Monday Mar 17, 2008

Boston: Gnomies, Fiber Optics and the FSF

Last Thursday I left warm sunny Austin for cold, snowy Boston.  Despite the weather I had a great time.  The main purpose of the trip was to attend the Free Software Foundations annual membership meeting but I was able to add on a few things.

Friday I had a couple of meetings at the Cambridge Brewing Company.  I met with Jeff Hammond from Forrester Research who in addition to all the other stuff on his plate, picked up Free and Open Source Software when Michael Goulde retired.   It was basically a get to know you meeting and it went well.  After that I met with Andy Oram of O'Reilly, who specializes in GNU/Linux and Free Software books.  After my meetings I met up with a buddy from high school who is leading research in fiber optics in a lab at BU.  We had coffee and then I got to see the lab itself.

Carson Roberts - Van Helsing of the optics lab;  The spike he's holding, when stretched by the machine behind him, will produce ~10km of fiber optic cable. 


From there I headed down to Newbury street where I stumbled upon what appeared to GNOME foundation board meeting.

I think the one on the left is Jeff Waugh

The next day, Saturday was the FSF members meeting.   Stay tuned for a post on that and a couple of cool interviews I was able to grab.

Pau for now...

Tuesday Mar 11, 2008

The Open Solaris Governing Board 2.0 - Elections and Interviews

Last week the official starting gun went off for Open Solaris Governing Board (OGB) elections.  Voting opened yesterday and will stay open for the next two weeks, closing on Monday, March 24th.  The day after that the results will be announced and the new board will ascend to power on April 1.

A History Lesson

The precursor to the OGB was the Community Advisory Board (CAB)

The OpenSolaris Community Advisory Board (CAB) was composed of 5 members — 2 from Sun, 2 from the OpenSolaris pilot community, and 1 from the open source community. The CAB was created to develop an OpenSolaris Charter and Governance and to drive consensus within the community.

With the approval of the OpenSolaris Charter, the CAB actually became the first OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) until the March 2007 elections.

Last year at this time the first elected OGB came into existence.

Fast Forward to Today

This year there are 19 individuals who have announced their candidacy:

  • John Beck
  • Michal Bielicki
  • Dennis Clarke
  • Alan Coopersmith
  • Justin Erenkrantz
  • Glynn Foster
  • Jim Grisanzio
  • Brian Gupta
  • Al Hopper
  • Stephen Lau
  • Ken Mays
  • Michelle Olson
  • Simon Phipps
  • John Plocher
  • Ben Rockwood
  • Joerg Schilling
  • John Sonnenschein
  • Rich Teer
  • Peter Tribble

 As part of the process, I have picked up the podcast mantle from Simon.  Last year Simon volunteered to conduct interviews with the candidates and, given that he himself is running this year, he has passed the baton (or mic in this case) to me.

I will be posting the interviews on this blog and they will also officially be linked to from the Candidate Matrix which also includes bios, positioning statements and affiliations where provided.

Best of luck to all!

Pau for now...

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Humungazoid Sun Cluster Unveiled

Friday afternoon I got in my car and headed over to the UT's Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) for the dedication of the Ranger Supercomputer  aka the Sun Constellation System.

I was expecting a relatively low-key event but was surprised by what a big deal it turned out to be.  Jonathan Schwartz was there as was Hector Ruiz, CEO of AMD, and the food was amazing.

L-R: William Powers - President of UT; Congressman Michael McCaul; Jay Bosisseau - director of TACC, Hector Ruiz, Jonathan Schwartz, Dan Atkins - NFS,  Juan Sanchez - VP of research at UT.

It's all about communities, its all about sharing

Ranger is being billed as the world's most powerful supercomputer for open science research.  90% of its power will go to the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid while TACC will only take 10% for itself.  In fact, it was a five-year $59 million dollar award from the NSF to TACC that made this possible.

Andy Bechtolsheim (right) next to the model of the Ranger.

Ranger and the Oscars 

Speaking of the 10% that TACC will take for itself and the great state of Texas, while I was watching the Oscar pre-show on Sunday there was an actual commercial for Ranger.  It was done by a local news station here in Austin who will "soon be bringing you meteorological reports backed by the power of Ranger".  They talked about how powerful it was and showed a walk through with cool special effects.   You could even see the Sun logo (if you were looking)

Folks taking a closer look.

The Stats

Ranger:  Sun Constellation Linux Cluster

  • 504 teraflops (504 trillion operations per second) peak performance, provided by 15,744 AMD Quad-core Processors (62,976 cores)
  • 123 terabytes total memory, with 32 gigabytes for each of 3936 compute nodes
  • 1.7 petabytes total disk in a Luster parallel file system, plus 10 petabyte capacity Sun STK data archival sysems
  • 13.5 terabytes/second interconnect backplane bandwidth, provide by 2 Sun Data Center Switches, each with up to 3, 456 InfiniBand 4x ports
The question I have is how long would it take Ranger to arrive at 42

Thar she blows! 

