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Readers comment on Solaris

SunWorld Online respondents generally happy with operating system

By Mark Cappel

July  1996
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We gave SunWorld Online readers the chance to comment in essay form on their thoughts on Solaris, and many seized that opportunity.

The comments are reproduced as received; only some minor spelling and punctuation errors have been corrected. -- Editors

Topic: Tell us what you think about Solaris.

Date: Sat Jun 1 03:33:51 PDT 1996
Lack of integration with Windows NT Niggling differences between UNIX versions. XPG4 versions of UNIX utilities is not the default - standard shell is ancient Bourne shell rather than ksh. Incomplete implementation of CDE (too many utilities only available in OpenWindows form) On-line documentation is only accessable through AnswerBook, which needs DPS. I want documentation in Netscape readable form so I can access it from *any* desktop. Sun's software modules mean that my PATH (and MANPATH) has to be ridiculously long to make all options available.

Date: Sat Jun 1 06:43:12 PDT 1996
  1. Completing the setup of production grade backups, particularly addressing the issue of locking databases during backup.
  2. Automating install of layered products and patches during custom jumpstart. One would think that given the effort to make network install of the OS work well, and the standard packaging of products and patches, that these latter would also have been integrated into the custom jumpstart mechanism by Sun rather than leaving it to each customer.
  3. Conversion of an existing perl based install to the Solaris package based mechanism for my customer's product.
  4. Automation of the installation of a standalone system, from bare OS up, without the ability to custom jumpstart from another system. I would really like to see a way to extend the custom jumpstart to removable media such as tape. Well, those are my top 4. Don't have time to cover more.

Date: Sat Jun 1 09:00:46 PDT 1996
Lack of support from third party software vendors. An example, most of the plugins available for Netscape are not available for Solaris. Where are the SDK's for Netscape?, for Adobe Photoshop?. I would also like to see a 64bit PCI SPARC machine and support for the respective cards available from vendors. There really are very few SBUS cards available, and little competition. I would also like to see a version of Solaris x86, in its entirety optimized for the Pentium Pro, and later XIL, XGL, VIS? support for the MMX extensions.

Date: Sat Jun 1 09:52:37 PDT 1996
Availability of specialized software (e.g. MR Spectroscopy, imaging) is quite limited. Much of the process of managing systems has been made tremendously harder in Solaris (e.g. managing serial ports, printers, etc was much easier in SunOS)

Date: Sun Jun 2 11:59:10 PDT 1996
Performance and complexity. KISS should rule. Solaris is almost as bloated as windows. If BSDI or Linux ever get STRONG support, Sun's lead in the Internet market will dissipate.

Date: Sun Jun 2 12:09:10 PDT 1996
CDE in Solaris 2.5 is buggy and has fewer features than OpenWindows in Solaris 2.3.

Date: Sun Jun 2 19:12:43 PDT 1996
It's difficult to upgrade older systems to Solaris, even if they have enough CPU and RAM to run it well. The problem lies in training users (fixing old .cshrc and .xinitrc's with SunOS dependencies) and upgrading old legacy software. Personally, I prefer Solaris because Sun has just abandoned SunOS; it is too insecure, and requires too much work to get to a usable state (upgrade sendmail, install resolv+, X11R5, etc..) while Solaris has many of these tools built-in. At home, I like to run both FreeBSD and Solaris, FreeBSD when I need speed, and Solaris when I want Motif and SVR4 compatibility (testing a program I wrote, for example). It's too bad there isn't more application support for Solaris/x86, because it isn't a bad OS. One final note: If you have old SPARCstation's running SunOS, and you want a newer, more supported OS, but don't have the horsepower for Solaris, try NetBSD! It's 4.4BSD, *free*, includes source code, has excellent SunOS binary compatibility, and runs great on old Sun4's (or even Sun-3's!). Too bad it doesn't work as well on the Sun4m's (e.g. SPARCstation 20) then it would be perfect!

Date: Mon Jun 3 02:43:39 PDT 1996
Solaris is almost a great operating system. As an administrator it's great - installation, configuration and managament are pretty well trivial. Unfortunately the GUI tools are pretty poor, but you don't need them anyway. The other great advantage of Solaris is its ubiquity. Pretty well any application I want runs on it as a result, and can be made to run easily without excessive work. So Solaris is an easy platform to run a general purpose service on. However, it has its weaknesses. Performance is poor - application start up times are terrible. Given all the work on Solaris it's only just about caught up with SunOS. Memory usage is high (but we've not had as many problems with memory as some have reported). Boot times aren't very good (not helped by some other weaknesses that force reboots more often than we would like). OpenWindows is abysmal in several ways - it's not been compiled correctly, so that the built in paths don't match the install locations and you have to fool with environment variables to get it to work. OpenWindows is slow - I suspect this is really the tools rather than the underlying system. Anything that uses DPS ought to be scrapped it's so slow. CDE isn't much better, it initially looks very polished but after a little experience we loathed it. We also keep running into little bugs and weaknesses. Far too many to get a comfortable feeling. The problems are rarely major, but there are hordes of them.

Date: Mon Jun 3 03:20:08 PDT 1996
Extra cost of UNIX software compared to the same packages on Wintel systems can make it hard to justify investment in Solaris/RISC hardware & software.

Date: Mon Jun 3 03:30:17 PDT 1996
A lot of applications are not ported over from SunOS to Solaris 2.x. We have the fastest system - Ultra 1 - but no software to run. Frustrating.

Date: Mon Jun 3 07:24:13 PDT 1996
No growable JFS (disksuite just doesn't cut it) as in AIX

Date: Mon Jun 3 07:41:42 PDT 1996
I am currently looking into loading Solaris 2.5 onto my PC as I'm tired of WINSOCK.DLL contentions between my Internet server stack and my X-server stack, lack of Adobe PS support in my X-server software and being tied to Windows for Corporate E-mail. Under Solaris for Intel and WABI, or a Caldera/WABI solution once released, I hope to remain as much in a Unix environment as possible.

Date: Mon Jun 3 08:49:58 PDT 1996
Adminsuite makes administering systems difficult... GO back to admintool.

Date: Mon Jun 3 08:55:00 PDT 1996
Price... Availability of Applications...

Date: Mon Jun 3 10:32:14 PDT 1996
Configuring SOLARIS for a optimal AND SECURE web server Improving MAIL characteristics, ease of admin

Date: Mon Jun 3 10:32:49 PDT 1996
I think David Korn's new ksh93 should be made part of base Solaris. See for details.

Date: Mon Jun 3 10:58:23 PDT 1996
Although I will admit that there are some things I do like about solaris, it is basically a nightmare. Here are some of the things I wish Sun would fix most of them cause me to rethink my os options, and frequently choose against Solaris 2.x :
  1. On x86 systems, the video installation is very difficult. Especially for those of us who have never worked on x86 systems of any flavor before.
  2. The compiler doesn't come bundled. Now that one can get the gnu c compiler it isn't so bad. But it'd be nice not to have to deal with compiler issues and take advantage of the multiprocessing options.
  3. Why make it soo difficult to port software to solaris.
  4. Sendmail,arg!, is so _painful_. Why not just buy and QA the latest version of BSD sendmail? Why make every sysadmin in the world go through this?? I hate it!
  5. Didn't sun invent NIS? Why doesn't solaris have NIS servers? This is downright stupid. Why make NIS+ so flaming difficult to setup. Kerberos is easier and valid on more platforms. The only way to replace NIS, it to make it better, safer, easier, and available on all the platforms NIS is currently available on, possibly for free. I'd be happy to give my input on this.
  6. What happened to NFS? Can't this be better. It seems to perform worse.
  7. Printers. I point them towards other servers, and hope for the best...
  8. Screen graphics.

Date: Mon Jun 3 12:47:47 PDT 1996
2 Gb file size limit.

Date: Mon Jun 3 12:52:47 PDT 1996

Date: Mon Jun 3 13:21:26 PDT 1996
Integration with legacy systems

Date: Mon Jun 3 13:54:24 PDT 1996
It is difficult to get good support from the 1 (800) usa4sun tech support groups on any problems that are non-trivial. This is particularly so with the network group, although this group shares this distinction with other groups also. As an example, I have a problem with Solaris 2.4 on a SPARC/20 with 2 network interfaces: 1. a token ring interface, and 2. an ethernet interface. Packets sent out from the token ring interface have a source IP adress of the ethernet interface. I have not been able to get a satisfactory answer as to why this is occuring. This is just an example of my experiences with your tech support group.

Date: Mon Jun 3 15:44:52 PDT 1996
Why doesn't Solaris ship with xemacs? Sun is a co-developer of xemacs, but the best editor they can include in the core OS is vi, which is hardly newbie-friendly. Why doesn't Solaris ship with perl, either? Solaris installs for me are always a two-step process. Step one is installing the OS, step two is adding all the free and gnu tools to the machine.

Date: Tue Jun 4 01:41:12 PDT 1996
It is hard to configure the Solaris system. It should provide more Windows-based configuration utility. By filling out the dialog boxes, a user can configure the network system, for example, after clicking on the OK button. This is the only place where Windows NT is better. If Solaris can match up with this feature, it will be a perfect system over Winows NT.

