07 March 2005

Solaris 10: Tips and Tricks

So...I've got that shiny new Solaris 10 installation up and running. But, along the way I've discovered some incredibly annoying things that just bug me to death. In fact, you may have discovered some of the same things:
  • Your sound card isn't supported by default
  • Your shiny new Gigabit network device isn't supported
  • You are not able to use your Home, End, Page Up, or Page Down keys in X Terminal Programs
  • There's no nifty little network configuration program to make it easy to setup your network device for DHCP
  • All of those wonderful programs you're used to easily installing via yum, apt-get, portage, etc. seem difficult at best to setup and install
What's a person to do?

Well, fear not gentle reader. I am here to bequeath virtuous Solaris bit salvation to you. All of the above problems are easily solveable, thanks to people like Ben Rockwood, those on the Solaris x86 Yahoo Group Mailing List and Sun's wonderful documentation.

Problem 1 - Sound Card Support

Two options that I know of:
  1. http://www.tools.de/solaris/audio/
  2. 4Front Technologies
The free drivers at the first URL may work for you, or may not. The 4Front Technologies drivers are probably the safest bet, though by default they're nagware until you pay for them (banner message everytime you run 'soundon', no nags beyond that) and you have to manually enable them everytime you boot your system (at the moment anyway). I use them with my SoundBlaster Audigy 2 on my Athlon64 workstation and they're quite a treat (beta status currently). Having been used to the shoddy mixers typically available under X11 desktop environments I was pleasantly surprised at the multi-channel audio support and ossxmix, 4Front's mixing program. Highly recommended.

Problem 2 - Network Device Support

I discovered after installation that Solaris 10 didn't support my Realtek 8169 based Gigabit ethernet adapter on my motherboard. However, after spending some time Googling, I found Masayuki Murayama's network driver page. Soon I was enjoying glorious Gigabit ethernet again, and as a plus it works whether you're compiling for a 64-bit kernel or a 32-bit kernel. I should disclaim any usage beyond normal desktop stuff and downloading / uploading files. Workstation level usage only here.

Problem 3 - Unable to use Home, End, Page Up, Page Down Keys

This by far was the most annoying, perplexing, and difficult of all to solve. But with some help from users on the Solaris x86 Yahoo Group Mailing List and some perserverance on my part, I finally discovered the solution (beginning of the thread).

Problem 4 - DHCP Configuration not so nifty

Setting up DHCP and my own hostname turned out to be pretty easy, even though I'm used to a nifty little text-based configuration program in other *nix-like Operating Systems:
  • touch /etc/dhcp.gani0 (where gani0 is the name of your network device driver plus it's enumeration)
  • vi /etc/hostname.gani0 (put whatever you want for a hostname inside of this file and save it)
  • reboot (there are other ways to get this to activate, but I'm lazy...)
Problem 5 - How do I install my Favourite Program?

Most of your favourite programs can probably be found at blastwave, and are easily installable via a nifty little program called pkg-get (usage and installation both found at the link).

Where to from here?

If you want to learn more, Sun's documentation site, BigAdmin, the OpenSolaris site and DryDog are all great sites to start with. As far as the blog world goes, here's my A-List for Solaris:
Whew. This little blurb has already grown long in the telling, so I'll save the other goodies for another time.

So long for now...

Related Blogs:


Dennis Clarke said...

How To use Blastwave

Have a look at the Blastwave HOWTO page at :


Darryl said...

Just stumbled across your blog. Interesting read. Anyway, I've often found the packages on sunfreeware.com useful. Quick and dirty, standard Solaris packages in both x86 and SPARC flavors.