Saturday Feb 02, 2008

How to multiboot a MacBook Pro with MacOS, Window XP and Solaris?

I am new convert to Mac and before embarking on this adventure I knew nothing about MAC OS X.
It was a bit of a challenge for me initially and frustrating as there are no cook books or
how to guides with all the steps on how to multi-boot a Mac Book Pro. So the first thing I
did was send out emails to different aliases and started to google things and read blogs to
better understand what was going on or at least try to pick up enough information to make this
thing work.

I basically learned through trial and error which only got me so far and I am grateful to Allan Perry
and Paul Mitchell for their blogs to help me get over the hump. Armed with
"Alan Perry's Blog"
"Paul Mitchell's Blog"

I was able to get over my EFI boot partition problem. Everytime after installing MAC OS X,
Windows XP and then I installed OpenSolaris something happen and would cause my EFI boot partition to
get blown away and wiped it clean. Following the steps in Pauls blog allows you to fool Solaris so that
it does not blow away and wipe clean the boot EFI partition.

Word to the wise, please read Pauls blog carefully as it is easy to get ahead of
yourself or skip steps that will come back to bite you, I got bit a couple of times myself and everytime
it caused me to start over from scratch which was not fun.

System Details
Mac Book Pro 2.33 Intel Core 2 Duo with 2G RAM; Boot ROM Version MBP22.00A5.B01; SMC Version 1.12f5
MacOS 10.4.9 has been installed on a single partition and the latest OS and Firmware have been installed using
the Mac OS X "Software Upate" program version 2.0.8.

I have a second MacOS instance + updates on a Maxtor OneTouch III 500GB external hard drive
that supports Firewire 800 to make changes to my Internal HD and to copy back and restore data.
I am also installing OpenSolaris Nevada Build 60 DVD and Windows XP Professional.

Saturday Mar 31, 2007

OpenSolaris on Mac Book Pro (No cigar yet...)

This is just a reflection at my first attempts at trying to make a dual boot Mac Book Pro with OpenSolaris Nevada Build 60. I got close but no cigar. The biggest problem I ran into I think was the warning sentence which is the last sentence for OpenSolaris bug id 6413235 which states:

"Please be advised that using this workaround, if there are any GPT headers on the disk, they will be cleared."

So I am guessing this is what is hosing my EFI boot partition, I will create a new entry when I do get it this working but just wanted to share what I have tried doing so far.

1) Install MacOSX on MBP
2) Run MacOSX update
3) Download and Install Bootcamp

4) Configured Bootcamp
a) partitioned disk (50/50 MacOSX & MS Windows)
b) skip creating drivers CD
c) chose not to install windows and chose to reboot system

5) After reboot, I tested to make sure that MacOSX runs normal

6) Then I reboot and boot NV60 DVD
a) I chose console install so I can get to command line option
b) From command line I run Solaris format command to do an interactive fdisk
c) While in interactive fdisk I Delete FAT32 Partition and Create Solaris Partition

7) Then I reboot again to make sure I can still run MacOSX. It runs normal and still identifies disk0s2 as MS Data Partition (everything looks good)

8) I now boot NV60 DVD again
a) Go to console option
b) Perform work around for OpenSolaris BugID 6413235
c) Exit console which restarts my NV60 console mode installation
d) Proceed with normal NV60 install with no problems

9) System reboots and EFI/MBR information must get wiped as system does not know what to boot
Again when everthing has been installed (MacOSX, updates, bootcamp,NV60) and after NV60 does its reboot all booting information in EFI/MBR partition is lost as I get a big "?" that shows up on the screen instead of my expect choice to boot Mac OS X or Windows.

I can boot NV60 DVD and enter console and see that partitioning information looks good in Solaris. I run Solaris format command to get interactive fdisk and it tells me something like:

Partition1 is unknown 200mb (bootcamp/EFI/MBR)
Partition2 is unknown 54G (Mac OS X)
Partition3 is Solaris 55G

I then run partition command with print option and it is says something like:
S1 is /
S2 is SWAP
S3 is /nv
S4 is /tx
S5 is /zfs
S6 is /zfs2
S7 is /export

When I boot MacOSX DVD I can see partitions but the are all marked as untitled and unknown. So partitions are there but I cannot boot into NV60 or MacOSX, so my only option is to reinstall Mac OS X from scratch and start over.

