It wasn't until last week during a meeting with Sun that some new light was shed on the Solaris Check Tool and as a result we decided to explore this tool further. Sun's Check Tool is a bootable CD that lets the user know whether the hardware they have installed is likely to work with Solaris or not. If a third-party driver is needed for a particular piece of hardware, the Sun Check Tool will even provide a link to the driver needed. There are currently a few rough spots with the tool, but improvements are planned and in this article we will share more information on this program that can tell you in a matter of minutes whether you'll face a hardware compatibility nightmare or will be running Solaris/Solaris Express with ease.
Sun's x86 Check Tool is currently at version 1.2 and is available through the BigAdmin Hardware Compatibility List. There is also a Solaris Express Installation Check Tool that is designed for the Solaris Express, Developer Edition operating system. The Solaris Check Tool 1.2 download weighs in at just above 50MB and contains the Solaris 10 11/06 kernel. Check Tool probes the PCI bus and looks for hardware devices in its driver database that has Solaris drivers, third party drivers, or no driver at all. The Check Tool also makes a recommendation as to whether you can install Solaris based upon if it was successful in loading the kernel and if an attached hard disk was found. If that's not enough, the Solaris Check Tool can also backup the test results to a USB storage device.
We have tried out the Solaris x86 Check Tool (v1.2) on close to two dozen systems over the past couple of days and we have been very pleased with the experience. After downloading the ISO for Solaris or Solaris Express, simply burn the file to a CD and boot from that media. Shown immediately is GRUB followed by loading the kernel and running the tests followed by automatically generating the results.
When generating the reports, all hardware on the PCI bus is listed with its vendor, name, and type. The Solaris device types are video, network, storage, multimedia, and USB. As for the driver notes, it is listed whether a Solaris driver was found, a third party driver, or no Solaris driver for each detected device. Driver results are displayed for both x86 and x64. When a third party driver is needed, it also lists what third party driver is needed and an URL of where the driver can be downloaded. This part is especially handy for the first time Solaris user!