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Virtual Indiana · I got the networking working on yesterday’s Indiana + VirtualBox + Mac install, but not well. I think that driver needs some work, it seems to lock up on big data transfers. Anyhow, just for fun, I brought over a 22-meg 5782×3946 JPG (a slide scan, the first picture here), and opened it up with the Gimp under Indiana under VirtualBox under OS X. And it worked. It sure ain’t as fast as Lightroom, but then nothing is as fast as Lightroom. I pulled out the Levels tool and and blackened the shadows a bit and twiddled the white balance. You could live with it if you had to. That VirtualBox is more than a little OK ...
 
VirtualBox and Solaris · Wow, we must have some pretty sharp M&A people. I’m no virtualization guru, but I thought that at least I knew about the serious players. But now we’re buying innotek, who make VirtualBox; I’d never heard of ’em but the reviews look good. I tried it out and learned a couple things ...
[8 comments]  
My Indiana · Well, Indiana is here. I got it running on my Ultra 20, which is unsurprising as that’s all-Sun hardware. Default userland: GNU. Default shell: Bash. I feel right at home. There are issues, but this is progress in a good direction ...
[9 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Tech · In this issue: P-languages, operating systems, projecting, URIs, and online medical resources ...
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Tab Sweep · Mostly technology-centric, this time ...
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Cooler Stack · They’ve refreshed the Solaris Cool Stack, I see. Most obviously, there’s new stuff: Ruby (with RubyGems and Rails) and Memcached. But for my money, the most interesting is the souped-up PHP. It comes with a ton of extension libraries, and, most important, the Suhosin patch from the Hardened PHP Project. I have no visibility into why there is so much turmoil and acrimony in the PHP-security world, but I suspect you’d be nuts to deploy any serious PHP app without Suhosin.
 
Tab Sweep · As usual, there isn’t a unifying theme. In this issue: lumpiness, stuff, microformats, eye candy, metaprogramming, beards, and psychology ...
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AMP R Us · I’m happy; Cool Stack was just a first step. This is something I’ve been arguing for since approximately fifteen minutes after arriving here. The publicity is here, here, and especially here: Sun Optimized AMP Stack for the Solaris 10 OS. There’s lots of marketing language, but I think the essential thing is that Sun is going to try to be a first-rate supplier of all the important pieces of open-source Web-facing software. The job isn’t finished yet, until all of Apache and MySQL and PostgreSQL and PHP and Python and Ruby and Rails are in the package, all optimized for Solaris, all stuffed with DTrace probes, and all with developer and production support available. It won’t be long ...
[15 comments]  
Telnet SNAFU from the Inside · Well, yes, there was that embarrassing mile-wide hole in telnet (I haven’t used telnet in years except to debug Web protocols, but I guess someone must; seems to me anyone who leaves telnetd facing the Internet is exhibiting, uh, questionable judgment; but still.) Nasty security gotchas are nothing new in this world, but here’s something that is new: a first-hand report from the guy who got the call you don’t want to get, and then got the patch into the system. Actually, I don’t understand quite a bit of the jargon: “patch gate”, “RTI logging”, and so on; but it’s still a compelling story.
[2 comments]  
Rails and Joyent · Last week, I read about Joyent running four thousand Rails requests per second with a hardware load balancer fronting six of their Accelerator thingies. Then yesterday it turned out that svn.rubyonrails.org/rails, the new Rails development cluster, is at TextDrive too. Under my Sun hat I’m happy that Solaris is apparently behind the world’s highest-performance Rails installation and is supporting both Ruby 1.9 and Rails development. My take-away, though, is that the more I hear about Joyent, the more interesting they look.
 
SAMP · If you’re running any of Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, or Squid on Solaris, trot on over to the Cool Stack space and pick up the latest super-optimized builds, now for x64 as well as SPARC. Hey guys, how about Ruby and Python? And someday (hopefully soon) we’ll be doing it with apt-get and wondering what this pkgadd thing used to be.
[3 comments]  
Get Yer SAMP Stacks Here · One of the nice things about working for a big company is that sometimes you run across smart people doing smart things that you didn’t know about. For example, check out the CoolThreads Optimized Open Source Software Stack (thank goodness, they also use “Cool Stack”). I don’t know who these guys are, I don’t know where they are, someone just pinged me and said “Look what’s popping up on the blogs” (Gene Saunders, Dwayne Lee). Summary: Apache and MySQL and PHP and Squid, in various combinations, all 64-bit builds optimized to the max with with the Studio compilers, which should be way faster than gcc builds. Looks like somebody just saw an opportunity and Did The Right Thing; good on ’em.
 
Servers In the Right Places · Earlier this month I lamented that we didn’t have much of a process for donating computers to projects that are doing good things. We seem to be making some progress on that, for example the T2000-tryout program seems to be running a lot smoother. But that’s not all; for example, an X2100 showed up Friday on the doorstep of Nexenta, as in GNU/Solaris. I think that this kind of thing is a complete no-brainer and hope that we manage to do more of it.
 
More ZFS Data · I see that Dana H. Myers has been digging away at ZFS performance using the only metric that really matters to the real geek: OS build performance. The numbers are interesting... I’m surprised that compression made so little difference, both source and object code compress quite well (I just ran a little test: the Emacs binary compressed to 18% of its size, a bunch of Java code to 19%.) Maybe the fact that it’s zillions of little files means that the file open/create overhead dominates the actual input/output time? There is no doubt there is a huge amount of work to be done on I/O performance, both understanding it and improving it. But ZFS is increasingly looking like a step forward.
 
