Brian Cain told me to get my ass in gear and try out a Nexenta (I'm elaborating on his words a little) and I'm glad he did. I've installed it on my desktop machine on a second hard drive, and I have to say I'm impressed so far. Debian plus Solaris…damn, girl. Damn.

Everything is a .deb package, including all the SUNW stuff, and there appear to be a ton more packages available. Mutt and Emacs are there, as is procmail and fetchmail; I may see if I can get a package going for icewm, which'd be just about all I need. (Of course, ratpoison's already available…) (Update: someone's already working on it; haven't made it to the end of the thread yet, but it may already be done.) There was a lot of Gnome stuff installed that I don't want, but that's okay; Nexenta's deliberately emulating/duplicating Ubuntu, and anyway the install disk (which comes with Tetris, btw) has a minimal option which I suspect'd be right up my alley (for server or desktop).

I'm in the process of creating a zone right now, into which'll go Apache2 and MySQL. I did trip over these bugs in the process, but apt-get dist-upgrade fixed the first and some judicious editing of /usr/lib/nexenta-zones/elatte-unstable.bootstrap fixed the second (I'm guessing they haven't made a new package since the fix). (Update: My own damn fault for not noticing that the new version was in unstable, not testing. I'm upgrading now.) /export/home was set up with ZFS, and I've made a snapshot already. The GRUB menu entry was not correct — it pointed at the primary IDE drive (hd0) instead of the second (hd1) — but again, that was easily fixed. I should file a bug on that.

I still have some questions. I'd like to know (and will try to watch to find out) how often they update their packages, especially security fixes. I'm curious to see how closely they follow development…though since I only have a hazy idea how do it, I'm not really sure what to look for. And of course, this is an unstable distro; I might want to hold off on replacing the server with it.

But for desktop use and/or experimentation, this is neat stuff. I can always get my mail on my firewall if need be. :-)