"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
<mdxi> Proprietary Unices Are Weird In The Head

Got bored today and decided to install Solaris 10 beta 5 on some boxes. Keeping in mind that my experiences with commercial UNIX has always left a sour taste in my mouth (IRIX, AIX), and that I have very specific ideas about what UNIX is, you greybeards may want to take this with a shot of J.D. or something. Also keep in mind that this is beta software.


The GUI installation is totally broken (at least on x86). It gets through installing the first set of packages, and then falls over for no reason I could ascertain.

The text install works fine, but is not incredibly intuitive (for instance, I didn't realize until the second time I installed it that for some menus, you could move the cursor to the right to choose options. Hitting the space bar/enter on the line as the option you're trying to choose doesn't work).

The text install actually uses CDE/OpenWindows. Which uses X11. It has text, so I suppose it counts... (The actual GUI install is apparently JumpStart? Or WebStart? Or some goddamn thing. All I know is there's a web browser in the background...)

The partition editing is not awesome at all. What is "x86boot"? I assume it's a bootloader of some sort, but it'd be cool if I was told that I needed it, especially if I create my own slices.

Now let's talk about actually creating partitions... there's no "use entire disk" option, but there is an auto-partitioning option. I used that, figuring that the Sun engineers who built this image would know way more about how Solaris likes its disks cut up than I, a Solaris newb, ever would. Pity I didn't notice this little problem until the machine was booted and I tried editing a file:

/dev/dsk/c1t0d0s3 84M 83M 0K 100% /var

Because where do you suppose it puts tmp files by default? If you guessed /var/tmp, you win the cookie with glass in it.

That's super keen.

So after booting off the install CD and getting to a shell and mounting the /, /export/home, /usr and /var, I moved the partition over and made a symlink. Not a big deal, yay for chroot, etc. And then realized that it tried to access /var before mounting home. That gets a big fuck-you from me, so I just reinstalled with a sane partitioning schema. If I cared, I would have edited the init scripts... but screw that. It's 0144. I just want to get it up so I can say I accomplished something before going to bed.

Using auto-layout and then customizing its broken results will show you the minimums for each partition. Which the exception of /var, it all looks relatively sane with the final installed system.

I'm also not a big fan of useradd. I like scripts. Give me a GUI if you must, but for the love of all the gods having crazy monkey sex in janitor closets across the cosmos, give me a shell script to add users. Perhaps there is one. I have not actually googled for information.

It comes with SSH with no root logins.

It also has a dozen other ports open by default, which is just super, and to be expected. What I didn't expect was that they'd be open DURING the install. That's AWESOME. Just think if Windows did that. You could have your box owned before you had finished installing it.

It doesn't grab its name via reverse DNS. Watching Sendmail cry is funny.

The "management" tools suck. It comes with GNOME 2.0, but there's no integration to speak of. All the useless Solaris tools are in a sub-menu called CDE Menu. I don't really care about this. Administering a system via clicky-buttons is Not UNIX unless it's a workstation. (Maybe I'll change that opinion after using Mac OS X Server 10.4, but I doubt it.)

There are binaries in /etc, but they're all symlinks to the appropriate location. I assume they still exist there for legacy reasons.

It comes with Perl 5.8.3. Adam told me earlier today that he remembers with Solaris started shipping with Perl. And bash. And, y'know, other things that I, as a spoiled Freenix punk, would consider a core part of the system.

Go to get water and milk for cereal. Manage to get my key stuck in the gate lock after locking the gate. This is awesome. Shoot an email to the manager, though I don't think it'll be a huge problemn. Managed to get that key off the ring with only a fair amount of effort.

Realized there's no vim. Realized there's no compiler. Initial reaction:
03:04 < bda> omg. No compiler?
03:04 < bda> NO COMPILER?
Fucked around with Sun's horrible site for a few minutes before turning to google. Found this:

Continue to be annoyed with how hard it is to navigate Sun's website and actually FIND things.

Eat some cereal. Get tired of fucking with this for the moment. Go to bed. (0325)

August 11, 2004 1:19 AM