Monday Jan 28, 2008

The first Linux Kernel of '08 has arrived

When we last left the Linux kernel maintainers it was early October '07 and 2.6.23,  complete with support for Logical Domains (LDoms) on the SPARC architecture, was rolled out. 

Well now its 2008 and last week Linux kernel 2.6.24 hit the streets.

Here are some fun facts to know and tell that I grabbed from Jonathan Corbet's 2.6.24 statistics article:

  • Over 10,000 individual changesets were merged
  • There was a net growth of nearly 300,000 lines of code
  • 950 developers, representing over 130 companies, contributed this code
  • Of the 950, 358 contributed just one patch
  • In comparison, for 2.6.23 there were 6,200 patches merged from 860 developers.

To see all the new features and fixes, check out

One feature that caught my eye was the inclusion of Linux Kernel Markers which implement static probing points for the Linux kernel.  In an article I read someone commented on how this got the Linux community closer to Dtrace like capabilities.  I wonder how similar/dissimilar the two are?

Pau for now...

Friday Dec 07, 2007

Relive Debcon7 - Final report out

Just a little while ago a link to the final report from DebCon7 arrived in my inbox.  It was a great way to relive the thrills, chills and spills that made up the 8th annual Debian developers conference which took place this summer. 

The alley between my hotel and the conference.  Notice the castle in the back.

Over 400 people from around the world attended the event, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, which consisted of talks, hacking, sightseeing and lots of beer drinking.   The 30 page document, complete with pictures and charts, talks about how it all went and what went on both professionally and socially.  It also includes personal impressions from some of the attendees including Sun's very own Tom Marble.  Although my impressions weren't included in the report, I am featured prominently in one of the pictures (I am in the top right quadrant of the group photo, about nine people to the left of the guy on the right with both his hands in the air).

Who Doesn't want to look like the Bay City Rollers?! 

One of the more interesting features of the event was the Debian tartan that started out as a joke and then became a reality to the tune of 6,000 pounds.  The team who designed the pattern thought long and hard about the various choices (whether before or after the tartan was created I'm not sure) but if you read the report you'll find out the significance of the various elected features. 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y-D-E-B Night!

Probably the tartan's biggest feature is that it "spells out DEBIAN in Morse code (with a correct 1:3 ratio for dots to dashes, and for the pauses in and between letters)."  The report goes on to explain that "the tartan looks fairly conventional, but it is unusual (although not unique) in that it is mirrorsymmetrical on only one diagonal. This is to avoid reversing the Morse section which would otherwise spell ANIVEU."  And to prove this was legit and not a kludgy hack, the resulting tartan is "being entered into the Scottish Tartans World Register as tartan number 3210."

Although the tartans were available to all, they were a bit too rich for my blood so instead I decided to invest in a cool Etch-a-release T-shirt.

Spain via Argentina 

Debconf7 and Edinburgh were a blast and I look forward to Argentina and Debconf8 and beyond that, the recently announced Debconf9 in the Extremadura region of Spain.

Goodbye Edinburgh, hope to see you again soon (I wonder what this tartan spells in morse code?

More pictures from Edinburgh. 

Pau for now...

Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Latest UltraSPARC servers certified for Ubuntu


Well its official, as of the Friday before Thanksgiving,  the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220 Server (pictured above) and its little brother the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 Server were certified by Canonical on their latest release, Ubuntu 7.10 (nee "Gutsy Gibbon").

At the time of the T5220/5120 launch last month, Gutsy had not yet been released but I gave a heads up that certification would be coming.  Well its here

These new systems, based on the T2 processors (8 cores x 8 threads = 64 threads per chip), are uber-beefed up versions of the T1000/T2000 cool-thread servers that Canonical originally certified on.  To learn more about these new systems check out a collection of blogs here.  And if you want to try one for free for 60 days, you can sign up here.

Pau for now...

Monday Nov 05, 2007

Red Hat joins the Free Java Party in a big way

A while ago when Sun first announced that it was open sourcing the Java platform, Red Hat joined members of the community in voicing their support.  In fact they even put a big thank you on their home page.

This morning they've gone even further and turned their kind words into action by announcing that they have signed Sun's contributor agreement (SCA).   By signing the SCA, all Red Hat engineers are now able to participate in any and all of Sun's Free and open source projects. 

