Solaris 10 laptop installation

I killed it. Actually, I killed both of them. The Windows and JDS/Linux partitions on my laptop. Done with premeditation prior to installing Solaris 10 on my Tecra M2. Read on for the details.

Preparation

I burned four CDs using an internal mirror of the same bits available at the Solaris 10 Download page -- you know, the lounging Sumo wrestler page.

I had some trouble locating the installation documents. Oddly, the Unofficial installation guide for Solaris on x86 systems, which is available directly from the download page is 1) unoffical, 2) seemingly for Solaris 9.

I suggest instead visiting our excellent online document repository--in particular, the Solaris 10 collection. A link to the collection is also on the download page -- it's here. The documents you'll want are in the Release and Installation collection. Look at these two: Basic Installations and Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations.

Also, be sure to check the Solaris Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to make sure your laptop is supportedand because there may be important hints--like turning off legacy USB FDD support in your BIOS before installing. The installation hangs mysteriously on a Tecra M2 if you don't take care of this. Check the HCL!

Installation

If you read the installation documents, the procedure is mostly straightforward. I did get tripped up on one question: Did I want to do a Networked or Non-Networked installation? I chose Networked, reasoning that a laptop is usually networked, albeit intermittently.

When the Networked installation finished and the machine rebooted, I was presented with the standard Solaris dtlogin screen. I logged in using my usual UNIX username and password. My home directory was automounted. All local printers were accessible. I could get to all of the usual set of remote file systems. Etc, etc. When we say The Network is the Computer, we mean it...the machine was totally integrated into our network and the installation procedure that got me there was quite straightforward. Kudos to the Solaris installation team!

Of course, it was pretty clear that this wasn't the right configuration for a laptop--it was TOO integrated for a nomadic machine. So I reinstalled using the Non-Networked option.

This time when I rebooted, root was my only login option since no user accounts had yet been created. To be expected. But, man, when they say "Non-networked" they really mean NO NETWORK. :-( Once the installation was completed, it was up to me to manually configure the machine for networking and I'm still working on fixing up the last few bits to make it usable. Thanks, by the way, to a particular expat British software engineer for some helpful pointers on network setup.

I'd like to see us apply some of our installation talent to creating a truly nomadic installation option. In the meantime, I'm getting by.

One caveat to the above story. Everything I said is true, but the subsequent problems I had configuring the Xorg server for this laptop were as bad as the Solaris installation was good. More on this at some point when my blood pressure has stabilized.



Comments:

I'm keeping notes of my installation which went fairly well except for a few hiccups. I've collected a bunch of useful stuff that will help you get you up and running with relative ease. I would recommend going with the latest S11 Nevada build to take advantage of the new boot architecture. Shoot me an e-mail...

Posted by Wayne Abbott on May 24, 2005 at 08:26 PM EDT #

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