Tuesday Mar 15, 2011

Solaris 11 Express

Get Solaris 11 Express!

Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

And it is done...

Its done. JAVA is no more.

Its the dawn of a brand new day. Time to get back to kicking butt.

Tuesday Mar 24, 2009

Adobe Reader 9.1 for [Open]Solaris on x86 finally here!

Sweet! Adobe finally released Adobe Reader 9.1 for [Open]Solaris on x86!

Get it from http://www.adobe.com/go/getreader

Thursday Jan 15, 2009

It's not cold.

The sun hit the thermometer so its showing a bit warmer than it actually is. If you can believe it, my feet didn't hurt until after I came back inside.

Wednesday Dec 10, 2008

Creating an dual-boot OpenSolaris 2008.11 / System Rescue USB Stick

While doing the Solaris InstallFest at CEC 2008, I started playing with creating a bootable OpenSolaris USB stick. Booting from CD was fine but, as we discovered, booting from USB is significantly faster.

I was disappointed to discover that though the USB image that was generated from the OpenSolaris iso was only 800MB or so in size, the usbcopy script took over the whole USB stick that I was using. That's fine if you only are using 1GB sticks, but since they gave out 4GB sticks at CEC this year (and 2GB sticks last year), you're wasting 3.2GB of space that could be used for something else.

Typically for the Solaris InstallFest we use either the System Rescue CD or a GParted Live image. This becomes a problem since we're either waiting for someone to finish up using the OpenSolaris CD, or the System Rescue CD, or the GParted Live CD instead of actually doing something... or someone accidentally walks off with one CD still in their drive.

While doing this from a USB key may make you think that they'd walk off with our USB keys, I'd like to think that they'd likely not accidentally do it since the USB keys tend to stick out a bit more than a CD in the drive. Plus, we can use their own USB key to put the image on if they wish.

So here's some hacks to be able to create a Dual-Boot USB stick and use the rest of the space on the USB stick for the System Rescue image.

1. Get the usb file for OpenSolaris from http://genunix.org/distributions/indiana/osol-0811.usb and download the ISO for the System Rescue CD from http://www.sysresccd.org/Download

2. Get the usbcopy by installing the OpenSolaris SUNWdistro-const package from IPS.

    pfexec pkg install SUNWdistro-const
3. Write the USB file to the stick.
    pfexec usbcopy osol-0811.usb
At this point, you will have "wasted" most of the space on the USB stick since you just wrote a 860MB image to a 4GB stick. You need to reclaim that space.

4. Repartition the USB stick.

    pfexec format -e
    Select the USB stick
    Note the total Cylinders
    Delete the Solaris Partition
    Create a new Solaris Partition in the size that will fit the
        860MB.  Solaris FDISK is braindead so this will be fun.
    Create a FAT partition (partition type "c") using the rest of
        the key.
    Exit and save.
    Re-Create slice 0 on the Solaris partition to start with
        cylinder 1 and use the rest of the space.
    Label it, selecting SMI label
5. Verify that you sized things correctly by running fsck against it.
    pfexec fsck /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0s0
If it isn't size correctly, you'll get a complaint saying it can't seek the last blocks. ie:
pfexec fsck /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0s0
\*\* /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0s0

CANNOT READ: DISK BLOCK 1680032: I/O error

Program terminated
If you get that, resize the Solaris fdisk partition larger.

6. Grow out the UFS file system to the rest of the slice if you so desire.

    pfexec growfs /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0s0
7. Create a pcfs (FAT) filesystem on the other USB partition
    pfexec mkfs -F pcfs -o b=SYSRESCD,fat=32 /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0p0:c
8. At this point, if you yank the USB stick and re-insert it, both file systems should mount up under /media. If not, manually mount them.

9. Mount up the ISO of the System Rescue CD.

    pfexec lofiadm -a /somelocation/rescuecd.iso
    pfexec mount -F hsfs -o ro /dev/lofi/1 /mnt
10. Copy contents to USB partition. Don't do this as root though, for some reason it doesn't work as root.
    cp -r /mnt/\* /media/SYSRESCD
11. Add entries into menu.lst to point to rescueCD stuff.
    pfexec vi /media/Flash\\ Disk/boot/grub/menu.lst
Append the following:
title RescueCD
        root (hd0,1)
        kernel /isolinux/rescuecd
        initrd /isolinux/initram.igz

title Memtest
        root (hd0,1)
        kernel /isolinux/memtest86
12. Unmount all of the filesystems and you should be able to boot from the USB stick.

I generally don't like getting multiple boot menus so this utilizes the GRUB in OpenSolaris instead of doing a chainloader to boot the System Rescue CD. The steps outlined above only utilize two of the many options in the System Rescue CD. You could get the SYSLINUX loader to load into the FAT32 parition on the USB stick and then chainload to get the rest of the options or translate other options from the syslinux.cfg into the grub menu file to get the rest.

