back to article OpenSolaris ported to ARM chips

Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris project has quietly announced the operating system that just added support for Sparc has now been ported to ARM - commonly used in embedded devices, handhelds and, increasingly, netbooks. It is perhaps an indication of how just stressful things are at Sun these days, with the $5.6bn acquisition by …


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  1. Peter Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    OpenSolaris on ARM - perfect fit

    "It is hard to imagine there is a lot of room for OpenSolaris on the kinds of devices served bv Atom-based processors"

    Embedded NAS anyone. Throw in some cheap SATA and/or flash and with ZFS you have proper NAS on the cheap. Current ARM Cortex cores are more than capable of running that setup. Perfect media hub in a black box.

  2. Jimbo 7
    Thumb Down

    come on

    "Microsoft will port the Windows client operating system commonly found on laptops and desktops to ARM"

    as ozzie said last week, NO Microsoft will not port WindowsXP/VISTA/7 to ARM

    they have Windows CE which works on ARM, but that is not the windows most of the users know and expect

  3. David Halko

    OpenSolaris on ARM - Embedded NAS?

    Timothy Prickett Morgan writes, "It is hard to imagine there is a lot of room for OpenSolaris on the kinds of devices served bv Atom-based processors"

    Peter Hawkins posts, "Embedded NAS anyone."

    Oracle/Sun StorageTek "Time Capsule"?


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Peter Hawkins


    I'm not sure why everybody seems to think this is to aim for the netbook market... Just because ARM is headline news for that right now doesn't mean it's the only thing going on.... It's definitely to aim at the cheap NAS market... There are already a few NAS machines that are SPARC/osol based, but these aren't commodity.

    Fast ARM CPU + gigabit ethernet + three cheap SATA disks + OpenSolaris/RaidZ = Safe, secure and cheap NAS server without need for RAID hardware or a cache battery backup.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Re OpenSolaris on ARM - perfect fit

    TPM is an IBM hack. He doesn't understand anything but IBM puts out. Solaris? Bahhh! HPUX? Bahhh! Linux? Bahhh! Linux on mainframe? Hmmm...

  6. Colin Barfoot

    Quantity ~= Quality

    Ubuntu et al. face a similar problem to OpenSolaris. There may 26000 packages in Ubuntu's reach but the majority of them will be of no interest to most users: mostly libs and command line apps. Of the few remaining GUI apps there are a lot of Toolkit variations of the same thing and some outright cacky sub-Win3.1 disgraces. This largely leaves the GNU's which are usually short on functionality, and the Sun's. The best application on Ubuntu I've seen is Sun's VirtualBox - run your favourite OS of yore (it's passed my acid test in being able to run my ancient copy of Adobe Premiere - which is better than Vista and probably better than Win2000 on the original hardware). In fact the virtualized copy of Xara (doodling) runs more slickly than the Ubuntu port. Ubuntu is noticeably sluggish on the desktop - it seems to rely heavily on high-end graphics hardware to work well.

    Sun's documentation is a model of excellence. Ubuntu's help app, yelp, repeatedly crashes which is no help at all. And as any Christian will tell you the last place you want to go looking for help is in a forum.

    What would deter most desktop users from adopting OpenSolaris (and the other Linux-based OS's that I've tried) as opposed to Ubuntu is that it doesn't work out of the box; it doesn't pick up the majority of my peripherals. And to a lesser extent in Solaris's case the command-line terminal goes haywire if you try the usual cursor movement keys.

    If Sun would get out and market VirtualBox on Solaris as a route to the user's freedom from the tyranny of the Microsoft desktop, automate the peripheral pickup and possibly persuade a closed source app developer like Adobe to port some decent apps then perhaps they could still succeed.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    @Colin Barfoot, Re: VirtualBox.

    You mean Innotek's VirtualBox, as purchased by SUN and now available with the word "Innotek" hastily scratched out and the word "SUN" written on it in biro?

    Still, it runs Win 7 in a VM very well, which is more than you can say for a certain competing product....

  8. No Use for A Name

    this is good news - albeit

    ...a year to late. an zfs-nas box would be killer and is what I am waiting for. but the nas market already has matured and opensolaris is a little late. hopefully somebody sees an opportunity and makes it happen. and with crossbow one could build a cool router/nas with lots of finegrained control...

  9. zvonr

    @TeeCee, back to the kindergarten!

    In case you ever bought a "thing" from a store, after you buy it you refer to it as "The Store's thing" or "My thing"?

    Virtual BOX is a Sun product and every Sun shareholder owns a piece of it! Get over it!

  10. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    OpenSlowaris ZFS NAS?

    Whilst it might sound good, the reality is it would be trapped between two existing markets. On the low end we have a plethora of Linux-based NAS devices, from single disk home-NAS to multi-disk SOHO products all with embedded Linux on ARM or similar chips, and all available at a cheap price. As well as serving up NAS, many of these devices are plug-and-play and also add value by providing embedded print servers (and with a much larger range of print drivers than Slowaris). Their makers can take advantage of the open nature of real Linux, whereas if they go with Slowaris then they have all the fun of a pretend-open license and the possibility of NetApp slapping a lawsuit on them if they use ZFS. Until OpenSlowaris adopts a real open licence and the WAFL courtcase is resolved I can't see much use in the low end.

    If you look higher up the chain then you meet a large array (pun unintended) or commercial multi-disk NAS devices which come from reputable companies with established channels and sound support services. Here Slowaris and ZFS do stand a chance as licencing costs can be hidden away in support charges. Problem here is there is already not just a host of Linux-based devices, but cheap Windows Storage Server offerings whch don't require the Slowaris skills most SOHOs don't have. At this level the majority of offerings have simple, polished point-and-click GUIs. And again, NetApp is keen to protect their ownership of the commercial NAS market and will more than likely clobber any vendor going to market with a product with ZFS. Probably the only chance for a real, commercial NAS is Oracle badging the current Sun storage kit, as Oracle may have the will to go toe-to-toe with NetApp, but that also makes it less likely for another vendor to pick it up as they then have to compete with Oracle.

    The problems for ZFS are not largely technical, more legal. Until the purchase of Sun goes through, Larry can't make a real move on clearing up the ZFS/WAFL courtcase. Until the purchase goes through, the courtcase is likely to remain stalled. And with a fair few people lining up in attempts to block the purchase (Sun shareholders as well as rival companies), it looks like the whole deal may get spun out for a while longer. By the time it all gets cleared up - if it all goes Larry's way - it may be several years down the road, and by then tools like BTRFS will have gained market and mind share.

    Slowaris and ZFS will work for the hobbyist community, especially the Sunshienrs, but that won't make it a commercial success.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    spreader of fud still can't spell

    matt bryant ~ if they go with Slowaris then they have all the fun of a pretend-open license and the possibility of NetApp slapping a lawsuit on them if they use ZFS.

    sounds like FUD again, from the unemployed poster who claimed to not post FUD


    by the way, you spelled Solaris incorrectly matt - but then again, you could not spell Oracle's Linux product correctly, either!

    HA HA HA!

    matt bryant ~ Slowaris and ZFS will work for the hobbyist community, especially the Sunshienrs, but that won't make it a commercial success.

    more FUD from the guy who can't spell - can't even spell spell his famous coined word "sunshiners" correctly in his own posting!


    what a riot!

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