Archive for solaris

Ironing out opensolaris 2008.05 issues

Posted in software with tags , , , , on 2008.05.12 by ipv5

(see also this post on how to install it on a Dell inspiron 2650 )

install flash player:

$ cd
$ mkdir .mozilla/plugins/
$ wget
$ tar xvjf flash_player_9_solaris_x86.tar.bz2
drwxr-xr-x leon.sha/other 0 2008-04-03 01:04 flash_player_9_solaris_r124_x86/
-rw-r--r-- leon.sha/other 856 2008-04-03 01:04 flash_player_9_solaris_r124_x86/flashplayer.xpt
-rwxr-xr-x leon.sha/other 6733684 2008-04-03 01:04 flash_player_9_solaris_r124_x86/
$ cp flash_player_9_solaris_r124_x86/* ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Pidgin does not start:

Invoke it via a shell script like this:


Icons not showing up in the menu:

the gnome menu reads /usr/share/applications for application.desktop files, packages do provide them, but if they are not showing up they got installed somewhere else, just copy/symlink ’em.
more on the .desktop format at

Nautilus is dumb:

You’ll need to create a Documents folder in your home, for a start.

Quick OpenSolaris pkg howto

Posted in software with tags , , , on 2008.05.11 by ipv5

Well, time for me to learn YAPMSTM (Yet Another Package Management System).
Opensolaris 2008.05 ships with the IPS Image Packaging System, which, even if it’s got very few packages, has both command line and gui tools.

search for an installed package:

# pkg list -s | egrep or whatever you like
FSWxorg-fonts X.Org Foundation X11 fonts
SUNW1394 Sun IEEE1394 Framework
SUNWDTraceToolkit SUNWDTraceToolkit


# pkg search -l zip
basename file usr/bin/zip pkg:/SUNWzip@2.32-0.86
# pkg info -l pkg:/SUNWzip@2.32-0.86
Name: SUNWzip
Summary: The Info-Zip (zip) compression utility
State: Installed
Authority: (preferred)
Version: 2.32
Build Release: 5.11
Branch: 0.86
Packaging Date: Sat Apr 26 18:12:56 2008
Size: 167 kB
FMRI: pkg:/SUNWzip@2.32,5.11-0.86:20080426T181256Z
# pkg contents pkg:/SUNWzip@2.32-0.86

check for updated packages:

# pkg list -u
entire 0.5.11-0.86 installed u---
openoffice 2.4.0-0.86 installed u---

search for and install new packages:

# pkg search -r rdesktop
basename file usr/bin/rdesktop pkg:/SUNWrdesktop@0.5.11-0.86
basename file usr/bin/rdesktop pkg:/SUNWrdesktop@0.5.11-0.86
# pkg install -n -v SUNWrdesktop
Before evaluation:

After evaluation:
None -> pkg:/SUNWrdesktop@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080426T180128Z
# pkg install -v SUNWrdesktop
Before evaluation:

After evaluation:
None -> pkg:/SUNWrdesktop@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080426T180128Z
Completed 1/1 42/42 0.27/0.27

Install Phase 55/55

add other repositories:

# pkg set-authority -O
# pkg set-authority -O
# pkg authority
AUTHORITY URL (preferred)
# pkg refresh --full


# pkg info -l pkg:/openoffice@2.4.0-0.86
Name: openoffice
Summary: Base module for 2.4
State: Installed
Authority: (preferred)
Version: 2.4.0
Build Release: 5.11
Branch: 0.86
Packaging Date: Thu Apr 24 10:48:39 2008
Size: 420.6 MB
FMRI: pkg:/openoffice@2.4.0,5.11-0.86:20080424T104839Z

# pkg info -r pkg:/openoffice@2.4.0-0.86
Name: openoffice
Summary: Base module for 2.4
State: Not installed
Authority: (preferred)
Version: 2.4.0
Build Release: 5.11
Branch: 0.86
Packaging Date: Mon Apr 28 16:36:48 2008
Size: 420.6 MB
FMRI: pkg:/openoffice@2.4.0,5.11-0.86:20080428T163648Z

I wonder why the build release does not increment… oh, well, it does not do it even for entire it does seem…

updating the system:

# pkg image-update -n -v
Before evaluation:

After evaluation:
pkg:/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080426T182618Z -> pkg:/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080504T125439Z
# pkg image-update -v
Before evaluation:

After evaluation:
pkg:/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080426T182618Z -> pkg:/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.86:20080504T125439Z
Update Phase 1/1
Install Phase 3/3
A clone of opensolaris exists and has been updated and activated. On next boot the Boot Environment opensolaris-1 will be mounted on '/'. Reboot when ready to switch to this updated BE.
# zfs list
rpool 3.18G 14.0G 56.5K /rpool
rpool@install 18.5K - 55K -
rpool/ROOT 2.95G 14.0G 18K /rpool/ROOT
rpool/ROOT@install 15K - 18K -
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris 233K 14.0G 2.12G legacy
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1 2.95G 14.0G 2.12G legacy
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1@install 352M - 2.22G -
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1@static:-:2008-05-10-22:50:27 44.0M - 2.12G -
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1/opt 450M 14.0G 450M /opt
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1/opt@install 121K - 3.61M -
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1/opt@static:-:2008-05-10-22:50:27 0 - 450M -
rpool/ROOT/opensolaris/opt 0 14.0G 450M /opt
rpool/export 233M 14.0G 19K /export
rpool/export@install 15K - 19K -
rpool/export/home 233M 14.0G 233M /export/home
rpool/export/home@install 19K - 21K -

interesting links:

how to create your own ips repository, some primers from the os people, either in plain old html, o as a screencast. And here there’s even more links.