What Do “GNU” and “Linux” Mean? · These few days of working with the Nexenta GNU/Solaris distro have shaken my assumptions. Richard Stallman has repeatedly pointed out that Linux should be called “GNU/Linux”. I think he’s right, but it’s an unlovely and unwieldy mouthful; Like many people, I’m guilty of just saying “Linux”. Unfortunately, that word has come to mean different things to different people, and the landscape is shifting underneath us. I think we need to get our terminology straight. And what was it that GNU stood for, again? ...
 
Nexenta/NetBeans/OS X Notes · I’m running NetBeans 5 on my Ultra 20, using Nexenta GNU/Solaris as the OS. This buys a lot of performance, but I only want to have one screen/keyboard, so I’m routing the UI through my Mac via X11. I don’t know how common a scenario this is going to be, but early indications are it’s a damn productive working environment. I’m discovering some things, so I’ll post them here as I go along in case other people run across some of the same issues. [Update: Keymapping progress, whines, and bugs] ...
 
Nexenta α2 · I went and got that second alpha release of Nexenta from gnusolaris.org and gave it a try on my Ultra 20. There are still a few rough edges, but it basically works. [Updates: Managed to try NetBeans, and filed my first bug.] ...
 
Networking Deep-Dive · For heavy-duty OS/networking geeks only: Solaris Networking — The Magic Revealed (Part I); Sunay Tripathi explains way more than 99.9999999999% of the population wants or needs to know about how you hook up a modern computer to a modern network link and make it all run fast. If you’re one of the 0.0000000001%, it’s a must-read.
 
debian GNU/Solaris · Everyone’s posting their GNU/Solaris screenshots, so I will too. Here it is, courtesy of a LiveCD ISO from Nexenta. I don’t know if there’s a way to get screenshot of the Gnome startup splash screen, so I just whipped out my pocket camera and took a few snaps. This, I firmly believe, is the future of Solaris (er, except for I [blush] kinda lean to KDE myself; but you get the idea) ...
 
More GNU/Solaris Rumblings · I’ve been harassing people at Sun fairly relentlessly that we need there to be a GNU/Solaris distro, and sooner rather than later, but so far I haven’t convinced any VPs to assign a phalanx of engineers to the project. But hey, the community may just go ahead and do it; there’s a screenshot, even. Hmm.... he mentions www.gnusolaris.org and indeed there’s such a domain, but nothing there yet. Stay tuned.
 
Lunch at LinuxWorld · Oooh, Ubuntu and OpenSolaris, sittin’ in a tree. Whatever we have to do, we should make this happen.
 
PHP, Observed · Now, this is cool. Over at OSCON, they wired up DTrace to PHP. PHP is all about getting a reasonably-good Web site up unreasonably fast; and it scales surprisingly well, most times. But when it doesn’t, now you’ll be able to find out why.
 
Debian Solaris · Check out Alvaro Lopez’s superb piece Why I do think OpenSolaris ought to work with Debian. Call me a radical, but I think that easy installation and upgrading are important. I think Linux got where it is because it was basically easy enough to install and basically good enough to get a lot of jobs done. I think that having apt-get or equivalent Just Work is the single most important value-add Solaris could get. Turn it around: I think a lot of people who need what Solaris has to offer are never going to find out until apt-get or equivalent Just Works. Out of the box. So, thank heavens for OpenSolaris.org, where they’re chewing over Alo’s rant. Smart things are being said, and Eric Boutilier points out there that Gentoo, OpenPKG, and others are looking at this. But then there are people who claim to be Solaris fans saying ignorant, idiotic things like “Linux as a whole does not have anything good to offer, except that ‘it’s free’”. Earth to OpenSolaris: Every community has a few morons; please learn to ignore yours. All this is pretty well a sideshow for the existing Solaris customers, but if we want Solaris to, you know, grow, this is how to do it. Good on ya, Alo, and hang in there, you’re 100% right.
 
An Evening With Bonnie · Like almost everyone, I have a long list of things that I regret not having done, and mine includes writing a Unix filesystem. So instead, I measure ’em, with the help of my old friend Bonnie. I just spent some time addressing the question: “How much does FileVault slow down a Macintosh?” And turned up a couple other interesting results, too, including a fairly startling three-way OS X/Linux/Solaris comparison. [Update: Many readers write on the subject of Linux and hdparm(8).] ...
 
GNU/Solaris? · Solaris engineer Eric Boutilier has been running a series entitled “Unix from Scratch”. What’s at the end of the road Eric’s heading down is “GNU/Solaris”; a distro that does what Linux does, but has the Solaris kernel and management goodies; see his posts here and here. If I understand things correctly, once OpenSolaris ships, anyone with the energy and skill can just go and build that distro, no permissions required. I think Sun should do it, and then support it. Obviously, we can’t weaken Solaris Classic because our customers depend on it and furthermore we make money supporting it; but GNU/Solaris would be a darn nice product, and a nice new line of business.
 
It Takes A Licking · I was extremely unkind to my new computers, but apparently they’ve forgiven me ...
 
Linux to Solaris Diary · On February 25, 2005, I undertook to transfer a nontrivial software development/deployment setup from OS X and Linux to Solaris 10. I have lots of old Unix and recent Linux experience, but none with Solaris. This entry will serve as the permanent home for my technical diary documenting the learning process, which I shall update in-place. [Updated: New sections on docs.sun.com, NFS, and, believe it or not, %.] ...
 
My Own Computers · The thing is, I like computers. My first job out of university was for a computer company, and I feel at home now in another. And as of today, I have a couple of V20z’s (wicked-fast) running Solaris 10 in a rack in a lab in Menlo Park. Officially, they’re for performance testing on my Zeppelin skunkworks. But there’s another story starting too, maybe a little risky. (Illustrated) ...
 
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