Solaris FAQ

Intro, intermediate and advanced HOWTOs and discussion.

Solaris FAQ

Postby weazy » Fri May 30, 2003 6:45 pm

Posted: 05-30-2003 06:16 PM Post subject: solaris thread


From: Casper.Dik@Holland.Sun.COM (Casper H.S. Dik - Network Security Engineer)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.solaris,comp.sys.sun.admin,comp.answers,news.answers
Subject: Solaris 2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 1.73
Supersedes: <Solaris2/>
Followup-To: comp.unix.solaris
Date: 27 Jan 2002 14:05:34 GMT
Organization: Sun Microsystems
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.Edu
Expires: 10 Mar 2002 14:05:33 GMT
Message-ID: <Solaris2/>
Reply-To: Casper.Dik@Holland.Sun.COM
Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions (and
answers) about Sun Microsystems Solaris 2.x system in general.
See also the FAQ archived as Solaris2/Porting.
X-Trace: 1012260171 nnrp-13:1773 NO-IDENT
NNTP-Posting-Date: 27 Jan 2002 14:05:34 GMT
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Xref: comp.unix.solaris:353893 comp.sys.sun.admin:175104 comp.answers:48710 news.answers:223834

Archive-name: Solaris2/FAQ
Version: 1.73
Last-Modified: 2002/01/27 14:05:23
Maintained-by: Casper Dik <Casper.Dik@Holland.Sun.COM>

The following is a list of questions that are frequently asked about
Solaris 2.x and later. Where the FAQ mentions "Solaris 2.x", it
really refers to Solaris 2.x, Solaris 7 and later.

You can help make it an even better-quality FAQ by writing a short
contribution or update and sending it BY EMAIL ONLY to me. A
contribution should consist of a question and an answer, and increasing
number of people sends me contributions of the form "I don't know the
answer to this, but it must be a FAQ, please answer it for me"; please
don't send me those.


As you may have noted, I have switched employers and work for Sun as of
April 1st 1995. Sun is in no way responsible for the contents
of this FAQ.

The latest Solaris 2 FAQ, including an HTML version, and some other goodies
can be obtained through ftp from <>.

A new version of the FAQ is available with an index separate from
all questions, it's <>.
So it's a lot quicker to download. Also, an experimental FAQ search service
at <> is now available.

Please note that these addresses have changed because of a reorg. Just
replace "fwi" in the old addresses with "wins".

The HTML <> version
of the FAQ contains references to most FTP sites and files mentioned
in the FAQ. The references to ftp sites are always to either HTML
files or directories, never to binary files.

I've added an index of questions and marked changed(*) and added
questions(+). The FAQ is being reorganized, time permitting.
The index is generated automatically, so there may be errors there.
Not all questions are in the section they belong in. Suggestions on
how best to subdivide/order the FAQ are welcome.

1.1) What's Solaris anyway?
1.2) Why should I upgrade?
1.3) Should I move to Solaris 2.x now, or later, or never?
1.4) What is Solaris 2? Is it really SVR4 based?
1.5) What machines does Solaris 2.x run on?
1.6) Will my old applications from 4.1.x run on Solaris 2?
1.7) Will my SPARC binaries run unchanged on UltraSPARC machines?
1. Will my old applications from SVR3 on the 386 run on Solaris 2/x86?
1.9) Where has the XXX command gone now?
1.10) When I upgrade, should I use SunInstall "upgrade", or start over?
1.11) Is Solaris 2.x reliable/stable enough to use?
1.12) Why do some people dislike Solaris2?
1.13) Why do some people *like* Solaris2?
1.14) What is Sun doing to help me migrate?
1.15) Can I use my SunOS 4 disks on Solaris 2.x?
1.16) How can I enable System V IPC? Ipcs says it isn't configured in.
1.17) Solaris 7 is 64 bit, does that affect Solaris/IA-32?
| *1.1 Solaris 7 is 64 bit, does this mean I can no longer use my old SPARCs?
| 1.19) Where can I download Solaris binaries from?
| +1.20) What Solaris release am I running on my system?

2.1) How can I RTFM when I don't have it anymore?
2.2) Why is "man -k" so confused?
2.3) What Software is available for Solaris 2.x?
2.4) What FTP/WWW sites do I need to know about?
2.5) What other FAQ's do I need to know about?
2.6) What mailing lists should I get?
2.7) What books should I read?
2. What hardware is supported by Solaris 2.x for Intel?
2.9) What is Wabi?
2.10) I'm running into some limits of SunOS 4.x, will upgrading to
Solaris 2.x help?

3.1) How much disk space do I need to install Solaris 2?
3.2) How can I convert all my local changes that I've made over the
years into their corresponding forms on Solaris 2?
3.3) What are "packages"?
3.4) Why can't I write in/mount over /home?
3.5) Why can't I access CDs or floppies?
3.6) Why are there no passwords in /etc/passwd?
3.7) Why can't I rlogin/telnet in as root?
3. How can I have a user without a password?
3.9) How can I set up anonymous FTP?
3.10) How can I print from a Solaris 2 (or any System V Release 4) system
to a SunOS4.x (or any other BSD) system?
3.11) How can I print to a non-Postscript/non-ascii printer?
3.12) How can I print to a networked printer?
3.13) Why does lp complain about invalid content types?
3.14) My jobs stay in the queue after printing.
3.15) Are there any alternatives to the system V spooler?
3.16) What happened to /dev/MAKEDEV? How do I add devices?
3.17) Why isn't my tape/cd player or new disk/device recognized?
3.1 What happened to /etc/rc and /etc/rc.local?
3.19) Can't I have /etc/rc.local back?
3.20) Why are there two versions of shutdown?
3.21) When will somebody publish a package of the BSD (4.3BSD Net2)
"init", "getty", and "rc/rc.local", so we can go back to life
in the good old days?
3.22) What has happened to getty? What is pmadm and how do you use it?
3.23) How do I get the screen to blank when nobody's using it?
3.24) And what about screendump, screenload and clear_colormap?
3.25) Where did etherfind go?
3.26) Can I run SunOS 4.1.x on my SPARC Classic, LX, SS5, SS4, SS20, Voyager,
SS1000, SC2000, CS6400, Ultra?
3.27) The "find" program complains that my root directory doesn't exist?
3.2 I'm having troubles with high-speed input on the Sparc serial
ports. What should I do?
3.29) How do I make ksh or csh be the login shell for root?
3.30) What is this message: "automount: No network locking on host,
contact administrator to install server change."?
3.31) I have all kinds of problems with SCSI disks/RAIDs under Solaris 2.x
They worked fine under SunOS 4.x.
3.32) How do I make Solaris2 use my old ADAPTEC ACB-4000 and
Emulex MD-21 disk controllers?
3.33) Should I wait installing the latest Solaris release until there
are enough patches?
3.34) Why are there so many patches for Solaris 2.x?
3.35) What are the ``mandatory'' patches I keep hearing about?
3.36) Which patches should I apply?
3.37) Where do I get patches from?
3.3 Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 driver updates?
3.39) Why does installing patches take so much space in /var/sadm?
3.40) Do I need to back out previous versions of a patch?
3.41) How can I have more than 48 pseudo-ttys?
3.42) How can I have normal users chown their files?
3.43) How can I get ps to print %MEM and %CPU?
3.44) How can I get the DOS and Unix clock to agree on Solaris/x86?
3.45) How can I increase the number of file descriptors per process?
3.46) Can I install both SunOS and Solaris on the same machine,
and choose between them at boot time?
3.47) How do I disable banner pages under Solaris?
3.4 How do I change my hostname?
| 3.49) Can I run multiple terminals on the console of Solaris x86
like those supported on Interactive Unix and SCO?
3.50) How can I prevent daemons from creating mode 666 files?
3.51) How do I change the terminal type for /dev/console?
3.52) If I login over the network, my terminal type is set to "sun"/"AT386"
How can I change that? In SunOS 4.x the type would have been "network"
3.53) How can I change the SYSV IPC parameters?
3.54) How do I enable/disable dtlogin?
3.55) How do I configure dtlogin?
3.56) How can I configure a second monitor or change X server options?
| 3.57) How can I have more than 128 X windows clients?
| 3.5 Xvnc/Xnest/Xvfb can't create a socket in /tmp/.X11-unix.
3.59) How can I restrict remote access through dtlogin?
3.60) How do I disable the 2.6+ configuration assistant?
3.61) How do I convert SunOS 4.x style /etc/passwd to Solaris passwd & shadow.
3.62) How can I obtain the PROM level without halting my SPARC?
3.63) How can I use Solaris 2.6+ formatted disks on SunOS 4.x?
3.64) Can I use soft mounts with NFS?
| *3.65) How can I boot a 32 bit kernel when a 64 bit kernel is installed?
| 3.66) How can I tell whether I'm running a 32 or 64 bit kernel?
3.67) How do I get rid of the Solregis pop-up?
3.6 Where do I get Disksuite for Solaris 8
3.69) How do perform an old-fashioned interactive install in Solaris 8?
3.70) Now that Solaris install from several CDs, how can I jumpstart?
3.71) How can I grow a UFS filesystem?
3.72) How do I install without starting OpenWindows?
3.73) How do I set up Solaris for my time zone and daylight saving rules?
3.74) I always install my own perl, can I remove the Sun installed one?
| +3.75) Where did kgmon go?

