OpenSolaris 2008.11 on Acer AspireOne (Part II: Installation & Exploring)

Welcome back to 2nd articles about reviewing of OpenSolaris & this could be the last one I share you. The first part of it you may view here. If you have tried the live CD yet & certainly to continue to installation session then you must be sure about on where disk the OS will be placed. Since the manual documentation about it not touching very deeply, so I thought that this wouldn’t be a big problem – it is a common way to set Unix OS families – but then I was wrong. There’s some facts I found regarding to it:

Can’t Install on Logical Partition
This is rules that hasn’t documented very well yet. OpenSolaris setup will reject the installation if your dedicated space located on logical partitions; this is a contrary way on Mac OS or Linux. I found this when I have my last partition tables on my AspireOne. Take a look at below picture:

The green box refers to target partition which is currently installed with Fedora 7 & located on logical partition (7GB). With this situation - which I thought it wouldn’t rise a problem - I determined to install it no matter what. I then insert the CD, plugged-in external DVD drives, turn on the netbook, switch BIOS to boot the CD & let the live CD to run, just like the 1st article did.

After live CD completely loaded, you may found an install shortcut on desktop or jack’s desktop directory in file browser. Just double click on it.

The install wizard will start to run, but it only shows primary partition on Disk wizard! You see that my target partition is behind on EXT LBA partition type (91GB).

Based on this, I then go back to Windows to re-make the partition so that 7GB logical partition becomes a primary. Below picture show you what my partition table look like now (see that yellow part defined as BF type partition):

Once again, I run the live CD to start the installation wizard & voila… it has no problem anymore since I select that 7GB primary BF partition as target. Anyway, installation goes on smoothly without creating any problem. An article show you a complete installation of 2008.05 version (similarly to 2008.11) from A to Z, just click here to see.

This installation running on AspireOne will take approximately about 45-50 minutes, but I don’t have question about that. After giving it a bit of patient – finally - my first login was really a good experience... a decent wallpaper, slim design, attractive look and feel. Everything was pretty great. A GNOME default desktop.

A Bit Differ File System
Now, let’s take a look around on file browser (GNOME Nautilus). On picture below, you may see that the file system structure is a bit differs than any Unix OS families. There’s an additional system directories such as export, kernel, net, platform, rmdisk, rpool & system. Well, we’ll figured it out some later. By the way, my pendrive (USB mass storage device) was automatically detected in the system, check out an icon on the left panel (1.0 GB Media).

A weird thing happened since I doubt to describe why it shows so. While I expressly run Disk Usage Analyzer & found that 29.1GB are held on OpenSolaris system. What is this? I then check on df command on terminal & see that those 29.1GB seems come from total size of mounted file system (6.4GB readable from 7GB mounted as root).

However, my others existing FAT32 logical partition must readable from OpenSolaris (Local Disk D: & E:). A mount command – a common command on Unix – will solve this, I though but actually, it’s not that easy since disk device node is different from Unix. The node on OpenSolaris is what they called disk number. To see the disk number available on system, switch to root first & issue format command.

Searching for disks...done

0. c4d0 ["DISK NUMBER"]
Specify disk (enter its number): Ctrl+C

WARNING: Press Ctrl+C here and not enter. Otherwise you may format you Solaris partition. Anyway, from command above, a disk number named as c4d0 exist on my AspireOne – a pretty weird name huh? Before continuing, create d & e directory under /mnt. To mount my both FAT32 partition (D: & E:), issued a command:

#mount -F pcfs /dev/dsk/c4d0p0:d /mnt/d
#mount -F pcfs /dev/dsk/c4d0p0:e /mnt/e

Notice that the partition number should be entered exactly by typing pX after disk number, which X refer to partition number (p0 means partition 0). To mount NTFS file system, you need to download ntfs-3g package & issue a same command above. Read this manual for more details. Later, you can edit /etc/vfstab file for enabling automatic mounting drives at boot.

Enabling Network
On OpenSolaris, you can’t find ethX (similar to Unix) on your system. But I found a weird – again – name, it called rge0. To practice it, I then plugged in Ethernet cable with DHCP environment from my current office, thus I connected my system to internet. The picture below show you before & after the DHCP activation.

Package Manager provides another impressive feature which enables you to download & install software in your system by using graphical window. Here you can search a package by name, select it and click install/update. It will resolve all dependencies (Installation of a package requires another packages), download all of them and install in your system. "" is the default repository, you can add your own repository and create new package of your own.

While download process by Package Manager is running, I then try to run FireFox to surf my blog. Surprisely that OpenSolaris 2008.11 was fully equipped with FireFox version 3. The surfing access now more similar to others.

Also, I checked out messaging program which is Pidgin as default application. I then login to my account on yahoo & in short, it running & connected successfully.

Changes on GRUB
I was trying to edit the "menu.lst" from "/boot/grub/menu.lst" but found that "For zfs root, menu.lst has moved to /rpool/boot/grub/menu.lst". I need to edit it because I have to enabling boot menu for the AspireOne recovery disk accessible. And finally, here below is complete of menu.lst file:

splashimage /boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
background 215ECA
timeout 5
default 1
#---------- ADDED BY BOOTADM - DO NOT EDIT ----------
title OpenSolaris 2008.11 snv_101b_rc2 X86
findroot (pool_rpool,3,a)
splashimage /boot/solaris.xpm
foreground d25f00
background 115d93
bootfs rpool/ROOT/opensolaris
kernel$ /platform/i86pc/kernel/$ISADIR/unix -B $ZFS-BOOTFS,console=graphics
module$ /platform/i86pc/$ISADIR/boot_archive
#---------------------END BOOTADM--------------------

title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

title AspireOne Recovery Disk
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

# Unknown partition of type 15 found on /dev/rdsk/c4d0p0 partition: 3
# It maps to the GRUB device: (hd0,2) .

# title OpenSolaris 2008.11 snv_101b_rc2 X86 text boot
# findroot (pool_rpool,3,a)
# bootfs rpool/ROOT/opensolaris
# kernel$ /platform/i86pc/kernel/$ISADIR/unix -B $ZFS-BOOTFS
# module$ /platform/i86pc/$ISADIR/boot_archive

After made a reboot, here below picture of my boot GRUB splash:

Anything Else?
Actually, there’s more things to explore but I didn’t have much time to did it & share you to this blog. By now, it’s about hundreds of current title spread over the internet or you can find useful tips & trick by joining forum on this article brief you a bit benefits.

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Eko Wahyudiharto
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  1. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 4:12:00 PM


  2. Blogger Maria said,

    Friday, June 17, 2011 8:36:00 PM

    Nice post

  3. Blogger Maria said,

    Friday, June 17, 2011 8:41:00 PM

    My PC is need an extra memory so I think I need external but Its hard to find memory online not like western boots easy to buy.

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