Installed and Available Applications: OI ships with the standard applications that you will find on most GNOME 2 desktops, but the list of available applications (in the default repository) is not very extensive. A few are woefully outdated. For example, Firefox, the installed browser, is at version 3.6.12. And that is the latest in the repository. For the record, the latest version of the popular Web browser is Firefox 7. To expand the range of applications available for installation, you will have to add another Publisher. The most reliable, are Spec Files Extra or SFE, and SFE-encumbered. The later gives you access to non-free applications and libraries, like libdvdcss, which enables installed video players to play encrypted videos.
Repositories for KDE 4.5.3, 4.6.0, and 4.7.0 may be added here. It worked on my first attempt, but subsequent attempts return a 404 or 503 error codes. If yo try it and it works for you, let us know.
Final Thoughts: If you have never used a Solaris-derived distribution, I think the foregoing should have given you an idea of what to expect from one. Note that the information presented here does not cover all the enterprise-grade features that come with the system, because you will most likely not need some of those features on a desktop system. At least the average user will not. The most compelling reason to want to use OI is ZFS, the file system that we would love to see in the Linux kernel, but which, for licensing reasons, will not find its way in.
If you are trying to build a server system, the server edition of OI is one you might want to consider using. It is on my radar.
Resources: CD and USB ISO images for both the desktop and server editions are available for download here. For other information not provided in this review, you may read the Release Notes. The project does not have an active forum, but there are mailing lists that you may subscribe to. Feel free to post a comment here or use Questions and Answers to post more involved questions.
Screenshots: More screenshots from test installations of OpenIndiana 151a.
The login screen. Just like any other.
Screenshot of Nautilus from a test installation that has Time Slider enabled for three days. I took this screenshot just a few minutes before publishing this article.