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Software Terminology

The operating system is bundled in packages on the distribution media. Packages are arranged into software groups. The following sections describe the Solaris bundling scheme.

Software Packages

A software package is a collection of files and directories in a defined format. It describes a software application, such as manual pages and line printer support. The Solaris 10 entire distribution contains approximately 900 software packages that require 6.5 gigabytes of disk space.

A Solaris software package is the standard way to deliver bundled and unbundled software. Packages are administered by using the package administration commands, and they are generally identified by a SUNWxxx naming convention when supplied by Sun Microsystems. SUNW is Sun Microsystems's ticker symbol on the stock exchange, hence the SUNW prefix.

Software Groups

Software packages are grouped into software groups, which are logical collections of software packages. Sometimes these groups are referred to as clusters. For example, the online manual pages software group contains one package. Some software groups contain multiple packages, such as the CDS software cluster, which contains the CDE man pages, CDE desktop applications, CDE daemons, and so on.

For SPARC systems, software groups are grouped into six configuration groups to make the software installation process easier. During the installation process, you will be asked to install one of the six configuration groups. These six configuration groups are reduced networking support, core system support, end-user support, developer system support, entire distribution, and entire distribution plus OEM system support. The following list describes each software group:

  • Reduced networking support Sun recommends 736MB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this software group. This group contains the minimum software that is required to boot and run a Solaris system with limited network service support. The Reduced Networking software group provides a multi-user text-based console and system administration utilities. This software group also enables the system to recognize network interfaces, but does not activate network services. A system installed with the Reduced Networking software group could, for example, be used as a thin-client host in a network.

  • Core system support Sun recommends 777MB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this software group. This software group contains the minimum software required to boot and run Solaris on a system. It includes some networking software and the drivers required to run the OpenWindows (OW) environment, but it does not include the OpenWindows software.

  • End-user system support Sun recommends 3.6 GB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this software group. This group contains the core system support software plus end-user software, which includes OW compatibility and the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) software.

  • Developer system support Sun recommends 4.6GB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this cluster. This software group contains the end-user software plus libraries, include files, man pages, and programming tools for developing software. Compilers and debuggers are purchased separately and are not included. However, you can use the open source GCC compiler supplied on the Solaris Companion CD.

  • Entire distribution Sun recommends 4.7GB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this software group. This software group contains the entire Solaris 10 release, which includes additional software needed for servers.

  • Entire distribution plus OEM system support Sun recommends 4.8GB to support the software, swap, and disk overhead required to support this software group. This software group contains the entire Solaris 10 release software plus extended hardware support for non-Sun SPARC systems.


Recommended Space Requirements Swap space and necessary file system overhead is included in the disk space recommendations for each software group. A minimum of 512MB is required for swap space, but more space might be needed.

In addition, as new releases of Solaris 10 are made available, the size of these software groups might change.

Solaris Media

The Solaris 10 operating system software is distributed on a DVD or CD-ROM set numbered 1 through 4 and is referred to as "the installation media kit." The single DVD contains the contents of the entire CD set and is bootable. CD 1 of the CD set is the only bootable CD. From this CD, you can access both the Solaris installation graphical user interface (GUI) and the console-based installation. This CD also enables you to install selected software products from both the GUI and the console-based installation. The remaining CDs of the CD set contain the following:

  • Solaris packages

  • Extra value software which includes supported and unsupported software

  • Installers

  • Localized interface software and documentation

For those of you who have used previous versions of Solaris, the Supplemental CD and Installation CD are longer supplied.

System Configuration to Be Installed

Before installing the operating system, you need to determine the system configuration to be installed. The configurations are defined by the way they access the root (/) and /usr file systems and the swap area. The system configurations are as follows:

Each of these system configurations are discussed in the following sections.


A server is a system that provides services or file systems, such as home directories or mailboxes, to other systems on the network. An operating system server is a server that provides the Solaris software to other systems on the network.

There are file servers, startup servers, database servers, license servers, print servers, mail servers, web servers, installation servers, NFS servers, and even servers for particular applications. Each type of server has a different set of requirements based on the function it will serve. For example, a database server will be disk and memory intensive, but it probably will not have many logged-in users. Therefore, when this system is configured, special thought needs to be put into setting up the file systems and fine tuning kernel parameters that relate to disk I/O and memory usage to optimize system performance.

A server system typically has the following file systems installed locally:

  • The root (/) and /usr file systems plus swap space

  • The /var file system which supports the print spooler, mail repository, and software spooler.

  • The /export, /export/swap, and /export/home file systems, which support client systems and provide home directories for users

  • The /opt directory or file system for storing application software

Servers can also contain the following software to support other systems:

  • Solaris CD-ROM image and boot software for networked systems to perform remote installations

  • A JumpStart directory for networked systems to perform custom JumpStart installations

The server must meet a few minimum requirements before Solaris 10 can be installed:

  • The Solaris 10 release supports all sun4u platforms.

  • To run a graphical user interface (GUI) installation, the system must have a minimum of 256MB of RAM. As a server, however, it is typical to have 512MB of RAM or more.

  • The disk needs to be large enough to hold the Solaris operating system, swap space, and additional software. Plan on a minimum of 9GB of disk space, but realistically the server should have 18GB to 36GB or more depending on the resources that this server will be providing.


A client is a system that uses remote services from a server. Some clients have limited disk storage capacity or perhaps none at all, so they must rely on remote file systems from a server to function.

Other clients might use remote services (such as installation software) from a server, but they don't rely on a server to function. A standalone system, which has its own hard disk containing the root (/), /usr, and /export/home file systems and swap space, is a good example of this type of client.

Standalone Systems

On a standalone system, the operating system is loaded on a local disk, and the system is set to run independently of other systems. The operating system might be networked to other standalone systems. A networked standalone system can share information with other systems on the network, but it can function autonomously because it has its own hard disk with enough space to contain the root (/), /usr, and /export/home file systems and swap space. The standalone system has local access to operating system software, executables, virtual memory space, and user-created files. Sometimes the standalone system will access the server for data or access a CD-ROM or tape drive from a server if one is not available locally.

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