What's New in the Solaris 9 Operating Environment

Appendix A Features in the Solaris 8 Software Release

Appendix A summarizes features in the Solaris 8 operating environment.

Note -

This appendix includes only features that were in the initial Solaris 8 software release.

Features that were added in the Solaris 8 Update releases are documented in the Solaris 9 chapters.

Next-Generation Internet Protocol

Feature Description 


IPv6 adds increased address space and improves Internet functionality by using a simplified header format, support for authentication and privacy, and autoconfiguration of address assignments. IPv6 also enables new quality-of-service capabilities. 

Directory Services and Naming Enhancements

Feature Description 

Native Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

Native LDAP provides the Naming Service switch back-end support for LDAP-based directory service. 

Java Enhancements

Feature Description 

Java 2 Software Development Kit (SDK) for Solaris

The Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition version 1.2.1_04 is the latest release of the Java 2 platform for the Solaris operating environment. The SDK includes these enhancements:  

  • Improved scalability

  • Improved class libraries, including the new Java 2 APIs

  • Enhanced memory management system

  • High-performance, scalable Java virtual machine (JVM)

  • Just-in-time (JIT) compiler optimizations

  • Faster Java thread synchronization

Installation and Management

Feature Description 

Solaris Web Start Enhanced Installation CD

Solaris Web Start, a graphical, wizard-based software application, powered by Java, that installs the Solaris operating environment and other software, is now distributed on a separate installation CD. 

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Network Booting

Network installations can now use DHCP to acquire boot parameters and network configuration information necessary for booting a client over the network. DHCP booting is supported on certain SPARCTM and IA based systems.

IA: Boot Partition in the Solaris 8 Release

Users who are running Solaris Intel Platform Edition can now designate a separate IA boot partition.


This new feature enables the user to boot a system from an installation CD that uses the "El Torito" standard (rather than from the Device Configuration Assistant diskette, as in previous releases.) 

DHCP Manager

DHCP Manager provides a Java based graphical interface for configuring and managing the Solaris DHCP server and DHCP databases. The DHCP Manager enables the system administrator to use a single tool to perform all DHCP management duties: set up and manage DHCP servers, manage client configuration options and macros, and manage networks and IP addresses that are under DHCP management. 

IA: Large Disk Support

By using improved BIOS interfaces to access the disk, Solaris 8 Intel Platform Edition now fully uses disks larger than 8 Gbytes.

Solaris Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) Services

Solaris WBEM Services software is an implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standards and technologies in the Solaris operating environment. Intended for developers and administrators of WBEM-enabled environments, Solaris WBEM Services provides the Solaris Schema; extensions of the CIM Schema classes; and management, security, and logging services. 

Support for Domain Name System (DNS) in System Identification Utilities

DNS has been added to the list of name services that can be configured through the system identification utilities. 

Support for IPv6 in System Identification Utilities

Systems can now be configured at installation to use IPv6 in addition to IPv4. 

Unlimited Number of Pseudo-Terminals Available

Solaris 8 software enables the opening of any number of pseudo-terminals (used by programs like rlogin and telnet).

Reading Documentation from the Solaris 8 Documentation CD

The ab2cd script enables all users to read AnswerBook2TM documentation directly from the Solaris 8 Documentation CD. The script has been enhanced to provide better user feedback, to enable users to set the port number on which ab2cd runs, and to read documentation already installed on the user's system.

Product Registry

The Solaris Product Registry is a tool to manage software that was installed by using Solaris Web Start 3.0 or the Solaris package management commands (pkgadd, for example.) This tool enables you to do the following:

  • View a list of installed and registered software and some software attributes

  • Install additional software products

  • Uninstall software

  • Browse for and launch an installer


Feature Description 

SPARC: InterDomain Networks (IDNs)

IDNs enable the user to set up high-speed network connections between dynamic system domains without the need for special hardware. 

IP Security Architecture (IPsec) for IPv4

IPsec provides protection for IP datagrams. The protection can include confidentiality, strong integrity of the data, partial sequence integrity (replay protection), and data authentication. 

