guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ BUILD =`uname -v | sed -e “s/snv //” -e “s/[a-z]//”`

guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ pfexec pkg refresh

guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ pfexec install entire@0.5.11-0.${BUILD}

guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ pfexec install SUNWipkg@0.5.11-0.${BUILD}

guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ pfexec pkg install SUNWinstall-libs

guruprasad@opensolaris-2008.05$ pfexec pkg image-update

This is how we can upgrade from OpenSolaris 2008.05 to OpenSolaris 2008.11 – so says the official OpenSolaris site. Since the release of 2008.11, I have been wanting to install it on my notebook and start using it, but I didn’t have much time to do it. At last, today I decided to do the upgrade and not a fresh install because I would have to install all the software packages again.

All the above commands worked fine and pkg image-update showed that it had to download some 1300 odd MB for the upgrade and the upgrade started. After a couple of hours, when the upgrade was almost over at about 99%, the upgrade failed as the disk was full. 🙁 . So I, tried to free some space and proceed with the upgrade. But then I realized that even after freeing some space, I will have more or less no space left. As if to endorse my thought, the OS promptly froze and hung. So I decided to overwrite the existing installation with the brand new 2008.11 release.After burning the 2008.11 iso onto a CD, I booted into the Live Session and started the installation which was so simple. When the installation was happening, I wanted to try out some things.

My Intel PRO Wireless 3945 ABG adapter worked out of the box as in 2008.05 and it in fact got connected to the available wireless network in a flash without any problems unlike in the previous version where I had some issues with nwamd. I was happy about this and the Gnome Panel applet for the interfaces was nice.And the next surprise was Firefox and there was the latest Firefox 3.0.4 which is a great thing compared to 2008.05 which had if I remember right. And of course as usual drivers for my Nvidia GeForce 8600 M GS card was installed and Compiz-fusion worked out of the box.

I then ran the Device Driver utility and the Audio driver and the ACPI driver which were missing in the previous release were there and working fine and this meant that I had zero driver issues which is really really great.

Also in the previous release the Package Manager was so weak and feeble that it got grayed out every few seconds and it was impossible to use it at all. But this time the package manager works great.

So next, I wanted to install softwares and promptly installed amp-dev, sunstudio,HPC tools and etc. When I wanted to install the divine VLC player, my thoughts immediately turned to LifeWithSolaris repository. But when I added the repository and tried to install softwares I got errors. So I visited that site and found out the IPS repository has temporarily been disabled due to some copyright and licensing issues. I felt like a balloon pricked by a needle and was utterly disappointed. I then added the Blastwave Repository and refreshed the package list and had a lot of my favorite packages showing up in the package list. But unfortunately, when I tried to install any package from Blastwave, all I repeatedly got was HTTP 405 error, probably due to a problem with repository. I really felt dejected and what lifted my spirit was the presence of my favorite Emacs Editor(a lot lot more than an Editor too!), which was missing in the official IPS repository of 2008.05, in the official IPS repository and immediately I installed it.

In the war of editors, my loyalty is definitely to Emacs, which is one of the finest piece of software ever written. So to be able to install Emacs and use it in penSolaris was really really satisfying. I hate having to use GEdit! Then I tried to build VLC from source and gave up some distance into it. When a BeOS and Syllable have their pre-built VLC binaries, it is a pity that we still have to build VLC from source on OpenSolaris. LifeWithSolaris was a respite but it didn’t last too long. 🙁

And one more thing that took the sheen off, was the highly limited nature of the repository and the inability to easily save, reuse and redistribute the packages we download and install. GNU/Linux distros are light years better in this aspect. This is the reason which makes me favor a Ubuntu or a Debian as my primary OS and not OpenSolaris. With further development and a larger community participation over a period of time, this situation may change and we may have great, universal repositories. This must compulsorily happen or else OpenSolaris can never come out of Solaris shadow and grow,spread. It will end up into Solaris stream soon. So I sincerely hope and pray for great progress in OpenSolaris so that it escapes the mentioned ignominy. Issues with multimedia and codecs and a limited repository is the biggest obstacle to OpenSolaris in entering the Desktop environment and growing further. Any normal user will not use a OpenSolaris for DTrace or ZFS when he cannot listen to songs and watch movies in OpenSolaris.

I sincerely hope that people in-charge of OpenSolaris hear this and act accordingly to make OpenSolaris a lot lot better.

Thats it for now, Ciao. 🙂