Friday Aug 08, 2008

New OSS Drivers (Partly) Fix Sound Issues in OpenSolaris on VirtualBox on Mac OS X

Thanks to a comment made by Maria on my blog, I tried installing the new version of OSS drivers, and am happy to say that the sound now works in OpenSolaris in VirtualBox on Mac OS X!  Thanks, Maria!

Here's what I did:

# pkgrm oss    (to delete the old version I installed previously)
# reboot

Download the new oss driver file, oss-solaris-v4.0-1016-i386.pkg, from
(select Solaris 10/11 x86/AMD64 in the list).

# pkgadd -d oss-solaris-v4.0-1016-i386.pkg
# reboot

Run osstest after the OS comes back up, and listen to the music!  Sounds great.

UPDATE 8/13/08: I think I spoke too soon. The sound is very flaky, sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I am not sure what is happening.

Wednesday May 07, 2008

OpenSolaris on a Mac in VirtualBox

I am not sure if this is an officially supported platform combination, but I thought I'd try it out and make note of any issues.

Get OpenSolaris 2008.05 Distro

The first thing you want to do is download the OpenSolaris image so that it will be available when you make your virtual machine.  I didn't do this because I didn't know any better, but it caused a few problems when I started Virtual Box and then didn't have an image to boot!  Canceling out made VirtualBox a little confused and I wasn't able to get anywhere without generating memory errors until I rebooted the Mac.  I am new to Mac OS X and to virtualization software, so some of this might be obvious to some of you, but it wasn't to me. And I hadn't yet found the instructions for running OpenSolaris on VirtualBox.

So, first, download OpenSolaris 2008.05 from .
Right now the OpenSolaris distro is only available for x86, but that is what we want because the Mac uses an Intel processor.

Save the os200805.iso in a known location where you can access it later from VirtualBox.

Note that you do not need to burn the image to CD if you don't want to, because VirtualBox will let you  mount the image so it looks to the virtual machine and the guest (OpenSolaris) that the image is on an actual CD drive.  If you will only be installing on the one machine, it makes more sense not to burn a CD.  Also, the install will probably be faster from the hard drive than from a CD.

Install VirtualBox on Mac OS X

Go here to download VirtualBox 1.6:

Be sure to select the Mac OS X (Intel) Platform and check the box for accepting the terms and conditions.

Click the link to download the dmg file.

Double-click the downloaded VirtualBox-osx-1.6.0-OSX_x86.dmg file.
Inside the file is the VirtualBox.mpkg and instruction to double-click it.  Also contains UserManual.pdf and VirtualBox_Uninstall.tool.

Follow the instructions shown -- double-click the VirtualBox.mpkg icon first and go through the Installer prompts.  

The welcome screen has a nice intro in the first screen:
"As one of VirtualBox' strengths is user friendliness and excellent operating system integration, we are looking forward to receving feedback, especially suggestions how to make VirtualBox the most user friendly OS X application."

The first screen also lists the known issues of “no support” for a few things -- it's nice to have this in the beginning instead of only in a readme that you may to may not read after installation.

Agree to the software license agreement, and continue to install.  The install took only a few seconds....

Startup VirtualBox to Create Your Virtual Machine for OpenSolaris

Start the VirtualBox app from the Applications folder, and when prompted fill out the registration form with name and email address (if you want).

Then you see a Welcome to VirtualBox screen with a nice explanation of what you're looking at -- why it is empty, and what to do -- press New to create a new virtual machine.

This brings up a wizard for creating a new virtual machine:Creating a new VM

In the next screen, name your virtual machine whatever you want, but it might be a good idea to use something indicating that it's for OpenSolaris because you may add other another VM or two for other operating systems in the future.  Be sure to select Solaris for OS type. Name of VM and OS type

Next you must specify the disk to use as the virtual boot disk.  From this screen, you create a new disk image for this virtual machine by clicking the New button.


