I’ve been trying to get Solaris installed on a machine in work, and it’s like banging my head against a brick wall.

Now, I’m aware of the minimum requirements:

  • Disk space: 600 MB for desktops; one GB for servers
  • Memory: 64 MB minimum (128 MB recommended)

And I meet those, pretty much exactly. This is an old, old SPARCstation 10. I got it because I have a major thing for Sun hardware. Mmm. Sun.

It came with Solaris 2.7, but the guy who sold it didn’t know the root password, and I didn’t know enough to get into it and change it (On Linux you can just boot into single mode with “init=/bin/sh” and change things there).

I got Solaris 2.6 and installed it but it just seemed like a really slow and unfriendly generic Unix system. The shell didn’t have job control or support control characters (and backspace helpfully produced ^H). I did load CDE up (via Xvnc, I don’t have a monitor for this system); it looked like the DECwindows I used on my Ultrix machine 8 years ago.

I’m still waiting to be impressed.

So I put NetBSD and OpenBSD on, and they installed quickly, with a minimum of trouble and confusion, and (interactively) seemed much faster.

Recently my interest in Solaris has risen, like this blog entry from Jonathan Schwartz suggests, I’m bored of the Linux upgrade treadmill. The EOL of “proper” RedHat has left me with three rented dedicated servers that have no upgrade path. (Fedora Core, ha ha).

In contrast to my 3 year old now obsolete x86 boxes with RedHat, Solaris 9 boots on my SS10 from 1992, 12 years ago. This machine was EOLed in 1999, but Solaris still runs on it, and that’s still a 7 year lifespan.

Well, it boots.

It says it needs 64Mbs of RAM, but the main Java-based installer borks saying it needs at least 96Mbs of physical RAM.

It says it needs 600Mbs space for a desktop install, but insists on creating a 500Mb swap file to copy the whole of CD1 to if I run /sbin/cd0_install. Then it complains about “Not enough space”, on the 1Gb disk.

Perhaps I’ll pick up a cheap Ultra to play with, or throw Solaris x86 on a spare machine. Anyone with suggestions on getting Solaris installed on a really, really limited machine, please mail me [2020 Note: Please do not email me].

In parting, just to show that Sun hasn’t exactly embraced the Open Source methods it says are its roots:

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