Date: Tue Jun 4 05:00:00 PDT 1996
The most difficult/perplexing issue facing our corporation today is the momentum of WinNT server. While all agree that the SPARC/Solaris platform provides all the services we require, supporting all the applications and utilities we require to run in a production environment, we're still challenged by point products available on NT. We've been extremely successful within the bounds of "open standards" but sense a return to the proprietary days of VMS, Netware, and Apple. Any advice?

Date: Tue Jun 4 05:18:16 PDT 1996
Poor TCP performance under certain circumstances Automounter support across different Unixes (Solaris, AIX, IRIX) Confusing choice of two printing systems (SunSoft and default)

Date: Tue Jun 4 05:37:10 PDT 1996
Using Xwindows/Motif -- need a clean way to set the $DISPLAY environment variable when I rlogin or telnet to a remote host. Each time I rlogin, I must type setenv DISPLAY >displayname?:0 Otherwise include the following in .login : set displayhost = `who am i|awk '{print $6}'| sed "s/[()]//g"` setenv DISPLAY ${displayhost}:0 The above is not always reliable ( e.g. when using my PC as an X-terminal via Exceed) Any suggestions? e-mail to

Date: Tue Jun 4 07:33:52 PDT 1996
Fitting Solaris into our standard infrastructure.

Date: Tue Jun 4 08:23:48 PDT 1996
I would like to upgrade to Solaris x86 2.5 but I don't have the time or the money, but hey -- That's life.

Date: Tue Jun 4 09:24:42 PDT 1996
tcp/ip performance over WAN's for people on slow links sucks. How can you claim to have "internet ready" servers if you cannot do the most basic of connectivity? This has really hurt us after deploying lots of SS5's as web/ftp servers. The overall quality of support has gone down. Getting answers to our problems from Sun is getting more impossible. The front line techs seem to know less and less about the OS. We found a bug in the select() function that only shows up on MP systems. The front line techs have been less than helpful in getting this resolved. At any rate, Solaris seems like Sun took AT&T SysV, dumped some BSD stuff into the mix and tried to make the spaghetti work. The best example of this is the tcp/ip bug for slow links. In every T patch Sun broke a new thing. It was as though nobody really knew what to fix and just blindly started changing things. Let the customers figure out what breaks. Needless to say, we are looking at other vendors for our solutions. The FreeBSD machines running on PentiumPro PC's compete quite nicely with most of the SS5 and SS20 machines. The DEC Alpha's are also making a strong case for dopping Suns. If Sun does not get their act together on the OS side of the house, they will have to start doing NT so that people will buy the hardware. Gone are the days in which people buy Sun because it is Sun.

Date: Tue Jun 4 09:32:54 PDT 1996
writing software and installation systems that have to deal with unknown customer the customer using OpenWindows? CDE? Pure X11R5/Motif? Pure X11R6/Motif? Motif2.0? where are their shared X libraries located? what are their filenames? are they compatable with the shared libraries my product linked against? will my applications X11 library be able to locate the customers X11 library and data files (XKeysymDB, rgb.dat, etc...) the long-standing war between Motif and Openlook on the Sun desktop may be over, but the issues involved due to the lack of a true Sun "standard" (something that _everybody_ uses) is still a problem at many sites. I find I have to statically link in my X/Motif libraries, and I still have customer calls concerning their particular X installation and my system not being able to find certain files as expected...everybody puts their stuff in a different place... and i've had to deal with this problem on Suns since 1990...

Date: Tue Jun 4 09:50:49 PDT 1996
Security - Internet related company Performance - Memory, disk, fine- tuning Need for better graphical administration tools. I really wish Sun would develop tools such as HP-UX's SAM or AIX's SMIT. The Admintool in Solaris 2.5 has a long way to go to reach the sophistication of HP's and IBM tools. I am happy with CDE on Solaris 2.5 but it can be a CPU and memory hog.

Date: Tue Jun 4 11:48:10 PDT 1996
NIS to NIS+ transition, upgrading from SunOS

Date: Tue Jun 4 11:55:35 PDT 1996
Bugs on large 4d servers and slow response for fixes from Sun Soft.

Date: Tue Jun 4 12:16:14 PDT 1996
I think it's a memory hog. While I like all the new admin features I find that I get about a 10 - 20 % slowdown on my older systems, IPX to Sparc10. I think you need to fix this! Raoul

Date: Tue Jun 4 12:39:24 PDT 1996
I would like to use Solaris NEO for the PowerPC at home. However, UNIX pricing of Solaris and applications that use Solaris make it prohibitively expensive for personal use. I would like to see a personal use version (including compilers, GUI builders, applications, etc.) priced reasonably for home use with licensing that prohibits sale of any products developed with the personal-use version.

Date: Tue Jun 4 14:36:44 PDT 1996
64 Bit support is the most important issue today. I understand the plan that Sun has for rolling out 64 bit support, but I would prefer to see 64 bit support rolled out sooner. For my applications having a 64bit filesystem is the most important option and limits the how competitive Sun is with SGI

Date: Tue Jun 4 15:13:26 PDT 1996
How to get UNIX (Solaris 2) desktops share "Windows Server" applications and NT data warehouse. Unix community here is more and more being isolated or rather finding it hard to make use of corporate admin databases here, which are mostly shared among NT clients. Unfortunately sparc scientific/technical users cannot live without those data. Wabi applications are ok but two things wrong with it are: 1) Cannot share applications from a windows server, like a windows PC can. 2) Each user has to have lots of disk space even with Wabiserver. The only option I see to prevent sparc desktops being replaced by PCs is to buy Wincenter Pro software from NCD and X-display a NT server console on desktop Suns as X- clients. Wabi is good only for windows "Standalone" applications that don't need to deal with an existing PC network community. I hate NT after having enjoyed UNIX. But .... rest of the world seems to be happy. Hope Java will blurr the OS differences. As far as Solaris2.5 goes, it is Super.

Date: Tue Jun 4 15:39:08 PDT 1996
The automounter keeps dying. I still don't know why. The transition from Sun OS 4.1.x is still on its way. BTW it is a royal pain the butt!!! How about if you guys port DESCENT into Solaris 2.4 and above ? 8-) What about the sound system ? I can only play mono audio files (damn .au) files with the speakerbox and the audiotool. How the heck can I play stere audio files ? Where can I get COMPLETE info about the SUN tape drive and the relation for the different sizes of tapes ? Like if I use /dev/rmt/0 with a 90 m tapes how much should I expect to put into the tape ? (GB ?) How about /dev/rmt/0h with a 90 m tape and a 120m tape ? What's the capacity that I should expect ? Hopefully you guys will have more info about it. There is plenty of stuff to go around, but a DAMN SPARC 4 just died here, so I have to go .. later ...

Date: Tue Jun 4 16:06:14 PDT 1996
GUI system administration for a mere mortal.

Date: Tue Jun 4 16:21:43 PDT 1996
  1. Microsoft Windows is NOT an operating system
  2. TWM is a window manager, not a 'user environment'.
  3. Motif is a specification, not a 'user environment'.

Date: Tue Jun 4 17:48:59 PDT 1996
Keeping Oracle running on the Sparc.

Date: Tue Jun 4 18:24:42 PDT 1996
Hard to maintain all the patches for different versions on handful of SPARCs. TCP perfomance on slow links issue in SOlaris 2.5

Date: Tue Jun 4 18:47:49 PDT 1996
Modem support is terrible. Printer support is terrible. Applications for graphics and web development are terrible. Sun calls itself an Internet company but they are supporting a $3000 Web Developers Package (Photoshop+Illustrater+Framer) that is much less functional than $100 PC packages like HotDog. I believe Sun must:
  1. Improve printer support.
  2. Improve modem support.
  3. Make software consulting cheaper.
  4. Make graphics and Web page tools development cheap. Games would be nice too. How come the PCs already have a nicer IDE than Sun for Java, eh?

Date: Tue Jun 4 19:27:08 PDT 1996
Tools to assist with porting from SunOS 4.1.4 and HP-UX.

Date: Tue Jun 4 21:13:50 PDT 1996
OpenGL should be available now (at least it *is* coming, finally). Really this should have happened long ago, sticking with XGL was dumb. A video player capable of playing MPEG, QuickTime and AVI movies should be a standard utility (like on SGI's). This is especially true with the MPEG support in the Ultra machines (via VIS). The audio tool should be able to play AIFF, WAV and MPEG audio, not just AU. A 3D model & VRML viewer would be a nice standard utility to have (and would also make a good demo for the Ultra/Creator3D machines). The CDE file manager should be improved (a lot!).

Date: Tue Jun 4 21:36:42 PDT 1996
I think that Solaris is probably best placed as THE Unix in terms of Industry support and features. I would like to see it (Solaris) and not "generic UNIX" compared realistically head to head by an unbiased report (i.e. not one by the Unix Centric Sunworld Online, or the Sun hating PC- loving Byte or PC World. The features compared should focus on "server" and "adminstration" functionality. I think/suspect that sunsoft may have lost SOME focus in positioning Solaris as the Unix to measure NT by, based on all the current Java hype. They should use some of the publicity by pushing Solaris X86 at all the people who are downloading Java Workshop, and JDK. The PowerPC Solaris while I am sure exists seems to be very elusive in terms of finding machines that actually run it.

