-- forwarded message --
From: Dan Anderson 
Newsgroups: alt.solaris.x86,comp.unix.solaris,alt.answers,comp.answers,news.answers
Subject: Solaris x86 FAQ
Date: 1 Apr 2000 11:50:13 GMT
Maintainer: Dan Anderson , San Diego, California, USA




(3.1) What web and FTP sites do I need to know about? +
(3.2) How do I subscribe to the Solaris/x86 mailing list?
(3.3) Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 maintenance updates?
(3.4) Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 patches?
(3.5) How can I obtain freeware, shareware, and GNU software on a
(3.6) What UNIX-like operating systems are available on x86?
(3.7) What books are available on Solaris x86?
(3.8) What magazine articles are available on Solaris x86?
(3.9) + What's new for Solaris 8 Intel?
(3.10) What's new for the next release of Solaris?

(4.1) What information should I have before an install?
(4.2) What hardware is supported by Solaris 2.x for Intel?
(4.3) What size disks and partitions should I have?
(4.4) What are SCSI IDs expected by Solaris x86?
(4.5) What video card/monitor combination works best?
(4.6) Is Plug-and-Play (PNP) supported by Solaris/x86?
(4.7) Is Advanced Power Management (APM) supported by Solaris/x86?
(4.8) Are "floppy tape" devices supported by Solaris x86?
(4.9) How can I get a "free" copy of Solaris?
(4.10) What's missing from the "free" copy of Solaris that's in
the commercial version?
(4.11) + How can I get Solaris to see the third ATAPI controller?
(4.12) Are Ultra DMA (UDMA) drives supported?
(4.13) Are Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices supported?
(4.14) Are Microsoft Intellimouse mice supported?
(4.15) What's difference between Solaris x86 Server and Solaris
x86 Desktop?

(5.1) How long does the install take?
(5.2) My ATAPI CD-ROM isn't recognized during install by Solaris'
FCS MCB and it's not in the HCL. What can I do?
(5.3) What kind of problems might I encounter installing my SCSI
(5.4) What do I do when the install hangs/panics?
(5.5) I'm trying to install Solaris/x86 on my 8 GB drive. However,
the installation program says the root partition must end within the
first 1023 cylinders of the disk. What can I do?
(5.6) Does Solaris x86 prefer to have the motherboard BIOS set to
NORMAL or LBA for ATAPI disks?
(5.7) Why does a Solaris install to a disk with valid,
pre-existing fdisk partitions sometimes fail?
(5.8) How do I install or use the documentation CD?

(6.1) How do I add additional drives?
(6.2) How do I add or configure users, printers, serial ports,
software, etc.?
(6.3) How do I suppress the banner page on my printer?
(6.4) How do I set up an HP-compatible printer to print PostScript
(6.5) How can I improve disk and graphic performance?
(6.6) + How do I get Solaris to recognize a NE2000 compatible NIC
(6.7) How do I change the IP address on Solaris/x86?
(6.8) How do I configure a second serial port, /dev/ttyb (COM2)?
(6.9) How do I disable Solaris/x86 from probing the UPS on COM2?
(6.10) How do I set up Solaris/x86 to use PPP to connect to an
(6.11) That last answer was torture! Is there any open source PPP
that's easier to use?
(6.12) Is there any commercial PPP that's easier to use?
(6.13) Help! My USRobotics Internal modem doesn't work with PPP.
(6.14) PPP runs extremely slow. What's wrong?
(6.15) How do I configure PPP using Dynamic IP Addresses (DHCP)?
(6.16) How do I configure my SoundBlaster card?
(6.17) How do I enable the audio output from my CDROM to my SBPRO
(6.18) Is Solaris/x86 Year 2000 (Y2K) compliant?
(6.18) Can I use Solaris/x86 to setup a "headless" server?
(6.20) Can I get a Sun-style keyboard (Ctrl & Caps Lock reversed)
for S/x86?
(6.21) Can I run multiple terminals on the console of Solaris x86
like those supported on Linux, FreeBSD, Interactive Unix, and SCO?
(6.22) How do I upgrade my video graphics card?
(6.23) How to I burn a CD-R or CD-RW with Solaris?
(6.24) Is IPv6 available for Solaris/x86?
(6.25) Does Solaris x86 support multiple processors?
(6.26) How do you install XFree86 on Solaris?
(6.27) How do I configure 64K colors for CDE?
(6.28) Are TrueType fonts supported in Solaris?
(6.29) How do I uncompress a .gz file?
(6.30) Why doesn't /usr/bin/cc work?
(6.31) How do you get PGP 2.6.2 to compile on Solaris/x86?
(6.32) How do you connect Solaris to @Home?
(6.33) Does Solaris Intel support multiple heads?
(6.34) + Why can't I create a home directory under /home?

(7.1) What can I do if Solaris won't boot?
(7.2) How do I restore the Solaris boot block without
(7.3) What can I do during the Solaris/x86 booting sequence?
(7.4) How do I logon as root if the password doesn't work anymore?
(7.5) My licensed software fails because the host ID is 0. What's
(7.6) How can I fix Netscape Communicator to render fonts
correctly on S/x86?
(7.7) Why doesn't Netscape run as root?
(7.8) I moved my PCI host adapter to another slot and the system
won't boot!
(7.9) Why is Solaris always booting into the Device Configuration

(8.1) Can I install Solaris x86 on a system that already has Win
9x or NT or both (among other systems)?
(8.2) How can I use MS Windows' NT Loader to boot Solaris/x86?
(8.3) How can I use the Solaris boot manager to boot Windows NT?
(8.4) How can I use System Commander to boot Solaris/x86 and other
(8.5) Can I install Linux and Solaris on the same drive?
(8.6) How can I use Linux LILO boot loader to boot Solaris/x86?
(8.7) How can I use LILO to boot Solaris/x86 on the primary slave
(8.8) How can I use LILO to boot Solaris/x86 on the secondary
master ATAPI?
(8.9) How can I use OS-BS or System Selector to boot Solaris/x86?
(8.10) How can I boot both Solaris/x86 and Win NT on the same
(8.11) How do I mount a DOS partition from the hard drive?
(8.12) Does PartitionMagic and BootMagic understand Solaris
(8.13) How do I access a DOS-format diskette from Solaris?
(8.14) Does Solaris mount and recognize Win 9x partitions with
long file names (VFAT)?
(8.15) How can I make my Solaris files easily available to
Windows 9x/NT on a network?
(8.16) How can I make my Solaris files easily available to an
Apple Macintosh on a network?
(8.17) How do I access a Mac diskette from Solaris?
(8.18) What is WABI?
(8.19) Can I use SunPCi on Solaris/x86?
(8.20) Will Linux programs run on Solaris 2/x86?
(8.21) How can I get the DOS and UNIX clock to agree on
(8.22) Is Solaris x86 able to execute Solaris SPARC applications?
(8.23) Will my old applications from SVR3 or SCO run on Solaris
(8.24) Will my application from Solaris/SPARC work on
Solaris/x86? I have the source.
(8.25) Can I access Solaris/x86 partitions from Linux?
(8.26) What are some books on Windows NT/Solaris integration?
(8.27) How can I view MS Word files in Solaris?
(8.28) I downloaded Internet Explorer but it doesn't install.
What's wrong?
(8.29) Can I mount other ufs disks, say from BSDi/FreeBSD, and
vice versa?
(8.30) How can I use a disk partition on Solaris 2.x which was
previously dedicated to Windows 95 (or other OS) as dual boot?
(8.31) How can I convert a DOS/Windows text file to a Unix text

*New question since last month.
+Significantly revised answer since last month.


The Solaris x86 FAQ: Frequently-asked Questions about Solaris on Intel
- x86.

This posting contains frequently-asked questions, with answers, about
the Sun Solaris 2 Operating System on the Intel Platform (x86) found
in the alt.solaris.x86 and comp.unix.solaris USENET newsgroups. The
alt.solaris.x86 newsgroup covers Solaris on the Intel platform, for
version 2.5 and higher. The most up-to-date copy of this FAQ is at

The comp.unix.solaris newsgroup is for Solaris on all platforms--
Sparc or Intel. Please also consult Casper Dik's excellent FAQ on
Solaris 2, which mostly applies to Solaris x86 too. It's at:
http://www.wins.uva.nl/pub/solaris/solaris2/ and elsewhere.
Solaris 7 is also known as SunOS 5.7 and Solaris 2.x is also known as
SunOS 5.x.

For earlier versions of Solaris/x86, please see the (somewhat dated)
"Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ" by Bob Palowoda archived at various dusty
corners on the net. The (mostly historical) Sun i386 (Roadrunner) is
covered in Ralph Neill's FAQ,

If you post questions to alt.solaris.x86 or comp.unix.solaris, please
be sure to indicate:
  * the machine type and brief configuration, e.g. Pentium II 450 MHz,
    128 MB RAM, 200 MB swap space, 8 GB XYZ hard drive, etc.,
  * the exact Solaris version number, i.e. Solaris 7 is NOT
    sufficient, whereas "Solaris/x86 7 HW 3/99" is more useful.
I'm doing this on my own time as a public service. PLEASE DO NOT ASK
by Sun Microsystems, as of February 1999, I do not work on this
particular product. Nothing I say is endorsed or approved by Sun. If
you suspect you have software defect problems, please call
1-800-SOFTSPT (1-800-763-8778 or 1-510-460-3267). If you have hardware
problems call your hardware vendor. If you are outside the United
States, contact your local Sun representative.

alt.solaris.x86 or comp.unix.solaris. I don't have the time to
diagnose individual Solaris problems, and I probably don't know the
answer either :-). Many experienced and knowledgeable people read the
newsgroup. Post your question there. However, answers, corrections,
and comments should be directed to me.

No FAQ is the work of one person, but is a USENET community effort.
This material was "snarfed" from other FAQs, USENET newsgroup
postings, mailing lists, and personal knowledge. Generally the source
is noted at the end of each question. Most answers have been reworded,
or expanded, or updated. Thanks to everyone who contributed directly
or indirectly. Please send any corrections or additions to me.

This FAQ is Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 Dan Anderson. All rights
reserved. It may be freely redistributed in its entirety provided that
this copyright notice isn't removed. Permission is expressly granted
for this document to be made available for file transfer from
installations offering unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the

This article is provided "as is" without any express or implied
warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The
answers come from many varied sources, and, "may be fiction rather
INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN, even if they result from negligence or
errors on the part of the author.

Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, SunSoft, the SunSoft logo, Java,
Solaris, SunOS, and NFS are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun
Microsystems., Inc. SPARC is a registered trademark of SPARC
International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Products
bearing the SPARC trademarks are based on an architecture developed by
Sun Microsystems, Inc. Adobe and PostScript are registered trademarks
of Adobe Systems Incorporated. HP is a trademark of Hewlett-Packard
Company. IBM is a registered trademark of International Business
Machines Corporation. Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks of
Intel Corporation. Pentium® II Xeon is a trademark of Intel
Corporation. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Microsoft, MS, MS-DOS, MS Windows, and Windows NT are registered
trademarks of Microsoft Corp. Netscape is a trademark of Netscape
Communications Corp. Netscape® Communicator is a trademark of Netscape
Communications Corp. Open Source is a registered certification mark of
Open Source Initiative. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open
Group. All other product names mentioned herein are the trademarks of
their respective owners.

-Dan Anderson danx@cts.com
alt.solaris.x86 FAQ Maintainer
San Diego, California, USA


(3.1) What web and FTP sites do I need to know about?

       The latest version of this FAQ is always at this URL. It's
       available in text and HTML formats. This FAQ also appears in
       the alt.solaris.x86 and comp.unix.solaris newsgroups and on
       various FAQ archives. Check the date at the top of this FAQ to
       make sure you have a recent version.
       Sun's web site for Solaris on Intel, contains pointers to
       Solaris Intel product information, updates, resources, news,
       Sun's Software Support and Education website. Has Intel
       maintenance updates (MUs), knowledge base, Hardware
       Compatibility List (HCL), device drivers, patches, and Device
       Configuration Assistant (DCA) boot diskette images. This
       website requires (free) registration to use. It replaces the
       older http://access1.Sun.COM/ site.
       Sun documentation on-line. Includes manuals, guides,
       answerbooks, and man pages in HTML format. Especially useful
       for configuring new hardware and new systems is the Information
       Library for Solaris (Intel Platform Edition).
       My Solaris online bookstore, in association with Amazon.com,
       where you can read reviews on selected Solaris books and order
       Solaris or other books.
       Stokely Consulting's list of FAQs has lots of pointers
       resources, not only for Solaris x86, but UNIX System
       Administration in general.
       EIS's Solaris/x86 Resources page with lots of pointers. EIS
       also maintains the Solaris on Intel mailing list (below).
       S. Christensen's Solaris Freeware Page. Pointers to LOTS of x86
       pre-packaged GNU and other open-source software.
       Pointers to many Solaris viewers, players, and Netscape
       CDE (Common Desktop Environment) FAQ
       Selected Solaris 2.x/x86 binaries conveniently packaged in
       pkgadd format at the University of North Carolina MetaLab
       (formerly Sunsite).
       Joe Shamblin's annotated collection of Solaris x86 open source,
       with pointers to documentation, make it good for open source
       Bob Palowoda's Solaris x86 Corner, with tips and benchmarks.
       My Solaris Intel Webpage has includes a search engine that
       indexes selected websites containing Solaris Intel information,
       including those listed here. Also contains the latest version
       of this FAQ and my online bookstore (in association with
       Last, but not least, Casper Dik's thorough FAQ on Solaris 2.
       This entire FAQ is available as one file at:

(3.2) How do I subscribe to the Solaris/x86 mailing list?

Subscribe by sending an e-mail message to
 or visit the eGroups'
Solaris on Intel web page at
http://www.egroups.com/group/solarisonintel/ You DON'T have to
register to join the list, but you do have to register to read the
list archives on the web (sorted by thread and date).

(3.3) Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 maintenance updates?

Starting with Solaris 7, Sun includes the drivers in the Maintenance
Updates (MUs) and updated versions of the OS. These are available at
http://access1.sun.com/contract/EReg/SolarisSolve/ (free access,
but you must register with "solregis" if you didn't during your
Solaris install)

Older Solaris 6 and earlier driver updates (DUs) are at

[Thanks to Alan Coopersmith]

(3.4) Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 patches?

The Solaris x86 driver updates can be obtained by HTTP from:

A listing sorted by release is available at:

Pointers to patches, including one huge 2.*_x86_Recommended.tar.Z file
for each release. This directory is publically accessible--it doesn't
require you to be a contract customer. Patches are also available
locally at many SunSites.

The "showrev -p" command shows what patches you have installed.

All files replaced by a patch are saved under /var/sadm/patch/ or

(3.5) How can I obtain freeware, shareware, and GNU software on a

Micromata of Kassel, Germany offers its "Summertime" CD with
precompiled software for Solaris SPARC and Intel,

EIS offers the "Solaris Companion CD." It reportedly offers the same
binaries as Summertime, and some additions. The SPARC and Intel
binaries are sold on separate CDs. See http://www.eis.com/

See question 3.1 above for FTP and web software sites.

(3.6) What UNIX-like operating systems are available on x86?

  * Solaris x86, SVR4-based (http://www.Sun.COM/)
  * Interactive UNIX, SVR3.2-based
  * SCO OpenServer UNIX, SVR3.2-based (http://www.sco.com/)
  * SCO UNIXWare, SVR4-based (http://www.sco.com/)
  * BSD/OS (http://www.bsdi.com/)
  * Linux (http://www.linuxresources.com/, open source)
  * FreeBSD (http://www.freebsd.org/, open source)
  * NetBSD (http://www.netbsd.org/, open source)
  * OpenBSD (http://www.openbsd.org/, open source)
Note that the open source versions can also be purchased on CD-ROM,
which is a convenient way to get it. For Linux, there are multiple
vendors selling CD-ROMs (e.g., RedHat, http://www.redhat.com/).
Other systems are over the horizon, in beta, or for teaching/research.
E.g., GNU's HURD, Apple's Rhapsody, Tanenbaum's Minix, or ATT's Plan

Of course, Intel's 64-bit Itanium (Merced) or McKinley CPU families
(or both) are coming. Sun, HP, SCO, and DEC are all porting their
versions of UNIX, Solaris, HP-UX, UNIXWare, and Digital UNIX, to this

(3.7) What books are available on Solaris x86?

For Unix system administration in general, I like Unix System
Administration Handbook, 2d ed. ("The Red Book"), by Evi Nemeth, Garth
Snyder, Scott Seebass, and Trent R. Hein (Prentice Hall, 1995), ISBN
0-13-151051-7 http://sun.drydog.com/bookstore/#0131510517

Ron Ledesma has written PC Hardware Configuration Guide for DOS
and Solaris (SunSoft Press, 1994), ISBN 0-13-124678-X,
http://sun.drydog.com/bookstore/#013124678x. It's a well-written,
but dated, book on setting up Solaris x86 on Intel Architecture.

There's also Solaris 2.X for Managers and Administrators by Curt
Freeland, Dwight McKay, Kent Parkinson, 2d ed. (1997), ISBN:
1-56690-150-2, http://sun.drydog.com/bookstore/#1566901502

The following two books by Janice Winsor cover Solaris 2.6 for SPARC
and x86. They are from Sun Microsystems/Macmillan Technical
Publishing. I find they cover the subject matter too lightly, but they
may be good for beginners: Solaris System Administrator's Guide,
2d ed. (1998), ISBN 1-57870-040-X,
http://sun.drydog.com/bookstore/#157870040x, and Solaris
Advanced System Administrator's Guide, 2d ed., ISBN 1-57870-039-6,

Other books are available on Solaris in general from SunSoft Books and
on UNIX (with sections on Solaris) from O'Reilly and Associates.
Hardcopies of Sun manuals are available as SunDocs from SunExpress.

Please visit my on-line bookstore,
http://sun.drydog.com/bookstore/, in association with Amazon.com,
where you can order books on Solaris or any other topic. I get paid a
few percent of most books ordered there.


(3.8) What magazine articles are available on Solaris x86?

"Sun injects Solaris X86 with new life as it makes its way to 64 bits"
Sun World. Feb. 1997 by Rick Cook.

Note: please e-mail other submissions to danx@cts.com.

(3.9) What's new for Solaris 8 Intel?

Here's the current list (unconfirmed, unverified, unofficial):
  * "Full Moon" clustering. Allows a server to take over automatically
    if another fails.
  * "Full Moon" load balancing.
  * ISA and EISA device support will end (use PCI!).
  * USB support
  * The 8G boot disk limit for ATAPI disks will be removed.
  * Sun will add Pyramid/Siemens-Nixdorf's Reliability, Availability
    and Scalability (RAS) functionality and Reliant UNIX clustering
    and scalability into Solaris. NCR will add MP-RAS (diagnostics,
    remote support...). Fujitsu will add improved RAS and advanced
  * X11 R6.4 (Xinerama)
  * IPv6 (128-bit IP addresses)
  * Perl 5.00503
  * Java 2
  * gzip and lots of other GNU utilities
This is a partial list. For more details, see _What's New in the
Solaris 8 Operating Environment_ at http://docs.sun.com/.

Some people don't like the "Java Webstart Installation." (which
actually has nothing to do with the web!). However, you can still boot
and install with the "Software 1 of 2" disk.

Solaris 8 Intel removed the 8GB limit on IDE hard drives (SSCI has no
such limit).

Also, Solaris 8 requires 64MB or the installation will abort (the
documentation is out-of-date).

[Thanks to Igor Sobrado Delgado, Thomas Tornblom, William Malloy, Paul
Carver, and Alan Coopersmith]

(3.10) What's new for the next release of Solaris?

Officially, the release after Solaris 8, previously called Solaris 9
but now (apparently) called Solaris 8.1, will contain Integrated Java
and Jini.


(4.1) What information should I have before an install?

  * Size of your disk
  * Ethernet hardware address
  * IP address
  * Bandwidth of your video card and monitor
  * Maximum vertical frequency your video card will drive
  * Mouse type
The size of your disk determines what cluster you are going to install
on your system. I.e., an End User cluster, a Developers Cluster or the
Complete Cluster. See references to how to size your OS when

The Ethernet hardware address from your Ethernet card would be helpful
if you're on a NIS net and your going to do net installs. You would
like to have the Ethernet address in the /etc/ethers map file before
you do an install. Usually the manufacturer of an Ethernet card will
have some software that you can run under DOS to display this number
or sometimes you can find the Ethernet number on a sticker right on
the Ethernet card. If this is on a standalone network you probably
don't need to know the Ethernet hardware address. Don't confuse this
with the software IP address.

Bandwidth of your monitor and video card are important. During the
install the install process is going to ask you for the size of your
monitor and what vertical resolution you want to drive the monitor at.
Note that in the update disk documentation they give a handy dandy
monitor resolution bandwidth for monitors in the appendix. You may
want to check this out. See other references on video cards and
monitors throughout the FAQ.

