Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Goodbye CDE...hello OpenSolaris!

I've been using OpenSolaris at home and on my laptop for months, but was still running Nevada builds on my SPARC desktop in the office... with CDE (you know, that super old, yet super fast, Common Desktop Environment).  Well, I got a new desktop recently which is Intel based, and with the brand spanking new release of OpenSolaris 2009.06, it seemed like I needed to move into the 21st century.

While I would still like an "advanced" installer, I do think the installation went amazingly quickly and very smoothly. I had to make several adjustments to the system after installation to get it running with NIS on the Sun internal network with a static IP address, and download some of my favorite software - which was so easy with the "pkg" command! This release is much faster and smoother than what I have been running on my laptop - clearly time to upgrade that as well. I was pleased to see how easy it was to install flash and acroread as well.

The problems didn't really start until I logged in with my Sun internal home directory mounted - when I found I had some horribly ancient and mostly broken GNOME configurations (probably from the last time I seriously played around with it, back in S9 or early S10 days). gnome-cleanup took care of that and got me to a nice clean GNOME login. A few minor adjustments so that things like mouse-over to make active for windows, and a change of my default gnome-terminal preferences and I'm mostly off and running.

I also hit problems with my .xmodmaprc file, as it apparently used "keycodes" which do not translate between Xsun on SPARC and Xorg on x86. Thanks to one of the desktop team members, Michael, he told me about "xev" and that it would be the keycode lines in the file I needed to fix. With a few tweaks, my ergonomic keyboard is now behaving just the way I like it.

I did try a modern mail reader, ThunderBird, but after being annoyed it didn't believe most of my mail folders were actually mail folders (due to missing IMAP leading message), and how annoying it was to save to the folders it did recognize, I switched back to pine after about 10 minutes. (yes, I know there is a newer version of that software, alpine, but I don't like that one either ;).

Now I just gotta figure out what to do about my network calendar being stored in a format for dtcm ;)


  1. What I did for dtcm was copy the binary (and library versions) over to OpenSolaris. It worked OK for me except for trivial font glitches.
    Since then, I converted to the Java/web-based calendar, which I'm not happy with because notifications are not as good as dtcm (you have to be logged in to NF and it's still iffy it seems).

  2. I've been running dtcm remotely from a nevada system... Namefinder is okay for emergency calendar checking, but not really for every day use. perhaps we need to put this in the /extra repo ;)