Solaris Express Developer Edition (SXDE) is a quarterly distribution of the latest and greatest Solaris stuff. The releases are named after the quarter, and the release that just came out today is called SXDE 01/08. You can download it here. Note you can get the DVD image, or if you're using VMWare like me, you can just get the VMWare image -- pretty cool!
This release is of particular interest because for the first time it includes NetBeans out of the box, in this case NetBeans 6.0.
This release also includes an integrated runtime stack for Apache-MySQL-PHP and for Ruby, along with tools to make it easy to set up and manage these stacks. Getting Apache and MySQL up and running was quite a snap!
I've been playing around with this release for a while, making sure NetBeans plays nicey nicey with the runtime stacks. There are a few hiccups, but for the most part it works quite well.
I wrote up a number of how-tos on the NetBeans wiki site, like how to get started with using the Ruby runtime in NetBeans or how to start up the PostgreSQL service. If you're interested, get SXDE, install it (in VMWare if you're like me), and use these how-tos to help you get your feet wet.
One thing I thought was pretty cool was how easy it was to get going with debugging in PHP. You just have to enable debugging, set a breakpoint, and go.
I have been working with Solaris for a number of years, and these days the leaps and bounds they are making in improving the desktop experience is quite astounding. The installer is actually reasonable. I am also looking forward to the new package management system, IPS, that is coming out as part of Project Indiana.
So, try it out, or stay tuned, as you see fit, but this Solaris thing is definitely coming along. The report from Europe isn't so bad either... :)