Tuesday Jun 19, 2012

Viewing at Impossible Angles

Multibus driverThe picture of the little screwdriver with the Allen wrench head to the right is bound to invoke a little nostalgia for those readers who were Sun customers in the late 80s. This tool was a very popular give-away: it was essential for installing and removing Multibus (you youngsters will have to look that up on Wikipedia…) cards in our systems. Back then our mid-sized systems were gargantuan: it was routine for us to schlep around a 200 lb. desk side box and 90 lb. monitor to demo a piece of software your smart phone will run better today.

We were very close to the hardware, and the first thing a new field sales systems engineer had to learn was how put together a system. If you were lucky, a grizzled service engineer might run you through the process once, then threaten your health and existence should you ever screw it up so that he had to fix it.

Nowadays we make it much easier to learn the ins and outs of our hardware with simulations–3D animations–that take you through the process of putting together or replacing pieces of a system. Most recently, we have posted three sophisticated PDFs that take advantage of Acrobat 9 features to provide a really intelligent approach to documenting hardware installation and repair:

Download one of these documents and take a close look at it. You can view the hardware from any angle, including impossible ones. Each document has a number of procedures, that break down into steps. Click on a procedure, then a step and you will see it animated in the drawing.

Of course hardware design has generally eliminated the need for things like our old giveaway tools: components snap and lock in. Often you can replace redundant units while the system is hot, but for heaven’s sake, you’ll want to verify that you can do that before you try it!

Meanwhile, we can all look forward to a growing portfolio of these intelligent documents. We would love to hear what you think about them.


Monday Jan 09, 2012

New Documentation for Common Sysadmin Tasks

The Oracle Solaris 10 documentation covers the most common sysadmin tasks in two main guides:

Oracle Solaris 11 uses one:

Oracle Solaris 11 Common Tasks Guide

The Common Tasks Guide covers:

  • Using Oracle Solaris man pages
  • Setting up and managing user accounts
  • Booting and shutting down Oracle Solaris 11
  • Working with the Oracle Configuration Manager
  • Managing services through SMF
  • Using the Fault Manager
  • Managing software packages
  • Managing disk use
  • Displaying and managing system processes
  • Managing system resources and configuration
  • Managing printing
  • Troubleshooting system and software problems, and managing core files

The rest of the Oracle Solaris 11 documentation is here:

Oracle Solaris 11 Documentation Library

By the way, there is no printing guide in the Oracle Solaris 11 library. That information appears in this part of the Common Tasks Book:

Setting Up and Administering Printers Using CUPS

- Juanita Heieck

Monday Nov 21, 2011

Is Oracle Solaris 11 Really Better Than Oracle Solaris 10?

If you want to be well armed for that debate, study this comparison of the commands and capabilities of each OS before the spittle starts flying:

How Solaris 11 Compares to Solaris 10

For instance, did you know that the command to configure your wireless network in Solaris 11 is not wificonfig, but dladm and ipadm for manual configuration, and netcfg for automatic configuration? Personally, I think the change was made to correct the grievous offense of spelling out "config" in the wificonfig command, instead of sticking to the widely accepted "cfg" convention, but loathe as I am to admit it, there may have been additional reasons for the change.

This doc was written by the Solaris Documentation Team, and it not only compares the major features and command sequences in Solaris 11 to those in Solaris 10, but it links you to the sections of the documentation that explain them in detail.

- Rick


Sunday Mar 06, 2011

Updated Documentation Library for Oracle Solaris 11 Express

image courtesy of Warhamer 40K

The updated Oracle Solaris Express 11 Documentation Library organizes all Solaris 11 Express documentation into one neat stack of books. This library adds the following capabilities:

  • Links to Related Information that we could not easily include on docs.sun.com
  • Search within the library
  • Search within individual books
  • A "Feedback" button from content pages so you can help us to improve our content
  • Enhanced navigation within the content pages
  • The ability to return to the Library from within the books
  • Links from the HTML to the related PDF document
  • .

