Yup... it's official. OpenSolaris is a Failure
Let me start off by saying I am a HUGE fan of Solaris. I am a Sun Certified Systems Administrator for Solaris 9 and Solaris 10. I would choose Solaris/SPARC over Linux/x86 for mission critical enterprise applications all day long. Why, because it is rock solid and it is proven to be reliable. Now as far as OpenSolaris is concerned I consider it to suck and here are a few reasons why.
NO TEXT BASED INSTALLER
Believe it or not you are unable to install OpenSolaris from a text based terminal. You are forced to use the gui-install command to get the system installed. I recently installed VirtualBox on my Ubuntu 9.10 laptop and ran into problems starting the graphical login interface on the OpenSolaris cd that was sent to me directly from Sun. After watching the system hang when trying to render the screen time after time I rebooted and chose the text based terminal option. I figured I could just login through the terminal and run the installation in a ncurses style interface. I was sooo wrong.
After booting off the cd to a text interface I was able to login to the system using the username/ password combination of jack/ jack. Once logged in I was allowed to su - to root using the password opensolaris. However, I was not able to find a method for installing the system onto the hard drive.
I ran the startx command and was greeted with a grey screen with an X for a mouse and was unable to do anything else. Luckily I was able to crash the startx command and search for other options. I attempted to locate some dt commands that were not found on the system. Then I attempted to run xinit and pass the option of gnome-session to the xinit command which did not work. I finally was able to work around this problem because I have many years of Linux under my belt. I started using Linux back before your X settings were autodetected and you were forced to use things such as SuperProbe and XF86Config to setup your graphical environment. The way I was able to finally get OpenSolaris installed was by running the command xorgcfg.
Once xorgcfg ran it created an X environment with the old style configuration setup. However when inside of the xorgcfg session I was able to click on a blank space on the desktop and launch an Xterm. From inside the Xterm I ran the gui-install command an voila... I am now installing OpenSolaris.
Think I'm lying about that... check this out.
Wow.... all those painful nights attempting to configure X have finally paid off for me :)
WHY OH WHY MUST YOU HAVE INTERNET FOR ZONE INSTALLS????
This part is really frustrating and does NOT behave the same way as Solaris. I have attempted to setup a non global zone using the zonecfg command. I issue the create -b statement as to invoke a full-root zone creation. Next I set the zonepath to a directory that I had previously setup and chmoded to 700 permissions. Now when I invoke the zoneadm install command it fails miserably complaining about unable to download from opensolaris.org. FAIL! Why would you ever need to contact opensolaris.org to do a zone install????? This is one of the biggest FAIL moments I have ran across with OpenSolaris. Currently, I am not online with my ethernet card. This creates problems with VirtualBox because I do not have networking functional. However, installing a zone should only copy packages from the global zone into a local container. Why would it ever need to contact the internet to do this?
Here is the proof
Very poor performance by a operating system that attempts to claim a part of the Solaris name. This is not Solaris and it definitely shows. This project has even claimed to be a Linux variant. I will continue to fiddle with OpenSolaris but at this point I am saying that it sucks as a project. When it doesn't just work out of the box then all the features such as dtrace, zfs, zones, etc do not matter at all.
In closing, I was going to sign up at the OpenSolaris forums and try to explain to them how I received a cd directly from Sun and so far it sucks but I decided that it would not be worth my time. Next month, when Oracle finalizes it's purchase of Sun, OpenSolaris will most likely die anyway. I guess I will have to go back to using Solaris x86.... at least it works out of the box.