IPv6 NFS/RPC Compliant

This feature adds IPv6 support to NFS and RPC in a seamless manner. No changes are made to existing commands that are related to NFS. Most RPC applications can also run over IPv6 without any change. Some advanced RPC applications with transport knowledge might require updates. 

Logical Link Controller 2 (LLC2)

The Class II logical link control driver (LLC2) acts as an interface between network software (NetBIOS, SNA, OSI) that runs under the Solaris operating environment and a physical LAN network that is controlled by one of the supported communications adapters. This version of the LLC2 driver includes support for both connectionless and connection-oriented LLC2 operations for Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI adapters when the support is accessed through the appropriate Solaris MAC layer driver. 

NIS/NIS+ over IPv6 Transports

This feature enables users to perform NIS and NIS+ operations over IPv6 RPC transports, and to store IPv6 addresses in the NIS, NIS+, and DNS naming services. 

Enhancements to sendmail 8.9.3

New options and utilities improve the storage and security functionality of sendmail.

Service Location Protocol (SLP)

SLP is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocol for discovering shared resources (such as printers, file servers, netcams, and so on) in an enterprise network. The Solaris 8 operating environment contains a full implementation of SLP that includes APIs that enable developers to write SLP-enabled applications, and provides system administrators a framework for ease of network extensibility. 

Solaris STREAMS Framework Enhancements

The STREAMS framework enhancements in the Solaris 8 operating environment provide more deterministic response times for real-time processes by ensuring that STREAMS processing uses a priority that does not conflict with the user process priority.  

Network Time Protocol

NTP provides precise time and network clock synchronization for use in distributed computing environments. The Solaris 8 release has been upgraded to include the 3-5.93e version. 

File System Enhancements

Feature Description 

Universal Disk Format (UDF) File System

The UDF file system, the industry-standard format for storing information on optical media technology, is supported in this Solaris release. You can use the UDF file system to exchange data on the following components when they contain a UDF file system: 

  • CD-ROMs

  • Disks and diskettes

  • Digital versatile disc or digital video disc (DVD) - DVD-ROM on supported platforms

NFS Server Logging

NFS server logging enables an NFS server to provide a record of file operations that are performed on its file systems. This feature is particularly useful for sites that make anonymous FTP archives available to NFS and WebNFSTM clients.

IA: Extended Memory (XMEM) Support

XMEM support provides a mechanism that enables a single 32-bit process to efficiently allocate and manage more than 4 Gbytes of physical memory. The XMEM feature is implemented as a file system (xmemfs) that system administrators can mount and use to reserve memory for applications.

WebNFS JavaBeans Component

The WebNFS JavaBeansTM component contains an XFileChooser class that extends the JFileChooser graphical component of the Java 2 API. This bean can be used by any Java 2 application that needs to display a file chooser to enable users to select a file for input (open) or output (save). By using XFileChooser, an application can access a file on a local disk or on an NFS server through the use of NFS URL naming.

Deferred Access Time Updates on UFS File Systems

Two new mount options, dfratime and nodfratime, enable and disable deferred access time updates on UFS file systems. When writing access time updates for the file system are enabled, they can be deferred until the disk is accessed for tasks other than updating access times.

Diagnostic and Availability Enhancements

Feature Description 

coreadm Command

The coreadm command provides flexible core file-naming conventions and better core file retention.

Examining Core Files with proc Tools

The proc tools are utilities that can manipulate features of the /proc file system. Some of the proc tools have been enhanced to examine process core files as well as live processes.

Improved Device Configuration (devfsadm)

The devfsadm command provides an improved mechanism for managing the special device files in the /dev and /devices directories, including support for dynamic reconfiguration events.

Improved System Error Messages

The system boot and error message format now provides a numeric identifier, module name, and timestamp to messages that are generated by the syslog(1M) logging facility. In addition, messages that were previously lost after a system panic and reboot are now saved.

Modular Debugger (mdb)

mdb is a new extensible utility for low-level debugging and editing of the live operating system, operating system crash dumps, user processes, user process core dumps, and object files.

Remote Console Messaging

This release includes the consadm command, which enables you to select a serial device as an auxiliary (or remote) console for troubleshooting remote system problems.

