Hi, This is Ashwin Bhat K S the SUN CAMPUS AMBASSADOR of NITK Surathkal India, and i will be telling about my experiences with Opensolaris 2008.05. [ THE LIVE CD WHICH TAKES THE LEAST TIME TO INSTALL ] This Blog is more focussed on Desktop and Laptop usage of OpenSolaris. In the Server Side its no secret Solaris Rules with Features like ZFS, Predictive Self Healing, DTrace, Zones etc which rule the Data Centre and simplify Administration and MAnagement.

My SUN BLOG – http://blogs.sun.com/ashwin

At the end is a list of Links which will help any Solaris enthusiast be it Sysadmin / Developer / End User . Do remember to see them.

Let me start with some really cool features and interesting stuff.

I Downloaded the Live CD from the OpenSolaris Website. It was an ISO around 685 MB. You could also order a Free Live CD which sun will ship to your Doorstep.

Live CD is a computer operating system that is executed upon boot, without installation to a hard disk drive. Typically, the LiveDistro is named after the bootable medium it is stored on, such as a CD-ROM or DVD (Live CD/DVD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB).

The term “live” derives from the fact that these “distros”, or software distributions, each contain a complete, functioning and operational operating system on the distribution medium. A LiveDistro does not alter the operating system or files already installed on the computer hard drive unless instructed to do so. LiveDistros often include mechanisms and utilities for more permanent installation, including disk partitioning tools. The default option, however, is to allow the user to return the computer to its previous state when the LiveDistro is ejected and the computer is rebooted. It is able to run without permanent installation by placing the files that typically would be stored on a hard drive into RAM, typically in a RAM disk. However, this does cut down on the RAM available to applications, reducing performance somewhat. As of 2007, certain LiveDistros run a graphical user interface in as little as 32MB RAM.

SO you could Play around with the cool features of OS without affecting your hard disk.

First i would like to tell about my experiences with installation.

I put the Live CD inside my CD ROM Drive and in 2 minutes i had the OpenSolaris Live CD running with a cool Desktop Background. it was bundled with the latest Build 86 of the famous Solaris Kernel.

Solaris Works really cool with the NVIDIA Graphics Card and I am lucky to have it my Laptop. So i had no trouble whatsoever with the GUI Working wonderful and fine. In case anybody has any problem with the gui they can type this command $ gdm or just leave a comment for this blog. I can help you with xorg configuration just in case. I recommend Opensolaris folks to buy a laptop or a Desktop with an NVIDIA Graphics Card

Live CD

There is complete Documentation in the Firefox link provided in Desktop of Live CD. ( Getting Started with OpenSolaris 2008.05 ) This includes installation Procedure , Dual Boot instructions, Solaris Basic System Administration etc and other useful fundae.

There were a couple of interesting Features I noticed. First was a device Driver Utility. This detected almost all my drivers in the System except for my network card , Wi-fi and AUDIO ( which are all available for download in the Internet) .

But there was an option for me to submit my Device Configuration to the BigAdmin Portal Hardware Compatibility List so that they can get the Drivers Well integrated into the next BIG Release.

The next BIG Thing is the easiest to use CAIMAN INSTALLER. I found it amazing and even a newbie computer user would find it easy to install Opensolaris. In just 6-7 Clicks OpenSolaris was installed. TO install OpenSolaris from live CD you need to Double click the INSTALL Icon waiting to be clicked on the Desktop.

When you click NEXT you get to give your partition Options. I already had a Primary Partition of 39.1 GB Free out of the 150 GB Hard Disk. So i just selected SOLARIS in the Partition Type Field.

In case you did not have a primary partition you could use Gparted Live CD to do so. My advice to guys is not to use partition magic as it damages your MBR sometimes. If you have Linux already installed you could use the command format or parted. If you have Windows then Control panel -> Administrative tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management You could right click on any partition , create a partition delete a partition etc and make necessary primary partition required by Solaris . Extended Partition support for installation is a project which is going on and we would soon see extended partition install support for Solaris. The Image for Changing partition configuration through windows is here

Select Your Country , Date, TIme, etc. Even a New born could do this πŸ˜‰ And then say NEXT

Select your Language Options.

