Solaris 10: laptop config alternative

While I was at Sun, I helped out with several Installfests. For those who aren't familiar with the process, they were a gathering of people with the common goal of getting Solaris loaded on their laptops. Sometimes it was a mixture of luck and magic, to get the target laptop to retain the original OS (if desired) and then partition the disk(s) to load Solaris and/or linux. A fairly typical scenario was a double or even triple boot system;

1 - Windows
2 - Solaris (looked like a linux swap partition)

3 - Linux (Ext partition with root and swap)

The fourth DOS partition would usually be a shared data volume, configured as fat32, so that any OS you chose to boot could mount and access the shared volume.

However, I must be getting lazy, because I didn't want to have to deal with the disk re-partitioning and the risk to my company provided laptop this time around, so here's the alternative, which had some side benefits that I'll get to as I go along.

The first thing I did was download and install vmware Server 1.0.1, which is a freely available at the vmware website. Once the vmware server software is installed* and setup for Solaris, you can load a Solaris 10 x86 CD/DVD media and start installing Solaris as you would on any other hardware. So the first benefit was the time saved by not having to resize my Windows partition and re-partition the disk. You'll just need enough free disk space to hold the guest OS, plus swap space and any other Solaris partitions.
*If you don't already have it, it requires the MS .Net framework 1.1.

During the VM setup I chose to "hide" the VM behind the vmware "nat" and allow vmware to provide the IP address via DHCP. Here's the next benefit, I didn't have to load any special network drivers, the VM connects to the default network that the "master" OS is using at the time, whether that's wired or wireless. Also, sound support worked without any extra packages being loaded.

At this point I could use a little more memory, but I'm getting by pretty well, for my purposes with 1GB of memory. I haven't been able to get USB working, so that I could plug in a memory stick/thumb drive, but that's about the only thing I'm missing at this point. I I can boot the OS to have access to Solaris commands, manpages, do dtrace demos and even setup a Solaris container.

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