TCP/IP Internal Trace Support

TCP/IP now provides internal trace support by logging TCP communications when a connection is terminated by a reset (RST) packet. 

Performance and Scalability Enhancements

Feature Description 

IA: Added Support for Physical Address Extension (PAE) Mode

With the release of Pentium Pro, Intel introduced a mode called PAE on its advanced processors. By using PAE, Solaris Intel Platform Edition can address up to 32 Gbytes of physical memory.

New Application Debugging Tool: apptrace

A new application debugging tool, apptrace, enables application developers and system support personnel to debug application or system problems by providing call traces to Solaris shared libraries, which might show the series of events leading up to a point of failure.

SPARC: New System Monitoring Tool: busstat

A new system monitoring tool, busstat, provides access to bus-related performance counters on supported SPARC platforms. Viewing these performance counters with busstat enables you to measure hardware clock cycles and bus statistics including DMA and cache coherency transactions on a multiprocessor system.

Faster Boot for Servers

Large servers now require significantly less time to boot. 

New Alternative to poll() Interface

/dev/poll is a second form of polling for the completion of I/O events that provides much higher performance when a very large number of events must be polled for on file descriptors that remain open for a long time. This feature supplements but does not replace poll(2).

New Utility: prstat

The prstat utility iteratively examines all active processes on the system and reports various statistics, based on the selected output mode and sort order.

IA: Xeon Enhancements

To maximize performance, Solaris 8 Intel Platform Edition now supports the Page Attribute Table (PAT) feature of IA32-bit processors (Pentium II and Pentium III).

Security Enhancements

Feature Description 

Solaris Smartcards

The Solaris Smartcard feature implements the Open Card Framework (OCF) 1.1 standard. Security administrators can use this technology to protect a computer desktop or individual application by requiring users to authenticate themselves by means of a smart card. 

Default File System and Directory Permissions

Many system files and directories in the Solaris 8 release have different default ownership and stricter permissions than in previous releases. 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Traditional superuser-based systems grant full superuser powers to anyone who can become superuser. With RBAC, administrators can assign limited administrative capabilities to normal users. 

Centralized Administration of User Audit Events

The file, /etc/security/audit_user, which stores audit preselection classes for users and roles, is now supported in the name switch. You no longer need to set up the audit events for a user on each system to which the user has access.

Real-time Systems Enhancements

Feature Description 

High-Resolution Timers

The high-resolution timers (HRTs) bypass the traditional 10ms clock interface to expose the granularity of the physical clock interrupt from the hardware. Thus the HRT interface allows a real-time process to take control of one processor (of a multiprocessor system) and operate to any required degree of precision in timing events. 

User-Level Priority Inheritance

The real-time threads feature implements the POSIX interfaces (previously only dummied in) that let the high-priority thread "lend" its priority to the low-priority thread until it releases the lock. 

Common Desktop Environment (CDE) Enhancements

Feature Description 

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Support

The PDA Synchronization (PDASync) is a Java based application that enables users to easily synchronize their desktop calendar, mail, address book, and memos with their PDA. 

Hot Key Editor

The Hot Key Editor enables users to predefine a series of commands to a particular function key, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency. 

Java Media Framework (JMF)

The JMF, a Java based application, provides smooth streaming-video file-format support for MPEG1, MPEG2, Quicktime, and AVI, as well as audio support for MIDI. This feature maximizes real-time video creation and broadcast functionality. 

SPARC: PC Launcher 1.0

PC launcher 1.0 for SunPCi enables users to obtain seamless access and power to view, edit, and print many popular types of PC files or attachments instantly, by automatically launching the associated Windows application and file. 

Netscape Application Launcher

The Netscape Application Launcher enables users to easily access and automatically launch Netscape files and associated Netscape applications such as Composer. This feature eliminates the need to run the entire Netscape environment, simplifying access to Netscape applications. 

Print Client Enhancements

Print Client now enables users to easily configure their own set of printers and default printer without any intervention from an administrator. 

