Installation of Vista, BSD and Solaris made simple by Linux
Installation of Vista, BSD and Solaris made simple by Linux
There has been some pretty big advancements in various operating systems in the last couple of years. One of the improvements is the ease of installation. I put up this thread to show how easy a user can install the above four systems.
The thread is intended to show
Installations of operating systems can be simplified if you arrange the partitions first to receive them
The Linux boot loader Grub can be arranged to boot operating systems before they are installed.
Linux’s strength to work with different operating systems and to co-exist with them is demonstrated
The four operating systems (Current versions)
Windows Vista (an early free downloadable version)
Ubuntu Linux version 7.05 Christian Edition 3.1
PCBSD version 1.4
Solaris Express version 11/07
All of them are free softeware downloaded from the Internet. Free Vista is no longer available. Ubuntu is in one CD, PCBSD 1.4 is in two CD although the second CD is optional. Solaris Express is supplied in three iso.gz files to be “unzipped” first and then combined to form a DVD iso.
I survive on just the above installation CD and DVD. I used LInux as a tool on the others.
The scheme in a nutshell
(A)Use Ubuntu as a Live CD to partition the hard disk
(B)Install Ubuntu first
(C)Edit Ubuntu’s boot loader Grub to provide entries to boot Vista, PCBSD and Solaris.
(D)Install Vista and let it overwrite Grub
(E)Restore Grub using Ubuntu as a Live CD
(F)Install Solaris and use its Grub to restore Ubuntu's Grub
(G)Install PCBSD without its boot loader.
There is no particular reason that why it should be done in the above order. I did it this way to involve the minimum amount of work. That is all.
Hardware profile (reasonably modern)
Motherboard : ABit AW9D Max which has a 775 socket with Intel 975x/ICH7R chipset
CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
Ram : 2Gb 800Mhz
Video : XFX Geforce 7600GT
Network card : Onboard PCI-E 10/100/1000 Ethernet (Realtek 8168/8111 family)
Hard disk : one 200Gb Maxtor Pata disk
Sound : Onboard Abit Audio Max high definition 7.1 CH
A record of events (may be helpful to those wishing to know more details of systems new to them). I have highlighted important areas with bright colors
9:20am – Commencement of the scheme
(A) Use Ubuntu as a Live CD to partition the hard disk
Boot up Ubuntu Live CD, click “Accessories”/”terminal” and type “sudo su” to obtain root privilege.
I then checked the disk by “fdisk -l” and proceeded to create partition with command “cfdisk /dev/sda” giving the following result
Disk Drive: /dev/sda
Size: 203928109056 bytes, 203.9 GB
Heads: 255 Sectors per Track: 63 Cylinders: 24792
Name Flags Part Type FS Type [Label] Size (MB)
sda1 Primary FreeBSD 24996.63
sda2 Boot Primary NTFS  24996.63
sda3 Primary Solaris 24996.63
sda5 Logical Linux swap / Solaris 1003.49
sda6 Logical Linux ext3 24996.63
Logical Free Space 102931.16
Basically I created sda1, sda2 and sda3 as primary partitions, each identically 25Gb large, for PCBSD, Vista and Solaris as a stand-alone system none of them can be installed into logical a partition. Thus I converted the last primary sda4 into an extended partition (not shown in cfdisk) and created a swap (1Gb) in sda5 and a 25Gb sd6 for housing Ubuntu.
It is vital the partition types for sda1, sda2, sda3, sda5 and sda6 are specified in cfdisk as a5, 7, bf, 82 and 83 respectively. Failing to implement this partition types will result the operating systems not able to recognise their destination for installation.
(B) Install Ubuntu first
9:38 – Start of Ubuntu installation
The installer would ask question of country, time zone and keyboard type so I responded.
On the section “Prepare hard disk specification” I selected the last choice by clicking the circle for “manual”. I then was presented with a list of partitions.
Select sda6, “use as” ext3, for “mount point” I type /
select sda5, “use as” swap”, the “mount point” deactivated automatically
The next set of questions was on setting up a user account so I filled in the name and the password. Thereafter the installation commenced. There was no need to specify the location of the boot loader and so Grub would be installed into the MBR.