The install process will ask you about your mouse type.

[From Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(4.2) What hardware is supported by Solaris 2.x for Intel?

Solaris x86 is the version that runs on Intel-based PCs and servers.
Requirements vary to release, but generally a 80486 processor or
better is required with an ISA or PCI bus, 16 MB of memory, and
200-500 MB Disk. Many multi-processor boards are supported. You must
have a CD-ROM drive or access to NFS over the network to install and a
1.44 MB floppy disk drive.

The Solaris x86 Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) lists the tested
hardware. However, not all hardware combinations will work. Also,
hardware not listed may work, but are not guaranteed or supported.

To receive the complete and often updated list Solaris x86 Hardware
Compatibility List (HCL), send an e-mail message (no subject/body
needed) to: x86hcl@Sun.COM (ASCII), x86hcl.ps@Sun.COM
(PostScript), or x86-hwconfig@Cypress.West.Sun.COM

There's also an online version of all the lists at:

For troublesome devices and cards, I find Solaris 7 (Intel
Platform Edition) Device Configuration Guide at
http://docs.Sun.COM/ab2/coll.214.4/HWCONFIG/@Ab2TocView? very useful.
(if the link changed, go to http://docs.Sun.COM, click on
"Installation & Setup," then "Installation Collection," then "Device
Config. Guide." You'll also find the HCL and other guides.

[Updated from Casper Dik's Solaris 2 FAQ]

(4.3) What size disks and partitions should I have?

If you don't plan to install any optional software and man pages you
should typically have a 500 MB drive. Development systems should have
1 GB plus whatever space you need.

Note that Solaris uses a tmpfs. Both the swap area and /tmp share a
common disk space. Configure about 100 MB of swap space on a single
user system. Many programs use the tmpfs for speeding up applications.
My swap file is usually 1.5 times my physical memory.

Look at some rough estimates we have:

/            =  64 MB (best kept small to avoid corruption problems)
/var         = 200 MB (needed for logs, spooling, e-mail, and patches)
/opt         = 700 MB (I softlink this to /usr/local (ln -s))
/usr         = 700 MB (not really user stuff, but read-only system files)
swap         = 100 MB (same as /tmp)
/export/home = the remaining disk for your own use

This all seems to fit well in a 4 GB drive and leaves room for user
files and growth.

A word of performance advice. If you're going to be using a fast wide
SCSI controller such as the Adaptec 2940, use a wide SCSI drive for
the system drive. These drives usually have double the throughput of
the normal 8-bit drives, according to the iozone benchmark results,
and they make the tmpfs fly. Don't forget to set the maxpgio in the
/etc/system file for 5400 and 7200 RPM drives accordingly. See the
question on performance in this FAQ.

[Modified from Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(4.4) What are SCSI IDs expected by Solaris x86?

These are the typical values for SCSI devices. For tape and CD-ROM,
these are the defaults used in the /etc/vold.conf file for controlling
the vold mounter. You can set them to other ID's but remember to
adjust the vold.conf file to the new values.

Boot drive      ID 0
Second drive    ID 1
Tape            ID 4
CDROM           ID 6
SCSI controller ID 7

[From Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(4.5) What video card/monitor combination works best?

Some questions will arise when trying to configure your video card and
monitor size. The most critical area is when you do the install and
answer the questions about the vertical HZ, screen size 14, 15, 17,
21-inch, etc. If you get it wrong you get the squiggles.

First, find your video card manual. Ha! I can here the laughs from
across the world. What manual? If this is the case just select the
slowest vertical HZ. You can always change it later after the system
is up.

Resolution: be safe and just use 1024x768 or smaller the first time
through the install. Latter, boost it up to 16 million colors and
specify a bigger monitor size.

Screen size should be easy: [\] about that big.

If you don't know the video card type just select the standard vga8 to
do the install. Hopefully when your system boots it displays what
video card you have in it.

A good video card combination such as the ATI and Sony 17sei can allow
you to drive it at 76Hz vertical 1280x1024 on a 17-inch screen.

Hint: Look in the update readme files and at the end in one of the
appendices you'll find a chart of monitors and there scan rates.
Usually good to refer to before you buy the monitor and video card
combination. You could have a very nice high bandwidth monitor and a
lousy video card that can't drive it hard enough. Or visa versa, a
good video card that can drive a high bandwidth but the monitor just
can't handle it.

Another Hint: Even though there's no 14-inch monitor on the
configuration menu you can select the 15-inch setting. If the 14-inch
monitor has a good bandwidth it will sync up.

[Modified from Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(4.6) Is Plug-and-Play (PNP) supported by Solaris/x86?

Yes, with release 2.6 and latter. Solaris 2.5.1 and earlier (even with
the DUs), do NOT support PNP. PNP should be disabled and the card
manually configured for the latter case. Sun FAQ 2234-02 at
http://access1.Sun.COM/cgi-bin/rinfo2html?223402.faq has
instructions for configuring Solaris to recognize specific PNP
devices. See the Solaris 7 (Intel Platform Edition) Device
Configuration Guide (mentioned above) for details on each device (and
see the Driver Update Guide when using updates).

Personally, I find it a lot easier to disable PNP on cards that have
that option. Boot into DOS or Windows (with a diskette if you have to)
and run your card manufaturer's utility or configuration or diagnostic
program. PNP can be tricky with Solaris sometimes.

To display your current system configuration run "prtconf -pv"

(4.7) Is Advanced Power Management (APM) supported by Solaris/x86?

APM isn't really supported on x86. Solaris is "APM tolerant" which
means that if APM can do everything transparently to Solaris, it will
work. If it isn't transparent, Solaris gets confused.

So, SPARC has power management in the OS but x86 does not.

[Thanks to Doug McCallum]

(4.8) Are "floppy tape" devices supported by Solaris x86?

No. You have to use a SCSI tape backup device. Other options include
purchasing a zip drive, which is supported (except on the parallel
port), or backing-up your files to a MS-DOS/MS Windows partition and
back it up from MS DOS/MS Windows or some other operating system.

(4.9) How can I get a "free" copy of Solaris?

A "free" copy of Solaris for personal use (where "free" means you pay
only media, shipping, and handling cost), is available from here: For
*.edu (Educational users): http://www.Sun.COM/edu/solaris/ For
all others: http://www.Sun.COM/developers/ I also have this link:

For Solaris 7, the cost is US$8 for US Shipping/handling (plus sales
tax), US$12 for Canada, and US$25 for the rest of world. For Solaris 8
(Early Access), which includes Star Office and more CDs, the cost is
US$29.95 including US shipping/handling.

"Personal use" means not for use for commercial gain or in connection
with business operations (such as MIS or other internal business

[Thanks to Graham Lovell]

(4.10) What's missing from the "free" copy of Solaris that's in the
commercial version?

The following two CDs are supplied with the commercial version but not
with the free version: Netscape Communicator V4.05 and Software
Supplement for Solaris 7. The latter contains SunVTS, ODBC Driver
Manager, Solaris on Sun Hardware AnswerBook, PC file viewer, ShowMe,
and SunFDDI. OpenGL is only in the commercial Sparc version of

[Thanks to Mike Mann and Alan Coopersmith]

(4.12) How can I get Solaris to see the third ATAPI controller?

Solaris 7 can be configured to support any ATAPI compliant controller
which doesn't conflict with any existing device. The key factor is
that its interfaces must be complaint with the ATAPI specs. In other
words, you need two ranges of non-conflicting I/O ports, and an free
IRQ, and hardware that's compliant with at least the ATA-2 and
SFF-8020 specs. If it's a legacy-ISA ATA controller than you'll have
to manually configure everything via the Device Configuration
Assistant (DCA) menus because the DCA only automatically probes for
ISA-IDE devices at the two standard address ranges. If you're adding a
compliant PnP-ISA ATAPI controller or a compliant PCI-IDE controller
then the DCA should automatically configure everything for you because
all PnP-ISA-IDE and PCI-IDE devices are self-identifying devices.

The problem you're likely to encounter is there aren't many compliant
add-in ATAPI controllers available. Most of them want to do revolting
things like share ISA IRQs 14 or 15, or advertise the wrong range of
I/O ports or don't specify the right PCI-IDE class bytes. In
particular most SoundBlaster-IDE cards have a broken Alternate-Status
register. The Solaris 7 ata driver assumes that the Alternate-Status
register works as specified in the ATA-2 spec. Unlike the other
non-compliant hardware problems, there's a trivial workaround for the
SB-IDE hardware bug (i.e., don't use the Alt-Status register) but I've
no idea whether anyone at Sun has spent the 15 minutes it would take
to apply the fix to Solaris 8.

If you've got an add-in ATAPI controller card that doesn't come with
specs that clearly spell out that it won't conflict with your existing
controllers, or if it requires you to disable any built-in
controllers, then that's almost certainly one of those bogus
controllers that isn't fully compliant with the ATAPI specs. I haven't
yet found a legacy-ISA ATAPI card that works correctly (they all want
seem to want to share IRQ 14 or 15), but people persist in telling me
they exist. If you do find a compliant one then the Solaris 7 ata
driver will work with it just fine.

[Save yourself some trouble and use a SCSI controller and disks. -

[Thanks to Bruce Adler]

(4.12) Are Ultra DMA (UDMA) drives supported?

I understand Solaris 7 recognizes UDMA drives in native mode. They are
not supported in Solaris 2.6 or older, although they are recognized in
its compatibility mode as regular ATAPI drives.

[Thanks to Christopher Arnold and Steve]

(4.13) Are Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices supported?

Solaris 8 supports USB.

(4.14) Is Microsoft Intellimouse or other scrolling mice supported?

Partly (with native XSun). Configure it as a 3-button PS/2 mouse. The
wheel won't scroll anything, but pressing the wheel down is the same
as pressing the middle button. The same holds true for Logitech's
MouseMan Wheel mice.

Update: I understand the new version 1.2 of Intellimouse does not work
with Solaris's XSun. However, XFree86 and Xi Graphics X Windows
graphics card server software do support wheel mice [Thanks to Alan

(4.15) What's difference between Solaris x86 Server and Solaris x86

There is absolutely no difference, other than what you are licensed to
do with it. You get exactly the same software with the two products.
(This is not the case with Sparc server, where the server product
contains more CDs with some additional software. If you want something
like Solstice AdminSuite, you have to order it separately).

The Solaris desktop license restricts you from using the system as
"any type of server" (other than print or NIS). or supporting more
than two continuous users. Read your license for details. A Server
Upgrade License is available.

[Thanks to Andrew Gabriel]


(5.1) How long does the install take?