One of the two gianormous switches at the center of the cluster -- Texas style. 


One of the six rows of machines.  The interspersed black cabinets are fans to keep it cool. 

Pau for now...

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

Computers to be Recycled, loaded with FOSS and donated to Schools

Thanks to an event that Untangle is organizing, schools in Northern California will be getting recycled computers loaded with a bunch of FOSS goodies.

The event, Installfest for Schools, is happening on March 1st in four Bay Area locations:  San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo and Novato. Volunteers will be helping to install Ubuntu 7.10, including OpenOffice, as well as Untangle's Open Source Network Gateway on recycled hardware from the Alameda County Computer Resource Center

If you're interested in volunteering or want to learn more, you can get more details, and sign up here.  

A very cool effort by the community for the community. 

Pau for now...

Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Drawn to SCALE

Last weekend I attended SCALE (Southern California Linux Expo) for the first time.  The event, which was held at LAX Weston and featured talks and booths, turned out to be a great place to meet folks and chat. 

Jono Bacon, community manager for Ubuntu kicked off the event with a great keynote.  After Jono's keynote I tried to get into Josh Berkus' Postgres talk in one of the break out rooms but it was too packed.

A blast from the past: Kevin Lahey shows off a couple of Cobalt boxes running NetBSD. 

While there were a lot of GNU/Linux folks there, contrary to the name, the event covered much more.  All three BSDs (Net, Free and Open) were there and Sun had a booth where, among other things we were demonstrating OpenSolaris and Indiana developer preview #2. (A big shout out to Matt Ingenthron who tirelessly worked the booth on Saturday).

I also met three new Canonical employees based in the US and, armed with my trusty recorder, I was able to grab three interviews which I hope to post later this week -- Open SUSE's new community manager, Zonker Brockmeier, Dave Roberts, marketing VP from Vyatta and Tom "Spot" Callaway the Fedora engineering manager for Red Hat.

All in all, a great little show.

Pau for now... 

Thursday Feb 14, 2008

First source release for Open JDK 6 project (Whew!)

Its taken a little longer than initially intended but, as of an hour ago, the Open JDK6 source has been loosed upon the world!  While this release is primarily targeted at the GNU/Linux distributions  there are also versions for Solaris (both x86 and SPARC) and Windows.  You can get them all here on the download page.

The end of the beginning 

This initial tarball comes with matching binary plugs.  As Joe Darcy, who's been leading this project within Sun, explains:

Not all of the source code that makes up the JDK is available under an open-source license. In order to build an OpenJDK binary from source code, you must first download and install one or more of the following files from which the build process will copy over "binary plugs" for these encumbered components.

And this is where the community comes in, to help both with these final encumbrances as well as to address the outstanding compatibility issues.

Hack on brothers and sisters! 

Coming Soon 

And while the community is lending a helping hand, Joe's team will be sallying forth and working on a new drop.  This follow-on release will be out within the next couple of weeks and should include:

  • JAX-WS 2.0 -> 2.1 upgrade
  • Removal of the binary plug for the imaging classes
  • Exclusion of SNMP support if the binary plugs aren't present
  • Updated README-Builds files that point at the right locations.
Pau for now...

Tuesday Feb 12, 2008

Sun grabs VirtualBox

I just ran into Steve Wilson, Sun's VP of xVM, in the cafeteria and heard the good news. Sun is acquiring innotek, a small company based in Germany that makes a very cool product called VirtualBox

I had recently heard of VirtualBox on an internal mailing list, now I have no excuse not to download it for my Mac and run Ubuntu in it (I was going to use Fusion, but this makes more sense).  I wonder if it will also let me load up the Fedora 8 disc I got at SCALE?

Here are some basics:

  • innotek VirtualBox is a family of x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. 
  • Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts
  • It has a very extensive list of supported guest OS's [including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), and OpenBSD]
  • VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company  [which will now be Sun  ;)]
  • You can find sources, binaries, documentation and other resources for VirtualBox on this site
  • It is freely available as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
  • You can download it here.

For more info on this deal, you can check out the press release as well as Steve's blog and Tim Marsland's (our software CTO).

Looks like we're on a roll, I can't wait to see what Free software company we might acquire next. :) 

Pau for now...

Friday Feb 08, 2008

My latest FOSS Presentation

Last Friday I was up in Dallas for a customer event.  We hosted 10 of our biggest customers and brought in Sun speakers from around the country to address specific topics that they were interested in. 

The event kicked off with an overall Sun strategy presentation, during which Sun's Free and Open Source Software strategy was covered as a key element. 

One of the customers, a humungous telco, had asked for a deeper dive into FOSS and Sun's activities in this area so I took them through this presentation.  

