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Installing SmartOS

The SmartOS install process is very straighforward, with only a few questions that need to be answered.

  1. Networking
  2. DNS/NTP servers
  3. Zpool Layout
  4. Root password
  5. Hostname
  6. Boot Media
  7. Packages

Here's a basic example of this process. Note, this example uses the serial console, so the loader screen looks less fancy than you would see with an attached display.


Choose dhcp or enter an IP address. If you enter an IP you will also be prompted for a subnet mask.

You will be prompted for a default gateway. If you chose dhcp, select none for the gateway, otherwise enter the IP.

DNS/NTP Servers

By default, DNS servers will be and You may change this if you have closer DNS servers, but the default should work fine for most installations. You will also need to provide a dns search domain. There is no default. This doesn't really matter, so you can put local or if you don't have another preferred search domain.

By default NTP will be configured to use If you're going to use, you should leave the default. Only change this if you don't want to use at all.

Zpool Layout

SmartOS will intelligently pick a default layout. In most cases, the default layout will be best. You may also choose to select raidz2 or mirror automatic layouts, or choose manual to drop to a shell and create the zones pool yourself. The only requirement is that the pool is named zones.

Note: if you don't manually create the pool, the pool doesn't get created until all setup choices are selected and confirmed at the end.

Root Password

Pretty much like everywhere else, type in the same password twice. You will not see the password on the screen.


You can use any valid hostname you like.

Boot Media

By default SmartOS boots from read-only media, usually an ISO or USB drive. You may instead choose to boot from the zpool.

  • Choose none to boot using removable media.
  • Choose zones to boot using the zpool.

If you choose none you can later switch to booting from the zpool using the piadm(8) command.


SmartOS uses the pkgsrc package management system that is also use by NetBSD. You may decline to install pkgsrc, but it is almost always preferred. If you decide not to install pkgsrc at this time, you can install it at any later time by running pkgsrc-setup in the global zone.

Finishing setup

A summary of your choices will be displayed. If you need to make changes setup will start over with your previous choises now set as the default.

Once you confirm your choices, the zpool will be created, config file written and the system will reboot.