Monday Dec 22, 2008

VirtualBox review in MacWorld

MacWorld's Rob Griffiths reviewed VirtualBox 2.0.6 recently. He analyzed the various features and performance of VirtualBox 2.0.6, ranging from the setup and user interface to the speed of using OpenOffice and rich media files in VMs.

In all parts of the review, Rob found VirtualBox to provide consistent performance running various software, though it did not have the "niceties" of its commercial competitors. For example, he found that "Windows XP Pro runs nicely in VirtualBox-as long as your needs are relatively straightforward."

VirtuaBox was noted as supporting 35 different operating systems, and Rob briefly described the process of installing them. Rob also discussed running office suites on VirtualBox, saying that the speed of running OpenOffice and Microsoft office was satisfactory in both cases.
Sun xVM VirtualBox
Of the features described, Rob was most impressed with VirtualBox snapshot capabilities, complimenting the ability to create multiple snapshots that didn't take up much drivespace.

In closing, Rob said, "if your virtualization needs don't include top-shelf performance, DirectX support, 64-bit guest OSes, or multiple-CPU support, VirtualBox is a viable alternative to both Fusion and Parallels. Once you're up and running, however, VirtualBox's VMs worked quite well, and I found them more than capable of handling routine computing tasks in both Windows and Linux."

Friday Dec 19, 2008

OpenSolaris 2008.11 User Reviews

1. OpenSolaris 2008.11: Its Time Is Coming -- Red Devil's Blog, 12/12
Steven Lawson was tempted to try OpenSolaris 2008.11 upon reading two articles that made bold statements about the OS. The first article asked the question of whether or not OpenSolaris 2008.11 would appeal to Linux users, to which Steven answered in the affirmative. The second article questioned whether or not the new OpenSolaris tackles Ubuntu dominance. To that, Stephen believes OpenSolaris is a worthy competitor that does not quite "tackle" Ubuntu, but could very well do so, and soon. After spending a few days looking at OpenSolaris 2008, Steven was pleasantly surprised to come across many feature rich applications that it offered. He gave a thorough tour of the features and shared his favorites. Lastly, Steven assured readers that the software was well worth investing some time and disk space on, and hoped that he would soon hear more about this OS in the future.
2. OpenSolaris 2008.11 Released; Time Slider, New Package Repositories and A Lot More --, 12/11
Charles Ditzel spent some time loading the latest version of OpenSolaris 2008.11, a process he described as being absolutely "painless." Charles noted that its new Wi-Fi feature quickly detected his network, making the installation very easy. After the installation he was pleased to discover that OpenSolaris 2008.11 used ZFS end-to-end, meaning that it was now bootable. He noted that the new Time Slider feature was another "huge and compelling reason" to use OpenSolaris. Finally, Charles was absolutely delighted to see a wide variety of new features, such as new package repositories, inclusion of NetBeans 6.5 IDE and Eclipse, a new print manager, ZFS support for separate read and write caches, and big CIFS performance improvements.

Thursday Dec 18, 2008

NetBeans 6.5 reviews from developers

1. PHP Support in NetBeans 6.5 -- SitePoint, 12/16
Kevin Yank was impressed with NetBeans 6.5. He highlighted that NetBeans not only supported Java but also Ruby and PHP out of the box, which should appeal to all web developers. He wrote, "Surprisingly, that support is so good that it now compares favorably to more established competitors like Eclipse, Komodo IDE, and Zend Studio." He concluded his post with high praise for the IDE. "NetBeans isn't a toy for learning Java anymore. These days, it's a powerful, multi-language development environment that's free for the taking. If you work on sizable PHP projects and you're not using an IDE like NetBeans, you might be surprised at how much time a tool like this can save you!"
2. NetBeans 6.5 (now with Python support) --, 12/16
Radim Marek noted that the flexibility of NetBeans was becoming more and more important for many of his personal projects. He was impressed with the much improved Java support and C/C++ integration features, which helped him create the same environment on all the different platforms he was using. He was also pleased that Python support was now available as standard plugin or as a standalone platform. According to Radim, NetBeans is turning into a perfect replacement for any solution currently available. As a developer, it is difficult is to even consider switching to different IDE, but he urged his readers to give it a try: "After a first couple of hours, it's clear winner."