I know I can run Parallels or VMware Fusion and I have run both and my experience with both were not optimal as both functioned somewhat but performance and stability were issues for me.

Friday Mar 30, 2007

Mac Book Pro & Multiboot?

Well I thought this was going to be simple but it has been more challenging than I could have imagined. There are rumors and blogs of people who have been playing with Intel Macs and Solaris and so this is what I started googling for in my effort to find a solution. Up until now, everything I have heard has been black magic as I have yet been able to figure out how to make a Mac Book Pro multiboot with Solaris or OpenSolaris. What I found out was that Solaris 10 does not work with multiboot and mosts information suggests that multiboot will work with OpenSolaris Nevada.

My adventuring and search for a multiboot Mac Book Pro and Solaris solution eludes me sort of; as after building and rebuilding my Mac Book Pro through trail and error I finally got things sort of working but I do not completely understand understand how I got it working and in the process I broke Boot Camp. So back to the drawing board as I am starting from scratch again.

I was able to get things going using Allan Perry's Blog ( and Paul Mitchell's Blog ( But I could not repeat Paul Mitchell's steps exactly because I kept running into partitioning errors when I did my Solaris install. I got around my problems by rebooting my system in Solaris Nevada and deleting my Solaris partition and recreating it again in the Solaris using the interactive fdisk and not performing the suggested fdisk work around. My "Mac Frankenstein" was now alive! A multiboot system with Mac OS X, OpenSolaris Nevada Build 60, and a corupted Windows XP install that I think could have fixed but did not want to waste my time as I have started from scratch again.

When and if I ever get everything working again I will repost with all my steps once I better understand what I did.

Thursday Mar 29, 2007

Mac Book Pro & OpenSolaris (Solaris 10) Virtualization?

I am trying to install Solaris 10 or OpenSolaris on my Mac Book Pro. I have talked to several colleagues and googled information regarding this and there is a lot of misinformation or incomplete information. Basically I found that there are two solutions, one is to create a multi-boot Mac Book Pro and the other is to use some kind of a virtualization solution.

The simpler of the two is the virtualization option. There are two main virtualizations solutions most people are using. VMware has a beta product you can download for free called VMware Fusion for Mac OS X ( and then there is Parallels for Mac ( which costs about $79. Actually I downloaded Parallels first and started playing with the 30 day demo. I was not impress with Parallels as I found my system to be slow and the software to be intermitten. Meaning that my old laptop ran Solaris better, faster and was more reliable.

Since I was not happy with this technology, I decided to download and run VMware Fusion. Fusion is in beta and runs in debuging mode. Even though debugging mode is turned on, it runs a little slower than Parallels but not much. In I had a little better experience using Fusion and like the fact that I could cut and paste between the virtual machine and my host machine.

"All in All" my experience with virtual machines is they run slow and are tempramental. For example every once in a while, the virtual machine goes "out to lunch" or something as the Mac spinning rainbow wheel of death starts up and never stops, I eventually end up having to reboot my virtual machine.

At this point, I am now convinced and think virtualization is a good idea, but the technology is still premature and is not there yet. So for now, I have decided to go back to the basics and will now try to do a dual boot or multiboot solution so I can run Solaris on bare metal which should have better performance.

Excitement of finally getting a Mac!

I just bought myself a Mac Book Pro. It looks really sharp and this is my first Mac. Lots of my friends and co-workers have had them for years I was just hesitant to cross over, but my constant problems with an aging laptop and forever rebuilding, reinstalling and rebooting windows and associated problems has made this choice pretty simple choice. As I have been wasting more time reinstalling window and trouble shooting windows problems than actually being able to be productive.

The Mac Book Pro is not cheap and having to pay for it out of pocket was not fun, but compared to other laptops with the same type of quality components it ends up actually being cheaper to purchase a Mac.

Now the exciting challenge is trying to make it work with Solaris 10 or OpenSolaris.


Wences is interested in data center technologies including Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, Eco Computing, Solaris 10, OpenSolaris, Information Security and Server Virtualization.


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