It depends on the CD-ROM and hard disk speed. On a 300 MHz Pentium
with a multispeed SCSI CDROM, from the time "Initial Install" starts,
it only takes about a half hour. Add another half hour for initial
probes and configuration menus. Add a lot more if you have problems,
of course. Upgrades take about 3 hours or more. This is because the
system must determine what critical configuration data must be saved
and replace it on a "per-package basis".

I'm the impatient type and given up totally on system upgrades. Now I
have a separate disk drive which I just do initial installs because it
goes so much faster. With the typical SCSI drives costing in the $200
range it just isn't worth it anymore to do upgrades. But this is my
opinion so take it for what it is worth. I just save the /etc, /opt,
/local, and /export/home directories and selectively restore rather
than upgrade.

Below is typically what I save before doing an initial upgrade. Don't
take this for the ultimate system definition of what you should save
but it works for my system. Your system may be designed very
differently. The first thing I do is mount the filesystem that has a
home directory with the below critical files and copy them to the
appropriate directories. I'm sure it could be automated but. . . What
the advantage of this process is that I can do an initial install in
about an hour. My home directories are always on another disk

Install_Notes   My own release notes
crontab         This is my crontab, just do a "crontab -e" and save the file
defaultroute    If you have one for routing to a DNS server.
df              Save the output to keep an idea of my disk usage
dfstab          /etc/dfs/dfstab for shared file systems
inetinit        I modify my inetinit; not a standard industry practice.
kshrc_bob       A typical .kshrc for a user
kshrc_root      A root .kshrc
mail            Make a copy of the current mail directory
passwd          /etc/passwd file
profile_bob     A typical ksh .profile.  Note that home directories are
             mounted on a separate drive so this type of file
             doesn't get destroyed during an initial install.
profile_root    A profile for root.
sendmail.cf     The system sendmail.cf that works for your system.
             That is if you didn't modify it.
shadow          /etc/shadow file
vfstab          /etc/vfstab filesystems
volmgt          /etc/init.d/volmgt  Stupid volmgt; I always disable
             because I can't stand it getting in the way.  Normally
             you don't modify this one.

[Modified from Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(5.2) My ATAPI CD-ROM isn't recognized during install by Solaris' FCS
MCB and it's not in the HCL. What can I do?

With at least older versions of Solaris (2.5.1 or before), you may
have problems with ATAPI CD-ROMs either faster than 8x speed,
connected to the secondary ATAPI, or connected to a sound card. I hear
reports from multiple people, however, that this problem has gone away
with Solaris 2.6. I understand the problem is related to the CMD640
ATAPI chipset. I find SCSI CD-ROMS are always a safe bet, as are
CD-ROMS listed on the HCL.

[Thanks to L. E. "MadHat" Heath and others]

(5.3) What kind of problems might I encounter installing my SCSI

Typical problems with SCSI drives are termination and SCSI IDs. You'll
have flaky behavior if there's no termination resistor on the drive at
the end of a SCSI "chain". Worse are double termination resistors.
Some people mistakenly leave a resistor jumper on a drive when it's
not at the end of a SCSI "chain." This also makes the system flaky.
Carefully read your SCSI adapter manual on termination if you're
unsure about it. A SCSI drive can run for hours with no problems--then
boom, you get a panic. Always check cabling, pins, and connections and
use the *shortest* cable possible. The first thing I do when I have a
problem with a SCSI device is to reseat the SCSI cables (with the
machine powered off).

With SCSI IDs, a common problem is that the IDs on the drive, usually
set with dip switches or a button, don't match the settings with your
software (Solaris) or it's a duplicate ID. Check the IDs carefully
when adding or upgrading SCSI devices. The boot drive must be ID 0.

Other more obscure problems are setting the BIOS address space for the
disk controller the same as the network card address space, and the
PCI video card address conflicting with PCI SCSI disk controller BIOS
address space.

[From Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(5.4) What do I do when the install hangs/panics?

One of the most common problems with some mother boards is handling
DMA during the install. Usually, that's the case if you get a hang
right around configuring /dev/devices. Try turning off the
caching--external and internal. Slow the system speed down if it
allows you to do this in the BIOS or through the front panel switch.
Leave these settings ONLY for the install: kick it back up after the

[From Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

Another common problem is support for new devices. Use the latest
driver update boot and distribution diskettes, especially with
newly-supported hardware. Carefully check the HCL to verify your cards
are listed. Try removing/replacing suspected troublesome cards to
isolate the problem.

Sun gives these tips for handling hardware incompatibilities during
installation (see
http://access1.Sun.COM/cgi-bin/rinfo2html?115502.faq ):

  ". . . Disable external cache, . disable synchronous negotiation on
  the CD ROM, and disable ROM BIOS shadowing. These may be re-enabled
  after installation. Also, if using an un-supported or clone
  motherboard, slowing the system clock or changing from a double-
  clocked processor to a single-clocked one may help. Say, for
  example, a 486DX-50 as opposed to a 486-250 or 486-66."
I would also add disabling video cache to this list.

Here's a checklist of typical causes of hangs during installation:
  * Incompatible CD-ROM drives (or mounting on the secondary ATAPI).
  * Incompatible SCSI controller (avoid the clones and cheap cards).
  * Incompatible Motherboard (try changing motherboard settings).

(5.5) I'm trying to install Solaris/x86 on my 8 GB drive. However, the
installation program says the root partition must end within the first
1023 cylinders of the disk. What can I do?

The root filesystem must be below 1024 cylinders of your disk (on
older BIOSes that's under the first 512 MB on ATAPI or 1 GB for SCSI).
The number of cylinders has nothing to do with the size of the disk.
So it is possible to have 1.5Gb partitions below 1024 cylinders on
some disks (with more MB per cylinder) and not on others. Simply make
the root filesystem smaller and create an additional /usr filesystem
(and e. g. /var . . .). For reliability, the root filesystem should be
small (say 64 MB) with large filesystems mounted on it.

Newer BIOSes support LBA, Logical Block Addressing. The BIOS may have
to be edited on bootup to enable the LBA option. This bumps the HD
limit to 8GB. With LBA, Solaris/x86 and other operating systems can be
placed anywhere you want. I have the Solaris/x86 partition completely
above the 528MB limit.

Be sure that the root and the boot slice of the Solaris partition are
within the 1024 cylinder boundary using the BIOS geometry reported for
your disk and you should be fine. That is the cause of the "slice
extends beyond end of disk" message -- exceeding 1024 cylinders.

I have seen problems with fdisk as well. In those cases I used a disk
editor to adjust the partition so it started and ended on cylinder
boundaries. This seems to happen when Solaris uses the actual geometry
of a disk, as seen by Solaris at runtime, vs. the geometry reported by
a controller to allow DOS to think it has no more than 1024 cylinders.
Partition Magic reported problems with that partition when I tried it
on systems that had Solaris partitions that weren't aligned with the
others correctly.

In any case, Solaris x86 is limited to 8GB partitions for ATAPI.
[Thanks to Ronald Kuehn and Mike Riley]

(5.6) Does Solaris x86 prefer to have the motherboard BIOS set to
NORMAL or LBA for ATAPI disks?

In theory, both work. Leave it up to the BIOS' auto-detect, just as
the Configuration Guide advises.

[Thanks to Randy J. Parker]

(5.7) Why does a Solaris install to a disk with valid, pre-existing
fdisk partitions sometimes fail?

There is a well known bug that sometimes prevents Solaris from
installing into an existing partition. Its cause has never been
identified, or its existence officially acknowledged by filling out a
bug report. It is secretly well known only to Sun's Installation
Support team in Chelmsford, MA., who claim that the workaround is
apparent from the message "slice extends beyond end of disk".

I agree that the workaround is simple, but I think some kind of
document explaining the workaround should be returned by searches of
sunsolve and access1. Better yet, the error message could actually
describe the error! Or, how about identifying and fixing the bug so it
never happens to begin with?

For those of you too "stupid" :-) to read the error message, I'll
decode it:
slice   = "disk"
extends = "is full of fdisk partitions"
beyond  = "before"
end     = "installation."
of      = "Please"
disk    = "delete at least one of 'em, and try again"

For example: If a disk has three partitions with the following: 1)
FAT, 2) no filesystem yet, 3) NTFS, the installation might fail in
some poorly understood cases, with the misleading error message.

The workaround is to delete the unused partition, leaving a "hole"
between the flanking partitions. The install fdisk, Partition Magic,
or any other fdisk will now see only 2 partitions: 1) FAT and 2) NTFS.
There will obviously be lots of cylinders between the end of the
first, and the beginning of the second. The Solaris install will spot
the hole, and create a partition according to its own mysterious
specifications. Somehow, this new partition is acceptable, even though
a seemingly identical one created by a different fdisk isn't. Perhaps
the bug is in *when* it was created: if previous, sometimes balk.
Perhaps NORMAL / LBA is relevant at this point - - it did make a
difference in at least one case I tested. Oddly, I have also had cases
where the offending procedure of creating the partitions before
beginning to install Solaris worked fine.

However, I once had a case where the Solaris install created a
partition that left gaps of a few cylinders before and after. I am
wary that it could err on the other side of the boundary, and damage a
flanking filesystem by encroaching across the pre-existing boundary.
The safest approach when dealing with a squirrelly fdisk is to use the
dangerous one *first*. Install Solaris before the other partitions get
used, if possible. Hopefully the other fdisk-type programs will
recognize such corruption and allow the encroached-upon partitions to
be deleted and re-created, without hurting the Solaris partition.

At any rate, the most-likely-to-succeed procedure is to install into a
hole, or onto an empty disk with no partitions.

Thanks to Super-User (asianinter.net), who pointed out cases involving
modern BIOS' auto-detecting ATAPI disks as NORMAL. Alan Thomas prefers
always to set disks to NORMAL, and once had trouble with a disk that
was set to LBA.

[Thanks to Randy J. Parker]

(5.8)How do I install or use the documentation CD?

The AnswerBook documentation CD that comes with Solaris is is very
useful. To use it with Solaris 7, you have to install the Answer Book
2 Server. To do this, run the ab2cd script on the CD as root. For
example: cd /cdrom/sol_7_doc/; ./ab2cd Then open your browser and
enter the URL http://localhost:8888/
[Thanks to Daniel Chirillo]


(6.1) How do I add additional drives?

ATAPI and SCSI the drives are already low-level formatted. If you wish
to format a SCSI you can use the "format" utility that comes with
Solaris. A second drive install would be to use "format".

