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Solaris First Impressions

Posted by paranoiabla on September 21, 2007 at 4:49 AM PDT

Hi guys,


On Monday I got the server (x86 platform using Xeon Server Dual Core) I had order, and I immediately started installing it.
My desire was to set up on it some king of a Unix (say Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc). I downloaded the Solaris image, burned it and was ready to start
having fun. My server doesn't have a DVD, God only knows why since I ordered it
explicitly with a DVD. So I started planning of using an external DVD. I bought the
external DVD player, placed the disk inside and installation started. I was following
this tutorial:

http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/howtoguides/installationhowto.jsp

but strangely enough, I didn't get the windows that are shown, but instead, I got
a nice blue linux-like-installation screen. After the few questions about the Language, Network,
Date/Time, Security and Remote Service Management I got a really strange error, saying
"No disks were found". After this a new terminal appeared and, indeed the Solaris couldn't
recognize my hard disks. Although, they seem like a pretty normal HDDs:
"Western Digital Caviar SE 80 GG, SATA II 300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache".
So my next guess, was of course to google a little bit, and after a while I found that the
problem was caused by the fact that my disks were not formatted, and so didn't have
a solaris label. So I installed Slax on my USB and booted the server with it.
I formatted and partitioned the disks. Then booted the Solaris
again, but the same thing happened again. So I started googling further. Another suggestion
that was made was that my RAID controller wasn't recognized. So I disabled it from the BIOS, and
tried again. This time the problem was something else. My disks were recognized, but the install
program replied that the disk I was using wasn't a Solaris installation disk. And again the sh
prompt, which by the way, is really hard to cope with. I checked the /cdrom and it turned out that Solaris couldn't mount the external DVD on the hard
disk for some reason. So I had to do it all by myself.

mount -F pcfs /dev/dsk/c5t0d0s0:c /cdrom

after which the installation went smoothly. So to sum up, everything seems really nice with
this OS, but probably the guys from the Solaris dev. team should really think about:

  • improving the hardware support (for instance the RAID support and the external DVD).
  • maybe improving the documentation a little bit.
  • using the bash shell instead of the sh shell.

Just some thoughts, I had been thinking about the last three days...

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