Date: Tue Jun 4 21:43:28 PDT 1996
* WABI doesn't support truecolor (24 bit) - Solaris_x86. * dtmail doesn't allow you to modify the message. * dtmail doesn't send framemaker attachments to SunOS 4.1.x systems (doesn't covert them to 7bits - uudecode vice mime. Even if you specify "Send as Sun Mail Tool"

Date: Tue Jun 4 23:15:19 PDT 1996
The x86 version has a long way to go in catching up with the Sparc version... x86 can be very difficult to install depending on the hardware on the machine (granted, PC's are terrible there..) Solaris needs to adopt features that have started surfacing in research/free OS's like Linux, Plan 9, etc.. Solaris should bundle additional file systems such as Log based filesystems, it might make sense to bundle most of the functionality included in DiskSuite.. Solaris should have more support for legacy hardware such as previous generation graphics accelerators such as the GT, cg12 etc.. Its a poor idea to drop support for devices that were originally worth more than 20% of the price of the machines they were installed in. For example, solaris 2.5 dropped support for both the cg12 and GT, so anyone that wants to continue to use these devices is now stuck on 2.4 forever. Sun should at least put out an "unsupported" driver which a customer could use but that would not necessarily be supported by newer releases of development libraries like XGL etc, just something to allow people to run 2.5 with its NFS v3 etc, but also support the previous generation graphics hardware. How long will Leo (ZX) be supported??

Date: Tue Jun 4 23:51:43 PDT 1996
Hmmm. Where to begin? Sun has WASTED 5 YEARS trying to get Solaris 2 up to where SunOS 4.1.4 was *years* ago. THINK of how *excellent* SunOS 4 could have been if Sun had taken a clue from NeXT - replaced the guts of the SunOS kernel with Mach for greater portability (Intel, PowerPC, etc.), support for 64-bit architectures (UltraSparc, DEC Alpha, etc.), SMP, threads, security (the "trusted Mach" project), real-time support (real- time Mach), etc. I can't think of one feature of Solaris 2.5 that Mach hasn't had for years. Hell, they could have even done a SysV "environment" to sit beside the BSD layer, and the Wabi layer, and the MAE layer... tie them all together with a unified window manager and SunOS could have been... very cool or very confused. :-) (Well, before Sun or Apollo or SGI even *existed* there was the PERQ, which ran Accent, which begat Mach. It featured "co-equal environments" under a unified window system: a native environment, a Unix environment, and a LISP environment, each of which relied upon the kernel for common services but had a distinctly different "flavor" of interaction - *and could even use a different instruction set*. But I digress.) More importantly, the entire Sun user and developer community would not have been split down the middle. A lot of people bought Sun *for BSD-based SunOS* despite lots of faster hardware from other vendors, all of whom where offering SysV abominations of every flavor. SunOS on Mach could have provided _complete_ compatibility with SunOS 4.1.x and kept the Sun community unif

Date: Wed Jun 5 00:04:54 PDT 1996
0. I am doing low level programming (not graphical)in C++ on SPARC and serving as amateur sys admin on the side. 1. The basic low level tools in Sol 2 are a good working set, BUT 2. I would like to have the rest of the POSIX RealTime interface. 3. The fundamental problem with Sol 2 is that Systems Administration is an "Abomination", with the information distributed in hundreds of files in dozens of directories. If this is really right way to store the data, it is then essential to have a fairly intelligent and flexible expert system which handles more than the completely routine cases. Maybe this could best be done over web links to dedicated servers, rather than by trying to pack everything into the OS distribution?

Date: Wed Jun 5 00:39:10 PDT 1996
None it all works so well. (Well except for eating memory so that my 32Mb Sparc5 is always paging)

Date: Wed Jun 5 01:00:03 PDT 1996
Even though the support outside of India for Solaris 2 is good I am not able to get the same level of support in India. This leads to a pretty long time to get patches and hence disrupts work I would like to see a full 64 bit solaris 2 OS on the Ultra sparc server

Date: Wed Jun 5 01:27:44 PDT 1996
Just changed my Workstation from Sparc/Solaris to PC/NT. Solaris not work anymore as a desktop system (most people need a Wordprocessor..) but works exelent on servers. What I realy would like was a Journaling file system bundled (or prices should be a LOT lower for unbundled packages) Lars

Date: Wed Jun 5 02:36:09 PDT 1996
Integration with MS Windows applications: We originally purchased Insignia's SoftWindows. Although this provided a complete emulation the performance is very poor even on our fastest workstations (Sparc 20/71). We are currently in the process of installing WABI on the workstations which does provide a performance improvement over SoftWindows 2.0, but provides a far less complete emulation. We have evaluated SunPC which gave reasonable performance but at a relatively high cost. Now other areas are evaluating Insignia's NTrigue which looks to be the most promising solution so far. Migration from Solaris 2.3 to 2.5: My first impression of 2.5 is that it is a faster more stable version of Solaris - a real improvement over 2.3. A must admit that I'm impressed! Having said that, I'm also concerned that it does not appear to be completely backwards compatible with 2.3. i.e. not all applications that ran on 2.3 will run under 2.5. For example we will need to install a new version of Alsys TeleUSE that we use to develop our UI. I'm now beginning to worry about what other applications will need upgrading and what problems this will cause for our own internal application! Alex Rooney

Date: Wed Jun 5 02:47:30 PDT 1996
Bundling some standard office applications would be very nice

Date: Wed Jun 5 05:04:53 PDT 1996
I wish Solaris had better laptop support. In addition, Solaris x86 needs MUCH more marketing!

Date: Wed Jun 5 05:06:35 PDT 1996
I like Solaris because (1) it supports large file systems and (2) because it can recognize new devices without my help.

Date: Wed Jun 5 05:31:02 PDT 1996
I want to run Windows apps., specifically, MSMail, MSSchedule+, and Lotus Notes. I am currently looking at solutions like WABI and SoftWindows. Need to know the best solution for this.

Date: Wed Jun 5 05:50:05 PDT 1996
People don't like it. They refuse to move fromn 4.1.x.

Date: Wed Jun 5 06:33:31 PDT 1996
Uses too much RAM.

Date: Wed Jun 5 06:34:56 PDT 1996
figuring out autofs, annoying /opt requirements,

Date: Wed Jun 5 07:06:34 PDT 1996
Can't *get* Solaris 2.5, though order placed more than 2 months ago!

Date: Wed Jun 5 07:41:15 PDT 1996
Learning how to maintain and operate. My agency bought the Sun0S system(s) for my program's use but failed to offer any training. After a year of the system being up and running, training has finally been offered to the systems administrators. I personally love using the Sun unix systems because it's user friendly, self sufficient and fast! Keep your developing team working, Sun systems are worth investing in!

Date: Wed Jun 5 08:51:20 PDT 1996
Monitoring and performance tools for very large systems.

Date: Wed Jun 5 09:49:39 PDT 1996
'socket hang' problem, allegedly fixed by Jumbo Kernel Patch 39.

Date: Wed Jun 5 09:52:32 PDT 1996
Moving users from dumb terminals (VT400-type) to workstations, PCs, X- terminals, NCs or what?

Date: Wed Jun 5 11:15:17 PDT 1996
Compatibility of Solaris 2.x with legacy applications (esp. debuggers). In some instances the vendors are out of business or are no longer supporting the product.

Date: Wed Jun 5 11:51:48 PDT 1996
compatability between windows/NT/solaris applications. desktop tools which can read Microsoft documents on Sun with ease, i.e, point and click cheap industrial strenght desktop office suite, i.e, word processing, spreadsheets,personal finance. more robust sysadmin tools to over wider number os machine which can be adminstered.

Date: Wed Jun 5 13:48:31 PDT 1996
Getting users to upgrade machines, memory and disk to be able to run Solaris with reasonable performance.

Date: Wed Jun 5 15:18:27 PDT 1996
Upgarding Solaris 2.5 from Solaris 2.4. I have tried twice to upgrad, and I failed. I also have a SUN S/W engineer on site when I attemped to upgrad Solaris 2.5, but the engineer and I spent 12 hours and not succeeded upgrading. The engineer said that I have to install full version of Solaris 2.5 instead of upgrading it because the previous upgraded patches which SUN required upto Solaris 2.4 were buggy and creating complecation with the upgrading option in Solaris 2.5. My server is running Solaris 2.4 with 8 CPUs, 2 gb mem, 2 SUN Storage Arrays, and Fddi interface.

Date: Wed Jun 5 15:21:48 PDT 1996
Lack of really useful freeware. I run BSD/OS from BSDi on my laptop which I use at home because it came prebundled with a nice set of freely available development tools and utilities. These include gcc, tcpwrappers, tk/tcl, fvwm, etc... I would like to see more bundling and less unbundling in Solaris distributions. I would also like to see more support of hardware in the x86 versions. I was unable to get 2.5/x86 to even install on my Pentium laptop. Security is also a major concern. I'm unimpressed with the security of the basic Solaris distribution. On every machine I administer running Solaris-2, I've had to install a new version of sendmail, tcpwrappers, s/key, and ssh.

Date: Wed Jun 5 21:03:01 PDT 1996
No "C" compiler, No technical online Docs.

Date: Wed Jun 5 23:13:03 PDT 1996

Date: Thu Jun 6 05:55:32 PDT 1996
1. Integrating with PCs running PCNFS 2. Integrating with PCs on Novell Network 3. Integrating with PCs running Windows NT 4. Securing Internet connection 5. Automating Sys Admin tasks 6. Network management

Date: Thu Jun 6 06:40:20 PDT 1996
I still prefer BSD.

