Solaris 7 (SPARC Platform Edition) Installation Library

Chapter 3 What's New: A Closer Look

This chapter describes new features of the Solaris 7 release in detail. For a list of features with brief descriptions, see Chapter 2, What's New at a Glance.

The Solaris 7 operating environment includes advanced technologies for multithreading, symmetric multiprocessing, integrated TCP/IP-based networking, large file handling on the 64-bit operating environment and centralized network administration tools. This Solaris release provides many new features that improve an already powerful, stable, operating environment.

Here are some of the new features:

SPARC: Solaris 64-bit Operating Environment

The 64-bit Solaris operating environment is a complete 32-bit and 64-bit application and development environment supported by a 64-bit operating system. This permits maximum compatibility and interoperability for existing applications, both source and binary. At the same time, the 64-bit Solaris operating environment overcomes the limitations of the 32-bit system, most notably by supporting a 64-bit virtual address space and removing other 32-bit system limitations.

The key limitations overcome by the 64-bit Solaris operating environment are the following:

The compatibility and interoperability in the 64-bit Solaris operating environment is so complete that there is no noticeable difference. Existing applications just work and PATH settings remain unchanged.

The new isainfo program helps determine whether you are running on a 32-bit or 64-bit system. isainfo prints information about all the supported Instruction Set Architectures (ISA) of the running system.

Finally, there is the option of booting either the 32-bit or 64-bit Solaris operating environment on UltraSPARC machines.

See "Software Developer Environment" for more detailed 64-bit information for developers. Also, for more information on using the 64-bit operating system, see Solaris 7 64-bit Developer's Guide.

Web Browser

Solaris 7 software includes a new web browser.

Netscape Communicator

Solaris 7 software now ships with Netscape Commmunicator.

Network Management and System Administration

The Solaris operating environment provides a stable and reliable networking environment. New network management and system administration features in this release expand tools for managing this environment.

UFS Logging

UFS logging is the process of storing transactions (changes that make up a complete UFS operation) in a log before the transactions are applied to the UFS file system. Once a transaction is stored, the transaction can be applied to the file system later.

UFS logging provides two advantages. It prevents file systems from becoming inconsistent, therefore eliminating the need to run fsck(1M). And, because fsck can be bypassed, UFS logging reduces the time required to reboot a system if it crashes, or after an unclean halt.

UFS logging is not enabled by default. To enable UFS logging, you must specify the -o logging option with the mount(1M) command when mounting the file system. Also, the fsdb(1M) command has been updated with new debugging commands for UFS logging.

For more information, see System Administration Guide, Volume I.

UFS Mount Option to Ignore Access Time Updates

To ignore access time updates on files, you can specify the -o noatime option when mounting a UFS file system. This option reduces disk activity on file systems where access times are unimportant (for example, a Usenet news spool). See the mount_ufs(1M) man page for more details.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an open-standard, platform-independent, access protocol based on the X.500 informational model. It is designed to run over TCP/IP and uses simple string encodings. LDAP applications are client-server applications and the client library included in this release enables developers to write LDAP applications and users to run LDAP enabled applications.

SPARC: Dynamic Reconfiguration for Hot-Pluggable System Boards

Dynamic reconfiguration (DR) allows the service provider to add, or remove and replace, hot-pluggable system boards in a running system, eliminating the time lost in rebooting. Also, if a replacement board is not immediately available, the system administrator can use DR to shut down a failing board while allowing the server to continue operations. Only certain SPARC servers support this version of DR.

See your hardware manufacturer's documentation for information about whether DR supports your server.

New Commands, pgrep and pkill, to Manage Processes

The Solaris 7 release provides the pgrep and pkill commands, which replace the combination of the ps, grep, egrep, awk, and kill commands that were used to manage processes in previous Solaris releases. The pgrep command looks at the active processes on the system and displays the process IDs of the processes whose attributes match the specified criteria on the command line. The pkill command works the same way as the pgrep command except that each matching process ID is signaled by kill(2) instead of having the process ID displayed.

For more information, see System Administration Guide, Volume II.


The sendmail 8.9 includes hooks that permit restriction of spam (unsolicited, bulk email); virtual hosting, which allows email to be received using different domain names; and an improved configuration hierarchy that makes building your own sendmail configuration file much easier.

