Originally Posted by mkdir
what for? (unless you have a sparc)
Solaris isn't just for SPARC and hasn't been for a long time. Sun actually promotes it's use on their own x86 servers. Now, it might be true that it scales better on SPARC systems, but it can and will run on x86. One of the main advantages of Solaris is the scalability (supposedly better than Linux) and thus it's applicability to multi CPU systems.
However, it has also supported x86 systems since Solaris 2.1 and the latest version, Solaris 10, includes support for 64-bit x86 applications, allowing Sun to capitalize on the availability of commodity 64-bit CPUs based on the x86-64 architecture. Sun has heavily marketed Solaris for use with both its own "x64" workstations and servers based on AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon processors, as well as x86 systems manufactured by companies such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.
I will agree with you in that it is not the best *nix platform (at least not yet) for the average workstation. However, developers might prefer it anyway since it integrates some of Sun's proprietary features that can't be obtained in any Linux platform (such as Dtrace). It's true, however, that BSD and Linux variants are implementing these features now that the code is free.
I just got it to install successfully in VirtualBox and got to test it out. The installation is slow. Interestingly, even though the desktop looks like Gnome, it isn't -- it is some desktop Sun created to appear like Gnome. Of course my sound didn't work out of the box, but this is common even with most of the "newb friendly" Linux distros I have tried. I also get some warning at boot up that I need to flash my BIOS for the latest "microcode patch." Not sure what this means, but my BIOS is one of the latest, if not the latest for my board.
Solaris isn't something that will replace the best Linux distro (PCLOS) that I use daily, but it will be fun to tinker with and watch in the future when it becomes more feature rich and stable. OpenSolaris has the potential to take over the *nix server market (even though Solaris was a force in that market already, but now it will compete with Red Hat more now since Solaris is now implementing some Linux features).