Solaris 7 (SPARC Platform Edition) Installation Library

Features Added in Previous Solaris Releases

This section describes features introduced in previous Solaris releases.

Solaris 2.6 Release

Table 2-2 describes new and enhanced features of the Solaris 2.6 release.

Table 2-2 Solaris 2.6 Features




Java Virtual Machine 

 The Java Virtual Machine 1.1 integrates the Java platform for the Solaris operating environment. It includes the Java runtime environment and the basic tools needed to develop Java applets and applications.

HotJavaTM browser

 The HotJava browser provides an easy-to-use, customizable user interface for exploring the Internet and corporate intranets. It can run executable content in the form of applets. (Applets are Java programs that can be included in an HTML page, much like images can be included.)

Intranet/Internet Services 

WebNFSTM software

The WebNFS software enables file systems to be accessed through the Web using the NFS protocol. This protocol is very reliable and provides greater throughput under a heavy load.  

Performance Improvements 

Database Performance 

UFS direct I/O 

For UFS files, direct I/O enables a program to read and write data directly from and to the disk, bypassing the virtual memory buffer cache. An example of a bulk I/O operation is downloading large amounts of satellite data to a file. 

Raw I/O 

Improvements were made to low-level I/O support routines that dramatically improve throughput for I/O to disk devices without a file system (raw devices often used for database files.). The driver for the SPARCstorageTM Array was rewritten to improve its throughput.

Network/Web Performance 

Kernel sockets 

The kernel sockets implementation provides improved compatibility with SunOSTM 4.x and BSD sockets, and enables higher socket performance.

TCP large windows 

TCP large windows provides the support described in RFC1323. It improves performance over high-bandwidth networks such as ATM, or high-delay networks such as satellite links, by using windows that exceed the normal 64-Kbyte limit. 

Zero copy TCP/hardware checksum 

Zero copy TCP has been used to eliminate copying from user-space to kernel-space.  

Support for hardware checksum has been added as well. Performance is improved by avoiding software computation of the checksum, off-loading the work to a network adapter that supports it. This is currently only supported on the SunATMTM card.

Ease-of-Use and Management Improvements 


Solaris Web Start browser-based installation 

Solaris Web Start is a browser-based utility that guides users through selection and installation of both Solaris and bundled application software. 

Installation documentation 

 A documentation reorganization makes finding information on how to install Solaris software easier.

x86 device configuration 

The Configuration Assistant interface is part of the new booting system for the Solaris (Intel Platform Edition) software. It determines which hardware devices are in the machine, accounts for the resources each device uses, and enables users to choose which device to boot from. 

x86 configuring peripherals 

The kdmconfig program is used to configure the mouse, graphics adapter, and monitor on an x86 system. If an Owconfig file already exists, kdmconfig will extract any usable information from it. In addition, this updated version of kdmconfig will also retrieve information left in the devinfo tree by the devconf program, and use that information to automatically identify devices.

Changed Solaris CD layout 

Slice 0 on the Solaris CD has been reorganized to make it more intuitive and extensible. 

Upgrade with disk space reallocation 

The upgrade option provides an auto-layout feature to reallocate disk space if the current file systems don't have enough space for the upgrade.

Testing upgrade profiles 

The pfinstall command is now available to test profiles that use the upgrade option.

Changing a system's boot device 

A system's boot device is now changeable during installation. 

Preconfiguring system Configuration information 

Using the sysidcfg file, you can now preconfigure system configuration information through a set of keywords. You can choose to provide one or more of the keywords to preconfigure varying levels of system information.

Optional 8-bit locales 

The installation window in the English Solaris 2.6 CD offers several English language locales. To use 8-bit characters, users should install through one of the -en_XX options. The locale used in the installation becomes the default system locale.


AnswerBook2 documentation 

Solaris online documentation can be accessed with any popular browser. The AnswerBook2 viewer uses a web browser-based interface that enables users to view and print a variety of Solaris information, including existing AnswerBookTM documents and man pages.