3. NetBeans review -- GS Design, 12/15
Gabi Solomon, a long-time fan and user of Zend Studio, had been hearing a lot of buzz about NetBeans 6.5 and decided to give it a try. Gabi noted that the NetBeans interface was very intuitive and easy to use. He added that support for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and all the major JavaScript frameworks was a major plus for the IDE (and something he missed in Zend Studio). He further noted that the autocomplete templates were another useful feature, adding that these features were crucial when working on large projects. Among the other features that Gabi found appealing were the Refactoring and To-do List options.

4. NetBeans UML Plugin Just Got Better -- Another aL, 12/11
Joni Farizal downloaded and installed NetBeans 6.5, and used it to make UML diagrams for documenting his system. He demonstrated a few key features in NetBeans that are useful when using diagrams, including the floating toolbar and snapping object location function. He added that he hoped NetBeans would continue to improve.

Wednesday Dec 17, 2008

MacWorld's 3.0 review

MacWorld's John Brandon reviewed OpenOffice 3.0, calling it a "a powerful productivity suite" and evaluating the individual applications in the suite. Brandon said that version 3.0 is a "major upgrade over the previous version, with plenty of new features, native OS support, and all the tools most people would need to get their work done."
Now with native OS X support, Brandon found 3.0 to be "extremely fast," and noted he formatted a 200-page novel "at lightning speed." Brandon also found the same speed with Calc. Among other new features like OpenDocument 2.1 support, Brandon highlighted Writer's new editing notes that mimic Word's comment bubbles and a zoom slider on the status bar. The new workbook sharing feature was also liked by the reporter, as well as new importing capabilities in Impress, and overall multi-monitor support.

The reviewer found that the suite was missing the latest format templates in Office 2008, as well as other smaller features like Office's notebook view, multi-page printing and calendaring applications, though he noted this is "not a major gripe" as there are many options available.

Brandon summarized these updates by saying, "if you don't need all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Office, check out 3, a free productivity suite that has many of Office's capabilities." Overall, Brandon said, "it's speedy, feature-rich, and does what it says it will do very well. And if that's all you really need (and if you can live without the latest Office features), it's definitely worth the effort."

So try today!

Tuesday Dec 16, 2008

OpenSolaris 2008.11 review in Enterprise Networking Planet

Enterprise Networking Planet's Charlie Schluting published a review of OpenSolaris 2008.11, saying that the release "comes with even more software packages than before, more hardware support, and a few nifty features revolving around ZFS." Charlie also rhetorically asks and responds, "The question we cannot avoid is, 'can it replace Linux?' Yes, yes it can."
Charlie discussed the new Image Packaging System (IPS) in this release, calling it "something that has been missing from Solaris for years." Now, server administrators can quickly install over 1500 packages that enable them to have a vendor-authorized Solaris server. The "really interesting part... is that it's much safer in OpenSolaris to update the entire system," Charlie said in reference to the new "boot environment" feature. The Time Slider feature was also highlighted, calling it "very easy to enable," and that future versions of OpenSolaris should add ZFS replication support to enable full backups.

After listing other "interesting additions" like Project COMSTAR and Auto Install, Charlie said, "this new set of features for OpenSolaris is definitely a step in the right direction." While Charlie noted he's looking for future releases to include CUPS, SPARC support, and additional packages in the main repository, he feels that for full support OpenSolaris needs the huge Linux community, which he thinks will eventually happen.

In conclusion, Charlie said to "take OpenSolaris seriously, and also try it out."

Monday Dec 15, 2008

VirtualBox Reviews

1. VirtualBox for workstation virtualization -- Shawn Ruff's Blog: Database and Other Technology Topics, 12/9
Shawn Ruff opted to try VirtualBox when looking for a new virtualization product. His installation went very well and he felt that the "look and feel" of VirtualBox was "very intuitive and easy to use." Shawn is still getting into the details of VirtualBox, but adds that initial feedback is really good especially taking into consideration that it is a free product.

