OpenSolaris Indiana 2008.11 Acer Aspire One Install

From Lyceum
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Innomat solaris 180.png

Installing OpenSolaris on your Acer Aspire One in 10 (or less) Steps


NOTE: Please note this is my personal note book wiki, and as such is closed to editing. If you wish to leave feedback, please see my blog at

Getting OpenSolaris 2008.11 running on your Acer Aspire is pretty cool. Solaris is a great OS, with many features that will entertain any Linux geek for a while: ZFS & Timeslider snapshots, Dtrace, Zones - it's basically geek candy.

Installing it is of moderate difficulty, and the below guide might assist you.

Please note that you can also download Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) which has wifi and video working out of the box and uses a root ZFS install. However, if you want to play around with IPS I believe you will need to install 2008.11 - at least I was unable to get IPS working in the current SXCE builds. Also the SXCE install is not very intuitive for those not already familiar with Solaris package names, but it does work well without a lot of additional steps required.

Or install and test drive one and then the other if you like.

You may also find this post of interest if you want to install Solaris on your SSD drive and then boot Ubuntu from an SD card.

There are two install methods given below, either will work. Remember even if you get X working and launched in the Live CD you will just have to repeat the steps in the final installed system.

Install will take 2.6GB

Instructions have been test on:

[email protected]:~/Desktop> ssh [email protected]
Password: jack                                                                   
Last login: Sat Mar  7 08:10:20 2009                                        
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      snv_101b        November 2008       

Install from the Live CD

There are several things you need to do to install from the Live CD. First off, when you boot X will not start correctly as it is missing the correct Intel driver. It is possible though to make a new xorg.conf file, edit the video driver to vesa and then start up Gnome. The following steps guide you through how to do this. While not necessary I also include setting up SSH so you can connect from another computer should X hang, etc.

Note that you may find the alternate method, remote install using SSH, to actually be a lot simpler than this. You will have to repeat these steps in the final install to get X working, so you will do most of this twice. If you want to skip getting X working for the install, see the next section on X forwarding the installer GUI.

  • 0) *Connect an ethernet cable to a DHCP enabled network
  • 1) Boot the Live CD
  • 2) Respond to language language set up prompts
  • 3) Login as jack / jack
  • 4) Become root: $su - (pw: opensolaris)
  • 5) *If needed: /etc/sshd.config - enable root login and X forwarding / X offset
  • 6) *enable ssh: #svcadm enable sshd
  • 7) #Xorg -configure
  • The above will generate in current /root directory
  • 8) Edit, changing "intel" to "vesa" for the Driver
  • 9) *Verify you have network: ping something, this way you can SSH in from another system if the X session hangs, etc.
  • 10) *ifconfig -a shows interfaces and your IP address
  • 11) #/usr/X11/bin/xinit /usr/bin/dbus-launch gnome-session -- \/usr/X11/bin/Xorg -config /root/
  • 12) Disable gnome screen saver in preferences (once activated I could not log back in as root)
  • 13) Navigate to Desktop folder in Jack's folder (Places --> Computer)
  • 14) Click the "Install OpenSolaris" Icon
  • 15) The graphical installer will lead you through the partitioning and install process.

Items marked * are optional steps.

NOTE: You can not make customer partition changes in the installer such as resizing existing partitions, etc. If needed, before you run the installer use gparted to set up the partitions how you like.

NOTE: Solaris uses the same partition type as a Linux swap partition. Thus, if you use gparted and create a swap partition of the size you wish your Solaris partition to be, you will simply be able to select it as the target partition when you run the installer.

If you try to start X as user Jack you might see:

(EE) GARTInit: Unable to open /dev/agpgart (Resource temporarily unavailable)
(EE) intel(0): [dri] DRIScreenInit failed. Disabling DRI.
(EE) intel(0): Failed to allocate framebuffer. Is your VideoRAM set too low?
(EE) intel(0): Couldn't allocate video memory

Fatal server error:
AddScreen/ScreenInit failed for driver 0

XIO:  fatal IO error 146 (Connection refused) on X server ":0.0"
      after 0 requests (0 known processed) with 0 events remaining.

The magic trick to get gnome started using vesa is well documented at Stephen Han's blog (Sun guy) which you can find here

The following site was helpful in troubleshooting getting X running:

Remote install using SSH

X Forward the GUI Installer

This method allows you to perform the install remotely from another system by X forwarding the GUI Installer. X Forwarding is quite a handy tool and here is a perfect application for it.

The options presented are exactly the same has running the installer from Gnome off the Live CD, so should you be unable to get X working for some reason and can't run the install from CD you can still use this method.

On the Aspire One:

  • 1) Boot the LiveCD and login to the text console as user jack / password jack
  • 2) su - (password: opensolaris)
  • 3) DHCP is enabled by default, verify your ipaddress by running ifconfig -a
  • 4) enable ssh: svcadm enable sshd

From another system on same network:

(NOTE: You can even do this from a Windows PC by installing the Xming Xserver for Windows and using an SSH client such as putty. Ensure putty has X forwarding enabled in the SSH options. See the article [SSH Over X] for more info.)

  • 1) ssh as user jack / password jack, remember to specify -X to enable X forwarding in you SSH session, for example:

ssh -X [email protected]

  • 2) run xeyes to verify X forwarding is working
  • 3) #/usr/bin/pfexec /usr/bin/gui-install

You may now continue the installation as though running it from Gnome on the Live CD. Working X on the Aspire is not required.

NOTE: You will have to follow the same basic steps in the "Install From Live CD" section once the install has completed to get X working on the new OS.

The following link was helpful in the above procedure:

Wireless Drivers

You will need to download and reinstall the wireless driver. There is one already installed, but it needs replaced. (You can remove the one installed first if you with with pkg uninstall SUNWatheros though it is not necessary.) Furthermore, you must ensure the new driver gets attached correctly to the right PCI bus device ID address. Failing to due so will result in non functioning wireless.

Install Driver

First, download the driver from Dave Clack's excellent blog here and follow the instructions given to install it. When you install it, pay particular attention the the ending output, and if you see the following you will need to take the additional steps below to attach it.

## Installing part 1 of 1.
[ verifying class <none> ]
## Executing postinstall script.
devfsadm: driver failed to attach: ath
Warning: Driver (ath) successfully added to system but failed to attach

Installation of <SUNWatheros> was successful.
[email protected]:/export/home/vegablue/Desktop#

Note the output saying the ath driver failed to attach. If that is the case, continue with the below.

Attaching the Driver

To attach the driver, you need to locate the PCI bus address of the device, and reinstall the driver specifying that address. You can use the Device Driver Utility from Gnome --> System Tools, or the following in the shell:

[email protected]:~# /usr/X11/bin/scanpci | grep -b1 Atheros
2921-pci bus 0x0003 cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x168c device 0x001c
2992: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter

Notice the vendor and device IDs in the second line. Using your values, execute the following commands as root:

#rem_drv ath
#add_drv -i "pci168c,1c" ath
#ifconfig ath0 plumb
#ifconfig ath0 dhcp
#svcadm restart nwam

NOTE: You must restart nwam for the network management utility in Gnome to pick up the wireless. Also, ensure your wifi switch is on - the LED will not work, so you might need to slide it over if your wifi is being elusive.

Screen shots and another example of attaching the driver can be found at:

(Step 9 of the above site, which is a great how to on installing OpenSolaris on an Intel Mac by the way.)

This post of Dave Clack's is doing the same as the above, though just not as verbosely described.

This site is also helpful, but don't get the driver from it, use the link above:

And this site on using wificonfig is also handy: