Tuesday Jun 02, 2009

Goodbye CDE...hello OpenSolaris!

I've been using OpenSolaris at home and on my laptop for months, but was still running Nevada builds on my SPARC desktop in the office... with CDE (you know, that super old, yet super fast, Common Desktop Environment).  Well, I got a new desktop recently which is Intel based, and with the brand spanking new release of OpenSolaris 2009.06, it seemed like I needed to move into the 21st century.

While I would still like an "advanced" installer, I do think the installation went amazingly quickly and very smoothly. I had to make several adjustments to the system after installation to get it running with NIS on the Sun internal network with a static IP address, and download some of my favorite software - which was so easy with the "pkg" command! This release is much faster and smoother than what I have been running on my laptop - clearly time to upgrade that as well. I was pleased to see how easy it was to install flash and acroread as well.

The problems didn't really start until I logged in with my Sun internal home directory mounted - when I found I had some horribly ancient and mostly broken GNOME configurations (probably from the last time I seriously played around with it, back in S9 or early S10 days). gnome-cleanup took care of that and got me to a nice clean GNOME login. A few minor adjustments so that things like mouse-over to make active for windows, and a change of my default gnome-terminal preferences and I'm mostly off and running.

I also hit problems with my .xmodmaprc file, as it apparently used "keycodes" which do not translate between Xsun on SPARC and Xorg on x86. Thanks to one of the desktop team members, Michael, he told me about "xev" and that it would be the keycode lines in the file I needed to fix. With a few tweaks, my ergonomic keyboard is now behaving just the way I like it.

I did try a modern mail reader, ThunderBird, but after being annoyed it didn't believe most of my mail folders were actually mail folders (due to missing IMAP leading message), and how annoying it was to save to the folders it did recognize, I switched back to pine after about 10 minutes. (yes, I know there is a newer version of that software, alpine, but I don't like that one either ;).

Now I just gotta figure out what to do about my network calendar being stored in a format for dtcm ;)

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!

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!

Friday Mar 06, 2009

OpenSolaris Governing Board Candidate Positions and Bio

I am so honored to have received a nomination for the OpenSolaris Governing Board election for 2009-2010. I am currently a staff level development engineer in the Solaris Security Technologies group at Sun Microsystems, where I am a core member of the Solaris Cryptographic Framework team.  I am running with the approval and support of my  management.


I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, where I was first exposed to Sun hardware and the Solaris operating system. One semester the engineering department took back the SPARCStation5's they had lent us and we found out they were going to be replaced with Intel boxes running Windows.  I joined the group of rabblerousers that wanted to continue to do our work with Solaris, and we soon found ourselves with a lab full of Intel machines running Solaris 2.5.1. :-)

That summer, I did an internship with Amoco Oil (now BP) and got a job as a systems administrator for Solaris & SunOS machines. I fell in love with the big iron, the desktop systems and the operating system and decided then and there I wanted to work at Sun.

I joined Sun early in 1997 in the Solaris test group, starting out as the gatekeeper for the Solaris Test Collection. I was the first gatekeeper to actually version the test suites by the OS they were developed for, which was a great relief going forward for the sustaining organizations - who now found that they could run the Solaris 2.6 tests successfully on 2.6 patched systems, without worrying about test changes introduced to support new features.

It's been a long time since then, and I have found myself working in sustaining on the SunScreen bridging firewall appliances (back before appliances were cool), as an architect for the network address translation component of the layered releases of SunScreen, IPsec, as a developer for the Solaris Cryptographic Framework, and actively working on simplifying access to cryptography in Solaris and in OpenSolaris.

While here, I have worn many hats, in addition to my "day job". I have been representing Solaris for defect tracking concerns for ten years, was the technical lead for the Operating Systems and Networking (ON) consolidation for Solaris 10 Update 1, worked closely with the webRTI team on their initial deployment and successive updates, worked with the OpenSolaris sponsor program, and am the Chair for the ON Change Request Team.

Additionally, I spent 3 years on Sun's Security Ambassadors Board of Directors, where I evangelized Solaris security features, assisted customer facing engineers find the tools and the contacts they needed to get their jobs done, and helped organize our annual conferences.

I am a Core Contributor in the OS/Net (ON), Security and Tools communities.

I believe in the open community. I have worked on getting many defect tracking enhancements done to improve community access, like pushing for external bug update notification emails, coming up with the concept for and assisting in how to implement the Public Comments field in bugster, working with people to open their bug tracking components to the world, and am currently involved in attempting to move us to a solution where external developers can participate on equal footing.

I am also a huge proponent of women in technology, starting with involvement with the pilot Women in Science program at Purdue and restarting the Women in Computer Science program there as well, and most recently as an official blogger for the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conferences.

If there is anything that being a woman in technology has taught me is how important community is - without it, women in technology abandon the field.  I know we have problems with the OpenSolaris community and I want to help make this better.  Communication is so key to a community (in fact, they share the same root :-), and we all need to work on this area. I don't want the community to disappear.

If I am elected to the 2009-2010 OGB, I hope to use my position on the board to help accelerate the seemingly stalled true opening of defect management for OpenSolaris, engender open communication with Sun, and build this community up to what I know it can be.

Hobbies & Personal Information

I was raised in Fort Wayne, IN and was formerly a Bubb (hence the handle, bubbva on IRC and here).

In addition to writing code and reviewing RTIs,  I love to ride my bicycle, perform in various community theater groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, read, listen to music, sing, ski, bake, take pictures, neglect my personal website due to all of these activities and spend time with my husband and my very demanding Ragdoll cat. And I can't get enough of American Idol Season 8... :-)

If you got this far, I'm impressed and I really do appreciate your vote.

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!

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. :-)

Friday Oct 03, 2008

GHC08: Final Night

What a fantastic conference this has been. Unlike many other conferences I've attended, I seem to have no downtime. I'm constantly networking, attending sessions, blogging... and this year, fighting an uncooperative dying laptop. The energy here is fantastic, the balance of technical talks with "soft skills" is perfect. I only wish we all had more time together, that the sessions were longer, and the breaks were longer (for more networking). Of course, that would only be possible if the conference itself were longer... but a woman can dream, can't she?

I staffed the Sun booth yesterday morning, fielding all sorts of questions on OpenSolaris, Solaris Security, types of jobs we do at Sun, opportunities for students and just general questions about what Sun does. I enjoy what I do here, so getting an opportunity to talk about it was a true pleasure. If I missed any of you at the booth, please send me an email or drop me a comment here.

While here, I got to meet so many students, I think I even met all of the students and faculty from Purdue as well. I really enjoy hearing about the new research and areas of focus.  The conference is only 50% students, though, so I also met so many inspiring career women.

Tonight Sun hosted a small private reception for the Sun employees and some outstanding women we all met throughout the conference. It was great to talk more in depth with these women, but again it seemed we just did not have enough time as we all rushed off for dinner provided by Google and Microsoft. Yum!

In addition to healthy, delicious food and cute t-shirts (Microsoft's t-shirts being made from bamboo and organic cotton - yay, Microsoft!) we again had DANCING! Imagine hundreds of women (and about 5 men) line dancing. Truly a site to behold. Unfortunately, I didn't bring the cable for my camera, but hopefully photos will be uploaded soon. It was quite a site to see!

Now I'm tired and need to start sorting through my stuff to see what I can fit in my suitcase. All the giveaways in the bag this year were really good, and anything folks didn't want someone has been collecting to give to charity.

Until next year :-)

Valerie Fenwick


Valerie's former weblog. The new one can be found at http://bubbva.blogspot.com/


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