Day 1 of 60: First boot

After a few phone calls along the way to find out where it had got to, the workstation arrived today a little after midday. I was greeted with two large boxes, one containing the machine itself, the other containing a far smaller box with the keyboard and mouse. As a friend has already remarked, there's a certain something about new computer smell.

This is what happens when you boot one of these things for the first time.

First, you get an extremely loud fan. This is especially amusing if your bent down next to the machine as I was to plug it in, as this great whoosh of air goes in to your left ear.

My heart sank when I heard this, as I thought it would be impossible to work with the machine making so much noise. Thankfully, give it a few seconds and it stabilises to a low background hum. You still know it's there, but no worse than any of the other machines I've got in the stable.

The initial boot is relatlively uneventful, with normal PC POST messages flying up the screen, to be followed by a GRUB bootloader menu allowing you to choose between the pre-installed Solaris image or a failsafe boot.

Opting for the preinstalled image, you're then prompted for your language. Some people might expect a flashy GUI at this point. I'm relieved to see that it's text based -- that means it'll work over a serial console. And you know it's Unix because pressing 'Backspace' at this point results in a ^H, rather than the previous character being deleted...

Choosing English (option 0), Great Britain (ISO8859-1, option 25) results in SSH key generation messages, followed by network interface configuration. It's DHCP here, so this proceeds smoothly. Or rather, it would have done, had I not fumble-fingered the option. It's only then that you discover that there's no apparent "Back" option in the configurator to correct a bad answer. So it's big red switch (well, small purple switch) time to try again.

Cue several tens of minutes of fiddling around trying to remember the correct incantation to kick all of this off again. For the record, "sys-unconfig". And with that, off and into X. More impressions to follow soon.

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