  * Select the disk
  * fdisk (select the whole disk or partial for format)
  * format
  * Write the label with the "label" option partition, check the
    partition arrangement
  * Quit the format program
  * newfs the drive with "newfs". E.g. "newfs /dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s0"
    would create a files system on the the whole drive with the SCSI
    ID 1
  * mount the partition on your favorite mount point directory
  * Adjust your /etc/vfstab
[From Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(6.2) How do I add or configure users, printers, serial ports,
software, etc.?

Use admintool from X Windows. For the "Keyboard Display or Mouse" use

(6.3) How do I suppress the banner page on my printer?

To disable the banner pages permanently perform the following steps:

 1. cd /usr/lib/lp/model
 2. cp standard standard-nobanner
 3. Use your favorite editor to edit file standard-nobanner. Around
    line 332, change this from: nobanner="no" to: nobanner="yes"
 4. lpadmin -p PRINTERNAME -m standard-nobanner
Note: unchecking the "Always print banner" box in admintool or running
"lpadmin -p st -o nobanner" only allows users to submit print requests
with no banners (lp -onobanner filenamehere), but doesn't suppress
printing of banner pages by default.

[Thanks to Youri N. Podchosov and Rob Montjoy's Sun Computer Admin.

(6.4) How do I set up an HP-compatible printer to print PostScript

Basically, install GhostScript, then use GhostScript (gs) to filter
PostScript files for output to HP LaserJet-compatible (PCL) printers.
Add a filter description file in the /etc/lp/fd directory to call
GhostScript. This technique works for any GhostScript-supported
printer. Note that higher-end HP printers (LJ IV) also support
PostScript directly. For details, see Alexander Panasyuk's GhostScript
Solaris Printer HOWTO at

Before you do any of this, try printing a plain text file (such as
/etc/motd) to the printer.

John Groenveld provides these instructions:

Here's the procedure I followed. It assumes you've got a working
ghostscript with a driver for your printer and that its attached to
/dev/lp1 (/dev/lp0 on some systems). BTW I do see a problem with
Alexander Panasyuk's HOWTO. He writes directly to the device in his
filter. I don't think thats what filters should do, but that's just my

And Michael Riley reminds us that EPP and ECP modes are unsupported.
# Test your driver:
/opt/gnu/bin/gs -q -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=laserjet -sOutputFile=/dev/lp1 \

# Create the printer:
lpadmin -p lj6l_ps -v /dev/lp1 -o nobanner

# Create the printer filter definition:
cat > /etc/lp/fd/laserjet.fd < /dev/cua1
Oct 24 22:47:50 dan.cts.com pppd[1439]: local  IP address
Oct 24 22:47:50 dan.cts.com pppd[1439]: remote IP address
Oct 24 23:08:52 dan.cts.com pppd[1439]: Connection terminated.

Your "netstat -rn" output should have lines that look similar to this:
  Destination           Gateway           Flags  Ref   Use   Interface
-------------------- -------------------- ----- ----- ------ ---------          UH       3      1  ppp0
default             UG       0      1

For debugging pppd, I add this line in /etc/syslog.conf: and restart
syslogd (fields are tab-separated):

daemon.*        /var/adm/messages

Then, you get the chat script dialog captured to help isolate the
problem. Print out and read the docs mentioned above if you have

Once the PPP link is working, you can enable DNS hostnames as follows:
First, Modify this line in /etc/nsswitch.conf to something like:

hosts:      files dns

Second, add lines similar to this in /etc/resolv.conf:

domain PutYourISPDomainNameHere.com

If you use PAP authentication, you also need to create file
/etc/ppp/pap-secrets with tab-separated entries, viz:

# /etc/ppp/pap-secrets
# PPP User ID   Server  "Secret"        IP Addresses
MyUserIDGoesHere        *       "LetMeIn"

Change MyUserIDGoesHere to your PPP login ID and LetMeIn (WITH the
double quotes, "") to your PPP PAP password. Add this line to

-chap name MyUserIDGoesHere

Where MyUserIDGoesHere is as above and "-chap" disables Chap

(6.12) Is there any commercial PPP that's easier to use?

Yes. Solaris sells its "Solstice PPP" product with its server system.
It requires a license for the server side (usually an ISP), but not
for the client-side (if you have only one connection). However, you
have to have access to the Solaris server CDROM to obtain the
software. See http://www.Sun.COM/solstice/server/PPPbrief.html

Basically, to set up, you use the GUI program pppinit to set up the
PPP link. You start and stop PPP with "/etc/init.d/ppp start" (and
stop), as with aspppd, or use the GUI program ppptool. Solstice PPP is
documented in the Solstice PPP AnswerBook at http://docs.Sun.COM/
and a easier to set up than aspppd and pppd.

Progressive Systems, Inc. sells Morning Star PPP, probably the most
successful third-party PPP commercial product. It's available for
Solaris/x86 (and several other systems) for a 15-day evaluation from

(6.13) Help! My USRobotics Internal modem doesn't work with PPP.

If it's a WinModem, you're out of luck--That only works with MS
Windoze and then only with special drivers. It's missing critical UART
hardware that's emulated in proprietary software and hardware
interfaces. WinModems (which run only on Windows) are less expensive
to manufacture because they don't include a controller. Instead, they
include proprietary drivers for Windows that offload processing to the
CPU. For some reason (tell me if you know?), Internal PCI card modems
all seem to be WinModems.

If you're using aspppd, supplied with stock Solaris, you can either
switch to another PPP product that works with USRobotics Internal
Sportster modems, such as Solaris PPP (not free) or PPPd (free, see
above) or try this: (from Alan Orndorff's "Solaris x86 Resources,"

Modify your /etc/uucp/Dialers file in the following manner:

Add P_ZERO to your modem definition string to set it to "no parity."

hayes   =,-, ""   P_ZERO  ""
\dA\pTE1V1X4Q0S2=255S12=255\r\c  OK\r    \EATDT\T\r\c  CONNECT

(6.14) PPP runs extremely slow. What's wrong?

Solaris 2.5.1 patch 101945-34+ has poor TCP performance over slow
links, including PPP.

Patches for this, Bug ID 1233827, are available from
  * Solaris/x86 2.5.1: 103631 (IP) and 103581 (TCP)
  * Solaris/x86 2.5: 103170 (IP) and 103448 (TCP)
Both these patches are in the Recommended Patches set. The "showrev
-p" command shows what patches you have installed. Similar patches
exist for SPARC, PowerPC, and Solaris 2.4.

[From Bruce Riddle's Solarisx86 PPP FAQ and Casper Dik's Solaris 2

(6.15) How do I configure PPP using Dynamic IP Addresses (DHCP)?

If you're using Solaris aspppd, you need a void entry in /etc/hosts
and plumb it to do DHCP with PPP. Basically add this line to
/etc/hosts: void

(Note: for Solaris 2.4 use in lieu of

Change the ifconfig line in /etc/asppp.cf to link to void rather than
the local machine IP entry in /etc/hosts. Then add "negotiate_address
on" to your /etc/asppp.cf file.

If you're using the open source pppd, simply don't specify an IP
address in your pppd options file.

If you're using the commercial Solaris PPP, keep the default of "none"
when prompted for your IP address by pppinit. Edit file

To use DHCP, either: (1) Add a file /etc/dhcp.ppp0 (where ppp0 is the
name of your TCP interface shown in ifconfig; usually le0 for
Ethernet) with the following suggested line:
wait 60

Or (2) Edit files /etc/hostname.ppp0 (where ppp0 is the interface
name) and /etc/nodename to be both empty (0-length) files, then

[Thanks to Bruce Riddle, Wyatt Wong, and Ed Ravin]

(6.16) How do I configure my SoundBlaster card?

For Solaris 2.6 and 7 (2.5.1 instructions follow):

First try, as root: "touch /reconfigure; /usr/sbin/reboot". You should
see two links under /dev/sound and play .au files with audiotool if
this works. If not, try the following procedure:

     Node 0xf5a33500
         compatible: 'pnpCTL,00E4,0' + 'sbpro'
         dma-channels:  00000001.00000005
         interrupts:  00000005
         model:  'Audio'
         name:  'pnpCTL,0045'
         pnp-csn:  00000001
         reg:  8e8c00e4.19f815e8.00000000.00000001.00000220.00000010
         unit-address:  'pnpCTL,00E4,19f815e8'

The device ID I want is CTL0045. This comes from the name line
"pnpCTL,0045". There were a couple of other 'pnpXXX,DDDD' devices.
This was the only one with the model "Audio".

updated /platform/i86pc/boot/solaris/devicedb/master as follows (no

< CSC0000|PNPB002|PNPB003|CTL0031|ESS1681 sbpro oth all sbpro.bef
 "Sound Blaster"
- ---
> CTL0045|CSC0000|PNPB002|PNPB003|CTL0031|ESS1681 sbpro oth all sbpro.bef
 "Sound Blaster"

# /usr/sbin/reboot -- -r

as soon as the machine boots, it will prompt you -- just to verify
that the Sound Blaster showed up in the device list. It did as "Sound
Blaster." Since I ran the DCA boot will get the -r arg anyways.

to the Sunday Blues on real audio at

If the above procedure fails for Solaris 2.6 or 7 (as it did for me),
continue with the procedure below for Solaris 2.5.1.

[Thanks to Park Byoung-Gi, Steve Krapp, Chris, Dave, and Norma]

For Solaris 2.5.1:

Edit file /platform/i86pc/kernel/drv/sbpro.conf as instructed in the
file (note that the instructions were removed for Solaris 2.6 and
above!). Usually, it's just adding "dma-channels-1,5" to the
appropriate name="sbpro" line. Then "touch /reconfigure" and

For example, given a SoundBlaster 16 or AWE32, the following specifies
IRQ 2, Audio I/O Address 0x220, and 8 & 16 bit DMA channels 1 & 5:

name="sbpro" class="sysbus"
 interrupts=5,2 reg=-1,9,0,1,0x220,0x14 type="SB16" dma-channels=1,5;

For a SoundBlaster PRO, the entry looks like this (one DMA channel:

name="sbpro" class="sysbus"
 interrupts=5,2 dma-channels=1 reg=-1,1,0,1,0x220,0x14 type="SBPRO";

Leave the other numbers alone. Make sure these resources are
configured for the card and are not used by other devices. For
example, NICs and Parallel Ports often use IRQ 5, and token ring cards
often use IOA 0x220. For more information, type "man sbpro."

