Desktop OpenSolaris fork OpenIndiana shoots fresh version – Hipster

Latest offshoot of Illumos project continues development of FOSS version of Solaris

The OpenIndiana project has opened the gates on "Hipster", its latest release and the first this year, and it includes MATE 1.26, LibreOffice, and more.

OpenIndiana is a desktop flavor of illumos, which has been continuing development of OpenSolaris since 2010. In the project's own words about Version 2022.10:

Hipster is a codename for rapidly moving development branch of OpenIndiana. Hipster is using rolling-release model and only publishes installation ISOs once in a while.

Judging by the project's announcements page, this is the first new release the project has announced since this time last year, although in previous years there were semiannual updates. The 2022.10 release integrates over 2,500 pull requests, and updates multiple components, including version 1.26 of the MATE desktop, 64-bit LibreOffice 7.2.7, and Perl 5.36.

The distro now includes the latest GCC 10, plus the option of GCC 11 and Clang 13. It also updates the bundled nVidia drivers, but we weren't able to test that as the Reg FOSS desk lacks any kit with a current nVidia GPU.

OpenIndiana looks much like any Linux with MATE, but under the hood is the Solaris kernel

OpenIndiana looks much like any Linux with MATE, but under the hood is the Solaris kernel

To be honest, we suspect that even if we did have anything so shiny lying around, we might not have been able to test it anyway. We tried to start OpenIndiana on our trusty ThinkPad T420 and W520 testbed machines, as well as on an old W500 and an X220 with no dedicated GPU, but it failed to complete boot up on any of them, either in BIOS or UEFI modes. It does boot, install and run happily in VirtualBox – as one might expect when both the OS and the hypervisor derive from the same parent company. Given the MATE desktop and apps, it looks and feels much like Linux does, although as soon as you open a terminal emulator, the comforting feeling of familiarity fades quite quickly.

Although not much news comes from the illumos project, various distributions are alive and well. Although its sponsors stepped away from it, the Community Edition of OmniOS, a text-only server-oriented product, is still getting updated. So is the Tribblix distribution.

Joyent cut down OpenSolaris to make a hypervisor and container host called SmartOS, and offered a hosted service called Triton.

Despite Samsung shutting down Joyent's cloud three years after acquiring it in 2016, Triton's datacenter and commercial support business was bought earlier this year and the service is still available. SmartOS is still around and getting updated: it boots from a USB key, keeping just config on the hard disk, making version upgrades very easy.

Solaris engineer, Joyent veteran, and DTrace co-creator Bryan Cantrill still sits on the illumos council. He is co-founder and CTO of a new company, Oxide Computer, which has yet to launch its combined storage-and-compute product, but there is some code on Github for the curious. Oxide is working on a Rust-based microkernel called Hubris, but we suspect that illumos will also be involved somewhere. ®

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