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It is a common misconception that Solaris is an operating system. In fact, it is Sun’s name for their unix-based operating environment. Solaris including the SunOS 5.x operating system, a windowing system called OpenWindows, and a full range of utilities.

The Solaris 2.x operating system portion is based on SVR4.0 and was develop by AT&T with Sun, while the earlier version, Solaris 1.x was BSD based.Solaris can mainly be found running on servers and high end desktops. It is well known for its security and scalability.

Solaris version conversion chart:

  • Kernel = Product name
  • SunOS 4.x = Solaris 1.x
  • SunOS 5.5 = Solaris 2.5
  • SunOS 5.6 = Solaris 2.6
  • SunOS 5.7 = Solaris 7
  • SunOS 5.8 = Solaris 8
  • SunOS 5.9 = Solaris 9

Solaris had 64-bit processing capability years before Intel and AMD systems.

Sun offers free downloads of Solaris for single CPU systems for non-commercial usage on SPARC hardware supplied by Sun or one of its authorized dealers, and for x86 hardware. Sun also offers Solaris for commercial usage, Trusted Solaris and a multi-processor version for sale.

In a display of UNIX-compatability and Linux growth, Sun dumped its desktop environment CDE in favor of GNOME, a Free desktop environment running on various OSes, including Linux. This may be in an effort to make Solaris more viable for desktop users and Sun’s StarOffice office suite.


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