Seems that I don't have any luck with installing OpenSolaris : I reported previously that the Nevada build 27 did have a problem creating a faulty initrd (or boot archive) image. There are workarounds around this, but in a VMware cage, this takes *ages*.
OTOH, there's Nexenta. An OpenSolaris kernel (based on the Solaris Express builds) with a GNU/Debian package management system on top of it. The ultimate goal of Nexenta is to incorporate the OpenSolaris kernel into Debian, but that faces still many problems, of which the OpenSolaris licence incompatibility is one of the largest. I tried to install this one in VMWare, and yes, it is as dog slow as an OpenSolaris build, hell, even slower. But the installer got stuck it seemed on the creation of the boot archive. That's the same error as the Nevada build. As I don't use my laptop and there's no vital information on the disk, I decided to try the native installation on my laptop of Nexenta, but there the OpenSolaris kernel even fails to detect the CDROM :
WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1,1/ide@1 (ata1) timeout: reset target, target=0 lun=0 [...] CD-ROM: discovery failed
The workaround in the Nexenta FAQ doesn't solve this problem, which is weird, because the Nevada build does boot and does start the OpenSolaris installer.
Update : I eventually chose to copy the VMWare image to a faster machine, installed it from there, but hit the boot_archive bug again. However, booting from the install CD, and recreating the ramdisk with
# mkdir /a; mount /dev/dsk/c0d0s0 /a # /boot/solaris/bin/create_ramdisk -R /a
did the trick.