Oracle Solaris (formerly SunOS) is a commercial product that provides users with an integrated and full featured server-oriented platform that combines the powerful OpenStack open source cloud computing software with a stable and reliable enterprise-class operating system.
Availability, supported platforms, boot options, and a little bit of history
First of all, we want to remind the reader that this is not a Linux distribution! Solaris OS is a UNIX operating system initially developed by Sun Microsystems, and now maintained by Oracle Corporation under the name of Oracle Solaris.
It is available for download as installable and live ISO images that can be burned onto blank CD discs using any CD/DVD burning software, as well as USB images that allows users to write the operating system to portable USB flash drives.
Supported architectures include x86 (32-bit) and SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture). Recommended system requirements include at least 2GB or RAM (system memory) and at least 15GB of free hard disk space.
The Live CD ISO/USB images provide users with a modern boot prompt powered by GRUB2, from where users can start the live environment with default settings, using the VESA framebuffer, with SSH enabled, with screen reader, with magnifier, or in text mode. It is also possible to boot an existing operating system installed on the first disk.
State-of-the-art UNIX technologies for both server and desktop platforms
Before entering the live environment, users will need to select a keyboard layout and the language they want to use. The graphical session is powered by the traditional GNOME desktop environment, which comprises of two panels, a top one for accessing the main menu and launching apps, and a bottom one for interacting with running apps and switching between virtual workspaces.
Using the highly acclaimed ZFS filesystem, it includes powerful applications like the Mozilla Firefox web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird email and news client, Glade interface designer, Pidgin instant messenger, Rhythmbox music player, Totem video player, Orca screen reader and magnifier, and GParted partition editor.
All in all, Oracle Solaris is a decent server operating system that has been redesigned from the ground up and engineered for cloud computing. It supports the x86 and SPARC architectures, and features the award winning OpenStack software.