Opensolaris 2008.05 on a Dell inspiron 2650

Posted in software with tags , , on 2008.05.8 by ipv5

Got this laptop just in time for the opensolaris install, let’s find out if we can get an usable system.

The dvd drive is REALLY noisy, but the livecd booted without a hitch. You get a boot menu (standard, console and boot from hdd), then a keyboard/desktop language selection text menu, and you’re ready to go.

The livecd boots into a nice desktop (and a big window containing the various licenses it’s under) with The Usual StuffTM (but there’s nmapfe as well). One really nifty things is the “Device driver utility”, it prints out everything it’s found out on your hardware, what drivers it’s using for it, and if there’s any driver missing (in my case: acpi and the crappy winmodem, I can live without em). And there’s even a “submit” button to send your configuration to them, with any comments you choose to write. I hope the hardware database will increase a lot with this.

I’m trying it on a relatively low end machine, but even the livecd seems quite snappy (for a gnome desktop of course).

Well, time to install. And with a big “Install OpenSolaris” icon on the desktop you cannot go wrong.

(btw, you can find step-by-step instructions here)

Unfortunately it seems Opensolaris is as temperamental as any unix around about cd drives, and this laptop’s one is a bit crappy, so the install hangs at “Finding disks”. Well, replacing it was not difficult, here are the instructions if you need them. The installer took its own good time getting to the disk selection this time, but at least we got there.

After the installation, it (slowly) boots the new system, it seems the default install is on zfs.

The installation it’s pretty standard, with the usual bunch of apps, notable additions include:

  • disk analyzer (why in the blazes / is 100% full anyway?)
  • nmapfe
  • an nvidia control panel

The package manager is nice, but some vital tools (wireshark for example) are missing, I’ll try with blastwave later.


  • a bunch of drivers for stuff I do not have
  • firefox and thunderbird localizations
  • guides in languages I do not know
  • evolution (nice to know the exchange connector is included by default however)
  • the gnome a11y stuff (text2speech etc)
  • gnome i10 messages
  • the iiimf (an input method switcher daemon) (NB: except the a11y libs, see below why)
  • vnc server
  • compiz & associated stuff (this video card cannot really drive it)
  • ftp server
  • sun firmware flash update tools
  • gnome digital camera tools
  • gnome cd ripper
  • gnome remote desktop aka vino
  • gnome sound recorder
  • tftpd (wtf?)


  • openoffice (420 Mb, ouch), wich got added right away in the menu
  • the gnome hex editor
  • vnc client
  • rdp client
  • cd burning utilities
  • cvs
  • netcat
  • vscan (I’ll probably get clamav too)
  • pgadmin, the postgresql visual manager (and of course I cannot find the mysql one… right…)

I was not able to manually configure the network until the “Physical network interface autoconfiguration” daemon (and since I’m fiddling with service i’ll disable stuff I do not need too, like ipv6)

The network-admin gnome tool does not work correctly (I liked it, since you can define locations), but usual cli management did.

# ifconfig elxl0 plumb
# ifconfig elxl0 netmask
# ifconfig elxl0 up
# echo "nameserver" > resolv.conf
# cp /etc/nsswitch.dns /etc/nsswitch.conf
# route add default

I’ve installed inetmenu and it’s definitely better, even if I cannot find a way of entering multiple dns servers.
# wget
# gunzip inetmenu-2.3.2.pkg.gz
# pkgadd -d ./inetmenu-2.3.2.pkg
# cd /etc/inetmenu
# cp SAMPLE home
# vi home

And here we go, just add Ginetmenu to your profiles in /etc/user_attr if you want to use it as non-root (btw, the user created during setup got root privileges, go figure). It also spits out an error message at boot warning me to execute it in an x session, but I’ll ignore it for now.

Oh, nice, if I lock the screen from the menu, when I try to unlock xscreensaver complains it cannot find the libloginhelper, and just sits there screensavering. Umh, seems deleting all of a11y was not such a good idea after all. Reinstalled SUNWgome-a11y-libs

Then there’s the nvidia tool. It seems the default install does not use the nvidia driver, and a message instructs me to run nvidia-xconfig as root, lessee…

It seems this machine is a bit too old for this, And I need the 96.43.xx legacy drivers (instead of the 169.12 I’ve got installed), which can be found here. So…
# wget
# sh

The installed drivers conflicts with the new ones, let’s fire up idm for the nth time today and nuke them. (the package name is NVDAgraphics btw)

Umh, x cannot find the glx module, even if it’s loading it, wtf?