4.1) How do I use DNS w/o using NIS or NIS+?
4.2) What is /etc/nsswitch.conf?
4.3) What does [NOTFOUND=return] in nsswitch.conf mean?
4.4) Can I run a nis/yp server under Solaris 2.x?
4.5) Can I run NIS+ under Solaris 1 (SunOS 4.1.x)
4.6) With NIS+ how do I find out which machine a client is bound to?
4.7) Ypcat doesn't work on the netgroup table on a NIS+ server, why?
4. Why is rpc.nisd such a memory pig according to ps?
4.9) How do I tell my NIS+ server to service DNS requests from
4.x clients?
4.10) How can I have multiple addresses per interface?
4.11) Solaris 2.x supports filesystem sizes up to 1TB. Will this
give interoperability problems with NFS?
4.12) Where can I get an SNMP agent for Solaris?
| *4.13) How can I use full-duplex ethernet?
4.14) Where can I get BOOTP/DHCP for Solaris?
4.15) What kind of multicast support does Solaris have?
4.16) How can I have NAT or a firewall on Solaris?
| *4.17) Where can I get an IPv6 capable version of tcp wrapper?

5.1) The Solaris 2.x application XX fails with a mysterious error condition.
5.2) In Solaris 2.5 nm is slow or dumps core.
5.3) Why can't I run Answerbook on a standalone machine?
5.4) Why can't I display Answerbook remotely?
5.5) Why can't I run filemgr, I get ``mknod: permission denied''?
5.6) Why do I get isinf undefined when linking with libdps on Solaris 2.3?
5.7) I can't get PPP to work between Solaris 2.3 and other platforms.
5. Using compat mode for passwd doesn't work in 2.3?
5.9) Why do I get __builtin_va_alist or __builtin_va_arg_incr undefined?
5.10) When compiling, I get "No DATAMODEL_NATIVE specified"?
5.11) My machine hangs during the boot process. It seems related to ps.
5.12) Syslogd doesn't seem to log anything.
5.13) Syslogd in 2.6 runs with -z <num> -n, what's up?
5.14) I get ``Invalid client credential'' when mounting filesystem on
Solaris client from non-Sun fileserver.
5.15) After upgrade to 2.4, ls on NFS mounted directories hangs.
5.16) After installing patch 101945-xx, I have NFS problems (ksh looping).
5.17) I messed up /etc/system, now I can't boot.
5.1 The /etc/path_to_inst file is corrupted, I can't boot.
5.19) TCP/IP connections time out too soon, especially on slow links.
5.20) Sendmail connection to non-Unix hosts don't work.
5.21) Solaris 2.x can't set up any TCP/IP connections to certain hosts.
5.22) I read 5.21, but I still have connectivity problems.
5.23) When reading mail on non-Solaris clients of a Solaris mail
server, or with non-Solaris mail readers, some messages get split
into multiple messages.
5.24) Mail/mailx often send reply to wrong user or show wrong sender.
5.25) One of my users can't login (one some machines).
5.26) My clients with remote /var (/var/adm) partitions won't boot.
5.27) Vacation doesn't work reliably in a mixed Solaris/SunOS environment.
5.2 I have a lot of <defunct> processes. How do I get rid of them?
5.29) I get /dev/ptmx: No such device when attempting to telnet/rlogin in.
5.30) ld bails out with msync errors.
5.31) su responds with "Sorry" and doesn't prompt for a password.
5.32) Why can't I install 2.4 from a non-Sun CD while I could do so with 2.3?
5.33) ifconfig can't find my network interface
5.34) I have an application that compiled fine, but when I run it I get:
fatal: can't open file: errno=2 or No such file or directory
5.35) Motif programs dump core almost immediately.
| 5.36) cc complains that "language optional software package not installed".
5.37) thr_create/pthread_create and other thread functions always return -1
5.3 Solaris 2.4 is getting slower over time/seems to have a kernel
memory leak.
5.39) Why do I get ``Unable to install/attach driver 'xxx''' messages?
5.40) I can't run nfs: netdir_getbyname failure, /dev/udp: bind problem
5.41) Why do I get ``named[]: rt_malloc: memdebug overflow'' errors?
| 5.42) The ld command dumps core on Solaris/x86
5.43) In Solaris 2.4 my TCP performance is extremely poor.
5.44) Solaris 2.4 in.tftpd is terribly slow.
5.45) I get "df: Could not find mount point ..."
| 5.46) I changed root's shell, forgotten root's password, and I can't login.
5.47) How do I boot single user from CD?
| +5.4 How do I interrupt the system boot sequence on SPARC?
| +5.49) How do I reset the NVRAM to factory defaults?
| 5.50) When linking C++ programs, I get "_ex_keylock" undefined.
| 5.51) My NFS server hangs when I get filesystem full/over quota errors.
| 5.52) OpenWindows fails with "Binding Unix Socket: Invalid argument"
| 5.53) Why is Xsun such a memory pig, especially on the SX, S24 and FFB?
| 5.54) Solaris 2.5 and Solaris 2.4 patch 101945-34+ have poor TCP performance
over slow links.
| 5.55) After install x86 patch 101946-29, I have problems with sockets and
TCP/IP throughput.
| 5.56) The commands du and ls show funny block counts on NFSv3 filesystems.
| 5.57) When I halt/reboot my system I get "INIT: failed write of utmpx entry"
| 5.5 Patch installation often fails with "checkinstall" errors.
| 5.59) Why do I get a CPU-bound rpc.ttdbserverd process?
| 5.60) What is /proc? Can I safely remove the large files there?
| 5.61) What does "named[XX]: Lame server on 'hostname' ...." mean?
| 5.62) I installed Solaris on a new/big disk, but now booting fails.
| *5.63) I have a problem with large disk drives.
| 5.64) When I try a network install I get:
"WARNING: using boot version 8, expected 9"
| 5.65) My Ultra shuts down with "WARNING: THERMAL WARNING DETECTED!!!"
| 5.66) Power management shuts down my monitor, but it never comes back.
| 5.67) I can't seem to disable power management in 2.6!
| 5.6 Power management no longer kicks in when xlock runs
| 5.69) Orainst 7.3.2 dumps core in 2.5.1 with patches and in 2.6.
| 5.70) My dial-on-demand link keeps dialing out, seems DNS related.
| 5.71) Processes hang in door_call(), hostname lookups hang.
| 5.72) When using Solaris 2.6, many fonts don't show up properly in Netscape 4.
| 5.73) When using virtual interfaces in 2.6, the system picks a random
source address. How can I fix this?
| 5.74) A downloaded binary complains " can't open file"
| 5.75) Ypserv/NIS w/ DNS is very unreliable in Solaris 2.6.
| 5.76) When trying to install Solaris 2.x on an Ultra-5/Ultra-10/Ultra-60,
it can't find "kernel/unix".
| 5.77) After the system has been up for a while, freemem is only a couple of MB.
| 5.7 A device driver that worked fine under S2.6 stopped loading under S7
| 5.79) I get a lot of "late collisions", what are those?
| 5.80) I can't mount an NFS filesystem, I get "RPC: Program not registered".
| 5.81) How do I automatically NFS share inserted CD-Roms?
| 5.82) I cannot run remote tooltalk sessions on Solaris 8 displays and
recently patched older systems.
| 5.83) Where is all my memory in use?
| 5.84) Tcpd prints "connect (refused) from" in Solaris 8 and later?
| 5.85) The permissions on /tmp are wrong after a reboot?