SDTImage Enhancements

The SDTImage screen snapshot feature now enables users to easily and quickly capture a screenshot image from the command line. 

Smart Card Support

CDE now supports authentication security technology for smart cards. Users can now use smart cards to authenticate their identity when they are logging in to CDE on a protected system, relogging in after a screen lock, or reauthenticating after the smart card is removed. CDE supports both external and internal smart card devices. 


ToolTips provides users with Balloon Help, a simple and short description of an icon function. 

X11R6.4 Support

The X Server is upgraded to the X11R6.4 industry standard, which includes key features that increase user productivity and mobility. These features are remote execution of X applications through web browser on any web-based desktop, Xinerama, Color Utilization Policy, EnergyStar support, and new APIs and documentation for the developer toolkits. 

Extended Control Panel

This feature provides a unified, consistent, and extensible launchpad for desktop customization, such as desktop controls for color, font, backdrop, and the Application Manager. 

Web Services

Feature Description 

Java Plug-In

Java Plug-In for the Solaris operating environment is an add-on product for Netscape NavigatorTM that enables Java applets and JavaBeans components to run on Web pages by using Java runtime environment (JRE) 1.2 instead of the default Java virtual machine (JVM).

Netscape Communicator 4.7

The Solaris 8 release includes Netscape Communicator 4.7 and now installs it by default on your system. 

Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (NCA)

The Solaris NCA increases web server performance by maintaining an in-kernel cache of web pages that are accessed during HTTP requests. 

Apache Web Server

The open source Apache web server is now released with Solaris. This server includes all the standard Apache modules, including proxy server support as well as the mod_perl module.


Feature Description 

Print Naming Enhancement

This Solaris release supports the printers database in /etc/nsswitch.conf, the name service switch file. The printers database provides centralized printer configuration information to print clients on the network.

Solaris Print Manager

Solaris Print Manager is a Java based graphical user interface that enables you to manage local and remote printer access. You can use this tool in the following name service environments: NIS, NIS+, and NIS+ with Federated Naming Service (FNS) files. 

Language Support

Feature Description 

Universal Language Coverage

The Solaris 8 operating environment now includes support for more than 90 locales, covering 37 languages on both the Solaris 8 Software CDs and the Solaris 8 Languages CD. 

Improved Language Installation and Setup

Changes to packaging on the language CD have reduced the storage requirements for a mixed language installation. A redesign of the install interface makes language selection and grouping extremely intuitive. 

Expanded Unicode Support

The Solaris 8 release continues to broaden support for Unicode with the addition of new Unicode (UTF-8) locales for Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. 

Customer-Extensible Codeset Conversion (geniconvtbl)

With the Solaris 8 operating environment, developers can easily create and add to the Solaris system their own user-defined codeset conversions by using the geniconvtbl utility. Modification to existing Solaris codeset conversions is also supported.

Improved Data Interoperability

Data interoperability with non-Solaris environments has been improved in the Solaris 8 release with the addition of the following new iconv data conversion utilities:

  • iconv for Japanese mainframe data types

  • iconv for Microsoft data encodings (including user-defined characters)

  • iconv for UTF-8 interoperability in the People's Republic of China and Korea

  • iconv for various Unicode encoding formats and international and de facto industry standard codesets

New Locales Added

Two new locales have been added to the Solaris 8 release for Iceland (ISO8859-15) and Russia (ANSI1251). The new Russian locale is in addition to the existing Russian (8859-5) locale and provides native Microsoft data-encoding support.


Feature Description 

AnswerBook2 Documentation Server Updates

The AnswerBook2 Documentation Server has been updated for this release. Major changes since the Solaris 7 release include replacing the AnswerBook2 navigation icons with text, support improvements for non-English locales, and minor changes to improve overall performance and stability. 

Reference Manual Reorganization

The section of the SunOS Reference Manual that describes the C library functions (but does not include the system calls) now contains six books instead of one. These books are:

  • Library Interfaces and Headers

  • Basic Library Functions

  • Networking Library Functions

  • Threads and Real-time Library Functions

  • Extended Library Functions

  • Curses Library Functions

In addition, many of the man page suffixes have been changed to reflect the library that contains the function. 

