[Solaris x86 FAQ] 3. Resources (Solaris x86 FAQ)

(3.0) RESOURCES (3.1) What web and FTP sites do I need to know about?
The latest version of this FAQ is always at this URL. It's available in text and HTML formats. This FAQ also appears in the alt.solaris.x86 or comp.unix.solaris newsgroups and on various FAQ archives. Check the date at the top of this FAQ to make sure you have a recent version. If you don't have USENET news access, you can search past postings and post your own messages at
Sun's web site for Solaris on x86, contains pointers to Solaris x86 product information, updates, resources, news, etc.
BigAdmin is Sun's System Administration Support and Education website. Has Solaris knowledge base, Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), device drivers, patches, and Device Configuration Assistant (DCA) boot diskette images. Links to drivers for Solaris x86 are at
http://sunsolve.Sun.COM/ site.
Sun's download website for patches and various technical documents. Public patches are at http://sunsolve.Sun.COM/ Patch clusters require a service contract. Sun also has another Solaris x86 FAQ at
Update: you basically need a service contract to access this information. A volunteer-led, unofficial website has an incomplete list of patches and bugs at
Sun documentation on-line. Includes manuals, guides, answerbooks, and man pages in HTML format. Especially useful for configuring new hardware and new systems is the Information Library for Solaris (Intel Platform Edition).
Stokely Consulting's list of FAQs has lots of pointers resources, not only for Solaris x86, but UNIX System Administration in general.
Steven Christensen's Solaris Freeware Page. Pointers to LOTS of x86 pre-packaged GNU and other open-source software. Download from web or use pkg-get.
Pointers to many Solaris viewers, players, and Netscape plug-ins. Includes sample media files.
A website with tutorials and news on Solaris x86.
CDE (Common Desktop Environment) FAQ and
Both sites provide community-built packages for Solaris x86.
Selected Solaris x86 binaries conveniently packaged in pkgadd format at the University of North Carolina (formerly Sunsite).
Joe Shamblin's annotated collection of Solaris x86 open source, with pointers to documentation, make it good for open source browsing. This site appears to be dormant (last updated circa 1998).
My Solaris x86 Webpage contains the latest version of this FAQ.
Good overview on installing Solaris/x86 for your desktop workstation, including frequently-used add-ons such as Open Office. Lots of good pointers. Article published 2003.
Phil Brown's Solaris tips, packages, and drivers. (includes packages and drivers he wrote). Lots of useful information.
Last, but not least, Casper Dik's thorough FAQ on Solaris 2. This entire FAQ is available as one file at:

(3.2) How do I subscribe to the Solaris/x86 mailing list?

Subscribe by sending an e-mail message to <> or visit Yahoo Groups' Solaris x86 web page at You DON'T have to register to join the list, but you do have to register to read the list archives on the web (sorted by thread and date)

Sun maintains a similar "Solaris on Intel" discussion forum. To access it, go to and select "Solaris x86 Platform Edition".

A web-based forum, covering SPARC and x86, is at

(3.3) Where can I obtain Solaris 2/x86 maintenance updates?

Starting with Solaris 7, Sun includes the drivers in the Maintenance Updates (MUs) and updated versions of the OS.

[Thanks to Alan Coopersmith]

(3.4) Where can I obtain Solaris x86 patches?

The Solaris x86 driver updates can be obtained by HTTP from: ftp://sunsolve.Sun.COM/

A listing sorted by release is available by clicking on "Patches" at the SunSolve web page, http://sunsolve.Sun.COM/

Pointers to patches, including one huge *_x86_Recommended.tar.Z file for each release. This directory is publicly accessible--it doesn't require you to be a contract customer. Patches are also available locally at many SunSites.

The "showrev -p" command shows what patches you have installed.

All files replaced by a patch are saved under /var/sadm/patch/ or /var/sadm/pkg/

For Solaris 10, consider using "Sun Update Connection." It's a GUI that manages your patches (similar to MS Windows and Linux update managers). Once installed, just click on the GUI or run "/usr/bin/updatemanager from the command line. It's available for free download from You need to be registered (free), and security and public patches are free. Other patches require a service contract. Currently, Sun Update Connection is available only for Solaris 10, but if not patched it doesn't work (hangs) with Solaris zones (bug). I recommend only applying critical security patches and patches for specific problems you've had. Don't blindly apply all patches.

(3.5) How can I obtain freeware, shareware, and GNU software on a CD-ROM?

Solaris 8 comes with some GNU utilities, such as gzip and less. More binary packages for GNU and other Open Source software are in a separate CD. The CD is installed after Solaris is installed. The packages on the CD all start with "SFW" (SFW stands for "Sun Freeware").

For older versions of Solaris, Micromata of Kassel, Germany offers its "Summertime" CD with precompiled software for Solaris SPARC and Intel,

See question 3.1 above for FTP and web software sites.

(3.6) What UNIX-like operating systems are available on x86?

Note that the open source versions can also be purchased on CD-ROM, which is a convenient way to get it. For Linux, there are multiple vendors selling CD-ROMs (e.g., RedHat, Other systems are over the horizon, in beta, or for teaching/research. E.g., GNU's HURD, Tanenbaum's Minix, or Lucent/Bell Labs' Plan 9,

(3.7) What books are available on Solaris x86?

(3.8) What magazine articles are available on Solaris x86?

"Sun injects Solaris X86 with new life as it makes its way to 64 bits" Sun World. Feb. 1997 by Rick Cook. http://www.Sun.COM/sunworldonline/swol-02-1997/swol-02-solarisX86.html

Note: please send other submissions to Dan Anderson at

(3.9) What's new for Solaris 10?

Solaris 10 for x86 was released in 2005. Solaris 10 features include: an improved TCP/IP stack ("Fire Engine"), "Solaris Zones" (partitioning software that's sort of like an enhanced chroot jail--one kernel, many OS instances), "ZFS" Dynamic File System, (mirroring, volume management, performance, scalability, and reliability improvements) "FMA/Greenline" with self-healing features and fault management, NFS v4, Gnome 2, DTrace diagnostic software, AMD64 support, and Linux binary support.

Solaris 10 06/06 now uses GRUB for x86 booting, along with support for ZFS (Zettabyte 128-bit Filesystem), and lxrun (to run Linux binaries).

Solaris 10 x86 is available at



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