Enter Root Password and Fill in other User related Details. Don’t Forget to give a good name for your COMPUTER.

So all Installation options are listed and OpenSolaris will wait for your Approval to install itself. Just Say INSTALL.

50 % of the installation took hardly 7 minutes. That was amazingly Fast.

In another 20 minutes OpenSolaris in running in your Bare Metal. Congratulations. πŸ˜‰ Good Job Done. You could also try to install opensolaris 2008.05 as a virtual machine / guest using XVM VIRTUALBOX

I felt that OpenSolaris 2008.05 was the fastest Live CD which i could install. It beat even Knoppix.

Belenix which uses Gzip / Lofi / HSFS compression and OpenSolaris 2008.05 which uses LZMA Compression are the fastest live CDs currently existing. This is a little known Fact. More than 3.5 GB of Packages is compressed to less than 700 MB. Thats amazing Compression ratio.

Installation is complete and Press Reboot. Remember to take the CD out of the CD ROM Tray.

When the System reboots you get a message that 139 SMF Services are started. Also you see that ZFS FIlesystem is being used. Note ZFS is used as a Root Filesystem in this Release.

ZFS Automounts the various Filesystems. So administering Filesystems is so easy. Just 2 Commands – $ zfs and $ zpool.

GNOME is the Desktop Environment and it really looks cool.

To know the power of ZFS Just watch this video.

Now for the Really big one… IAN Packaging System.. Just Kidding. The Image packaging system is a great way to install packages from a network repository. IPS Server currently supports 4464 Packages. Thats really cool.

  • The COOLEST Feature that i liked about OpenSolaris was the IMAGE PACKAGING SYSTEM ( IPS ). Have a look at the list of packages in the IPS server. There are 4464 packages currently being supported by the IPS server.
  • OpenSolaris 2008.05 also supports SVR4 Packages in .pkg format. So we do have SVR4 backward Compatibility using pkg-get / pkgadd . Those packages can be installed from BLASTWAVE
  • I found a cool link which compares apt-get and IPS (pkg) commands – http://opensolaris.org/os/community/documentation/apt_ips/
  • Installing Packages never got easy. Its just a simple command.
  • Netbeans – $ pkg install netbeans
  • OpenOffice Suite – $ pkg install openoffice
  • Sun Studio express – $ pkg install sunstudioexpress
  • Glassfish Application Server v2 – $ pkg install glassfishv2
  • Web stack tools and UI – $ pkg install webstackui
  • any problem ? just do a $ man pkg and all options along with parameters are displayed.

This was by command line.

There is also a GUI to manage ( Add / Update / Remove ) Packages.

Now i needed MYSQL to be installed in my Laptop. Installing MYSQL is as easy as demonstrated below using the Package Manager GUI.

Go to System -> Administration -> Package Manager in the Menu of Title Bar. You would get a GUI Something like this.

This lists all the available Packages. Type MYSQL in the field provided.

And then i select SUNMySQL5 , the Mysql Server. But wait these have some dependencies. IPS is cool enough to know the dependencies and resolve them automatically. πŸ˜‰ WOW thats great. If you notice, Below there are three tabs namely General Info, Files Details, Dependencies. The Files Details tab tells you where this package would be installed in your Disk. I feel this is very useful so that we can add this to our PATH variable.

Dependencies being resolved in a royal way πŸ˜‰ A user need not break his head regrading dependencies. This i believe is one of the cool features in Opensolaris 2008.05.

Sit and watch as Solaris installs MYSQL from the network. You could meanwhile have a tea break. Mysql would be installed in /usr/mysql.

Uninstalling Packages, Updating Packages can also be done using the Package Manager which uses IPS written in Python Programming Language.


OpenSolaris is never short of cool features. COMPIZ Desktop effects are very well integrated into OpenSolaris 2008.05 and extremely easy to configure.