Date: Thu Jun 6 07:19:28 PDT 1996
running jdk getting pthreaded applications without having to install the bloat of irix 6.2

Date: Thu Jun 6 09:12:29 PDT 1996
Some of upper managment thinks WinNT would be a better solution.

Date: Thu Jun 6 09:49:38 PDT 1996
Get the price of applications for end-user to the level of PCs and Mac applications. This is where the battle is often lost and compromises must be reached that affect the final deployment.

Date: Thu Jun 6 11:37:48 PDT 1996
Solaris is a great environment for doing in-house programming. It is much more cost effective to develop software for in-house use on Solaris 2 than on Microsoft Windows when you are deploying to a small ( less than 2000 ) desktop user base. We have about 800 Sun workstations in our company and about 1000 PCs. Solaris on Intel theoretically makes it possible to replace Windows with Solaris 2. This would elimintate support redundencies, simpify mail, reduce user support costs, etc. but to replace Windows with Solaris, there needs to be more general user type software available at prices comparable to Windows.

Date: Thu Jun 6 13:57:41 PDT 1996
Nothing in particular.

Date: Thu Jun 6 14:21:21 PDT 1996
  1. Installing an Enterprise 4000 and Sybase system 11
  2. Installing Solstice LM server to serve Windows NT desktops
  3. Adding functionality to Solaris boot servers, so that (re)build/patching is faster

Date: Thu Jun 6 16:18:52 PDT 1996
  1. Worries about future of Solaris x86, which is something we'd like to look at seriously, but haven't yet.
  2. Why not ship GNU utilities?

Date: Thu Jun 6 21:50:56 PDT 1996
Internet Server. Network Monitoring Tool. C++ Development tool. Mail Server. CDE needs new face lift.

Date: Fri Jun 7 00:57:05 PDT 1996
Sparcs are expensive and have diminishing performance advantage over Intel systems. Software is meager and expensive compared to Microsoft platforms. Solaris is increasingly unsuitable as a web client, because important helper apps aren't available, eg. Shockwave, QuicktimeVR, VRML, etc.

Date: Fri Jun 7 02:34:34 PDT 1996
We need more to be able to work with other systems (Novell/NT etc). Clients for Novell and Windows NT would be really useful, as would built in clients for the ICA protocal for remote Windows NT display. One useful feature which should be made a standard part of the Server OS is Autoclient, each Server OS license should include an AutoClient server license and a reasonable number (50-100) client licenses. The Intel version of Solaris should be cheaper, at least price comparable to Windows NT, with similar support costs. Many sites like ours are skipping Windows 95 to go straight to NT, if Solaris were price comparable we would use it instead.

Date: Fri Jun 7 04:41:31 PDT 1996
Printing is too difficult to administer in Solaris. The printer configuration files seem spread out over the filesystem which made it difficult to install and maintain network printers. I like the direction Solaris has taken with graphical administration tools like software managers. But Solaris clearly has a way to go to catch up to IRIX in that regard. I'm also frustrated trying to use the new CDE 1.02. I like the look but the transition from OpenWindows is cumbersome. The features for customizing the desktop seem more obscure. I have trouble finding all of the programs I'm used to.

Date: Fri Jun 7 06:55:02 PDT 1996
We would highly appreciate an OpenGL Implementation for Solaris/Intel Desktops (e.g. for the ELSA Gloria or similar Framebuffers).

Date: Fri Jun 7 08:00:06 PDT 1996
Takes too long to learn how to use & administer. I wish Sun had stayed with a BSD based system. Sun is really giving us grief about keeping 4.1.X working here. Like, there are no supported drivers for many devices now. This is an old-IBM-ish attitude, which is full of hubris. I wish Sun would change its mind on this.

Date: Fri Jun 7 08:39:35 PDT 1996
Need reliable and easy system administration and operating system installation. Portability with PCs. We all have PCs at home and SUNs at work. Sooner or later, a choice will have to be made between the two. Because of the low PC prices, cheaper software, increasing processing power, and large installation base, I am afraid PCs may win out which would be a shame.

Date: Fri Jun 7 09:04:14 PDT 1996
Available software applications/games/tools are not as plentiful as those for Windows. If I could use ccMail 2.21, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Pointcast Network applitcation/screen saver and a stable non-crashing Web Browser I would no longer need my PC in work. Currently there is no upto date Web Browser that I know of to use on Solaris 2.5/CDE. I can't believe Sun has not made a Web Browser available for OpenWindows/CDE based on Netscape or Microsoft's Internet Explorer that include all the latest HTML extensions and Java.

Date: Fri Jun 7 09:27:45 PDT 1996
I would like to easily buy hardware and software for Sparc solaris2 and at a price competetive with the PC world.

Date: Fri Jun 7 09:44:54 PDT 1996
Integrating with other systems is difficult. Wabi stinks and we use SoftWindows. Communications/CORBA need to be part of the OS solution. We have old equipment and the OS is getting too big to fit on 400 Meg of disk -- I certainly can not load up CDE. The OS contains some things I do not need but it is very difficult to figure out what I can remove without impairing the system. The installation documents for Solaris releases should include detailed information on how to pare down the system to fit on a smaller disk.

Date: Fri Jun 7 09:49:44 PDT 1996
Need more GUI system admin tools Need better documentation for upgrading Solaris where /usr /opt and so on are extended with other software Re- installing everything is a pain on my 2 16 GB stations

Date: Fri Jun 7 11:00:11 PDT 1996
Not enough reliable integration with Microsoft Office products. OR, decent solaris applications that do the same tasks. Right now my organization is looking at replacing ALL of the SUN desktops with Intel/NT boxes. I firmly believe that if SunSoft had made available a suite of office products that worked/acted like the Microsoft office products, I wouldnt be faced with this massive shift to PCs. I like the SUNs I have here, and I like SunOS/Solaris 2. I have doing systems administration for many years, and I dread this shift to Intel/Microsoft (but management wants their excel & word and WABI was just too slow)

Date: Fri Jun 7 11:55:30 PDT 1996
Currently, none.

Date: Fri Jun 7 13:10:46 PDT 1996
Running larger databases on Solaris. Dealing with patch management. Making Solaris more secure. Dealing with constant sniping from Digital Alpha/Digital UNIX proponents. I wish that more parts of Solaris were more standard and up to date. For example, only SOlaris uses the le0:1 method of aliasing, every other UNIX uses the BSD "alias" modifier to "ifconfig" instead. SunSoft should also work harder on including more recent versions of Sendmail, BIND, etc. and keeping them up to date with bug fixes and security patches. DCE integration would be nice too.

Date: Fri Jun 7 22:11:18 PDT 1996
one of the most ridiculous is the lack of, or hard to find gui Internet utilities. If it weren't for Unix there would be no Internet, but all of the Windows versions of utilities are nicer, easier to use, and abound by the dozens. I have found a lot of utilities for Unix, but finding X windows stuff is hard. A couple that I use are based on Tcl/Tk which is nice. and the one glaring omission is a good web browser. Waiting for a version of Netscape that runs on x86 Solaris is a pain. Mosaic just doesn't cut it. For stability and speed, solaris x86 smokes NT on my same hardware at home. With this in mind, who needs NT. And I'm a MSCE on top of that. oh well. thanks for reading this far.

Date: Fri Jun 7 22:18:41 PDT 1996
Seems that my sys-admin is much slower in upgrading software and making Solaris 2.5 work. She is months behind...

Date: Fri Jun 7 23:49:50 PDT 1996

Date: Sat Jun 8 00:53:25 PDT 1996
The number of apps has to increase for it to hold on against NT. For instance, I've been looking for a quicktime movie player for months now. Just about nothing is available. Even if it is (as I'm sure quicktime is), its hard to track. Having lived with Sun/SUNOS for 8 yrs now, I'm not going to move over to that NT crap, but there's definitely a problem to be solved.

Date: Sat Jun 8 08:18:01 PDT 1996
On Sol 2.5 x86 - the PPP connect operations are just broken. I am convinced the Sun's new dynamic addressing for PPP does not actually work. I have tried everything: read the faqs, contacted SunService, read comp.protocols.ppp, comp.unix.solaris, etc, and all I find are people as baffled as me with hanging PPP connections to their ISPs. Do you know how effectively MS is eating your lunch ? They have forced the market to SIMPLIFY. When you buy from an ISP you get a phone # and a DNS address. Forget masks, submasks, gateways, and all that Unix crap that clutters up Suns systems files. You people can write a script that rebuilds the kernal, why the hell can't you write a script that sets up in intel standalone to a PPP ISP ? Right now I have to use WinNT/MS Explorer to contact Sun and say these because things your PPP software DOES NOT WORK IN SOL 2.5 x86 ! It is the truth, and that is what I tell people. I am

Date: Sun Jun 9 11:56:20 PDT 1996
Affordable OA applications. Users prefer Win95 (and it's kind) because of the quantity of affordable OA applications.

Date: Sun Jun 9 23:05:19 PDT 1996
Migration of our applications from Solaris 2.3 to Solaris 2.5

Date: Mon Jun 10 03:08:00 PDT 1996
Solaris's printing system cannot handle 100 queues. They work some time but when one queue fails others go whith it too.