What I covered

In this latest pitch I spend the first half of the presentation talking, at a high-level about FOSS: where its come from, where its going, how it works and what it takes.  In the second half I focused on Sun in the post-bubble world and how FOSS and Frenemies have been what I consider two of the most important components of Sun's renaissance.  Given that I only had an hour, it actually was more of survey course than a deep dive but it seemed to go well and I ended with a minute to spare :)

And speaking of events, Im off later this afternoon to LA to attend SCALE.  I'm armed with my new mp3 recorder and am lookin' to snag me a few more interviews.  Zonker's already said he's game so thats at least one victim :)

Pau for now...

Wednesday Jan 30, 2008

LinuxWorld's Top FOSS business leaders in '08

I was checking out Whurley's blog today and saw that had recently named "2008's Top Leaders in Open Source Business."

It was great to see that Jonathan Schwartz made the list as well as soon-to-be Sun senior exec, Marten Mikos (I'll have to admit that I was a bit surprised to not see Mark Shuttleworth's name). 

You can check out the all the picks and pics at the link above (some more artistically put together than others) but here's the list (I don't think they're in any kind of rank order):

  • Martin Mikos - CEO, MySQL (for a little bit longer :)
  • Andy Astor - CEO, Enterprise DB
  • Jonh Roberts - CEO, Sugar CRM
  • Larry Augustin - Private Investor
  • Jonathan Schwartz - CEO, Sun Microsystems
  • Matt Assay - VP of Business Development, Alfresco
  • James Governor, Stephen O'Grady, Michael Cote - Pundits, Red Monk 
  • Raven Zachary - Research Director,  The 451 Group
  • Whurley - Chief Architect of Open Source Strategy, BMC
  • Anthony Gold - VP and GM, Open Source Business, Unisys
  • Michael Tiemman - President, Open Source Initiative

I particularly like the props given to Jonathan and Sun:

...Schwartz is not the sole open source advocate at Sun but he's the driving force and the buck stops with him. By lines of code, Sun is perhaps the biggest distributor of open source in the world. They propagate the leading open source productivity suite, OpenOffice, which is downloaded millions of times every week. In addition to Solaris and OpenOffice, Java runs on a myriad of devices that likely number in the billions. After a rough few years, Sun is poised to enjoy


Pau for now.... 

Wednesday Jan 16, 2008

Welcome Marten and MySQL! -- My Interview with Marten

What fantastic news to read first thing this morning, Sun announces agreement to acquire MySQL!  (Check out the details from Jonathan in his entry this morning.)

Some of Sun's acquisitions in the past have been, shall we say, not that intuitive to me but this one I get.  This reaffirms our commitment to Free and open source software and, as Simon points out, means that we now have the ability to offer support on a full web operating system - OpenSolaris, Glassfish, MySQL, NetBeans and much more - something we can sell. 

GNU/Linux and beyond

What this further underlines for me is our commitment beyond the Sun stack and to the ecosystem.   Besides the SAMP (Solairs, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP) stack, we will be investing in and optimizing for LAMP (Linux), WAMP (Windows) and MAMP (Mac).  As the "GNU/Linux guy" I'm excited how, like Lustre before it, this move serves to further bolster Sun's presence in the GNU/Linux space.

The day of the monolithic Sun stack is dead.  The world that we live in today (and for awhile) is about mixing and matching architectures and platforms whether thats Solaris on Dell, Ubuntu on SPARC or MySQL on an old Sun Enterprise 4000 running OpenBSD.

Marten Mickos in his afternoon keynote on day 2 at UbuntuLive. \*

Welcome Marten

I am also quite excited that Marten Mikos, MySQL's CEO will be joining Sun's senior executive team.  I had the good fortune to keynote alongside Marten at Linuxworld Open Solutions Summit Sweden .  He's a very sharp as well extremely likable guy.

I first met Marten at UbuntuLive and was able to grab him for an interview after his keynote.  (Its interesting listening to this again, in light of today's news -- good thing he said nice things about Jonathan since he will now be working for him :)

My interview with Marten (6:10)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle: 

  • The LAMP, SAMP and WAMP stacks
  • How Marten got involved with MySQL
  • 110 airports
  • The two audiences that MySQL serves -- the ones who'll spend time to save money and the ones who'll spend money to save time
  • How he thinks Jonathan Schwartz has done so far.

 \* See more professional pics from Ubuntu Live by Duncan Davidson (the first one is of myself and David Duffey, who turned me on to the pics, competing in the Bungee run. I won :)

Pau for now...

