In this chapter, we have so far examined the history of UNIX and what distinguishes UNIX systems from other operating systems. We have also traced the integration of both “flavors” of UNIX into the current Solaris 9 release. With the ever-rising popularity of Solaris 9, there are many web sites, mailing lists, and documentation sets that new and experienced users will find useful when trying to capitalize on an investment in Sun equipment or the latest Solaris 9 operating environment. In this section, we present some pointers to the main Internet sites where you can find reliable information about Solaris 9.
Unlike some operating systems, Solaris 9 comes with a complete set of online reference manuals and user guides on the AnswerBook CD-ROM, which is distributed with all Solaris 9 releases (Intel and SPARC). The AnswerBooks are in PDF format, and cover a wide range of system administration topics, including the following:
Binary compatibility guide
Mail server guide
Naming services guide
NFS administration guide
SunShield security guide
System administration guides
A set of user guides is also available on AnswerBook:
OpenWindows user guide
CDE user guide
CDE transition guide
Power management user guide
Developers will also be pleased with the AnswerBook coverage for development issues:
A 64-bit developer’s guide
Device drivers guide
SPARC assembly language guide (yes, it is still included for the adventurous)
Source compatibility guide
WebNFS developer’s guide
Hardware maintenance and technical staff will find the hardware reference guides invaluable.
The best thing about the AnswerBook series is that they are available for download and interactive searching through http://docs.sun.com/. This means that if you are working in the field and you need to consult a guide, you don’t need to carry around a CD-ROM or a printed manual. Just connect through the Internet and read the guide in HTML, or download and retrieve a PDF format chapter or two.
The two main Sun sites for Solaris 9 are at http://www.sun.com/solaris (for SPARC users) and http://www.sun.com/intel (for Intel users). Both of these pages contain internal and external links that will be useful in finding out more information about Solaris 9 and any current offerings. The Sun Developer Connection is a useful resource that users can join to obtain special pricing and to download many software components for free.
Many third-party web sites are also available that deal exclusively with Sun and Solaris 9. For example, if you are looking for a Solaris 9 FAQ, or pointers to Sun information, try the Sun Help site (http://www.sunhelp.org/). If it’s free precompiled software that you’re after, check the Sun Freeware site (http://www.sunfreeware.com/) or one of the many mirrors. Here you can find the GNU C compiler in a precompiled package (Sun dropped the compiler from Solaris 1.x to Solaris 8, leading to the most frequently asked question on many Solaris 9 forums: “Why doesn’t the Solaris C compiler work?”). For Solaris for Intel users, there is also an archive of precompiled binaries available at ftp://x86.cs.duke.edu/pub/solaris-x86/bins/.
In case you are interested in seeing what the pioneers of UNIX are doing these days, check out the home pages of these famous UNIX developers:
Brian Kernighan http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/bwk/index.html
Dennis Ritchie http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/index.html
Ken Thompson http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/
A list of Solaris resources for this book is maintained at www.cassowary.net/solaris.
USENET is a great resource for asking questions, finding answers, and contributing your skills and expertise to help others in need. This is not necessarily a selfless act—there will always be a Solaris 9 question that you can’t answer, and if you’ve helped others before, they will remember you. The comp.unix.solaris forum is the best USENET group for Solaris 9 information and discussion. The best source of practical Solaris 9 information is contained in the Solaris FAQ, maintained by the legendary Casper Dik. You can always find the latest version at http://www.wins.uva.nl/pub/solaris/solaris2/. For Solaris for Intel users, there is the less formal alt.solaris.x86 forum, where you won’t be flamed for asking questions about dual booting with Microsoft Windows, or mentioning non-SPARC hardware. For Solaris Intel, the best FAQ is at http://sun.pmbc.com/faq/ . For both SPARC and Intel platforms, there is a comp.sys.sun.admin group that deals with system administration issues, which also has a FAQ available at ftp:// thor.ece.uc.edu/pub/sun-faq/FAQs.
Mailing lists are a good way of meeting colleagues and engaging in discussions in a threaded format. The Sun Manager’s List is the most famous Sun list, and contains questions, answers, and (most importantly) summaries of previous queries. All Solaris-related topics are covered. Details are available at ftp://ftp.cs.toronto.edu/pub/jdd/ sun-managers/faq. In addition, there is a Solaris for x86 mailing list archived at http://www.egroups.com/group/solarisonintel/, which has some great tips, tricks, and advice for those who are new to Solaris 9, or who are having difficulties with specific hardware configurations.