Tag Archives: virtual machines

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.

Virtual Machines and Testing

Virtual machines have to be one of the best inventions to test other operating systems or other versions of operating systems.  I use them daily as a way to have different versions of software available under conditions where that would not ordinarily be possible (e.g., I can’t have v5 and v6 running on the same machine).  For personal use they are great for giving a test drive to things like software in the Alpha or Beta version of an OS, or, as I am doing now, testing the resolution emulation of a netbook so I can get an idea of the tolerability of the screen size.

This would be one of my plans for testing Linux more so I don’t have to mess up my host machine.  VMs are safe to run, and what happens in the VM stays in the VM…

So, about the netbook resolution.  First, I was impressed that Kubuntu kept up with the virtual monitor resizing.  I tried to beat xrandr and the basic X11 configuration into stepping down to 1024×576.  No dice, x600 was all it would do.  Then I found the setting in VMware Workstation to tell it that the virtual monitor was 1024×576.  Without a fuss, Kubuntu started and here it is.

The size is a little cramped, but if all I was doing was writing, email, light web browsing, and maybe listening to some music — no problem.  The keyboard size seems to be the one remaining issue that I need to (ab)use a retail store for so I can touch computers with relatively the same keyboard sizing — if not the exact.

So… VMs:  cool.  1024×576:  cramped but tolerable.