OpenSolaris 2009.06 as a domU guest on Xen 3.4/openSUSE 11.2

5 minute read

OpenSolaris LogoI recently trawled the web figuring out how to install a paravirtualized OpenSolaris 2009.06 on Xen. No one place had all the story, so I’m blogging this. I found a lot of the information spread across many other blog entries; some I figured out on my own. Thanks to all the giants on whose shoulders I am now standing:

The procedure:

  1. Download OpenSolaris 2009.06 ISO
  2. Mount the ISO somewhere

    pat-m6400:~ # mount -o loop,ro /vm/opensolaris/osol-0906-x86.iso /mnt
  3. Copy the kernel and rootfs somewhere convenient

    pat-m6400:~ # cp /mnt/platform/i86xpv/kernel/amd64/unix /vm/opensolaris
    pat-m6400:~ # cp /mnt/boot/amd64/x86.microroot /vm/opensolaris
  4. Create a disk image for your root filesystem

    pat-m6400:~ # dd if=/dev/zero of=/vm/opensolaris/root.img bs=1G count=1010+0 records out
    10+0 records in
    10+0 records out
    10737418240 bytes (11 GB) copied, 127.888 s, 84.0 MB/s
  5. Create a Xen config file (let’s call it /vm/opensolaris/opensolaris-install.cfg) with the following content:

    name = "opensolaris"
    vcpus = 1
    memory = 1024
    kernel = "/vm/opensolaris/opensolaris/unix"
    ramdisk = "/vm/opensolaris/x86.microroot"
    extra = "/platform/i86xpv/kernel/amd64/unix -B console=ttya"
    disk = ['file:/vm/opensolaris/osol-0906-x86.iso,6:cdrom,r', 'file:/vm/opensolaris/root.img,0,w']
    vif = ['bridge=br0']
    on_shutdown = "destroy"
    on_reboot = "destroy"
    on_crash = "destroy"
  6. Now start your VM:

    pat-m6400:~ # xm create -c /vm/opensolaris/opensolaris-install.cfg
  7. You should see something like:

    Using config file "./opensolaris-install.cfg".
    Started domain opensolaris (id=21)
    v3.4.1_19718_04-2.1 chgset '19718'
    SunOS Release 5.11 Version snv_111b 64-bit
    Copyright 1983-2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
    Use is subject to license terms.
    Hostname: opensolaris
    Remounting root read/write
    Probing for device nodes ...
    Preparing live image for use
    Done mounting Live image
    USB keyboard
    1\. Albanian                      23\. Lithuanian
    2\. Belarusian                    24\. Latvian
    3\. Belgian                       25\. Macedonian
    4\. Brazilian                     26\. Malta_UK
    5\. Bulgarian                     27\. Malta_US
    6\. Canadian-Bilingual            28\. Norwegian
    7\. Croatian                      29\. Polish
    8\. Czech                         30\. Portuguese
    9\. Danish                        31\. Russian
    10\. Dutch                         32\. Serbia-And-Montenegro
    11\. Finnish                       33\. Slovenian
    12\. French                        34\. Slovakian
    13\. French-Canadian               35\. Spanish
    14\. Hungarian                     36\. Swedish
    15\. German                        37\. Swiss-French
    16\. Greek                         38\. Swiss-German
    17\. Icelandic                     39\. Traditional-Chinese
    18\. Italian                       40\. TurkishQ
    19\. Japanese-type6                41\. TurkishF
    20\. Japanese                      42\. UK-English
    21\. Korean                        43\. US-English
    22\. Latin-American
    To select the keyboard layout, enter a number [default 43]:
  8. Press enter to select the default…

    1\. Arabic
    2\. Chinese - Simplified
    3\. Chinese - Traditional
    4\. Czech
    5\. Dutch
    6\. English
    7\. French
    8\. German
    9\. Greek
    10\. Hebrew
    11\. Hungarian
    12\. Indonesian
    13\. Italian
    14\. Japanese
    15\. Korean
    16\. Polish
    17\. Portuguese - Brazil
    18\. Russian
    19\. Slovak
    20\. Spanish
    21\. Swedish
    To select desktop language, enter a number [default is 6]:
  9. Press enter again…

    User selected: English
    Configuring devices.
    Mounting cdroms
    Reading ZFS config: done.
    opensolaris console login:
  10. Now login with jack/jack
``` opensolaris console login: jack
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      snv_111b        November 2008

11.  And su with the password opensolaris

jack@opensolaris:~$ su
    Feb  5 20:29:29 opensolaris su: 'su root' succeeded for jack on /dev/console
  1. Now do ifconfig -a to discover your IP address. You might have to try a few times since it seems to take a minute or two to get an IP:
``` jack@opensolaris:~# ifconfig -a
lo0: flags=2001000849 mtu 8232 index 1
inet netmask ff000000
xnf0: flags=1004843 mtu 1500 index 2
inet netmask ffffff00 broadcast
ether 0:16:3e:79:d:ba
lo0: flags=2002000849 mtu 8252 index 1
inet6 ::1/128
xnf0: flags=2000841 mtu 1500 index 2
inet6 fe80::216:3eff:fe79:dba/10
ether 0:16:3e:79:d:ba ```
  1. Now go to a dom0 shell and find the domain id:
``` pat-m6400:~ # domid=`xm domid opensolaris`
pat-m6400:~ # echo $domid

14.  Use `xenstore-read` to find the vnc port and password:

pat-m6400:~ # xenstore-read /local/domain/$domid/guest/vnc/port
    pat-m6400:~ # xenstore-read /local/domain/$domid/guest/vnc/passwd
Supposedly you can also discover the IP address this way, but I've never seen it:

