Thursday, 28 February 2008

Solaris Developer Express 01/08

The latest release DVD dropped through the letterbox last week, and I eventually found time to try it out, hoping very much that it would fix the issues I mentioned in the previous post.

What a disappointment. First, although there is an option to upgrade the existing installation I decided not to take the small risk that this might not replace all drivers etc., so I went for a fresh install over the top of the old one. This went OK, right up to the point where I removed the DVD and rebooted...

After the initial startup, Solaris starts building a database of some sort. I think this is a one-off operation which it performs the first time a new installation is booted. I recalled seeing it before, so left it to run while I went to get a mug of tea. When I cam back, I found a dead laptop - no login prompt, no power light, nothing. It was then that I realised that I'd been running on battery power during the install and I hadn't flipped the power-supply wall switch to 'on'.

So what? Power switch to on, and start the laptop: it'll be fine. Wrong. The OS wouldn't boot. I can't recall all the rubbish that scrolled past, but I'm pretty sure that the power finally ran out while this configuration database (whatever it is) was building, and without it you're stuffed. I wasn't impressed.

But I was determined enough to start at the beginning (again), this time with AC power on! And of course this time it installed perfectly. However, after logging-in I was disappointed to discover that none of the networking devices were recognized, nor was the sound and I presume also the graphics chipset (as before). This time I didn't even see the nwam dialog, so I have no idea how to make Solaris usable on this laptop.

I'm afraid that's it, for me. I won't be wasting any more time on Solaris, until I'm sure it will at least connect to the network. Windows XP is still my favourite day-to-day desktop OS, because it just works. I'm so glad I didn't remove it.

But what a pity: I had high hopes that Solaris might offer what no Linux distro (so far) has been able to: a good, professional alternative to Windows, created and supported by a trusted company like Sun.

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