Friday Jul 17, 2009

Interview with OpenSolaris Enthusiast Octave Orgeron

Reviews Interactive recently spoke with OpenSolaris enthusiast and influential blogger Octave Orgeron about the new OpenSolaris 2009.06 release. Octave is a Systems Architect with more than a decade of professional experience in designing, deploying and supporting Solaris solutions for the enterprise. He has been involved with OpenSolaris since the beginning and actively contributes to the OpenSolaris Logical Domains (LDoms) community through blog posts, articles and support.

Octave discussed the new features in OpenSolaris 2009.06 stating "I've found that the desktop integration and increasing amounts of IPS packages to be very helpful and productive for me." Octave also said that Crossbow and Xen have been "of great interest to me" on the virtualization front. However, he claimed the biggest enhancement personally was the SPARC support because of the work and testing he does on the SPARC platform.

Octave also gave his opinion on what the future holds for OpenSolaris, noting that although much of the focus has been on the desktop and user experience, he feels more emphasis needs to be placed on the provisioning, server administration, and support of the SPARC platform. He feels that "doing so will help bring OpenSolaris into the Data Center and help the transition from Solaris 10 to whatever the next product version will be named."
Octave Orgeron
Octave Orgeron
Octave is currently writing a book about Solaris/OpenSolaris LDoms and hopes to keep on contributing in this area. He also plans to start work on projects to address system administration needs and concerns with the long-term goal of helping out with Containers and Xen.

The complete interview with Octave can be found here.

Thursday Jun 25, 2009

eWEEK: Network Virtualization Stands Out in OpenSolaris 2009.06

eWEEK's Jason Brooks tested OpenSolaris 2009.06, as a means to grab a "sneak peek at what's coming down the pike in Solaris." He found Crossbow network virtualization as the "most compelling feature" of OpenSolaris 2009.06. Overall, he was impressed with its flexibility and functionality, and used Crossbow to create "a virtual network with a pair of host systems and a router system" during his testing.
Jason also noted that he found OpenSolaris to be very accessible for new users, "such as those accustomed to using Linux." He also highlighted improvements in performance and functionality of OpenSolaris' software packaging system, which "now consumes less memory and boasts a faster start-up time" for the graphical package manager.

Jason was a bit critical about VirtualBox support of OpenSolaris as a host OS. However, he pointed out that should VirtualBox take fuller advantage of OpenSolaris-specific features, "the combination of VirtualBox and Crossbow could make OpenSolaris the go-to host environment for Sun's desktop virtualization product."

Wednesday Jun 24, 2009

Last Week's OpenSolaris Reviews

1. OpenSolaris automated installs -, 6/21
Bill Hathaway reviewed the OpenSolaris automated installer utility, and shared his source code and instructions. He concluded, "I was happy that it was relatively straightforward to get working, but I think it will be a while before the system has as much flexibility for customizing installs as Jumpstart."
2. OpenSolaris on the ThinkPad -- Solaris Jedi, 6/21
Blogger Christopher Hubbell posted about his early interactions with OpenSolaris on his laptop, saying he was excited about using OpenSolaris after being dissatisfied with Windows and Ubuntu. Chris concluded, "At the moment everything I do, including web browsing works well and is responsive under only 1GB ram and a 1.1 GHz processor. Sweet."

3. Configuring jumpstart to install Solaris on a ZFS root -- Blog O'Matty, 6/21
Blogger Matty created a ZFS root pool and associated file systems, and shared the code for how he did it. He also noted that "it's nice having the various ZFS features (checksums, snapshots, compression, etc.) available in the root pool!"

4. Solaris Zones Parallel Patching --, 6/19
The blogger reviewed the Solaris 10 Zones Parallel Patching feature, saying that the getting functionality from the feature is simple and leads to "significant performance gains in patching operations."