A commercial alternative to the above is to use 4Front Technologies'
Open Sound System (OSS). It's available for a free trial for about 10
days. After that, it's $30, but well-worth the savings in time. For
cards newer than SoundBlaster 16/32/Pro, it's the only choice. To use,
download the tar.Z file from http://www.opensound.com/, extract,
and run the install menu ./oss-install and let it auto-detect the
sound card. Reboot (or at least sync), then run "soundon" to enable
the driver manually (see file oss/Readme for how to enable

(6.17) How do I enable the audio output from my CDROM to my SBPRO

Start audiocontrol then select "Record." Ha ha, "Record" really means
"Sound Source ;-)." In the audiocontrol record window, select
"Internal CD" (other choices are Microphone or Line in).

You must have audiocontrol running before starting your favorite CD
player application. I use workman, but you can try other open source
players, such as xmcd. I haven't found a GUI CD player built-in with
Solaris. Anyone? Robert Muir reports you can use this from the command
line (non-X):
audiorecord -p internal-cd /dev/null &

[Thanks to Eugene Bobin and Robert Muir]

(6.18) Is Solaris/x86 Year 2000 (Y2K) compliant?

Yes--with patches. Solaris 7, 2.6, 2.5.1, 2.5, and 2.4 can be made
Y2K-safe by applying a set of Y2K patches. These patches are available
at http://sunsolve.Sun.COM/

Solaris/x86 Y2K information is available at
http://www.Sun.COM/y2000/ Of the Y2K patches, only the make and
sccs patch are in the Recommended Patches set.

For Solaris/x86 Y2K recommended patches, see

For the entire Y2K patch cluster for each Solaris release, see
s This latter link may be restricted to registered or licensed users.
I certainly didn't pay any money to access it though (other than the
Solaris license). Y2K Patches exist for Solaris Intel 7, 2.6, 2.5.1,
2.5, and 2.4. Note that not all Y2K patches are in the "recommended"
patch cluster for each release.

The "showrev -p" command shows what patches you have installed. Anyone
can download recommended patches. Non-recommended patches are not as
serious and generally require registration to access and download.

(6.19) Can I use Solaris/x86 to setup a "headless" server?

The answer is yes, it can be done, but it's BIOS dependent, since many
BIOS chips won't boot up the system without the keyboard and video
card. The console can be configured to go to serial ports as described
below. Removal of video card is also BIOS dependent. Setup steps:

only) set the serial line's Data Set Ready (DSR) to HIGH. If you
don't--it won't boot. This can be done with a NULL modem or with the
following 25-pin or 9-pin pinouts:
  DTE A         DTE B
  25 (9)        25 (9)
  ------        ------
FG    1 (-) ------  1 (-) FG
TD*   2 (3) ------  3 (2) RD
RD    3 (2) ------  2 (3) TD*
CTS   5 (8) -+---- 20 (4) DTR*
DSR   6 (6) -|  +-  5 (8) CTS
CD    8 (1) -+  |-  6 (6) DSR
DTR* 20 (4) ----+-  8 (1) CD
SG    7 (5) ------  7 (5) SG
RTS*  4 (7)  (nc)   4 (7) RTS*
RI   22 (9)  (nc)  22 (9) RI
* DTE (terminal/computer) driven
(nc) = no connection

If the NULL modem is "incomplete", the boot process hangs shortly
after starting the asy driver (after the message "asy0 is
/isa/asy@1,3f8" or similar asy1/2f8 message). For details, see

ttyb): eeprom input-device=ttya output-device=ttya (just like SPARC?
Update: Andrew Schwabecher reports that using "ttya" doesn't work.
Instead, he adds these entries to
setprop output-device com1
setprop input-device com1

For 2.5.1, add "set console = 1" to /etc/system.

[Thanks to John Weekley, Scott Wedel, Kenneth Wagner, Andy Spitzer,
Kai O'Yang, Michael Wang, David Page, and Andrew Schwabecher]

(6.20) Can I get a Sun-style keyboard (Ctrl & Caps Lock reversed) for

The following is from Don Christensen (6/1998):

I have found two options, the Sun PC-style type 5 keyboard from
Workstation Express, and a Sun Unix-style type 5 keyboard from NCD.
Both keyboards feel much more solid that a typical PC keyboard, with
the NCD being a little better in my opinion (aside from the fact that
it is Unix-style.)

There is a slight problem with the NCD keyboard in that three of the
keys are not seen by the PC. However, there are five extra keys on the
keyboard that could be used instead (the space between the cursor keys
and the Insert, Del, etc keys are filled in with blank keys.) A
moderate amount of work with xmodmap should have either keyboard
functioning quite well. I did not check to see if all of the keys were
seen on the Workstation Express keyboard, but I suspect that it will
be as good as or better than the NCD keyboard.

I had more problems with my Toshiba Tecra 740CDT. When directly
plugged in, neither keyboard worked. Much to my surprise, both
keyboards worked when plugged in through a Y adaptor (so I could also
plug in a mouse). However, many keys on the NCD keyboard were not
seen. Fewer keys on the Workstation Express keyboard were not seen,
but there were enough that I personally don't think it's usable.

Support at NCD said that the NCD keyboard supports "Scan Set 3" while
most PCs support "Scan Set 2". I am not really familiar with PC
hardware, but it doesn't surprise me that the keyboard controller
would be brain dead enough to not support any keyboard. This seems
like a very plausible explanation, at least for the laptop. If I ever
find the right contact at Toshiba, I hope they might have a BIOS
upgrade to support these keyboards (but I am not holding my breath.)

I had our IT department order the keyboard for me, so I don't have
exact numbers, but I was told by Kathy Fulton at NCD (650-919-2888)
that the keyboard is around $116 list. The model number is N-123UX (I
was also given SU192 as a number, but the back of the keyboard says
N-123UX). [See http://www.ncd.com/ - D.A.]

I don't have a Workstation Express catalog handy. [No web page! Call
1-800-844-5757. The part number is #DCA1905, with #DCA1645 (AT
adapter) or #DCA1646 (PS/2). - D.A.]

Personally, I just use software to switch Control_L and Caps_Lock
keys. Create file $HOME/.xmodmaprc with:
remove Lock = Caps_Lock
remove Control = Control_L
keysym Control_L = Caps_Lock
keysym Caps_Lock = Control_L
add Lock = Caps_Lock
add Control = Control_L

and add "xmodmap $HOME/.xmodmaprc" to your $HOME/.dtprofile file.

(6.21) Can I run multiple terminals on the console of Solaris x86 like
those supported on Linux, FreeBSD, Interactive Unix, and SCO?

Maybe. Starting with Solaris/x86 2.4, they are no longer configured
during the installation, but they still work if configured afterwards
by hand. Starting with Solaris 8, they are removed.

If you have Solaris 2.4 to 7, you can configure multiple virtual
terminals back in yourself as follows:

First, as root, verify the device's major number with grep:

 # grep -i chanmux /etc/name_to_major

Second, verify the /dev/vt* entries are present (with ls -l /dev/vt*).
If not present, add the /dev entries, substituting whatever you found
with grep for :

 mknod /dev/vt01 c  1
 mknod /dev/vt02 c  2

Copy and paste the following to /etc/inittab (after the "co:" entry),
and verify no line breaks are added:

v1:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT01 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
1 -l console
v2:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT02 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
2 -l console
v3:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT03 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
3 -l console
v4:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT04 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
4 -l console
v5:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT05 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
5 -l console
v6:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT06 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
6 -l console
v7:234:respawn:/usr/lib/saf/ttymon -g -h -p "VT07 Login: " -T AT386 -d /dev/vt0
7 -l console

To get init to reread inittab, either reboot, or issue the command:
/usr/sbin/init q

Now, Alt-PrintScreen F1 switches to VT01, Alt-PrintScreen F2 switches
to VT02, etc. (if activated as above) Alt-PrintScreen P switches to
the previous screen. Alt-PrintScreen N switches to the next screen.
Alt-PrintScreen H switches to the X console screen (not
Alt-PrintScreen F8).

Press "Alt" and "PrintScreen" together then the next key (e.g., F3).
This is also documented in Sun's FAQ 2245-02,
http://access1.Sun.COM/cgi-bin/rinfo2html?244502.faq Sun's FAQ
has three typos. In Step 2's example, replace the second "mknod
/dev/vt01 c  1" with "mknod /dev/vt02 c  1" In Step 3,
replace "co:" in the FAQ with "v1:" to "v7:" and remove the line
breaks between "-T" and "AT386". The "PrintScreen" key is the same as
the "SysReq" key.

If you're using XFree86, you need to leave one VT open (usually VT07);
otherwise XFree86 will not run.

[Adapted from Casper Dik's Solaris 2 FAQ; XFree86 info from Gantry

(6.22) How do I upgrade my video graphics card?

First see if you have the driver installed. They are listed when you
run kdmconfig. If the driver is present, configure with kdmconfig. If
it's a new card, see if it's listed in the latest "x86 Video Driver
Update" (VDU) for your Solaris release on
http://access1.Sun.COM/drivers/ If listed, install the VDU.
kdmconfig is ran automatically at the end of the VDU installation.
Before changing cards, choose, from kdmconfig, the 16-color 640x480
VGA setting, which is the lowest-common denominator for VGA video
cards. After switching cards and rebooting (verifying the VGA setting
works for the new card) choose a higher setting with kdmconfig.

See the Update Guide that comes with the VDU on specific installation
instructions for the VDU. Generally, it's done as follows: (assuming
the image downloaded from access1.Sun.COM is named vdu11image.Z and is
in /tmp), type as root:
 # cd /tmp
 # uncompress du11vid2.Z ; cat du11vid1.bin du11vid2 | cpio -icvdum
 # zcat vdu11image.Z | cpio -icvdumB
 # ./installdu.sh

(6.23) How to I burn a CD-R or CD-RW with Solaris?

Use cdrecord (free) or commercial software. SCSI CD-R (Record once)
and CD-RW (Read-Write many times) drives tend to be better supported
than ATAPI drives. For details, see the Sun CD-ROM FAQ at
http://saturn.tlug.org/suncdfaq/ and Jörg Schilling's cdrecord
page at:

(6.24) Is IPv6 available for Solaris/x86?

Yes, starting in Solaris 8. See
ml For general IPv6 information, see http://www.ipv6.org/. If you
wish to connect to the 6bone, an experimental, mostly tunneled IPv6
network, see http://www.6bone.net/

(6.25) Does Solaris x86 support multiple processors?

Yes. Solaris x86 automatically detects multiple processors (up to 4).
psrinfo(1M) will print the status of your processors, mpstat(1M) will
report the CPU usages, and psradm(1M) can be used to take processors

[Based on an answer by John Groenveld]

(6.26) How do you install XFree86 on Solaris?

