Installing Solaris 10 without CD/DVD nor network

Installing Solaris 10 without CD/DVD nor network

This is a first time writting my blog in English (so bear with me :-). I just decided write this in English (and Japanese in later), because there are might be interested by non Japanese people as well

Just for fun, I decided to install Solaris 10 onto the ancient notebook Sony PCG-505V. Which has special external CD-ROM, but no build-in network (it has 56k modem, and FD). Looking at and tried to boot Solaris from this CD-ROM does not seems to work. It looks like connecting CD-ROM via PCMCIA IDE card. Perhaps this CD-ROM may able to boot Nevada release of Solaris (SX or OpenSolaris), but machine only hold 128MB as maximum (Solaris Grub booter require 256MB at minimum as I'm told). So, this provide quite bit of challenge and I did not had time to this until last month.

Installing Solaris 10 without CD/DVD-ROM nor network, I could only imagine to take out harddisk drive, and install Solaris elsewhere, then put back the harddisk. In order to doing so, I did look for the information inside and outside of Sun, but could not pin point exact information I was looking for (or was searching with wrong keyword). Anyhow, I decided try anyway with bit of hint from Casper Dik's email in similar (but little different) situation. I knew I have to rebuild the /etc/path_to_inst which Casper's email described.

  • First, I have to take out the harddisk drive from notebook PC. Searching for the Web shows several article descrived how to open the this notebook PC.
  • At office, I found nice Pentium III (Asus P3B-F) machine around which has not being used (for that moment). I put the tiny 4.2GB drive with connector converter (convert between 2.5 inch drive connector and 3.5 inch connector, found at many stores) into the P3B-F machine.
  • Installed Solaris 10 via network. Since drive only hold 4.2GB, I decided to install only End User cluster without StarSuite to be sure (later, I installed StarSuite8 instead). Disk was devided to 1GB of swap and rest to one "/" file system (and boot FAT fdisk partition). I made sure to choose manual reboot.
  • Before power of P3B-F (should not reboot), From Caspter's email, I did
    # cd /a/etc # cp path_to_inst path_to_inst.oldmb # echo '#path_to_inst_bootstrap_1' > path_to_inst
  • Power down the P3B-F machine, take out disk from P3B-F and put back onto the notebook PC. Boot up notebook are successfull until Solaris kernel being read.
  • At some point after the kernel read, Solaris complained about "/" could not remount read/write. After looking around via getting in as single user, I thought this was appear to be issue with inconsistency among the /devices, /dev and /etc/vfstab. In order to fix this, I was thinking about mounting the "/" in different mount point, but that would be dangerous because it would mean touching the live mount.
  • Instead, I decided to mount "boot" partition by
    # mount -F tmpfs swap /tmp # mkdir /tmp/a # mount /devices/pci@0,0/pci-ide@7,1/ide@0/cmdk@0,0:a /tmp/a
    • Note1: /devices and /dev are inconsistent, I could not use device like /dev/dsk/c0d0p0:a while /devices directory has correct path being added.
    • Note2: The device name may not exactly correct on above, I was poking around by "od -c $DEVICE|head" to see which one was correct. Yes, I'm writing this from memory, I did not took good note(X-<).
  • Now, I need to have correct /dev tree on root file system, I just dumped them onto the "boot" partition by:
    # mkdir /tmp/boot # devfsadm -r /tmp/boot # cd /tmp/boot # tar cf /tmp/a/dev.tar dev # umount /tmp/a # sync
  • Power off the notebook PC and take out the disk (again). Put disk onto the P3B-F machine, and boot from network. During the install process, terminate the install process and get the console prompt. Mount the root file system and "boot" parition by hand. Which something like:
    # mount /dev/dsk/c0d0s0 /a # mkdir /tmp/boot # mount -F pcfs /dev/dsk/c0d0p0:a /tmp/boot
    Then replace /dev tree from "boot" parition
    # cd /a # mv dev dev- # tar xvf /tmp/boot/dev.tar # umount /a # umount /tmp/boot
  • Again, power off the P3B-F machine, and take out the disk. Then put disk back into the notebook PC. Boot the notebook PC, Yeah! works this time (for me anyway!).

This whole process were long and painfull, but at least I have working installation on target machine PCG-505V. Does anyone has better way of achinving same things?

Machine are seems to be working fine except no network connection (since it only has 128MB with PentiumMMX@300MHz, it is rather slow). I just had 3Com 3CXE589ET handy, but things did not work. Later date, I asked someone at office to see if he can enable PCMCIA Ethernet card for me. Next day, I'v got working network on this machine, and he told me he just replaced pcmcia driver or something using FD. If anyone interested to know how to do that, I'll ask him either tell me or write an own blog :-).


Hello there! 1st, thanks for your useful post. it's so interesting. May I translate this post into Korean on one of my blog, ?

Posted by Kwanghoon Jhin on 11月月 25日, 2005年 at 01:10 午後 JST #

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I would be delighted if you do translate into Korean. Just to make sure, this is one example which works with given model of PC, since I have not tried with other PC yet, and there might be better way to do this as well.

Posted by ako on 11月月 25日, 2005年 at 06:18 午後 JST #

thanks for your reply. I'll trackback it. have a nice week.

Posted by Kwanghoon Jhin on 11月月 27日, 2005年 at 11:56 午後 JST #

translation completed. the URI is... I can't find track back URI therefore write this comment. Thanks again.

Posted by kwanghoon Jhin on 12月月 03日, 2005年 at 12:03 午後 JST #

Nice article!
I want to translate it in indonesia, if that okay with u?

Posted by bob on 12月月 05日, 2007年 at 09:39 午前 JST #

Bob, sorry I did not respond soon. I'll be delighted if you translate to indonesia. But I have to warn you that this article are getting old, and it may not apply to newer Solaris 10 release anymore.

Posted by ako on 12月月 10日, 2007年 at 11:16 午前 JST #

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