A multitasking, multiprocessing operating system from Sun that runs on SPARC and x86-based computers. In 2005, Sun made Solaris free and open source. Known for its robustness and scalability, Solaris provides an enterprise-wide Unix environment that can manage thousands of nodes from one central station. Solaris was briefly available for the PowerPC, but support was dropped as of Version 2.6.
The Real Unix
Solaris is based on the Unix SVR4 operating system, which stems from the original version of Unix written by AT&T (see Unix history
). As of Version 10 in 2005, the Java Desktop System (JDS) was added, which includes a GNOME-based desktop environment and StarOffice Suite (see Java Desktop System
). Prior versions of Solaris used the CDE and OpenWindows desktops.
Linux and Windows Compatibility
Linux applications can run in a Solaris environment using the Lxrun utility. However, starting with Version 10, "Solaris Containers for Linux Applications" provides a virtualization platform for running Linux programs intact.
Sun's SunPCI cards are plug-in PCI cards for SPARC workstations that contain an AMD x86 processor. They enable Windows and Windows applications to run alongside and share files with Solaris applications.