Audio Mixer

Feature Description 

SPARC: Audio Mixer

The audio mixer driver now enables multiple applications to simultaneously play and record audio. This new enhancement supersedes the previous capability, which only supported a single play application and a single record application. In addition, CDE 1.4 now includes a new GUI tool, sdtaudiocontrol, that supersedes audiocontrol. sdtaudiocontrol uses the features of the audio mixer, and provides more features.

Software Developer Environment

Feature Description 

SPARC: 64-bit Kodak Color Management System (KCMS) libraries

Kodak Color Management SystemTM (KCMSTM) is now providing a 64-bit version of the libraries. Applications that currently use KCMS and are converted to the 64-bit operating environment can now retain color management.

Always Ready Power Management

With the Solaris 8 operating environment, a device driver that uses the new device Power ManagementTM interfaces will be power-managed automatically.

New cpustat and cputrack Commands

The new cpustat and cputrack commands capture system-wide and per-process CPU statistics respectively, to monitor the performance of a system or a process.

Extensions to Runtime Link Auditing

Additional means of invoking runtime link-auditing libraries is provided by the link editor options -p and -P. Additional runtime link-auditing interfaces, la_activity() and la_objsearch(), have been added.

Practical Extraction and Report Language (Perl) 5

The popular programming language, Perl 5.005_03, is included in the Solaris 8 release. Perl is commonly used for CGI scripting as well as for automating complex system administration tasks. 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for Developers

The addition of RBAC to the Solaris operating environment gives developers the opportunity to deliver fine-grained security in new and modified applications. Developers can now create privileged functions that check for authorizations instead of checking for specific IDs such as superuser. 

Secure Path Name Change from /usr/lib to /usr/lib/secure

The secure directory from which files can be preloaded is now /usr/lib/secure for 32-bit objects and /usr/lib/secure/sparcv9 for 64-bit SPARCV9 objects.

Dynamic String Token Support

Greater flexibility in establishing instruction set-specific, and system-specific dependencies is provided with the new $ISALIST, $OSNAME, and $OSREL dynamic string tokens.

Function Update: strftime()

The %u conversion specification for the strftime() function has been changed.

Alternate Libthread

An alternate threads implementation provides a model in which user-level threads are associated one-to-one with lightweight processes (LWPs). This implementation is simpler than the standard implementation and might be beneficial to some multithreaded applications. 

SPARC: Audio Mixer Driver

The audio mixer driver now allows multiple applications to play and record audio simultaneously. 

Updated DDI Interfaces for Cluster-Aware Device Drivers

A documentation overview introduces the concept of device classes and the necessary interface modifications and additions for device driver writers. 

8-bit Visual Support

The 8-bit visual shared library enables device drivers with only 24-bit hardware to display 8-bit visual applications. 

Hardware Enhancements

Feature Description 

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI)

ACPI is a new, more flexible way to configure and control IA hardware. ACPI obsoletes Plug and Play BIOS and the Intel Multi-Processor Specification (MPSPEC). If ACPI is available on your IA based system, the Solaris 8 operating environment automatically uses it to configure the hardware. 

PCI Hot-Plug Support

This feature enables standard PCI adapters to be hot-plugged into a machine with the hot-plug capability that is running Solaris Intel Platform Edition. You can now add (hot-add) or remove (hot-remove) adapters from a system while the system is still running.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) Support for Keyboards and Mouse Devices

Solaris Intel Platform Edition now provides USB support for keyboards and mouse devices.

X Server Video Driver Enhancement

Solaris Intel Platform Edition now provides support for more video devices.

SCSI Drivers

Feature Description 

IA: Device Driver Enhancement: cadp

The Solaris cadp driver now supports Adaptec Ultra2 adapters.

IA: Device Driver Enhancement: ncrs

The Solaris ncrs device driver now supports the SCSI hot-plugging functionality and Ultra2 devices, in addition to general functionality and performance improvements.

IA: Device Driver Enhancement: symhisl

The symhisl device driver, which supports the adapters SYM22910 and SYM21002, is now included in Solaris Intel Platform Edition.