Installing OpenSolaris 2008.11 on a USB stick

For installing OpenSolaris 2008.11 on a USB stick (installation on a 250 GB USB drive worked fine for me), please be aware of bug 4755 which leads to a GRUB> prompt after attempting to boot from a newly installed OpenSolaris 2008.11 USB stick.

Here’s how it worked for me, on a Intel D201GLY2A system with 1 GB RAM:

  1. Change your BIOS so that it will boot from USB or CD, if present
  2. Boot from the OpenSolaris 2008.11 CD
  3. After the system as booted, plug in a USB stick with at least 4 GB (in my case 8 GB) capacity and wait until a new symbol shows up on the desktop
  4. Double click on the “Install Solaris” icon, select the USB stick, use the “use whole disk” setting, proceed through the rest of the installation customizing and press the appropriate button to start the installation.
  5. Wait until the installation has completed, but do not press the “Reboot” button!
  6. Follow this advice:
    1. Download this file (76.8 kB)
    2. unzip and untar it to /tmp, using command
      cd /tmp
      gzip -d grub_zfs_devid.tar.gz | tar -xf -

      (will create two files: stage1 and stage2)
    3. run
      zpool status
      to find out the device name of the newly created pool on the USB stick. Let’s assume the device name shown is /dev/rdsk/c4t0d0s0.
    4. and install the two files from the tar file on that device:
      installgrub /tmp/stage1 /tmp/stage2 /dev/rdsk/c4t0d0s0
  7. Then, press the reboot button. Take out the OpenSolaris CD when the system starts booting, so that it will boot from the USB stick. According to the bug, booting might fail if the boot order is changed in the BIOS, so until the bug is fixed, you should keep the boot order as it was during the installation.

5 Responses to “Installing OpenSolaris 2008.11 on a USB stick”

  1. Says:

    [Trackback] Procedimiento para instalar OpenSolaris 2008.11 en una llave USB.

  2. Bernd Finger's Weblog Says:

    [Trackback] I chose the Intel D945GCLF board with a processor TDP of just 4W. The northbridge/GPU apparently needs more power, so it is cooled with a fan whereas the CPU does not need one. Unfortunately, the fan is really loud. The following picture shows the or…

  3. Raja Says:

    Thanks man. this was extremely helpful.
    This problem has been resolved in the newer build of OpenSolaris.
    But well, package support is kind of hard, so this was a great workaround.
    Now to figure out how to convert the rest of my HDDs to pure zfs 🙂

  4. Raja Says:

    Oh yeah, dont do a pkg image-update after that.
    The same problem occurs immediately on reboot *_*
    Instead, upgrade straight to the opensolaris 2009.06 development release, which solves the problem.
    To do that, follow this:-
    OpenSolaris 2009.06 Developer Builds
    Development has already started on the next release, 2009.06. You can update your existing 2008.11 installation by connecting to the developer repository
    user@opensolaris:~$ pfexec pkg set-authority -O
    (taken from )

  5. marc Lobelle Says:

    Thanks, this solves indeed the problem. Just an added detail: if one does as explained when logged as "jack", for instance for correcting xorg.conf, one should use
    pfexec installgrub …
    It worked fine for me to install opensolaris on a 16 GB SD-HC class 6 card.
    Thanks again I shall now be able to use this eee-pc 901 with something else than windows.

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