Common Desktop Environment (CDE) 

Solaris CDE is an advanced Motif-based desktop with an easy-to-use interface that provides a consistent look and feel across UNIX® platforms. With Solaris CDE you can run OpenWindowsTM applications without modifications. In addition, CDE applications are integrated with the Web; for example, you can click on an HTTP address in a CDE Mailer message and a browser will open to the selected address.

Power ManagementTM for SPARC desktops

Power Management software enables users to be more frugal with power consumption on desktop systems when they are not being used. By default, all UltraSPARCTM desktop systems power off when left alone for 30 minutes. Users can modify or turn off Power Management if needed.

OpenWindows desktop 

The OpenWindows 3.6 desktop and libraries have been updated with bug fixes and prepared for the year 2000. 

New user locales  

Ten new locales are added for Eastern European, Russian, Greek, and Baltic states. 

 Unicode 2.0 support

Two locales that are Unicode 2.0 and ISO 10646 compliant have been added. These locales enable multiscript input and output and are the first locales provided in the Solaris environment with this capability. These locales support the CDE environment only, including the Motif and CDE libraries 

Font administration 

- Font Admin enables easy installation and usage of fonts for the X Window System. It supports TrueType, Type0, Type1, and CID fonts for multibyte languages, and provides comparative font preview capability. It is fully integrated into the CDE desktop. 

- TrueType fonts are supported through X and Display PostScript. Font Admin enables easy installation and integration of third-party fonts into the Solaris environment. 

 Asian language enhancements

Solaris 2.6 software has been re-architected to the historical dependency on the Extended UNIX Codeset (EUC). Additional codeset support and locales for popular Asian PC encoding standards (ShiftJIS (PCK) in Japan, Big5 in PRC, and Johap) in Korea are also provided. These locales support the CDE environment only, including the Motif and CDE libraries. 

 Solaris user registration Users who register using Solaris electronic registration will receive information about new Solaris offerings and support.


 Year 2000 compliance The Solaris 2.6 operating environment is year-2000 ready. It uses unambiguous dates and follows the X/Open guidelines where appropriate.

X/Open UNIX 95 

(Spec 1170) 

The previous release of the Solaris software was compliant with much of Spec 1170. The Solaris 2.6 release now meets all the requirements. 


Federated Naming Service (FNS) is now compliant with the X/Open XFN CAE definition.  

POSIX 1003.1b 

POSIX real-time functionality is added. This includes full support for POSIX AIO (with the exception of the -PRIORITIZED I/O option) and some new extensions to support 64-bit files, (see "Large Files").

 ISO 10646

The ISO 10646 standard defines Unicode 2.0, including UCS-2 and UTF-8 (the standard UNIX implementation). All implementations specified in this standard are Unicode 2.0 compliant. 

Robust Software Developer Environment 

Large files 

Large files are supported on UFS, NFSTM, and CacheFSTM file systems. The interfaces defined by the Large File Summit are supported.

Versioning/scoped libraries 

 Developers of shared libraries can now have better control over the public interfaces that they offer. This helps to control the dependencies that applications have on these shared libraries. It also means the applications are more portable and less affected by changes in the shared libraries, thus leading to higher-quality products for both. In the Solaris 2.6 operating environment, the system libraries take advantage of this technology and have been both scoped and versioned.

Scheduler activations 

Scheduler activations provide additional kernel scheduling support for multithreaded applications.  

Pre-emption control 

Pre-emption control allows application control over kernel pre-emption. 

/proc File system and watchpoints

The previous flat /proc file system has been restructured into a directory hierarchy that contains additional subdirectories for state information and control functions. It also provides a watchpoint facility to monitor access to and modifications of data in the process address space. The adb(1) command uses this facility to provide watchpoints.

