A multitasking, multiprocessing operating system from Sun that runs on SPARC and x86-based computers. In 2005, Sun made Solaris free and open source. Known for its robustness and scalability, Solaris provides an enterprise-wide Unix environment that can manage thousands of nodes from one central station. Solaris was briefly available for the PowerPC, but support was dropped as of Version 2.6.|
The Real Unix
Solaris is based on the Unix SVR4 operating system, which stems from the original version of Unix written by AT&T (see Unix history). As of Version 10 in 2005, the Java Desktop System (JDS) was added, which includes a GNOME-based desktop environment and StarOffice Suite (see Java Desktop System). Prior versions of Solaris used the CDE and OpenWindows desktops.
Linux and Windows Compatibility
Linux applications can run in a Solaris environment using the Lxrun utility. However, starting with Version 10, "Solaris Containers for Linux Applications" provides a virtualization platform for running Linux programs intact.
Sun's SunPCI cards are plug-in PCI cards for SPARC workstations that contain an AMD x86 processor. They enable Windows and Windows applications to run alongside and share files with Solaris applications.