6.1) Where is the C compiler or where can I get one?
6.2) Which packages do I need to install to support a C compiler?
6.3) Where has ranlib gone?
6.4) What do I need to compile X11R5?
6.5) I can't compile X11R6 on Solaris 2.4
6.6) X11R6 on Solaris 2.4 won't run. Xinit dies with "User Signal 1".
Xterms won't die. Dired doesn't work in emacs-19.
6.7) I get undefined symbols when compiling R6 in Solaris 2.2.
6. After compiling X11R6 with gcc 2.7.0, X programs won't find their
6.9) How can I run X11R6 on my SS4 w/ TCX?
6.10) Can I run X11R6 on my SX, ZX, TCX, Creator, Creator3D or Elite3D?
| *6.11) I can't get perl 4.036 to compile or run.
6.12) I can't get sockets to work with perl.
6.13) I have problems compiling MH 6.8.3
6.14) I can't get XV 3.x to compile or run correctly.
6.15) What happened to NIT? What new mechanisms exist for low-level
network access?
6.16) Where are all the functions gone that used to be in libc?
6.17) I'm still missing some functions: bcopy, bzero and friends.
6.1 Can I use the source compatibility package to postpone porting?
6.19) Why doesn't readdir work? It chops the first two characters of
all filenames.
6.20) Why do I get undefined symbols when linking with curses/termcap?
6.21) Where are the Motif includes and libraries?
6.22) When I call semctl(), my program crashes. It works fine elsewhere.
6.23) Traceroute to Solaris 2.x machines gives many timeouts.
6.24) I have problems linking my application statically.
6.25) I get '"/usr/platform/SUNW,Ultra-1/lib/": not in
executable format: format not recognized' from gdb on my Ultra.
6.26) How can I make Gdb work with Sun's C compiler?
6.27) Does Solaris have problems with dates in the year 2000 and after?
6.2 I can't seem to get older gcc releases to work under Solaris 2.6
6.29) Gdb doesn't fully work on Solaris 2.6.
6.30) I can't get gdb to compile with Sun's C compiler

| 7.1) Where can I find a list of all Solaris kernel parameters?
| *7.2) How can I guard my system against stack buffer overflow exploits?
7.3) How can I restrict the number of processes per user?
7.4) What purpose does the maxusers variable serve?
7.5) How can I have a clock resolution better than 10ms?
| 7.6) How can I have more than 16 groups per user?
7.7) How can I disable _POSIX_CHOWN_RESTRICTED? My users want to chown files?
7. How can I make the NFS server ignore unprivileged clients?



1.1) What's Solaris anyway?

Solaris(tm) is Sun's name for their UNIX-based user environment,
including the UNIX(tm) operating system, window system (X11-based),
and other stuff too.

Solaris 1.x is a retroactive (marketing?) name for SunOS 4.1.x
(x>=1), a version of UNIX that is BSD-like with some SVR4 features,
along with OpenWindows 3.0.

Solaris 2.x (which is what most everybody means by "Solaris")
includes SunOS 5.x, which is an SVR4-derived UNIX, along with
OpenWindows 3.x, tooltalk, and other stuff.

Solaris 7 and later are basically newer revisions of Solaris 2.x
with the leading "2." stripped.

This FAQ covers Solaris 2.x and later.

(See 1.5 for a chart with more info)

1.2) Why should I upgrade?

Solaris 2 is more compatible with the rest of the UNIX industry.
Other major UNIX vendors including IBM, HP, SGI, SCO, and others
are based on System V rather than on BSD (though some of them
are on SVR3, not SVR4). All but one commercial PC-based UNIXes
are System V based (and mostly SVR4); the only commercial exception
is from a small but interesting firm called BSDI.

Solaris 2 is where Sun has been putting almost all its development
for the last few years now. There will be no new development on
SunOS4; already much of Sun's add-on software is only available
for Solaris 2. Solaris 2 is the only supported MP OS on all but
the old 4/6x0-1x0 w/ Ross 605 modules. All the UltraSPARC systems
require Solaris 2.x.