5. OpenSolaris Receives New X Server, Mesa -- Phoronix, 6/18
Phoronix's Michael Larabel said that the newly released OpenSolaris SXCE Build 116 has an updated X stack, and brings in X Server 1.6 and Mesa 7.4.

6. OpenSolaris 2009.06 -- Technology Geeks' Heaven, 6/23
Blogger Ananth Gouri posted instructions for installing OpenSolaris 2009.06, noting that he "could get the Desktop and I could check my Gmail too using Firefox and most of the other applications seem to work flawlessly."

7. Solaris 2009.06 (and 2008.10) on an HP nc4010 Laptop -- UNIX Administratosphere, 6/17
Blogger David said he updated to Solaris 2009.06, and while he found it to be a smooth install, he found installing from text mode undocumented. He shared a few steps that helped his install.

Thursday Jun 11, 2009

OpenSolaris 2009.06 Review in Ars Technica

Ars Technica's Ryan Paul examined OpenSolaris noting that this third major release "introduces support for SPARC hardware and also brings improved Windows interoperability and advanced virtualization capabilities. Along with 2009.06, Sun is also announcing the first-ever release of the OpenSolaris ARM port, which could bring the operating system to mobile devices."
Ryan highlighted the increase in prepackaged software to 2009.06 as well as the introduction of Project Crossbow and time slider. "The time slider, which is probably my favorite OpenSolaris feature, got several enhancements in 2009.06. The new version has a button for manually initiating a snapshot and has support for deleting snapshots. There is also a new tool for exploring the version history of an individual file," he noted.

The reviewer then turned his attention to the OpenSolaris port for the ARM architecture, providing some history as well as the steps the project has taken with 2009.06. "The OpenSolaris ARM port is also a promising development that illustrates the growing versatility of the operating system," Ryan concluded.

Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

OpenSolaris in ZDNet, Solaris Zones in Linux Journal

ZDNet’s Jason Perlow took a first look at the latest release of OpenSolaris and blogged about his findings. Overall, he was quite pleased with what he saw, noting “the June 2009 (2009.06) release of OpenSolaris provides a solid Open Source GNOME desktop experience like that of a modern Linux distribution combined with the scalability and stability of UNIX. OpenSolaris
Jason stated that this “evolutionary” build of Sun’s OS delivers a refresh of all major open source packages and provides a “comparable user experience to most Linux distributions.” He went on differentiate today’s modern Linux distributions from OpenSolaris, which “comes from a commercial UNIX pedigree and blends both mature UNIX SVR4 kernel code developed by Sun Microsystems for its Solaris 10 enterprise server OS with a mix of code which was originally proprietary.”

Jason concludes that this mix of enterprise class features, open source tools and binaries offers “the best of both worlds.” He goes on to highlight OpenSolaris attributes such as stability, scalability in the context of processor, ZFS and networking support in the OS.

His final conclusion: “OpenSolaris 2006.09 is indeed a significant release for the project and is an excellent enterprise workstation and server OS, and I’m looking forward to tracking future progress of the developers working on it.

In a recent edition of Linux Journal, Victor Burns provides an in-depth how-to article on Solaris Zones. In the piece, he showcased how his company, Texas Instruments, has used Solaris Containers to combine Linux and Solaris resources together within one physical environment. He noted, “when lx branded zones are used in conjunction with the ZFS (Zeta-byte File System), Linux environments are able to do more, faster.” Victor began with some background on zones, introduced and presented the necessary tools and detailed each step in the zone management process.

Monday Apr 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last week's JavaFX, OpenSolaris and MySQL reviews

JavaFX continued its strong introduction to the developer blogs. IBM developer/blogger Bob Balfe called JavaFX the "most pervasive platform in the world," and discussed it being an Adobe Flash killer. He concluded saying, "I am sure we will be hearing more about JavaFX in the near future." The blogger from Softified gave a thorough introduction to JavaFX, as well as tips for downloading, coding, and sample applications.

