OpenSolaris Developer Preview 2 on VirtualBox

/opensolaris-developer-preview-2-on-virtualbox 2008-02-15T18:26:55+00:00

I'd never heard of VirtualBox until I heard Sun announce they'd be buying innotek - the makes of VirtualBox. With the news that it could run on OpenSolaris, I thought I'd give it a whirl and see if I could kill two birds with one stone - test both VirtualBox OpenSolaris Beta AND the latest release of OpenSolaris Developer Preview (OSDP), both on build 80 of Nevada.

Well, it all went a lot better than expected.

Downloading and installing VirtualBox was easy. It's small and lightweight. What a pleasure when compared to the likes of VMWare. Configuring it a new virtual machine and pointing it to the OSDPv2 iso image was a breeze, and booting the virtual host happened quickly and easily without any problems. In next to no time I was booting from the OSDPv2 Live CD image:

VirtualBox and Project Indiana

... and after a short while I was running the full Live CD environment within VirtualBox, and the performance was pretty impressive considering I'd only allocated 512Mb of memory to the virtual host:

Project Indiana Live CD running in VirtualBox

I then took the plunge and double clicked the "Install OpenSolaris" icons. Within a few seconds I was presented with the new installer, clicked my way through the 5 simple steps and off it went. About 20 mins later, all was done and I was prompted to reboot, so I did.

Once rebooted, I was presented with this lovely blue login screen...

Login Screen

Now this is where the niggles started. The default screen res was only 1024xwhatever with 16 bit colour. Thankfully Alan Burlison had already done a fair bit of work on this, so I nabbed his xorg.conf.

Next, the network devices used by the Virtualbox need the pcnet device driver (pcn on Solaris). Unfortunately, this is a closed source driver, so it's not supplied with OSDP. Now Alan details using the drivers from an SXDE iso image, however I liked the idea of the open source drivers that Wayne Liauh mentioned in the comments. So I headed on over to here via here and grabbed Masayuki San's driver pkgs.

With these in hand, I whipped up a quick ISO image containing the two files and mounted it within the virtual host (the shared storage doesn't seem to work on Solaris just yet).

Once the ISO was mounted within the virtual host, it was a simple matter of putting the xorg.conf into place, installing the SFEnicdrv and SFEnicdrv-ae pkgs and rebooting. The OS picked up the new screen resolution and NWAM plumbed a network interface. Brilliant!!!

All in all, I'm pretty impressed. The virtual host runs like a dream, especially considering it's only got 512Mb of memory allocated to it, and VirtualBox is really lightweight and quick too.

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