For more information, see Mail Administration Guide.

Traceroute Utility

Solaris 7 software bundles the popular traceroute utility. The traceroute utility is used to trace the route an IP packet follows to an Internet host. Traceroute uses the IP protocol ttl (time to live) field and attempts to elicit an ICMP TIME_EXCEEDED response from each gateway along the path, and PORT_UNREACHABLE (or ECHO_REPLY) from the destination host. The traceroute utility starts sending probes with a ttl of 1, and increases by one until it gets to the intended host or has passed through a maximum number of intermediate hosts.

The traceroute utility is especially useful for determining routing configuration problems and routing path failures. If a particular host is unreachable, the traceroute utility can be used to see what path the packet follows to the intended host and where possible failures occur. The traceroute utility also displays the round-trip time for each gateway along the path to the target host. This information can be useful for analyzing where traffic is slow between the two hosts.

For more information, see TCP/IP and Data Communications Administration Guide.

System Crash Dump Utility

The Solaris 7 system crash dump features are the following:

See System Administration Guide, Volume II for more information about system crash dump features.

Network Performance Improvements

Solaris 7 performance enhancements focus on solving problems with congestion and multiple packet drops when using TCP on the network.


TCP selective acknowledgment (TCP SACK) provides the support described in RFC 2018 to solve the problems related to congestion and multiple packet drops, especially in applications making use of TCP large windows (RFC 1323) over satellite links or transcontinental links.

Without TCP with SACK, the receiving TCP application only acknowledges the last packet received in order. For instance, if the TCP application receives packet 1, packet 2, and packet 3, and then receives packet 5, it will only acknowledge receiving up to packet 3 and will discard all subsequent packets until it receives packet 4. This can cause massive retransmission. With TCP with SACK, the receiving location can acknowledge the packets as they are received and the transmitting side can determine which packets never were received. For instance, if the receiving side receives packet 1, packet 2, and packet 3, and then receives packet 5 and packet 6, it can acknowledge each of these packets and the transmitting side only needs to resend the lost packet 4, rather than having to retransmit packet 4, packet 5, and packet 6.

For more information, see TCP/IP and Data Communications Administration Guide.

Network Security

The Solaris operating environment provides a sophisticated security system that controls the way users access files, protect system databases, and use system resources. Solaris security is network-wide security, providing security over several different systems, not just one. The Solaris security system is designed to accommodate different security models, giving users the flexibility to choose the model that best fits their needs now and in the future. Here are a number of new features added to the Solaris security system.


The kernel-level RPC implementation adds support for a new authentication flavor based on the GSS-API. NFS services are no longer tied down to a specific or a single security mechanism. The user-level RPC implementation has been modified to support two stronger security services--integrity and confidentiality. This implementation also supports multiple security mechanisms.

For more information, see NFS Administration Guide.

NIS+ Extended Diffie-Hellman (DH)

NIS+ enhances NIS+ security by increasing the authentication key length from 192 bits to 640 bits.

For more information, see NIS+ Transition Guide, Solaris Naming Administration Guide, or Solaris Naming Setup and Configuration Guide.

BIND 8.1.2

Berkeley Internet Name Daemon (BIND), the most popular DNS implementation, has been upgraded to 8.1.2. It provides a new configuration file that enhances network security through the use of access control lists (ACLs).

The /etc/named.conf (BIND 8.1.2) file replaces the /etc/named.boot (BIND 4.9.6 file and older).

For more information, see Solaris Naming Setup and Configuration Guide or Solaris Naming Administration Guide.

Ease-of-Use and Management Improvements

The Solaris operating environment is large and complex; its structure gives customers the flexibility to meet their needs. New features enable customers to easily install and manage the Solaris environment.


This section describes new features in the Solaris 7 software that affect installation.

Installing the 64-bit Operating Environment

The Solaris 7 installation programs have a new check box for selection of 64-bit support. The check box is active (not grayed-out) if 64-bit support is a valid option for either the hardware or the software group (metacluster) selected for installation.

Selection of 64-bit support is appropriate if the system is to be used to either develop or run applications compiled for the 64-bit SPARC instruction set. The 64-bit SPARC instruction set is currently supported on UltraSPARC systems.