Federated naming service (FNS) 

 FNS is now compliant with the X/Open XFN CAE definition. FNS has also been enhanced to include support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and provides improved support for the files and NIS back ends.
 Asynchronous I/O Asynchronous I/O support for tapes provides an interface to improve performance on high-performance tape devices. With the ability to queue up I/O requests, this feature significantly improves the I/O throughput.

Solaris Developer Kit (SDK) 

The SDK software is now built into the Solaris operating environment and is no longer an unbundled product. All the information a developer needs to produce applications and graphics handlers for end-user Solaris runtime environments is now available in this Solaris release. 



The XGL 2-D and 3-D immediate-mode API provides portability across hardware platforms and optimal performance from graphics acceleration. The XGL API includes support for raster text, environment and vertex-level texture mapping, four-component texture mapping, DGA transparent overlay, and triangle list Gcache. 


The XIL foundation imaging library is suitable for libraries or applications requiring imaging or digital video, such as document imaging, color prepress, or digital video generation and playback. The following features are new in the Solaris 2.6 release. The XIL 1.3 library:  

- Is MT-hot 

- Supports the 32-bit, single-precision, floating-point data type 

- Supports temporary images 

- Supports the new XIL_GENERAL storage format

- Includes Kodak Color Management SystemTM (KCMS) support

- Supports the new XIL_BAND_SEQUENTIAL storage format for all data types

- Saves on memory use with tiled storage 

PEXTM 3.0.2 runtime environment

The PEX application programmer interface (API) provides application portability across platforms and 3-D graphics on local and remote displays. 

KCMS multithreaded programming 

KCMS now supports multithreaded programs: it is multithread safe (MT-safe). A KCMS application using multithreaded capabilities does not require locks around KCMS library calls. 

X11R6 base window system 

The X11R6 Base Windowing System includes the latest fixes and patches from the X Consortium. 

X11 double buffer extension 

The double buffer extension (DBE) provides a standard way to use double-buffering within the framework of the X Window System. Double-buffering uses two buffers, called "front" and "back," that hold images. The front buffer is visible to the user; the back buffer is not. A detailed specification is available via an Internet browser at

Large Files Support 

Large files 

Large files are supported on UFS, NFS, and CacheFS file systems. Applications can create and access files up to one Tbyte on UFS-mounted file systems and up to the limit of the NFS server for NFS- and CacheFS-mounted file systems. A new -mount option is available to disable the large-file support on UFS file systems. This -mount option gives the system administrator a way to ensure that older applications that are not able to safely handle large files will not accidentally operate on large files.

64-bit AIO 

The Solaris operating environment provides a new set of interfaces for developers who want to do asynchronous I/O to large files. These interfaces are integrated with KAIO in an implementation technique that optimizes I/O to raw files. They are automatically selected by either the Solaris AIO interfaces or the new POSIX AIO interfaces. KAIO is the optimized path for doing I/O to raw files. When using the interfaces with KAIO to raw files, there is a significant performance improvement. 

Network Security  

NFS Kerberos 

Kerberos authentication uses DES encryption to improve security over the network. The kernel implementations of NFS and RPC network services now support a new RPC authentication flavor that is based on the Generalized Security Services API (GSS-API). This support contains the hooks to add stronger security to the NFS environment. 


The user-level RPC implementation supports a new authentication flavor. This flavor is based on the GSS-API and provides the hooks to add stronger authentication, privacy, and integrity for RPC-based services. 

Authentication modules (PAM)  

The PAM framework enables you to "plug in" new authentication technologies. 

BIND version 4.9.4-P1 

Berkeley Internet Name Daemon (BIND), the most popular DNS implementation, has been upgraded to 4.9.4-P1. It addresses many of the security problems found in earlier versions of the implementation.  

Network Management and System Administration 

Network time protocol (NTP) 

Solaris software now supports NTP, which provides both precise time and/or network clock synchronization for use in distributed computing environments. In the past, Solaris customers could use a publicly available version of NTP. The new support provides increased time precision. 