Sun software is being released first for Solaris 2.x and usually
no longer for SunOS 4.1.x (No Sun JVM for 4.1.x)

Solaris 2.3 and above feature a standard X11R5 release of The X
Window System, a benefit for those who didn't like NeWS or the
V2/V3 OpenWindows server. (It's still called OpenWindows, but it is
the X11R5 server with Adobe DPS added in). It is as fast or faster
than MIT R5 or XC R6 (depending on the platform) and supports all
Sun graphics hardware.

Solaris 2 is more standards-compliant than Solaris 1/SunOS 4.

Solaris 2.6 is also Y2000 compliant, so upgrading to the latest
Solaris release is a must.

1.3) Should I move to Solaris 2.x now, or later, or never?

That depends - on you, your situation, your application mix, etc.
Some year SunOS4.1.x will go the way of the 3/50 - it'll still
be around, but Sun will no longer support it.

You don't have to upgrade immediately, but you should be
planning your upgrade path by now.

If you would rather stay with a BSD-style operating system, you
should consider OpenBSD or NetBSD. OpenBSD is regarded as the
world's most secure OS, and NetBSD is the world's most portable OS.
Both are BSD-style OSes in the spirit of 4.xBSD, which SunOS4 was
also derived from. Both run on SPARC, have SunOS emulation, and are
Y2K compliant.

1.4) What is Solaris 2? Is it really SVR4 based?

Solaris 2 is an "operating environment" that includes the
SunOS 5.x operating system and the OpenWindows 3.x window

SunOS 5.x is based on USL's SVR4.0. SVR4.0, in turn, was
developed jointly by AT&T and Sun while Sun was developing 4.1.0,
which is why things like RFS, STREAMS, shared memory, etc.,
are in SunOS 4.1.x, and why things like vnodes, NFS and XView
are in SVR4.0. (RFS, by the way, was dropped effective Solaris 2.3).

1.5) What machines does Solaris 2.x run on?

Solaris 2.0 only ran on desktop SPARCstations and a few other Sun

Solaris 2.1 and 2.4 and later come in two flavors, SPARC and "x86".

Solaris 2.1 (and 2.2, ...) for SPARC run on all SPARCstations and
clones, as well as all models of the Sun-4 family. The old FPU
on the 4/110 and 4/2x0 is not supported, so floating point
will be SLOW, but it does work.

Starting with 2.5 support for machines with kernel architecture
"sun4" is dropped. I.e., the machines on which "uname -m" and
"arch -k" return "sun4"; not the machines on which those commands
return sun4c, sun4m, sun4u or sun4d. The unsupported machine
include the sun4/110 (not to be confused with the SS4 @110MHz),
sun4/2xx, sun4/3xx and sun4/4xx. These are all VME based
deskside/server configurations.

All version of the SPARC PROMs should work under Solaris 2.x,
but you can run into the following problems:

1) No part of the boot partition may be offset more than 1 GB
into the disk, unless you have a PROM with rev 2.6 or better.
Note that the number behind the point is not a fraction, it's
an integer. Hence 3.0 > 2.25 > 2.10 > 2.9 > 2.1 > 2.0 > 1.6.
2) If booting diskless, you need a link in the /tftpboot
directory, "tftpboot -> .". Admintool will make that
link automatically.

A Solaris port for the PowerPC has been completed, and has been released,
effective Solaris 2.5.1. But support for it was dropped almost
immediately as it went nowhere.

Solaris 2.1, 2.4 and above for x86 have been released to end users.
It runs on a wide range of high-end PC-architecture machines.
"High-end" means: 16MB of RAM and an 80486 (or 33MHz or faster
80386DX). It will not run on your 4 MB 16MHz 386SX, so don't
bother trying! Also, floating point hardware (80387-style) is
absolutely required in 2.1. Starting with Solaris 2.4 for
x86, a fp CO-processor is no-longer required, though still
| recommended. With the world moving to PCI, MCA support
| is now gone and ISA support is dwindling.

The following OS revision chart maps the major Solaris releases.
Not all HW releases have been included as some are relatively

Solaris SunOS OpenWin Comments
1.0 4.1.1B 2.0
4.1.1_U1 2.0 sun3 EOL release (not named Solaris)
1.0.1 4.1.2 2.0 6[379]0-1[24]0 MP
1.1 4.1.3 3.0 SP Viking support
1.1C 4.1.3C 3.0 Classic/LX
1.1.1 4.1.3_U1 3.0_U1 4.1.3 + fixes + Classic/LX support
1.1.1 B 4.1.3_U1B 3.0_U1 1.1.1B + SS5/SS20 support
1.1.2 4.1.4 3_414 The "final" 4.x release (SS20 HS11)

2.0 5.0 3.0.1 sun4c only
2.1SPARC 5.1 3.1 Dec '92
2.1 x86 5.1 3.1 May '93
2.2SPARC 5.2 3.2 May '93
2.3SPARC 5.3 3.3 Nov '93
OpenWin 3.3 is X11R5 based: Display
PostScript instead of NeWS, no SunView.
It is still primarily OPEN LOOK.
The Spring 1995 OpenWin will be Motif
and COSE-based.
Statically linked BCP support
2.3 edition II SPARC Special Solaris 2.3 distribution for
Voyager and SparcStation 5
2.3 HW 8/94 SPARC Supports S24 (24 bits color for SS5),
POSIX 1003.2, Energy Start power management
and SunFastEthernet + patches.
2.4 5.4 3.4 From this moment on, the SPARC and x86
releases are in sync. Q3 '94
Adds motif runtime and headers (not mwm).
2.4 HW 11/94 First SMCC release of 2.4
2.4 HW 3/95 Second SMCC release of 2.4 (includes support
for booting from SSA)
2.5 5.5 3.5 UltraSPARC support, PCI support.
NFS V3, NFS/TCP, ACLs, CDE, Sendmail V8
name service cache, dynamic PPP
Posix threads, doors (new IPC mechanism)
many "BSD" type functions back in libc,
many "BSD" programs back in /usr/bin.
mixed mode BCP support (e.g., apps only
dynamically linked against
2.5 HW 1/96 Creator3D support (Creator3D/FFB+ is not
supported in 2.5 11/95, though the files
are present but of unsupported,
"mostly works", beta quality)
2.5.1 Ultra-2 support, Sun Enterprise
server support. Large (32bit UID)
support. 64bit KAIO (aioread64/aiowrite64),
3.75 GB of virtual memory.
Pentium/Pentium Pro optimizations.
(upto 25% for certain database apps)
Ultra ZX support.
Initial and last PowerPC desktop release.
2.5.1 HW 4/97 Support for Starfire (E10000) and Ultra-30
2.5.1 HW 8/97 Support for the Ultra-450
2.5.1 HW 11/97 Support for Ultra-5, Ultra-10 and Ultra-60 as
well as Elite3D
2.6 5.6 3.6 Largefiles, JVM + JIT, Hotjava, X11R6,
Web based answerbook, BOOTP/DHCP, SNMP agents,
VLSM, in-kernel sockets, XNTP, PAM,
CDE 1.2 as default desktop.
2.6 HW 3/98 Support for Ultra-5, Ultra-10, Ultra-60 Elite3d
and Starfire (E10K)
2.6 HW 5/98 DR Support for Starfire
7 5.7 3.6.1 64-bit OS support, logging UFS.
7 HW 11/99 Added UDF filesystem, consadm, X11R6.4 server
8 5.8 3.6.2 Dropped support for sun4c and Voyager;
added IPv6, IPsec, modular debugger (mdb), high
granularity interval timers, consadm, /dev/poll,
MAP_ANON, forced unmount, extended memory for
Intel, in-kernel mnttab, audio mixer, NFS
server logging, Starfire Interdomain networking,
Kerberos v5 client support, /proc tools core aware,
prstat (like top), perl and other free utilities
included, Apache, apptrace (symbolic library
call traces), loopback file mounts (lofi),
Intel CD boot, Intel large IDE disk support,
| 8 06/00
| 8 10/00 Sun Blade 100 & Sun Blade 1000 support.
| 8 01/01
| 8 04/01 Sun Fire server support, cdrw