After you click New, a series of steps enables you to create your boot drive image.  In the first screen, you might want to select Dynamically expanding image for maximum flexibility and for speed in creating the disk image initially:


Next you must specify the size of the disk that will be reported to OpenSolaris.  The minimum recommended is 10GB, so here we take the offered size of 16GB:


Next a summary page shows what you have chosen and lets you finish the creation of the virtual disk.


Summary page with Finish button


Then you are back at the screen in which you need to select the hard drive.  Your newly created drive should already be selected, so you can  proceed by clicking Next, and then Finish in the next screen to create your virtual machine.  When the virtual machine is created, you are returned back to the main page with summary information about the VM.

Next you need to make the downloaded OpenSolaris image accessible to VirtualBox by mounting it as a CD image.

Mount the os200805.iso as a CD Image (instead of burning a CD)

In the main VirtualBox window, click Settings and then click CD/DVD-ROM.

In the CD/DVD-ROM settings, select Mount  CD/DVD Drive, and ISO Image file, as you see here:


Not sure what's up with that "invalid settings detected" because I didn't have any problems here....

Click the file browser icon next to the ISO Image File list. This brings up the Virtual Disk Image Manager shown below.

Click Add at the top of the window, and then browse to find the os200805.iso file on your Mac.
Select the file and click Open to add the ISO file to the list of CD/DVD images in the Virtual Disk Image Manager. Click Select to choose this ISO file for your VM.

Now you are back in the CD/DVD-ROM settings window, where you should click OK.  


Then you return to the main window of VirtualBox, where you are now ready to start OpenSolaris!


Starting OpenSolaris in VirtualBox

Select your new virtual machine in the Sun xVM VirtualBox window, as shown above.

Then just click the Start button at the top, and OpenSolaris boots from the ISO image that you have mounted as a CD-ROM. The initial screen looks like this:

The selected option (OpenSolaris 2008.05) is the mounted CD, so you can just press Enter here.  You then watch some dots print out as the image is loaded into memory.  Then  when the black text-based screen comes up, you must answer some prompts about your locale so the keyboard and time zone can be set appropriately.

In a few short moments you will see the OpenSolaris desktop, with the open text of the OpenSolaris license marring its beauty.  Gotta love the lawyers.  I closed the license document for this next screenshot.

Next you can install OpenSolaris 2008.05 software by double-clicking the Install OpenSolaris icon.  The installer is pretty straightforward.  I was about to just link off to the install doc, but thought better of it.  Some simple words and pics might help someone who is trying to do what I did.

I made screenshots of all the OpenSolaris install screens inside VirtualBox, but I can't find them now.  I have no idea where they went. I continued writing this blog the next day, having shut down VirtualBox and the Mac the night before.  Maybe I was supposed to save state of the machine when shutting down?  I was asked if I wanted to do that, and didn't because I didn't think I needed to.  I have not read the VirtualBox doc, so I can't really blame anyone but myself if I blew the screenshots away.  :(

So I'll have to proceed without pictures.

 The Disk screen asks you to choose between partitioning the disk or using the whole disk.  Since we created this virtual disk just to install Solaris, I think it's safe to say we can use the whole disk, although the installer recommends partitioning. 

Next you set your time zone data.  A very cool map with dots for major cities lets you click on a city near you to automatically set your region, location, time zone, and date and time. So I click New York since I am on the east coast of the US, and all the fields fill in correctly. Nice feature.

On the Language screen I select English, then on to the User's screen. Here I must set my root password, create a user account for myself, and set the computer name.

The installation summary screen allows me to see all my choices before beginning to install the files.  Another warning that the disk will be erased -- they really want me to know what I am doing.

I click Install and the installation begins.  It took 20 minutes, approximately.

After reboot, when you log in, there is an empty desktop. The first thing you should do is bring up Firefox (see the icon in the menu bar), where the home page is set to a "Welcome to OpenSolaris 2008.05" page that is local to your installation.  This page has links to other places to get information.

The network "just works" on this machine, and everything seems to just work, except for the sound. You can see that the audio is disabled in the VirtualBox summary page, so I will be investigating to see what I can do about it.

In another blog I'll write about getting the sound to work, and installing some packages from the IPS.

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