Maybe more importantly, and certainly more timely, in addition to the SCA, Red Hat has also signed Sun's Open JDK Community TCK License and have joined the OpenJDK community.

Iced Tea anyone?

By signing the TCK license Red Hat now has access to the test suite (TCK) to verify that whatever JDK derivatives they create are fully compatible with the Java SE 6 spec.  This is particularly good news for Free Java lovers everywhere since there still remains 4% of the JDK code that is encumbered (i.e. owned by 3rd parties who not agreed to open source their bits).  Over the past months, folks here at Sun have been working quite diligently in clearing these last few hold outs.

At the same time our folks have been burning the midnight oil, a bunch of the engineers with Red Hat/Classpath project have been putting in a lot of time working on their own completely Free JDK  playfully dubbed, "IcedTea."  Now with the TCK/SCA in hand this should drive greater alignment between the two projects and the IcedTea team will not only be able to contribute directly to OpenJDK, but also  test for compatibility.

This is good news for everyone.  The desire for a completely Free JDK, sooner rather than later, is not only of interest to Sun and Red Hat but was a big topic at FOSSCamp last week.  Now with Red Hat throwing their hat in the ring (sorry, I couldn't resist the bad pun) things should start happening a lot sooner to the benefit of GNU/Linux and other Free distros everywhere.

Thanks Red Hat and welcome!

Pau for now...

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Ultra 24 Workstation Certified on Ubuntu

I just heard from Canonical's support/testing center in Montreal that the Ultra 24 workstation that was announced today, is now certified for Ubuntu 7.10.

This is the first workstation from Sun based on our recent partnership with Intel and with Ubuntu certification it should be a very cool tool for those power developers out there.

Now to talk to the web folks at Canonical and Sun to make sure we get this up on the sites.

Pau for now... 

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

Ubuntu 7.10 debuts - Java stack rev'ed

Today the latest version of Ubuntu, 7.10 (nee "Gutsy Gibbon") debuted. 

It got a very good review from Wired and Ashlee seemed to like it too (although it doesn't look like he's been paying attention when it comes to Sun systems :).  To see what exactly the new features are, e.g. 3D desktop effects, app armor, fast user switching etc.,  check this out.

Sun Software

The "Java Stack" (not an official name), which was first included in the Ubuntu 7.04 Multiverse is in 7.10 as well and features updated versions: 

  • JDK6u3
  • NetBeans 5.5.1
  • Java DB 10.2.2
  • GlassFish v1 (ok so this one didn't change, v2 came out too late to make the cut off)

Sun Systems

Also, as I mentioned in an entry last week, Gutsy will support the new UltraSPARC based rack servers -- Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 and the T5220.  Look for more details on this and other platforms coming soon.

Pau for now...

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Linux 2.6.23 is here - LDom support, in like Flint

Earlier this week the latest Linux kernel, 2.6.23 made its debut.  As I mentioned this summer, thanks to the efforts of David Miller and Fabio, support for Logical Domains (LDoms) on the SPARC architecture is included in Linux's latest and greatest .  (LDoms are Sun's core virtualization solution for SPARC-based systems.)

If you want to check out what LDom stuff was specifically added, check out the site and scroll down to "SPARC64" under section 3.6 "Architecture-specific changes. " 

I found this site today by following links and it's pretty cool.  Besides giving the details of what exactly was added to the kernel, among other things it offers up a glossary, an FAQ and links to a cool article called "Who wrote what."  In the article, David Miller scored highly on all the charts and in fact, when it came to "Developers with the most sign offs," he was surpassed only by Andrew Morton and Linus.  Very glad to have David's help!

Pau for now...

BTW:  The reference in the title is to this

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

NextGen UltraSPARC servers are here and Ubuntu's on board

Back in the beginning of August we announced our new T2 UltraSPARC chip and the fact that Ubuntu had already been booted on it.

Well today the systems built around these monster chips (they each have eight individual cores with 8 threads per core) made their debut and once again Ubuntu and Canonical are right there with us. 

The new systems are the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 (the 1U version) and the T5220 (the 2U version) rack servers [there is also the Sun Blade T6320 but that will have to wait until another blog :) ]  These guys have been designed to deliver humongous power and system utilization while at the same time delivering energy efficiency and savings (think of them as green monsters :).

These rack servers have already passed certification on the latest development release of Gutsy (Ubuntu 7.10) and will be certified on the final version to be released next Thursday.  Gutsy has a lot of goodies in it to help support the T2 chips so look for more info next week.

