OmniOS - The distant cousin to Linux

Linux distant cousin – OmniOS

Not so long ago, there where plenty of cousins alive and well in the world. You may have heard about Solaris, IRIX, AIX, HP-UX – in this post, we will explore the grand-child to SunOS called OmniOS

OmniOS is based on the Illumos kernel – a fork of the long forgotten and abandoned OpenSolaris kernel that famously was killed by Oracle shortly after the takeover from Sun Microsystems (rest in peace).

I personally, are not fond of a homogeneous IT world, where every system is basically the same. I do think that diversity is good. So I hope that I can you as a reader interested in different Linux-alternatives (that is not BSD).

So, pick the hypervisor you want (Proxmox, VMWare, AHV, VirtualBox) and navigate to to download the latest stable .iso.

The installation itself is very straight forward, so I'll be skipping that part here.

When you have installed the system, and rebooted – we need to get networking up and running. Login to the machine with the user “root”, and no password.

Lets enable networking, start by displaying the network-ports on your system. In my case – I'm using a virtualized Intel e1000 network card (available in basically every hypervisor)

dladm show-link -o link



Great, since this virtual machine only have a single NIC – this output is expected.

Lets create the interface, give it an IPv4 and add a default route via the network gateway:

ipadm create-if e1000g0
ipadm create-addr -T static -a e1000g0/v4
route -p add default

Verify that you have network connection with ping:

ping is alive

DNS-resolution is not yet working, so we have to take care of that. Lets modify /etc/resolv.conf with the following

echo "domain local.lan" > /etc/resolv.conf
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf

In some cases, I have had to overwrite nsswitch.conf aswell:

cat /etc/nsswitch.dns > /etc/nsswitch.conf

We should be able to resolve our way into the internet now:

ping is alive

Create a user and enable SSH, most of you will probably recognize the steps, since they are fairly basic and do not differ that much from how you would to in on a modern Linux machine

Let's start by create a user:

useradd -m -d /home/jonathan -s /bin/bash jonathan

And set a password for the user, you can do it for the root-user aswell:

passwd jonathan
New password:

And last, enable the SSH-service:

svcadm enable ssh  

Great, you should now be able to SSH-into the machine with the user you just created. You can elevate yourself into the root-user with the “su” command. Not that complicated, right?

Let's update the system.

Lets update the package-information from the repositories

pkg refresh
pkg update

Just let this run, your system will be updated. In some cases, your system will have to reboot.

And here, is where OmniOS shines – you can reboot your system – test it after you have performed the updates, and if stuff does not really work, you can simply rollback the changes you've made with beadm

Rollback the system

After you have rebooted your system, check the output of beadm list

root@omnios:~# beadm list
BE               Active Mountpoint Space  Policy Created
omnios-r151038an -      -          65.40M static 2022-12-03 15:35
omnios-r151038ca NR     /          1.35G  static 2022-12-03 16:14

You'll see to environments, and the one marked with “NR” is the current active one. If you want to rollback, you could execute (in my case) `beadm activate omnios-r151038an

root@omnios:~# beadm activate omnios-r151038an
Activated successfully
root@omnios:~# ls
root@omnios:~# beadm list
BE               Active Mountpoint Space   Policy Created
omnios-r151038an R      -          869.15M static 2022-12-03 15:35
omnios-r151038ca N      /          580.90M static 2022-12-03 16:14

Then do a quick reboot to boot into the active one. Let's check the current active environment after the system has rebooted:

root@omnios:~# beadm list
BE               Active Mountpoint Space   Policy Created
omnios-r151038an NR     /          872.95M static 2022-12-03 15:35
omnios-r151038ca -      -          583.64M static 2022-12-03 16:14

And we can see that the old one, created at 15:35 is the one that is currently active. We can now remove the newer one, since we dont need it anymore:

root@omnios:~# beadm destroy omnios-r151038ca
Are you sure you want to destroy omnios-r151038ca?
This action cannot be undone (y/[n]): y
Destroyed successfully
root@omnios:~# beadm list 
BE               Active Mountpoint Space   Policy Created
omnios-r151038an NR     /          748.05M static 2022-12-03 15:35

So, what is the practical / real world use for OmniOS?

Since OmniOS use ZFS, anything storage-related makes sense, such as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) even a Virtual Machine Host with the bhyve hypervisor – which itself is very interesting.

If you are interested in more, you can check out my older post about Tribblix here.

#unix #solaris #omnisos #illumos #tribblix #zfs

This fall, has been busy for me, and when I am busy I like to experiment and play with stuff – especially IT and nerdy stuff.

This brings me back to the days when I started with Linux, for me it was new, cool and different. Nowadays I feel like it is not so different.

So, being the hipster that I am, I set out to find something new. I've already tried and played with OmniOS a couple of years back and I liked it. And during my quest to get it on a iPXE server – I found out about Tribblix.

Tribblix is a Illumos distribution with a retro feel. And that I liked. The iPXE setup was easy since Peter Tribble – the creator and maintainer of Tribblix – already have an iPXE server up and running. So I just used the already ready target at ( and got it up and running according to the installation instructions provided by Tribblix here:

Enter Tor – and the recent news that Russia has decided to block Tor nationwide. I must say that I do understand why they did it from a IT-security perspective – alot of crap is originating from Russia. That is an undisputed fact. However, from a freedom perspective – this is making an already bad situation even worse. So what a perfect opporunity to run a Tor-relay on a SunOS machine! Currently, there is only 5 relays that is running on a Solaris/SunOS based kernel (including one of mine). Lets change that – more diversity in the Tor-network is a good thing.

So, assuming that you have installed Tribblix. Lets pull down the Tribblix overlay called “develop”

zap install develop

This takes a couple of minutes, and what it does is that it download and installs all the nessecary packages you need to build Tor.

We also need LibEvent, since Tor requires it. And the TRIBlibev is like libevent – but not really – we need to manually compile it.

Download the latest stable version from github, and extract it like shown below:

tar -xvf libevent-2.1.12-stable.tar.gz

Lets also pull down the Tor-source code and extract:

tar -xvf tor-

Great, now you should have everything you need in order to get started.

Navigate to the libevent catalogue you just extracted, and run the following:

./configure --prefix=/tmp/mc --enable-static --disable-shared
gmake install

This will create a static and temporary copy of LibEvent in the /tmp/mc catalogue. we will use that in the compilation of Tor.

When the compilation of LibEvent is done, nagivate to the Tor-catalogue and run the following:

./configure --with-libevent-dir=/tmp/mc MAKE="gmake"
gmake install

The proceedure is quite similar to the LibEvent compilation.

When the gmake install procedure is done, you can find the tor-config files in /usr/local/etc/tor/ and the binaries in /usr/local/bin/.

Configure the torrc file according to your needs, read the Tor Projects Post Install Guide and follow the recommendations.

You can now run tor by just typing /usr/local/bin/tor in your terminal – and you now have a relay running.

For now, you can use tmux in order to run it in the background.

Thanks to Peter Tribble, who told me how to get LibEvent into the system.

Tor Relay by Kernels

#unix #tor #building #illumos #tribblix