Q.E.D. (almost)

This is the second installment on the blog which looks at Solaris as viable platform for 21st century developers. I'll start with the picture worth a thousands words:


In a nutshell, it turned out that using bootcamp with Solaris was bad idea. I won't get into details, however it turns out that the installer can't deal with a partition created by this utility.

What I wanted to do is get the Solaris software (DVD) from Sun, insert the media and install the new OS by preserving the incumbant.

What I had to do:

  • I found the software here
  • Assembling a bootable DVD is no rocket since (download the 5 files, unzip, cat file1 file2 file3 file4 file5 > file.iso
  • Burn a DVD (the first one was a coaster, but made me loose some time, since I tried booting from it and it wasn't really working)
  • I ignored a quite useful blog and I partitioned the 100 GB MacBook Pro hard drive
  • The next step was booting from the DVD iso (one way to achieve this is to restart the machine and hold the "c" key, or "Option | Shift | Delete")
  • At this point GRUB took over and I was ready to go to the next step

What I wanted to do is use the utilities bundled with the OS to partition the hard drive during the installation (I've done this in the past numerous times on dual boot machines using RedHat or SuSE) and proceed to install the OS

 What I had to do (we are getting to the part that ain't pretty):

  • Disclaimer: I am not an OS expert, nor did I spend a lot of time investigating all the possible options, so perhaps there are better ways to go through the installation
  • I chose a couple of defaults
  • I was not able to partition the hard drive :-(, fdisk did not like my prepared partition and I had to blow away OSX in order to continue the installation
  • I could not change the default size of the swap partition :-(
  • Oh well, I'll live with this if I am able to install the rest ...
    • I now have the option of installing "Solaris Extra Value Software", hmm ... I wish the description would be more consistent; I check the option, but have no idea what it will do
    • The other option is to install "Java Enterprise System", I know about this, and the description is better (I just wish it would give me an option to install only certain components - again I can live with that)
  • Now I get to the point where I can choose a specific OS bundle or so. I choose "Developer Group", hoping for the best
  • Installation finishes successfully; I reboot and I am pleasantly surprised to see the Java Desktop System login user interface; I login as root (default) and voila I am done. Almost ...

What I wanted to do is to see if I can start software development (editor, compiler, Java, a deployment container and the usual office productivity software)

What I found:

  • Java (1.6.0-rc) - check
  • Office productivity software: StarOffice (spreadsheet, presentation, editor) - check
  • Browser: Firefox ( - check
  • Email client: Thunderbird - check
  • compiler - nope (it seems that I have not installed this package, however I  remember choosing the  "developer group"
  • code editors: vi/ed (I wonder how many people still use them) - check; no emacs
  • IDE - nope (I was hoping for NetBeans :-), I guess we'll have to fix that and make sure it part of the standard distribution
  • Media software
    • CD Ripper - check
    • Real Player (10) - check
    • MP3 player: Music Player - check
Anyway, I have a long way to go. I am still running as root and I need to figure out how to useradd (perhaps something like useradd -d /export/home/octav -m -s /bin/bash -c "Octavian Tanase" octav; also if I recall I'll have to use the passwd command to assign a password before I can use the account), since it does not seem that I can find an admintool menu. I have not configured my path yet and this could be one of the reasons I am not finding some of the utilities I was expecting. I am still running at 1152 x 864 (the native resolution is 1440 x 900). I also not networked yet. The track pad is not working, so I am using a USB mouse to navigate. I bet many of these issues have workarounds, however the weekend requires time sharing with family :-).

 Now that I have a good bootable Solaris image DVD, I'll reinstall Mac OSX, I'll properly partition the hard drive and will give another try to installing Solaris. This time with feeling :-)



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