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Solaris Express Developer Edition What's New
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New Features in Solaris Express 6/05

This section describes all features that are new or have been enhanced in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

x86: GRUB-Based Booting

This system performance enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

The Solaris OS is now loaded with the open source GRand Unified Bootloader (GRUB). GRUB is responsible for loading a boot archive, which contains the kernel modules and configuration files, into the system's memory. The Solaris kernel boots based on the contents of the in-memory boot archive.

Because the Solaris kernel is fully compliant with the Multiboot Specification, you can boot the Solaris OS on an x86 based system by using GRUB. With GRUB, you can more easily boot the various operating systems that are installed on your system. For example, on one x86 system, you could boot the following operating systems:

  • Solaris OS

  • Linux

  • Microsoft Windows

A key benefit of GRUB is that it is intuitive about file systems and kernel executable formats. This feature enables you to load an operating system without recording the physical position of the kernel on the disk. With GRUB-based booting, the kernel is loaded by specifying its file name, the drive, and the partition where the kernel resides.

One notable change is the replacement of the Device Configuration Assistant (DCA) with the GRUB menu. When an x86 based system boots, the GRUB menu is displayed. From this menu, you can select an OS instance by using the up-arrow and down-arrow keys. If you do not make a selection, the default OS instance is booted.

The GRUB-based boot feature provides the following improvements:

  • Faster boot times on x86 based systems

  • Installation from USB CD or DVD drives

  • Ability to boot from USB storage devices

  • Simplified DHCP setup for PXE boot with no vendor-specific options

  • Elimination of all realmode drivers

In addition, the following two administrative commands have been added to assist with managing system bootability:


This command rebuilds the boot archive.


This command installs GRUB boot blocks.

Note - As a part of this functionality, x86 based systems must have a minimum of 256 Mbytes of RAM to boot and install the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

For more information about these enhancements, see System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems and System Administration Guide: Basic Administration. See also the bootadm(1M), grub(5), and installgrub(1M) man pages.

See the following resources for additional installation information:

Large Pages Enhancement

This system performance enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

This feature brings the benefits of large pages to a broader range of applications without requiring application tuning or system tuning. This enhancement applies large pages automatically for anonymous memory that is based on segment sizes.

Large Pages for Kernel Memory

This system performance enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

For 64-bit platforms, this feature supports mapping of the portion of the kernel heap with large pages. This feature increases performance of the system by reducing the number of Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB) misses and the number of map operations or unmap operations.

Kernel Page Relocation

This system performance enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

In this release, system performance has been enhanced on the Sun Fire 15K, Sun Fire 20K, and Sun Fire 25K domains.

Enhancements for bge and xge Network Interfaces

This networking enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

The Solaris OS now contains features that extend the configuration possibilities for the bge and xge network interfaces. System administrators can now group these interfaces into LACP-capable link aggregations. These aggregations can support large-scale high availability or database implementations. In addition, you can configure xge and bge interfaces into virtual local area networks (VLANs) to extend network capability.

The new dladm command has been added for configuring and administering bge and xge interfaces. For further information, refer to the dladm(1M) man page.

Source-Filtered Multicasting

This networking enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

Enhancements have been made to the Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) protocol, for IPv6, and the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP), for IPv4. The Solaris implementation of these protocols has been enhanced to support MLDv2 and IGMPv3. These extensions provide support for source address filtering on multicast traffic. Also included is support for IETF-specified socket extensions. This support enables applications to take advantage of source-filtered multicasting.

For further information, see the Programming Interfaces Guide and the System Administration Guide: IP Services.

Automatic Renewal of Kerberos Credentials

This security enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

A new option has been added to the /etc/warn.conf file. This option enables the ktkt_warnd daemon to automatically renew credentials for users who are logged in. If the renew option is set, the users no longer need to run the kinit -R command in order to renew their credentials. In addition, options have been added to the /etc/warn.conf file that enable you to log the result when a renewal attempt is made.

See the warn.conf(4) man page for more information.

Enhancement to ikecert certlocal Command

This security enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

The ikecert certlocal command now has options to set the validity period for certificate requests and for self-signed certificates. For more information, see the ikecert(1M) man page.

Enhanced Output With the metaimport Command

This system administration enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

The Solaris Volume Manager metaimport -r command has been enhanced. The command shows the creation time for a disk set. The command also provides an advisory message when a disk is found in more than one disk set. These changes assist system administrators in determining which disk set to import.

For more information, see the Solaris Volume Manager Administration Guide.

Support for SCSI Disks Larger Than 2 Terabytes

This system administration enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

SCSI, Fibre Channel, and iSCSI disks that are larger than 2 terabytes are now supported on 64–bit platforms. The format utility can be used to label, configure, and partition these larger disks.

For more information, see the System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

Advanced DDI Interrupts

This developer tool enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

The Solaris OS now provides a new DDI Interrupt framework for registering interrupts and deregistering interrupts. Support for Message Signalled Interrupts (MSIs) is also provided. New management interfaces enable you to manipulate priorities and capabilities, to interrupt masking, and to obtain pending information.