OpenSolaris and ZFS received positive praise from bloggers this week. The blogger from Me, Myself and I said that the Solaris version of the Cg Toolkit was a "nice Solaris package" that worked "flawlessly" in OpenSolaris. He also noted he "can't wait for the native Skype port, especially for OpenSolaris." Blogger Teodor Milkov discussed operating systems supporting DTrace, highlighting Solaris and OpenSolaris. After installing he said that "everything was smooth... I was thinking about playing with ZFS these days anyway."

MySQL use in the enterprise was the focus of a post from Enterprise Systems this week, discussing the scalability of MySQL for business use. Author Richard Cooley said that "MySQL is scalable if you look at the entire architecture and not just at the database tier," noting that prominent MySQL users include Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and WordPress. "If these companies can run portions of their companies on MySQL so can you."

Monday Mar 30, 2009

Now Available: Solaris Platform Optimized for Nehalem

Today we announced that the Solaris platform, including the Solaris 10 OS and OpenSolaris, has been optimized to provide performance, energy efficiency and reliability enhancements for the new Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, formerly code named Nehalem.
Herbert Hinstorff, Director of Datacenter Software Business Management at Sun, joined me to talk about Sun and Intel working closely during the Nehalem chip development process to optimize the Solaris platform for the processor.

Listen to the short segment below to learn how some of the Nehalem features can be taken advantage of only in the Solaris platform.

Tuesday Feb 24, 2009

OpenSolaris Tips & Tricks

1. Booting OpenSolaris in verbose mode -- Levent Serinol's Blog, 2/17
Levent Serinol presented a step by step guide on how to boot OpenSolaris in verbose mode.
2. Comparing Drobo and DroboShare to an OpenSolaris storage server -- Caffeinated, 2/16
Nathan Fiedler replaced his Drobo storage appliance with one he built using OpenSolaris. He noted that "the recent releases of OpenSolaris are remarkably easy to set up and administer," and he found ZFS to be the most "amazing file system on the planet" since it encouraged easy set ups for storage pools and file systems. In his opinion, OpenSolaris was "the best choice" since it supported SMB, NFS, iSCSI, and AFP apart from running reference implementations of ZFS.

3. Mirrored swap with ZFS on OpenSolaris -- chrismiles, 2/13
Chris Miles recently installed OpenSolaris 2008.11 on his development server and liked the fact that out-of-the-box it installed with zfs root filesystems. In this post, he demonstrates how to set up a mirrored swap parition using ZFS.

Monday Feb 16, 2009

OpenSolaris 2008.11 Reviews

1. OpenSolaris 2008.11 - What is right, and what needs work -- printf ("Totally out of ideas.\\n"), 2/9
For the blogger, the first step of installing OpenSolaris went very well and the boot in the full install was "impressive." Though he faced a couple of driver and sound related issues, he concluded that his final impression of the OS was great. He said, "Kudos to the people who are working on that end of OpenSolaris. Nice and easy to use, and from my experience, takes care of all the dependencies. It is on par with modern Linux distributions, if nothing else."
2. Building netatalk on OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- Caffeinated, 2/8
Nathan Fiedler had been using Drobo via a DroboShare as a Time Machine backup for his MacBook Pro. However, Nathan ended up replacing Drobo and DroboShare with a server running OpenSolaris. He ended up using OpenSolaris over Linux specifically because of ZFS. "If you don't think ZFS is the most rocking' file system on the planet then you haven't watched the three hour presentation. It's absolutely fascinating."

3. First experiences with OpenSolaris -- Antonio's Blog, 2/5
Antonio Vieiro provided feedback on his first experiences with OpenSolaris and was happy with hardware support, multimedia software, faster and better access to Windows share, OpenOffice 3.0, and great graphics amongst others. He concluded that not only did OpenSolaris offer great Gnome support, but also offered great features to Linux users thus making a great contribution in every released version.

