Customizing OpenSolaris Screen Resolution running in VirtualBox on a MacBook Pro

Wow, I didn't think the title of this blog entry was ever going to end!

After much trial and error, I finally found a fairly easy way to customize the OpenSolaris screen resolution running in VirtualBox on a MacBook Pro.  After installing OpenSolaris on my system, I was unable to increase my screen resolution to 1440x960 through the System->Preferences->Screen Resolution panel...and that made me sad.

So, here's the procedure that made me happy again.

  1. Install VirtualBox on your MacBook Pro.

  2. Install OpenSolaris in the new VirtualBox instance.

  3. Start up OpenSolaris.

  4. From the VirtualBox VM application (the one OpenSolaris is running in), choose Devices->Install Guest Additions.

    This will mount the vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486 disk image on your OpenSolaris system.

  5. Become root in OpenSolaris (You can open a terminal window by choosing Applications->System Tools->Terminal).

    # su root

  6. Change directory to the disk image.

    # cd /cdrom/vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486

  7. Install the Solaris VirtualBox addition.

    # pkgadd -d ./vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486

    This package installation creates the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

  8. (Optional) In the /etc/Xll/xorg.conf file, add the new screen resolution to the Modes field in the default ViewPort section (I added the 1440x900 entry).

    ViewPort      0  0
               Depth               24
               Modes           "1440x900_60.00" "1024x768_75.00" "800x600_75_00" "640x480_60.00"

    NOTE: After some more testing, it looks like you don't need to do this step unless you want to be able to select a specific resolution from the Screen Resolution Preferences window.  Once you install the Solaris VirtualBox Addition, all you need to do is expand the VirtualBox window and the OpenSolaris desktop expands as well.  I swear this didn't work the first time I tried this, which is why I had this problem in the first place. That's a few hours I'll never get back...

  9. Reboot OpenSolaris.

  10. After OpenSolaris reboots, change the screen resolution by choosing System->Preferences->Screen Resolution.

    You'll see the new resolution that you least I did.  Everything has been working so far.

  11. Be happy that you now have a larger area to enjoy OpenSolaris!
BTW, thanks to Peter Schow for helping me with this problem on the OpenSolaris help forum

I made some changes to my don't need to update the xorg.conf file to get a bigger screen. All you need to do is expand the VirtualBox window.

Posted by Paul Kasper on October 21, 2008 at 10:02 AM CDT #

Paul this tutorial was really helpful,
and worked
thanks !

Posted by kunal ghosh on November 25, 2008 at 03:20 PM CST #

Thanks! Very helpful. Also, just hit "ctrl-alt-backspace" and not have to reboot.

Posted by John on March 02, 2009 at 05:57 AM CST #

Thanks for these instructions. I am using VirtualBOx 2.1.4 on ubuntu 8.04 .
In opensolaris 2008.11 despite adding in the Virtualbox additions (2.1.4_42893) the full screen option did not expand the screen automatically. I still needed to edit xorg.conf file to add in the required resolution . Once I added that in and restarted X , I could pick the new high resolution and go into full screen mode and have solaris occupy all of my monitor screen.

Posted by Hari on April 01, 2009 at 08:45 PM CDT #

That was awesome...
I thought it to be a limitation of virtual box or the linux environment untill I had come across your post.
Thanks a million Mr. Paul

Posted by Anuvrat Parashar on April 09, 2009 at 07:46 PM CDT #

@Anuvrat - No problem. I'm glad it helped!

Posted by Paul Kasper on April 13, 2009 at 02:48 AM CDT #

I would know how I can get SMC (Solaris
Management Console).
Thanks a lot,
Eduardo Kislanski

Posted by Eduardo on February 10, 2010 at 10:18 PM CST #


The packages are part of the Solaris 10 image.

SUNWmc Solaris Management Console 2.1 (Server Components)
SUNWmcc Solaris Management Console 2.1 (Client Components)
SUNWmccom Solaris Management Console 2.1 (Common Components)
SUNWmcdev Solaris Management Console 2.1 (Development Kit)
SUNWmcex Solaris Management Console 2.1 (Examples)
SUNWwbmc Solaris Management Console 2.1 (WBEM Components)

Posted by Paul Kasper on February 11, 2010 at 02:12 AM CST #

thanks a lot for your fast answer.
I have another question for you.
I tried to install the SMC from the cd using the commands pkgadd,
pgkutil and so on, but I wasn't able to install it.
Could you tell me, step by step, how to install the SMC?



Posted by Eduardo on February 12, 2010 at 04:23 AM CST #

I did a search on google and there are a number of hits. Here's one:

Also, the Sun (now Oracle) documentation should help you:

Posted by Paul Kasper on February 12, 2010 at 06:52 AM CST #



Posted by Eduardo on February 12, 2010 at 09:16 AM CST #

Hi bigadmin,
please, help me!!!
When I run the smc command, I have the error I put here.
I searched a lot informations in internet to solve this problem, but I didn't.
Can you help me??
Thanks a lot

#export $DISPLAY
# smc
at java.util.Hashtable.put(
at java.util.Properties.setProperty(
at java.lang.System.setProperty(

It appears you are attempting to run the graphical
Solaris Management Console from a terminal which does
not have a suitable 'DISPLAY' environment. Please check
your 'DISPLAY' settings and that the user identity of
this terminal has access to the X server of this display

Posted by Eduardo on February 14, 2010 at 09:35 AM CST #

Hi Eduardo,

This page should help you:

Posted by Paul Kasper on February 15, 2010 at 01:17 AM CST #

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