Rodney Campbell's Blog

Sun Ultra 24 Workstation with OpenSolaris, Compiz, xVM & VirtualBox…

by on Mar.14, 2008, under Technology

I ordered a new Sun Ultra 24 Workstation (Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6850 3GHz, 6GB RAM, 250 & 750GB HDs) a few weeks ago and it has now arrived. I planned to run Solaris Express Developer Edition (08/01 – Build 79b) on this machine and then run a number of guest operating systems under either or both of xVM and VirtualBox.

Solaris Express is where the development of the next version of Solaris (11) happens. OpenSolaris has three main streams:

  1. Solaris Express Developer Edition (SXDE) – is Sun’s tested release built from the OpenSolaris bits and additional technology that has not been published in the OpenSolaris source base. It is released every three to four months and replaces the Solaris Express monthly release.
  2. Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) – is Sun’s binary release for OpenSolaris developers (code named “Nevada”). It is built from the latest OpenSolaris source and additional technology that has not been published in the OpenSolaris source base. This release is unsupported. It is updated every other Friday.
  3. OpenSolaris Developer Preview – is the first milestone of Project Indiana. It is a single CD combined live/install image: a core operating system, kernel, system libraries, a desktop environment and a package management system.

Indiana is to Solaris what Fedora is to Red Hat. It is a frequently updated distribution that will become the next version of Solaris every three years. The new Image Packaging System (IPS) will debut in Indiana replacing the old System V packaging system.

OpenSolaris SXDE (79b)

The various OpenSolaris builds can be downloaded from here. Burning the ISO to a DVD and then booting the DVD and installing SXDE is very simple (especially using the new graphical installer).

Compiz Fusion

Erwann Chénedé has thankfully packaged up an easy install bundle for compiz fusion 0.6 + emerald 0.5.2 which is available for download from here. All you need to do is run the shell archive to complete the installation.

xVM

I was originally planning on using xVM on this machine however I couldn’t get the machine to boot into the xVM mode at the GRUB bootloader – it would start and then hang every time I tried. After some serious google research I noticed a number of threads detailing issues with xVM causing serious issues with the Ultra 24 hardware (basically killing the gigabit NIC interface at the BIOS level such that the interface was no longer even available to the machine when running in non xVM mode). I’ve decide to let this one rest till this is resolved and patches/etc are forthcoming.

VirtualBox

You can download the relevant VirtualBox archive from here – the only thing you need to be careful of is installing either the 32bit version (the x86 download) or the 64bit version (the AMD64 version) depending on what version of OS you’re running. On my Ultra 24 I’m running 64bit SXDE so I installed the AMD64 version (even though it is an Intel box 🙂 ). The output of “isainfo -k” will tell you which instruction set is being used on your machine.

Installation is as painless as a pkgadd of the package and then running “VirtualBox” at the command line.


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