What’s New in Solaris Express 4/05 (Nevada Build 10)

Solaris Express 4/05 arrived today, based on Nevada build 10. Don’t forget to review the Release Notes before installing. Build 11, which
was the intended target had some problems with it. So,
we’re going with Build 10, instead, and so the set of changes is a bit smaller
than usual. No large new features were integrated in build 10, but there is
a lot of incremental improvement, and about 200 bug fixes. Assuming things go
according to plan, in May, the Solaris Express release will be based on either
build 12 or 13.

Notable New Features in Solaris “Nevada”, Build 10 (04/2005)

Desktop

  • The X.org X server is updated to 6.8.2 final release.
  • Annoying mozilla bug (the “5.10.1” bug) fixed.

Performance

  • Single-threaded standard I/O performance gets a boost; we pick
    up about 25% on printf(3c) compared to Solaris 10, and about 2x
    on putchar(3c). This fixes a regression against Solaris 9.

  • Sherry contributed some sophisticated work to reduce cache pollution
    on Opteron systems by employing non-temporal access (i.e. accesses
    which do not dirty or displace lines in the L2 cache). Before this
    change, read(2) and write(2) typically involve loading from a
    source buffer and writing to the target buffer. Both would result
    in having lines installed in cache. It turns out that very often
    we don’t access the data being written immediately, which means that
    to facilitate the copy, we end up replacing cachelines that we do
    need. One of the keys was working out which cases benefit from
    non-temporal access, and which cases are harmed by it.

Developer Support

  • Not-exactly-in-Solaris-10 but very worthy of your attention:
    For Java developers,
    a JVMTI/JVMPI provider for DTrace
    — you can instrument
    method entry/exit, object allocation/free, garbage collection, etc.
    and blend it all in with the rest of your DTrace probes! See
    Adam’s
    and Bryan’s
    articles about this.

Networking

  • TCP keepalive probing period is now tunable via an ndd parameter,
    tcp_keepalive_interval. And via a socket option,
    TCP_KEEPALIVE_THRESHOLD. See tcp(7P).

  • The S2IO 10-gigabit driver (xge) has been updated; the company is now
    called Neterion. The update improves
    performance, and adds some feature enhancements, including
    Jumbo-frame support.

Other

  • SunVTS updated from 6.0 to 6.1
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