1.6) Will my old applications from 4.1.x run on Solaris 2?

There is quite a bit of support in SunOS 5.x for running 4.1.x
binaries in an emulation mode called "Binary Compatibility"
(BCP). This works by dynamically linking the 4.1.x binaries
with a shared library that emulates the 4.1.x binary interface
on top of 5.x, so there is some overhead.

In Solaris 2.2 and earlier, the programs needed to be
fully dynamically linked.

In Solaris 2.3 and 2.4 fully statically linked programs are
supported as well. However, they won't obey nsswitch.conf, but
use the standard "use NIS if present, fall back to files" approach
of SunOS 4.x. Those programs may therefor require a "passwd:
compat" line and will only talk to NIS (or NIS+ in emulation mode)
or read from files.

Starting Solaris 2.5, mixed mode (partly static/partly dynamic)
executables are supported. Whether those programs will use
/etc/nsswitch.conf depends on precisely how much was dynamically

Be aware, though, that Sun may drop the binary compatibility
package some year. Try to wean yourself and your users from
depending on it, even if it means beating on your software
vendors to offer "native" Solaris2 applications.
But this will happen later, rather than sooner. Sun has not
yet announced End-of-Life of this feature.

1.7) Will my SPARC binaries run unchanged on UltraSPARC machines?

Yes. One of the most important goals of the UltraSPARC project
was *full* binary compatibility with existing SPARC
hardware and software.

If it isn't compatible, it's a bug!

There are some things you should keep in mind though: if you
broke the rules but got away with it in the previous generations
of SPARC machines, your luck may just have run out.

When developing the UltraSPARC it was discovered that some code
generators didn't leave all "reserved" bits in opcodes zero.
Such instructions are either illegal instructions which are trapped
and fixed in the UltraSPARC kernel or they are legal V9
instructions which will modify the program behaviour. All such
programs can be run through "cleanv8", a program designed
< ... ml#sunclnv>
to correct the bogus instructions.

No instructions of the second category have been found, so even without
"cleanv8" you should be safe.

Another thing is the memory map on UltraSPARC, some applications
use an mmap(MAP_FIXED) call with an address that is illegal to use
on UltraSPARC. Such calls are inherently non-portable. Such
applications are relatively rare. One such applications is MAE,
which should work again after "setenv MAE_NOMMAP_ENGINE".

A third problem discovered is in device drivers that copy data
from/to userland directly, bypassing copyin(9f)/copyout(9f). On V8
SPARCs, such device drivers would work most of the time, but fail
mysteriously with panics when the system is stressed and page
mappings disappear; but on the UltraSPARC the drivers will fail
always. The kernel will panic and will tell you in which
module the panic occurred.

1. Will my old applications from SVR3 on the 386 run on Solaris 2/x86?

As with SPARC, there is an emulation mode that should run the
majority of well-behaved SVR3 (iBCS) binaries. Most
SVR3 stuff appears to work under Solaris 2.4.

Applications from any other vendor's standards-conforming
386/486 SVR4 should also run.

However, some vendors have made incompatible changes to their
SVR4 release and programs linked on those versions may not work.
Future versions of Solaris 2.x for Intel will address some/most
of those incompatibilities. Unixware is one of the offenders.

1.9) Where has the XXX command gone now?

There are too many of these changes to include in this FAQ, but
here are some key ones:

a. locations are often different
whoami /usr/ucb/whoami
make /usr/ccs/bin/make
hostid /usr/ucb/hostid
hostname /usr/ucb/hostname (or use uname -n)

Note that the last two commands are back in /usr/bin in
Solaris 2.5.

b. some old commands don't exist or have replacements

pstat -s swap -s (how much swap space?)
dkinfo /usr/sbin/prtvtoc raw_dev_name
trace truss
mount -a mountall
exportfs share
bar cpio -H bar (read only)

This information can be found in the Solaris 2.x Transition Guide -
Appendix A (commands), Appendix B (system calls), Appendix C (files).

This guide has undergone some changes from 2.0 -> 2.1 and beyond.
Several manuals have ended up being combined into this single
manual. This manual discusses administrative transition and
developer transition issues.

The command "whatnow" (for Solaris 2.x) is included in the
"Admigration Toolkit" package (see below). The Admigration
toolkit can be obtained from:

Admigration toolkit <>

Sample output:
% whatnow hostname
hostname 4.x command only
hostname /usr/ucb/hostname part of SCP package
hostname /usr/bin/uname -n alternate command

The whatnow command is limited in that it may point to
one command which may only implement a subset of the old
command (e.g., pstat points to sar, while pstat -s is identical
to swap -s)

1.10) When I upgrade, should I use SunInstall "upgrade", or start over?

You can't do a SunInstall "upgrade" from 4.1.x to Solaris2.
You can use the Admigration toolkit (q.v.) to help you move
from SunOS 4.1.x (Solaris 1, actually) to Solaris 2.

If you're moving from Solaris 2.x to 2.(x+y) [for small values of y]
then you can use "upgrade" to preserve your existing partitions
and local changes (including pkgadd!!), though it runs very
slowly (about 1.5-2x the time for a reinstall) and does require
that you have enough free space in / and /usr - make these big
when you first install! If you run out of space in one of
your partitions, you can always remove some components. Those
will not be upgraded and can be installed elsewhere after
initial upgrade (e.g., you can remove OW, Xil, Dxlib, manual
pages, etc)

There is no need to backout patches before upgrading.
In 2.2, the system would back them out for you, in 2.3 it
won't back out the patches but removes them without a trace.

An upgrade may not work as well as a full install.
E.g., the upgrade from 2.x (x<3) to 2.3 will leave
aliases for all your ptys in /devices/pseudo.

There's no need to upgrade to all intermediate releases.
You can go from Solaris 2.5 to Solaris 7 in one step.
But be careful in checking release notes, each release
typically only supports upgrades from a few earlier
releases and not all.

