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2. Preparing your Hard Drive

To Prepare your hard-drive for Solaris, you need to know about standard PC partition tables and about Solaris disk slices. In this HOWTO I talk about single-disk systems only, but all the information should also apply to a multi-disk environment.

2.1 Traditional PC partitions

The standard partition-table has only 4 entries. The entries important for us are the following:

A Primary Partition

Takes up one entry, and contains exactly one partition. A waste of resources, but the only partition you can boot from!

An extended Partition

Takes up one entry, but can contain multiple DOS, Linux, and other partitions

A Solaris Partition

Takes up one entry, but can contain multiple Solaris Partitions

To find out what partitions are present on your system, use the fdisk program. Partitions numbers 1 to 4 (hda1..4, sda1..4, ...) are the ones in your partition table.

2.2 Solaris partition labels

Solaris has its own partitioning scheme. It uses one entry in the partition table, and this entry is and acts as this partition would be the entire disk.

This virtual disk is then divided in up to 8 slices. The third slice, s2, covers the whole virtual disk, so you actually have up to 7 slices for Solaris.

Unfortunately, the Solaris partition entry has the same type as a Linux Swap partition (82). Therefore, you should not have any Linux swap partitions as primary partitions. Linux doesn't care about this, but who knows what Solaris does?

Although the Linux fdisk program has some ``Sun disklabel'' support, this doesn't seem to help any.

2.3 Hard disk space

Of course, Solaris needs disk space. The minimum installation of Solaris 8 is about 300 MB. For the normal tools its about 700 MB, and for a ``developer-system'' about 1 GB.

But this is only the space required for the base installation. You might want to add a lot of GNU-Tools, and other stuff. And if you want to share data between Solaris and Linux, this has to happen on the Solaris partitions.

You might even think of sharing your home directories between Solaris and Linux. As the time of this writing: Forget it! I messed up my home directory doing so and I was very happy about my backup. See also section sharing data

2.4 Quick check list

Here's the quick check list. Make sure you:

  • have used no more than 3 entries in your partition table
  • have no Linux swap partitions as primary partitions
  • Have at least 1 Linux ext2 partition as primary
  • Have at least 1 GB unpartitioned space

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