[rescue] SGI Indigo2 & IRIX 6.5

Skeezics Boondoggle skeezicsb at gmail.com
Tue Dec 2 01:18:23 CST 2008

On Mon, 01 Dec 2008, Phil Stracchino wrote:

> GNOME, on the other hand, is a malignant, metastatic cancer that has
> insinuated its tendrils into Linux (and now, Solaris 10 as well) at
> almost all levels.  [...]

Glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. :-)

Another thing that is annoying as hell about GNOME is that a great
many Suns ship with only 8-bit video cards, and nearly all my Suns
with heads on 'em still only have 8-bit color.  GNOME looks like
boiled ass in 8 bits.  At least NeXTSTEP with its Display Postscript
used to do a fairly good job of dithering so that you'd get decent
visuals and no supremely annoying palette flashing nonsense...

> Back shortly after Solaris 10 came out, I tried to see if I could get a
> functional, but GNOME-free, Solaris 10 installation on an Ultra5.  I
> couldn't do it. GNOME has metastasized so thoroughly throughout Solaris
> 10 that as far as I can tell, you cannot have a Solaris 10 installation
> with anything other than a console interface without having at least
> parts of GNOME installed, and I'm not sure you can actually have a
> running Solaris 10 system *at all* that contains no GNOME components.
> (I regard this as a very foolish decision on Sun's part, but I can see
> the point of selecting a single more-or-less complete desktop
> environment.  I just wish they hadn't integrated it so deeply as to make
> it effectively non-removable.)

Actually, you can.

I spent a few hours with pfinstall and custom Jumpstart to produce a
package list for Solaris 10 11/06 that gave me a functional server
environment (280R) that required *no* GNOME stuff; I then slowly added
back in the few packages needed for a working CDE-only environment on
my U5.  Perhaps we'll never again see the svelte, clean installs of
say, Solaris 7, but I had a reasonable S10 living in under a gig:

First install, SUNWCrnet only:

Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
/dev/md/dsk/d10        3.9G   180M   3.7G     5%    /
/dev/md/dsk/d20        2.0G   6.2M   1.9G     1%    /var
/dev/md/dsk/d30        8.7G   8.9M   8.6G     1%    /disk/yavin/0

59 services, 104 packages

After a dozen tries to tweak things and eliminate package dependencies:

Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
/dev/md/dsk/d10        3.9G   811M   3.1G    21%    /
/dev/md/dsk/d20        2.0G    16M   1.9G     1%    /var
/dev/md/dsk/d30        8.7G   8.9M   8.6G     1%    /disk/yavin/0

89 services, 280 packages

Of course, Java and the required X11 stuff for a CDE-only, usable
desktop (depending on whether or not you find CDE "usable") and/or
remote X environment is the main culprit in ballooning up from 180MB
to 811MB.  And on top of that I still build out my own /usr/local with
custom RPM packages (old habits die hard :-), instead of using the Sun
Companion CD stuff, which often seems to rely on tons of libraries and
fluff that I don't want (and isn't even compiled with their own damn

In contrast, I recently revived my NeXTSTEP machines (SS4, HP715,
TurboColor, Canon object.station 41) with fresh installs.  NS3.3 fits
comfortably on a 400MB drive; a gig is "roomy".  That's for full
quad-fat development environments, not just the bare bones... GNOME by
itself takes up that much space, regardless of what OS you bury under
it.  Oof.

Anyhoo, the point is that you can, with some tinkering and patience,
set up Solaris 10 without GNOME.  At least it was possible with the
now-pretty-ancient 11/06 release, which was current when I was last
monkeying with this stuff.  I only boot up that U5 these days to
tinker with installing OpenStep 4.2/Mach on a SunPCi II card.  (Why?
Because it's there!)

-- C

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