Thursday Dec 31, 2009

Year's last "At a Glance" : Recent reviews of JavaFX, NetBeans, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users shared a variety of top-notch reviews as well as tips & tricks this week for the free virtualization program. A blogger from Showing My Geek, who recently started using VirtualBox, said, “I really like it,” and explained that he especially appreciated “the ability to allot memory for the video of the virtual machine.” Another blogger selected VirtualBox to highlight as the software product of the month and stated, “VirtualBox is similar to Microsoft Virtual PC, but better” and pointed to its wide-ranging support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from wikihow.com posted a VirtualBox tutorial for users who want to “play with other operating systems without having to change what’s on your computer right now.” And finally, a blogger demonstrated how to set up VirtualBox on a Linux host to sync an iPod Touch 2G and said, “I am quite happy (and surprised) to find that this solution works for me.”

JavaFX
Some JavaFX users kept busy testing the features of the new JavaFX composer this week while others continued to test the limitations of the current release. Nick Apperley reviewed the JavaFX Composer and said the templates “are a great productivity booster in JavaFX Composer,” noting that with the tool, all of the options for creating and customizing are centralized in one location. Another blogger compared JavaFX to Flex and said the biggest differentiator favoring JavaFX is its “ability to quickly create fantastic animation and graphs compared to Flex where 3rd party libraries come into play.” Longtime JavaFX blogger Drew designed and shared a new calendar implementation he built in JavaFX to improve his design skills, while Jeff Friesen published a tutorial that details a basic demonstration of the JavaFX PerspectiveTransform class.

NetBeans
Many NetBeans users continued to explore the features of the new 6.8 release of the IDE this week while others continued to report NetBeans success stories in production environments. Adam Bien posted several blogs focusing on his experience with the 6.8 release, with one blog dedicated to the five features that he said, “make NetBeans 6.8 my IDE of choice.” The other blog looked at the new NetBeans issue tracking tool, which he said, “really rocks” because “you get immediate feedback whether it is a new bug, a known one or what the resolution is … without leaving the IDE.” Finally, blogger Nat discussed his use of the NetBeans IDE for his UI automation project and said, “NetBeans is a great IDE for watir testing; I heartily recommend it,” noting that, “its svn integration is better than anything else I’ve used so far.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users were buzzing with excitement over the new 3.2 release candidate, and wrote about the new features of the upgraded program. Blogger Martin from ghacks.net wrote about the new reduction in startup time as well as the new proprietary file compatibility, which he said, “now supports password protected Microsoft Office documents.” Deb Russell from about.com also discussed OpenOffice this week, and recommended the MATH equation editor that comes with the office productivity suite saying it “lets you slip math equations into your documents rather easily.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users shared a plethora of tricks with others this week starting with a blogger from Ubiquitous Talk who published an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to protect active directories with snapshots implemented with OpenSolaris based storage heads and W2K3 or W2K8 servers. A blogger from Simon’s Musings provided a valuable tutorial that goes through “all of the steps from bare metal” to building a version of OpenAFS on Solaris. Finally, a blogger from The Intersect posted a series of workarounds he has compiled for different issues he encountered in OpenSolaris including turning off output flushing, a broken keyboard layout, and a tip for updating systems.

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenOffice & OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox received exuberant praise in both trade publications and on top blogs this week. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy said VirtualBox “delivers tremendous virtualization power” and also noted that it “installs quickly, requires very little study, and includes all the essentials.” Ken Hess from Linux Magazine stated: “Yes, VirtualBox is all that and a bag of computer chips,” while Larry Henry from Lehsys.com reported in a blog titled 'VirtualBox just keeps getting better,' that he has been using the program for eight months and that “it's been just awesome … there's no lag to it – it just works.” Finally, blogger Roger recommended VirtualBox because “the virtualization technology is top notch.”

JavaFX
JavaFX was discussed in a variety of forums this week, including in an analysis piece of the Java programming language by Peter Wayner at InfoWorld. Peter said that while JavaFX requires Java programmers to learn a new language, “the new animation classes may make it worthwhile for highly interactive desktop tools.” Meanwhile, a blogger new to JavaFX developed his first application with the programming language and said “indeed, it's a lot easier to prepare the GUI than plain old AWT,” and also pointed out that “JavaFX is a lot easier way to do the graphics.” Finally, a blogger from Soft-Tech Talks reported “I am amazed with its features,” after testing the GUI development capabilities of JavaFX.

