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OpenSolaris 2008.05: Notes from the field

I'm subscribed to This came across the wires earlier this morning. It's a report about an installfest that was conducted in Bejing on Tuesday, May 6th.
subject: [indiana-discuss] Some Thoughts After An Installfest Event

Today in Beijing we organized an installfest event with OpenSolaris 2008.05. The machines we used are Lenovo E680A, which has an intel core-duo 1.73 GHz CPU with 1 GB memory. This was a full-day event -- we provided 45 laptops, which attracted more than 100 people during the whole event. They were instructed to install OpenSolaris 2008.05 from CD, and install some packages via IPS and traditional method. Some engineers and interns from Sun were there to provide onsite. Most of the attendees had but very little experience with Solaris previously, some of them used Linux for various periods before.

Some feedbacks:
  1. Installation was very slow. We used to install SXDE onto the same machine before, which took us less than 45 minutes to finished. Today, most of the folks spent about the same amount of time on installation. We think this is too much to install a CD.

  2. There was some problem with WIFI, don't know exactly. Some of the machines were getting IP, and most of them were not. It took extremely long for the AP selection dialog to popup after the system booted. There were several Mac and Windows machines in the same room and worked just fine during the whole day. "wificonfig -i wpi0 scan" return the correct information, but "wificonfig -i wpi0 connect AP_Name" would failed. At first we suspected that this was because the name of the AP was Chinese, but when we changed the name of the AP to English we encountered the same error.

  3. A majority of the people complained that OpenSolaris could not mount their USB drive correctly. Well, we did see some success, but a lot of failures at the same time.

  4. Compiz totally failed due to the fact that we are using integrated graphic cards. The problem is, when Compiz failed it is very difficult to turn it back to non-3D desktop. We knew how to do the trick via Alt+N key combinations, but sometimes the system was not able to response to this trick.

  5. Many people would like the shutdown button be placed at a more visible location.

  6. When connected to the networked, there was a network icon on the task bar, and it is annoying that you can change anything via clicking on that icon. Since NWAM was not yet smart enough (to pick up the AP's in a timely manner) during the show and so new to the folks, they were very unhappy about this.

  7. For those who have previously installed Solaris 10 or SXDE, they were happy about the installation procedure, and the new UI.
I will try to write more later.

Best regards,
Qingye Jiang (John)
Senior Manager
Sun Developer Network, China
Feedback like this is important, both good and bad. I'll offer my corresponding experiences on four of the posts issues.
  • Unlike 2, I had no problem with WiFi on the Gateway M685.
  • Unlike 3, I had no problems with mounting thumb drives, and I tested with various Sandisk (4GIG, 8GIG) and Kingston (4GIG) drives.
  • As noted in the prior post, I had both good and bad experiences with Compiz. The worst was on the machine with 512MB of memory, while the best was on the Gateway with 2GIG of memory (see 4 above).
  • Like 6, they're right about the confusion of using the network applet with NWAM. It could be better.
As good as I believe OpenSolaris 2008.05 to be, this is its first big release, and it does have problems. It will be interesting to see how quickly and in what manner they are addressed.


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