Peter's Solaris Zone

What I would fix first

With Solaris soon to be open source comes the opportunity to add features and fix bugs that I want but that Sun either can't or won't do for me.

These are largely in the nature of irritations. I'm sure that, left to their own devices, Sun might do this stuff given time. But these are some of the things that I could do with having fixed sooner rather than later.

They aren't in any particular order, either.

  1. Alien zones: the ability to have a different software installation (ie different installed packages), or different patches, or even a different OS, running in a zone. Essentially, all this needs to start with is for the filesystem (particularly /usr) in the zone not be inherited from its parent.
  2. pkg speedup: the pkg system is one of those bits of Solaris that justifies the moniker "Slowaris". There were attempts in S10 to speed it up - by using a database instead of flat files - they didn't work and seem to have vanished. But I can hammer through the flat files with standard tools about 5 times faster than the pkg tools can, so there ought to be room for that sort of speedup.

  3. Alien ufs: it's sheer lunacy that you can't access a Solaris x86 ufs filesystem on a sparc box, and vice versa. What makes this even worse is that the Solaris bootable CD has a (native) ufs filesystem on it, so you can only read the CD (to set up an install server, for example) on the target architecture, so if you want to do both you need to use 2 machines.
  4. tarfs; zipfs - mount an archive as a filesystem (possibly by using lofi to mount the file as a block device first).
  5. fix man: I've already commented on how the man command can be improved. I would also ship man pages in html, and add a javahelp manpage browser for browsing and searching. The man pages are naturally linked to each other, so hypertext is a natural format, and they really could do with a decent search system.
  6. propagate global proxy settings; or get all applications to use them. This is a nightmare. Looking at my system, gnome has some web proxy settings, but Mozilla and all the web browsers have separate settings, and java needs configuring separately (in fact, I'm not sure there is a central place to configure); wget is configured separately; patchpro is configured separately. This is just daft. There ought to be a single file (/etc/default/proxy?) where I set this and everything picks it up.
  7. fast user switching: like xp, so I don't have to log out and kill all my apps just so the kids can play some games.
  8. sunray in a window: basically, a Software client I can run on a regular machine so I can pick up my sunray session from my blade, without having to have a separate sunray hardware. And then I could cut and paste. At present I get around this by running a master VNC session and either having that display on the 2nd head on my blade or picking it up from a sunray session.
  9. copy all features in /bin/ls to /usr/ucb/ls: some new neat features have been added to ls (the -e/-E/-h flags, for example) and they ought to be added to the proper ls. (Alternatively, I could live with a flag to /bin/ls so that it didn't print our sizes in those stupid "block" units which have no meaning whatsoever.)
  10. slice support in lofi: so that you can access both slices on the first Solaris CD without having to manually takes it apart.
  11. Add selection by name to prtpicl.

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