Getting started with Solaris 10

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: The Solaris Operating System doesn't need any introduction. It's one of the most popular UNIX-based operating systems developed by Sun Microsystems for its SPARC platform as well as the x86 and x86-64 based workstations and servers. Solaris 10 was released in early 2005, and has undergone many upgrades since then.


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USP: Key features and how to install Solaris 10

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Starting this month, we'll take you through the world of Solaris and how to make the most of it. We'll start with a features overview and and how to install and get started with Solaris on the x86 platform. In later issues, we'll delve deeper into the key features, and how to configure and use them.

Key features

Compared to previous releases, many significant improvements have been brought in Solaris 10 in networking, data management, and installation. Plus, there are many components in it that you'll not find in most other Operating Systems. Here's a quick overview of those features:


Solaris Dynamic Tracing: short for DTrace, the feature helps developers debug applications in realtime, and one doesn't need to reboot the system to start the process.

Solaris Containers: These allow each application in Solaris to run in an isolated environment just like the usual 'Application virtualization' concept.

Solaris installation menu allows you to choose from a graphical installation or a manual step-by-step, or a simple command line based installation


Predictive Self Healing: A feature with which the system recovers itself automatically in case of any fault in software or hardware.

Solaris Zettabyte File System: ZFS is the file system in Solaris 10, which has many good features like an end-to-end checksum for all data, better performance, higher scalability, and much more.

Solaris Trusted Extensions: A new feature in Solaris 10, which separates data security policies from data ownership.




Installing Solaris 10

We've given an ISO of Solaris 10 on this month's 'PCQXtreme' DVD. Burn it on a DVD and boot any x86 system from it. We suggest you have at least 512 MB RAM and 7 GB of free hard drive space on the system.

You can choose to install the complete Solaris OS or use it as a server for developers or end users, in which case users would login remotely as thin clients and use it

The installation of Solaris is initiated by Grub and unlike other OSs, there are more manual steps involved in it. Like Linux distro installations, Solaris also gives two installation options: graphical and text modes. For selecting the graphical mode choose the 'Solaris Interactive' option, else press 'F2' to install in text mode.

Next select the language you want to use during the installation and click on 'Next.' An installation program welcome screen greets you, showing the list of information that will be collected from you during the installation process and in the next step you will see a Solaris 10 welcome screen. Having two welcome screens in an installation process is something undesirable and could be easily integrated to reduce the number of steps.

Apart from all the server class apps for managing different services you can also find regular office apps like StarOffice, mail client, web browser, etc

Next you have to choose the action to be performed after the installation is complete: automatically restart and eject the media or complete the process manually. Doing manually is better because any ways you have to remove the DVD from the drive to prevent it from restarting the installation. Select the media you will be installing from, which in our case is DVD. Other options are CD or over the network.


The remaining installation steps are pretty much similar to any other OS installation. You have to accept the license agreement, select from default or custom installation, or even a 'non-networked' option, in which the machine will not have any networking capabilities.

Then you can choose to assign the OS an IP or take it from a nearby DHCP server running on your network. If you're assigning it an IP yourself, then the OS will automatically detect all the network cards in the machine. You'll then have to manually enter the IP address, subnet mask, and card name for each network card. You'll then have to give a machine name, after which it asks whether you want to enable IPv6. If your network has support for it, then enable the same.

Finally, it shows you a 'ready to install' screen with a summary of what you selected for installation, layout of the HDD, file system, etc. Click on 'Install Now' button to start the installation. Once the installation is completed, and you'll be shown a Terminal screen. Simply type '#reboot' on this terminal to reboot the system.

Remove the DVD and reboot. Your Solaris 10 system is ready to be configured.

Post Installation

Once the installation is done, Solaris automatically boots into its GUI, giving you a normal login and splash screen. Interestingly, Solaris 10 contains both server as well as desktop applications like StarOffice 7, Gimp, and the usual web browser, mail client, etc.

Getting used to configuring and using Solaris will take some time, and we'll talk about it in more detail in the n ext issue.