This seems to work pretty well.

We can probably do a chainload to the SysRescueCD and get all of the other options too, but I need to figure out how to get the bootblock loaded there.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2008

Solaris InstallFest @ CEC 2008

Once again, we will be running the Solaris InstallFest @ CEC 2008!

We'll have people available to assist with installing one of the various Solaris flavors on your laptop. The current plan is to have the following available:

1. Solaris Field Image - New version based on Solaris 10 Update 6 or Solaris Nevada version 101
2. Solaris 10 Update 6
3. Solaris Nevada Version 101
4. OpenSolaris 2008.05 (or OpenSolaris 2008.11 if available)

If you're looking to run Solaris on the bare-metal, please take some time to prepare. Backing up is a always a good idea. If you've not installed Solaris before on your laptop (ie. Windows only) please take some time to repartition the drive BEFORE attending. The recommended tool to repartition is the GParted Live CD, which is available at http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php. We'll have these tools available if needed, but doing this BEFORE you arrive speeds things up.

If you'd rather run in VirtualBox, we'll help you get that going too. :)

We'll be open during the Pavillion Hours and during CEC Late Night. Here's the exact hours and times:

Sunday: Closed
Monday: 3:00-4:30 and 7:30-9:30
Tuesday: 3:00-4:30 and 7:30-9:30
Wednesday: 3:00-4:30 and 7:30-9:30
Thursday: 3:00-4:30 only

Location: Main Hang Space Area, Rivoli Ballroom, Paris Hotel

For scheduling purposes, and to give us an idea as to how many people to expect, please take a minute to fill out this survey (SWAN-Internal only):

If you'd like more details, check out the Solaris InstallFest Pages (SWAN-Internal only). We hope to see you there!

Wednesday Sep 26, 2007

Solaris Wireless on MacBook Pro

I've been playing with a nice MacBook Pro the past couple of weeks in a effort to evaluate if it would be suitable for Field Service engineers. Basically the model I have is this:
  • MacBook Pro
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 120GB Harddisk

MacOS is an excellent OS and for the most part, it "Just Works". However, Solaris is an absolute requirement for Field Service. So, to that end, we've been looking at Parallels and VMWare as possible options for running Solaris. Those are fine and dandy too, but why should Solaris be limited to a virtual machine?

For the most part, of course, a virtual machine, would be just fine. However, when troubleshooting customer systems, the virtual machine would just add another level of "could be this problem." I don't like the idea of having to troubleshoot 3rd party software on my laptop when I should be troubleshooting customer systems.

That being said, the bare metal option is the most interesting to me.

After downloading Boot Camp from Apple, and going through the steps on Paul Mitchell's Blog about dual partitioning the MacBook Pro, I was up and running with Solaris Nevada Build 72. I updated to Build 73 shortly afterwards since it was out before I got to any serious playing.

Wired networking required adding in the Marvell Yukon driver and uttering this to get the wired network going:

# update_drv -a -i '"pciex11ab,436a"' yukonx

The wireless card is an Atheros card according to scanpci:

pci bus 0x000b cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x168c device 0x0024
 Atheros Communications, Inc.  Device unknown

Unfortunately, the Atheros driver that ships with Build 73 doesn't support that chip. Luckily, it looks like that driver has been updated to version 0.6. The OpenSolaris website has it here. A simple pkgrm of the old package and a pkgadd of the new package and I was in business talking with my Airport Extreme Base Station!

# ifconfig -a
lo0: flags=2001000849 mtu 8232 index 1
        inet netmask ff000000 
ath0: flags=201004843 mtu 1500 index 2
        inet netmask ffffff00 broadcast
        ether 0:1c:b3:b8:a6:c1 
lo0: flags=2002000849 mtu 8252 index 1
        inet6 ::1/128 
# wificonfig -i ath0 showstatus
        linkstatus: connected
        active profile: [Applesauce]
        essid: Applesauce
        bssid: 00:0a:95:f3:3d:f2
        encryption: wep
        signal strength: medium(10)

Score another one for Solaris on the bare metal!

The remaining things that I'd like to have working are sound through the built-in speakers and some better power management.

Wednesday Sep 12, 2007

Frost Already?

Well, I guess that winter has to come eventually. We're not even done with the other season here in Minnesota (that being Road Construction) and this morning I had frost on my lawn.

90's last week and frost this morning. Bring it on!

Wednesday Nov 08, 2006

Geeky Politics

This gave me a nice chuckle in what is already turning out to be a great day.

Tuesday Nov 07, 2006

Election Day!

The best thing about election day (outside of voting out of office whatever bums you want to vote out) is that you don't have to hear any more political commercials or get annoying phone calls from pollsters! (Actually, I probably have to wait until tomorrow before that happens...)