SolsticeTM Enterprise AgentsTM

Solstice Enterprise Agents (SEA) is based on the new extensible agent technology or master/subagent technology. SEA is for component developers and system and network managers who want to develop custom Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), or Desktop Management Interface (DMI) subagents, to instrument different components, subsystems, and applications within a device to enable management from an SNMP management console. 


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) enables a host to get an Internet protocol address and other system configuration parameters without preconfiguration by the administrator.  

NFS client failover 

Client failover provides a high level of availability of read-only file systems by enabling the client to automatically mount the file system from another server if the first server becomes unavailable. 

Variable length subnet mask (VLSM) 

VLSM enables more efficient use of IP address space by enabling the TCP/IP administrator to use Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) to partition this space in a flexible manner. 

Routing sockets 

Conformance with the de facto routing socket interface as implemented by 4.4 BSD, which allows use of CIDR-aware routing protocols such as OSPF, BGP-4, and RIPv2, is now included. 


The new autofs automount daemon is now fully multithreaded. This enables concurrent servicing of multiple mount requests and increases reliability.

Processor sets 

Processor sets give the system administrator control over the allocation of processes to sets of processors. 

NIS+ backup/fast restore

NIS+ backup and restore provide a quick and efficient method of backing up and restoring NIS+ namespaces.

NIS+ over a wide area network (WAN) 

Server-use customization enables NIS+ administrators to specify NIS+ server search order for clients that need naming services. Server use can be balanced among various clients by designating different servers for different clients as "preferred" (primary). If a client cannot obtain information from its preferred servers, the order in which the client seeks out other servers can be specified. This feature is particularly useful when a NIS+ domain spans a WAN link, because administrators can reduce network traffic over the WAN link by specifying that clients first try to obtain the naming service from servers on the client's side of the link. 

NIS server 

Solaris software now natively supports the NIS server. In previous Solaris releases, the NIS server was supported under emulation mode by the NIS+ server or using an unbundled product named NSkit. 

CFS boot 

CFS Boot enables AutoClientTM systems to boot more quickly with less network traffic by booting from a local CacheFS disk cache. The first system boot populates the cache. System boots that follow are satisfied from the cache.

Patch tools 

Patch tools, including patchadd and patchrm commands to add and remove patches, are now part of the Solaris software, rather than shipping with each individual patch as installpatch and backoutpatch commands.

isalist utilities

isalist is a set of utilities that enables users to find out which instruction sets are supported on their machines and also to determine which one performs best for them.



The Solaris 2.6 print software offers a better solution than the LP print software in previous Solaris releases. System administrators can easily set up and manage print clients using the NIS or NIS+ name services. This means print administration can be centralized for a network of systems and printers. New features include:  

- Redesign of print packages 

- Print protocol adapter 

- SunSoftTM Print Client

- Network printer support 

Hardware Support 


PCMCIA delivers a PCMCIA supplement into a Solaris Device Driver Kit to enable OEMs and third parties to develop PC Card device drivers that will be source-compatible across all Solaris platforms. 

Nomadic Support 


filesync ensures that data is moved automatically between a portable computer and a server.

Solaris 2.5.1 Release

Table 2-3 describes new and enhanced features of the Solaris 2.5.1 release.

Table 2-3 New Features in Solaris 2.5.1




Large user IDs and group ID 

The limit on User ID and Group ID values has been raised to 2147483647, or the maximum value of a signed integer. The nobody user and group (60001) and the no access user and group (60002) retain the same UIDs and GIDs as previous Solaris 2.x releases.


KCMS calibrator tool 

KCMS includes a loadable driver module for the X-Rite DTP92 Incident Colorimeter. The driver supports the X-Rite colorimeter, which connects to the serial port to obtain color measurement data.  

Includes new procedures for adding and removing color calibration modules to the system configuration file, OWconfig.