Date: Mon Jun 10 05:58:54 PDT 1996
Problems with robustness of the SCSI and Serial Interfaces are common. Solaris does not behave well when a single scsi device becomes inaccessible. The entire system becomes unusable. It took many weeks to obtain an answer from sun support regarding a specific question regarding tuning of NFS V3.0 on Solaris 2.5. Even though I had full information and a very specific question, I was bounced around between support groups (kernel,network, etc.). It seems that most of the general support people were unable to properly understand my question. I would have prefered to write it up and have it directly forwarded to an engineer. In general, Solaris is quite robust and usuable, though I have seen problems when using non-Sun software. (Example: I use a freeware window manager, fvwm, and every time I exit the window system, the X Server dumps core)

Date: Mon Jun 10 07:04:40 PDT 1996
Get Microsoft App `s ported please

Date: Mon Jun 10 08:28:40 PDT 1996
The problems I face with Solaris 2.5 is price, on both platforms (Sparc & Intel). Although, Solaris is suppose to be the leader in OS, I often find myself going back to Solaris 1.X because of the ease of use and many documentations out on BSD. I think that Solaris 2.X should include an compiler as part of the price. I often find myself compiling software on Solaris 1.x and ftping it to a 2.X host because of the lack of a compiler. Also, that CDE on Solaris 2.5 needs help too. After installing the OS 5 times on a Sparc 5, I finally gave up and went with Openwindows. Not much help from your techsupport people too, often I get a faster response from Usenet than from Sun on complex questions. Many of the help people there are just rookies to the Unix environment, and I find myself teaching them a command or two. If wants Solaris to be a leader in OS, put a compiler with it. I hope that you'll take notice, -carlos

Date: Mon Jun 10 09:58:21 PDT 1996
PPP support, better documentation (INCLUDE Answerbook with standard OS) Battle against NT mania

Date: Mon Jun 10 10:22:23 PDT 1996
changing over to Solaris 2! Major pain!

Date: Mon Jun 10 12:26:45 PDT 1996
The Openwindows X11 server is FAR TO SLOW!! This is the single most pressing problem with solaris today. Next after that is the problem that pathces/fixes are lagging behind on Solaris for Intel, which makes Linux seem like a real alternative.

Date: Tue Jun 11 06:59:11 PDT 1996
It's not 64 bit (yet) Password aging not support by nis. ACLs in a nfs environment; What standard are SUN going to follow? Basically I like Solaris, It's a shame that SUN's hardware is not the quickest in the world.!

Date: Tue Jun 11 09:56:39 PDT 1996
The lack of performance monitoring tools. Most tools today deal with network or the CPU as a whole and not breaking down the applications into CPU and memory hogs. I grown up in the mainframe environment and have found performance anaylsis tools at that level to be very important in software development. The main thing that Solaris lacks is the interface to go and get the raw data that would give this info. Once the interface is there then the performance tools can be built to give this information.

Date: Tue Jun 11 13:18:19 PDT 1996
Unless you bring out a pair of versions of Solaris that meet the following criteria, I have serious doubt about your ability to continue at the top. One A desktop version for Intel and powerPC that sells for around $100, is easy to install (i.e. like Win95, a no brainer)and runs a GUI interface automatically. Has automatic install of windows applications (Office, Smartsuite etc...), automatic installation of hardware, inexpensive hardware (not your call but you must have drivers available for every implementation of Intel type PCs. For example I have a Dell Latitude XP 4100 which is on the compatibility list but doesn't install from the CDROM because you don't have the driver for the PCMCIA card. Not having drivers killed OS/2 for the desktop, learn from their mistake. If need be pay hardware makers to write drivers for Solaris x86.)Also, you might want to make the browser the user interface and link it to the applications the user would want. Since I think the browser is the ultimate user app, make it the GUI for the user. Put buttons and menu items for all file search, file and directory management, application launching, connection to local hardware, network, WANs, and the Internet. Two A easy to use and administer departmental server package. Both on a very inexpensive SPARC and Intel. Again, the example is NT which I do not view as an enterprise server but is easy to install and, therefore, does not require the level of knowledge and experience.

Date: Wed Jun 12 05:56:22 PDT 1996
I don't think SUN worked hard enough on promoting Solaris for x86. It is a fine fine OS and has almost identical features as Solaris for Sparc. Why can SUN just put compiled Netscape for Solaris x86 on ftp site? Many Solaris users wanted it badly. SUNsoft should listen what users said in Usenet newsgroups. I hope Solaris for x86 will long live! It is good for SUn and for the users (because I don't want to learn another Unix OS for Intel based machine.) Please make it strong and supply it with more apps! Yuming Tung Le Moyne College

Date: Wed Jun 12 06:36:54 PDT 1996
better packaging, pricing; need to open the OS to developers; distribute a "freeware" version like Linux

Date: Wed Jun 12 07:01:37 PDT 1996
Modem configuration to support data, voice & fax. PPP configuration. A convient tool for non-root users to monitor and bring a PPP link up or down. Volume mounter does not support large removable disks (i.e. zip, jazz & tahiti) gaps in the applications available between Sparc & Intel (i.e. cooltalk, wordperfect, VRML browser)

Date: Wed Jun 12 07:39:50 PDT 1996
On Solaris Intel since it has a much larger chance of having a non- postscript printer on it, it should support the ability to print out postscript files on inexpensive HP DeskJet printers. There is software out that already does this and Sun actually license it for their Sales force but not for their OS. Also, PPP on either platform needs improvement and is extremely hard to setup since no GUI is supplied. One needs to edit 5-6 files, run dozens of commands and then debug why the connection isn't working. Setting up PPP on Solaris is a chore, one that can take a day to a month to get properly working! The admin tools that come with the desktop need improvement. As for the OS, it's come a long way and its now stable with 2.5. The 6 week DU's (Driver Updates) for Solaris x86 are very nice in keeping that platform current with the latest PC boards.

Date: Wed Jun 12 08:53:11 PDT 1996
My work involves networked multimedia, so I work with Macs and SGIs a lot. A benefit of Solaris 2 was the early availability of Java. However, SGI has passed Solaris with Cosmo Code -- it is a much better debugging environment than the flaky and bloated Java Workshop. And Solaris 2 doen't support Quicktime or Mac connectivity as well as SGI.

Date: Wed Jun 12 08:59:05 PDT 1996
Oracle to ship 7.3 version of workgroup server for solarix x86

Date: Wed Jun 12 13:47:46 PDT 1996
Compared to other commercial Unixes, it's fine. Like other commercial Unixes, it's huge compared to Linux. The /usr/dt - /usr/openwin split is a bit of a pain, especially when including headers and linking libs, but is easily worked around. CDE icons for 3rd party apps should be available and installable into user environments right from pkgadd or somesuch. As a desktop, Solaris and the other Unixes will probably never break out of their current niche since most end-users have been thoroughly brainwashed by the MS dogma: they will never try anything else (new) as long as Bill keeps feeding them unoriginal recycled goo. Solaris should concentrate on the server and offer something MS can't reinvent without major pain. The Ultra servers are a great start from the hardware side, but I have yet to be convinced that Sun is delivering enough innovation quickly enough on the software side. Java is a wait-and-see. Perhaps come up with something a la LSF/PVM that allows for virtual machines consisting of multiple nodes: real clustering.

Date: Wed Jun 12 23:47:10 PDT 1996
Keeping it up and running, though that's not too much of an issue. The lack of a compiler witht he OS is hindering, but can be worked around.

Date: Thu Jun 13 07:14:39 PDT 1996
The main issue which i am faced with at the moment is which windows I should run Openwindows or CDE. I know CDE is the one to go for, but Openwindows is still more relaible and the tools are of a much better standard (ie mailtool )

Date: Thu Jun 13 09:46:38 PDT 1996
I would like the CDE greatly improved:
  1. It still crashes from time to time. Maybe this is a race condition somewhere, or a memory leak. It seems to happen after it has been running for a while.
  2. It saves the session, a great feature, but does not really save the state of applications -- unsaved edits in a textedit window for example are lost; does not save the positions of icons on the screen, does not save the current directories of applications, etc. At least some of this is inexcusable, it would not be difficult to implement automatic saves in textedit's for example. That is what tool-talk was invented for, and it is incomprehensible to me that Sun would release the product this way, particularly since tooltalk itself is part of the CDE.
  3. I have been a long-term user of Open Windows, (I still use it about half the time) and find it annoying that the deskset tools that come with CDE are in many cases a step backwards. I think that the move away from Open Windows is correct, and Open Windows itself has become a bit clunky. So I am moving towards CDE, accepting in any case that CDE is the future. Nonetheless, it is distressing to see that some features of Open Windows are much better than in the CDE: for example, the command line in a terminal window is not editable- it is in Open Windows' command tool: If I mistype something, I cant click in the middle of what I typed and correct it.

