Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Learning Solaris

I’ve targeted Solaris (specifically, Solaris 10 on x86) as the next major technology that I’m going to try to learn. I’ve always been fascinated with UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems such as Linux, and Linux’s popularity on the x86 platform made it much easier to learn because I didn’t have to acquire any exotic hardware. With Sun’s (apparent) renewed interest in x86/x64, Solaris is much more accessible now than it was in the past.

Obviously, I’m not a complete newbie to the Solaris environment, having written a couple articles on Solaris-AD integration (the latest being found here). However, I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the operating system and its architecture, and I’d feel much more comfortable with that information under my belt. At some point, the IT industry being what it is, I’ll need to seek some sort of Solaris certification, but that’s not my primary goal. Understanding the product itself is my primary goal; certification will merely be a side effect.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • I’ve created a Solaris 10 (32 bit) virtual machine on my VMware ESX Server farm; that’s been the system I’ve used mostly for testing the Active Directory integration instructions. I’ve also done some work with the automounter (automounting home directories via NFS).

  • I’ve also just recently gotten a Solaris 10 (64 bit) VM running under VMware Fusion on my MacBook Pro; I’ll use that system for more day-to-day operational tasks and getting used to the interface.

  • I have a group of Solaris- and UNIX-related RSS feeds in NetNewsWire, including BigAdmin (What’s New and Feature Articles), Inchoate Curmudgeon, and a tag feed, among others.

I’d certainly appreciate any suggestions from those who may have already been down this path as to specific projects I should undertake, books I should acquire, websites to frequent, RSS feeds to which I should subscribe, etc. In addition, any guidance as to how I should balance Solaris vs. OpenSolaris (on which one should I focus more effort?) would be very helpful. And what builds of Solaris/Solaris Express are most beneficial to use? I’m currently using Solaris 10 Update 3, but I’m not sure if a different build would be better to work with. That’s the kind of information that would be great to get from those wiser and more experienced.

Wish me luck!

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