Dec 12, 2008

HOWTO: installing OpenOffice 3.0 on OpenSolaris 2008.11

So you installed a fresh OpenSolaris 2008.11 system and now you'd like to get some real work done... which probably requires a word processor or a spreadsheet. Fortunately, OpenSolaris 2008.11 supports OpenOffice 3.0 : let me show you how to install it and maybe learn a few other things on the way

Once logged in your OpenSolaris system (actually, I'm writing this blog entry on an OpenSolaris image running in VirtualBox), you should see a desktop icon saying Add more software. Yeah ok, that's the boring way to do it : let's use the command line, shall we?

julien@opensolaris:~$ sudo apt-get install openoffice
bash: apt-get: command not found

Huh-huh. This is Solaris, my friend... Banging away apt-get commands won't help: you need to get familiar with the OpenSolaris package management tool, called 'Image Packaging System' (IPS).

As always, RTFM and then:

julien@opensolaris:~$ pkg install openoffice
Refreshing Catalog 1/1
Could not operate on /var/pkg/state/installed
because of insufficient permissions. Please try the command again using pfexec or otherwise increase your permissions.

Ah, you need root access. And no you will not use the su command : shame on you for even thinking about it. Let's use sudo instead.

julien@opensolaris:~$ sudo pkg install openoffice
julien is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.

Grrrr, report it, I don't care : this is *my* (virtual) machine.

Let's add myself to the wheel group:

julien@opensolaris:~$ su
julien@opensolaris:~# vi /etc/group
add the line below and save the file

Now, I need to allow the wheel group to use the sudo command:

julien@opensolaris:~# visudo
remove the initial # from the line below and save the file
#%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
julien@opensolaris:~# exit

OK, let's log out and log in again to take into account this new group membership. Once this is done, let's open a terminal and try that pkg install command again:

julien@opensolaris:~$ sudo pkg install openoffice
Completed 1/1 3932/3932 151.65/151.65
Install Phase 4465/4465
Reading Existing Index 9/9
Indexing Packages 1/1

Looks OK. Now go to Applications / Office in the top menu and - as we say in France - voila!

OpenOffice 3.0 is ready to run *and* you learned about IPS *and* your OpenSolaris setup is a little nicer: aren't you happy you didn't click on that boring Add more software icon? I did it the hard way, I know. Story of my life :)

PS: if you really cannot live without apt-get and other GNU commands missing from OpenSolaris, you should try Nexenta, a free and open source operating system combining the OpenSolaris kernel with GNU application userland.


  1. Hi Julien.
    Thanks for posting this. I didn't know there was an apt-get/pkg install for OpenOffice until I came across this page. Instead of going through all that work creating user/group creation I used the pfexec command i.e. >pfexec pkg install openoffice. This gives you temporary elevated permissions. Worked for me! :D

  2. i was trying to install openoffice in opensolaris with a openoffice's cd....
    but i tried install like your example, and doesnt work...
    what can i do?
    the terminal displays this message:

    pkg: 0/1 sucess upgrade:
    could you not retrieve catalog from ''
    urlerror, reason: (8, 'mode name or service name not know')
    my pc doesnt working the internet, so i tried to install by cd....
    so, help me please!!!!

  3. hi julien

    I have opensolaris2008.11 .I followed your tutorial but at the end i got a package exception, it says :
    pkg: the following package(s) violated constraints:
    Package pkg:/SUNWcsl@0.5.11,5.11-0.111 conflicts with constraint in installed pkg:/entire:
    Pkg SUNWcsl: Optional min_version: 0.5.11,5.11-0.101 max version: 0.5.11,5.11-0.101 defined by: pkg:/entire

    can you give me a solution to fix this.I am getting same problem when i install from terminal or using add more software