Solaris Notes

On Friday, 10/20/2006, I got myself a couple of Sun Ultra 60 computers from ECS Refining (705 Reed Street, Santa Clara) for $170 total. See here for all of Sun's Ultra 60 hardware documentation (kinda useless, IMO).

Sun gives away their Solaris operating system so I downloaded their latest, Solaris 10, and burned them onto 5 CDs (the Ultra 60's didn't have a DVD drive). I had Solaris 10 up and running within a day.

This is a helpful page on Sun serial consoles.

The serial console needs a null modem and settings of 9600 8N1. If you connect to the female 9-pin port on the back of the PC, it's called COM1.

If things are connected right, after powering up, you'll finally see something at the console after 32 seconds.

If you want to stop the boot from happening so you can wipe out the OS to install something else (or just perform maintenence) or make changes to the NVRAM, then, before the OS starts to load from the HD, (essentially, right after it tells you the hardware ethernet address, but before it says "boot device"), you need to send a "break" signal. On a PC, this is done by holding down the CTRL key and tapping the "Break" key (Pause/Break on most PC keyboards).

If you SHUT OFF YOUR TERMINAL, while it is connected to a running Sun machine, you send a "break" signal down the serial line and the Sun will jump back into the PROM, halting the OS. (This didn't seem to be true on my machines.)

To get it to boot from CD (the default boot device order is disk, then network), at the ok prompt, enter

boot cdrom - nowin

Stumbling Blocks (Differences, Bugs, etc)

See here for a list of useful (and mostly Solaris-specific) commands. For example,

See this Solaris bug opened 6/12/2006, which describes a "hang" when I tried

grep foo /etc/*
The grep hangs on the 2 named pipes in /etc, /etc/initpipe & /etc/utmppipe.
One solution is to use find,
find /etc -type f -exec grep foo {} \; ...
but then that goes down subdirectories.
Another workaround to
for i in *;do if [[ ! -p $i ]];then grep foo $i;fi;done

I screwed up the install, getting the wrong hostname (sol1sol1 instead of sol1), the wrong IP address, and the wrong time zone (I was using the serial console and the TERM was set wrong and the text kept getting all screwed up). I had to change

Solaris comes with the automounter enabled by default, and controlling the /net and /home directories. This becomes a problem when creating a user. Normally, a user's home directory is at /home, but with the automounter controlling /home, root cannot create the /home/raj directory. You get

 mkdir /home/raj
mkdir: Failed to make directory "/home/raj"; Operation not applicable
One solution is to
svcadm disable autofs
vi /etc/auto_master              comment out the /home line
svcadm  enable autofs
You can then do the mkdir /home/raj.

It would be nice to understand what Sun expects one to do for standalone servers.

This page was last updated: Tuesday, 24-Oct-2006 21:31:51 Pacific Daylight Time