Solaris is not broken just because you have difficulty installing it.

After reading your writeup, I sat back to ponder what exactly was the problem here, and I have to say that it simply falls down to not knowing what to do. In other words, experience. Surely you don't expect to be able to install Solaris 8 on a SPARC system without problems if you've never done it before, do you?

I'm not attacking you, though; I appreciate that Solaris is tricky to install, and the openboot firmware is, shall we say, less than intiutive. I mean, who has even heard of FORTH these days?.

There are, however some things to note about your writeup.

  • Solaris is not "broken" just because it doesn't have resolv.conf
    Believe it or not, not all Sun systems use DNS as a means to resolve name to IP mappings. In fact after you set up /etc/resolv.conf you'll still find that hostname lookups fail. Why? You need to edit /etc/nsswitch.conf to tell it to use "dns" to look up hosts as well as "files".

    Suns have a number of options when resolving hostnames. In much the same ways as Windows boxes have WINS or Netbios-ns to look up hostnames as well as DNS, Suns (and indeed most Unix boxes) can be configured to use NIS, NIS+ or LDAP as well as DNS.

    How do you learn this? Experience.

  • The GUI installer for Solaris 8 is crap.
    Most Sun machines run headless, so a GUI installer is not even required for most installations. I'm not even sure why Sun made one - perhaps to make people feel all warm and fuzzy while the OS is being installed. Either way, don't use the "installation CD" to install Solaris. Use "software CD1" with the old-installer (as you found out).

    You can also install Solaris using jumpstart.

    How do you learn this? Experience.

In conclusion: Solaris is complicated, and difficult to install. You need to know what you're doing. There is documentation available of course. There's lots of documentation because it is quite complex. This isn't windows ( Although I challenge someone who's never installed Windows before to do it without pulling their hair out.). You have to read it, that's what it's there for. The only substitutes for reading the documentation is asking someone, keep plugging away or experience.

I'm glad you had a learning experience with Solaris. Wait untill you try to install SDS, Oracle or even Veritas Volume Manager!