Solaris Transition Guide


The Solaris Transition Guide documents differences between SunOSTM release 4 and SunOS release 5.7 operating systems. It is designed to help users familiar with SunOS release 4 software in transitioning to a SunOS release 5.7 environment.

This edition of the Solaris Transition Guide is delivered with the SolarisTM 8 operating environment to correct minor technical flaws and problems in table display found in the previous version.

The guide continues to address differences between SunOS release 4 and SunOS release 5.7 operating systems. The Solaris Transition Guide Update, also delivered with the Solaris 8 operating environment, focuses on changes specific to SunOS release 5.8 software.

Note -

In this document the term "IA" refers to the Intel 32-bit processor architecture, which includes the Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium II Xeon, Celeron, Pentium III, and Pentium III Xeon processors and compatible microprocessor chips made by AMD and Cyrix.

Who Should Use This Guide

This guide can help users, system administrators, and software developers make the transition from a SunOS release 4 computing environment to the Solaris 7 operating environment.

What to Expect From This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to give you an overview-level understanding of the differences between SunOS release 4 and SunOS release 5.7 operating environments to make your transition to the Solaris 7 operating environment a smooth one. As a result, Solaris Transition Guide covers a wide range of topics. Because it is not practical to list detailed procedures for tasks here, you will find references throughout this guide to publications in the Solaris 7 documentation set where detailed information is available.

How This Guide Is Organized

This guide is divided into 2 parts with 19 chapters and 6 appendixes as outlined here.

Part 1: Transition Information for Users and System Administrators

You can use this part of the guide to help install Solaris 7 software, to understand changes to the local computing environment, and to understand changes to routine tasks.

This part of the guide contains the following chapters:

Part 2: Transition Information for Developers

This part of the guide concentrates on the Solaris 7 changes that most affect developers and the programming environment.

This part contains the following chapters:

Reference Appendixes

The following appendixes includes reference tables showing SunOS 4.1 interfaces and their status in several operating systems. This information is useful to users, system administrators, and developers. The appendixes are:

Ordering Sun Documents, an Internet professional bookstore, stocks select product documentation from Sun Microsystems, Inc.

For a list of documents and how to order them, visit the Sun Documentation Center on at

Accessing Sun Documentation Online

The docs.sun.comSM Web site enables you to access Sun technical documentation online. You can browse the archive or search for a specific book title or subject. The URL is

What Typographic Conventions Mean

The following table describes the typographic changes used in this book.

Table P-1 Typographic Conventions

Typeface or Symbol 




 The names of commands, files, and directories; on-screen computer output

Edit your .login file.

Use ls -a to list all files.

machine_name% you have mail.


 What you type, contrasted with on-screen computer outputmachine_name% su Password:


 Command-line placeholder: replace with a real name or value

To delete a file, type rm filename.


Book titles, new words, or terms, or words to be emphasized. 

Read Chapter 6 in User's Guide.

These are called class options.

You must be root to do this.

Shell Prompts in Command Examples

The following table shows the default system prompt and superuser prompt for the C shell, Bourne shell, and Korn shell.

Table P-2 Shell Prompts



 C shell promptmachine_name%
 C shell superuser promptmachine_name#
 Bourne shell and Korn shell prompt$
 Bourne shell and Korn shell superuser prompt#

man Page References

When commands, system files, or library routine names are first mentioned in the text, the number of the manual page section where the term is fully described is appended. For instance, mv(1). directs you to man Pages(1): User Commands.

Related Books

For more information on the Solaris 7 operating environment, see the following documentation:

Getting Help from Sun Microsystems WWW Site

You can get additional Solaris transition information by accessing the following URL:

The Solaris Migration Initiative home page is a central point for the distribution of tools, documentation, and information to aid you in your transition from SunOS release 4.