To turn on compiz desktop effects go to System->Preferences->Appearances

In the Visual Effects Tab Click on Extra Radio Button.

Click on Appearance…

Click the Extra Button to enhance / turn on Compiz Desktop settings.


Some other Cool Compiz Effects

Somebody call the fire Engine πŸ˜‰ My Desktop is burning.

Desktop Burning

There is also a CompizCOnfig Settings Manager in System->Preferences->CompizCOnfig Settings Manager where one can enable/ disable various Compiz Effects.

Some other features.

  • The Default shell was bash. πŸ™‚ Great going. This is one significant improvement over the previous Bourne (sh) Shell.
  • Lot of GNU Utilities are also available in /usr/gnu/bin

GNU Utilities

  • GNOME Environment Rocks. This is a cool enhancement over JDS.
  • I downloaded HD Audio drivers from Opensound
  • Another Great feature with this release is that it comes up with ZFS root, i.e The root Filesystem is ZFS. So one does not have to create zpools, mount filesystems etc . Everything is done automatically and so easy to use.
  • Also Solaris is great in Networking. I installed the driver and absolutely nothing else. I could Connect to Internet through he DHCP Server. ( With Zero Configuration ). Network Auto Magic ( NWAM ) is already configured and it was a great experience. ( In the Previous Release i had to use the command $ svcadm enable network/pysical:nwam or svcadm enable nwam so that solaris could detect my Internet connection) All that is history now.
  • As usual DTrace, SMF, Zones/Containers , Predictive Self Healing etc are always there.
  • One could also try Project Crossbow and play around with VNICS ( Virtual NICs), Flows etc. ( this is useful mainly for SysAdmins )

Some of the features I would like to see added in the future releases so that OpenSolaris becomes still more user friendly are ( in order of priority)

  • More Drivers ( Network and Wireless ).
  • Integrated GStreamer Plugins.
  • OpenSolaris 2008.05 Live DVD to support more packages in DVD itself.
  • KDE as a choice for the Desktop Environment
  • Extended Partition support for Solaris.


  1. Since i am a student I will start with resources that help with Education / research and curriculum – http://opensolaris.org/os/community/edu/
  2. ( My Favourite ) Introduction to Operating System through OpenSolaris – http://opensolaris.org/os/community/edu/curriculum_development/
  3. OpenSolaris Home Page – http://www.opensolaris.org/os/
  4. OpenSolaris 2008.05 Home Page – http://www.opensolaris.com/
  5. BIGADMIN – a one stop portal for System Administrators, Developers and users – http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/home/index.html
  6. OpenSolaris 2008.05 Download Page – http://www.opensolaris.com/get/
  7. Introduction to Solaris Development Environment – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/820-0696/feafr?a=view
  8. Solaris Software developer Collection including Doc on Writing Device Drivers – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/coll/45.26
  9. OpenSolaris 2008.05 Forums – http://forums.opensolaris.com/index.jspa
  10. OpenSolaris 2008.05 Knowledge Centre – http://www.opensolaris.com/learn/
  11. Getting Started with IPS – http://opensolaris.org/os/community/documentation/May2008/
  12. Download Virtual Box ( to run multiple Guests on OpenSolaris as Host or run OpenSolaris as a guest on Other Hosts) – http://www.virtualbox.org/
  13. Browse OpenSolaris Source Code with a great search engine BAsed on OpenGrok : http://src.opensolaris.org/source/
  14. OpenSolaris Download Centre where other flavours like Belenix, SXCE are present – http://www.opensolaris.org/os/downloads/
  15. Current OpenSolaris source code tarball Download Page – http://dlc.sun.com/osol/on/downloads/
  16. Help / pod cast showing usage of IPS GUI Manager – http://frsun.downloads.edgesuite.net/sun/08D12331/index.html
  17. OpenSolaris Communities – http://www.opensolaris.org/os/communities/#all
  18. OpenSolaris Projects where you could participate – http://www.opensolaris.org/os/projects/#all
  19. OpenSolaris Mailing Lists where you could post your queries – http://www.opensolaris.org/os/discussions/
  20. OpenSolaris Jive Forums – http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/index.jspa?categoryID=1
  21. OpenSolaris Technical Essentials – http://www.sun.com/training/catalog/operating_systems/WS-1000-OS.html
  22. Accessing Windows / ext2 / ext3 Partition in Solaris – http://blogs.sun.com/pradhap/entry/mount_ntfs_ext2_ext3_in
  23. Modular Debugger Guide – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/816-5041
  24. Solaris Dynamic Tracing Guide – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817-6223
  25. Solaris ZFS Administration Guide – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/819-5461
  26. Solaris Dtrace User Guide – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/819-5488
  27. Learning Solaris docs – http://learningsolaris.com/docs/
  28. Solaris How to Guides – http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/howto_guides.jsp
  29. Solaris Containers – resource management – http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817-1592
  30. Jim Grisanzio’s ( OpenSolaris Community Development Manager) Weblog – http://blogs.sun.com/jimgris/
  31. Booting Solaris in 32 bit mode : http://blogs.sun.com/ajaykumar/entry/boot_solaris_in_32_bit
  32. OpenSolaris 2008.05 and VMWare Fusion – http://blogs.sun.com/souvik/entry/getting_started_with_opensolaris_2008

