Updating your OpenSolaris to the latest build

One of the nicest features of OpenSolaris is the new package management feature.  Using the pkg command you can quickly update your system to the latest bits available in the repository.  It turns out, however, that with OpenSolaris 2008.05 there is a workaround that you must use in order for this to work properly.  It caught me by surprise recently (not reading those forums thoroughly enough).

Like the rest of the world, I downloaded the OpenSolaris 2008.05 ISO image to my MacBook Pro and installed it into (Sun's free and open source hypervisor) VirtualBox 2.0.  The 2008.05 edition is based upon build 86. To get the complete update to the latest build 97, I simply:

time pfexec pkg image-update -v

About 35 minutes later the system has been updated, a ZFS snapshot of my original system has been made and the grub menu automatically updated to add a new boot image.  All I need to do now is reboot.  This is where the pain started.  After the initial Solaris banner, the system simply reset itself repeatedly.

Luckily, thanks to the snapshot, I can still choose the original boot environment from the GRUB menu.

Thanks to the great community of OS Ambassadors within Sun, I had my solution within hours as posted at this forum.

  • beadm list
  • pfexec beadm mount <my boot env> /mnt
  • pfexec /mnt/boot/solaris/bin/update_grub -R /mnt
 
  

Final step was getting my favorite Gnome theme to help my Solaris box look more like a Mac and place the close widget in the upper left corner where God and Steve Jobs intended it to be.

Finally, if you are a Linux user and unfamiliar with the "pfexec" command, see Glenn Brunette's blog about the benefits of pfexec vs. sudo.


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About

Jim Laurent is an Oracle Sales consultant based in Reston, Virginia. He supports US DoD customers as part of the North American Public Sector hardware organization. With over 17 years experience at Sun and Oracle, he specializes in Solaris and server technologies. Prior to Oracle, Jim worked 11 years for Gould Computer Systems (later known as Encore).

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