Monday, May 05, 2008

Creating PostgreSQL OpenSolaris LiveCD

OpenSolaris OS 2008.05 is now available for download.  Its quite a departure from traditional Solaris. Why? because the CD that one will be downloading is probably just a chapter in the full book. To understand the full picture one will have to really look at the bigger picture on how the whole deployment model is now changing. The full scope is not my topic of discussion but I probably want to focus on probably couple of pieces today in order to demonstrate on how to create a PostgreSQL OpenSolaris LiveCD.

In order to create a custom LiveCD, its probably best to start with OpenSolaris OS 2008.05 installation though it is not necessary as it can be done on Solaris Express installations also but needs pkg(5) to be installed. But the two things really required to create a custom LiveCD, you need one kit to download and a repository to access. The kit to download is OpenSolaris's Distribution Constructor project. Its quite easy to clone the scripts in the project using mercurial "hg" command. Installing the SUNWmercurial package is as easy as typing "pkg install SUNWmercurial" (provided networking is working and internet connection is available).  The good thing is if your "pkg" command does successfully install SUNWmercurial it means the second requirement of accessing a repository is already fulfilled.  Coming back to Distribution Constructor the project can be cloned as follows

hg clone ssh://anon at hg dot opensolaris dot org/hg/caiman/distro_constructor

This creates a distro_constructor directory in the current working directory which includes all the scripts and templates to create a distribution.  The best way to proceed is to copy test_data directory  and modify the settings in it after reading through the README file on the project source repository.

You will soon realize that pkgs.txt is what one really needs to modify to select what packages to be added as part of one's custom LiveCD. What I realized later is that its easier to add packages than actually remove packages. Since while pkgs.txt  doesnt handle dependencies (in the sense person reading the file cannot figure it out), the actual kit does resolve dependencies. (Though I wouldn't try random packages only since there are some utilities required and hence hard to get it right in first few tries if one is trying to do a minimized LiveCD.) Right now GNOME et all is required since the installer is dependent on it and hence its hard to cut down the size of the LiveCD to a size less than 600MB if one wants an installer from the LiveCD to the hard disk to work. However the good news is there is some space still available to fit PostgreSQL in and still burn a CD that will work. Anyway coming back to the pkgs.txt of the test_data which needs to be edited its surprising to see such a small list. It basically containts slim_install, SUNWslim-utils and entire. There is hardly any stuff that can be removed in it.  However the modification I did was to add PostgreSQL 8.2 packages (SUNWpostgr-82*)  along with pgAdminIII (SUNWpgadmin3) packages which are available on and as mentioned in README file executed the script file build_dist.bash /pathto/test1.conf. If the setup is right and access to is fast then maybe in couple of hours (or three) you will get your own OpenSolaris 2008.05 LiveCD including PostgreSQL and PgAdminIII with a size of about 640MB.


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