Testdrive: OpenSolaris on OS X with VirtualBox

I finally got around to installing VirtualBox (read more about it here and here) on my Mac earlier this week.  Last night I installed the OpenSolaris (2008.5) disc that I picked up at the Sun booth at OSCON last week.

So far, everything has been going swimmingly.  I could walk you through the installation, but this dude at MacWorld did a much better job than I could.

The only trouble I’ve had thus far was learning some Solaris-specific commands (pkgadd, btw) to install the “VirtualBox Additions”.  The VirtualBox Additions are a small selections of add-ons that you install within the guest OS to ease integration with the host OS (mouse control, shared folders, etc).  While I’m not familiar with Parallels, I can say that VMWare (Workstation/Player) has a very similar guest additions installation procedure.

I’ve been using VirtualBox on my Vista desktop for a few months to virtualize a Xubuntu server (sshd, apache, mysqld, etc) with great success.  Typically, the VM is utilizing less memory than iTunes, which I find utterly ridiculous.  I decided to give it a spin on my MacBook Pro because the latest update of VirtualBox has brought the Intel Mac version out of beta.

While I don’t think that VMWare has much to fear from VirtualBox in the enterprise arena, for the average developer/desktop user, VirtualBox should suit you well.  I’ll be interested to see if Parallels and VMWare will be able to continue charging $80 for their consumer versions with such a capable free competitor (backed by Sun, no less) available.

OpenSolaris Impressions

Playing with OpenSolaris has generally gone well.  It helps that the UI is Gnome and the default shell is BASH, two things that most Linux folks should be comfortable with.  Cruising around the filesystem answered one of my main questions, which was that JDK6 (not OpenJDK, mind you) is installed by default.  I still haven’t figuresd out what mechanism, if any, OpenSolaris uses for automatic updates.  If anyone has some good “OpenSolaris for a Linux Guy” articles…please pass them my way.

OpenSolaris guest running on OS X host.

OpenSolaris guest running on OS X host.

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