Thursday Mar 13, 2008

Sun and NSA open community project to drive security for OpenSolaris

This morning Sun and the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) announced a cool new community project.  Together we have kicked-off an open effort to integrate an additional form of mandatory access control (MAC) based on the NSA's Flux Advanced Security Kernel (FLASK) architecture into OpenSolaris.

Talkin' to the man

Yesterday I was able to grab Mark Thacker who head's up marketing for Solaris security and virtualization to learn more about what this is all about.

My Interview with Mark (10:56)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • Working together to integrate FMAC based on FLASK. Responding to customer and developer requests for strong security and familiar APIs
  • Looking for a few good ideas. 
  • How can developers get involved? Where should they start? (hint: check out this link)
  • You don't need to give up your privacy to participate (e.g. no retina scans required) and don't have to be a U.S. citizen.
  • How Trusted Solaris morphed into Trusted Solaris extensions.
Pau for now...

Wednesday Mar 12, 2008

Still More OGB Interviews: Peter Tribble, Rich Teer, Al Hopper, Jim Grisanzio

Here are four more interviews that I've conducted with the OGB candidates since my post this morning. 

This set kicks off in Cambridge (UK) with Peter Tribble and then heads west to British Columbia and Rich Teer.  After that my next call took me due north of my location here in Austin, to Plano, Texas where Al Hopper is.  For the last call I spoke with Jim Grisanzio who is currently on vacation in Florida.  Enjoy!

Peter Tribble (7:44)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Rich Teer (7:46)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Al Hopper (8:30)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Jim Grisanzio (8:30)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg) 


And with these we now have an even dozen.  Lets see if any of the others decide to go for it (I did hear from Stephen Lau who is on vacation in Vietnam and is without decent phone connectivity.  Given the circumstances Ill send him the questions I've been asking everyone and let him reply by email).

Pau for now... 

Update (March 13):  I've since heard from Ken Mays and Alan Coopersmith.  Look for those on Monday. 


More OGB Interviews: Simon Phipps, Michal Bielicki, Glynn Foster, Justin Erenkrantz

With yesterday's interviews for the Open Solaris Governing Board I took a virtual trip around the world and visited four countries. 

My first "stop" was the UK where Simon Phipps was riding out gale force winds.  From there I headed across the channel and over to Germany where Michal Bielicki described the conditions as dark (probably having to do with the fact that it was 8PM there).  I then ventured south, across the dateline and into the future to New Zeland to chat with Glynn Foster.  Finally I returned to North America and the US to speak with Justin Erenkrantz.  I wonder if I can get virtual frequent flyer miles?

Simon Phipps (8:02)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Michal Bielicki (7:28)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Glynn Foster (7:36)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Justin Erenkrantz (7:32)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

More to come

I have four more candidates lined up for this afternoon so look for those tomorrow.

Pau for now...

OGB interviews: Michelle Olson, John Plocher, John Beck, Ben Rockwood

Here are the first four interviews for the Open Solaris Governing Board

The first brave individual to step up was Michelle OlsonJohn Plocher followed close behind on Friday and on Monday I taped John Beck and Ben Rockwood.  Enjoy!

Michelle Olson (7:42)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

John Plocher (7:44)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

John Beck (7:26)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Ben Rockwood (8:50)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

More to come very soon, 

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...

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... 

Tuesday Jan 22, 2008

OpenSolaris + Ubuntu + Sake = Memories

I love playing matchmaker.  I was therefore psyched that Jim Grisanzio and Mako were able to hook up while Mako was visiting Tokyo.  Not only did the two of them get together but a few folks from Ubuntu Japan also joined the party.  (In fairness, I think it was Jim who joined Mako and the Ubuntu'ers).  Check out the scene at Jim's blog.

My Life as a Salary Man 

All of this makes me natuskashi about the four years I spent right out of college in Japan.   After an initial stint as an English teach (which gave me the time and resources to study the language) I became a salary man at Sony.  I joined their international advertising group but soon busted a move to the UNIX workstation team. 