2. VirtualBox and Oracle Enterprise Linux -- Johan Louwers Personal Blog, 12/9
Johan Louwers tried to get an Oracle Enterprise Linux running in VirtualBox on his Mac and received an error message. The bug is reported to Sun and Johan has posted a workaround to this issue.
Sun xVM VirtualBox
3. VirtualBox 2.06 released by Sun Microsystems -- Michael Harper's Tech Blog, 12/4
Michael Harper described the "beauty" of VirtualBox by saying that it let him run in "seamless" mode, creating an illusion that a Windows application was actually running on his Ubuntu desktop. Michael also liked the ability to add as many OS's as you want on VirtualBox. He added that VirtualBox also offered fine tuning options, along with the ability to "save the current machine state" and pause on the guest OS, saving its layout and current view.

4. VirtualBox v2.0.6 -- PC Softs, 11/28
The blogger commented on VirtualBox saying, "Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL)."

Thursday Dec 11, 2008

Ars Technica review: OpenSolaris 2008.11 is a major step forward for Sun

Ars Technica reviewed the OpenSolaris 2008.11 operating system recently. The new version boosted hardware compatibility and brought some "impressive improvements that illuminated the potential of OpenSolaris as a desktop platform," reviewer Ryan Paul commented.
Ryan noted that the release offered a diverse assortment of applications ranging from development tools to multimedia players, as well as highlighting the open source ZFS filesystem as "one of the most impressive technologies in Solaris." OpenSolaris 2008.11 was praised for raising the functionality of ZFS' "sophisticated storage pooling system and a number of other nifty features, including support for rich snapshotting," through a ZFS snapshot visualization feature in Nautilus.

The reviewer added that as OpenSolaris is Sun's desktop-oriented open-source distribution of the Solaris operating system, it was designed with a strong emphasis on ease of use, and was intended to provide a fully functional desktop system right out of the box.

In conclusion, Ryan said that "OpenSolaris is making progress and is steadily becoming a more viable contender on the desktop. Major new features like the ZFS snapshot visualization that expose some of the platform's rich underlying functionality are a good sign that the developers are moving in the right direction." While the competition from Linux is still strong, "the advantage is that OpenSolaris provides another choice... I think that it is impossible to overstate the importance of competition as an instrument of progress."

Try OpenSolaris 2008.11 today...

Wednesday Dec 10, 2008 3.0 User Reviews

1. -- Francis U. and Mary F. Ritz Library, 12/1
Tina Kiernan recommended users to opt for since "it is available in multiple languages for download and, let me repeat, is free!" Tina described the various features offered by OpenOffice that include word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, and database creation.
2. Absolute Beginners Guide to OpenOffice 3.0 Writer -- Tech Babble, 11/30
According to Travo Cadavo, OpenOffice is gaining popularity amongst users around the world partly due to it being free and partly due to it being an amazing tool. He specifically liked some features such as saving as doc, saving as pdf, a great spell check library, and an easy to use interface that he really enjoyed. He wrote, "OpenOffice for me has just been an amazing journey past what Microsoft can offer."

3. OpenOffice 3.0 -- HBH Technology Blog, 11/29
Harry Hiles found 3.0 to be the best OpenOffice release yet, placing it on an even keel with Microsoft Office. He had "completely migrated" to OpenOffice for his document, spreadsheet and presentation needs. Delighted with OpenOffice he exclaimed, "There's nothing that I can't do with OpenOffice, and the best feature of all is that it is free!"

4. 3.0 - Who Said that if Free not Good? -- BrotherSoft Editor's Blog, 11/27
Raymond was glad to see that some great alternatives to Microsoft Office had been developed and improved throughout the years. He highlighted his favorite new features and enhancements for 3.0. "When 1.0 was released, no one could believe that software this good could be free of charge," he enthusiastically added, touting OpenOffice to be a "truly complete office package" which made transition from the Microsoft Suite much easier.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2008

More NetBeans 6.5 Developer Reviews...