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

OpenSolaris Review in Enterprise Networking Planet

Enterprise Networking Planet's Charlie Schluting examined OpenSolaris with a eye on the network and system administration features of the OS.
With respect to the user experience, Charlie wrote, "one could say that since the GNOME desktop is used, running OpenSolaris is no different from running Linux." However for the administrator, Charlie asserted there are considerations that must be explored.

Charlie focused his evaluation on the "not-so-obvious considerations" that must be a part of choosing an administrative OS. By way of example and through his experience with OpenSolaris, Charlie provided insight into the areas of installing packages, the Java VM, networking utilities and virtualization.

Overall Charlie found that "OpenSolaris is easy to work with as a desktop." Further, he noted that features such as xVM and ZFS snapshots "provide a big advantage." "In the end, it's all about what features you wish to have, and what features you can handle pulling your hair out for," he concluded.

Saturday Feb 07, 2009

Recent OpenSolaris Experiences

1. OpenSolaris Gets Updated X.Org, Mesa Stack -- Phoronix, 2/3
Michael Larabel from Phoronix noted that with the latest bi-weekly release of Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE), the X Server as well as the Mesa stack had been updated. The updated X Server brought numerous improvements and the updated version of Mesa allowed for improved open-source 3D graphics. He added that all the other X.Org 7.4 drivers and components had also been updated in this latest OpenSolaris build.
2. Using OpenSolaris 2008.11 as desktop for one day -- /dev/urandom, 2/2
The blogger describes his experiences about using OpenSolaris as desktop OS. Most of the applications he use on daily basis were already installed except for OpenOffice, which was available for install from the package repository. The blogger liked the Time Slider feature. Overall, he found OpenSolaris "a promising OS, with a few quirks."

3. OpenSolaris -- Characters and Spaces, 1/31
Jason R. recently installed OpenSolaris on an old server to use the OS as a file server. Though Jason was still trying to figure out the magic combination of CIFS, encryption and media streaming software that would give him an easy-to-use, centralized, and secure location to manage and share information, he noted that the server was working pretty well. Jason added, "I couldn't be happier with OpenSolaris, and am seriously considering the viability of a switch to using it on my laptop. I've been nothing short of impressed."

4. Linux, XP, OS X, BSD or OpenSolaris -- ThothTech, 1/29
The blogger was on the lookout for a suitable and stable OS to take over his aging Win XP machine. He tried out several different OSes, and in regards to Sun's offering he reported, "I did install and test out OpenSolaris and it's pretty good. I like the power of the ZFS where you can scroll some scroller and it brings you 'back in time' to view old copies of your file/folders of how they look like."

5. Font Fun in OpenSolaris and Beyond -- eWEEK Blogs, 1/27
Jason Brooks had been running OpenSolaris 2008.11 for a while with mostly good experiences. He noted that one of the roughest edges on OpenSolaris was the system's font rendering within the Firefox Web browser. Jason understood that this is primarily because of an intellectual property situation and found some font substitution options available on the internet for OpenSolaris and for Linux.

Saturday Jan 31, 2009 explains open-source storage's Carol Sliwa has recently penned a nice article on open-source storage.

"Open-source storage software is freely available, but it's the rare IT department that's willing to cobble it together with hardware to build a storage system.
IT organizations are typically so worried about data loss that they tend to favor storage products from established vendors. That's why Sun Microsystems' new Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems billed as "open storage appliances" and formerly known as Amber Road, have created a stir in the market.
The Sun stack includes the OpenSolaris operating system, with its default ZFS file system featuring simple administration, end-to-end data integrity and scalability. OpenSolaris supports not only NFS but CIFS, through an in-kernel implementation, to enable file access with Windows-based systems."

Check out the entire article here -- it's a pretty good one!

