Indiana + Parallels 2.5 = No Network For You!

I know, I should probably fork over the cash for Parallels 3.0. The reasons I have not are as follows:

  1. As far as I can tell, there won't be much difference with OpenBSD as a guest OS which is primarily what I use Parallels for.
  2. Windows 2000, which I use only for VPN access to work a few times per month, works fine under Parallels Desktop 2.5.
  3. I don't like spending money.
With that out of the way, here's my OpenSolaris Indiana experience in a nutshell:
  • The Live-CD functionality is a breeze. Once it's up, it's fairly responsive considering the fact that it's running Gnome. I really don't like Gnome, but it gets the job done.
  • Installation is a breeze if you are willing to dedicate a whole hard drive to it. No word on how easy a multi-boot system is to configure.
  • Once installed, it's surprisingly nimble and smooth, with the caveat that it doesn't like NE2000-based ethernet cards (or their emulated analog via Parallels)
Now, Parallels Desktop comes with a CD image full of useful stuff just for this occasion. Included are drivers (Solaris 10 binary as well as source code) for the NE2000 card. As this release of Indiana doesn't ship with a compiler, I followed these instructions for installing the binary drivers on Developer Preview 1, but to no avail. "Network Auto-Magic" did nothing, and a reboot didn't bring the interface to life, either.

This was my first real brush with OpenSolaris. I use Solaris daily as part of my job, and one of my main desktops at home is a Sun workstation running Solaris 10 (I opted for the CDE interface at home due to the slower processor). As such, I'm certainly no stranger to Solaris. Despite being unable to bring the network to life, I can honestly say that OpenSolaris looks, feels, and smells an awful lot like Sun's enterprise UNIX operating system. If you know Solaris, you know OpenSolaris.

On the workstation, Solaris 10 is actually very feature-rich out of the box. OpenSolaris takes this a step further. Until you hit the command-line interface, it feels very much like an older version of Ubuntu Linux. I haven't bothered to see if Java is as deeply integrated into OpenSolaris as it is in the commercial OS, but if it is, that's yet another boon.

I may have another HiR writer check out OpenSolaris on a newer build of Parallels to see if we can get the network up and running. Otherwise, I'll probably shelve Indiana for a bit until I have somewhat capable lab machine available to test it on. Preferably, I'd like to test it as a desktop system (not as a server host), which means that I'll need an extended period of a month or so to really give it the kind of attention it needs.

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