Brief documentation stint on getting OpenSolaris 2008.11 running on an Asus Eee 701G. I didn’t install to the internal disk, mind: I found an old 3.5” 40GB USB disk for this whole experiment. I did the installation on my Thinkpad since it has a CD drive, then moved the USB disk over to the Eee for actual use. The GNOME / JDS system that comes up actually does pretty well on this machine. The 512MB memory is relatively large for a low-end system and the display is not overly cramped. It just works.

Well, almost. Getting any of the networking to work is an issue. I really like the Driver Identification tool that ships with OSOL; it at least highlights that my Atheros wireless is unsupported out of the box and that the Attansic wired NIC is also broken. Fortunately this is relatively easy to fix. To get OpenSolaris support for the wireless in your Eee 701G, you need to:<ul><li>Ditch the installed Atheros driver. Since this is a dependency of the install package (a metapackage that pulls everything in) you need to uninstall the metapackage too (or figure out how to force uninstall). I did pkg uninstall slim_install SUNWatheros to get that far. Then reboot.</li><li>You need ath-x86-ar5007eg-pkg.tar for an updated driver. Start at the Laptop community or dive straight to the Atheros page – do not get the plain 0.7.1 version, but get the Eee 701 specific package. Wait .. you don’t have any networking at all on the Eee right now 🙂 Find a USB stick.</li><li>Untar that tarball, which will produce a single datastream file SUNWatheros.</li><li>pkgadd -d pwd/SUNWatheros all (this actually took me longest to figure out beause I was mis-reading the manpages). Reboot.</li><li>Watch the GNOME networking tool automatically connect to whatever is in range.</li></ul>

Now, the USB disk is heavier and bigger than the whole Eee, so I won’t pretend this is a very good portable solution, but it does give me a totally spare machine to play with KDE4 on OpenSolaris. And then when I’m done with KDE4 I can return to the pristine “applicance” state of the machine by rebooting into the Xandros (?) stuff Asus ships the machine with.

The Wayback Machine does not archive everything. Broken links are marked with a 💔.