OpenSolaris upgrade unveiled

Open source Unix OS features new deployment capabilities; Sun also plans to have OpenSolaris running on a line of laptops in 2009

Sun Microsystems and the OpenSolaris community on Wednesday unveiled an upgrade to the open source version of the Solaris Unix OS, OpenSolaris 2008.11. They also revealed plans to have OpenSolaris running on a line of laptops in 2009.

Version 2008.11 of OpenSolaris follows up the first release of the product, OpenSolaris 2008.05, which came out in May.

"This release adds some new functionality for our users that are deploying in production or in the datacenter," said Charlie Boyle, Sun's director of OpenSolaris marketing.

The upgrade features Distro Constructor for customizing Solaris deployments. For example, an OpenSolaris deployment intended for use with a Web server would not need storage-consuming desktop components of the OS; these could be left out of the user's customized distribution.

"This allows people to take their own custom set of packages for OpenSolaris and basically build the stack that they want. Distro Constructor takes that stack with all their software and settings and builds a new bootable [image]," Boyle said. The tool saves users from unnecessary overhead and is beneficial for update management.

Also included is an automated "lights out" install for the OS and a tool called Time Slider, which provides a graphical interface to ZFS file system updates as well as the ability to scroll backward to get older files. Time Slider makes ZFS accessible to all users, Boyle said.

Sun is partnering with Toshiba to build OpenSolaris-based laptops. Laptops will be preconfigured with OpenSolaris. Information about model numbers and pricing for the laptops will be made available in January.

The OpenSolaris upgrade also supports Intel's Nahalem and Xeon processors.

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