Solaris upgrade on laptop

23 Mar

I was using my laptop installed with Build 41 of OpenSolaris. Had some issues mounting very large size USB drives (40GB+) with that build, but was using it anyway. I was happy to be using that build, because it mostly served the purpose. Then came this discussion in an email alias where I disclosed that I was using a much older build of Nevada. Here is what Casper Dik said:

That’s (57-41 ) * 2 = 32+ weeks of development you’re missing out on.

Thats really interesting! I was missing out on 32+ weeks of innovation! Decided that I would reinstall the bits (because I wanted to change the partition layout and throw away that unused Windows installation I had, I no longer need it on my laptop!)

Installed Build 58 of Solaris Express on my 3 year old Toshiba laptop. For the last month or so, I have put it to test. Here are some positive points:

  • USB-anything works like a charm. Even those 40GB+ external drives. Mounting them is easy now. And vold is gone.
  • My favorite Firefox 2.x and Thunderbird 2.x Beta are part of the Solaris Express distribution. Earlier I had to download them.
  • So is the case with StarOffice 8. No need to upgrade from SO 7.
  • The UI aspects have changed considerably. Now the icons and screen layout looks great!
  • I like the new Administration section and the Network Administration feature there. I still use inetmenu though, somehow I love it.

Here are some pain points with Build 58, which I heard that they are fixed later.

  • Had problems with installing certain packages (like the frkit I downloaded.) Patched the pkgadd program and things work fine now.
  • I had an issue with one of the projectors displaying the slides. Need to investigate it and find the root cause. Does Fn+F5 work?

Now I am still off by 4+ weeks of innovation as per Casper’s method, but am not going to slide it much longer. Planning to install the latest bits in the first week of April, when I get back to my office. Right now I am working from home and am traveling, and my little laptop with Solaris Nevada Build 58 is a great companion!