os2008.05#4: keys, packages, paths & plugs

Recieved an encrypted e-mail today, just to figure out that, in course of installing / configuring Thunderbird on OpenSolaris, so far I missed installing any kind of tooling to handle these friends…

Usually, whenever running Thunderbird, I make use of enigmail right for that purpose, which brings up two interesting questions:

(a) Get an enigmail version suitable for Thunderbird on OpenSolaris/x86. Kinda easy, reading through this, getting it here or here. installed, fine. One thing I noticed in that process is that, for whichever reason, when restarting Thunderbird after an addon being installed, it always restarts using the default (English) locale whereas, by manually stopping and starting it, it does come up with the “right” language (Germany being my default).

(b) Enigmail, nice as it is, is just a frontend relying upon the GnuPG application to do the actual signing / encryption. GnuPG however is neither part of nor available in the standard OpenSolaris package repository. Browsing around for other repositories, I stumbled across this forum post and, subsequently, about IPSgnupg in blastwave’s IPS repository. Played with installing it for a while, and finally built gnupg from source as I found the Blastwave packages likely to install a whole load of other packages (openssl, in example, along with some dependencies) which already are installed as part of the “core” OpenSolaris distribution. Though this is a feasible way, of course having a “tighter” synchronization between the packages would be desirable in order to avoid such redundancies.

Basically, playing around with this I came to some conclusions about some of the OpenSolaris packages: At first, unlike in Linux (where most of the apps simply are installed to /usr, on OpenSolaris packages tend to install a lot of different folders like /opt/sfw/ (Sun Freeware) or /opt/csw/ (Blastwave), each one containing the usual hierarchy of bin, lib and friends. I am heavily torn about this idea: On one side, of course having packages off different repositories separated from each other is perfectly sane especially in an environment rooting in Solaris where having a main, stable, “supported” distribution provided by a single vendor is of essence (other than in Linux where most applications are open-source software just “collected” to one by distributors). The other side however, in a system like OpenSolaris explicitely focussing on “Open Source”, one might question the need of spreading around binaries to bunches of bin/ folders all over the system…

Second thing is package information:

kr@n428:/# pkg info -r IPSFWxfce
Name: IPSFWxfce
Summary: XFce - The XFce Desktop Environment
State: Not installed
Authority: Sunfreeware
Version: 0.5.11
Build Release: 5.11
Branch: 5.7
Packaging Date: Wed May 7 04:11:44 2008
Size: 11.4 MB
FMRI: pkg://Sunfreeware/IPSFWxfce@0.5.11,5.11-5.7:20080507T041144Z

Though this of course is informative, in terms of “Version” talking about the XFCE desktop here, I’d surely love to somewhere find the version of XFCE packaged into this not just the version of the package itself. Maybe this is something to address in later versions of IPS and/or something to provide this kind of information along with packages built from open source applications.

Finally for today, I ran the machine off-line for a few moments to see both the ACPI now capable of seeing my notebook battery and learning that both my cell-phone- and my digital camera are out-of-the-box (usb-storage) recognized as soon as plugged in. Gotta do some more research later on whether I do have applications capable of playing my cam videos and whether I do have some tool to do the phone-sync trick. Asides the absence of GnuPG in the repositories, no real surprises today…

more days of this week: