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Transitioning From Oracle® Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11.3

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Updated: December 2018

Oracle Solaris 11 Desktop Features

The default desktop environment in this release is the Oracle Solaris Desktop, which includes GNOME 2.30 from the GNOME Foundation. Also included is the Firefox Web browser, Thunderbird email client, and the Lightning calendar manager from the Mozilla Foundation.

Note -  If you use the text installation method, the Oracle Solaris Desktop package (solaris-desktop) is not installed on your system by default. Also, the solaris-desktop package cannot be applied directly to a running system. See Installing the Oracle Solaris Desktop Software Package After an Installation.

    Other supported desktop features include the following:

  • Accessibility feature enhancements

  • Bluefish HTML editor

  • Compiz OpenGL based window manager

  • D-Bus IPC Framework

  • Evince PDF viewer

  • GIMP image editing program

  • GNOME Python bindings

  • Gobby text editing collaboration tool

  • Multimedia support enhancements

  • Planner and openproj project management tools

  • Trusted Extensions integration

  • xchat IRC client

  • Xserver features that augment the desktop, such as virtual terminal (VT) switching

Key Desktop Features

    The following are key desktop features in this release:

  • Accessibility enhancements – Users with disabilities can use a wide range of accessibility features, including Orca, espeak, and brltty. These features replace gnopernicus and provide better text-to-speech support. The Dasher on-screen keyboard also has been added in this release. For more information, see Oracle Solaris 11 Desktop Accessibility Guide.

    Note that the GNOME On-screen Keyboard (GOK) program that is used in Oracle Solaris 10 is no longer available. Use the Dasher application as a replacement for some users.

  • Command Assistant – Locates command-line information in Oracle Solaris managed content, for example books and man pages. To add Command Assistant to the desktop panel, use the Add to Panel → Command Assistant dialog box. If necessary, install the package as follows:

    # pkg install cmdassist
  • Graphical login manager – Oracle Solaris 10 uses the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) and dtlogin as the default login GUI. The GNOME graphical desktop manager (GDM) is also available in Oracle Solaris 10. In this release, GDM is the only graphical login option.

    The GDM configuration process has also changed considerably. To learn more, consult the gdm and console-kit-daemon man pages. ConsoleKit configuration features are used to manage multi-seat environments in this release. To troubleshoot transition issues, see GNOME Desktop Manager Issues.

  • Multimedia support:

    • Brasero CD/DVD burner – You can use the Brasero CD/DVD burner to create a data disc project, drag and drop files in place, and then burn them.

    • FreeDesktop GStreamer – The FreeDesktop GStreamer module is a desktop tool that provides multimedia support. GStreamer uses a plug-in infrastructure that enables the use of additional media formats.

    • gksu – Is the graphical version of the sudo command. When launched, the tool displays a prompt that enables you to type an additional password to run an administrative tool.

    • Multimedia formats – The FLAC, Speex, Ogg Vorbis, and Theora media formats are supported through the use of GStreamer plugins. Oracle Solaris 11 provides GStreamer 0.10, while Oracle Solaris 10 uses GStreamer 0.8.

    • Open Sound System – The Open Sound System (OSS) framework manages audio devices and provides better audio support. Some audio devices that were previously supported are no longer supported. Programs that use the Sun Audio Device Architecture (SADA) interfaces continue to be supported. If your audio device is not working properly, you can launch a dialog box from the desktop that enables you to choose which audio device and GStreamer audio input/output plugins to use:

      $ /usr/bin/gstreamer-properties

      This program also includes a Test button that enables you to determine whether your audio settings are correct. Note that some audio cards present themselves as having more than one device, for example, one for analog audio and one for digital audio. If you are currently using RealPlayer, you will need to transition to the multimedia tools that are currently supported.

    • PulseAudio sound server – The PulseAudio sound server supports improved audio mixing. The /usr/bin/gnome-volume-control Device combo-box displays additional PulseAudio devices. For desktop and notebook PC use, the "OSS" device choice should work best. To determine the best setting for your audio hardware, some initial trial-and-error might be required. If you continue to experience audio problems, run the following command to verify that the correct default Input/Output audio plug-ins are selected:

      $ /usr/bin/gstreamer-properties

      PulseAudio additionally provides CLI configuration capabilities: $HOME/.pulse, and $HOME/.pulse-cookie. See pulseaudio (1) for details. On systems with a working audio card, you will notice that the /usr/bin/pulseaudio process is running for GNOME sessions. Go to https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/PulseAudio/.

