A few weeks back, I blogged that I was trying out Solaris 10 on a spare PC. I haven’t spent a lot of time with the product yet, but so far I’m impressed. I’m sure I’ll be writing more as I get to grips with Unix – an operating system family that I haven’t used in anger for many years.
I also began to gather a collection of Solaris hints and tips, ‘net resources and the like. This is my list so far (some of these are written for SPARC but most should apply to the x86 version too):
- Sun product documentation, specifically the Solaris 10 product documentation and the Solaris 10 system administration collection.
- Solaris advanced users guide.
- Sun Big Admin system administration portal, including the Big Admin Solaris x86 collection and Solaris OS guide for new system administrators.
- Best practice and deployment experience (Sun blueprints).
- Thoughtful Solutions publications, including introduction to Solaris course notes, Solaris administrator course notes, VI editor quick reference, Solaris command line quick reference and Solaris Open Boot PROM (OBP) quick reference.
- Big Admin feature: Implementing the Solaris OS, x86 Platform Edition on your desktop or laptop
- Big Admin articles, FAQs and general how-tos.
- Cool Commands (search engine of commands and scripts for Unix systems administrators).
- OpenSolaris community site.
- Solaris tips and tricks.
- Solaris on Intel – x86 FAQ.
- SunHELP FAQ.
- Solaris Forums.
- Rosetta stone for Unix (command translation between Unix flavours).
- comp.unix.solaris and alt.solaris.x86 newsgroups.
Some of these I found myself, others have been recommended by Unix sysadmins and architects, who by and large seem keen to help a Microsoftie learn about Unix (actually, I did a fair amount of Unix system programming at uni’, but that was a long time back). The other comments that I got back were that Linux is also “grown up” contender these days (and I’ve been suitably adminished for suggesting otherwise)!
Indeed, a couple of people have suggested that the best way to learn Solaris would be to start out with one of the main Linux distributions to get the hang of the start-up, configuration and shell. Ubuntu seems to be well recommended, as is Mandriva and SUSE. Apparently the Ubuntu route allows trade up to full Debian (“expert class” when you get there). Knoppix is an even easier way in – basically Debian on a live CD – impossible to mess up! Following that, Solaris is a case of working out what’s different. One sysadmin who had been through this journey commented that he now uses Gentoo at home “100% roll your own, compile everything from scratch”.
I did actually have a play with a couple of the Unix/Linux live CDs last week. One was eLux NG embedded Linux but far more impressive was the Sun Java Desktop live CD that Alex gave me – running Morphix 0.4 (based on Knoppix).
Getting back to Solaris, printed reference manuals (i.e. books) seem thin on the ground (although as can be seen from the list above, there is plenty on of material the ‘net). One which has been recommended to me is Solaris 10: The Complete Reference but I haven’t looked at it myself and the Amazon reviews for this are all very poor, commenting that this is really a Solaris 9 reference with very little new for Solaris 10 and suggesting that some other Solaris 10 books should be considered instead.