Installation of Ubuntu/Linux and Solaris(SXDE/OpenSolaris) - Dual Boot

Here, first I will tell you the problems that I faced after installing Ubuntu and OpenSolaris on my laptop.

PS: Please take a back up of your ubuntu grub into a pendrive (copy the file /boot/grub/menu.lst to a pendrive - Solaris doesnt yet automatically detect Linux OS)

I) Installing Ubuntu with Solaris(SXDE/OpenSolaris)

  • After installing Ubuntu, my your hard drive looked like this:

       Device Boot      Size    System
    /dev/sda1   \*     50.37 GiB    Linux
    /dev/sda2           4.14 GiB    Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda3         94.50 GiB    Free

  • Now to install Solaris, I need to create a "unformatted" partition. I did this using the GParted tool

  • Here comes the most important hitch.
    When you try to install SXDE/OpenSolaris, it detects the linux-swap partition as its default install drive.

    The worst part being, If you tell Solaris to install on the "unformatted" partition that we created, it deletes the linux-swap partition and puts it into the "unallocated" pool!!!! ( great na - thats why i said it is fun to work with solaris - it has a lot of hassles)

    You may think - "So what. Let me install Solaris on the "unformatted" drive and create a new linux-swap partition later." - You can do that, but provided you do necessary changes in the ubuntu's fstab and other related files. And the most important thing is that when you boot into Ubuntu, it detects Solaris partition as a linux-swap partition (Thats why it is written as - Linux swap / Solaris in front of /dev/sda2) and tries to write data into that partition. This screws up the solaris grub. and your system is not bootable anymore unless you re-install the grub using OpenSolaris live CD

    So you put in your GParted CD, right click on the swap partition and click on "Swap Off". After doing this, format this swap patition into a new partition - say ntfs or fat32.

    Now you are ready to install SXDE/Open Solaris.

    Reboot and insert the installation media and go ahead. There wouldnt be any issues during the installation.

  • All done???? Ok now boot into Solaris and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and insert the ubunut's grub entry.
  • Wait we are not done yet!!!
    Now you need to reboot with the GParted CD and get back the linux-swap

    So to do that, you boot with GParted CD and right click on /dev/sda2 and format it to linux-swap.

    Click on Apply (on the top)

    Now again right click on /dev/sda2 and click on "Swap On" which switches on the swap mode so that linux can use that partition as a swap partition.

  • Now you can reboot and use both linux(ubuntu) and OpenSolaris.

So see you next time. My next post would be on triple boot - ubuntu, SXDE and OpenSolaris :)

Until then, Cheers!!


Very informative.

Posted by Tirthankar on September 15, 2008 at 11:40 AM IST #

I think there are simpler ways...

consider you have two different partitions in your machine..

install solaris on any one partition (create room for your root home and swap partitions for solaris in this partition..)

if you are done with solaris installation you can install Ubuntu in the other partition (please don't get confused with the solaris partitions and overwrite them..)

now when the ubuntu installation is'll be able to boot to ubuntu..(we'll add solaris to the boot menu now...)

login to ubuntu and Open '/boot/grub' and make a back up of menu.lst

and edit menu.lst, add the following to boot options

title Solaris
root (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

now remember replace hd0,1 with your Solaris partition it may be something else say hd2,0..

now save your new grub configuration...

that's all everything is set and ready now.. you can go dual boot.. ;)

Posted by Dharan P Deepak on September 15, 2008 at 05:56 PM IST #

Deepak, you are absolutely right if someone has a new system with him...

My post concentrates on the set of users/people who have say Windows and Ubuntu pre-installed and then they want to install OpenSolaris.

or if he/she has just ubuntu on his drive and needs to install OpenSolaris

Posted by Avinash Joshi on September 16, 2008 at 04:45 PM IST #

Nice work Avinash

Posted by Guruprasad on September 21, 2008 at 10:30 AM IST #

I read this blog after installing Open Solaris so I do not have Ubuntu's /boot/grub/menu.lst file. Why can't this bug be addressed since it is important.

Posted by - on April 13, 2009 at 06:21 AM IST #

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