Deselection of 64-bit support for an UltraSPARC system removes the ability to run or compile a 64-bit program. An UltraSPARC system with 64-bit support should execute 32-bit programs at comparable speeds (typically within a few percent) to a system running without 64-bit support.

Installing AnswerBook with Web Start

The Solaris 7 Documentation CD includes a new choice for installing software from the CD. Standard utilities, such as pkgadd, can be used to install everything on the CD or the install icon can be clicked to use the Web Start product. The Web Start product provides a point-and-click interface with selections for installing the AnswerBook2 server, all document collections on this CD, or selected document collections.

For more information, see Chapter 8, Accessing Online Documentation.

More Locale Selections

In the Solaris 7 release, the English and European localized versions of Solaris software have been combined on a single CD. As a result, more locale selections are available during installation of this combined CD than were seen for Solaris 2.6 software.

Note -

Note that more than one locale may be associated with a particular language. This allows for regional differences such as currency notation. For example, an English-speaking user in the United States can select the en_US locale (English for the United States). An English-speaking user in Great Britain can select en_GB (English for Great Britain).


The AnswerBook2 online documentation system uses a web browser-based interface that enables you to view and print a variety of Solaris information, including existing AnswerBook documents and man pages. The following are new features for AnswerBook2.

Solaris Reference Manual (Man Pages) Available in AnswerBook2 Format

Man pages are available in AnswerBook2 (SGML), rather than AnswerBook1 format. This provides improvements in navigation and links to them directly from other AnswerBook2 documents.

Running an AnswerBook2 Server Directly from the Documentation CD

With the Documentation CD and root access to the system on which the CD is connected, the AnswerBook2 server can run directly from the CD using the ab2cd script.

For detailed information, see the Doc CD README file on the Documentation CD, Chapter 8, Accessing Online Documentation, or AnswerBook2 online Help.

Ability to Use CGI-based Web Servers

The AnswerBook2 server can run on top of an existing web server, such as Sun WebServer, rather than requiring an additional web server running on a system solely for AnswerBook2 support.

For detailed information about how to change servers, and some possible limitations, see Chapter 8, Accessing Online Documentation or the AnswerBook2 online Help.

Ability to Control Display of Stylesheet Errors

An environment variable, AB2_DEBUG, can be set on the AnswerBook2 server. This controls whether style sheet errors are displayed to the user with a red "BUG."

For detailed information on setting this variable, see the AnswerBook2 online Help.

Language Support

The Solaris operating environment adds new language support for complex text layout languages, the Internet Intranet Input Method Protocol, management of third-party fonts, Unicode, and over 30 new or enhanced locales.

Enhanced Language Framework

The Solaris operating environment has expanded its language support in major areas:

Expanded Unicode Support

Sun Microsystems has a vision of multilingual computing in which multiscript Unicode locales play a starring role. Solaris has been a strong supporter of open, industry standards, and with this release offers expanded support for the Unicode standard, v2.0. with six new Unicode UTF-8 locales - French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Europe. (Europe will return the Euro as the default currency symbol.)

Of particular interest to users and developers is the inclusion of multiscript capabilities. For example, in the Solaris 7 operating environment, enhancements have been made to each of the en_US.UTF-8 locales so that users can input and display text from different writing scripts such as Japanese, Thai, and Russian. They can easily switch between the scripts as needed without having to change or install a new locale. Here are some of the scripts users can input and display in when using any locale: Arabic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Thai, Cyrillic, the Western, Eastern, and Northen European scripts, Turkish, and Greek. In addition, a graphical codeset converter is included for ease in converting user data between the various codesets.

Complex Text Support

Solaris 7 software has integrated support for complex text layout languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Thai, which require special text pre-processing to handle bidirectional, composite, and context-sensitive text. Developers can take advantage of the new text processing and rendering support to create applications tailored for these markets.

Internet Intranet Input Method Protocol Support

Solaris 7 software implements the Internet Intranet Input Method Protocol (IIIMP) to enable seamless interoperability between the input methods provided in Solaris, Java, and non-X Windows applications. The IIIMP protocol defines how input methods for non-X Window systems-based applications (including Java applications and applets) should perform, and provides a platform-independent solution for customers who have thin clients such as network computers or JavaStationsTM and want to be able to take advantage of the input methods on the server.

Enhanced Font Management

Solaris 7 has enhanced its font support through a new Desktop Font Downloader application so that users can easily use and manage third-party PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts in their Solaris environments.

