Saturday, February 19, 2011

Solaris 11 Express: Headless X

Solaris 11 Express: Headless X


Sun had marked it's market entry with a graphical UNIX workstation, bundling all functions needed in a desktop (from email, to instant message; from network usage, to user presence,; from compilers to graphical debuggers.) During the 1990's, it was not uncommon to take Sun workstations in headless configurations and install them in rack configurations, to spread the load of work across farms of computing facilities. During the transition from 1990's to early 2000's, Sun had taken on a role in the Data Center with the creation of rack mounted equipment featuring "lights out management" and abandoning the monitor. With the entry into 2010's, Sun's premier operating system moved to Solaris 11, which defaulted the installation of headless servers to exempt windowing system Windowing can be added to a headless system.

Software History:

Sun's Solaris suite of desktop applications originally was build upon a BSD kernel with a windowing system called SunView. MIT released the X Windows System, which was merged into the Solaris environment. With the merger of AT&T SVR4 into Solaris, OpenWindows with OpenLook became the standard. The merger of a competing X Windows based MOTIF with OpenWindows occurred via a cooperative trade group called COSE creating the Common Desktop Environment, which became the default Solaris windowing system. The latest version of default desktop environment of Solaris systems based upon X Windows GNOME is referred to a the Java Desktop System. Oracle later purchased Sun. The windowing system is installed by default on systems containing video cards, but can be installed separately from a text based install on a headless system, via the new Solaris 11 Image Packagng System.

Install X Clients:

The installation of new software under Solaris 11 is done via the "Imaging Packaging System", using the "pkg" command. The installation is done from the default Solaris 11 repository over the network:
V100-SolExp11:/root# pkg install slim_install
Refreshing catalog 1/1 solaris
Caching catalogs ...
Caching catalogs ...
Creating Plan -
Completed 329/329 41226/41226 392.5/392.5

Install Phase 65166/65166

Package State Update Phase 329/329
Image State Update Phase 2/2
Finding X Clients:

The X Windows client applications used to be located in "/usr/openwin" for OpenWindows default applications and later in "/usr/dt" for CDE default applications. With the latest environment, X Windows applications are oddly installed in "/usr/bin".

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