Why would you want to? Usually because the standard XSun server
doesn't support your graphics board or doesn't support the color depth
or resolution you wish to have. (If board support is the only problem,
consider 3rd party drivers from XiGraphics, http://www.xig.com/).
Of course, it's much easier to use the default XSun, which comes with
Solaris CDE, if it works for you.

Here's one person's experiences with installing XFree86. Another, more
detailed, set of instructions by Gregory Lazzaro appear at:
http://www.geocities.com/~gregl/htm/Xfree86_setup_rev3.htm   As a
final hint, get and read the HOWTOs and books that were written for
XFree86 on Linux.

I finally solved my problem by using XFree86 X server. Since I needed
to tweek things a bit to get it working, here is a short how-to for
people who want to use XFree86 X server and CDE on Solaris 2.6 [I have
a report this also works with Solaris 7].

On Solaris 2.6, Sun changed the way X client communicates with X
server when both the client and X server are on the local machine
(DISPLAY variable is set to ":0"). In short, instead of using
/tmp/.X11-unix, the client connects to the X server using
/tmp/.X11-pipe. Since XFree86 doesn't support /tmp/.X11-pipe, CDE will
not work out-of-the-box on the local display under the XFree86 server.

If you added virtual terminals (see 6.21), you must leave one VT
open (usually VT07); otherwise XFree86 will not run.

After installing and configuring XFree86 (binaries for Solaris are
available from ftp.xfree86.org), copy file
/usr/dt/config/Xservers to /etc/dt/config/Xservers. Then change the
:0   Local local_uid@console root /usr/openwin/bin/Xsun :0 -nobanner

in file /etc/dt/config/Xservers to look something like:
unix:0  Local local_uid@console root /usr/X11R6/bin/X :0 -bpp 16

This causes dtlogin to start XFree86 instead of Xsun next time it
loads. CDE will still run with XFree86.

For 8-bit displays, "-bpp 16" should be omitted, or changed to "-bpp
24" for 24-bit displays. After that, dtlogin will set the DISPLAY
variable for local session to "unix:0.0" instead of ":0.0" and CDE
will be able to connect to the local X server.

To add fonts from the /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts directory to the
default font path for XFree86 server, edit /etc/XF86Config file and
add these lines:

 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/F3bitmaps/"
 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/"
 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/"
 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/misc/"
 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/"
 FontPath "/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/"

to section "Files". Aliases for CDE fonts are in the F3bitmaps
directory, so you'll need at least this line.

And that should be it.

For those that use S3 Virge cards, it seems that SVGA server (the
default server for Virge cards) has problems with some chipsets. Try
using an old S3V server instead. Also, the problem with returning from
graphics to text mode seems to be present on all three servers I tried
(Xsun, SVGA and S3V).

[Thanks to Aleksandar Milivojevic, by way of John Groenveld]

(6.27) How do I configure 64K colors for CDE?

Solaris' kdmconfig offers only a choice of 256 or 16M colors for your
graphics board. To configure Xsun to use 16-bit color, configure using
kdmconfig for the desired resolution in 256 color mode. Note the board
line from /etc/openwin/server/etc/OWconfig file. Look in the
referenced file in directory
/usr/openwin/share/etc/devdata/SUNWaccel/boards to see if there is
support for 16-bit color mode for your card.

If your board is listed, edit file /etc/openwin/server/etc/OWconfig
and change defdepth="8" to defdepth="16" in it. Also, values for
MaxPClk for some cards are way too low in 16-bit and 24-bit modes in
the /usr/openwin/share/etc/devdata/SUNWaccel/boards file. But if you
want to change this, you are doing it on your own risk. Some
applications hang on 16-bit colors.

The CDE logo that is displayed after one logs in is a bit-mapped
grayscale image(?!), but everything else should work just fine.

[Thanks to Aleksandar Milivojevic, by way of John Groenveld]

(6.28)Are TrueType fonts supported in Solaris?

Yes, Xsun supports them. Use the Font Administrator GUI,
/usr/dt/bin/sdtfontadm, to add them to the server's list of fonts.

[Thanks to Tran Tran]

(6.29) How do I uncompress a .gz file?

With "gzip -d" (or gunzip, which is gzip linked to gzip). Suprisingly,
Solaris does not come with gzip (it doesn't have zip either--only
unzip). Solaris 8 is supposed to have gzip (but not Early Access).
Gzip is available as a pre-compiled package from
http://www.sunfreeware.com/ (use pkgadd to install) and also as a
tar file (to extract, type "uncompress gzip*Z; tar xvf gzip*.tar") at

(6.30)Why doesn't /usr/bin/cc work?

Because it's just a front-end "stub" for the unbundled C compiler sold
by Sun (SunPro C). You can also get the free GNU C compiler, gcc, from
various locations, including http://www.sunfreeware.com/ in
pkgadd format. If you install gcc, I recommend that you rename or
compress /usr/bin/cc and softlink (ln -s) /usr/local/bin/gcc (or
whereever it is) to /usr/bin/cc. By default, Solaris comes with
support tools (such as make and libraries) in /usr/ccs/bin,
/usr/ccs/lib and usr/include. If not, add the appropriate packages.
For more information, see the "Software Development" section in Casper
Dik's Solaris 2 FAQ.

(6.31)How do you get PGP 2.6.2 to compile on Solaris/x86?

PGP, or Pretty-good Privacy, is strong-encryption software for
encrypting, decrypting, and digitally-signing files and data. I would
steer clear of PGP 5 as it has compatibility problems.

First, check to see if your version of PGP 2.6.2 has a bug. In file
src/crypto.c, function make_signature_certificate(), the line: "byte .


To compile, change file makefile, at around line 116, as follows:
$(CPP) $(ASMDEF) 80386.S > _80386.s   to
$(CPP) $(ASMDEF) 80386.S | grep -v '^# ' > _80386.s
(Don't forget the leading tab character, cntl-i). Next, type: cd
rsaref/install/unix; make; cd ../../../src; make solx86gcc (if you're
using the Sun WorkShop compilers, change "gcc" to "cc" and remove
"-traditional-cpp" in file makefile).

As a reminder, the US Government considers PGP and other
strong-encryption software a "munition" and prohibits the export of
PGP software to countries other than the US and Canada without an
export license. Certain other governments (e.g., France?) even
prohibit possession of encryption software.

To use PGP, I hightly recommend Garfinkel's book, PGP: Pretty
Good Privacy

[Makefile patch from Joe Shamblin]

(6.32)How do you connect Solaris to @Home?

Grab this e-zine article "xDSL and cable modems" from:
http://www.zdjournals.com/sun/9905/sun9951.htm (Inside Solaris,
May 1999) The article covers instructions on enabling Solaris with a
cable ISP.

At least for the the East Brunswick, NJ, servers, I had the easiest
time with DHCP (not the static setup):
/etc/hosts:    localhost    CCxxxxx-A  # where CCxxxxx-A is your hostname
    24.x.x.x      CCxxxxx-A    loghost   # where 24.x.x.x is your assigned I

    hosts:        files dns

    domain ebnsk1.nj.home.com

/etc/dhcp.elx0 (empty file)

/etc/hostname.elxl0 (empty file)
    NOTE: replace "elxl0" with your NIC device name

No /etc/defaultdomain, /etc/defaultrouter, or /etc/netmasks files are
used. This info is handled by DHCP. Reboot and you're hooked up.
Here's my (partially disguised) netstat -rn and ifconfig -a outputs:
$ netstat -rn
Routing Table:
  Destination           Gateway           Flags  Ref   Use   Interface
-------------------- -------------------- ----- ----- ------ ---------
24.x.x.0               24.x.x.x            U      3      2     elxl0            24.x.x.x              U      3      0     elxl0
default              24.x.x.1              UG     0      44               UH     0     236      lo0

$ ifconfig -a
lo0: flags=849 mtu 8232
     inet netmask ff000000
elxl0: flags=4843 mtu 1500
     inet 24.x.x.x netmask ffffff00 broadcast 24.x.x.255

[Thanks to Alan Lucero.]

(6.33)Does Solaris Intel support multiple heads?

No. A commercial X server from Xi graphics, http://www.xig.com/
supports multiple heads.

Dual-headed monitors will be built-in Solaris 8's Xsun (Xinerama,
X11R6.4), but that works on Sparc only, not Intel.

Xfree86 does not currently support multiple heads, though the feature
is on the wish list for XFree86-4. [Thanks to John Groenveld, Alan

(6.34)Why can't I create a home directory under /home?

For Solaris, /home is not an on-disk file system, it is a file system
under the control of the automounter, and only the automounter can
create directories/files in it.

If you don't want the automounter to manage /home, then remove the
"/home" entry from /etc/auto_master (and issue the command "automount
-v" to force the file to be reread, or reboot).

However, the typical setup for Solaris is to locate user's home
directories in /export/home.

/home is intended to be where all users' home directories appear
regardless of which machine they are really located on--by virtue of
the automounter and auto_home map. This makes your home directory
always appear in the same place regardless of which machine you login
to, and regardless of which server the sysadmin decides to move your
home directory.

If you are not part of a network with workstations and servers, this
may look strange. If you want to, as a demonstration, you can set up a
standalone workstation to operate this way, as follows. (I'm assuming
you still have the default setup of /home under the control of the

Create a user with a home directory in /export/home, say,
/export/home/andrew, so that the directory is correctly created with
.profile, .login, etc in it.

Put the following line in /etc/auto_home:

  andrew cucumber:/export/home/andrew
(substitute your user name for 'andrew' and your hostname for
'cucumber'). If there is an "+auto_home" entry in there, comment it
out. Make the automounter reread the files: "automount -v".

You should now be able to "ls /home/andrew" and see the files there
which are in /export/home/andrew.

If you issue the command "mount -p", you will see that
/export/home/andrew has been mounted on /home/andrew (by the
automounter). Normally this would be an NFS mount to a remote server,
but in this case the system has spotted that is it attempting to NFS
mount itself and uses the loop-back filesystem instead (lofs) which
avoids the NFS overhead when the filesystem is on the same machine.

Finally, to complete the use of /home, you should change Andrew's
entry in the passwd file such that the home directory is /home/andrew.

In a networked environment, you also need to add /export/home to the
/etc/dfs/dfstab file so that it is available for other clients to
mount. Also, the password file and /etc/auto_master file (and much
more besides) would be obtained using naming services from a single
networked copy, so you would only need to set this up once whatever
the size of your network, not once per workstation.

[Thanks to Andrew Gabriel]


(7.1) What can I do if Solaris won't boot?

You need to boot from your install CD. Insert the Solaris Software CD
in your CDROM drive. If your CDROM drive/bios isn't bootable, first
insert the "Device Configuration Assistant" (DCA) diskette. At the
"Boot Solaris" menu, choose "CD."