Expanded Locale Support

The proper support of the user environment is important to Sun, and with this release, Solaris software provides enhancements to over thirty locales to better meet user needs. These include changes to support the new "Euro" currency scheduled to take effect January 1999.

"Euro" Currency Support

In 1997, the European Community (EC) has agreed to standardize on a single currency, called "Euro." Beginning January 1999, all foreign exchange, banking, and finance industries in the EC will convert from using their local currencies to using the Euro.

In anticipation of this changeover, Solaris 7 software has added support for the Euro currency with sixteen new user locales. These are described in the following tables. The input mechanism for the Euro currency symbol in these locales conforms to the short-term proposal on Euro symbol input recommendations of the European Commission. These optional locales are for use by developers and users who need to work with the Euro. Local currency symbols are still available for backwards compatibility.

New User Locales

Solaris software already supports most of the European locales and with this release has focused on expanding its support for the Eastern European, Thai, and the Middle Eastern regions. New user locales in the Solaris 7 operating environment are listed in the following tables.

Table 3-1 New and Changed User Locales


Locale Name 

ISO Code Set 

















The default codeset has been changed to ISO 8859-15 from ISO 8859-1.  


su changed to fi


Changed to comply with ISO standards 



















The default codeset has been changed to ISO 8859-4 from ISO 8859-13.  




The default codeset has been changed to ISO 8859-4 from ISO 8859-13.  
















The default codeset has been changed to KOI-8 from ISO 8859-5. The ISO8859-5 based Russian locale will still be available as ru. The new locale will be ru.K0I8-R.

Saudi Arabia 

























TIS 620-2533 


United Kingdom 

en_UK changed to en_GB


Changed to comply with ISO standards 

Table 3-2 New User Locales To Support the Euro Currency


Locale Name 

ISO Code Set 





















8859-7 (modified) 




















United Kingdom 







Many customers rely on the Solaris operating environment as the foundation for mission critical applications. UNIX 98 branding shows Sun's continuing involvement in providing a stable operating environmnet.

UNIX 98 Branding

Solaris 7 software is branded UNIX 98 and includes the following changes to UNIX 95:

Software Developer Environment

The Solaris operating environment provides developers with the documentation, development software libraries, productivity tools, sample code, and testing tools needed to develop software applications for the Solaris runtime environments. This section describes new features relating to the 64-bit Solaris operating environment, shared objects, and the man command.

SPARC: 64-bit Developer Environment

The Solaris 7 operating environment provides developers with complete 32-bit and 64-bit development environments. Here are some of the highlights:

For more information, see Solaris 7 64-bit Developer's Guide.

Runtime Linker

The runtime linker permits programs to find shared libraries without having to set LD_LIBRARY_PATH and makes the loading of shared libraries even more efficient.

For more information, see Linker and Libraries Guide.

The man Utility Now Displays SGML Code

The man utility is now able to display man pages that are coded with SGML, as well as the traditional nroff.

For more information on SGML man pages, see the man(1) man page.

SPARC: Solaris 64-bit X Window Libraries

All of the core X11 shared libraries (.so) and all lint libraries (.ln) for programmers provided in 32-bit versions are available in 64-bit versions for 64-bit Solaris software. There are no changes to the API for any of these libraries. All of these libraries are installed in the /usr/openwin/lib/sparcv9 directory. No 64-bit X11 application programs are provided. There are four 64-bit X11 packages:

Java Development Kit Improvements

Java Development Kit for Solaris 1.1.5 has been specially tuned and tested. As a result, this release of the Java Development Kit for Solaris offers significantly improved scalability and performance for Java applications developed for, and deployed in, the enterprise and across the network. The following JDK for Solaris performance improvements have been made:

For more information on the Java Development Kit for Solaris, see the Java web site at


The WebNFS Software Development KIT (SDK) provides remote file access for Java applications using WebNFS. Since it implements the NFS protocol directly, it requires no NFS support on the host system. It provides access to WebNFS or conventional NFS servers by way of URL file naming. The file access API is modeled after the classes in the* package and provides seamless access to both local and remote files. For updates to this SDK, go to the web site:

The truss Utility Performs Function Call Tracing

The truss utility traces the system calls, signals, and machine faults of a process. It has been enhanced with a new option to enable entry and exit tracing of user-level function calls executed by the traced process. Optional shell-like patterns specify the functions and the library to be traced.

