Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nevada b23 on IBM Blade HS20 or trading swap for DVD

Well, I recently started at new place. There are many Linuxes here and quite few Solarises. Exactly one. And I had an interesting experience installing Solaris Nevada b23 on it. The machine is a IBM Blade Server HS20 (Nice thing, BTW). The DVD it equipped with is conected via USB and trust me - it is slooow. So when I installed b22 on it a week ago I just burned CDROM 1 of 4 and did a minimal installation. Now, when b23 is out I downloaded all 4 images and setup_install_server'ed it into this machine. At this point I realized that it would be not so simple to upgrade this machine - I didn't want to go through CDROM installation once again (I didn't even had 4 blank media for burning all the images!). And there is some weird problem with mounting NFS share from Linux on Solaris. To make it worth I was running out of time on that specific evening. So I had to come up with some idea pronto. And here is what I did:
I released swap partition (~ 2GB - I was lucky!), newfs it and copied the installation image into it. Then I booted off CD1 and when it asked for starting the installation I umounted the CDROM and mounted my ex-swap partition on /cdrom. Then I continued with installation and choose [currently mounted] swap partition as "preserved" and not mounted anywhere. That appeared to be enough. The installation went happilly on and I went home. Next morning I found system installed.

And here is what prtdiag tells about it :

# prtdiag
System Configuration: IBM IBM eServer BladeCenter HS20 -[8832M1X]-
BIOS Configuration: IBM -[BSE120AUS-1.07]- 09/27/2004

==== Processor Sockets ====================================

Version Location Tag
-------------------------------- --------------------------
Intel Xeon Socket 1 CPU 1
Intel Xeon Socket 2 CPU 2

==== Memory Device Sockets ================================

Type Status Set Device Locator Bank Locator
------- ------ --- ------------------- --------------------
DDR in use 1 DIMM1 Slot 1
DDR in use 1 DIMM2 Slot 2
DDR in use 2 DIMM3 Slot 3
DDR in use 2 DIMM4 Slot 4

==== On-Board Devices =====================================
Ethernet 1 Broadcom 5704 Ethernet Controller
Ethernet 2 Broadcom 5704 Ethernet Controller
IBM Automatic Server Restart - Integrated System Management Processor
Q-Logic FibreChannel Card

==== Upgradeable Slots ====================================

ID Status Type Description
--- --------- ---------------- ----------------------------

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Nevada B21 on Dell Latitude D610

I am running Nevada on my laptop (Dell Latitude D610) for quite some time now. I think I started with build 17 or so and upgraded it with each new build released as Solaris Community Express. Every time I tried an upgrade I had problem with network boot. The pxegrub loaded from the boot server claimed that there is no network interface (how ironically!). So I ended up with a bunch of Solaris x86 1/4 disks (one for each build). I booted off the CDROM and then chose NFS as a repository. Worked well, but made me feel dummy. Build 21 changed this completely. pxegrub loaded and quickly discovered ethernet and continued to the boot menu. At this point I was happy and started the installation/upgrade anxiously. There were unpleasant surprise down the road, nonetheless. When it came to X autoconfiguration it probed Intel 915 embedded graphics chipset and failed the test color screen. In previous build that step was easy and worked. Well, you could choose any resolution as long as it is 800x600. Apparently, after the installation when Xorg is overtaking the job it displays normal 1024x768, but during the installation Xsun is limited to 800x600. The workaround turned out to be simple - VESA 915 nicely presented by kdmconfig. Same 800x600 resolution and you have your system ready for install or upgrade. Nothing special after that point.
There was no public info on what fixes went into build 21, so there could be some lurking features. No new packages, however, comparing to build 20.