1. NetBeans 6.5 Released With PHP And Grails Support -- The Untangled Web, 12/2
James is happy with the "bushel basket of enhancements and improvements" in NetBeans 6.5. Highlighting the inclusion of PHP and Grails as the most noteworthy of the new features, he felt that developers will save hours of frustration by speeding up coding practices with code-completion and debugging features.
2. My New IDE: NetBeans -- Kevin van Zonneveld, 12/2
Kevin tested out NetBeans 6.5 as an alternative to his usual IDE, Eclipse. He immediately found NetBeans easier to use. Kevin was surprised to see how SVN, CVS, CSS, SQL and even support for jQuery were already included, whereas in Eclipse it all had to be added manually. He also mentioned that adding features was simple, and the plug-in system always "just works."

3. Best IDE IN JAVA - NetBeans 6.5 OpenSource IDE -- Fall in to Java, 12/2
Mahasarathi described NetBeans as a free, open-source IDE for software developers that offers all the tools users needed to create professional desktop, enterprise, web and mobile applications in Java, C/C++ and a variety of dynamic languages. He found it extremely easy to install and could use straight out of the box.

4. NetBeans 6.5 review -- CodeUtopia, 12/1
Jani Hartikainen tried out NetBeans 6.5 and its new PHP related functionality. He cited examples of NetBeans being better than Zend Studio with code-assist for built-ins that displays more information and links to PHP manual. He was elated with "free" NetBeans offering more features than the commercial big names. He concluded, "NetBeans 6.5 is officially my new favorite PHP/web-dev IDE."

5. And now NetBeans 6.5 is there in my Ubuntu-8.10 -- James Selvakumar's Blog, 11/30
James Selvakumar, who had been using NetBeans since version 4.1, found the recent 6.5 release simply "fantastic!" He loved NetBeans because it was fast, responsive and sported amazingly new cool features. James also noticed that installing NetBeans in Ubuntu was very easy, and hence decided to give it a go on his Ubuntu-8.10.

6. The Elegance of NetBeans -- Drawing a Blank, 11/30
Jason Whaley had used Eclipse for approximately 90% of his work on Java applications. He decided to give NetBeans 6.5 a quick try and was pleasantly surprised to notice that its maven integration was as simplistic and direct as one could have imagined. Jason remarked upon the elegance of the IDE and how seamlessly it integrated with his Mac OS X UI.

7. NetBeans Rich Client Platform: A Seven-Part Video Series --, 11/29
Charles Ditzel noted that even in a world filled with Flex, JavaFX and SilverLight, Rich Client Platform (RCP) and plugin (or module)-based systems like NetBeans and Eclipse could flourish because RCP platforms offered the best ways to create large, coherent, distribute and modular applications. He informed users that there were many examples of NetBeans RCP applications, out of which the most compelling one was BlueMarine.

8. NetBeans, your IDE, and your community -- John O'Conner's Blog, 11/25
John O'Conner submitted a bug against NetBeans 6.1. When a NetBeans engineer was able to evaluate the problem, John received an email loaded with comments and questions just for him. He exclaimed, "What an amazing experience! I was impressed by the team's commitment to engage with its community, to interact directly with an individual." He was even more surprised to get another follow-up email letting him know that the bug fix had been integrated into NetBeans 6.5.

9. NetBeans 6.5 + Glassfish v3 Prelude + Jersey 1.0 -- Simon's Blog, 11/24
Simon was excited to witness the release of some great software coming out of Sun Microsystems, and commented, "I recommend giving a new combination of Sun software a try: the just-released NetBeans 6.5 IDE; the just-released Glassfish v3 Prelude app server; and Jersey 1.0." With this combination, developers can design, implement and deploy web services in a very timely and productive manner.

