TechDays: Solaris in Sydney
By cs, managing editor on Mar 04, 2008
Sydney is an amazing, beautiful city. I am staying in a lovely hotel at Darling Harbour, near the Opera House and The Rocks. Tech Days are located in the Sydney Exhibition Center, just a few brisk blocks away. In the 24 hours I have been here, I have discovered that everything is just a 'brisk' walk away.
I'm covering the Solaris Track but I have to say, the Demo Showcase is well worth mentioning. The Compiz desktop demo especially was impressive. Imagine a terminal window becoming bendy and 3-dimensional and cubist....
"What Makes Solaris Interesting"
Chris Armes did an terrific job of covering the high points. One of the battles I always find with Solaris is there is so much to cover it's difficult to do it all justice. You want to stop and enjoy each intriguing feature; ZFS, SMF, DTrace, Sun xVM, et al. Since Solaris has gone open source there have been so many strides made in performance, especially on x86 that I want to jump up from the audience..."but don't you want to talk about this and what about that and you didn't mention Project [Insert any one of the multitudinous OpenSolaris Projects here]." All the while realizing that there is only so much time (30 minutes to be precise) and no one could cover it all. You just hope that it's enough to intrigue the attendees to the point that they log on to the Tech Days site, download the presentations and investigate the links.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts I had.
Chris was running Solaris on a bare metal Mac laptop! On top of that, he was running Windows XP and Vista Business using virtual machines. You can do that on an Intel box, as well. Most SXDE downloads are installed on Intel boxes. How cool is that? The desktop has gotten decidedly more interesting with 3D workspaces (see Compiz desktop for information on installing Compiz on the Solaris OS). Network performance has doubled since Solaris 8.
Of the 11.5 million Solaris downloads, 70% are Solaris x86. I have believed for a long time that if developers understood just how powerful and flexible and amazing Solaris was, there would be no contest. Now there with a solid desktop version, it's not only possible, developers are finding out in droves.
Do you have legacy programs in Solaris 8 that you can't port? Run them in a container on Solaris 10 and you have access to all the Solaris 10 features (DTrace, SMF) with zero source code changes required. You can thank Project Etude (official name: Solaris 8 Migration Assistant) for that.
There was one question that came up during the Q&A that I think bears repeating. "If I develop on SXDE (or SXCE or Nevada) how do I deploy on Solaris 10?" In some instances where you have implemented something only available in that build, you can't, true, but there is something called the Sun Ready Test Suite that will test your application and let you know if you've implemented anything that will come back to bite you. What you do from there is what makes being a developer fun, is it not?
"New Security Features in Solaris and Open Solaris"
So, I'm kind of a fool for security. I love the crypto stuff and Wyllys Ingersoll did not disappoint. SolarisTrusted extensions, Secure by Default, IPsec, and the Key Management Framework, these are all new or updated in the latest versions of Solaris. Again, too many things to cover in 30 mere minutes. It begs for more of a deep dive. That's where the resource links come in. Trusted Solaris was integrated into Solaris as Secure By Default in build 42 of Nevada which became SXCE (from build 42 on) and Solaris 10 11/06.
Trusted extensions are available in add-on packages and soon will be built in. Keystore independence, Abstracted APIs, Extensible framework for legacy and proprietary systems, SMF for IPsec and ZFS on disk encryption are just a few of the strides being made. It's a fiesta of innovation. For more information see the OpenSolaris Crypto site, the OpenSolaris Security Community site.
-cs, managing editor