In regard to: [OpenIndiana-discuss] newbie questions, Lev said (at 10:51pm...:

Ok, New (not even a) user here, please be gentle.

So I'm considering installing oi as my primary OS. Before I do I have a few

1. Is the whole system is package based? Like Linux, unlike FreeBSD.

Yes.  OI uses the "Image Package System", aka IPS, as its packaging
format.  IPS is what Oracle Solaris 11 and later use, and there's an
"IPS cheat sheet" available from Oracle that gives some examples of how
to do certain things.  The 'pkg' command works sort of like yum, in
that it can fetch and install packages from remote repositories.

I think that OI also still supports packages in the older SVR4 package

I have a very long history with RPM and I find a lot of things about
IPS/pkg somewhat alien, but the fact that IPS integrates with boot
environments is extremely handy.

2. Is it recommended for desktop OS, or are you focusing on server

My feeling is the majority of OI users use it for servers.  I however use OI
as my desktop environment at my work, and it's served me well for several
years now.  I switched to the /hipster branch several months ago, and
that's getting much more attention than the old -dev branch of OI.

/hipster recently got packages for the MATE desktop environment, and that
will likely be the default in the not too distant future.  MATE has been
very well received by the community.

3. Is there any way to install the OS without ZFS?

I'm not certain.  I guess I don't understand what would prompt one to do
that.  ZFS definitely has a learning curve, but it's years ahead of the
nearest competitor.  ZFS is one of the "killer features" that
differentiates Illumos-derived (and Oracle Solaris) systems from other

4. Is ext4 is supported? Recommended for root, home?

Not that I'm aware of.

5. Is it recommended to install the OS on old HW? I have this currently
running Debian Linux:

There is a hardware compatibility guide in the OI wiki.  Check that out.

Your old hardware won't have USB3 so the current lack of support for USB3
in all Illumos-derived systems, including OI, won't be a factor for you
right now.  Work has started by an Illumos developer to add USB3 support.

6. Is there any web interface for packages, so I can check if there's any
package that I'll miss, and have to compile by myself.

There's a web interface to the various OI repositories, including

If you're just starting with OI, you should really start with the /hipster
branch, so check out the hipster and hipster-encumbered repositories.

7. I also have a server, currently running FreeBSD. It hosts a git server,
lighttpd based web server, NFS server, and acts as border GW doing NAT. Can I
use oi for these?

OI should be able to accomplish all of these tasks for you.  Git &
lighttpd should be very easy to get going.  NFS has always been available,
and OI supports through at least NFS version 4, though I'm not certain
about 4.1 or 4.2.

Having OI act as a border GW doing NAT also shouldn't be an issue, though
the commands and the software used to do it on OI might be quite different
than on FreeBSD.

Tim Mooney                                   
Enterprise Computing & Infrastructure                  701-231-1076 (Voice)
Room 242-J6, Quentin Burdick Building                  701-231-8541 (Fax)
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105-5164

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