Get out and vote!

Tuesday Aug 22, 2006

Well it SHOULD just work....

I need to remind myself that I put alpha/beta software on my systems and such software may or may not mess things up at a later date.

In getting my Palm to sync with my laptop, I found that I had to change the permissions on the devices created by the ugen driver. I've been told that this shouldn't be necessary.

Being a troubleshooter, I took a system in my lab and did a fresh load of Solaris 10 06/06 on it and created a regular user. From there, I logged in, connected my Palm to it and used the pilot-xfer command to try to talk to my Palm while it was trying to sync. Specifically, "/usr/sfw/bin/pilot-xfer -p usb: -l" It worked without an issue.

Tracking this down further, I found that the devices that are being created on my laptop when the Palm is trying to sync are owned by root. The ones created on my lab system are owned by the user that is logged into the console. Specifically:

pwags@coredump:/devices/pci@0,0/pci1179,1@1d% ls -l
total 2
drwxr-xr-x   2 root     sys          512 Feb  6  2006 device@1/
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  2 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.cntrl0
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  3 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.cntrl0stat
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  1 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.devstat
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  4 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0in1
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  5 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0in1stat
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  8 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0in6
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  9 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0in6stat
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  6 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0out2
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35,  7 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0out2stat
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35, 10 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0out7
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     sys       35, 11 Aug 22 11:09 device@1:830.61.if0out7stat

Device permissions are controlled by /etc/logindevperm. These files match between my two systems so that's obviously not the problem.

Looks like I need to track things down some more here.

Wednesday Aug 09, 2006

Syncing Palm's with Solaris via USB

Way back when, in the days when I had a nice Palm III, I did a bunch of syncing with my CDE calendar using Pilot Manager (at least that's what I think it was called). It eventually morphed into PDASync, which can still be found in Solaris 10.

The problem was though that it required you to be attached via a serial port. When I got my Palm m505 after my Palm III experienced a sudden stop on the floor one day, life was still good because I bought a serial cradle to go with it. When I recently retired my m505 and got a Tungsten E2 to replace it, I didn't get the serial cradle to go with it. Instead, I started to use the built-in bluetooth interface to sync it with my Mac mini.

That of course, was fine until I realized that I had no way to get my Mac to talk to Sun's EdgeCal (which is our calendar server that is accessable from the internet.) iCal on the Mac isn't designed to talk to a server and the Palm Desktop doesn't talk to a calendar server. To top it off, even if I did get a serial cradle for my Tungsten, PDASync won't talk to EdgeCal.

So I was in a bind. I couldn't use the USB interface on the Tungsten to talk to Solaris. I couldn't use the software for the Mac to talk to EdgeCal and a serial cradle wouldn't buy my anything either. Not good.

Enter Solaris 10 06/06 (Update 2). It has the necessary glue to talk to the Palms via USB. This glue is provided via the SUNWpltlk (pilot-link - Palm Handheld Glue), SUNWgnome-pilot (PalmPilot Link Utilities), and the ugen driver in the SUNWugen (USB Generic Driver) and Evolution.

I suppose that you could just pkgadd the packages to a Solaris 10 install prior to Update 2, but its much easier to just upgrade to Update 2. Plus you'd get ZFS as a bonus.

To start with, configure Evolution (Located in the Java Desktop under "Launch" -> "Applications" -> "Internet" -> "Email and Calendar") to talk to your calendar server or just use your local files.

Also, with Evolution, you'll need to set your default folder to point to your Calendar, otherwise the Palm will always sync with the locally stored calendar. You can set this in Evolution by going to "Tools" -> "Settings" -> "Folder Settings" -> "Default Folders" and selecting the correct entry from "Calendar."

Next, you'll need to change the properties of the ugen driver so that an unprivledged user can read and write to the Palm device. By default, all ugen device entries that are generated have permissions of 0644. Without changing these to 0666, I've only been able to get root to talk to the Palm. So, become root and invoke the following:

# update_drv -a -m '\* 0666 root sys' ugen

Now, changing the permissions to rw for everyone, could be a security risk, so use your best judgement. If there is a better way of accomplishing this, I'd like to know.

From that point, all you need to do is, from Evolution, click on "Tools" -> "Pilot Settings" and follow instructions there.

From there on out, you should be in sync. :)

Tuesday Jul 11, 2006

Gone to the Great Gig In The Sky

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, Dead at the age of 60.


Monday Feb 13, 2006

Installfest on Thursday!

For those that are in the Minneapolis area, you might be interested in the InstallFest that I'll be running ...

Here's the registration link:


Wednesday Dec 21, 2005

Solaris 10 1/06 available!

Solaris 10 1/06 is now available for download.

Phil is an Area Technical Engineer in the Central Area of Oracle's Field Service in North America. He has 15 years of experience supporting Sun's entire product line.


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