When you upgrade a system, you must make sure that you read
the release notes completely. Often, you'll need to upgrade
to new versions of Veritas, DiskSuite, etc.

1.11) Is Solaris 2.x reliable/stable enough to use?

The consensus seems to be that yes, it is.

Binary compatibility was much improved in 2.3. That will help
transition somewhat. The performance of 2.3 is adequate, though
some parts of the system are still slower than SunOS 4.1.x.
Solaris 2.3 is much more stable on MP machines than 2.2.
The Solaris 2.3 version of OpenWindows is much faster and much
more stable than the versions shipped with SunOS 4.1.x.

Solaris 2.1 and earlier should really be avoided. Solaris 2.2
should be avoided too, but some people need to stick to it
until some applications get ported (2.2 is the last release
with NeWS).

Solaris 2.3 still has some problems on high-end MP systems with
large numbers of interactive users. Solaris 2.4 and Solaris 2.5
have delivered increasingly more stable and more scalable multi

1.12) Why do some people dislike Solaris2?

There is a number of reasons why people dislike Solaris.

1) Change. In general people dislike change. Change requires
re-learning and retraining. Old system administration practices
no longer work. Commands have been replaced by other commands,
some commands behave differently. And they ask why the change was
necessary. SunOS 4.x worked for them.

2) Lack of migration support. Sun did not provide a lot of
tools to ease migration. Many applications wouldn't run in the
binary compatibility mode. The source compatibility mode was
probably compatible with some OS, but it certainly wasn't SunOS.
Lots of public domain and third party stuff that was needed wasn't
immediately available for Solaris. NIS+, buggy, resource hungry
and unstable replaced NIS in incompatible ways.

3) Missing functionality. When people migrate, at first they
don't tend to notice new functionality. Instead, they stumble
upon missing functionality such as screenblank, clear_colormap
and the like (but see 3.23). And perhaps worst of
all, no C compiler, not even a crippled one.

4) Slow and buggy. The initial Solaris releases didn't perform
at all well and were extremely unstable. This has improved
drastically, with Solaris 2.5 being stable and quick, even
without many patches.

1.13) Why do some people *like* Solaris2?

There are improvements in Solaris 2.x.

1) OpenWindows 3.3+ (in Solaris 2.3+). Includes X11R5 and
Display PostScript. X11R6 in Solaris 2.6, X11R6.4 from
Solaris 7 HW 11/99 onward.

2) Motif & CDE.

3) ANSI-C and POSIX development environment.

4) POSIX threads (2.5)

5) POSIX and X/OPEN command environment

6) UNIX 95 conformance.

7) UNIX 98 conformance (Solaris 7)

Posix shared memory and semaphores (2.6)

9) Multi-threaded kernel and real threads.

10) Real-time feature in the kernel

11) Faster clock ticks (optionally 1000Hz in 2.6)

12) Large files (2.6)

13) True multi-processing.

14) Goodies: vold, admintool and Wabi.

15) Easy patch installation/administration through installpatch/patchadd.

16) All software in easy to manage "packages".

17) Power management software & suspend/resume

1 Access control lists

19) NFS Version 3 and NFS over TCP (Solaris 2.5+).

| 20) A better automounter, autofs (no more /tmp_mnt and symlinks).

21) Jumpstart/autoinstall - hand off installation of clients.

22) Much better MP support.

23) Faster networking (ATM, fastethernet).

24) 64 bit OS (Solaris 7)

25) IPv6 (Solaris

26) IPsec (Solaris

27) Kerberos 5 client support (Solaris

1.14) What is Sun doing to help me migrate?

Sun has recently started several projects to aid in the transition.
Their WWW starting point is:

Solaris Migration Initiative home page

The project is a combination of new and existing efforts and includes:

1) Porting PD software to Solaris 2.x
2) Solaris Migration Tool: (formerly known as Pipeline tool) a tool
to help you port your code.
3) Admigration Toolset. Tools to help you convert your SunOS 4
environment and to help you adjust to the new Solaris 2.x environment.
4) Appmap: a tool to simplify application administration in a mixed
SunOS 4.x/Solaris 2.x environment
5) Solaris Transition CD
6) Native Solaris NIS
7) LP tools (simplified LP administration through NIS)

1.15) Can I use my SunOS 4 disks on Solaris 2.x?

Yes you can. The on disk format in Solaris 2.x isn't
different from SunOS 4.1.x, as long as they've been formatted
under SunOS 4.1.x. Disks formatted on older fses need to be converted
with "fsck -c". If "dumpfs | head" (SunOS 4) or "fstyp -v | head"
(Solaris 2) lists "format dynamic" as one of the first lines, the
disk does not need to be converted.

UIDs > 60002 may give problems when moving disks from SunOS 4.x
to Solaris 2.x. This is fixed in a Solaris 2.5.1 which has
MAXUID defined as 2147483648. Note too that UID and GID 60001
and 60002 have been defined as nobody and noaccess on Solaris 2.x.
If the target SunOS 4 system uses such IDs, you need to renumber
them to avoid the collision

Moving disks the other way around may give problems: Solaris 2.5
supports on disks ACLs, and when MAXUID in 2.5.1 is increased
beyond 65535, that will give added difficulties.

1.16) How can I enable System V IPC? Ipcs says it isn't configured in.

There's nothing you need to do to enable System V IPC, but on boot
up "ipcs" always says:

IPC status from <running system> as of <date>
Message Queue facility not in system.
Shared Memory facility not in system.
Semaphore facility not in system.

This just means that no one has yet used the Message Queue/Shared Memory
or Semaphore facility yet. They'll be loaded on first use.

If you really want to have them loaded at boot time, add the
following to /etc/system:

forceload: sys/msgsys
forceload: sys/semsys
forceload: sys/shmsys

In Solaris 7, ipcs will report the unloaded facilities as inactive rather
than "not present in system".

1.17) Solaris 7 is 64 bit, does that affect Solaris/IA-32?

No, Solaris 7 on Intel is still 32 bit; the only visible changes are
that all types are now compile environment safe.

|*1.1 Solaris 7 is 64 bit, does this mean I can no longer use my old SPARCs?

No, a 32 bit kernel is still supported on sun4c, sun4m, sun4d and even
| sun4u hardware using UltraSPARC I, II or IIi processors.

| The 32 bit kernel is not supported on systems with UltraSPARC IIe and
| UltraSPARC III processors or newer.

|1.19) Where can I download Solaris binaries from?

The latest Solaris binary release can be physically ordered or
download loaded from

|+1.20) What Solaris release am I running on my system?

| Which Solaris release you are running on your system can be determined
| using the following command:

| cat /etc/release

| This will tell you which release you are running and when it was released.
| The more recent your system, the more info is contained in this file.


2.1) How can I RTFM when I don't have it anymore?

