Monday Jun 01, 2009

OGB Town Hall tonight!

I've made it to CommunityOne West and am enjoying the first set of sessions and just wanted to remind you all that the OpenSolaris Governing Board is doing our first Town Hall in room 305 of the Moscone Center as part of CommunityOne West.

Thursday May 28, 2009

OGB TownHall June 1 6PM!

The current OpenSolaris Governing Board will be holding our first Town Hall open forum on June 1 at 6PM.  This event is part of the CommunityOne West events and will be in Room 305 of the Moscone Center.  Hope you can make it!

Wednesday May 20, 2009

Free Solaris and Java training

This is pretty cool - Sun Learning is offering a Career Stimulus Learning Package for free - there are some Solaris system administration classes, some Java and JavaFX classes and resume templates on the site. If you're a Sun Alum who has left the company within FY09, there are even more classes and some discounts offered.

Thursday May 14, 2009

Community One West

I've just registered for CommunityOne West on June 1-3 in San Francisco's Moscone Center! I am actually excited about my first CommunityOne event, and my first chance to meet directly with community members since beginning my term on the OGB (OpenSolaris Governing Board).

The OGB will be doing a Town Hall on Monday at 6PM, so please come over, get to know us, and tell us what's on your mind!  You can see this event and many others on the detailed schedule wiki. I am happy to see some security related talks! There is one by Dr. Christoph Schuba, a fellow Boilermaker, on Role-Based Access Control and the Cryptographic Framework, and another by Scott Rotondo and Secure Programming.

I'm not sure when registration closes, so if you want to go, sign up soon!

Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Storing ZFS backups in the cloud...

I'm still coming up fully to speed on Cloud computing and was just reading about this new tool from Glenn Brunette that uses existing OpenSolaris features, like ZFS and the Solaris Cryptographic Framework, to back up data securely to the Cloud. Pretty neat!

Friday Apr 24, 2009

SEED panel, RSA booth duty and Take Your Kids to Work Day

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel of folks talking about open projects started from within Sun, at a conference for SEED Mentoring participants.  I enjoyed talking with people from all over the company and really enjoyed learning more about the other open projects. Of particular interest to me was the speaker, Durgam Vahia, from the OpenSPARC project. He mentioned a recently released FPGA that was made possible because of OpenSPARC and was released by Xilinx.  The board, based on the T1 microprocessor can be up and running with Solaris in about 30-45 minutes and is a great way for students or any interested parties to learn about the SPARC architecture.

That afternoon, I worked in the Sun booth at the RSA conference.  Even though our booth was a bit off the beaten path, I still saw a lot of traffic coming our way. People were really interested in the OpenSolaris LiveCDs and hearing about the latest things we have been up to in Solaris Security.  We also had an SCA 6000 card and a UltraSPARC T2 motherboard. The mother board was an odd "demo" - considering it had no power supply/memory/etc, and I really wished I had the OpenSPARC FPGA I had seen earlier that day :-)

Of course, I got several of the inevitable  questions that I couldn't answer (really because I don't know anything, but even if I did, I still couldn't say).

Yesterday was a fun and crazy day, starting off bright and early with an OGB meeting, followed by a few Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day activities. I got to see the Project Wonderland demo, which was very cool - and the kids enjoyed playing the games, then I was lucky enough to have lunch with the girls from TechBridge.  Their passion for science and math was truly inspiring!

Tuesday Mar 24, 2009

Yay! Elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board!

Well, the results are in! I was elected to the 2009-2010 OpenSolaris Governing Board, along with several other fine candidates.  There were so many fine people running, I really had no idea if I would be elected. Now that I have been, I have a lot of work ahead of me, I think!

Unfortunately, the new constitution did not pass, due to lack of voter turnout, essentially. Which is exactly one of the major things the new constitution was trying to fix.  Basically, in the existing constitution, in order to get voting rights in communities and recognized for your efforts, you need to become a core contributor. The elections depend on all core contributors turning out and voting, but it turns out that many of them are not interested in general governance, but rather just their community.  The proposed constitution separated the rolls of electorate and contributor, so only those interested in governance would be required to vote.  Alas, it did not pass.

I am looking forward to this extra challenge and I am now definitely inspired to make sure I leave a positive mark on the community!

Thursday Dec 18, 2008

encrypt command will suddenly no longer be annoying!

Thanks to a fix from Dina Nimeh's latest push of changeset 27f403fbf8ca, the next OpenSolaris release will now prompt you twice for the passphrase it uses to generate the key to encrypt your data with. This is a long overdue change, one that I can't believe we didn't do sooner. The way we implemented it before, it was too easy to lose your data if you made a mistake the first time you put in your passphrase. Yay!

Friday Dec 12, 2008

Rough Cut of Solaris Security book published!

