> Comparison with Similar Distributions

It may be worth considering some of the differences between Tribblix and the other members of the Solaris/illumos family. None of the following should be considered criticism - it is simply true that different distributions have made different choices.

There are a number of core similarities - all distributions in the family support ZFS, Zones, Dtrace, and SMF.

Solaris 10

In some ways, Tribblix is a much modernised descendant of Solaris 10. Like Solaris 10, Tribblix uses SVR4 packaging. However, there is no equivalent of Solaris patches - updates are supplied as complete replacement packages.

Zone support in Tribblix is also similar to Solaris 10, with sparse and whole root. Tribblix adds more flexible installation of whole root zones (partial root). Mind you, zone installation in Tribblix is far quicker than it ever was in Solaris 10. Unlike Solaris 10, however, packaging in the global zone doesn't know how to automatically manage and update packages in zones.

A key feature missing in Solaris 10 that is available in Tribblix and all the other distributions considered here is crossbow, or virtualized networking.

Solaris 11

Solaris 11 is entirely different to Tribblix. It uses IPS for packaging instead of SVR4, has no support for sparse root zones, and has dropped support for whole swathes of older hardware.


OpenIndiana is similar to Solaris 11, as both are direct descendants of the OpenSolaris distribution, using IPS for packaging instead of SVR4, and sharing much of the logic for building 3rd-party packages with Solaris.

Compared to Tribblix, OpenIndiana has chosen MATE rather than XFCE as the default desktop. In terms of secondary desktops, Tribblix has a wide choice, but OpenIndiana has very little - but probably has a more thoroughly integrated version of its default desktop than Tribblix does.

OpenIndiana has a pretty good Xorg stack and better graphics card support than Tribblix. (Tribblix is limited here because I really don't have access to any interesting graphics cards at all.)

It's often said that OpenIndiana uses a rolling release model, but that's not entirely true. OpenIndiana is continually updated, but can't roll a release at an arbitrary point. Tribblix only updates the illumos pieces when a release is made, but is a true rolling release in that a release can be made at an arbitrary point.


The primary focus of OmniOS is servers. Out of the box, there's simply no desktop support there at all. That's a deliberate feature. If you want a minimalist base to build your own stuff on top of (the KYSTY principle) then that's OmniOS - although you can take the minimal Tribblix install and use it exactly the same way.

Unlike OpenIndiana and Tribblix, OmniOS isn't built from vanilla illumos but their own variant, which has LX zones amongst other things. (The omnitribblix variant is based on the same source as OmniOS.) Aside from that, other features might show up in OmniOS before other distributions.

If you want LX zones on Tribblix, install and use the OmniTribblix variant.


SmartOS is special-purpose, aimed at being a pure hypervisor. If you wanted to build a private cloud, while other illumos distributions such as Tribblix will help you build one yourself, SmartOS along with Triton and Manta is designed to build it for you.

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