Thursday, 10 April 2008

Got to start somewhere!

Well, I've been meaning to keep a blog for sometime now. I created this one the other day but never seem to find the time to write in it, but then I guess you've just got "to make the time" as they say, so here's a start at it...

This is mostly going to be a Technical Blog of my activities during my working day (an on-line logbook I guess) and possibly various random things I investigate in my spare time too.

I have trouble reading my own logbook even after I've just written in it(!), so I'm hoping this will be an excellent way to keep track of all those things that 6 months later you find yourself thinking "I've already worked this out, but how did I do it again?".

My Personal web site is at - whilst long overdue for a makeover, it contains some useful content, including my SCJP5.0 guide.

Posting up html and source code in a web based blog can be problematic - code needs to be html encoded and I'm also going to surround with pre tags, to retain the formatting. HTML encoding can be done conveniently on-line, using tools such as


What am I doing today, well recently I've been evaluating VMware server 2.0 beta and beta 2 - especially as a flexible way of running Solaris 10 Express Developer - I'm looking at this for various reasons:

1. I want to evaluate the latest VMware server 2 offering in general for use when evaluating, testing and researching new OSes and software applications.

2. I want to evaluate Solaris 10 Express Developer as an excellent Java / Jave EE server platform and also a developer workstation platform (possibly shared via remote X / desktop).

I've chosen CentOS 5.1 as the host OS, and I'm running the 64 bit version.

Installing CentOS 5.1 64 bit:

Installing CentOS 5.1 64 is easy enough and there are many guides on the net so I won't go into detail. I will point out that you can't (as yet) run VMware server under a XEN kernel (not sure why that would be needed anyway) so if you install with XEN, you need to install and switch the boot to the regular kernel, alternately don't install XEN during the installation process.

If XEN is installed as the kernel, you can switch to the normal kernel by installing the kernel package (an easy way):

yum install kernel.x86_64

You can change the default boot in Grub by editing:


To change the default to the non XEN kernel.


Installing VMWare 2 beta 2

I'd previously gone through this process with the first beta and it caused some issues, however most of these have been addressed in beta 2, which is looking quite good now.

A good guide to installing VMware server 2 can be found here:

and I used this as the basic process without much of a problem.

Note that in this beta you can't mount a CD ROM drive directly, what you can do it mount an ISO image of a disk by configuring it as a Datastore in VMware and then adding it as hardware to the VMware virtual machine.


Installing Solaris 10 (under VMware server 2)

IMPORTANT: Solaris using UFS is not as flexible as you might expect when it comes to resizing disks, so I'd strongly recommend allocating a generous amount of disk space for a Solaris disk when you start (>30Gb). While you can add disk space, by mounting space and 'growing' the file system with growfs, you can not do this at the root level.

Handy info:

Installing Solaris SBD (secure by default - a good policy!) means some things might need adjusment to enable them to work:

To enable X11 TCP listening, you need to set the property accordingly:

svccfg -s svc:/application/x11/x11-server setprop options/tcp_listen = true

Fixing XDMCP logins via Xnest:

By default the udpPort for cde_login is set to 0 which disables it!

Here is a good article on how to put that right:

basically, here's what you need to do:

svccfg -s cde-login setprop dtlogin/args=\"\"
svcadm restart cde-login

A good FAQ for SXDE:

including a useful info for adding additional disks:


Service control, some simple examples:

svcs -xv ssh
svcadm enable ssh
svcadm clear [service] // clear a service in maintenance mode

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