I'm about to become a published author! Okay, currently I'm just credited as "Sun Microsystems Security Engineers", but it is a step in the right direction.  Our organization found that a lot of papers and books out there on Solaris security were out of date, just plain wrong or missing coverage of cool features, so we thought what better way of setting the record straight then writing our own book?

Management got behind this, and many of the members from our organization set to writing an outline for the book and for each chapter and found an interested publisher.  Next came the hard part - writing the actual chapters! Okay, it wasn't that hard, because we all wrote about the technology areas we know and love, but we had to make tough calls on what to leave out and make sure we didn't miss any critical information.  Once we got all of our drafts together, Sharon Veach edited our work and wrote the introduction for the book, Solaris Security Essentials. The book is on Safari right now for review before we publish - please leave comments on the Safari site so nothing gets lost. The external link only shows excerpts, so if you are internal to Sun, please create a login using your Sun email address and look at the Sun Internal link.

I worked with Jan Pechanec and Darren Moffat on the Solaris Cryptographic Framework chapter, which is all based on Solaris 10 Update 4.  We leveraged work from my previous white paper and an updated paper by Wolfgang Ley. Some chapters appear to be missing still, but I'm sure they'll appear on the site over the next few days.

During this process I was told I use too many exclamation points in my writing, which (apparently) makes readers tired. How strange is that?

Wednesday Dec 10, 2008

OpenSolaris 2008.11 officially released!

Seems like ages ago when I was testing the first release candidate on my laptop, but I guess it was really less than a month ago. I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly we are turning around these releases and getting them out the door.  I am pleased that NWAM works so much better on 2008.11 than on 2008.05, it's good to know the team took all of the feedback they got from the previous release and incorporated a lot of good changes. For example, I now have the ability to bring up the NWAM GUI and request to change networks when the one I'm on is no longer desirable (or I've found that I chose poorly when given the initial selection).  I can't wait to try this out in a conference environment, where access points change every time you go into a different room.

I'm still running Nevada development bits on my desktop, though, as it's SPARC based and we don't have OpenSolaris for SPARC yet.  It's still the same base kernel & most of the same utilities and applications, so I am still doing valuable testing on the latest & greatest... but, let's face it, not nearly as cool. :-)

Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

Neil Young and the Linc Volt in Menlo Park!

Neil Young brought his Linc Volt, reconditioned classic 1959 Lincoln Continental Mk IV, to Sun's Menlo Park campus today to give employees a chance to see the car and the singer up close. The car is now a hybrid, powered by natural gas and lots of batteries. I was surprised at how well it was done - hiding the batteries where the convertible top normally folds down, the engine under the back seat and the generator in the front. Why did Neil drive it to Sun's campus today? Because the car uses Java to monitor performance. I'm not huge car nut, but do like Neil Young and appreciate cool technology so I definitely enjoyed myself.

Thursday Oct 02, 2008

neat workaround for broken harddrive

So, I'm anofficial blogger for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing ... and my laptop hard drive dies. Read errors. Sense errors. Oh, joy. It is a brand new laptop - this being my first real use of it (other than installing Solaris on it, configuring VPN and verifying the system worked).  Jim Hughes, a chief technologist at Sun, had the brilliant suggestion of using the OpenSolaris Live CD we included in all of the bags for everyone here at the Grace Hopper conference. Lo and behold, after an extended boot time, it worked! I'm online again. I can't access my Sun account, since my VPN keys are on the dead hard drive, but I can blog... it's something.  The extended boot time is caused by the Live CD attempting to mount all devices, which includes a dodgey hard drive...

I guess I can facebook too... ;-)

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

We've switched!

Things are starting to settle down now that mercurial is up and working for ON's Solaris development. I've yet to have done a push myself, but have approved several RTIs, updated the RTI nits documentation, and am preparing more updates to other sites as well.   I'll be returning my focus to FIPS and US Governement export regulations on cryptography shortly, and hopefully doing a few more blog updates.

Friday Aug 01, 2008

Mercurial or bust!

Things are so crazy for me right now, getting ready for ON's switch to Mercurial next week. To get ready as ON CRT chair, I had to update the RTI nit documentation, so folks would know what they were expected to do.  Thank goodness for all the great help from the SCM migration team! Now that that's done, I'll try to get back to my "real" work and all my missing blog entries... :-)

Friday Apr 18, 2008

Security Ambassadors

I'm sitting here in one of the last sessions of the Sun Security Ambassadors conference, and thinking how lucky I was to be able to attend - getting the opportunity to learn what we are doing wrt to security in all our different GEOs, get in depth information into emerging security technologies, and I got to hear from some excellent luminaries in this field: Matt Bishop, Radia Perlman, Susan Landau & Michelle Dennedy.  We've had a great agenda and I feel like my team and I will have a lot to take away from this.

With Sun Security Ambassadors this week, and RSA last week (more on that later), I've been away from my email and "day job". That means a lot of catchup for next week!  


Valerie's former weblog. The new one can be found at


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