Here I am with a bunch of my co-workers showing off Sony's line of computers circa 1990.

For those who don't remember (which is probably everyone), in the second half of the 80's Sony had a workstation named NEWS (Network Engineering WorkStation).  A Japanese OS and the long list of Japanese ISVs made NEWS a big hit domestically but didn't carry much weight outside of Japan.  We tried all sorts of things but companies like Sun, Apollo and DEC had the market pretty well sewn up.  Just to give you an idea of how tough the field was in the US at the end of '88/beginning of '89, the HP 9000/370, Apollo DN 4500 and Sun 3/4000 were all using the Motorola 68030 which ran at a scorching 33MHz!

Welcome to the Boomtown

Tokyo at the end of the '80s/beginning of the '90s was a very exciting place to be.  It was the height of their bubble (and a little bit of the deflating) and yen was flowing like mizu.  They were bringing in the best designers, architects and artists from around the world and things were looking pretty uber hip.  I had a cool six tatami mat apartment about 10 minute bike ride from Asagaya station.  There were tons of tiny cool jazz and blues bars right near the Asagaya train tracks that I hung out at.

I've only been back to Japan once since I left.  About five years ago I went to help with a marketing course at Sun Tokyo.  It was great to be back and i went and visited my old 'hood and hit the bars at Asagaya. 

I'll need to find another excuse to get back.

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...

Wednesday Dec 12, 2007

Sun FOSS Contests and Awards

Back in August I mentioned that Sun was sponsoring two FOSS contests, one in Scotland and one in India.  Well, the winners of the first Scottish Open Source Excellence Award were J.P. Morgan and Enterprise Management Consulting Ltd.  Congratulations to them both! 

Simon presented the awards in Glasgow (the "miles better" campaign obviously worked) at the end of November:

The boss in a bow-tie??  I didn't know they rented bow-ties ;)  (picture lifted from press release)

The contest in India, Coding for Freedom, still has a couple months to go and will be wrapping up on Valentines day, Feb 14, 2008, with the winners announced in March. 

...That's what I want

Speaking of India, Simon used his keynote on Friday at to detail Sun's announcement that we will be embarking on a multi-year, multi-million dollar award program for Free and Open Source communities.  While the program is global, as Simon explained in his blog, "I'm announcing it in India because that's where I expect the greatest open source community growth to come from in the near future"

The first Open Source Community Innovation Awards Program will be organized around six communities: GlassFish, NetBeans, OpenJDK,, OpenSolaris and OpenSPARC.  Starting in mid-January, each of the six communities will announce details on how the program will work in their specific area  with prize winners being announced in August 2008.

Stay tuned for more. 

Dec 12 Update: Here are more details from Simon as well as his reaction to the reactions. 

Pau for now...

Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Talking with Bruno Souza - Brazil's Java man

After a great Thanksgiving break I'm back back and ready to blog.  Picking up where I left off before the break, here is my third interview from Sun's internal FOSS summit.

At the end of the second day I was able to grab time with Bruno Peres Ferreira de Souza (or more simply, Bruno Souza) who was up from Sao Paulo for the event.

The Interview with Bruno (9:35)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Bruno and his buddy Juggy the Java Finch. 

Who's Bruno?

Bruno is a recent returnee to Sun (or "boomerang" as they're called around these parts) and wears a bunch of hats including:

Some of the topics we tackle

  • The fortuitous timing of Bruno's return to Sun
  • What he did on his time away from from the fiery orb
  • His involvement with the Java platform from alpha on
  • The Software Livre community in Brazil and the experience from the OSI he brings to it
  • What people should eat when in Sao Paulo


Can't get enough of Bruno?  Check out this video interview from last month on netbeans TV.

 Pau for now...

Friday Nov 16, 2007

Chattin' with Glynn Foster of GNOME Indiana

Here is my second interview from Sun's internal FOSS summit

I caught up with Glynn Foster, Mr. Mellow, at Sun's Santa Clara campus the day after he had returned from the Open Solaris Summit at the University of Santa Cruz.

