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We want to install Solaris 10 on a E250 and an U60. They both come with a CDROM drive, the E250 might even have a DVD drive, but there's nobody on-site to handle this scenario. And booting from optical media is so last century :) Also, we don't want to use Jumpstart, because:

  1. Another Solaris server might not be available
  2. It's basically just a combination of dhcp/nfs and I don't want Jumpstart or any other magic scripts messing with my setup


Our setup would be:

server:  (alice, Linux)
client:    (bob, Solaris)

We'll set up RARPD, TFTP and Bootparamd to get the E250 (sun4u) started; NFS to share the installation media later on. The installation media is basically just the downloaded .ISO, loop-mounted somewhere on our Linux system:

 mount -t iso9660 -o loop -o ro sol-10-u9-ga-sparc-dvd.iso /mnt/cdrom


For rarpd to work, we add our client's MAC address to /etc/ethers:

 # grep /etc/hosts   bob
 # grep bob /etc/ethers
 08:00:10:A1:B2:C3      bob

Note: the client's MAC address is shown upon booting and can also be queried via ".enet-addr" at the OpenBoot prompt.


For tftp we need to create a bootfile for our install-client ( to be found:

$ grep tftp /etc/inetd.conf 
tftp dgram udp  wait root /usr/sbin/in.tftpd /usr/sbin/in.tftpd -s /data/tftpboot

$ cd /data/tftpboot
$ printf %02x 192 168 0 5 | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]
$ cp -p /mnt/cdrom/Solaris_10/Tools/Boot/platform/sun4u/inetboot .
$ ln -s inetboot C0A80005.SUN4U
$ ln -s inetboot C0A80005

Next we need either bootparamd or dhcpd.


bootparamd needs /etc/bootparams which should look something like this:

bob  root= \
  install= \

Somehow it's important that all these parameters are prefixed by the servername (, otherwise the client may not find the requested files.




We still have to export the installation directory via NFS. As Solaris 10 still still has problems with a Linux NFS server, we're starting nfsd with:

$ grep RPCMOUNTDOPTS /etc/default/nfs-kernel-server
RPCMOUNTDOPTS="--manage-gids --no-nfs-version 3 --no-nfs-version 4"

...and exporting our share now:

$ exportfs -v -i -o ro,no_root_squash


{0} ok boot net -s -v - install
ChassisSerialNumber 12341010
Initializing    1 megs of memory at addr          2feca000
Initializing    1 megs of memory at addr          2fe00000
Initializing    2 megs of memory at addr          2fc02000
Initializing  192 megs of memory at addr          23c02000
Initializing  572 megs of memory at addr                 0
Rebooting with command: boot net - install
Boot device: /pci@1f,4000/network@1,1  File and args: - install
Using Onboard Transceiver - Link Up.
Server IP address:
Client IP address:
Using Onboard Transceiver - Link Up.
ramdisk-root ufs-file-system

Depending on your interface speed, this will take a long time to complete. We can watch with tcpdump on our install server that it's still fetching stuff and we have to be very patient for this to complete. What we could try is to boot with different bootoptions:

{0} ok boot net:speed=100,duplex=full -s -v - install

After the ramdisk is loaded, booting continues:

Loading: /platform/SUNW,Ultra-250/kernel/sparcv9/unix
Loading: /platform/sun4u/kernel/sparcv9/unix
SunOS Release 5.10 Version Generic_142909-17 64-bit
Copyright (c) 1983, 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
os-io Configuring devices.
Using RPC Bootparams for network configuration information.
Attempting to configure interface hme0...
Configured interface hme0
ERROR: bpgetfile unable to access network
/sbin/install-discovery: information: not found

This might happen, because Solaris assumes a wrong netmask for our interface. We'll fix this with:

 # pkill /sbin/dial             # Kill the spinning cursor :)
 # ifconfig hme0 netmask broadcast
 # exit

The exit will actually exit back to the installation process, until:

System identification is completed.
System identification complete.
Starting Solaris installation program...
Searching for JumpStart directory...
not found
Warning: Could not find matching rule in rules.ok
Press the return key for an interactive Solaris install program...

Executing JumpStart preinstall phase...
Searching for SolStart directory...
Checking rules.ok file...
Using begin script: install_begin
Using finish script: patch_finish
Executing SolStart preinstall phase...
Executing begin script "install_begin"...
Begin script install_begin execution completed.

So, pressing Enter seems to continue: the interactive installation-screen appears and we can click through a few screens, until the process is interrupted again:

There were problems loading the media from /cdrom.
Solaris installation program exited.

Wait, what? We're doing a network install, so why the hell does it look for installation files in /cdrom? Nevermind, we can do that too and start the install-process again:

 # mount -F nfs -o ro /cdrom
 # /sbin/install-solaris

After a few screens we will be asked where our installation media resides:

At this point, the installation should finally continue, without further interruptions. Yeah, right :-)

Netinstall - with one CD

  • Burn first Solaris install CD, boot with "boot cdrom"
  • Setup the installserver as such:
 $ mount -F hsfs -o ro `lofiadm -a sol-nv-b103-sparc-dvd.iso` /mnt/cdrom               # Solaris
 $ mount -o loop,ro sol-nv-b103-sparc-dvd.iso /mnt/cdrom                               # Linux
 $ vnconfig vnd0 sol-nv-b103-sparc-dvd.iso && mount -t cd9660 /dev/vnd0a /mnt/cdrom    # NetBSD
 $ cd /mnt/cdrom/Solaris_11/Tools
 $ ./setup_install_server /install/solaris/sparc
  • To add the next images, use:
 $ ./add_to_install_server /install/solaris/sparc
  • Share /install/solaris/sparc via nfs, e.g.
 $ share -F nfs -o ro,anon=0 -d "install server directory" /install/solaris/sparc      # Solaris
 $ echo "/install/solaris/sparc  *(ro)" >> /etc/exports && exportfs -r                 # Linux
 $ echo "/install/solaris/sparc  *(ro)" >> /etc/exports && pkill -1 mountd             # NetBSD
  • at some point the installation will ask where to install from, choose "NFS". Then it'll ask for "Enter image location" or something. Enter

...and the installation should continue.