More Links to come πŸ˜‰


15 responses »

  1. Rajesh says:

    Hi Ashwin,

    Great Job!!!!!!!!! This is incredibly amazing… Much appreciated.

  2. Anil says:

    Hey ashwin,
    thanks for the info sounds really cool.. the next distro which i will be trying will be this one surely.. i even ordered for the cd and could’nt believe that it is for free πŸ˜‰ ;;

  3. otama says:

    I’ve just got my cd today, and your review helped me a lot, thxs πŸ™‚

  4. Saloni Arya says:

    hey ashwin, nice entry man!!!
    really kewl[:)]…

  5. […] on May 5, 2008. It isn’t a step by step technical review, but it is good nonetheless. Another review was recently written by Ashwin Bhat K S about his experiences with OpenSolaris 2008.05. He used a […]

  6. Sogy says:

    Hi Bhatta,

    Nice blog , one problem that every *nix user faces in college is that packages have to be downloaded from the net and you know how nicely the net works there , they block all kinds of ports cut it anytime. So if you could tell if it is possible to have a local repository say in my harddisk itself and use it directly in the package manager. So that i can run up to netinn and get the packages πŸ™‚

    Pretty nitkian comment isn’t it.
    Looking forward to a post on the above topic .
    Have a nice day

  7. Sogy says:


    2 comments a day keeps the bhatta gay(Happy and not what you are thinking)

    Hey bhatta is opensolaris available for 64bit. I’ve amd athlon. i found only 1 link of download in the site. so clarify man

  8. fuyichin says:

    A good review on solaris installation, a good blog. Keep it up!

  9. ashwinbhatks says:

    yea opensolaris can detect whether your machine is 32 or 64 bit and do the needful

  10. Sushant Taneja says:

    Hey, its a great review of the Open Solaris installation.

    As mentioned, I have a problem with my Graphics Card, its ATI X1250 and since Solaris does not come bundled with ATI Graphics Card drivers, I am facing difficulties and confusion in the other option of installation.

    Could you please help me out with it??

    You can mail me at: sushant.taneja87@gmail.com

  11. Ajay Kumar says:

    Waooo, What a review πŸ™‚
    Thanks a lot for providing the links. U rock πŸ˜‰

  12. aditya says:

    cool bhatta,
    desktop looks really familiar with gnome and all.
    what a race ! (of course with linux! ther’s no denying it, is there?)

  13. Ankit says:

    Congrats for the review award..!! Party’s awaited.. πŸ™‚

  14. lokesh says:

    It is very much usefull for begginers…….
    thanks a lot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s