus, and it serves to 250 or more collage students. It works just fine and fast and it had to been shut down only once since the last 3 years and was only because a general failure in electricity power. It runs in a Sparc, I don't know what version of sparc but definitive it is not a new and powerfull one. Maybe the Solaris server in your collage just need a good config. and system tunning, maybe I dont know your situation.

But I also thing Fedora is ok, I heard that in other campus of my university they use Fedora or Suse an works all right. I think that it depends more of the system's and services configuration, network settings and a good administrator to have any Unix running to fit the users requirements.

And about Java, selling and supporting servers is the principal business of Sun Microsystems and Java was only launched as another project and it is not to intended to be the main income's source of the company. The Solaris guys said that Java is optimized in their Operating system and that it runs better on it. Maybe is true because they are the creator, i have never test it.



As for is Solaris faster, I'd say that it's slower on x86 machines compared to SPARC based. That's a little obvious since Solaris was originally built for SPARC then was ported over to the x86 architecture. There may well be some problems running it on x86. Furthermore, I tried running Solaris on a single core Pentium 4 with 1GB of RAM, it still lagged like hell, and this is for single user.

xboxrulz

#10 Guest_iGuest-younus_*

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 06:40 PM

Why Solaris Is Different To Other Unix? - a general description of some diferences of Solaris 10
Why Solaris Is Different To Other Unix?

It has SMF facility (Service Management Facility). With this we can restart,refresh,stop,start services and trace out problem. We can see service dependencies also.

It has ZFS (Zetta byte file system).

Its logical block size is 8kb where as other unix & windows have 4kb.

It has Zones concept. With this zones we can install vitual OS's. We can Share resources (Processors , RAM ,Disk ...)also. We can restart individual zones with out restarting the server...

-reply by younus

#11 Guest_(G)Sam_*

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:52 AM

Solaris, Linux, and Wi-FiWhy Solaris Is Different To Other Unix?

I like to play with operating systems and see what I canget them to do with the hardware I have. I've used Linux variousversions of: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, RedHat, GIS-Knoppix, PC-Linux OS,and more.

Didn't know much about Solaris, so I ordered a disk forSolaris 10 from Sun a while back. Installed it on my Dell 1501 AMD 64.Installation worked fine, no real problems other than tri-booting withWindows XP Pro and Linux Mint. Only real issue I had was no Wi-Fisupport, but as noted in a prior post Solaris isn't designed as adesktop operating environment. I found only a couple of posts on-linerelating to this issue, but no resolutions as of yet.

So unless I'm mistaken that's a difference between Linux andSolaris; Wi-Fi, but in fairness to Solaris Wi-Fi is not a priority forsuch an operating system.

Just think of the strange out of the norm actions you couldaccomplish with Solaris running on a laptop with Wi-Fi capabilities.Well, even if there isn't anything useful to be accomplished I'm stillgoing to attempt it.





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