SUMMARY: Solaris 7 X86 Intel / Redhat 6.1 Linux Dual boot

From: ELSUM Clive (
Date: Wed Dec 01 1999 - 13:57:25 CST

My Original request:


I am trying to create a dual boot system on an INTEL platform for Solaris7 X86
and Redhat Linux 6.1, but without success. Has anybody been able to achieve
this? If so how?

Thanks in advance

Many thanks for the quick responses from the following:


I've never tried running both on one machine, but how about creating a
Linux Boot Floppy and booting with that when you need Linux?
Just a thought.


1) install solaris first
2) install linux - do *NOT* choose the first linux swap as a swap device
   as this *IS* your solaris partition. Install lilo in your filesystem,
   NOT the bootblock.

   if you want to be able to mount the linux partition under solaris,
   install linux in 1 partition. If you use a partitioned partition, the
   solaris ext2fs fs stuff will not be able to read it.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me.

I even got NT/Solaris/Linux booting off the one disk. :)
The easiest way I found was to install Solaris first and split the
disk in three parts, one for Solaris, one for Linux and one for swap
once it was all running.
Install Solaris first into the first partition. The root section is
best if kept under 512Mb. I forget but if you make it too big Solaris
wouldn't play the game.
Next install Linux only on the second partition. Then edit lilo.conf to
point to the first partition to boot Solaris.
Select your default OS as needed.
The only twist to this for NT was (as with all MS products) it would
overwrite anything put on before it. So I put NT down first and it all
went OK after that.
I did use the Solaris boot loader to boot to NT before I got linux on
but I much prefer linux.
If this is all too much look at vmware (


I've done it with system commander ( its an apllication that will allow
multiple os's on the same pc) but with red hat 6 and solaris 2.6 .
I geuss that'll work for 6.1 and 2.7 .


Use System Commander. Best $$ I ever spent on software. Boot as
many different operating systems as you have disk space to support.
I have my home system set-up with Windoze, Solaris X86, Linux, and
2 versions of DOS. Windoze, Solaris, and Linux are all capable of
mounting the DOS partitions for the purpose of sharing data between
operating systems.


Sun describes it only for Sparc, but it may help nevertheless:


        What is your problem, I may have seen it ?????

        If you just want Linux and x86 on your box, i'd put x86 on
first.....then Linux, i'd also use LILO as it is more easily tweaked than
the Solarix x86 boot manager.


        ps. The biggest problem I have with x86 is the complete lack of
drivers, if you want to guarantee success check out the x86 HCL.
        pps. The most common problem installing x86 is seeing the cdrom on

>From singer@redbrick.dcu

It's a piece of piss! :)
As long as you have them correctly installed, get the "osbs" bootloader
It'll beautifully boot BSD, Linux, Solaris, Windows 95/98, NT etc.
This is a dos program though, boot from a dos boot disk or something :)


Just found a SUN page for you.....


At home I have an x86 machine with Redhat 6.0, FreeBSD 3.0, OpenBSD 2.4 and
Solaris 7. The only thing I remember is that the partition ID that Solaris
x86 uses is the same as the Linux swap partition ID. So if you have to be
careful that you don't accidentally overwrite your Solaris partition with a
Linux swap.

>From my experience I think it would be easier if you first install Solaris
and then Linux.


Install Linux first and then install Solaris. Since Solaris boot program is more
robust than that of Red Hat, it will show you all the primary patitions on your
disk (upto 4). You can then select anyone of them. I have a system running Red
Hat Linux 6.1 / Solais 7 / NT Terminal Server / Windows 98.


I can't offer any direct help as I don't have any experience with your
particular problem (although I have installed 2.6/Redhat 5.x dual
boot) but you might try the Solaris x86 mailing list hosted at, and perhaps the Solaris x86 corner might have
some useful information:


haven't done it personally, but I know someone who managed to do it
he said you must install Solaris x86 first or you will never get it to work


I did this using Boot Manager from Partition Magic 4 (intel platform)
and it works fine for me.


Try Partition Magic - it'll allow you to create separate partitions
for the different OSes and even includes Boot Magic, a boot
manager that'll let you decide which OS to run.

You may be able to accomplish the latter with modifications to
LILO, but is it worth the hassle?


i'm sure you've already received tons of working suggestions, but anyway:
you can do that via both lilo or solaris boot loader.

if you use solaris boot loader:
* install your lilo into the partition boot sector (e.g., hdaX), not the master
  boot record (e.g., hda)
* make the solaris partition active (in fdisk)

if you use lilo:
* install lilo wherever you want (i install it into both mbr and partition boot
* again, make the solaris partition active (in fdisk)

solaris always installs its bootstrap loader both into the mbr and partition
boot sector.

i, personally, prefer lilo for its flexibility (solaris' boot loader has very
limited capabilities; also, it uses blue background and clears screen! ;) )

these work for me:

under solaris:
* installboot /usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/pboot \
              /usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk /dev/rdsk/c0d0p0
references: installboot(1M)

under linux:
* fdisk /dev/hda
        2 # mark /dev/hda2 (solaris partition) as active
* vi /etc/lilo.conf
        image = /boot/vmlinuz
                root = /dev/hda1
                label = linux
        other = /dev/hda2
                table = /dev/hda
                label = solaris
* lilo # install lilo
references: fdisk(8), lilo.conf(5), lilo(8)

of course, you should replace hda* and c0d0p0 with appropriate values.

hope this helps,


Clive Elsum
Systems Engineer - Information Technology Group
CSIRO Atmospheric Research
PMB 1, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia 3195
Phone : (+61 3) 9239 4509
Fax: (+61 3) 9239 4444

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