Other truss enhancements include optional time stamps and the ability to leave the traced process stopped and abandoned on selected events. A debugger or other process inspection tool can then be applied to the stopped process.

For more information, see the man page truss(1).

Improved Library for Device Configuration

The libdevinfo library, used to obtain device configuration information, has been made more robust and comprehensive in Solaris 7 software. For more information, see libdevinfo(3).


The Solaris VISUALTM software includes several graphics and multimedia software foundation libraries. Foundation libraries are the lowest-level device-independent layer of the Solaris software. This level of interface is designed to support a wide variety of common functions. You can build higher-level libraries on top of the foundation libraries, or the foundation libraries can be used directly by a software application. These foundation libraries create applications that incorporate 2-D and 3-D graphics, imaging, and digital video. The libraries are the XGL graphics library and XIL imaging library. The new XIL stereoscopic image display feature is described below.

XIL 1.4 Runtime Environment

The XIL library is an imaging API that provides a basic set of functions for imaging and video applications. The library provides a strategy for low-level software interfaces (foundation libraries) and enables APIs and API developers to port their code to these foundation libraries.

The XIL 1.4 runtime environment (RTE) should be installed if users at your site are running imaging applications. Whether an application requires the XIL RTE is not always obvious; therefore, you should install the XIL RTE if you are installing either OpenWindows or CDE software, since an application may reference the XIL libraries.

The XIL developer components are now separate from Solaris and are available free of charge on Sun's web site: The developer components are the following:

The XIL runtime libraries is included to ensure continuing support for applications employing XIL.

The XIL RTE has been improved with the following new functionality.

Common Desktop Environment

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) 1.3 release contains a set of tools that supplement the CDE 1.2 functionality. It provides simplified end-user access, improved local system administration, and enhanced productivity capabilities. The new tools include:

CDE applications support Complex Text Layout (CTL) locales.

Motif 2.1

Solaris 7 software supports Motif 2.1, which includes five new Motif widgets and is MT-safe. Motif 2.1 supports ISO standard Complex Text Language locales in which a single binary developed on the Solaris 7 operating environment provides advanced and standard support for Hebrew, Arabic, and Thai customers.

The five new Motif widgets include the following:


For PostScript printers, a new printing feature manages third-party PostScript fonts.

Enhanced Font Management

Solaris 7 has enhanced its font support through a new Desktop Font Downloader application so that users can easily use and manage third-party Postscript Type 1 and TrueType fonts in their Solaris environments. The Desktop Font Downloader allows users to download, remove, re-encode and convert fonts, check status, and perform other administrative tasks on their Postscript printer.

Hardware Support

The Solaris operating environment continues to provide the software needed to support new hardware.

x86: SCSI Disk Driver sd

In previous Solaris releases, SCSI disk support on x86-based systems was handled by the cmdk driver. In the Solaris 7 release, this support is handled by the sd driver, the SCSI disk driver used on Solaris (SPARC Platform Edition) systems. Although derived from the same code base, there are a few differences between the SPARC and Intel versions in this release. For example, special x86-specific volume label support is provided in the Intel version so applications (which use logical disk names in /dev/dsk) will not be affected by the driver change. The Intel version also provides x86-specific disk geometry support not required in the SPARC version. In addition, ATAPI CD-ROM support is now provided by the sd driver.

For more information, see these man pages: cdio(7I), cmdk(7D), dkio(7I), scsi(4), sd(7D).

x86: Intelligent I/O Framework Support

Intelligent I/O (I2O) is an emerging industry standard for modular, high-performance I/O subsystems defined and promoted by a special interest group, the I2OSIG. The goals of I2O are to:

I2O support is currently available only in the Solaris (Intel Platform Edition). The Solaris 7 release includes the basic framework to enable support for I2O-capable hardware. The implementation supports I2O Specification 1.5. This framework includes:

In this release, booting from an I2O device is not supported. I2O hardware and non-Solaris software and firmware (such as HDMs and IRTOS) configuration from within the Solaris environment is also not supported. For a list of specific I2O hardware tested with Solaris 7, refer to the Solaris 7 (Intel Platform Edition) Hardware Compatibility List.