Date: Thu Jun 13 09:52:43 PDT 1996
Poor notifications of critical faults in software, ie bugs which cause RAID5 systems not to provide redundancy. NIS+ bugs and mysterious problems. Lack of advanced tools to diagnose and check NIS+ problems and faults. Wasting time configuring the same things on many clients and servers. Lack of complete coherancy for diskless clients, ie installing packages on a server doesn't make the package information available on the clients. Installing patches and packages on a server don't automatically get installed of have the option of being installed on the diskless clients. Lack of perspective by developers of the admins installing and configuring software and implementing utilities needed most on a day to day basis. No system "health" checker to diagnose problems (eg death of daemons, etc) and be proactive for assist in system operations. Lack of force unmount option for NFS filesystems (ie telling client to foget about mount point if the server has gone away) No option to reconfigure break character on console line when remoting consoles to prevent halts from hardware connected to the console line power cycling. (I don't consider a US$1000 per machine consulting special to be a satisfactory solution) Lack of inspection access to Solaris source code to help diagnose, solve problems and integrate new systems.

Date: Thu Jun 13 13:23:08 PDT 1996
availability of third party software for solaris 2.5

Date: Thu Jun 13 16:36:05 PDT 1996
Migration from SunOS to Solaris SunOS application compatibility with Solaris Solaris requires too much RAM and Space

Date: Thu Jun 13 18:57:47 PDT 1996
Need drivers for C\cjeap inkjet printers.

Date: Fri Jun 14 05:26:31 PDT 1996
I see an operating system that has the full potential to compete as a desktop OS. However I think that Sun should promote Solaris more in that manner. Corporate buyers are in the middle of a big paradigm shift from 16bit to 32bit OS's. Sun should capitalize on that more. Provide productivity tools with Solaris that are not available with NT. Keep up the good work.

Date: Fri Jun 14 06:29:07 PDT 1996
OK. I like the out-of-the-box security better than the loose practices of SunOS 4.x. Of course, we still have to expect the sendmail "hole-of-the- week." One of our machines is still running Solaris 2.4; I'm getting ready to upgrade it to 2.5. We never did get all the thousands of patches figured out for that system. I join with others who think that "saf" is no improvement over "getty". Another activity coming up is to dispense with "lp" and install somebody's freely available BSD-style print services. We've got "lpr", etc., on several other platforms in our network, including the Stratus VOS machine on which my section's most important appliation runs. Having the C compiler unbundled makes me melancholy.

Date: Fri Jun 14 09:28:45 PDT 1996
The C compiler is not bundled with the OS. All my other Unix systems include a "C" compiler. Don't care much for Admintool, inability to grow and shrink file systems dynamically. Do not like NIS+, incompatible with my other Unix systems.

Date: Fri Jun 14 12:08:35 PDT 1996
Stability of tools, no need to keep tweaking. Its irrating to have to keep relearning. Interactivity with PC environment, file sharing, e-mail & attachments. The more seemless the better for the Users. Patches!, Sun should invest more up front, so we don't have to install patches later. NIS+ is a dead issue with a heterogeneous environment.

Date: Fri Jun 14 13:09:11 PDT 1996
The only problem that I have run into lately with Solaris 2.5 is the inability to install it successfully on a generic Pentium system. When first exposed to Solaris 2 (which would have been 2.3) I was dismayed by the fact that I had no C compiler to use; compilation of gcc and g++ fixed that though. I have noticed an alarming trend in the industry though and that is the increasing fees associated with using an operating system. HP makes you pay per use of HPUX on a machine whether it is a server or a desktop and I think that is a complete rip-off. I would not recommend using HPUX as an enterprise operating system for that reason alone, especially for intricate development work like using rpc for distributed applications etc. What is next, pay per socket or pay per process? I hope that Sun does not jump on that bandwagon!

Date: Fri Jun 14 17:40:21 PDT 1996
We have some problems moving applications from SunOS 4.x to Solaris. Currently, we still support both. We are moving to drop SunOS 4.x. 64 bit scares us.

Date: Fri Jun 14 18:38:31 PDT 1996
() Lack of Solaris apps for the Solaris x86 version, especially timely releases of Web tools such as Netscape () Uses too much memory overall () 2.5 Solaris moved many GUI admin functions off the Desktop version! () Want much stronger support/commitment from Sun for x86 version -- SPARC hardware is just not cost-competitive any more with Intel-based personal computers -- don't like MicroSoft products for server-hosted applications -- need Solaris x86! Would also be interested in PowerPC version of Solaris, as PowerPC platform matures. () 2.5 is by far the best version of Solaris we've seen. Still want more speed, less memory consumption, more good features "borrowed back" from 4.4 BSD UNIX () For development, we use a LOT of free software tools; CVS, XEmacs, gcc, gdb, less, ... Wish that there was more vendor CD releases in a timely fashion for these tools. Getting Jealous of the huge tool bundle with Linux OS releases.

Date: Fri Jun 14 19:42:10 PDT 1996
If it's not made by Sun, don't expect it to run well on Solaris (examples: SunPC, Parallax Video, Veritas volume manager, etc.). For Sun-only, it's quite nice. Support for problems with non-Sun software on Solaris is poor.

Date: Sat Jun 15 07:18:20 PDT 1996
We have decided to standardize on Solaris as an enterprise computing environment because the product bundle contains essentially all the features we require for both desktops and servers, and because of its multiplatform support (SPARC, X86, PPC). We will be making a major hardware investment over the next three years -- cycling much of the technology in our organization -- and we believe Solaris will more than pay for itself by giving us the ability to choose among the three major mass market architectures based solely on price and performance. We also have a considerable existing inventory of SPARC and Pentium boxen -- both of which we will be able to continue to use with Solaris. We are delighted by SunSoft's commitment to CDE -- we need a windowing environment with a slick appearance to satisfy the roughly 50 percent of our customers who are addicted to their legacy MS-Windows environment -- and we are impressed with both the stability and the performance of recent releases of SunOS. We are a 24-hour/365-day operation, and every OS crash has the potential to jeopardize a broadcast deadline. WABI is also becoming more functional, and better integrated with CDE, giving us a plausible way to satisfy the demands for those who absolutely must run MS-Windows apps on their local desktop systems. The issues, from our perspective, include: (1) Better color support. We can't expect our legacy MS-Windows users to put up with colormap flashing.

Date: Mon Jun 17 04:30:56 PDT 1996
The Solstice Admin Tools that come with the server edition have to many bugs. They have a nice GUI interface but they don't work correctly. The SSPC for printer management does not install correctly right out of the box. I had to uninstall it and download the correct install script from the SUN web page. I have not had good luck with the SUN technical support either. We have a software only support contract with then.

Date: Mon Jun 17 06:55:02 PDT 1996
I'm not happy with Sun dropping support for Dataless systems after Solaris 2.5. I run ~160 dataless sun workstations currently. On the other hand I've yet to find a good method for adding new patches to my systems. I hope you're planning some easy (cheap) transition. Bundling Perl would be great. The printing system is still problematic. I can't print to several of my techtronics printers from Solaris. Using these printers from either SunOS or Digital Unix is fine.

Date: Mon Jun 17 07:48:07 PDT 1996
Slow response for OS patches that deal with large-scale networks, for instance: automount, syslogd, nscd/DNS. Lack of (hardware & software) support for Intel version, which requires me to run a second OS on my intel-class servers (namely FreeBSD). Scant documentation (at administrative level) for configuring CDE, portmon, and lp.

Date: Mon Jun 17 09:23:33 PDT 1996
Price could be cheaper. Online web support is excellent. Would be nice to add GNU utilities as pkgadd(1M) options.

Date: Mon Jun 17 09:40:21 PDT 1996
memory usage unresolved system hangs

Date: Tue Jun 18 07:40:09 PDT 1996
Solaris 2.5 is much improved on earlier versions of Solaris 2.x but still I find the number of bugs and consequent patches required to the operating system to be too numerous compared to other similar O.S. However, given the rate of improvement I hope that Solaris should achieve an acceptable level of bugs by 2.6. In other areas (eg Jumpstart, Autoclient) Solaris appears to be ahead of its rivals. BTW - AUtoclient had better come bundled in 2.6 when support for diskless/dataless client ceases.

Date: Tue Jun 18 08:27:00 PDT 1996
I would like the disk partitions coud be sized easely, included in the operating system. aplications that wabi runs over unix, si a good start but unix versions shoud be developed, look alike versions.

Date: Tue Jun 18 11:03:33 PDT 1996
My major gripe with Solaris 2.x is the apparently poor implementation of the init scripts. For instance, having init run the shutdown command (via /etc/inittab) seems strange. And though I expect daemons to hang around when I run 'init S' I would expect them to die when I run 'init 1' yet most do not. I have also noticed that there are apparent relationships between init and some daemons (such as vold) that cause init to do weird things if the daemon is killed by an rc script. An article that clearly explains the way this system works on Solaris and the inter-dependancies of daemons would be a nice thing (if it has not been done yet).

Date: Tue Jun 18 18:04:33 PDT 1996
Integration with desktop-systems (Macintosh, Windows NT..)

Date: Wed Jun 19 15:59:15 PDT 1996
defending it and it's lack of applications for the *common* user. solaris NEEDS something like Microsoft's "Office" suite of software.

Date: Wed Jun 19 16:15:30 PDT 1996
Slow TCP performance is killing me. Make patches publicly available. Everything else seems pretty good.

