Installing Solaris 2.6 under QEMU

I’ve been looking at picking up a used Sun Sparcstation from eBay. It occurred to me that I’ve never installed an early version of Solaris before, so wondered if I could give it a try under QEMU since it’s emulates different hardware, including Sparc.

There’s an awesome step by step guide on Adafruit that takes you precisely each step to get Solairs installed un QEMU. You can follow the steps in their article here, so I won’t repeat all the steps here.

The key steps before you get to the install are creating a disk image:

qemu-img create -f qcow2 sparc.qcow2 9663676416

and then booting with the Solaris iso image as the cdrom and the disk image attached:

qemu-system-sparc -M SS-5 -m 128 -drive file=sparc.qcow2,bus=0,unit=0,media=disk -drive file=solaris_2.6_598_sparc.iso,bus=0,unit=2,media=cdrom,readonly=on

After this point it’s following through the steps in the install.

Here’s qemu booting up for the first time:

Here’s the Solaris installer starting up:

After the install had completed, here’s the rather impressive for it’s time CDE desktop:

12 Replies to “Installing Solaris 2.6 under QEMU”

  1. Hi Kevin
    I used the same lazyguide by Adafruit but got stuck on boot cdrom:d
    after that qemu goes all white screen and doesnt come back.
    if I interfer it goes back to prompt with message no valid state has been set by load or init-program.
    Did you follow that guide all the way thru or adjusted some line a little bit?

    1. It was a while back now, but I think I followed it exactly step by step? I can give it another go to see if anything has changed and let you know. Do you have the .iso install disk image and is the file= param pointing to the right file name?

      1. I’m seeing the same problem. All goes through fine to do the disk labelling etc, but when you try and boot into the installer you get a white screen instead of the welcome message.

        QEMU emulator version 5.0.0 (Debian 1:5.0-5ubuntu9.6)

          1. Just confirmed these same steps are still working. I’m using QEMU 4.0.0 on MacOS 10.11.6. Is there an issue with Sparc emulation on QEMU 5.0.0 maybe?

          2. Hi,
            you must add the parameter “-vga cg3” so that you see the Welcome Message and not the white screen

  2. I have managed to get Solaris 2.6 under QEMU running on a windows 10 host and installed software by attaching the iso file to the simulation. Although now I will need to share files with the host. I have made some progress with setting up a TAP network and an FTP server on the host side so I can put and get files from Solaris. Though I cant get the device setup for the QEMU back end to work without QEMU crashing on start. Has anyone made this work on a Windows host or is there a more effective way to create a connection between Solaris guest and windows host?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.