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Debian and Nexenta collide


Since Sun made the source code of Solaris available as OpenSolaris, it has come a long way. Some months ago, some OpenSolaris developpers talked to some of the Ubuntu people, and the consensus was that a Debian based system running on top of the OpenSolaris kernel would be one hell of a system, which is something I wholeheartly confirm.

So, in the next monts, Nexenta was born : a system which tried to glue Debian and OpenSolaris together. However, the Nexenta developers got off to a bit of a bad start by announcing its existence while putting its entire web site behind a password gate. Browsing the source code wasn't the easiest thing also, and there remains the fact of the two different licenses : the Debian code is licensed under the well-known GPL, whereas the OpenSolaris code (kernel and userland binaries linked to the Solaris libc libraries) was licensed under the CDDL. How these two licensed are to be united still remains a problem.

The licensing issues are real, and need to be worked out. But many of the people involved in the debate appear to have lost track of the fact that the Nexenta project, while perhaps being occasionally arrogant and ignorant of how Debian does things, is trying to make a contribution to the free software world. It is a free software project. Anthony Towns has been almost the lone voice in calling for a higher degree of cooperation with Nexenta.


As someone who's only had negative experiences with Solaris/X86, including discovering that it had almost exactly half the I/O speed of the Linux kernel on all of our machines from developer boxes to proposed servers, with a variety of different network cards and disk controllers, can you tell me why this would be a good idea?

I'm not going for flame-bait, I'm honestly interested in what experiences people have had with Solaris that make them prefer it as a kernel over Linux, just so I know.

Solaris is rock solid. If Linux is bullet-proof, then Solaris is armor-plated also. I have seen Solaris boxen taking loads (average run queue of 600) that would make a Linux box crumble.

Don't get me wrong : I don't wanna sound like the average Sun fanboy or start some Solaris-Linux flamewar here; I really *love* Linux on desktops and servers, but Tux still has a way to go in comparison with ,say big iron Unices like Solaris or AIX.

The combination of GNU/Debian userland utils and its charming packaging system with the Solaris kernel is really a system I like : Solaris' package management is put up from a completely different point of view (packages, which are updated through a system of patches isn't a concise pkg system, imho) and far inferior to apt. I know there's pkg-get, but let's face it, that's a q&d kludge.

Solaris x86 isn't as powerful as Linux on the same hw, or Solaris on Sparc. There's serious improvement with Solaris 10, so I guess Sun will eventually get there, but I wouldn't run it on production servers yet. ISV support is still not as broad as the Sparc availability either. Which Solaris version did you use btw ?

We used Solaris/X86, I don't remember the version info, this would have been in the 2001 time frame. It was the platform of choice of the project leader, but as we continued development we started to notice that thread performance had issues (this system is heavily threaded), and I forget what else, but running across that I/O issue was the final thing that convinced everyone that it was just easier and more predictable to deploy in Linux. Don't want to mention the service, my policy to not talk about the details of previous projects and employers in quick passing references, but you've probably used it, and it's been serving millions of queries a day for three years now.

Don't have experience on SPARC hardware, but could easily believe that Sun had gotten it right there. On the other hand I know at least one guy who swears by Linux on SPARC boxes...