Sunday, March 18, 2007

Solaris: not the desktop for me.

I know I said I was going to give Solaris a week, however I'm not sure if I can stick to that. I like many things about Solaris 10, and I want to run it in a virtual machine, and learn more about it. Solaris makes a brilliant server. Yet it is not the right Desktop environment for me.

I was very impressed with the Java desktop, it looks and feels very nice, however, it is not complete, there are lots of little bugs, especially in interface design.
I like that there is only 1 of most types of programs (e.g. one text editor, one web browser).
Yet adding and changing the software is a pain. I don't mind dependency nightmares on a server, yet on a desktop it can become unbearable.
The sun documentation is very detailed yet it is very difficult to find a quick answer, in fact I don't think I have found one easy answer, even to the smallest problem.
The biggest disappointment for me was the console program. I love having a good console to work in, and I thought that a UNIX system would have one, yet I don't like Solaris console at all.
With a bit of effort I can probably get it to a standard where it is OK, but thats how Solaris made me feel on many levels, that I had to do ALL the work to make it usable, with nearly no tools.

I haven't had the hardware issues that so many others have. My sound card worked fine, and my cheap network card worked. In fact apart from one network card all my other hardware worked. I haven't been able to get DVD play back. Yet flash and Java, and other applications which can cause so many problems in Open source solutions worked out of the box.
I have given the system a fair go as my main desktop. I certainly don't think that I have given it a fair go at being a Java development environment or a server, so this is how I will set it up.

This experience has certainly opened my eyes. I really want to learn more about Solaris, yet I'll run it in a virtual machine and play with solaris it's self. Instead of trying to make myself a desktop environment. I also am very keen to look into OpenSolaris now. I think that I will sign up for the DVD.

I'm very fussy about my workstation, it has to be just right. I am thinking about going back to FreeBSD. I nearly always seem to meander back that way when it comes to Desktops. I think it's because FreeBSD is where I started, I left windows for FreeBSD. I nearly drowned in my first couple of weeks, yet I made it through and now I know the system like the back of my hand. It feels like home :)


Jim Grisanzio said...

Hey, thanks for giving us a try and for the review, too. :)

Kris said...

Thanks Jim!
I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to try Solaris out. It was fun! Thanks to the sun staff for making it possible for people to experiment with their software!