SUMMARY: Upgrade to Solaris 2.6 (rather than install)

From: Sarah Q Eckhause (
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 12:31:58 CDT

My original question was

        How can I tell why this system insists on an initial
        install? It should be upgradable!

Many thanks to those who replied.

The best answer was contained in the INFODOC 17987 which I have
included below.


How can I test my current system to verify it can be upgraded to Solaris 2.6?

To test an operating system's upgradeability to Solaris 2.6,
a utility called pfinstall which performs a 'dry run' install can
be used. The pfinstall command was first available with Solaris 2.6.

pfinstall can be used to prescreen an OS for potential errors that could
prevent an upgrade. Some examples of errors that pfinstall can
capture are: file systems with insufficient space, errors parsing the
/etc/vfstab file and required files missing from the /var/sadm directory.

Shutdown the system.
>From the OBP (Open Boot Prom), boot the cdrom to single user. The
CD must be a Solaris 2.6 CD.

        OK boot cdrom -s

When the system is booted, create the test profile:

        # csh
        # setenv TERM sun
        # vi /tmp/prof

Add the following two lines.

install_type upgrade
root_device /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 <--This may need to be changed depending
                                      on system

Save file

run pfinstall program

/usr/sbin/install.d/pfinstall -D /tmp/prof | more

Program will run a dry run of the upgrade procedure and give you
any problems which will prevent the system from being upgrade.

Some files which are REQUIRED to be inplace are


If thes files are not in place you will get a error message of...

ERROR: Failure loading local environment

Which indicates one of the above referenced files is missing.

An error message of...Error: Fatal Signal recieved (11)
can mean one of the above referenced files is empty or corrupted.

man pfinstall has additional information. Including the following warning:

     If the -d or -D option is not specified, pfinstall may per-
     form an actual installation on the system by using the
     specified profile, and the data on the system may be

pfinstall will exit with the following message:
Test run complete. Exist status X
where X is:
     0 Successful (system rebooted).
     1 Successful (system not rebooted).
     2 An error occurred.

pfinstall may report more than one Exit Status! It may report an
Exit Status=2 for a vfstab file error and then proceed to the next
section and report an Exit Status=0.

pfinstall output can be lengthy. Data can be captured by using the
script command. For example:
        #script /tmp/pfinstall_out
        #/usr/sbin/install.d/pfinstall -D /tmp/prof | more
        #^D <--When pfinstall has completed, input Control+D to
                           exit the script program
        #more /tmp/pfinstall.out

More info on the upgrade process is found in the Solaris 2.6 Advance
Installation Guide (Sun Part Number 802-5740)

Sample output of the pfinstall command:

Parsing profile
         0: install_type upgrade
         1: root_device /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0
WARNING: Backup media not specified. A backup media (backup_media)
keyword must be specified if an upgrade with disk space reallocation
is required <--- this is normal

Processing profile
Error parsing vfstab <----here's an error

Loading local environment and services

Generating upgrade actions

Packages to be installed
        <stuff deleted>
Checking file system space: 0% completed
        <all the way to 100%>
WARNING: Insufficient space for the upgrade.
Checking file system space: 100% completed
Space required in each file system is:

                                        Current Size Minimum Suggested

Mount Point Slice 1 Kilobyte Blocks 1 Kilobyte Blocks

File systems with insufficient space.
/ /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s0 102816 537407
<--another problem

Remaining file systems.

Building upgrade script

ERROR: Fatal signal received (11) <----another indicator

Test run complete. Exit status 2. <----Exit status 2 is a failure
Error parsing vfstab

Preparing system for Solaris upgrade

Upgrade complete

Test run complete. Exit status 0. <----don't be fooled, this system has
                                        insufficient disk space and a bad vfstab

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