Catching up on geek posts tonight while this dumb array reinitializes. Hope you don't mind!
I wiped out Gentoo and installed Sun Solaris Express developer edition yesterday on my secondary box at Earthlink. As of late we've had a mass exodus in the developer department and I'm needing to take on some of the Java app build responsibility, which would be easy to do under Linux except that one of our clever ex-contractor developers thought it'd be fun to deploy our ordering system as a proprietary Solaris package. Good times. And yeah we've got $60,000 SPARC boxes in the racks but it takes literally 7x longer to build the app on one of those, as opposed to my $900 Core 2 Optiplex. How that works, I have no clue, but I'm not even going there since I've griped about it already for 8 years now.
New Edge (a.k.a. the business side of Earthlink) has been a Sun shop on the production side since day 1, but I've never been fond of it at all because of how slow it always performed, how unfamiliar I was with it in general operation and how much harder it seemed to compile things on it.
While I can't vouch for compilation (yet), I can say that my experience so far has been great. I actually love it! The install process is an absolute breeze and only takes a few minutes on modern hardware. Upon reboot you're dropped into a full blown modern Gnome desktop with the best overall look and font rendering I've seen on any *nix OS (save MacOS, of course). It's fast! Lots of binary packages are readily available at sunfreeware.org. It seems rock solid, and it even sets you up with ZFS by default.
While I seriously doubt that it will replace Gentoo as my server operating system of choice any time soon, it makes for a compelling option as a solid and well-accepted UNIX desktop OS for me.
Before I installed on SXDE I actually tried to install Nexenta OS with ZERO luck. The installer was a pile of garbage that I barely made it through. At the other end there was a command prompt with little to no help that I didn't have time to mess with. I can't exactly judge it but it doesn't feel mature at all. Unless you're a real hacker with genuine interest in screwy versions of Debian and a lot of time to waste, I'd steer clear for now.