9:40 installation reported “finished”.
9:45 System rebooted twice, the first reboot for checking the filing system.
9:49 Ubuntu was operational. Sound and Internet worked out of the box. Time for installation 11 minutes.
(C) Edit Ubuntu’s boot loader Grub to provide entries to boot Vista, PCBSD and Solaris.
This is a crafty move and is only possible using Grub. The red bit are my addition to the Ubuntu's /boot/grub/menu.lst compiled by its installer. Remember I have just installed Ubuntu and may as well ask its Grub to start working for me. Grub always stores its configuration file in /boot/grub directory.
# For clarity I deleted all lines preceded by a # as they are inoperational
# Otherwise the original menu.lst as compiled by Ubuntu's installer is unchanged,
# except I amended "timeout 10" to "timeout 1000" to make Grub wait for me longer
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.20-15-generic
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic root=UUID=2c7c76a6-0c38-48d5-80ba-fda3e2e6850d ro quiet splash
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.20-15-generic (recovery mode)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.20-15-generic root=UUID=2c7c76a6-0c38-48d5-80ba-fda3e2e6850d ro single
title Ubuntu, memtest86+
title PCBSD 1.4 @ sda1 to Linux or (hd0,0) to Grub
title Windows Vista @ sda2 to Linux or (hd0,1) to Grub
title Solaris Express 11/06 @ sda3 to Linux or (hd0,2) to Grub
Thus I had arranged Grub to boot the Vista, PCBSD and Solaris before they were installed. The reason for doing it is simple because the MBR is liable to be overwritten by Vista and Solaris own versions. By having a complete menu now enable me to boot them as long as I can restore Ubuntu's Grub. This will be shown later.
Vista, PCBSD or Solaris boots only if its partition is "active". The "makeactive" command in Grub is to switch around the booting flag. In PC standard only the primary partitions use the booting flag. Whenever one primary partition is switched on the previous primary partition's "on" flag would be automatically "off".
(D) Install Vista and let it overwrite Grub
9:58 Installing Vista began
In the first Vista installation screen I selected language, time zone, and keyboard.
Next screen I entered the product key. As I am already running Vista on another machine I therefore cannot use Vista officially on another PC and so I “unchecked” the box for “automatic activation”. The current installation is for demonstration purpose only.
I selected custom install and the installer presented me with 5 partitions.
Vista installer sees the Linux's sda1, sda2, sda3, sda5 and sda6 as partition 1 to 5. As sda2 was intended for Vista and has partition ID 7 for ntfs filing type so I selected partition 2 for installation.
10:13 Vista competed the first round and took several restarts thereafter without user intervention.
10:24 Login screen appears. Sound seems to be audible and Internet worked out of the box. No drivers was fed yet.
Vista installation took 26 minutes
Vista by default will nuke Grub away and takes over the MBR. This is to be expected.
(E) Restore Grub using Ubuntu as a Live CD
This is optional and only if you want to boot every system after installation. It can be done by either the Ubuntu CD or Solaris DVD.
Using Ubuntu CD – boot up Ubuntu, click “Accessories”, then “terminal” then type “sudo su”. A Grub shell is activated and Grub is told the where-about is the Ubuntu's root partition and use it to setup the MBR
Using Solaris installation DVD (because it has Grub and the process is a lot quicker!)
Boot up the Solaris DVD, do not choose any system to boot, just press the “c” key to drop into a Grub prompt and type
Either of the above will overwrite Vista's MBR and put Grub back.
Now both Ubuntu and Vista can be booted by Grub.
(F) Install Solaris
10:45 Commencing installing Solaris Express
Select Solaris #1 choice for “Interactive installation (default)”
Select language, then type hostname, select a time zone
Supply root password and click “yes” to remote services
On “Installer Option” accept defaults and click “next”
On “Media” accept “CD/DVD” so just click “next”
Confirm licensing agreement
On the “Type of Install” select “custom install”
confirm software location, system locale.
On “product selection” just click “next” as DVD has only Solaris Express. Confirm “none” to extra product.
