Managing services on the system (configuring, enabling and disabling) is carried out via the Solaris Service Facility or SMF. By default the graphical interface is not installed, but you can install it using Package Manager. Just search for smf. Once installed, an entry for it is created in the menu (System -> Administration -> SMF Services). For new users not familiar with OI, this makes managing system services a breeze. There are more than 200 services that can be enabled/disabled with this application.
Another graphical application that should make the system a lot more fun t use, especially for new users, is called Network Auto-Magic or NWAM. It is the OI counterpart of NetworkManager or WICD. It automates network interface configuration and management using a Service Discovery and Network Profiles component.
There is a graphical firewall application installed, but it is disabled out of the box. Once enabled, I found it just as easy to use as that of popular Linux distributions, with all the rule and policy enforcement features expected from such an application. The image below shows the Firewall Manager in the enabled state, with a few example rules configured.
Package Management: Managing applications or packages in OI is via the Image Packaging System or IPS, with pkg as the image packaging retrieval client (the command line client). IPS is coupled to ZFS, which gives it snapshotting, cloning, and rollback features. The integration with ZFS makes IPS a very capable package management system. While pkg, the command line client, is just as easy to use as apt, urpmi or pisi, Package Manager, the IPS graphical frontend, offers a more usr-friendly interface. And it is very fast. The main interface is shown below.
Like most Linux distributions, OI has an update manager that works. It appears to be configured to check for updates periodically, but I could not find where that setting could be modified, or even if it is modifiable. You can run Update Manager from System -> Administration -> Update Manager, or from the Package Manager’s menu (Package -> Updates). The system notifies you wit this window if there are no updates.
And this one, if there are available updates.
In IPS lingo, a Publisher is an entity responsible for publishing a package, and a repository is a location where a package or packages may be retrieved. Adding a publisher to OI (pointing the Package Manager to a new repository) is just as easy as it is on any Linux distribution. You can do it from the command line, but if you do not like that route, you can do it from the Add Publisher window of Package Manager (File -> Add Publisher). The image below shows how it is done. In this example, I was attempting to add a publisher for KDE packages. It worked on my first attempt, but a few days later, on another test installation, it would not.
Managing publishers is just as easy, if not easier, as adding them. The Manage Publishers window, which you access from the Package Manager’s menu (File -> Manage Publishers), is shown below. From its interface, you can add, remove or modify any modifiable property of a publisher. You can also enable, disable, or make a publisher sticky.
This video shows Package Manager in action. Soundtrack is from Hexen, a first-person shooter video game.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwTMXbwHow0[/youtube]