Thursday Jan 08, 2009

OpenSolaris 2008.11 User Experiences

1. My first impression of OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- /dev/urandom, 1/3
Trying out OpenSolaris within VMWare, the blogger found the installation quite straightforward. To him, OpenSolaris looked like any Linux distribution with gnome. After having a good time with OpenSolaris, he was certain that he would surely spend more time on it and recommended its use to others too.
2. OpenSolaris 08.11 first impressions -- TechPad, 1/2
The blogger had recently installed OpenSolaris 2008.11 and his initial impression was that it was "really cool." He installed it on VirtualBox on Ubuntu and noted that "installation was a breeze." After a quick overview on how to customize several features, the blogger highlighted his favorites including the Time Slider. After using OpenSolaris for some time, he concluded that it was "definitely well worth a look" for a serial OS installer.

3. OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- Niq's soapbox, 12/31
The blogger liked OpenSolaris 2008.11 a lot, as it gave him a smoother and easier experience than 2008.05 and offered more up-to-date goodies than SXCE. He noted that the installation process was very smooth and easy, but points out couple of issues like lacking fdisk facility. The blogger was optimistic, however, and said that he would make a few adjustments and looked forward to migrating all of his work to the OpenSolaris platform if all went well.

4. My OpenSolaris story --, 12/31
Ryan de Laplante had been keeping an eye on Solaris since 2005 when he just knew Solaris as "big iron - a rock solid OS that government and banks relied on." He adored functions such as the containers, resource manager and SMF. Ryan found OpenSolaris 2008.11 the best release yet and he is looking forward to the 2009.05 release.

5. OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- Raju Alluri's Personal Blog, 12/27
Raju Alluri downloaded and installed 2008.11 using VMWare, and experimented with different networking options like Host and Bridged. Raju was pleased to see that everything worked clean and fine, though he mentioned that the full screen mode of VMware server console was the real workable mode for this installation.

6. OpenSolaris 2008.11 on the test machine -- Kommando Linux, 12/24
The blogger's OpenSolaris 2008.11 installation went without much trouble. He had concerns about the EULAs in the software and promised readers a full review of OpenSolaris soon.

7. OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- Matjaz Skraba, 12/21
The blogger touted OpenSolaris 2008.11 as a powerful and complete operating environment for users, developers and deployers. He gave an overview of OpenSolaris's various features and concluded by saying that the new release of OpenSolaris 2008.11 brought the first few platforms to support suspend and resume to RAM -- a feature that would prove to be extremely convenient for mobile users and necessary for those conscious of energy consumption.

8. Moving to OpenSolaris -- ReWinD Blog, 12/19
Weldon Dodd decided to try OpenSolaris as the new 2008.11 version sported nifty features. After 30 minutes, Weldon got the ISO downloaded and was soon greeted by a desktop with Firefox and other features, all ready to go. He said he was extremely excited about using OpenSolaris as he had heard that there were a few people who had Firefly Media Server running on OpenSolaris. He concluded, "This is going to be great!"

9. Goodbye Linux, I'm in love with OpenSolaris -- Antonio's Blog, 12/19
Antonio had been using Linux for a very long time now and was completely devoted to it, until OpenSolaris came along. He noted that OpenSolaris 2008.11 was easy to install and contained great features such as ZFS, boot environments and SMF. Antonio found that its performance was great too. He noted that the key factor that inspired him to make the switch to OpenSolaris was the presence of a great community which was very helpful.

10. OpenSolaris 2008.11 tested -- Heise Open Source UK, 12/17
Oliver Diedrich believed that with the release of the new version 2008.11 of OpenSolaris, Sun made further progress not only in terms of user friendliness but also in terms of integrating the special Solaris features into a modern desktop environment. After making the latest release of OpenSolaris undergo a series of intensive tests, Oliver concluded that OpenSolaris 2008.11 did meet the goal of offering Linux users a familiar work environment. He concluded, "It is now more suitable as an operating system for NAS filers, and for SAN storage."

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.

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."




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