Installing Solaris

Every once in a while -- every year or two, as it happens -- I need to install Solaris on a SPARC machine here at home. From a Linux server.

This, you might think, shouldn't be too hard a thing to do. And you'd be right: it's not. What is hard to do, however, is configure your Linux server correctly, as the various scripts and whatnot that Sun provide aren't entirely suited to the GNU tools, and have a tendency to break.

Not good.

So, here is a shortlist of issues you may face when attempting this. Google is not always helpful, and to save me the usual three hours or so it takes to work all this lot out again from first principles, here's a list of what goes wrong, how to fix it, and how to identify the problems. I make no apologies for being somewhat terse and assuming you know what you're doing; you're installing Solaris: if you don't understand how to dd something to somewhere, you're in the wrong job.

Please note that for the purposes of this demonstration, I'm installing Solaris 10.hw0606 as it happens to have a SCSI driver for the machine I'm eventually going to be installing on that doesn't barf on a 2TB LUN. These hints and problems aren't in any particular order, as the thought to write them all down has come somewhat late in the day and I've almost finished it now. Server is a home-built AMD64 PC running Debian testing/unstable, with a custom kernel (at present) named 'newdesktop'. Client is a Netra T1 105, with an entire 256MB RAM and a couple of old SCSI discs, to be called 'newmach' (for reasons which are unlikely to become clear, although they do exist).

Without further ado:

That's it for the moment. Any questions, corrections, or clarifications, let me know. No HTML mail, please; my spam filter has something of a dislike of it, and generally files it appropriately.

© 2007-2009 Dickon Hood <> (20071230; last updated 20091222)