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Solaris 11.1 live ISO -- boot from USB

Posted 05-22-2013 at 12:23 PM by kostya

OK, another blog post to remind myself -- and maybe somebody else, who knows? -- of how I finally did it.

Yes, from time to time I install other Unix OS's just in order to stay plugged in. The last FreeBSD 9.1 on ZFS was installed to double boot with my current Fedora 18 installation. GRUB2 boots both, it's become really universal now, and this allows to get more familiar with ZFS and its advantages -- which are quite impressing. Especially so after having deleted a couple of times my Downloads directory with all its contents by accident -- ZFS snapshots can easily handle such situations by restoring the filesystem to its previous "state".

Then FreeBSD itself, albeit running some older software via ports, runs stable versions thereof -- including the GNOME 2 so much loved by all. It's been reported even to run some linux software (via its linux compatibility layer) faster than it runs on Linux itself... And seeing that Debian includes a FreeBSD kernel into their distro, the OS still has some great features to it.

But then I also run Solaris from time to time, in order to see what's new in there. I rejected it once because Xine wouldn't compile on it, but who cares about xine now?? And VLC reportedly CAN be installed, along with other ports. OpenSolaris, as we know, ended up in nothing serious, while Solaris itself is moving forward. So I downloaded the LIVE installation ISO, which is reported by Oracle to be able to run from a USB stick.

But HOW to burn the ISO to a USB stick for it to work??
I did the following:

Prepared 2 partition on the USB stick.
1) Checked the ISO size with ls -l command:
2) Created the 1st partition on USB a bit bigger than that value.
3) Created 2nd partition (took the rest of the USB stick).
4) Wrote the ISO to 1st partition using dd.
dd if=Solaris_ISO of=/dev/sdb1 bs=4096
5) Formatted the 2nd one to fat32:
mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n STORE /dev/sdb2
6) Installed GRUB2 to USB stick with --root-directory on 2nd partition:
grub2-install --root-directory=/run/media/kostya/STORE /dev/sdb
7) Copied the grub.cfg from Solaris ISO/boot/grub directory to the GRUB2 rootdir on /dev/sdb2, labeled "STORE".
8) Made the needed modifications to grub.cfg:
set root=(hd0,msdos1)
instead of the existing line "search... bla-bla-bla... --set=root... bla-bla-bla".

b)change "$multiboot" to "multiboot" and "$module" to "module" everywhere in the grub.cfg.

It boots OK then. And it can be installed now from USB.

Of course, this approach is not guaranteed to work with other ISOs, because they may not support booting from a USB stick.
Such info can usually be obtained from the maker of the ISO in question.
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