OpenSolaris 2008.05 on the Eee PC

Last week at JavaOne, OpenSolaris 2008.05 came out. I already blogged about my neat little Eee PC, which I use for Mail (Thunderbird and extensions), Web (Firefox and extensions) and presenting while on the road. So I decided to give OpenSolaris 2008.05 a try. The 600MB CD image download and burn went quickly. As quickly as attaching a USB CD drive to the Eee PC to boot from. From that on, the path got a little bit more rugged, but nothing insurmountable for the experienced marketeer:


  • First boot from CD looked great, but the EEE PC did not accept any keyboard input when asking for the language! This seems to be a known timing issue (see this bug report on opensolaris.org). The workaround is to add a "-v" to the end of the GRUB boot command. This can be done at the GRUB boot screen by pressing "e", then "e" again, add "-v" to the end, "return" and "b" for boot. After a successful installation, the "-v" workaround can be added permanently to the file "/rpool/boot/grub/menu.lst". Bonus: A lot messages to marvel at while the machine boots.
  • After a full backup of the Linux system on the Eee PC (using System Rescue CD with partimage to an external USB disk), we can start the OpenSolaris Installation process. Hint: Remove all USB connections not in use (external disk, internal SD card). With that stuff connected, my installation stalled at 84%, with that stuff removed, installation finished sucessfully after 70 minutes.
  • First boot of OpenSolaris from the internal 4GB SSD disk ("-v" still needed, see above) went as expected. Now we add the Eee PC version of the Atheros WLAN driver. Download the package, copy to the Eee PC, install as described, and - WOW - the Network Auto-Magic Deamon detects my Wireless Network and asks for a WPA key. Nice.
  • Now that we have network access, we could give IPS, the shiny new package manager, a try. It even comes with a graphical user interface. Finding OpenOffice 2.4 and hitting "Install" is a matter of three mouse clicks.
  • As with Linux, fonts like Arial are also missing in the OpenSolaris default installation. So we have to copy the missing \*.ttf fonts to this target directory: /usr/X11/lib/X11/fonts/TrueType Copy, restart OpenOffice, and we are done.

  • So now I have a tiny machine with Thunderbird, Firefox and OpenOffice - and OpenSolaris 2008.05 to play with on long train rides.
    Kommentare:

    [Trackback] Rolf Kersten managed to install Opensolaris 2008.05 on one of this small EeePC devices. You need some workarounds, but overall the installation is fairly easy with the help of Rolfs article: OpenSolaris 2008.05 on the Eee PC.

    Gesendet von c0t0d0s0.org am Mai 13, 2008 at 12:12 AM MESZ #

    Thanks for an excellent report. I am interested in purchasing the 9" EeePC 20G. How is the battery life when running OpenSolaris as installed. Also, did you experience any of the on-again off-again intermittent wireless connection problem?

    Thanks again.

    Gesendet von wp@hawaiilinux.us am Mai 13, 2008 at 12:43 AM MESZ #

    Battery life is as short as with Linux, sub 2h with wireless enabled. I got intermittent wireless problems when the signal strength was weak. Then namd restarted the ath0 interface more often than needed.

    Gesendet von Rolf Kersten am Mai 13, 2008 at 12:28 PM MESZ #

    Thanks again for the reply! The intermittent wireless connection problem seems to be pretty serious and quite common for Indiana. I am going to file a bugreport. Perhaps you could also do the same to make sure that this problem be solved soon. Thanks.

    Gesendet von W. Wayne Liauh am Mai 13, 2008 at 07:38 PM MESZ #

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