As Ubuntu proved over a year ago, SPARC isn't just for Solaris any more.

    Check out other, more technical blogs on the new systems here

Pau for now... 

Monday Oct 01, 2007

Ubuntu Feisty users get a more graceful Netbeans package


Back in April we announced that the Java Stack was available in  Ubuntu 7.04 (nee Feisty Faun).  This meant that GlassFish v1, JDK 6, Java DB 10.2 and NetBeans 5.5 could all be found in 7.04 multiverse.   The Net Beans package however, as Tom Marble explained, was not what we had hoped to deliver. 

The NetBeans team began immediately working on getting NetBeans 5.5.1, which doesn't have the less than elegant installer workaround, into the Feisty backports.  By July, 5.5.1 was in.  

Since backports isn't turned on by default we want to get the message out to people interested in using NetBeans on Ubuntu 7.04 that there is a simple process you need to follow to get the new improved NetBeans package.

Gutsy, or the soon to be released Ubuntu 7.10 will feature NetBeans 5.5.1 from the get go.


Pau for now...

Wednesday Sep 12, 2007

A visit to Canonical's Worldwide Headquarters

Since I was in the neighborhood last week, after Stockholm I popped over to London to meet with my boss in his natural habitat as well as with the good folks from Canonical.  I also stopped by Sun's City office and gave a repeat of my LinuxWorld presentation.

Simon (the boss) reminisces with Mark Murphy of Canonical about the good ol' days of the UK computer industry.

The houses of parliament from Canonical's breakroom.

Pau for now...

My Keynote at Linux World Sweden

The Venue

When the folks at Sun Sweden told me that the Berns Salonger, where the Linuxworld OpenSolutions Summit was held, was close to the China Theatre they weren't kidding:

Straight ahead, the Berns Salonger where I presented.  On the right, the China Theatre where Dad performed 53 years ago.


My Presentation

Here's a PDF of the presentation I gave: The Stack is Dead, Long Live the Ecosystem (unfortunately somehow in the export process the fonts got a little screwed up so its not as pretty as its supposed to be.) 

The basic theme of the presentation is that with the rise of the Internet and FOSS has come the rise of the Ecosystem.  In this new environment where communities and sharing are central forces the single vendor stack is no longer appropriate.  Whether you are an IT provider or an individual developer you must work with the ecosystem to drive volume and relevance. The era of "Splendid Isolation" is over and its about working together, often with "rivals," to provide choice and flexibility for customers.


I greatly enjoyed my first trip to Stockholm.  I was there for two days and while the first was gray and rainy, the second was gloriously sunny.

The view from my hotel room on the second day.


Pau for now... 

Tuesday Sep 11, 2007

Kuldip Interviews me down at the Studio

I'm back from my European adventures and will blog about it in the next couple of days. First, however, Im finally getting around to posting the interview that I did with Kuldip Oberoi on my way to Ubuntu Live and OSCON.  Kuldip heads Sun's developer marketing and hosts the Software Developer Network (SDN) channel.

Hear me justify my existence and talk about what Sun is doing in the GNU/Linux space. 

To view my interview, you should be able to simply click above.  If you have issues, or want to see the supporting material that accompanied the interview, click here.

This interview is part of a series of GNU/Linux related talks.  As of this posting, the second in the series, an interview with Tom Marble, is now also available.  Following Tom's talk on Sun's open sourcing of the JDK, will be a talk with Ken Drachnik regarding GlassFish and one with Masood Mortazavi concerning JavaDB.

Pau for now...

Monday Sep 03, 2007

Off to present at Linux World Sweden -- Of Opera and Weightlifting

In a few hours I'm off to Stockholm and Linuxworld Open Solutions Summit Sweden, taking place this Wednesday.  Thanks to Patrick, the member of our team based in Sweden and I think the only Liverpudlian in Eskiltuna, I have one of the two keynote slots at the end of the day.  In fact I'll be the warm up act for Marten Mickos of MySQL who'll be the other keynote and final speaker of the day.

Its a small world after all 

What makes this trip particularly cool is a small world story that my Dad told me recently.  I told him I was going to be presenting in Stockholm and he told about how he almost became a Swedish opera star. 