# cd /usr/X11/lib/modules/extensions
# rm
# ln -s ./NVIDIA/

Well, this time it worked, even if I have a weird bug: starting the system my screen (after the nvidia logo) is all bunched up, after I ctrl-alt-backspace X11 it goes to normal… go figure.

And for now, that’s all folks

edit: no flashplayer, but you can get it from adobe and simply untar the two files in your ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Oh hell yeah!

Posted in software with tags , , , on 2008.05.6 by ipv5

Opensolaris version 2008.05 has been released! And as a live cd too. Finally we can see something solid of Indiana. Oh, and they get a brand new website/logo as well.

See some first impressions, some (relatively minor) problems in this first version, a handy tip on additional package needed to develop stuff, and finally extremely useful instructions to install it on a xen domU.

Download it from, some of the mirrors (torrent included), metalink or request a free cd (you can order more than one if you’re doing an installfest or somesuch iirc)

edit: here’s a review.

edit2: you can find out aout my struggles with this system up above here.

on other sunny news, openxvm got a new homepage too, found around something on virtualbox 1.6 too

Zfs versions feature madness

Posted in software with tags , , , on 2008.04.22 by ipv5

Feature creep? This is feature madness! This is SpartaZFS!
just go to and increment the last number (or, read on, might as well write it down as I read) for all the goodies [thet keep gettin] added to zfs.

  1. This is the initial ZFS on-disk format as integrated on 10/31/05
  2. Support for “Ditto Blocks”, or replicated metadata. Metadata can be replicated up to 3 times for each block, independently on the underlying redundancy. (i.e.: if you have a raid1 on two disk, you get 6 copies of the blocks you deem important) So even if your user data get corrupted everything (fingers crossed) will still be discoverable and the pool will be useable.
  3. Hot spares, improved RAID-Z accounting (does not mention how it get improved however), and support for double-parity RAID-Z (aka raidz2, aka suspiciously-looks-alot-like-raid6).
  4. zpool history. A log of whatever happens to your pools
  5. gzip compression for zfs datasets. Your /usr/ports is now very happy (remember to mount /usr/ports/distfiles elsewhere however)
  6. ‘bootfs’ pool property. (yes, it does what it looks like it does)
  7. With the ZFS Intent Log (ZIL) an application (a database usually) does know that whatever it did just wrote to disk will stay written even if a power failure occurs. Instead of waiting a second or two for the zfs to do all its magik, there’s a transaction log in which fsync(fd)s are stored, so the database can churn away happily without having to wait. If power failure occurs between zfs disk commits, this log is read and committed to disk as well.
  8. Administrative tasks (such as creation/of descendent datasets) can be assigned to non-administrative users. While this is a bit scary, remember we can assign quotas to the parent dataset
  9. Dataset quotas and reservation can be configured not to include descendent datasets (such as snapshots/clones) in the space consumption cap. And there’s support for the sun cifs server as well
  10. You can specify a device in the zfs pool to act as cache. “These devices provide an additional layer of caching between main memory and disk. Using cache devices provides the greatest performance improvement for random read-workloads of mostly static content.” You know what a cache is, and there’s way too much math for me to go look at the detailed performance improvement.

interesting links:
nice recap of avaiable solaris filesystems

easy introduction to zfs, and way-too-much-math introduction to zfs2

zfs cheat sheet

introduction to ZIL and more in-depth stuff as well

List of zfs administrative tasks which can be delegated, along with a nice primer

configuring the cifs server to use zfs datasets, for workgroups and with active directory

edit: a very interesting blog about building an home fileserver using ZFS, and the ZFS Evil Tuning Guide.

VirtualBox For Teh Win (on FreeBSD)

Posted in software, virtualization with tags , , , , , , on 2008.04.18 by ipv5

Lately I was snooping around for a good virtual machine solution, there’s a lot more stuff than just a few years ago (and qemu got really better on linux), when I came across some nice BSD news (yes, it’s BSD news, buried as usual but still there).

It seems VirtualBox (aquired by sun recently btw) is being ported to FreeBSD. Well, that would make the number of reliable vm avaiable … one (no, serenity virtual does not count, it was crappier than qemu without the kernel extensions).

Oh, and btw, there’s (obviously) a port for opensolaris too, and the usual unix nutcasgeniuses at sun are putting it through some really tight loops. (that does mean I must urgently find some excuses not to buy me an ultra. Either that or manage to build a nuclear reactor in the backyard to power up all my junk)

The only big downside of virtualbox is that it cannot give the guest os access to actual hard disk drives, on the other hand it’s got a builtin iscsi initiator (the €100 version only, mind you), so you can probably work around that limitation.

The BIG upside compared to vmware it’s a builtin rdp server to the guestos, and I have a pile of junk sitting somewhere that will probably be converted into a thinstation. (assuming I can still find the right ac/dc adapter of course)

edit: it seems some FreeBSD developers have picked up the ball, and are developing the initial port effort done by innotek.
See also innotek’s forum and freebsd-ports, also a first patch against the current svn and this post from Sander van Leeuwen (of sun).

edit2: FreeBSD build instructions, solaris 10 installation instructions, workaround for a nic problem in FreeBSD 7.0, a repository of virtualbox images