Monday Dec 08, 2008

Positive 3.0 and StarOffice 9 reviews in InformationWeek today


InformationWeek's Serdar Yegulalp posted a review of five open-source office suites, including 3.0 and StarOffice 9. Serdar shared positive feedback on both 3.0 and StarOffice 9, finding that overall, "it's hard to go wrong with as a default choice. Aside from enjoying the support of both Sun and IBM (albeit in different ways), it's expanded its cross-compatibility with Microsoft Office, making it that much easier for people to migrate and continue existing work."

For 3.0, Serdar said that it "is an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, step forward from 2.0," finding that the major changes were a series of small new updates. These updates included native Mac support, feature additions to Calc and Impress, and updates to the PDF exporter. Serdar complimented 3.0 for being "completely document-compatible, and it's both slightly faster and every bit as stable as the original."

StarOffice 9
In the review of StarOffice 9, Serdar noted that the product features were very similar to 3.0, but this commercial version of the software also brought support, bundling, and deployment. In addition to the benefits of the Thunderbird and Lightening extensions, Serdar said that Sun has made major contributions with the "galaxy of add-ons they've written for the system." Some of these add-ons, such as the PDF editing and weblog publishing tools worked well for basic editing, but other options provided more advanced editing. However, Serdar "especially liked the MediaWiki extension... which lets you edit and publish directly to or from sites that use the MediaWiki software (Wikipedia, for instance) without needing to know the MediaWiki markup language."

Thursday Dec 04, 2008

Now Available: JavaFX 1.0!

Today we formally announced JavaFX 1.0!

It is a significant advancement to the Java platform that marries the functionality to build RIA with immersive media and content for web browsers and desktops.

Among the key innovations in JavaFX is a Drag-to-Install feature and a unique unified development environment, which provides an application deployment model for building expressive RIAs across desktops, browser and mobile platforms.
This release includes three components: the JavaFX Development Environment, the JavaFX Production Suite and the JavaFX Desktop.

The new JavaFX mobile emulator will allow developers to preview their applications on the forthcoming JavaFX mobile platform, available to Sun's mobile partners in Spring 2009.

The full product details, 80+ code samples and tutorials are now available here. Check out the JavaFX videos at ChannelSun. And here are the top 10 things to know about JavaFX.

The JavaFX blog is posting a round up of blogs and press so far today.

Download JavaFX 1.0 and try it NOW -- you'll be amazed!!!

Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Phase-Change Archiving

The future of digital archiving for university and college libraries could lie in phase-change memory technology, according to Chris Wood, CTO for storage and data management at Sun Microsystems.

In his speech at the recent meeting of the Sun Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), a gathering of university librarians and archivists in Baltimore, Chris said that phase-change memory technology is likely to be a successor to aging magnetic storage technology for librarians and archivists.

The older magnetic storage technologies have almost hit their limits physically. Disk density is slowing. Tracks per drive are becoming a challenge. The more tracks are condensed, the more possibility of inaccuracies in the stored data. The capacity of optical storage technology (DVDs and CDs) is growing, but improvements have slowed significantly due to the fact that the consumer electronics business does not see a requirement for vastly increased capacities, Chris says, blunting cost effectiveness and leading users to seek alternatives. Flash memory has made great strides recently, but it also is approaching physical density limits.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Phase-change technology relies on materials that change characteristics when exposed to heat (rather than electrical charges, as do current storage media). Its development is progressing rapidly, making it a possible alternative to flash memory for archival storage in 3-5 years. Additionally, phase-change memory does not wear out like current flash memory implementations after multiple write cycles.

Tuesday Dec 02, 2008 3.0 Reviews

1. OpenOffice Shakes Microsoft -- Australian IT, 12/2
David Frith notes that does "almost everything MS Office does but, unlike the Microsoft product, it's free... No cash upfront, no licensing fees, no advertising support." The article notes, "Steve Ballmer recently told a US business users' conference OpenOffice is the only one that Microsoft regards as serious competition... In the first four weeks after release, OpenOffice 3.0 was downloaded more than 12 million times."
2. OpenOffice 3.0 a fresh blow for Microsoft -- The Sydney Morning Herald, 11/25
Adam Turner reported that Microsoft's cash cow Microsoft Office seemed to be under threat with the release of 3.0. He wrote, "The free OpenOffice suite replicates much of the functionality of Microsoft's stalwarts such as Word and Excel." Adam noted that not only did OpenOffice run faster on Leopard, but it was well deserving of being touted as "truly cross-platform." His conclusion: "Microsoft Office still has a place in many organizations, but OpenOffice 3.0 is a viable alternative for many people."