On selecting “Solaris software groups” accept the default “entire group” and click “next”
When it come to “disk selection” I had only one and so the installer has selected it as “c0d1”. I opted for fdisk partition customization and checked the only box available for “c0d1”
At this point Solaris will show the 4 primary partitions. As I have arranged the 3rd partition having partition Type “bf” so Solaris could recognise it and would display it up as “Solaris”. I therefore highlighted the 3rd partition and clicked “next”
Solaris will display the filing systems I just accepted the default by clicking “next”.
Basically Solaris marks 1st and 2nd partition as unknown and the last partition as “DOSEXT” for being an extended partition. It also marked the 1st, 2nd and 4th partition as “preserved” and the 3rd it would be using as “existing”. This served as a second check to ensure things were happening the way they expected
10:59 Having satisfied that everything was as expected and so I gave the green light to start the installation.
11:37 Solaris completed the installlation and booted up to its own Grub screen. This tells me Solaris own boot loader Grub has occupied the MBR.
As I am using Ubuntu's Grub to boot all the systems I therefore made use of the Solaris Grub to do the switching for me by pressing “c” key into a Grub prompt and typed
Now I am back to Ubuntu's Grub and used the entry I have previously prepared in Item (C) above to boot up Solaris.
Solaris booted up as I expected but in a text mode. So I logged in as root and type “gdm” to fire up the desktop.
Solaris installation took 53 minutes and was the longest.
(G) Install PCBSD
12:02 started PCBSD 1.4 installation.
I selected choice #1 for “Boot PCBSD [default]” to start the process
PCBSD has one of the easiest and fastest installer and is in graphic form too.
In the first screen I clicked to select language, keyboard and time zone.
I confirmed the licensing agreement
On the “select Installation choice” I opted “Fresh install”
On the “user account” screen I typed in the root password, username and user password. I left the shell default to “/bin/csh” and clicked “add” and the “next”.
On the Drive selection there is only one so I clicked it and the installer showed the partitions inside. I clicked the 1st one which is the sda1 in Linux.
To avoid PCBSD to take over the MBR I unchecked the box for “install the PCBSD boot loader “ and checked the box “customized partition layout”.
The default arrangement is sda1 has been splited into two slices in PCBSD, called /dev/ad0s1a for mounting the root “/” and /dev/ad0s1b for swap. The sizes were 23Gb and 0.5Gb respectively.
In the next page I was presented with the different optional software. I just went for the whole lot.
PCBSD installer then started installation.
12:21 System rebooted. I can now fire it up using Ubuntu's Grub entry I prepared in Item (C) above.
12:23 PCBSD was operational.
PCBSD installation took 21 minutes.
In three hours I installed Ubuntu 7.04, Vista, Solaris Express and PCBSD 1.4. I could possibly cut it down to around 2 hours if I didn't have to make notes for this thread. Therefore I am of the opinion installations of these operating systems can be made easy by Linux which serves the following purposes
(1)Linux supports over 100+ partitions types. Other OSs tend to support only their own partition types and no one else.
(2)Linux has Grub a formidable boot loader that can boot every PC system.
(3)Linux can work as a Live CD to put right any booting problem created by the installation of other operating systems.
I am claiming Post #2 space for centalize future explanations to any question raised about the thread.
There are probably hundreds of threads telling people how to install a Linux. A user is often left in a dark with too many choices not knowing which one is the most appropriate for his/her case. Should he/she form a LVM, use one partition for /boot, another for /, how about mounting a /home, automatic partitioning seems to be the easiest and various bits and pieces that only cause more mayhems and booting difficulties at the end.
The Ubuntu installation in the above took 11 minutes. A lot of installation problems are bypassed because a single partition has been created to receive the distro. This idea works for every other operating system too.
I am sure there are parts of the 4 systems I have installed that will not work. Somehow I am surprised that everyone kick started the network card and sound to allow me to watch Youtube in the Internet, listen to the MP3 etc. They all seem to be happy without any external driver, extra programs from the repositories may be. The Unix-like systems have become a lot friendlier in the last few years.