"RTFM" is an old saying: Read The "Fine" Manual. Sun still
sells printed manuals, but doesn't automatically distribute
them. As with all real UNIX systems, you do get a full set of
online "man" pages. A smaller, lighter, bookshelf-friendly
set of CDROMs called "The AnswerBook"(tm) contains all the printed
documents in machine-readable (PostScript) form, with hypertext
capabilities and a keyword search engine. 90% of your
introductory questions are answered therein!

In Solaris 2.x the Answerbook set gets increasingly more
divided into pieces. It is currently split over a number of CDs,
currently (2.5.1):

Solaris 2.x CD:
Solaris 2.x User AnswerBook

Solaris Desktop 1.x
Wabi 2.x Answerbook
Solaris Common Desktop Environment AnswerBook 1.0.x

Updates for Solaris Operating Environment 2.x
Solaris 2.x on Sun Hardware Answerbook

Server Supplement
NSKit 1.2 answerbook
Solaris 2.x System Administrator AnswerBook
(Solaris 2.5.1 Supplemental System Admin AnswerBook)
Solaris 2.x Reference Manual AnswerBook

Solstice AutoClient & AdminSuite
Solstice AutoClient 2.0 AnswerBook
Solstice AdminSuite 2.2 AnswerBook

Solstice Online Disksuite
DiskSuite 4.0 AnswerBook

Solstice Backup
Solstice Backup 4.2 AnswerBook

Solaris 2.x Software Developer Kit
All programming manuals.

Solaris 2.x Driver Developer Kit
Device driver developer manuals.

Only the first two CDs ship with the desktop edition, the third is
SPARC specific. The last two CDs are part of two separate
products; the SDK and DDK. The rest is server only, though the
reference manuals are available in nroff source form.

There is some overlap between CDs.

As distributed with 2.1 and 2.2, the Answerbook search engine runs
only with the OpenWindows ("xnews") server, not with MIT X11.

In Solaris 2.3 through 2.5.1 answerbook uses X extension DPS. If
you are using the MIT server instead of what Sun provides, you'll
have to use one of several "answerbook workaround" scripts that are
in circulation. The AnswerBook distributed with 2.3 and later runs
with the OW3.3 X11R5+DPS server, so it should display on any
X11+DPS server, such as on DEC, IBM and SGI workstations.

In Solaris 2.6, answerbooks are distributed in SGML format; they
are presented through a special web server which is also able to
convert old Postscript answerbooks to HTML on the fly.
Sun has a site on the web that has many of the answerbooks

Following a link at that site, you can order hardcopy from
or download PDF books for printing or viewing.

You should buy (or print from within Answerbook) at least the
reference manual and the System and Network Administration
books, because if your system becomes disabled you won't be
able to run the Answerbook to find out how to fix it...

2.2) Why is "man -k" so confused?

Solaris man uses a manual page index file called "windex" in
place of the old "whatis" file. You can build this index with
catman -w -M <man-page-directory>

But, in 2.1, this will result in numerous "line too long" messages
and a bogus windex file in /usr/share/man, and a core dump in
/usr/openwin/man. (In 2.2, catman works in /usr/share/man, but
says "line too long" in /usr/openwin/man). To add injury to
insult, "man" normally won't show you a man page if it can't find
the windex entry, even though the man page exists.

Makewhatis, or better, getNAME, still can't deal with all manual
pages from the net.

Solaris 8 man will look for the manual page the hard way if it
cannot find it in an existing "windex" file.

Starting with Solaris 7 manual pages are being converted to
SGML format; the formatting is now a lot slower as there's an
extra sgml2roff step in between.

But wait, there's more! To see the read(2) man page, you can't
just type "man 2 read" anymore - it has to be "man -s 2 read".
Or, alias man to this little script:

if [ $# -gt 1 -a "$1" -gt "0" ]; then
/bin/man -F -s $*
/bin/man -F $*

2.3) What Software is available for Solaris 2.x?

Most commercial software that ran on 4.x either will run in BCP
mode, or is available for Solaris 2.x, or is being ported now.
Solaris 2.3 BCP mode finally supports statically-linked executables.
Solaris 2.5 BCP mode supports mixed mode (part static, part dynamic)
executables too.

Sun's web pages contain a searchable index
of commercial software and a link to an outside contractor
who gathers free and public domain programs. Sun's own software is
also prominently featured at

A list of freeware (some "public domain", but mostly copyright-
but-freely-distributable) [as well as commercial software??]
that has been ported to Solaris 2.x
is posted monthly to the newsgroup comp.unix.solaris by (Richard Steinberger). Look for this:

Subject: Solaris SW list. Monthly Post.
< ... w-list.txt>

Some software that invariably needs minor tweaking after an OS upgrade
is included here specially. It's almost always necessary to recompile
it after an OS upgrade, but if that still doesn't give a working
version, make sure you check the archives for the latest version:

SymbEL/SE performance monitor
Top - a process monitor <>
Site carrying the latest version of Top

Lsof - list open files

Identd - a daemon that implements RFC1413

scsiinfo - a program that lists SCSI devices.

sysinfo - a system hardware information program.

If you use gcc (versions prior to 2.8 or versions build on Solaris
2.4 and earlier), it is important to remember that you must re-run
fixincludes or re-install gcc after an OS upgrade, or you'll be
compiling with the old include files which will essentially give
you the above programs as if compiled for a previous OS release.

2.4) What FTP/WWW sites do I need to know about? <>
Sun's own WWW site, contains pointers to Sunsites, patches
and has lots of info, press releases etc, etc. <>
Solaris software catalogue, pointers to free software,
downloadable software from Sun, etc, etc.

Solaris transition home page
Sun's Solaris 2.x migration support

Solaris 2.x binaries <>

The Unofficial Guide to Solaris <>

Solaris 2.x/SPARC binaries in pkgadd format

Solaris 2.x/x86 binaries in pkgadd format

SunSites - Sun sponsored sites. Lots of good stuff there.

Sun SITE AskERIC at Syracuse University - Syracuse
Sun SITE Australia at Australian National University - Canberra
Sun SITE Central Europe at RWTH-Aachen - Germany
Sun SITE Chile at Universidad de Chile - Santiago
Sun SITE Czech Republic at Charles University - Prague
Sun SITE Denmark at Aalborg University - Aalborg
Sun SITE Digital Library at University of California at Berkeley
Sun SITE France at Conservatoire National des Arts-et-Metiers - Paris
Sun SITE Hong Kong at University of Science and Tech. - Hong Kong
Sun SITE Hungary at Lajos Kossuth University, Debrecen - Hungary
Sun SITE Italy at University of Milan - Milan
Sun SITE Israel at Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem
Sun SITE Japan at Science University - Tokyo
Sun SITE Korea at Seoul National University - Seoul
Sun SITE Mexico at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico - Mexico
Sun SITE Nordic at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan - Stockholm
Sun SITE Northern Europe at Imperial College - London
Sun SITE People's Republic of China at Tsinghua University - Beijing
Sun SITE Poland at Warsaw University - Warsaw
Sun SITE Russia at Moscow State University - Moscow
Sun SITE Thailand at Assumption University - Bangkok
Sun SITE Spain at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, RedIRIS - Madrid
Sun SITE Singapore at National University of Singapore - Singapore
Sun SITE South Africa at University of the Witwatersrand - Johannesburg
Sun SITE USA at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Solaris at UMBC - Solaris tips & tricks by Vijay Gill
<> - the master X11 site - GNU binaries - UuNet communication archives
(mirrors abovementioned GNU binaries in systems/gnu/solaris2.3)