The Interview with Glynn (10:07)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Glynn once shot an OS in Auckland just to watch it die. 

Who's Glynn?

Glynn, a former emerald islander, switched hemispheres about four years ago and now calls New Zealand home.   From his outpost down-under (and to the right) he serves in several capacities within Sun and the community:

Some of the topics we tackle:


Pau for now...

Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

Open Docs Update: Original list done, working on the next batch

I wanted to give a quick update on the Open Document project that we kicked off back in June. With the publication of the Schizo PRM on Monday, we have made public the original list of chipset docs that OpenBSD had asked for (see table below).

In addition to these we have posted a few others and have started work on new requests from various communities, including more from OpenBSD and some from OpenSolaris.  You can check out the complete list along with status of each at the Open Hardware wiki page.  The wiki page also gives instructions on how to request a document that you are interested in.


The Original List from OpenBSD

Schizo Safari to UPA and PCI host bridge Manual 

Gem Gigabit Ethernet 2.0 (GBE/P) Manual 

Cassini GigaSwift Ethernet 1.0 UTP Manual 

Tomatillo JIO, Jbus to PCI host bridge Manual 

Fire Jbus to PCI-Express root complex Manual 
Errata doc 
Delta doc 

Cheerio PCIO, Multi-function PCI bus device Manual

Psycho U2P, UPA to PCI host bridge Manual

I would like to give a big shout out to the engineers and legal folk here at Sun who've taken this on in addition to their day jobs without additional resources. Mucho Mahalo guys and gals!

Pau for now...

Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

OpenSolaris: To 3 or not to 3, that is the Question

Well we're at an exciting point here on the "eve" of the release of GPLv3.   In light of the impending release the question has been raised, does it make sense to dual license OpenSolaris under both CDDL and GPLv3?  As OpenSolaris is already licensed under CDDL this means that the question on the proverbial table is whether to add GPLv3.  Obviously, since GPLv3 has not been released, its difficult at this point to definitively pledge support for the license or to rule it out.  That being said, however, it is an appropriate time to start soliciting opinions from the community(ies).  Whatever the final decision is, it cant be one that Sun makes in a vacuum or that is dictated to the community.

Stephen Harpster, engineering director for OpenSolaris, kicked off the dialog a week ago by soliciting feedback from the community on the idea of dual licensing Open Solaris under GPLv3  .  The funny thing is no one responded...just kidding, it has produced a maelstrom of impassioned responses.  Rather than trying to sum up the nature of the comments im going to take the easy way out and point you to Stephen O'Gradys blog from Saturday since he has done a great job of  capturing the issues. 

So thats the topic of the current community and its members...what about new members we want to attract?  One of the biggest reasons that Sun would look to add GPLv3 is to win over new converts to  "Free" Solaris and to grow the community by bringing in folks from the GNU/Linux world.   What I personally would love to see is for the GNU crew to take the Solaris kernel, wrap it in a GNUserland and create a distro that would be as easy to install as Ubuntu (which I, a marketing guy, installed recently in six easy steps that caused no feelings of  inadequacy or anxiety).   We could keep a rocket-scientist Solaris distro but why shouldnt there be multiple distros based on the Solaris kernel for various user types?

So this leads to the question, what does the FSF, the champion of GPLv3, think of all this?  Rather than pondering via inference and guesswork, we asked them.  At the end of last week, Stephen, Simon, Sara and I held a call with Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF, and a team from the FSF to get their thoughts on the possibility of dual licensing OpenSolaris.  Peter and crew were very receptive to the idea and gave us some thoughts to ponder.  It was a very good call and we ended with Peter and team agreeing to put their heads together and think through the most effective way they could help us with our decision.   The FSF'ers recognize the sensitivities around the topic and were going to give a think about how to weigh in and in which forums would be most appropriate to share their views with the OpenSolaris community as well as  Free Software advocates.

Im very interested to hear what they come back with.  Stay tuned...


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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