The framework includes the following new interfaces:

  • ddi_intr_add_handler

  • ddi_intr_add_softint

  • ddi_intr_alloc

  • ddi_intr_block_disable

  • ddi_intr_block_enable

  • ddi_intr_clr_mask

  • ddi_intr_disable

  • ddi_intr_dup_handler

  • ddi_intr_enable

  • ddi_intr_free

  • ddi_intr_get_cap

  • ddi_intr_get_hilevel_pri

  • ddi_intr_get_navail

  • ddi_intr_get_nintrs

  • ddi_intr_get_pending

  • ddi_intr_get_pri

  • ddi_intr_get_softint_pri

  • ddi_intr_get_supported_types

  • ddi_intr_remove_handler

  • ddi_intr_remove_softint

  • ddi_intr_set_cap

  • ddi_intr_set_mask

  • ddi_intr_set_pri

  • ddi_intr_set_softint_pri

  • ddi_intr_trigger_softint

Note - To take advantage of the features of the new framework, developers need to use the new interfaces. Avoid using the following interfaces, which are retained for compatibility only:

  • ddi_add_intr

  • ddi_add_softintr

  • ddi_dev_nintrs

  • ddi_get_iblock_cookie

  • ddi_get_soft_iblock_cooki

  • ddi_iblock_cookie

  • ddi_idevice_cookie

  • ddi_intr_hilevel

  • ddi_remove_intr

  • ddi_remove_softintr

  • ddi_trigger_softintr

For more information, see “Interrupt Handlers” in the Writing Device Drivers manual. See also the individual man pages for the new interfaces. All man pages for these interfaces are in the 9F man page section.

Door Interface Revisions

This developer tool enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

Two new functions, door_setparam and door_getparam, have been added to the doors interfaces. These functions enable door servers to set boundaries on the data size and on the number of descriptors that are passed to door_call on the door. These enhancements simplify the door's handler function.

The door_create interface has a new flag, DOOR_NO_CANCEL. This flag disables the cancellation process of the server thread when the client aborts a door_call function due to a signal. For door servers which do not take advantage of cancellation, this change can prevent unwanted EINTR returns from interrupted system calls.

For more information, see the door_setparam(3C) and door_create(3C) man pages.

Memory Placement Optimization Hierarchical Lgroup Support

This performance enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

Hierarchical Lgroup Support (HLS) improves the Memory Placement Optimization (MPO) feature in the Solaris OS. HLS enables the Solaris OS to optimize performance for machines that have more than local memory and remote memory latencies. Machines with four or more Opteron CPUs might have local memory, remote memory, and further remote memory. On such machines, HLS enables the Solaris OS to distinguish between the degrees of remoteness. HLS enables the Solaris OS to allocate resources with the lowest possible latency for applications. The Solaris OS allocates local resources for a given application. And, if local resources are not available by default, the Solaris OS allocates the nearest remote resources.

The Programming Interfaces Guide explains the abstraction that is used by the Solaris OS to identify which resources are near each other for optimizing localization. The guide also describes the API that can be used for the locality group (lgroup) abstraction. For more information, see liblgrp(3LIB).

Support for Virtual USB Keyboard and Mouse Devices

This desktop enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

This feature enables the Solaris OS to support multiple keyboards and mouse devices simultaneously. The virtualkm feature also provides an auto-switch function that enables users to obtain separate input for keyboards and for mouse devices. All these enhancements are compatible with existing applications.

This feature is particularly useful for the following users:

  • Users of systems with KVMS support

  • Laptop users who connect an extra mouse

  • Users with special keypads or other devices that are declared as keyboards or mouse devices

For more information, see virtualkm(7D).

X Client Support for XFree86 Extensions

These X11 windowing enhancements are new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

These enhancements take advantage of X server extensions that were originally developed by the XFree86 Project. These enhancements are now incorporated into the Xorg X server.

The new programs available include the following:


Alters a monitor's gamma correction through XF86VidMode extension


Resizes or rotates the screen through the RandR extension


Provides video mode tuner for Xorg through XF86VidMode extension


Prints X Video extension adapter information

Advanced users can use these applications to tune the settings of the Xorg server at runtime. This process provides more information about the capabilities of the current system hardware.

Note - These programs require support for the XFree86 extensions. As such, these programs do not currently work with the Xsun X server. These programs do not work with other X servers that lack this support.

For more information, see the man pages for each application. Add /usr/X11/man to your $MANPATH, if needed, to view the man pages.

NVIDIA CK8-04 GE Driver Support

This driver support is new in the Solaris Express 6/05 release.

This release provides driver support for NVIDIA's gigabit Ethernet on the x86 platform. This features supports NVIDIA's Nfore4 chipset, CK8-04.

For further information, see the nge(7D) man page.

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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire