Random bits about Solaris Express on the ASUS eeePC

Out of the box, the eeePC’s got a lot of stuff packed onto that 4GB disk, a custom Xandros (Linux) install, with a bunch of applications - and it works well for the most part. But I’m really not that into Linux (personal bias) and I wanted to try and get a working, useable Solaris install on the device.

Given how far ahead Solaris Express is on the Desktop over Solaris 10u4, I was definitely going to be using an OpenSolaris derived build. I tried a couple of options, including SXCE b82, the indiana preview 2 and nexenta 1.0 (I also tried eeeXubuntu, but it wasn’t for me, I wanted Solaris on this puppy not linux).

Note: You will need to upgrade the memory in your eeePC to reliably install and run a newer release of Solaris Express (b72 was fine, but when I tried 79 and above, the installer was unreliable. I have upgraded to 2GB of memory and a 8GB SD card, and this makes the eee significantly more useable, and give you some head room with the disk).

Also, please note you will require a USB keyboard to install the thing, but there is a dodgy fix below that gets around this problem once Solaris is installed.

Installing Solaris Express

My first goal was to get a working GUI, then to get the thing on the internet (ideally using 3G).

First attempted using Jumpstart - no good, Solaris doesn’t support the atheros 10/100Mb on board adapter in the jumpstart environment

Second attempt - boot from USB DVD - works (make sure you attach a USB keyboard for the install and first boot!)

Install questions:

1. Use Console Session Jumpstart Interactive

2. When it gets to disk layout, do it manually and create your own partition layout, making / the entire disk (the only way you’ll fit all this on the 4GB drive) on s0 - unless you use additional storage, in which case you don’t have to be so harsh with the “all root” or nothing approach.

3. Use the “End User” Cluster (Claims to require over 4GB, it doesn’t), and preferably remove some packages (there’s only so much room on this thing!) I will post a stripped down profile to assist with this once I have one created, so maybe we can get some swap space even on the base 4GB drive.

Once you get through this, it will take its time and to the install.

Once its up, the first thing you’ll want to do is fix the keyboard, as it does not work reliably out of the box.

Fixing the in built keyboard not working on the eeePC

Write a quick script to fix the keyboard issue at boot (Found a hint that guided me in the right direction after doing some mucking around myself and finding the issue and that a keyboard driver was happily attached [grrr], turns out a modunload and a modload fixes the problem - thanks for the hint from timf http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?pid=146353):

modunload -i `modinfo|awk '/kb8042/ {print$1}'
devfsadm -i kb8042
modload /kernel/drv/kb8042

I saved this quick script as /etc/init.d/fixKB and linked it in /etc/rc2.d/S99fixKB, this fixes it on each boot.

Now onto making the nokia 6120 modem work via USB with Virgin Mobile…

Using a USB cable to a Nokia 6120 Classic (and many other nokia phones) for Internet Access (3G)

-Attach the DVD drive again, with Solaris install CD inside

-Install the SUNWpppd* packages:

pkgadd -d /media/SOL11_X86_1/Solaris_11/packages SUNWpppd SUNWpppdr SUNWpppdu

-Plug in the nokia and link the device in the dev tree:

ln -s /dev/term/0 /dev/nokia

-Edit /etc/ppp/peers/nokia:

connect '/usr/bin/chat -V -t15 -f /etc/ppp/nokia-chat'

-Edit /etc/ppp/nokia-chat:

'' 'ATZ'
'OK' 'ATE0V1'
'OK' 'AT+CGDCONT=,,"virgininternet"'
'OK' 'ATD*99#'

-Reboot (SUNWpppd needs the ppp driver loaded in the kernel, you could probably load this manually)

-Edit /etc/resolv.conf:


-Edit /etc/nsswitch.conf, adding “dns” to the lines “hosts”:

hosts: files dns

Now, to start using the internet:

pppd call nokia

Compiz Fusion on the eeePC

You can install Compiz quite easily thanks to Erwann Chénedé at Sun http://blogs.sun.com/erwann/entry/new_easy_install_bundle_for

However, though it basically works, it is a bit buggy in my experience on both my laptop and on the eeePC. Never the less, I have posted a quick you tube video so you can see compiz in action on the eeePC.

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