I was finally able to install Solaris on my machine yesterday, mostly a serendipitous activity that made me late for work. Never had being late been more satisfying.
After fumbling around, I saw that there was a spare console during the Developer Edition Install. With the small amount of knowledge I had of UNIX commands, I was able to navigate to /tmp and found both install_log and install_log.syslog, and outputted them to the console.
I was shocked when I saw that the syslog ballooned to a ridiculously large size, with the same "ICRC error". So that's why my HD indicator light stayed on most of the time.
Predictably my first attempt failed, and I was able to switch to Windows XP through the BIOS and search for it. Turns out that if you have HDD SMART disabled, the system throws a UDMA error code, and Solaris supported an obsolete tag for that error, thinking that the HD is broken. Thus the near-infinite retries to read before writing.
I shifted my second HD, turning it into a master, and turned on SMART. Voila! My install, which before had stalled after 60% and 5 hours of waiting, buzzed merrily along and finished in 1 hour and 20 minutes. I pushed my luck further and tried to configure it for DHCP and dual-booting, but I think I have to ask for help or search some more for answers.
DHCP is a pain to configure if you're not in Windows, and no tech support available at 10PM.
GRUB is frustrating if you installed 2 OSes in different HDs. Looks like they have separate MBRs. And when I do try to go to WinXP from GRUB (rootnoverify hd(0,0); chainloader +1), it throws a "Disk not formatted or bad system disk. Insert a DOS diskette and try again" message. Argh!
But in all fairness, the GNOME desktop is slick. I can't wait to mount the DATA partition I have so that I can start learning Java. Or maybe I can ask for some extra cash this Christmas and setup a dedicated machine for myself...
Nah, I think I'll settle for my upgrades for at least a year before splurging again.
For anybody out there who are interested, my stats are:
Athlon XP 2000+ (1.66 GHz) with 1.5GB DDRAM
hd0 - 30GB, NTFS (WinXP)
hd1 - 160GB, 41% 0xbf (Solaris), 50% FAT32 (DATA), 9% NTFS (Win SWAP)
I'd appreciate any help from Solaris experts to configure DHCP and multiboot with WinXP.