Solaris 8: Installation Guide

Simon Hood

These notes reflect problems I encountered when installing Solaris 8 on my SPARC Ultra 5. The notes are intended to be a supplement to the installation guides which come with Sun computers and software. As such they emphasise local issues and problems encountered; some parts which are straightforward and can be followed in Sun's documentation are skipped over quickly.

 -- ...had trouble with a 2.8
    machine's networking also;  they chose IPv4 and IPv6 at installation
    time;  got

       IPv4:  cannot assign requested address hme0

    A re-install without IPv6 and all worked.   Perhaps a conflict?

Installation Comments

The Installation


These instructions apply to both a new SPARC Station which is ready for setting from from files resident on the hard disk upon delivery from Sun (my Ultra 5 came with both Solaris 2.7 and 8 ready for installation) and a machine on which it is wished to install the operating system, from scratch, from a collection of CDs; an operating system upgrade is not covered here --- the problems mentioned here should not be encountered for an upgrade.

Beginning The Installation

Ensure your machine is connected to the network, that you have been assigned an IP address for it, and that its name is in the DNS database.

For a new machine, on which uninstalled copies of the OS exist on disk already, simply switch the machine on and choose Solaris 8 (rather than 2.7) if necessary. The installation will then be essentially identical to that given below which details a CD-based installation.

As root, place the Installation CD of your copy of Solaris 2.8 into the CDROM drive and type "reboot cdrom" and hit return. The machine will reboot and offer two options:

      1/ for initial install 
      2/ for upgrade
Choose "1". The first step of the Initial Install is the formatting of the (local) disk and creation of swap space. The default swap size will probably be OK: I accepted the suggested size of 512Mb on a 8Gb disk (for a machine with 128Mb RAM).


The programme copies some files to your hard drive and reboots.


The next step is to supply network information to the installation programme. Within UMIST, this is what you would expect to supply:

    Networked     Yes
    DHCP          No
    Hostname      <your unique choice>    (e.g., boiler, not 
    IP Address    <the unique number assigned to you>    (cf.,
    IPv6          No 
    Name Service  DNS
    Name Servers
    Direct/Proxy  Direct Connection  
(There is no point in installing IPv6 as there is no support for it at UMIST.) You are also asked to choose: the method by which the date and time are set --- I suggest by Geographic Location (one can choose Europe, then Great Britain); the root password --- don't forget it; whether to make use of power management software --- unless the machine is for personal use only, and from the console only, choose "No".

Unfortunately there are some problems with the above settings:

In addition to this I encountered a problem with the format of the machine's IP address: the installation programme would not accept as the machine IP address, giving the message "an error has occured", with no indication of what this error actually is! However, changing the address to eliminates the problem...right up till the reboot after installation: at that point, even with the fixes relating to DNSs and the gateway/subnet mentioned above, my machine would not talk to the network: "no route to host".

An edit to the IP address within /etc/hosts fixed the problem --- see below.

Partitioning and Software

The next stages are to choose what software to install and to partition the disk(s). This is straightforward: follow the advice given Sun's documentation. There are just a few things to note:

After choosing what software to install the "Lay Out File Systems" (partitioning!) screen appears. You will need to allocate user space and system space in addition to that already allocated for swap. The installation programme specifies a minimum size for the root partition (/) into which (some of) the software you have chosen must be installed.

One school of thought favours splitting the file system into several partitions, for example, separate partitions for /opt, /usr, /usr/local, /tmp, /var, /home...; another favours keeping things simple. If you are not familiar with the issues involved here it is probably best to split the remaining disk space (i.e., that left after allocating swap space) into just two: root (/) and /home/export, the latter being for user's home directories. Try to ensure there is enough space to install applications in the future (within root, /) and also for user files.

Software Installation

Finally the software is installed. This takes a while. The other CD's will be required. After a "final" reboot your SPARC Station should be working --- but as mentioned above the networking will need fixing.

Fixing the Installation: Networking

As this stage your machine should be working fine --- as a standalone box; networking will need fixing. Several files are mentioned below: in each case simply amend the contents of the file on your machine to resemble that shown using a text editor, such as /usr/dt/bin/dtpad, which is part of the CDE installation (and will therefore be on your machine unless you opted to unselect CDE).

This should have been set as part of the installation, as described above. For example
        # network number netmask
Check with you departmental computing officer to ensure this is correct for you.

...contains the name-servers to use and your domain, for example:
       # domain name-servers :
The nameservers are correct for all machines within UMIST; the domain will depend on your building/department.

Contains information on how the solaris should find information to support a variety of services such as username/password authentication, and name resolution. Within UMIST, DNS should be added to the "hosts" section:
      passwd:     files 
      hosts:      files dns

The machine needs to know the gateway to its subnet (route). This can be achieved using the "route" command:
 route add default <gateway> 
for example
      route add default <your subnet gateway> 
cf. This number above should be replaced with the appropriate value for your subnet.

You don't want to type this in every time you reboot, so create a file called
and stick the number in it.

IP Address Problem: 088 versus 88

As mentioned I experienced problems with the host IP number. Whilst the installation programme will accept only, after installation the machine would not "talk" to the network unless this was changed to

/etc/hosts boiler loghost

Replace the values given above with those appropriate for your machine!

Useful Tools

These network diagnostic tools are useful to ensure your machine is finally configured correctly:

    /usr/sbin/ifconfig -a 

    lo0: flags=1000849<UP,LOOPBACK,RUNNING,MULTICAST,IPv4> mtu 8232 index 1
            inet netmask ff000000 
    hme0: flags=1000843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST,IPv4> mtu 1500 index 2
            inet netmask ffffff00 broadcast
            ether 8:0:20:e7:9a:95 
The second part of the output (hme0: ...) indicates that my machine is talking to the network ok.

     netstat -r 

    Routing Table: IPv4
    Destination           Gateway           Flags  Ref   Use   Interface
    -------------------- -------------------- ----- ----- ------ ---------         boiler                U        1    111  hme0
    BASE-ADDRESS.MCAST.NET boiler              U        1      0  hme0
    default            UG       1    162  
    localhost            localhost             UH      19 341021  lo0
The secon-to-last line shows the default routing (gateway).

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