Tag Archives: solaris

Solaris 10 (Intel) and Documentum

So I previously, and ecstatically, posted about running Solaris 10 in a VM.  While that worked nicely, there was a killer detail I overlooked.  The goal was to run Documentum Content Server in that VM.  But, alas, the installer is for an UltraSPARC processor so the bundled JRE failed miserably.

While there might be a way to trick the basic Linux installer to work in an Intel/Solaris-10 configuration, it is more prudent to switch over to CentOS 5.3 to emulate a RHEL 5.3 install.  Oracle can be coerced into installed on CentOS 5.3 (did it for Fedora Core a couple years ago), and the EMC|Documentum CS is none-the-wiser about the RHEL clone (well… I’m hoping that is still the case).

Today drips with geekdom, and it is good.

Solaris 10 in a VM

I had the chance today to assist a coworker install Solaris 10 in a VM.  The last time I used Solaris in any meaningful was was Solaris 7, I think.  But I could be such a geek that I am mixing that up with the arena planet in Battletech…  but back to the point.  I never thought I would see the several things that I saw.  I was very surprised at how well this went given relative ignorance of a Solaris installation.

The most noteworthy surprise I believe is in actually seeing Solaris run on non-SPARC architecture.  That’s been how long it has been since I’ve sat at a SPARCstation and been meaningful with Solaris.  I did a Documentum install/config on Solaris last year, but that is different — if you’ve installed it on one ‘nix, you’ve installed it on them all (except for Solaris’ damn penchant for useless, superfluous directory levels…).

The second biggest surprise is… free.  I’m trying to figure out the catch here.  We downloaded the ISO, installed it, and never was there something that said in so few words “you must pay for this or enter a license key”.  It just worked.

The biggest challenge was in getting the partitions setup the way we needed them.  Of key importance was getting the swap partitions setup so that Oracle (10) would run at all.  I will draw your attention to setting up the swap space.  That was fun.  But that was fun only after I figured out how to partition on Solaris.  It works nothing like Windows or Linux, and I am glad I remembered my acronyms so that c0d0p0s0 made sense to me.   Unlike anything else I’ve done, the partition is not what I expected and the slices are what I expected the partitions to be.  A little trial-and-error helped me figure that one out pretty easily — and a couple of web searches, albeit none very informative about what I was seeing.  Many kudos here to SUN (Oracle) for having such a clear and clean installer.

The swap space was perhaps the strangest thing I have setup.  We made the primary filesystems UFS, and when it came to the swap space, all you do is call it “swap” … just like calling root “/” and any of the other mount points by their appropriate path.  In the end, the three swap spaces we defined (to get 3GB) just simply existed and were implicitly understood to be of fstype “swap”.  Huh…

Finally, I have to say I like what they did with Gnome… at least, I think it is Gnome.  They molded it into a very familiar paradigm (more like KDE3 than typical Gnome), and it was quite easy to navigate.  It still had some of that 1980s feel to it, but how could it not.  It would be a shame if it were to look too bleeding-edge.  {har har}

I will be interested to see the final results.  I have installed Oracle on UNIX before, but never on Solaris.  This is all to facilitate a client in upgrading a system and move it from either “Oracle on SunOS4” (ACK!) or “Oracle on Solaris 2” over to MS SQL Server on Windows Server 2008.  Yes, you read that right — I don’t understand, but I won’t bait for debait {har har}.

Overall, this makes today more interesting than other days, and definitely worth of a technology note.  Solaris in a VM.  Amazing.  I love it.  There is even a VirtualBox appliance that can be downloaded.  I am tempted to do it just for the fun of it because I still get the yearning to tinker away at Solaris from time to time.  It was the ‘nix I cut my teeth on, and it will always have a place in my geeky little heart.

Why I Chose Linux

There are many jokes among some people why I chose Linux.  I’ll work backwards from least to most familiar.

I decided against Mac mostly based on price.  The second issue was hardware tinkerability (which has improved since their move to the Intel hardware).  The third issue was software tinkerability (I know there are ways to do some of what I want, but certainly not to the extent that I want).  Maybe somewhere in a distant fourth was the ability to emulate some of the Windows games I wanted to run (but I think Parallels can address that now, even down to the DirectX and 3GL rendering).  At the end of the day, if I wanted a computer that “just worked”  I would chose a Mac; it was first on the list for my wife to look at when we replaced her Windows laptop for that very reason.

I decided to abandon Microsoft because of reasons that are probably too volatile to express here.  (I’ve already made the mistake of going contrary to that intention).  I think the least volatile is cost — I didn’t like the accumulating price tag for running the OS.  Ultimately, a “Windows machine” would have kept me compatible with what appears to be the mainstream.  I did have to give up some games (which I no longer really have time for), and a few other trivial pieces of software that I can no longer remember.

I decided against *the system* I really wanted because of cost alone:  a Solaris workstation.  They are nice, but they are priced for companies, not “normal people”.  In my continuing theme of “in the final evaluation” … there is _no_ practical use for me to own a Solaris system.  I just have a lingering soft-spot in my heart for SUN workstations.

My foremost decision on Linux was … can you see the theme … it is free.  Yes, my altruistic step was selfishly financial.  Now, that was my foremost reason.  I do like the fact that I can easily choose the window manager independent of the OS.  I can’t help it, that is something I believe should be separable in an OS because the window manager is not the OS.  But I risk tangenting here, so I’ll stop there.  Probably my dead last reason was the open source factor.  It is neat; but I honestly have never directly interacted with that facet of my decision.  I have compiled a few pieces of software, but have yet to compile a kernel or a window manager.  I could compile software on Mac or Windows if I wanted to so I don’t really see that act as delving into the “open source aspect”.

One of the things I have found very nice is the support and community around the specific distribution I chose.  That was a criteria I shopped around for… so maybe that really should be my second reason.  Yes, believe it or not community support for a “free” operating system exists, and works.  I have been very impressed with the bugs I have filed and the responses I have received in addition to the questions I have posed on the forums or existing answers I have found for my questions.  I know I like to have insight into any given process, and this “feels better” than the “black box bug filing” against other operating systems.  (Aside:  I have heard good stories about Apple and Microsoft support, I have just personally never experienced the same level of quality.  As the saying goes “your mileage may vary”.)

So there it is spelled out in black-and-white for the very first time.  Cost, support, configurability, customizability, tinkerability, and open source (with “open standards” where possible).

That being said, I have run into several pitfalls with Linux; though none yet insurmountable. I’ll leave those to subjects of future posts.