Saturday Aug 09, 2008

OpenSolaris 2008.11 on the Medion Akoya E1210

With ultra portable notebooks being all the rage and even a Dutch DIY franchise ("Dat zeg ik: GAMMA") selling them, I bought myself a Medion Akoya E1210 mini notebook. This is a rebadged MSI Wind (10" display @ 1024x600, 1.6 GHz Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB memory, 80 GB hard disk, wired and wireless LAN). Rather than using the preinstalled Windows XP, I wanted to run Solaris on this of course. The short version: it almost works.

Since this system does not have a CD to boot from, I created a bootable OpenSolaris USB stick using the usbgen and usbcopy tools from the Distro Constructor project.

$ hg clone ssh://anon@hg.opensolaris.org/hg/caiman/distro_constructor
$ cd distro_constructor/tools
$ su
# ./usbgen /path/to/osol-0811-93.iso /path/to/osol-0811-93.usb /tmp/foo

This will take a couple of minutes. After that copy the generated image to the USB stick:

# ./usbcopy /path/to/osol-0811-93.usb

Insert the USB stick, power on, press F11 and select the USB stick as the boot device

This notebook suffers from the same timing issue as the ASUS Eee PC, so as a workaround change GRUB entry to read:

kernel$ /platform/i86pc/kernel/$ISADIR/unix -v
The system then boots and tries to start X without success (the good news is that the built-in USB webcam is recognized out of the box). The wired ethernet interface (RealTek 8101E) is supported by the rge driver and is plumbed automatically. It doesn't work completely however, pinging another host works but any serious networking like ssh fails silently. Disabling IP hardware checksumming fixes that:

# mdb -kw
> ip`dohwcksum/W 0
dohwcksum:      0               =       0x0
\^D

Now that I have networking up, I can save a copy of the original disk contents (just in case) and see if I can get OpenSolaris installed on the disk using a remote display so I don't have to manually apply the above workarounds each time. More on that later.

Update: I got X to run using this tip: Indiana: VESA if you need it. It's only VESA but it will at least make X usable until I figure out how to get the Intel driver working...

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