Solaris Installation

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Tardis Solaris Installation/Configuation

A fairly minimal guide to running Solaris on to Tardis systems.



  • Computer - wired in, serial consoled, networked
  • Install media (or install jumpstart server)
  • IP address - find something free in appropriate VLAN/subnet
  • Hostname - pick something, have DNS admin add it to the DNS

Pre-install setup

Attempt to do the following before installing the new machine. Generally you will require someone else to to complete some or all of these tasks, depending on whether you have/need access to the Spiderport/Switch/Firewall configuration.

Configure spiderport

Login to spiderport (requires access to admin machine, eg baker or davison) and configure tcp port n to map to the serial port you plugged the new machine into, where n is the last octet of the IP address chosen for the new system.

VLAN install

Login to switch, map chosen ethernet port into the approriate VLAN.

Firewall configuration

  • Allow outgoing DNS, HTTP Proxy Access (if required).
  • Allow incoming SSH (if required).

Solaris Install

Put install media in drive.

Connect to the serial console on the new machine (would advise running this inside a screen session, in case the connection fails and context is lost). Drop machine to the prom (^] then send break from the telnet> prompt), type boot cdrom at the go prompt to begin the interactive installer program.

Most of the questions in the installer program can be answered with common sense. Remeber to use <esc>n instead of Fn to progress through the menus.

Responses to non-obvious questions

May not be conclusive, mostly from memory

  • Terminal type - choose 'xterms', it seems to work fine.
  • Install type - choose normal install. Install the whole solaris system (minus OEM support). The 'reduced networking support' option is much more minimally configured and could also be considered.
  • Disk layout - choose 'auto-layout', the customise. The defaults are inappropriate, make / considerably larger, do not have a seperate /export partition('slice'), allow for a sensible /var



cp /etc/nsswitch.dns /etc/nsswitch.conf

Then edit /etc/resolv.conf to taste.

LDAP Client

ldapclient -v manual -a defaultSearchBase=dc=tardis,dc=ed,dc=ac,dc=uk \
    -a -a defaultServerList=

This messes up /etc/nsswitch.conf so you will need to re-add some of the changes from /etc/nsswitch.dns or even revert to /etc/nsswitch.dns and just add ldap lookup for passwd and group.

Environment tweaks

Solaris comes with a fairly alien default configuration, especially if you come from a GNU tools background. Things you may wish to do:

  • Set the default shell to bash rather than sh (this is safe in S10).
  • Set the default TERM variable to something less 'broken'.
  • Edit /etc/default/login and /etc/default/su setting PATH and SUPATH to:


  • Export an appropriate $http_proxy variable from /etc/profile.

2.2 Package Manager

pkg-get is an apt-ish package manager for Solaris for installing unofficial community software builds. You can install pkg-get from Usage is fairly trivial, eg:

pkg-get -i vim

2.3 Minimise Network Exposure

TODO: using svcadm to disable the vast swathes of useless services

2.4 Solaris Zones

See Zones FAQ on

2.4.1 Creating and installing a zone

reaper:~# zonecfg -z <zonename>
db: No such zone configured
Use 'create' to begin configuring a new zone.
zonecfg:db> create
zonecfg:db> set zonepath=/zones/zone_roots/<zonename>
zonecfg:db> add net
zonecfg:db:net> set address=<zone ip addr>
zonecfg:db:net> set physical=hme0
zonecfg:db:net> end
zonecfg:db> commit
zonecfg:db> exit

reaper:~# zoneadm -z <zonename> install
reaper:~# zoneadm -z <zonename> boot
reaper:~# zlogin -e] -C <zonename>

Then follow the above guidelines on setting up the Solaris environment.

Useful info

Connecting to the console on a zone

It is necessary to change the escape char for zlogin, because by default it is the same as ssh (~) which will create confusion if you're logged in through a chain of ssh sessions.

zlogin -e] -C <zonename>

To disconnect from a zone, first log out, then type ]. after a newline.

Adding user accounts

(you cannot ssh into the root account)

  • Disable autofs

svcadm disable svc:/system/filesystem/autofs:default

  • Fix permissions on /home

chmod 755 /home

  • Add account

useradd -m -d /home/username -s /bin/bash/ username passwd username

This may all be fixable cleanly by leaving autofs running and following the instructions in the comments here.