``` pat-m6400:~ # xenstore-read /local/domain/$domid/ipaddr/0
xenstore-read: couldn't read path /local/domain/21/ipaddr/0 ```
  1. Now you can VNC to the OpenSolaris installer - use the port and password you just discovered. Note the double colon (::) to use port number rather than display number
``` pat-m6400:~ # vncviewer
Connected to RFB server, using protocol version 3.8
Performing standard VNC authentication
Authentication successful
[...] ```
  1. You should see the OpenSolaris installer - hurrah! Go through the install process, click ‘restart’ and the domain should shutdown.
  2. Once it is down (you can check with xm list), create another config file - opensolaris.cfg
``` name = "opensolaris"
vcpus = 1
memory = 1024
bootloader = "/usr/bin/pygrub"
disk = ['file:/vm/opensolaris/root.img,0,w']
vif = ['bridge=br0']
on_shutdown = "destroy"
on_reboot = "destroy"
on_crash = "destroy" ```
  1. Now you can create the VM again using the new config
``` xm create -c /vm/opensolaris/opensolaris.cfg ```
  1. If all is well, you should now be the proud owner of an OpenSolaris domU :-)
  2. Now, log in as the user you specified in the install, su - to root and find the IP address.
``` pat@opensolaris:~$ su -
root@opensolaris:~# ifconfig xnf0
xnf0: flags=1004843 mtu 1500 index 2
inet netmask ffffff00 broadcast
ether 0:16:3e:5d:6:60 ```

That’s the basic install done. You have a couple of options at this point depending on whether you want to be able to VNC in for the full OpenSolaris desktop experience, and whether you want a static IP address. For the OpenSolaris desktop:

  1. Set X11-server to listen to the tcp port

    root@opensolaris:~# svccfg -s x11-server
    svc:/application/x11/x11-server> setprop options/tcp_listen = boolean: true
    svc:/application/x11/x11-server> quit
  2. I disabled idletimeout on the VNC server, so that I don’t lose the desktop over my lunch break!

    root@opensolaris:~# svccfg -s xvnc-inetd
    svc:/application/x11/xvnc-inetd> setprop inetd_start/exec = astring: "/usr/X11/bin/Xvnc -inetd -query localhost -once securitytypes=none -IdleTimeout 0"
    svc:/application/x11/xvnc-inetd> quit
  3. Enable XDMCP for GDM

    root@opensolaris:~# printf '[xdmcp]\nEnable=true\n' >>/etc/X11/gdm/custom.conf
    root@opensolaris:~# svcadm restart gdm
  4. Make sure GDM runs on startup

    root@opensolaris:~# svcadm enable -s gdm
  5. Turn on xvnc-inetd services

    root@opensolaris:~# svcadm enable xvnc-inetd
  6. Now just connect from dom0:

    ``` pat-m6400:~ # vncviewer

    And you should be in GNOME desktop wonderland :-)
7.  If you want to continue to use DHCP, on subsequent boots, just run nmap on dom0 to find your IP address:

pat-m6400:~ # nmap -sP
``` Starting Nmap 5.00 ( ) at 2010-02-05 23:15 PST
Host is up (0.00056s latency).
Host is up (0.0017s latency).
Nmap done: 256 IP addresses (9 hosts up) scanned in 2.48 seconds ```

As an alternative to getting a VNC session, you can do

ssh -X

(or whatever) and then (at the OpenSolaris prompt) you can do

pat@opensolaris:~$ some-gui-program &

to have the program run on the dom0 desktop. Cool :-) To configure OpenSolaris to use a static IP address:

root@opensolaris:~# svcadm disable network/physical:nwam
root@opensolaris:~# svcadm enable  network/physical:default
root@opensolaris:~# ifconfig xnf0 down
root@opensolaris:~# ifconfig xnf0 netmask
root@opensolaris:~# ifconfig xnf0 up
root@opensolaris:~# route add default
root@opensolaris:~# echo netmask > /etc/hostname.xnf0
root@opensolaris:~# echo > /etc/defaultrouter

So there you have it - OpenSolaris 2009.06 happily running as a Xen domU. If you have any comments/corrections, please post them and I’ll update this entry as appropriate.

Create a Xen config file (let's call it /vm/opensolaris/opensolaris-install.cfg) with the following content:




Hi.. In step 5, I had to change the config file as vif=[’’] to get the xm create to work. Then it worked fine till step 12. Upon ifconfig, it showed the IP as So I tried to set the IP manually, as given in the last section. But when I tried to connect using vncviewer it showed the error : vncviewer: ConnectToTcpAddr: connect: No route to host Unable to connect to VNC server So I am stuck at this stage. Please help.

Pat Patterson

Hi Rose - did you use an IP address in the same subnet as your host? For example, if your host is, you would use an IP address starting with 12.34.56 for the guest - perhaps, or some other available address.


Yes, I used an IP address in the same subnet. Also tried disabling firewall before using vncviewer. The error message remains the same.

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