Docs are divided into the following categories:

  • General Information
  • Installation Docs
  • Administration Docs
  • How to Use in a Secure Environment
  • Application Developer Docs
  • Reference Manuals
  • Related Informaton

Localized versions of the library are also available.

We will be using a similar approach to our libraries in the future, but are continuing to refine the customer experience. We've been listening to your requests about the state of Sun product documentation when it moved to OTN. Although we haven't solved all the problems yet, we are making progress.

- Janice Critchlow and the Systems Doc Team

Monday Feb 28, 2011

More on How to Find Old Sun Documentation

image courtesy of www.jeffhayes.com

Google search is starting to index the old Sun docs, but until has caught up (about 25,000 docs got migrated!), use this SunDocsFinder to find the Sun documentation. It's a hack, and it does not work in every single case, but it is a big help:

  1. Find the part number corresponding to your doc title
  2. Enter site: oracle.com into a Google search box.

Here's an example:

  1. The part number for "Solaris 2.5.1 Server Release Notes" is 802-5366, so
  2. Enter "802-5366 site: oracle.com" into a google search box

- Rick

Friday Feb 25, 2011

Back Page: Content Collections on OTN

Rough coupla weeks, here. Mostly for those of you who rely on our docs to do your jobs. But also for those of us who care about making your life a little easier.

This doesn't come close to solving the doc problem, but it's a small step in the right direction: The Back Page of OTN Systems (Sysadmin and Developer Community of OTN) re-creates the Collections of BigAdmin. If you need to find content related to, say, security, go to the Security Collection. It lists all security-related content we've published, whether in a blog, a technical article, or a web page.

Speaking of security, don't forget to keep an eye on our new Solaris Security forum, moderated by Alex Barclay.)

Unfortunately, our OTN Collections don't include the content we published previously on BigAdmin or SDN. That content as migrated to OTN, but we don't have the resources to go back and reorganize it by topic. (If you have a particular favorite, let me know, and I'll hunt it down.)

Regarding the docs, we're not going to be able to solve the entire problem right away. The docs team is working on improving Search, which may be the most helpful. I'll hunt down hidden docs and broken links when we hear about them, and a few of us may put together some online index cards to help you find the docs, too. I hope we can be a little more helpful in the coming weeks.

But don't forget that it's Friday, And sometimes you just gotta take your mind off your troubles.

- Rick

Friday Jan 14, 2011

Where'd the Docs Go?

image and preamble removed per request so doc info is easier to spot.

The new home page for all Oracle documentation is the Oracle Technology Network's Documentation Home Page.

If you scroll down a bit, you'll find the old Sun Microsystems documentation under these categories:

  • Java
  • Servers, Systems Management, Workstations, and Related Hardware
  • Storage
  • Systems Software (including Solaris)
  • Enterprise Management (including Ops Center)
  • Virtualization
  • Legacy Sun Products
To help you get where you want to go while you're still getting familiar with the new arrangement, Janice Critchlow and the old Sun doc folks put together this cheat sheet. It's followed by a picture of "something cute" that Janice insisted I include in the blog.

- Rick, Janice, and the Doc Folks

Wednesday Sep 08, 2010

New In Solaris 10 9/10 (Update 9)

Don't just sit there waiting for something to happen, go find out what's new in the latest release of Oracle Solaris 10!

The Docs

The docs, as usual, are always a good place to start. This collection summarizes the major improvements and links to the full documentation that describes them in detail.

Hamburger Quick Summary of What's New

Because they get up earlier in the morning, the Hamburger MumbleSolaris User Group has a quick summary that you can print out and memorize in case the opportunity to impress your social inferiors ever presents itself.

Features and Benefits

A quick summary of each new feature in the 9/10 update and the benefits it provides to sysadmins or developers. To the point and surprisingly bereft of adjectives.

Keep an eye on the Front Page of OTN's Systems Admin and Developer Community throughout the day for more updates.

- Rick

Logan Rosenstein
and members of the OTN community


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