Date: Wed Jun 19 20:57:07 PDT 1996
Removing NIS+ support from the standard admintool was a mean, nasty, dirty trick on the part of Sunsoft. I have spent 2 years praising Solaris 2.x to the jeers from all of the BSD crowd, only to have Sun screw me into buying Solstice admin. Solaris 2.x keeps getting better, but what surprises lurk around the corner on my next upgrade? Will man pages suddenly become "optional?" Shame, shame, Sunsoft. Don't blow it! Joe Portelli, Sysadmin College of Engineering Penn State University

Date: Wed Jun 19 23:19:42 PDT 1996
connectivity with others i.e Windows 3, 95 NT

Date: Thu Jun 20 01:32:17 PDT 1996
PC Integration MAC Integration Provision of File service to large numbers (more than 200) simulatneous users (drawn from a population of 1500)

Date: Thu Jun 20 02:17:04 PDT 1996
bugs in their so-called V8 sendmail, that doesn't have any of the REALLY useful features of V8.
  1. no database support
  2. stupid bug in not defaulting the value of Dm
  3. no mailertable support

Date: Thu Jun 20 02:19:37 PDT 1996

Date: Thu Jun 20 04:29:00 PDT 1996
Security Object-Oriented Programming environments Web development

Date: Thu Jun 20 04:50:34 PDT 1996
Solaris x86 just doesn't support a broad enough range of hardware. The X server under solaris x86 should be easier to configure correctly. Should have some sort of test program to allow the user to pick different monitor/video card specs and perform all necessary calculations.

Date: Thu Jun 20 04:51:47 PDT 1996
Is this some marketing tool, or what? Editor's note: No, it's not. It's just a reader poll conducted by the editors.

Date: Thu Jun 20 04:52:36 PDT 1996
Increasing performance from WABI Keeping up with patches Backing up multiple SUNOS and Solaris servers with one solution Maintaining multiple NIS+ servers Printing problems with SPARC and NeWS printers

Date: Thu Jun 20 05:11:05 PDT 1996
I heard a rumor that there is not going to be any more patches for Solaris 2.4, they sayed that is is best for me to skip to version 2.5. But as a service provider (internet), I am not going to do that. (No time and not enough computers to build a stable system...)

Date: Thu Jun 20 05:28:38 PDT 1996
Configuring Solaris for _anything_ but standard setups is a real pain. The printing system is very difficult to configure & maintain. System administration tasks seem overly complex, and seem to change with every release of the system, with little appreciable improvement. The process of installing and/or upgrading Solaris leaves necessary configuration steps incomplete (e.g. defaultdomain, defaultrouter, resolv.conf, nsswitch.conf). I _really_ dislike the tendency to require obtaining special licenses for important parts of the system (e.g. Solstice). I find the lack of a basic C compiler extremely annoying.

Date: Thu Jun 20 05:50:25 PDT 1996
Risk involved in running Sol 2.5 as opposed to 2.4. Already have found some software will not make the changeover.

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:22:06 PDT 1996
Upgrade problems from 2.4 to 2.5 (basically have to re-install) Lack of included C Compiler Lack of effective performance monitoring tools

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:25:41 PDT 1996
Needs to go to 64 bit for large scale databases. Solaris vs NT support.

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:32:36 PDT 1996
2Gb file limitations in database environments.

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:37:02 PDT 1996
  1. The ability to support Windows-based clients in a seamless manner.
  2. Security for NFS and/or a high priority for DFS availability.

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:42:19 PDT 1996
Keeping up to date with the latest OS releases, including patches, and getting those changes integrated and released into our product. Our department uses Macintoshes heavily. I haven't seen too many really good tools to mix Solaris and Mac invironments.

Date: Thu Jun 20 06:59:28 PDT 1996

Date: Thu Jun 20 07:06:42 PDT 1996
Support from Sun is inadequate or unresponsive. Installation of diskless clients require the use of a GUI interface with no command line options. User and system admin. training is expensive and time consuming.

Date: Thu Jun 20 07:15:32 PDT 1996
Need more easier installation of nisplus and graphical user interface for nisplus management.

Date: Thu Jun 20 08:32:26 PDT 1996

Date: Thu Jun 20 08:59:15 PDT 1996
Converting device drivers from SunOS 4.1.4/Solaris 1.2 to Solaris 2.5 is the biggest task preventing us from moving to Solaris 2.5. I wouldn't have used any version of Solaris before 2.4 anyway due to performance concerns.

Date: Thu Jun 20 09:16:25 PDT 1996
Although I have software support, I think that OS patches should be available to all users with or without support. You should have to have support to get the next version of the OS without charge, but it seems that if someone's paid for a version of the OS and it's buggy (as every OS is of course) then the buyer deserves the improvements to the existing version of the product. Other than that, I've been happy with Solaris 2. It was a big deal at first moving from Solaris 1 to Solaris 2, but once we got used to the changes it was okay. Each version does seem better than the last (less buggy, higher performance) which is nice.

Date: Thu Jun 20 09:39:11 PDT 1996
As we are a small publishing business running Xyvision Publishing on SunSparc LX and SunSparc Classic systems, and cannot afford to make the financial commitment to upgrade to the newer SPARC systems, we encourage Sun to maintain support for the SPARCClassic and LX lines. This is true for both software and hardware components. I'm sure there are thousands of customers like us with this need. We also see the need for Sun to take a stronger role is providing a good third-party hardware certification role regarding the Solaris operating system. All too often we find tape, disk and other hardware vendors not on a strong ground with Sun regarding a good certification program. This in comparison to Microsoft's Windows NT certification program. Microsoft works in large measure with other hardware and software vendors to the degree that Microsoft tests and maintains a very large and up to date list of certified vendors for NT.

Date: Thu Jun 20 10:09:47 PDT 1996
Solaris (Slowraris, Solcrapis, etc.) is a memory hog and a pig when run on anything less than UltraSPARCs. On UltraSPARCs, it is a joy to use, in terms of responsiveness and performance. (But I still have /usr/ucb in my $PATH before anything else).

Date: Thu Jun 20 10:34:45 PDT 1996
  1. Terrible default disk partition sizes during installation. Less experienced sys-admins are constantly getting zapped by this problem. Please change the defaults to give more room in the root filesystem!
  2. Solaris seems to require a constant stream of patches to fix OS bugs. It is difficult for us 'casual' sys-admins to keep up. We need better post- installation support.
  3. WABI is very limited.

Date: Thu Jun 20 10:39:05 PDT 1996
The usual, lack of administration tools, lack of system analysis tools, lack of performance analysis tools, etc.

Date: Thu Jun 20 11:06:35 PDT 1996
Difficult to Administrate the OS

Date: Thu Jun 20 12:54:01 PDT 1996

Date: Thu Jun 20 13:03:10 PDT 1996
Lack of full Answer Book is a problem. My supplier only provided a desktop version, so I have to go elswhere for answers to relatively simple questions. Also NT is looking better and better,

Date: Thu Jun 20 13:39:15 PDT 1996
I would like to run it on my PC at home, but I believe that it is too expensive. I muddle along with Linux and Windows 95.

Date: Thu Jun 20 13:55:28 PDT 1996
making it secure for Internet applications

Date: Thu Jun 20 14:05:58 PDT 1996
PC applications somtimes necessary.

Date: Thu Jun 20 14:29:05 PDT 1996
The JumpStart Installation is a good start but needs work. Why do alot of the ENV variables only get set if you use the corresponding keywords? Also many problems due to rarpd, bootparamd, and nisd not handling multiple addresses on the same ethernet interface correctly. Why not switch to BOOTP/DHCP? instead of BOOTPARAM? The Solstice AdminSuite is also a good start but needs work. There are alot of administration tasks which still cannot be done through the GUI. Configuring Kernel Parameters? Managing Disk Partitions, Exported and Imported Filesystems? I don't know where Sun is headed with NIS+, and FNS, and DCE? I think NIS+ has alot of things going for it, but the Documentation stinks, and It really needs to be simplified. With NIS(YP) your domainname did not have to match your DNS domain name. I made them different then because I wanted to know which peices of the system depended on which name. SUN sendmail for instance always tried to append the NIS domainname to the hostname for the return address. I could have made them the same, It would have worked, but I would never know if things were working because they were configured right, or just because of coincidence. Now with NIS+ this nightmare is twice as bad. It never says that they don't have to match. It never says they do. In all of Sun's examples they make them the same. It will work with them different though -- Until you try to use Solstice Adminsuite to manage it.

Date: Thu Jun 20 15:12:48 PDT 1996
We still use a replacement printsystem; something that does a superset of /etc/printcap is important. CDE seems slowish. I have clients asking how to get back to twm surprisingly often. Some kind of platform independent interpreter for executables (apart from the web) would be a big boon for unix. Maybe that's should be java in another role, I don't know, but it's no less important, regardless. Now that unix is out from under the control of AT&T and its price goudging, Microsoft is the big spectre. Willows, WINE, and similar efforts, need backing. There are a lot of unbundled products that sound good, that we'll probably never look into. I realize you have to offload costs to the people who truly want things sometimes, but if something isn't bundled, we aren't likely to go with it. EG, Having JFS bundled with everything would be a good move. Also, I realize that new customers respond well to "this unix box comes pre-configured to do such- and-so", and that sun's new marketing strategy intends to cater to that somewhat. However, I really hope that doesn't mean sun will be sinking a lot of time into fragmented development efforts that long-time sun users won't get anything out of. The beauty of unix, and unix's curse, is that it does SO much right out of the box - and all that freedom is daunting to the uninitiated.