OpCom. ( - run by Sun Microsystems' OpCom group - lots
of stuff. Here is some of the stuff that's online:

pub/AMToolkit.* - the Administration Migration (4.1.x to Solaris 2)

pub/binaries - binaries/man pages for Solaris 2.0 native binaries.

pub/newsletter - issues of the monthly OpCom newsletter.

pub/docs - assorted documentation, papers, and other information.
- all of the RFCs

pub/drivers - information related to device driver writing under
under Solaris 2.0 as well as a skeleton SCSI driver.

ls-lR.Z - compressed recursive listing of files available
on the server.

pub/tars - compressed tars.

pub/tmp - place for uploading things to the server.

pub/R5 - the unadultered MIT x11r5 distribution.

pub/x11r5 - port of X11r5 to Solaris 2.0, binaries, libraries
and headers. A compressed tar of this tree can
be found in tars. and the GNU mirrors

Joe Shamblin's x86 site at Duke
<> - x86 stuff

- where the Solaris FAQ is kept, including an html

- fully automated auto-install scripts, including
an explanation of exactly what a machine needs when
booting the installation, automated patch installation
and even post-install updates from your install tree,
which gives you an easy way to keep all your Solaris
machines in sync.

2.5) What other FAQ's do I need to know about?

1) Stokely Consulting's list of Sun FAQs
< ...>
2) The Solaris for Intel FAQ
3) Obsolete, SunOS 4.x only: Sun Computer Administration Frequently Asked Questions

4) The "Solaris 2 Porting FAQ"
< ... Q/faq.html>

5) - Anything related to OpenWindows or the
OPEN LOOK Graphical User Interface.

6) The Sun-Managers mailing list FAQ
maintained by John DiMarco <>.

7) See also the "Solaris SW list. Monthly Post" above and the
"whatlist" file.

2.6) What mailing lists should I get?

First, read all the USENET newsgroups with "sun" in their name

1) The Florida SunFlash is a "closed" mailing list for Sun owners.
It contains mostly press releases from Sun and third-party
vendors. This list contains information on conferences such as
the Solaris Developer's Conference as well. It is normally
distributed regionally - to find out about a mail point in your
area, or for other information send mail to info-sunflash@Sun.COM.

Subscription requests should be sent to sunflash-request@Sun.COM.
Archives are on,,, and

2) The Sun Managers list is an unmoderated mailing list for
*emergency-only* requests. Subscribe and listen for a while,
and read the regularly-posted Policy statement BEFORE sending
mail to it, and to get a feel for what kinds of traffic it carries.
Send a message with "subscribe sun-managers" in the body to to subscribe.

3) The solaris x86 list. Subscribe/unsubscribe by sending a message
with subscribe/unsubscribe in the *BODY* of the message to A digested version of the list
is also available. To subscribe send an email message to
There's also an archive of this list.

4) The Sun Security Bulletin announcement mailing list.
Low volume, announcement only list.
Subscribe by mailing with subject

2.7) What books should I read?

O'Reilly & Associates specializes in UNIX books. Their "UNIX
In A Nutshell" has been updated for SVR4 and Solaris 2.0. Get
their catalog by calling 800-998-9938 (1-707-829-0515) 7AM to

SunSoft Press carries books specific to Solaris 2. Look for the
inset with your End User Media Kit that lists the most relevant ones.

Prentice-Hall has reprints of much of the AT&T documentation.
I'm not sure how much of this you need - a lot of the same
material is in the Answerbook (see above).

2. What hardware is supported by Solaris 2.x for Intel?

The complete list Solaris x86 hardware options can be found
on the Solaris Developer Connection site.

2.9) What is Wabi?

Wabi is Sun's MS-Windows-under-unix emulator.
The Wabi faqs can be obtained by sending an empty message to:

The list of current Wabi apps can be obtained by mailing:


Applications that execute a lot of x86 code, run fastest on
Solaris 2.x_86, as no x86 emulation needs to be done.
Applications that are more windows intensive will run
better on machines with faster graphics hardware.

The currently shipping version of Wabi is Wabi 2.2, which
ships with Solaris 2.5.1.

Wabi only supports MS Windows 3.1 applications. Plans to support
Windows 95 have been shelved.

Wabi is no longer supported under Solaris 7

Wabi will not be made available for SunOS 4.1.x.

Reports indicate that Wabi support will be dropped by Sun
and replaced by some other PC on Sun product.

2.10) I'm running into some limits of SunOS 4.x, will upgrading to
Solaris 2.x help?

The answer depends on the limit you run into.

Solaris 2.x supports filesystems upto 1TB, SunOS 4.x requires
ODS 1.0 to support filesystems over 2GB.
Solaris 2.6 and later support files > 2GB.

Swap partitions and files are still limited to 2GB a piece as long
as you run a 32 bit kernel, but you can have multiple 2GB swap

Solaris 2.x supports a virtually unlimited number of open
filedescriptors, SunOS 4.x only supports 256 (default) or 1024
(with Sun DBE 1.x).

Solaris 2.x supports an unlimited number of pseudo terminals.
SunOS 4.x supports at most 256.

Solaris 2.x supports more SCSI disks.

Solaris 2.x limits can be tuned in /etc/system, requiring just a
reboot. SunOS 4.x limits need to be tweaked in the config file and
| a new kernel needs to be built and installed.

Solaris 7 and later in 64 bit mode support > 4GB of address space
per processes.

64 bit processes in Solaris 7 and later can open more than 256 files
using stdio.

NOTE: when the above says "unlimited", it just means that there is
no "hard" limit, but performance may degrade over certain values.
E.g., setting the number of available fds very high, will cause
programs that loop closing all fds to be very slow in starting.


3.1) How much disk space do I need to install Solaris 2?

The FAQ maintainer's preference is for a merged root, /usr and /opt,
especially on smaller systems. But here's a table of sizes for
multiple partitionings.

Solaris 2.5.1 with root and usr only.
Install type root /usr
------------ ---- ----
Core 15 21
EndUser 28 99
Developer 30 192
Entire 72 217

Solaris 2.6 with root and usr only.
Install type root /usr
------------ ---- ----
Core 21 25
EndUser 33 181
Developer 38 398
Entire 44 448

Solaris 2.6 with root, var, opt and usr.
Install type root /var /opt /usr
------------ ---- ---- ---- ----
Core 21 3 1 25
EndUser 22 6 9 181
Developer 22 9 9 398
Entire 23 10 13 448

The following table is based on teaching and system administration

Solaris 2.6 Recommended minimum partition sizes, real world.
Install type
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