Solaris, reporting for duty

Solaris has recently gained some attention from Mozilla developers, largely due to the availability of DTrace. Rob Sayre, in particular, has recently been putting it to good use tackling performance and memory problems.

I just reinstalled the latest release, Solaris Express Developer Edition 9/07, and helped update the Solaris Build Prerequisites page on DevMo. I’ve used Solaris for years, and thought I’d share a few other tips for anyone else who might be installing Solaris to play around with this stuff…

  1. Solaris is fairly compatible with x86 hardware these days, but as with Linux configuring video cards can be a pain. My old desktop died, so I got to reinstall again on a new machine. With an ATI video card. It even almost worked (unaccelerated, wrong resolution, etc etc)! Long story short — just get a Nvidia card. The Solaris support is much better.
  2. Change root’s shell (passwd -e root). /sbin/sh sucks, and for a desktop machine the holy wars about if it’s safe to change root’s shell are largely irrelevant.
  3. I use “man -k foo” all the time to look things up when I can’t remember the exact command. This works out-of-the-box on Linux and OS X, but on Solaris you’ll need to run “catman -w” first (as root).
  4. seems to be the new hotness for prebuilt (binary) packages of open source software. I used for years, but it’s a little more effort involved.
  5. Synergy is great for using a single keyboard/mouse across multiple systems. “pkg-get install synergy” on the Solaris side (yay BlastWave), and install QuickSynergy on the OS X side.

Getting a functional environment is kind of important too. I do this:


. ~/.bashrc


# Make prompt prettier the "bash-3.00"
export PS1="[solaris] W \$ "

# Set path to all the useful stuff.
# /opt/csw is the Blastwave stuff
export PATH=~/bin:/opt/csw/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/opt/SUNWspro/bin:/usr/sfw/bin:/usr/X11/bin:/usr/dt/bin:/usr/openwin/bin:/usr/ucb

export MANPATH=/opt/csw/man:/opt/SUNWspro/man:$MANPATH

# Build environment, else we get gcc...
export CC=/opt/SUNWspro/bin/cc
export CXX=/opt/SUNWspro/bin/CC
export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/sfw/lib -R/usr/sfw/lib"

# Allow vi-like scrolling/searching in "man foo" output.
export PAGER=less

I’ll try to update this blog if I change stuff.


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