    • Other media tools – Rhythmbox media player, Cheese photo/video tool, the Ekiga video conference tool are also included in this release.

  • Network administration GUI – You use the network administration GUI (formerly NWAM) to manage network connections from the desktop. See Administering Network Configuration From the Desktop in Configuring and Managing Network Components in Oracle Solaris 11.3.

  • Print management – Starting with Oracle Solaris 11, CUPS is the default print service, replacing the LP print service that is used in Oracle Solaris 10. Solaris Print Manager is also no longer available in the desktop. CUPS has a print manager that you can start from the desktop by choosing System → Administration → Print Manager. See Configuring and Managing Printing in Oracle Solaris 11.3.

  • Removable media – Oracle Solaris 11 includes various removable media enhancements, including support for hot-pluggable device discovery, content recognition, usability, security, and performance across all layers of the software stack, from device drivers to the GUI. You can use the Eject button on a CD/DVD drive's front panel to eject a disc, even if it is mounted. The Nautilus file manager automatically registers when external hard drives or flash cards are inserted.

    The functions of the vold daemon and the volcheck command are performed by the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) through the rmvolmgr and gvfs-hal-volume-monitor commands, which are HAL-aware. See rmvolmgr(1M).

  • Seahorse – GnuPG is supported in this release. The Seahorse application manages encryption keys and passwords in the gnome-keyring. Seahorse also replaces the gnome-keyring-manager for managing SSH and GnuPG keys.

  • Trusted Extensions (GNOME) desktop – In this release, the Trusted Extensions feature of Oracle Solaris is supported only in the Oracle Solaris Desktop (GNOME 2.30). In Oracle Solaris 10, this feature is supported in both CDE and the GNOME Desktop. In Solaris 8, this support is limited to CDE.

    This version of the Trusted Extensions desktop includes significant changes that improve usability, robustness, and functionality, which also includes zones and rights profile improvements. For example, the txzonemgr GUI has significantly improved. You can use this tool to manage most aspects of Trusted Extensions. If you are currently using Trusted CDE, you will need to migrate to the a currently supported version of the product.

  • Time Slider – Manages ZFS snapshots. Use the tool to regularly back up data by taking timed ZFS snapshots.

  • Virtual console terminals– You can switch between an X session and a virtual console terminal. This service is enabled by default. To switch between sessions, use the Alt + Ctrl + F# hotkey combination. For example, to switch to vt2, press Alt + Ctrl + F2. Also, you can create graphical VT sessions and then switch between those sessions by using the User Switcher panel applet. To add the applet to the desktop, right click the panel, then select the Add to Panel... option. To switch to a new or different graphical login session, click the applet, then select Switch User.

  • Web browser and email – Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird email client are the supported applications.

Desktop Features That Have Been Removed

    The following desktop features have been replaced or removed. Note that some removed features were introduced later than Oracle Solaris 10:

  • Adobe Flash Player – This feature was present in Oracle Solaris 11 11/11, but removed in Oracle Solaris 11.1. You can download older versions from Adobe's web site, but Adobe no longer produces or supports Flash for Oracle Solaris.

  • Common Desktop Environment (CDE) – CDE is replaced by the Oracle Solaris Desktop (GNOME 2.30).

  • ESounD – Migrate to the GStreamer programs, such as gst-launch.

  • gnome-keyring-manager – Seahorse replaces this feature.

  • GNOME On-screen Keyboard (GOK) program – You can use the Dasher application as a replacement in some instances.

  • GNOME System tools (Introduced in a previous Oracle Solaris 11 release):

    • network-admin – NWAM replaces this feature. This tool is now called the Network Administration GUI.

    • shares-admin – Use the /usr/bin/vp sharemgr command.

    • time-admin – Use the /usr/bin/vp time command.

    • users-admin (GNOME Users and Groups tool) – No replacement is currently available. See Commands and Tools for Managing User Accounts.

      The GNOME System tools are not available in Oracle Solaris 10.

  • Solaris Management Console – This tool and its equivalent command-line are no longer available. The User Manager GUI replaces this tool, starting with Oracle Solaris 11.1. See Commands and Tools for Managing User Accounts.

  • Solaris Print Manager – This tool is replaced by CUPS Print Manager. See Printer Configuration and Management Changes.

  • Xsun family of servers – The Xorg family of servers is still supported. See Xorg Family of Servers.