At the "Type of Installation: Interactive or Jumpstart" menu, type "b

Or, after the video configuration, network, time and date you'll
notice one of the menu's has a button: [Exit] Select Exit and, when it
asks you again "do you want to exit?," just say yes.

Once you're at the UNIX root prompt #, you can mount the boot drive
with "mount /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0 /mnt"" and view anything wrong with the
boot drive (omit the "t0" for ATAPI).

[Modified from Bob Palowoda's Solaris 2.4 x86 FAQ]

(7.2) How do I restore the Solaris boot block without reinstalling?

This may happen when installing a boot manager that comes with another
operating system (such as LILO from Linux) or an after-market multi-OS
boot manager. These sometimes trample's active partition, which in our
case is Solaris. Also, moving the Solaris partition with a partition
manager program such as Partition Magic requires reinstalling the
Solaris boot block. Before taking these steps, first verify the
Solaris partition is active. If it isn't, just make the Solaris
partition active and reboot. Otherwise follow the steps below.

previous question, 7.1.

/dev/rdsk/c?t?d?s2 where ? is the controller #, target ID, disk #, and
slice 2 (whole disk). Omit "t?" for ATAPI E.g., /dev/rdsk/c0d0s2

important; if it's wrong, you you may hose another partition: prtvtoc
/dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2 (omit "t0" for ATAPI). The prtvtoc prints out the
map for the Solaris partition on the hard drive, if found. The
partitions shown on the output are actually "slices" within the
Solaris partition.

installboot (partition boot block) (boot block) (raw disk dev)

E.g., for SCSI:
installboot /usr/platform/i86pc/lib/fs/ufs/pboot \
            /usr/platform/i86pc/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2

(omit "t0" for ATAPI)

The Solaris Multiple Device Boot Menu should appear after rebooting.
If not, you can always to an upgrade (re-)install.

Note: This procedure does NOT make your Solaris partition active again
(sometimes needed after installing another operating system, such as
Windows, on the same disk), it just writes to your bootblock IN your
Solaris partition.

(7.3) What can I do during the Solaris/x86 booting sequence?

Step #1: Boot loader

If you have multiple partitions, the boot loader in the Solaris
partition will come up and ask you which partition you want to boot.
This partition must be the active partition, or at least be marked
active by a third-party boot manager before this boot loader receives
control (not all boot managers have this feature). If you don't answer
in so many seconds, it boots Solaris.

This boot manager is pretty basic. It has no customization. You can't
change the default boot partition to one other than Solaris, you can't
change the timeout value, and you can't change the partition
descriptions. But it gets the job done.

Step #2: Device Assistant

This will ask you to press ESC if you want to change stuff. This is to
make up for the fact that x86 machines don't have a nice OpenBOOT chip
to sort out REAL "Plug and Play".

Basically, in Solaris x86, the Device Assistant seems to set up
certain things in /platform/i86pc/boot. This is so the "real" OS has
some common format to examine for devices, instead of having lots of
nasty x86 hardware specific stuff. That way, Sun can keep the main OS
somewhat hardware independent, and keep it very close to the Sparc

The "Assistant" can actually been of assistance. If you select
"partial scan", then "Device tasks", and then "View/Edit Devices", it
will tell you what Solaris THINKS your devices are, and where they are
at. Quite useful, when Solaris gets completely lost, and you're
wondering if it's your fault, or what.

Otherwise, it can give you a warm fuzzy feeling, if you select "Full
Scan", and you see all your devices properly recognized.

Step #3: OS Boot

Well, actually, the "Boot interpreter". The interface is similar, but
not identical, to SPARC Solaris' OpenBoot 'boot' command. The main
differences I notice are:

* It's "b -r", not "boot -r", if you want to force reconfiguration.
Why would you want to do that? Well sometimes, if your devices have
changed a LITTLE, you might want to do this. You can also invoke it
with a "touch /reconfigure" as root before rebooting.

* You don't have nice device aliases like you do with sparc hardware
that being said, if you do nothing, it should autoboot into the actual
OS in a few seconds. Or you can type something quickly within 5
seconds, and force a "reconfiguration boot", as mentioned earlier.

* The "Driver Assistant" or whatever, really looks for major changes,
like adding or removing a card. However, if, say, you add another disk
drive, you'll probably want to just do "b -r". Note that the Device
Assistant will itself trigger a "b -r", after it has autodetected
hardware changes.

Step #4: The Main OS: Solaris

You made it (I hope)!. Hopefully, you should now see a line with
"SunOS5.7" or similar in it, and a little twirly text character
spinner starting. You are now really in the classic Solariss
environment. From here on in, your experience is almost identical to
your brethen who work with SPARC Sun equipment.

[Thanks to Phil at http://www.bolthole.com/solaris/]

(7.4) How do I logon as root if the password doesn't work anymore?

Regaining control of a Solaris x86 system where the root password has
been lost can be accomplished by the following steps. Note that any
savvy user can do this with the proper CD-ROM and diskette. Therefore,
of course, physical security of a system is important for machines
containing sensitive data.

Solaris x86.

the boot device.

you straight to a root shell, #, (and you'll be in single-user mode).

create a directory called hdrive under the /tmp directory and then
mount the root hard drive partition under this temporary directory.

   mkdir  /tmp/hdrive
   mount  /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0  /tmp/hdrive #SCSI; for ATAPI, omit "t0"

following commands.

   export TERM


   vi /tmp/hdrive/etc/shadow




reboot the system:


from the Console Login: as root with no password. Just hit enter for
the password.

root password and secure the system.

[Thanks to Lynn R. Francis, Texas State Technical College]

(7.5) My licensed software fails because the host ID is 0. What's

Intel processor machines don't have an IDPROM, so Sun generates a
serial number, hostid command or sysinfo()'s SI_HW_SERIAL,
pseudo-randomly during installation. The number is stored in
/kernel/misc/sysinit, whose only function, it appears, is to provide
the serial number. If serialization information is tampered or sysinit
fails to load, the host ID will be 0. If you reinstall Solaris,
sysinit will be regenerated and your host ID will change. So be
careful about reinstalling Solaris if you have licensed software that
depends on your host ID. Backup your sysinit file.

To preserve the same ID (and therefore licenses), copy file
/kernel/misc/sysinit to the replacement system. I understand the Sun
Workshop Manual says this is allowed twice per calendar year (please
verify this yourself).

For more information, see the Sun NVRAM/hostid FAQ, available at
http://www.squirrel.com/squirrel/sun-nvram-hostid.faq.html and
elsewhere. This also has tools to fake hostids.

(7.6) How can I fix Netscape Communicator to render fonts correctly on

This problem occurs with Solaris 2.6 and Netscape Communicator 4.0x,
and has since been fixed. Apply patch 106248, which I'm told fixes
this problem. A workaround is to add the following two lines to your
~/.xinitrc file:

    xset +fp /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/
    xset fp rehash

Another workaround, if you don't have these fonts, is to go into
Netscape Preferences and change the font faces.

[Thank's to Alan Orndorff, Jeffrey Cook, and John Riddoch]

(7.7) Why doesn't Netscape run as root?

This is a bug in Netscape. Due to a Netscape 4.x bug (it thrashes the
$HOME environment variable) the X11 library cannot find root's
.Xauthority file in the root dir unless your current directory is /.

Large, complex programs (especially those taking input from to the
Internet) should not be run as root. Experienced users and
Administrators run as root only for essential sysadmin tasks.

If you must run as root, try one of these tricks:
  * Make sure you run Netscape with a current directory of / (so that
    the relative pathname '.Xauthority' works)
  * Or start Netscape with HOME="/." (so that netscape doesn't thrash
    the $HOME variable)
  * Or start Netscape with an environment variable
[Thanks to Juergen Keil via John Groenveld]

(7.8) I moved my PCI host adapter to another slot and the system won't

Don't move the adapter. It isn't a supported feature in Solaris and
isn't easy to recover from. If you have any choice in the matter, move
the controller back to it original slot.

The PCI device number is part of the device's basic ID, including its
child disks. If you change slots, you've effectively removed that
controller and its disks, and added an unrelated controller and disks.
You need to fix up all of the references to the old disks to point to
the new disks.

I've never come up with any strategy better than "boot, observe
failure, fix failure, reboot" for recovering from this kind of change.
For simple cases (single controller, in particular) it can be helpful
to clear /dev/dsk/* and /dev/rdsk/* and run "disks", but that is
perilous too.

Incidentally, changing motherboards is likely to trip exactly this
problem, because motherboards generally number their slots

To conclude, it's difficult and dangerous, and the general guidelines
involves fixing:

 1. /etc/vfstab or /dev or both
 2. /devices to match one another
 3. possibly removing lines from /etc/path_to_inst in order to make
    the right /devices nodes show up
The ultimate goal is to get back the same controller numbers as

[Sun FAQ 2576-02 at

(7.9) Why is Solaris always booting into the Device Configuration

This happens if you installed Solaris onto a disk other than the
primary boot disk. It also happens if you didn't remove your DCA boot
diskette or if you didn't remove your installation CD-ROM if it's in a
bootable CD-ROM drive. See Sun FAQ 2271-02 at
http://access1.Sun.COM/cgi-bin/rinfo2html?227102.faq on
instructions on how to change your default boot device. To summarize:
  * From the "Boot Solaris" screen, press F4 (Boot Tasks).
  * On the "Boot Tasks" screen, press Enter to place an "X" in front
    of "View/Edit Autoboot Settings."
  * In the "View/Edit Autoboot Settings" screen, note that the Default
    Boot Device will not be set to any valid device. Place an "X" in
    front of Set Default Boot Device and press F2 (Continue).
  * On the Set Default Boot Device screen, place an X in front of the
    correct disk and press F2 (Continue).
  * Arrow up to the Accept Settings and press Enter to mark with an
    "X". Press F2 (Continue) to return to the Boot Tasks screen.
  * Press F3 (Back). It will load appropriate drivers after which you
    will be at the Boot Solaris screen. Press F2 (Continue) to
    continue booting.


(8.1) Can I install Solaris x86 on a system that already has Win 9x or
NT or both (among other systems)?

When you run the 2.6 install program, it will ask you which partition
you wish to use. On disk1, all you need to do is to create another
partition on your existing disk. You can use Solaris boot manager to
boot Solaris x86, NT, and Win 9x (among other systems).

To shrink an existing MS-DOS/MS Windows partition, if you need to make
room, use something like Partition Magic.

Problems have been reporte
-- end of forwarded message --