Monday, 31 March 2014

Installing Open Indiana

Over the years I've build a range of virtual machines using various linux distributions, the better to understand their capabilities and potential.

This time, I decided to revisit the Open Solaris code tree to see what the Open Indiana fork could deliver. While linux, usually in the form of RedHat or CentOS has supplanted Solaris as a platform in a lot of organisations, it's worth remembering that there is still a lot of legacy Solaris kit out there, and people still need to get to grips with Solaris.

Here are my installation/assessment notes for Open Indiana ...


  • Open Indiana is a fork of Open Solaris which I played with back in 2008/9. Since then Sun have been taken over by Oracle and support for Open Solaris has ended
  • Open Indiana is built on illumos, the open sourced base distribution for the various distros based on Open Solaris
  • Open Indiana have a website at


  • Installation was done from a live CD image onto virtual box
  • Initially the distribution would not boot, but making the CD the only device resolved that
  • booting into install mode straight forward
  • desktop application to install live cd
    • installations simple Q & A, keyboard, location, language, timezone user accounts
    • installation time was less than 30 minutes, not including download time for the live CD image
  • system boot after install was not particularly fast
  • out of the box the installed application set was extremely sparse
    • no office suite included
    • many standard tools missing
  • user required to run package manager to install office software
    • need to change from open indiana to all publishers as package source
    • open office distro is 3.1 and sourced from legacy open solaris repository
      • found alternative more recent version via apache open office site
    • poor selection of software in repositories
    • good selection of compilers and development tools
      • necessary for the ./configure, make, make install required to build and add some applications
    • users need to install gcc etc to build software
  • system reasonably fast and responsive when running


Nice distro, nice installer, shame about the software base, Anyone planning to use it for a roll out would need to be prepared to do a fair amount of building code from scratch.
What it does provide is a zero cost platform for anyone needing to get up to speed on legacy solaris systems prior to experimenting with a live system, and that is perhaps its real value

No comments: