[TUHS] How good a representative of System V is Solaris

Pepe pepe at naleco.com
Sat May 30 23:47:49 AEST 2009

Tim Bradshaw <tfb at tfeb.org> wrote:
> On 28 May 2009, at 18:00, Michael Kerpan wrote:
> > Solaris, however, at least
> > started out as an implementation of SVR4 and is freely available.
> > How much of System V still lurks inside Solaris 10 (the last
> > version to include such traditional workstation elements as CDE and
> > DPS in the X server) and how much has been removed in favor of a
> > more GNU-ish userland experience? Is Solaris a good way to get a
> > System V experience without breaking either the bank or copyright
> > law, or is this a hopeless situation?
> I never (other than transiently, and even then in various heavily
> bastardised versions such as Masscomps' RTU) used a Sys V Unix other
> than Solaris. However I did live through the SunOS 4 -> Solaris
> transition.  My memory of that is that the early Solaris versions
> (2.2?) seemed extremely austere and unpleasant compared with BSD-
> derived systems.  Solaris doesn't seem like that now, and in fact when
> I play with BSD derivatives they seem quite austere.
> So I would suspect that, no, Solaris is not any kind of good
> representative of what System V was once like.  It's not a GNUoid
> userland (who knows what the next release will be like, if there is
> one?  OpenSolaris seems to have drifted rapidly off into optimize-the-
> desktop neverland and I hope will not be representative of what the
> next Solaris looks like), but it's no more representative of what
> things were once like than any system still under development is
> representative of what its distant ancestore were like.
> (CDE is not a traditional workstation element in any real sense - it's
> pretty recent.  I don't think it even existed in the early Solaris 2
> releases.)

To my knowledge, System V is not quite a well defined concept: there
were several releases and each had different features and capabilities.

The closest you can get today to test the flavour of running an early
System V (not a System V Release 4) native on real and affordable/common
hardware, I think would be getting some old Xenix for the 386 (SVR3),
which is floating around some P2P networks (in eMule I know it is).
Legality of getting it this way for personal and non-commercial use?
Depends on your local law, so beware. This Xenix which is on eMule lacks
TCP/IP (it was an add-on package sold separately), lacks the Development
Kit (compiler, headers, etc.; also sold separately), and obviously lacks
the source code. So if you already know Unix, in two days of use maximum
you should have seen all there is to it and be really bored about it.
The Development and Streams/Tcpip kits for this Xenix are also
"available" in some Internet "places", but I have not ventured to try
them because Xenix is a real bitch to live with...

If you want to inspect the source of a somewhat early System V Release
4, in eMule you also have a tar.bz2 file with the sources for Solaris
2.6 (beware, it won't unzip properly on Windows because some files names
are incompatible with Windows filesystem, i.e. "con" filename, etc.).
You won't be able to "run it", but you can inspect the source of a SVR4
which is only 8 years separated from the original SVR4 AT&T release.

And don't forget OpenServer 5.x, which is a UNIX System V Release 3.2
with many custom add-ons. Version 5.0.7 is still supported by it's now
bankrupt mother company, runs on modern Intel PCs, and has the really
old and rusty taste of ancient UNIX.

After trying all that, you would be thankfull for having the GNU userland
and the Linux kernel. That was my bottom line, anyway.

pepe at naleco.com

More information about the TUHS mailing list