SUMMARY: How compatible is Solaris 2.x?

From: David Lawrence Oppenheimer (davido@flagstaff.Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri May 27 1994 - 07:59:27 CDT

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question about compatibility between
Solaris 2.x and Solaris 1.x (SunOS 4.1.x). I here post a digest of responses

My question was:

I am trying to decide between installing Solaris 2.3 or Solaris 1.1.1B on a new
Sun SS5. My question is, how compatible is the binary compatibility mode of
Solaris 2.3? I have access to a lot of GNU software that my University has
installed, but I didn't know whether these would have to be recompiled before I
could use them if I chose Solaris 2.3.

And the responses were:

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Date: Wed, 18 May 1994 08:17:16 -0500
From: (tim)
To: davido@phoenix
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?
In-Reply-To: <>
Organization: University of Minnesota CIS

It seems good. The only program I've found that won't work under
compatibility is kermit. It complained that opening the device would
block, and quit. You probably wouldn't want to use a compiler, even
if it worked.


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Date: Wed, 18 May 94 11:39:52 -0400
From: Steve Bellenot <>
To: davido@phoenix
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?
In-Reply-To: <>
Organization: Mathematics Department, Florida State University

Some of the gnu software (not gcc, but emacs and the utilities) is
available in solaris `package' format.

binary compatability is much better in 2.3 but not prefect. Solaris
is stricter on standards, and sloppy code that SunOS accepts can
fail in solaris. Socket code seems to be one area where this can

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Date: Wed, 18 May 1994 20:02:28 +0100
To: davido@phoenix (David Lawrence Oppenheimer)
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?


I wouldn't rely on GNU stuff working - better to recompile. You may have read
about the ftp site ( or something) which has pre-compiled
packages - grab these!


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Date: Wed, 18 May 1994 12:11:33 -0700
To: davido@phoenix (David Lawrence Oppenheimer)
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?

You should recompile them. espcially things like gcc, of course.
Almost all of them will recompile without problems.
Any that you might have problems with, you can probably run in
compatibility mode.

Note: one slightly annoying thing I found out..
You cannot take .o files from 4.1.3 and link under Solaris 2.3
All .o files have to be generated on 2.3

----- Forwarded Message Follows -----

From: (tim)
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?
To: davido@phoenix (David Lawrence Oppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 08:25:39 +0000 (BST)
In-Reply-To: <9405181319.AA13819@flagstaff.Princeton.EDU> from "David Lawrence
Oppenheimer" at May 18, 94 09:19:49 am

The biggest problem I see with using a compiler built for 4.x is that
it'll still generate code for 4.x -- so you'll have to run all the
binaries you build with it with the compatibility option also. I
don't know what compiler, or software, you want to use but most should
be available for 2.3 also. You can get pre-built versions of gcc for
2.3, at least. With a pre-built gcc it only took me about a day to
build most of the GNU utilities, plus several other packages.

If you don't have any particular reason to use 2.3 I don't see why you
should do it, though. So far I've not been terribly impressed with
it. It's not bad, but I like 4.x better. They've changed the devices
to autoconfigure, and now everything in /dev is a symlink to some
ridiculously named device, like:
/dev/rmt/0 (yes, it is a /0)
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 85 May 6 20:10 /dev/rmt/0 ->

The main reason we've decided to change is that sunos 4 seems to be a
dead product -- no more development, and commercial software companies
seem to be working towards supporting solaris 2 more than sunos 4. If
there were a good database available for BSD 4.4 (like Sybase or
Oracle), we'd probably be using that.


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Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 17:54:16 +0500
From: cactus@Clinton.Com (L. Todd Masco)
To: davido@phoenix
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?
In-Reply-To: <>
Organization: Clinton Group, Inc.

My experience is that the BCM in Solaris 2.3 is excellent. I've only seen
 three kinds of packages where the binaries wouldn't run straight off:
  1) Anything using kernal data structures through /dev/kmem (of course)
        (Rare, but a recompile will generally fix it)
  2) Anything using the "create shell window" call in XView (very uncommon:
        the only one I know of is an internal application here).
  3) Lotus 1-2-3. (Solution: Use the better Window Lotus, under Wabi)

All in all, I'd say go with Solaris 2.3. It has its problems, but there
 are a lot of very nice features. (Beware: the administration GUI stuff
 has some very serious bugs. Be careful, and try to use command-line
 stuff until at least 2.4.) Wabi is definitely nice, though it's far
 less good than the BCM.

Be sure to get olvwm off of the Catalyst CD.

By the way - if you're buying this for yourself, you'll certainly want a
 CD-ROM player. I don't know whether that's part of the package you're
looking at, but you have simply got to have Answerbook available to you.
 And get a copy of SunSolve, too, even if it's somebody's old one.

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Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 07:42:08 +0800
From: (Ian Searle)
To: davido@phoenix (David Lawrence Oppenheimer)
Subject: Re: How compatible is Solaris 2.3?

We are running SunOS5.3 (Solaris 2.3) on Sparc-10s. We also have some
Sparc 1+ running SunOS4.1.2, and so far the binary compatibility works
fine. We have tried it out on non trivial programs too, like ANSYS,
and Nike/Dyna (Finite Element codes with graphics), GNU Emacs, Xfig,
RLaB, and some others. Also GNU stuff seems to be fairly easy to build
on SunOS5.3.

Ian Searle

Thanks to everyone for their responses!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- | David L. Oppenheimer | Princeton University: Student, | | | Department of Electrical Engineering | |------------------------------------------------------------------------- | These views are mine and are not necessarily anoyne else's | | GE/GCS -d+ p+ c++ !l u++ e+ m s/+ n+(!n) h++ f* g+ w+ t+ r-- y? | --------------------------------------------------------------------------

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