OpenSolaris 2008.11 on the kids computer

OK, colour me impressed.

We got a hold of a "broken" computer today. After replacing the power supply and putting on an old 9gb disk (the previous owner wanted to keep the disk) I started wondering what I was going to put on it. So it occurred to me that I really should try to put OpenSolaris on it, as I think it should do most of what the kids want.

Downloaded the image from opensolaris.com and burned the cd image. Note to self, don't try to burn a cd image while running itunes, downloading a podcast and playing second life under XP. It's a good way to have a write underrun and burn a coaster.

Put it into the machine and booted it. Lovely, came straight up into the live cd. Hmmm, but no network. Dived into the device assistant and it noted I had a Via ethernet and needed the vfe driver, for which it kindly pointed me at homepage2.nifty.com/mrym3/taiyodo/eng/. A little bit of finger trouble later, I found the compiled version of the amd64 driver for it and installed it. Reading the README.txt is a good idea, as I left a step out and was wondering why I had no network. The trick was, ...

$ rm Makefile
$ ln -s Makefile.amd64_gcc Makefile
$ pfexec make install
$ pfexec ./adddrv.sh

That last step is vital.

Just to be safe I rebooted (it's late on the Monday of a long weekend and my brain is not working real great) and it came back with a network and everything looks honky dory.

Given this is for the kids and they spend a lot of time on You Tube and Club Penguin, I needed flash installed. I did a quick bit of googling and found something that I should have known from my day job (like I said, late n the Monday of a long weekend), in that if I went to pkg.sun.com/register and using my Sun Online credentials that I could register for the Extras repository and there was a package for flash in there.

Well I did this but stil had some trouble as it kept telling me that my certificate date was in the future. OK This one I could figure out. This did used to run windows, so the time on teh machine was an hour slow because of how windows set the clock for summer time. Easily fixed:

$ pfexec ntpdate 0.pool.ntp.org

And getting back through the screen saver that obviously came up :).

OK, now it liked the certificates and I could install flash, and successfully look at youtube after a firefox restart.

The final step was to make a new account for my 10 year old son.

Now the smoke test. I had him login. He immediately brought firefox up with no prompting from me. A few web sites later he is happily playing on Club Penguin.

We'll see how this runs for them over the next few weeks.

I'm pretty happy with how this has gone down so far.

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* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre


Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him

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