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NetBeans on OpenSolaris

Posted by gsporar on February 27, 2008 at 6:32 PM PST

A while back I wrote a blog entry about how
I have been primarily using Ubuntu.

Meanwhile, the OpenSolaris
folks continue to make progress on creating
a desktop-friendly version of
Solaris. I recently got a nice new
Sony laptop, so after I got Windows Vista and Ubuntu working on it I decided to
try installing OpenSolaris.

Unfortunately, it would not install. I think the problem is
this bug, but I am not certain.
I tried the work around described in the bug, but it did not work for me.
Bottom line was that even after
getting considerable help from some very nice OpenSolaris gurus, I could
not get the install to work with the partition that I had set aside on
the laptop's hard disk.

I thought I was out of luck, and then came the announcement
that Sun is planning to acquire Innotek
(the deal has since been finalized).
I had looked at VirtualBox
briefly several months ago but I did not have an immediate need
for it, so I had never installed it.

Once the announcement came out, several people started
experimenting with it and blogging about it. So I tried it and
it worked - I am typing this blog entry into an .html file using
NetBeans IDE 6.0.1, running on
OpenSolaris Developer Preview 2 (herein after referred to as OSDP2),
which is running in a VirtualBox VM on Windows Vista.

Click the screen snapshot for a full-size version and you will see that NetBeans looks the same
as it does on any other GNOME desktop (I do not know if OpenSolaris
offers KDE or not...):

vbThm.png

There were some rocks in the road. Read on for the full details....

I am using VirtualBox version 1.5.6.
The first problem that I
ran into was that OSDP2 would not install onto a fixed size VirtualBox
virtual drive. I think that is because of a known issue in VirtualBox
version 1.5.4, which is what I was using initially. The workaround is
simple: I installed onto a dynamic virtual drive instead.

There were two significant problems after I installed: no network
access and I could not set the video resolution of OSDP2 to anything
higher than 1024x768. Alan Burlison
has the solution for both
problems in this blog entry.
Note that by default, OSDP2 does not
have an xorg.conf file - it does automatic configuration. So if you want
to use the xorg.conf file that Alan provides, you will not be overwriting
an existing xorg.conf - you will instead just be placing the file into /etc/X11.

Also note that in order to get the instruction that Alan provides for
running the VBoxManage command to work, I had to not only
shutdown the guest VM, but also the VirtualBox user interface itself.

Now comes the big question: Can I use this as my every day
environment? I don't think so - not yet, anyway. The lag time as
I type is very noticeable and using the mouse can be a bit
frustrating. I am hoping those are just video/mouse driver
problems. VirtualBox has guest operating system "Guest Additions" that
help solve some of these issues. Unfortunately,
there are no "Guest Additions" available for Solaris yet.
Hopefully that will soon change.

In the meantime, it is good enough that I can use it to experiment with things
such as the NetBeans DTrace plugin. :-)