Monday Jan 14, 2008

Errata Mondatta - last two UltraSPARC errata docs public

Earlier today the last two UltraSPARC errata docs were published on the OpenDocs wiki:

UltraSPARC III aka Cheetah errata

UltraSPARC IIIi aka Jalapeno errata 

The original errata request we received from the OpenBSD community was for the UltraSPARC III chips.  Dorthe Clarke, however, the lucky person in the chip group tasked with driving this effort, felt that while they were at it, they might as well do UltraSPARC IIe, IIi, IV and IV+ (aka Hummingbird, Phantom, Jaguar and Panther). 

The publishing of these docs represents a considerable amount of effort that Dorthe and her tiger team spent, in addition to their day jobs, scrubbing, editing and reviewing the errata so that they could be made publicly accessible.  A big mahalo to all of you! 

Stay tuned as we continue to push our Open docs effort and search the dusty catacombs and dark recesses of old timers offices to respond to the requests we get for documentation.

Pau for now...

Wednesday Jan 09, 2008

Running OpenSolaris as guest on Ubuntu 7.10 in 10 easy steps

After I got from break I found out about a cool blog that Chris Kampmeier wrote a few weeks ago. 

In his entry, Chris takes you through, step by step, how to get the OpenSolaris Developer Preview 1 installed into a VM on VMware Workstation 6.0.2 running on Ubuntu 7.10

(Re. Open Solaris, you can grab the preview here.  Or if you want a cool walk-thru check out this article)

The idea however is that this 10 step process is just a short term workaround and things will get even easier once a pre-installed VMware image of OpenSolaris is made available.  As Chris explains, "Ideally, all you should need to do is download a VMware image and boot it within VMware Workstation, VMware Player or one of the VMware server products."

And when can you expect said pre-installed image?  Hopefully in a matter of weeks.  Chris has made it his personal goal to help the Open Solaris community deliver the image with the next interim release of the OpenSolaris Developer Preview, which is approaching fast and furious.

Pau for now...

Monday Jan 07, 2008

OpenBSD coming to an UltraSPARC T1 near you

David Gwynne tipped me off on Friday that Mark Kettenis is jamming away at bringing OpenBSD to the UltraSPARC T1 platform. 

Back in October the OpenBSD crew got SMP working on old school boxes as exotic as the Sun Fire Enterprise 4000.  That was ok but there was a desire to "really push the envelope with heavily parallel boxes like the Niagaras." 

The chip guys here were able to get a T1000 over to Europe and Mark has taken it from there.

As of Friday, Mark has gotten the machine to run multi-user and true SMP support should be a matter of days.  (Check out the details here.)

Go Mark, Go!

Pau for now...

Tuesday Dec 18, 2007

Docs for the Holidays

In case your a bit behind in picking out a gift for that special device-driver- writer on your list, may I suggest one of these lovely errata docs that have just been published:

Hummingbird & Phantom
UltraSPARC IIe & IIi Errata doc available(18-Dec-07)    
Cheetah+ & ++
UltraSPARC III+ & III++ Errata doc available (18-Dec-07)    
UltraSPARC IV Errata doc available (18-Dec-07)    
UltraSPARC IV+ Errata doc available (18-Dec-07)  

If you think he or she might be more of a host bridge kind of person, these have also been added since my last update:

U2P, UPA to PCI host bridge Errata doc (download) available (13-Nov-07)

Safari to UPA and PCI host bridge Errata doc available (18-Oct-07)

These are all part of the FOSS docs project that we embarked on in the summer.

Implementation and thanks

In case you're wondering what you can do with a doc like these, look at what OpenBSD have done with the docs for Cassini and the Happy Meal Ethernet controller. (There are more examples but these are the two most recent having just been added by David Gwynne yesterday.)

I'd like to give a special thanks to Dorthe and all the engineers who hunted these docs down, reviewed and scrubbed them so they could be published externally.  All this work was done on top of their day jobs.  Happy holidays to all of you!

Look for more docs in the new year. 

Pau for now... 

Monday Dec 17, 2007

GlassFish in Debian

Right before last week's packaging team meeting, Minnesota Tom sent out a note that GlassFish was in Debian contrib.  How it got there we don't know but we're stoked (yes I did grow up in Hawaii during the 70's, why do you ask?)  Ahh, the beauty of Free Software.

Now we haven't analyzed the packages yet but as Tom pointed out the packagers have gotten around the Maven build dependency by replacing it with ant.  So Glassfish is now a part of "Lenny" (all their  release codenames are characters from the movie Toy Story) which is currently due out the second half of 2008. 

The care package

Speaking of Debian, last week I received a care package that they put together for all of the sponsors of Debconf 7.  There were a couple of cool Debian shirts, one from the event and one from HP, a hardcopy of the final report, an O'Reilly book etc. etc.  But what was super cool and now is up on my wall, is a 6" x 10" swatch of the Debian kilt (learn more and see Mr. Steve McIntyer modeling it  here).


The current release and the real deal:

My room at the W came with the Etch a Sketch and I couldn't pass up the photo opp. 

Pau for now.... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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