3. Dashboard Concept -- SolidOffice, 11/20
Benjamin Horst had been developing an idea to expand 3.0's Welcome Screen into a more complex home screen, similar to "Google Chrome's new tab screen. He uploaded a mockup to the OO.o Wiki in order to share his Dashboard concept for further discussion, and said that he had some plans to improve the current mockup. Benjamin believed that his Dashboard idea went well with his plans to make OpenOffice feel "more modern, configurable, and social."

Monday Dec 01, 2008

NetBeans 6.5 reviews

1. NetBeans 6.5 - What's New? -- Dr. Dobb's CodeTalk, 11/19
Eric Bruno noted that NetBeans 6.5 is an improved platform that focused on different languages and technologies. Eric observed that apart from including a wide range of new features that include enhanced support for PHP code editing and debugging, language enhancements, and a new debugger with support for multi-threaded debugging, the major addition from Sun in this release was of tools and support for JavaFX projects. He advised developers to take a look at the official NetBeans IDE to learn more about the full set of changes, additions, and enhancements.
2. NetBeans 6.5 -- Javamancy, 11/19
The blogger discussed the release of NetBeans 6.5, saying, "I've been itching to have a plethora of development capabilities integrated into a single unified interface that does not require me to constantly scour the Internet." He went on to predict that the convergence between NetBeans and Eclipse would undoubtedly continue well into the future, but asserted that one of the 'big things' that NetBeans 6.5 brought on a platter, was the long-awaited official support for more dynamic languages. He advocates NetBeans as "part of the primary development rig at DevPal and Javamancy."

3. Simplify Development | NetBeans 6.5 -- N, Varun, 11/20
Varun called NetBeans 6.5 "Only IDE You Still Need," and discussed some of the new features, including a robust IDE for PHP, JavaScript, Debugging for Firefox and IE, and support for Groovy and Grails. Varun wrote, "Combining excellent out of the box experience, compelling features, and a great plugin ecosystem, NetBeans IDE 6.5 is a must-download for developers."

4. NetBeans 6.5 final released, now with PHP support -- JavaMidlet, 11/19
The blogger said that the NetBeans 6.5 release was "the moment a lot of us have been waiting for." He called NetBeans IDE 6.5 a "significant update to NetBeans IDE 6.1," and gave a quick summary of the various features that were added to NetBeans including the new IDE-wide QuickSearch shortcut, a more user-friendly interface, and automatic Compile on Save. The blogger also noted that the availability of enhanced support for web frameworks, the GlassFish application server, and databases enabled smoother functioning.

5. Development Simplified - NetBeans 6.5 Released -- NetBeans Adventures, Java and more, 11/19
The blogger, Sven, informed readers that NetBeans IDE 6.5 was the "latest release of Sun's award-winning open-source IDE that enabled developers to rapidly create web, enterprise, desktop, and mobile applications with Java, C/C++, and JavaScript" and more. He said NetBeans is a "must-download for developers." He further added highlights for Java developers, and said that the IDE also offered an Early Access preview for Python.

6. Congratulations NetBeans (updated) -- Bearfruit, 11/19
Matthew Nuzum had "been using the pre-release versions but as expected experienced some problems that prevented me from using it seriously." Matthew was excited with NetBeans 6.5 because of the simple debugging feature option and the first class status that was given to PHP. He observed that the PHP feature had improved dramatically since the last release, and further requested the NetBeans team to add a Django support built in feature in their next release by saying, "I noticed some of the milestone builds had Django support so hopefully this isn't a far-fetched request."



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