Dad winning the gold at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952

In 1953, a year after the picture above was taken, my Dad was competing in the world weightlifting championships held in Stockholm.  He and a teammate were relaxing before the meet and singing operatic arias and duets and were overheard by a Swedish sportscaster named Bengt Grive.  Through a series of connections the sportscaster got them hooked up with a singing coach and booked for a week's run at the China Theatre, a very famous venue of its day. 

My dad asked me to keep a look out for the theater when I was there and see if it was still around, thinking that most likely it had been knocked down and turned into a parking garage.  If it was still around he wanted me to get a picture of it.

Well in chatting with the folks in Stockholm, not only is the theater still around but it turns out it is part of the same exact same complex where the summit is being held! 

When I'm there I'll definitely get pictures of the place and it will be interesting to see if they have any historical archives on site and Ill see if I can find any record of the event.

Turning his back on Stardom

Although the engagement went well and they cut a record (a 78 I think) due to obligations back home dad had to forgo stardom in Sweden.   He did return however in 1989 when Swedish television brought him back for a "This is your Life" type show for Bengt. 

Well this is my first trip to Sweden and who knows what fame and fortune await me! (I do know that given that I didn't inherit my Dad's voice,  it probably wont involve singing :)

Pau for now...

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

Linux World SF07 and "Frienemies"

Last week I was out in the Bay Area to attend Linux World SF.   I had been hearing about how the show was dying and/or on its last legs and was therefore pleasantly surprised by what I found. 

A virtualzied Ubuntu running at the VMware booth.

A Change in Tenor

The only other Linux World SF that Ive been to was last year's so I cant say first hand what it was like back in the day but from what I hear, it seems to have changed from being developer focused to being more business focused.  Other shows like OSCON and Ottawa Linux Symposium, its safe to say, are drawing more of the Linux developer crowd these days. 

For me the show was a great place to meet and compare notes with people doing my job at other companies like Dell and IBM as well as getting to chat with smaller companies like SugarCRM and orgs like the Etherboot project [Etherboot's president Marty Connor whom I met for the first time is a total howl and must doing something right since I think he said he had three summer of code interns working on his project]. 

While there were the ultra slick gianormous booths like those hosted by Motorola and Novell, I found a lot of the more interesting stuff back in the .org pavilion.  Back there is where you found folks like Postgres, the FSF, Debian, the Linux Foundation, Eclipse etc.  And speaking of Postgres, I grabbed Josh Berkus for an interview and its now a part of my podcast backlog that I will continue to whittle away at.

Debian and FreeBSD in the .org Pavilion.

Keynotes and Bad-itudes

Because of meetings and other events like the T2 launch, I unfortunately missed the keynotes/talks.   It was during one of the Dell sessions that they announced that they would be offering Ubuntu pre-loaded in the UK, Germany and France.  And it was during Andrew Morton's  Conference Kickoff  where he talked about getting involved with the Linux kernel and made the comment:

"I think it's a great shame that OpenSolaris still exists," he continued. "I wish they had killed it. They've fragmented the non-windows OS world and for no reason. There is no reason why they couldn't have gone to Linux."

Now the this-town-ain't-big-enough-for the-two-of-us stance is what I call a "bad-itude." 

Switch "Linux" with "Open Solaris" and you have the view held by most folks at Sun not so long ago (and Im sure still a few today).  Although the change began before he took the helm, since Jonathan became CEO a little over a year ago I have seen a real change at Sun towards providing our customers with choice and the realization that one size doesnt fit all.  This is why we resell Red Hat and Suse, work very closely with Canonical/Ubuntu and encourage sales of Solaris on systems from "competitors" such as IBM, Dell and HP.

The hi-tech world is no longer binary and you cant simply point to the "bad guys."  As I discussed with my peers at IBM and Dell, these days we're all "frienemies." We compete aggressively in some areas and partner closely in others. 

Oh, brave new world.

Pau for now....

Thursday Aug 09, 2007

Dell and Ubuntu go Euro (and take OpenOffice with them)

Less than two and half months after Dell and Canonical began shipping Dell machines preloaded with Ubuntu in the States, they've jumped the pond.  You can now get an Inspiron 6400 notebook or a 530N pre-loaded with Ubuntu in the U.K., France and Germany.

Congrats guys on the growing relationship and thanks/merci/danke for bringing Openoffice, pre-loaded on tier-one boxes, to European consumers! 


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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