Date: Thu Jun 20 16:43:59 PDT 1996
The base Solaris system requires TCP Wrappers as an option, and requires a HTML based configurator. It also seriously needs standard public-domain and shareware tools bundled as part of the OS, since Digital is making a point of doing so and DEC is Sun's major competition IMHO.

Date: Thu Jun 20 18:41:32 PDT 1996
Affording to purchase Solaris for x86. In my prior job (6 months ago), I used Solaris extensively. The main issue for me was: productivity. We used Sun's C++ compiler environemnt and sadly it didn't provide a very good visual component. Yes a visual component was there (if you were using Motif). What would be really cool is an IDE for Windows PC that automates UNIX compiles. Naturally you couldn't expect Motif windows but something... Windows95 and WindowsNT provide superior development environments, in my opinion. This is alot coming from a former AT&T employee, who was a major UNIX bigot. and an Amiga bigot before that...

Date: Thu Jun 20 19:22:53 PDT 1996
Installation of PPP / CDE on standalone PC's - the problem is that *most* PC's are not networked (they have no network card installed at all). They network thru cua/b to the inter net. Sun's installation, support, docs, everything is totally geared toward networked computors. The connectivity issues for standalone PC's are unique, such machines have no native IP's, masks, gateways, etc., and you have to kludge to get them to PPP w/Sol 2.x. Right now I have PPP up, I am using OW, because CDE will not load with PPP going. Harve

Date: Thu Jun 20 19:28:39 PDT 1996
I use windoze 95 at home...much slower, even on a 486DX2/80 w/ 16M of ram but, it's got some nifty features that would be nice on solaris. task bar...interactive popups...more customizability, etc.

Date: Thu Jun 20 20:16:33 PDT 1996
How to improve the performance of Solaris?

Date: Thu Jun 20 23:03:15 PDT 1996
- developing portable software - maintaining a reliable workstation net for small research group

Date: Thu Jun 20 23:13:24 PDT 1996
CDROM Support. I have generic Toshiba on X86/solaris @home. Bought one for sparc @work, ate big crow "Sun supports standards" or so I thought. X86 can't see other partitions. Get real. Linux does a great job. Can't figure out novelleux compatability stuff in 2.5. Docs are probably ok. cant find them. Support goes away after 30 days, My troubles don't! PCNFS is an awesome package. Give me PC admin and I can do a better job than my companies novelleoux weenies. Speed is better that prev solarises. Almost as good as 4.1.3!!! SGI wants to beleive that all users are 100% SGI centric. Don;t loose track of the need for heterogenous benefits to your user base. Go with Java! John Westerdale

Date: Fri Jun 21 03:22:37 PDT 1996
Software is more expensive than for Windows (FrameMaker vs. Word). The system is shrinking (lost C compiler, Backup Copilot, network clients).

Date: Fri Jun 21 07:08:43 PDT 1996
Need more utilities with Solaris 2. I wish there were better admintools. I would also like to see a compiler bundled with the OS. Charge more if you need to. I hate to order the Sparc Complier then wait up to three days to get a license code to install it.

Date: Fri Jun 21 07:10:33 PDT 1996
There are still too many packages we use (often from the Internet) which won't run under Solaris 2 for us to consider transitioning. Also, we've had some bad experiences with the print spooler. Basically, it's OK for desktops but I wouldn't trust it on the server!

Date: Fri Jun 21 07:20:58 PDT 1996
Sun better come up with a NT solution or it will be history.

Date: Fri Jun 21 08:51:55 PDT 1996
swap space concerns (double accounting of certain types of files in /tmp) lack of easy to use applications Love it tho :)

Date: Fri Jun 21 10:08:06 PDT 1996
Configuring CDE, knowing which files (if any) one can copy to an entire network, making it all similar. How do I customize each menu with icons that would do the same thing as something I type in command line? How do I copy such settings to another machine to make it default?

Date: Fri Jun 21 13:04:43 PDT 1996
It is a very powerfull OS but really lacks some basics. Like eg. no print button in textedit ???? admintool is very poor implemented no user friendly communication program (instead of tip) vold is a more a pain in the .. than it is usefull. Solaris (unix) is still not userfriendly today. Too much technical knowledge is still required to do the most basic tasks.

Date: Fri Jun 21 13:16:46 PDT 1996
too expensive, in light of linux incursion

Date: Fri Jun 21 16:00:39 PDT 1996
I find the need to install loads of patches to the system after installing it to be very obnoxious. I have also never gotten CDE to work worth a crap.

Date: Fri Jun 21 23:23:31 PDT 1996
My biggest problem is with disk and filesystem maintainance. My auspex servers have great disk adding and filesystem moving abilities. My SS2000 with DWIS disk trays in 56" cabinets and ODS4 does not. Veritas looks good, but is expensive.

Date: Sat Jun 22 17:47:18 PDT 1996
Solaris 2.3 has been an unreliable OS for our clients. We are in the process of upgrading them to Solaris 2.5 to improve this stability.

Date: Sun Jun 23 02:58:10 PDT 1996
It needs to come with more support for enterprise backup out of the box, i.e. not as an extra $2000 add-on. It needs to come with a C compiler (yes, there is GNU, I use that too) but I think SPARCompiler C should come with Solaris. It has always been a Un*x tradition to have a C compiler. I'm not asking for SPARCWorks, just the compiler, linker, assembler, make, and the usual suite of related utilities (strip, ar, ...)

Date: Sun Jun 23 14:24:16 PDT 1996
  1. How to find a way to pay for the RAM I need to install so I can use Solaris 2 on all of my SPARC machines.
  2. System configuration -- keeping the folks in my domain happy and productive takes a lot of my time, even though I'm not the official sysadmin.
  3. I don't understand the future path of Solaris evolution, so I find it hard to plan for the future.

Date: Mon Jun 24 05:59:53 PDT 1996
In fairness I have to say that Solaris 2.5 is faster and more reliable than early version. The interactive speed that one sees when typing at a x-term window is now only half the speed of Solaris 1 (SunOs 4.1.4) rather than the ten times slower that it was, but Solaris 2x must be run on hardware of much greater horsepower that necessary for SunOs 4.1.x, with much greater memory. Solaris 2.x still has many problems; printing, serial ports, routing, etc. are all broke in some way. I have had to replace the Sun versions with BSD versions to make the systems useful. If you had a Solaris 2.x only network, you would not notice some of the problems. But most admins I know have to work with many OS's and hardware vendors. My greatest wish is that Linix or BSDI have working versions of UNIX on Sparc hardware before Sun Microsystems drops their support of SunOS 4.1.x

Date: Mon Jun 24 10:59:59 PDT 1996
Performance issures relating to high band network apps. Storage and retrieve of data on RAID boxes.

Date: Mon Jun 24 14:27:02 PDT 1996
I still think that it was absurd for Sun not to include a simple C compiler with Solaris 2. It is inconvient to have to always involve a development machine just to compile a short program. We don't write them like we used to.

Date: Tue Jun 25 06:07:37 PDT 1996
Poor performance Heavy resource consumption

Date: Tue Jun 25 06:24:20 PDT 1996
My biggest problem has to do with support. This is not anyone at SunService who is a Solaris 'expert'. Everyone is knowledgeable in a specific area. If you have a problem that spans more than one discipline, you will have to talk to two or three different people. A good example is setting up a PPP link to your internet provider.

Date: Tue Jun 25 07:27:52 PDT 1996
More Free applications and ports from SUN-OS like Administrative programs

Date: Tue Jun 25 08:51:39 PDT 1996
NIS+.... Migrating to Solaris 2.5

Date: Tue Jun 25 11:30:31 PDT 1996
Running NIS Master on Solaris Server SystemV print server

Date: Tue Jun 25 11:35:53 PDT 1996
Lack of performance of Sparc-based platforms. Solaris 2.5 is better than Solaris 2.4, which in turn is better than 2.3, but it does not make the Sparc hardware any better than it is. After benchmarking our key application on Sun, SGI and IBM platforms, I find that SGI wins hands- down. so it is the platform of choice. Our main strategy is therefore to cautiously upgrade existing Solaris systems to wring more performance out (memory, disk load) and switch to SGI when a particular system is to be replaced. | Christoph Weber Sen. Research Associate | Dept.of Molecular Biology, MB2 619-554-7283 or -8754 (phone) | The Scripps Research Institute 619-554-3757 (FAX) | La Jolla CA 92037 |

Date: Wed Jun 26 04:51:01 PDT 1996
  1. Integration with Novell Netware including email (GMHS), file and print services. Our Novell sides uses NDS instead of bindery making the use of the NW Server a little bit of a hassle.
  2. The PPP package included with Solaris is a bear to configure and install. Easier serial communications in general would be a bonus.
  3. Support for a wider variety of printers and ehanced HP support would be nice.
  4. It would be nice to see more native software such as Corel Draw, WordPerfect, Visio, especially in light of the UltraSparc and VIS.
  5. How about a C compiler, just a basic simple C compiler :)
  6. Once NIS+ is working it works well, however until you get there...

Date: Wed Jun 26 06:55:45 PDT 1996
Compatability of application software with OS upgrades.

Date: Wed Jun 26 10:18:09 PDT 1996
solaris need to be much more cheaper !!!! or windoze will get more and more applications...

Date: Wed Jun 26 22:04:47 PDT 1996
Lack of support for NIS+ naming service from PC desktop clients.

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