Solaris Transition Guide

Comparison of SVR4 and the Solaris Operating Environment

This section describes the main differences between SVR4 and the Solaris operating environment. It points out features that the Solaris operating environment includes that are not available in SVR4 and a few SVR4 features that are not available in the Solaris operating environment.

Additional Features in the Solaris Operating Environment

The Solaris operating environment offers value-added components in addition to the SVR4-based operating system. These make computing easier and create new opportunities for users, system administrators, and developers.

In general, the merge of established UNIX variants into SVR4 and the Solaris operating environment was done by consolidating the existing functionality while maintaining compatibility for existing applications. As a result, features and commands were added or withdrawn in some cases.

Features for the User

For users, the Solaris operating environment incorporates a suite of powerful DeskSetTM applications to enhance personal productivity. All DeskSet applications rely on the drag-and-drop metaphor, enabling users to carry out complex UNIX commands with a mouse. Some of the features are:

Features for the System Administrator

For system administrators, the Solaris operating environment offers a variety of new tools to simplify the administration of a distributed computing environment. These include:

Features for the Developer

For application developers, the Solaris operating environment includes a variety of toolkits and features to simplify the development of complex applications with graphical user interfaces.

SVR4 Features Excluded From the Solaris Environment

In a few instances, features in SVR4 were not include in the Solaris operating environment. These features are specific to AT&T hardware, or features included primarily for backward compatibility with SVR3 features and are, therefore, of little value to SunOS users.

The Solaris operating environment does not include the System V file system and associated utilities because of their limitations compared to the UNIX file system. The SVR4 boot file system was not included because of its maintenance burden when compared to the SunOS traditional boot model.

The generic AT&T SVR4 model for device auto-configuration and for rebuilding kernels was replaced with a fully dynamically configurable kernel better suited to the needs of present and future users of SPARC systems.

Because there is no installed base of SPARC XENIX programs, the SPARC release of the Solaris operating environment does not include compatibility for XENIX applications.

The Solaris operating environment does not include the AT&T SVR4 sysadm utility. Because the sysadm menu utility was designed primarily for use with terminal devices on freestanding systems, GUI tools are used instead to simplify administration of distributed systems across a network. The Solaris operating environment provides the utilities and configuration directories that underlie the SVR4 sysadm utility but not the sysadm utility itself.