Sep 27, 2007

Solaris: The Bane of My Existance!

I had my Capstone class again last night. Everything was supposed to go very smooth. Of course, in this business murphy's law is in full effect.

My last real problem is with the Solaris machine. Not only does it not detect the wireless card, it does not even detect the onboard NIC! With no network connectivity that means I have to do everything using sneakernet!

To top it off, Solaris doesn't come with some essential tools I need to install the drivers such as gcc, and make! I tried to download the binaries for gcc and make so I could install the ndis tools to use the Windows drivers, but they themselves wouldn't install! I have about had it with this OS! The funny thing is that when I installed it on a laptop before this project began to kind of test the waters, everything was fine. It is this particular hardware that doesn't mesh well with Solaris, so please, if you are a Solaris fanatic, please don't jump down my throat. I know it is a great OS, just not for this project.

Another little monkey wrench my teacher threw into the mix is a wireless router. This isn't an ordinary wireless router though, it is a Linksys router running DD-WRT. The problem is that there is something wrong with this router other than it has a non standard OS on it, and even my teacher couldn't get it to work correctly. We weren't able to pull a DHCP address from it so we couldn't connect to it to configure it. Since it isn't running the standard OS, the reset button on the back isn't working either. Fantastic!

So what are my options? Due to the limited amount of time I have to complete this project, I don't think I can keep going on like this with standard Solaris. I spend way to much time looking for drivers and binaries than I do actually working on other things on my network. My teacher said he will help us with the router, because he said there are a few tweaks he can do to allow us to at least connect to it to configure it, so i am not too worried about that. The big thing I am worried about it the Solaris box. I think it is time to switch distros again, kind of like I did with BSD. I pretty much have three options with this.

There are three main OpenSolaris based distros available for the x86 architecture. I have already mentioned Nexenta, which is an Ubuntu based Solaris distro. The problem with it is that it is still in beta. The other two are Belenix, and Schillix. Schillix looks like it will be okay except it doesn't have a gui. For you hard core Unix types, you are probably thinking, "yeah, so? ". Well, having to do everything 100% command line is probably the last thing I need right now. That leaves me with Belenix. I downloaded it last night, and it was pretty cool. It is a live CD with an option to install to the hard drive. It also comes with KDE or XFCE. I am thinking that this is probably my best bet. Another thing I liked about it is that it detected both the wireless and the onboard nic on my laptop. I am hoping that it will do the same for the desktop machine in my class.

Tonight I have capstone, so I will have my opportunity to test it out. this really is the moment fo truth. After tonight we only have two more classes to finish the project. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed, and feel free to hold your breath for me!

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