NetBeans
An ever-increasing number of developers made the move to NetBeans this week starting with Glen Smith who reported NetBeans was his choice of IDE for Grails development because “the Mercurial support is just fantastic (and built into the basic install!).” A blogger from TechnologyTales.com made the switch to NetBeans after Eclipse stopped working with his Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade and said “things seemed to go smoothly and it looks to have replaced Eclipse for PHP development duties.” Finally, Quintin Beukes selected NetBeans for its Maven support and said while it doesn't have as large of a feature count as Eclipse, “the features it does have are far more complete and of much higher quality.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users had heaps of praise for the office productivity suite this week starting with Willow Sidhe who described OpenOffice as “the best free word processor out there.” She said: “I use it exclusively for word processing and I actually prefer the program to Microsoft Word.” Don Lindich said he has been using OpenOffice regularly and has “come to prefer it over the latest version of Microsoft Word,” and pointed out that the compatibility with Word is great. Finally, Kent Newsome reported that he was “pretty impressed” with OpenOffice, saying “I'm about ready to call OpenOffice a winner.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts continued to share tips and tricks with others this week, employing some inventive new methods in the process. Beryl Sims created a “visual installation tutorial” that walks step-by-step through the process of an OpenSolaris installation. A blogger at Linux Administration demonstrated how to setup an OpenSolaris client to work with a Linux OpenLDAP server while a blogger at Linux/UNIX succinctly described how to install a Flash player on OpenSolaris through Firefox. Finally, blogger Colin described how to overcome a bug that prevents the install of pkgs on OpenSolaris snv_127 through the Package Manager and command line.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

At a Glance: Recent VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
This week there was a prolific amount of VirtualBox buzz to be found on the Web. Blogger Hardik Shah said VirtualBox “reigns supreme” over all virtualization options on the market stating that “everything is just CLASS EXTRAORDINARY.” A blogger from Fun with IT reported on the migration of a Windows XP virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox and said it “worked even better than I expected,” noting that in VirtualBox “the VM just booted and ran like a champ!” Finally, a blogger from Bill's Security Blog discussed why he used VirtualBox in the setup of a safe environment to perform penetration testing, and also described how to set up and configure VirtualBox for internal networking only.

JavaFX
JavaFX continued to gain momentum this week as developers published new applications and explored new tools. Sten Anderson released a new version of his JavaFX-based music discovery application, Music Explorer FX, updating it to take advantage of “performance and stability improvements” in JavaFX 1.2. Sten reported that the new release “boasts notable performance improvements and some crazy caching techniques.” Blogger Drew from the JavaFX Journey tested blend modes in JavaFX and concluded that “blending can be powerful.” He also published an application that displays the effects of the various modes. Finally, Max Katz posted two tutorials this week, one in which he demonstrated how Exadel Flamingo allows a user to utilize Hibernate Validator-based validation in the JavaFX UI, while in the other he showed how to connect a Seam component from JavaFX to an enterprise back-end using Exadel Flamingo.

OpenSolaris
It was another hefty week of OpenSolaris tutorials, as more and more users blogged about their experiences with the OS. A blogger from toic.org reported that he has been using OpenSolaris for a while and said “I'm quite pleased with it to say the least,” posting an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to set up an OpenSolaris server, using ZFS and COMSTAR to create “a scalable, high-performance, low-budget storage server.” Meanwhile, a blogger from dfusion.com.au posted a step-by-step guide to mounting Solaris NVSv4 using Kerberos onto a Mac, which he reported he has been wanting to do because of Solaris ZFS which “is way superior to any other current filing system. Period.” Finally, OpenSolaris enthusiast Ewald Ertl demonstrated how to copy files to a remote Solaris server using Nautilus in OpenSolaris, which he likes because it “supports the navigation on remote systems with a lot of protocols.”

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users posted dozens of tutorials full of praise this week to encourage and help others to try the free program. The blogger from Gophn.com said VirtualBox is “definitely the epitome of the phrase 'bang for the buck' … especially since it is free,” while also stating: “There is no beating this software's features, performance, compatibility, and probably support.” He posted two in-depth video tutorials to walk a new user through the installation and setup of this “must have program.” Blogger Alex Amiryan reported on his new install of Fedora 11 on VirtualBox saying everything “works just perfectly,” and shared a system startup service he wrote to power on some of the virtual machines in the background at startup. Finally, Jonathan Moeller demonstrated how to install VirtualBox in Ubuntu 9.10 from a terminal window saying, “as ease of installation goes, you can't beat that.”

JavaFX
Several JavaFX developers discussed and demonstrated features of the program in their blogs this week. Blogger Murat Yener described JavaFX as being similar to Flash and Flex but noted that with JavaFX “you have the control of the Flash counterpart of Stage and Timeline directly in the code.” He then demonstrated the functionality of Stage and Timeline in the process of developing an application. Elsewhere, blogger Muhammad Hakim shared his entry in the October JFXStudio challenge, detailing how he wrote the JavaFX app that calculates prayer time for Muslims based on location, and sharing the source code with others to experiment with.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared their tips and tricks this week through a plethora of tutorials. Aaron Gilbert from devtrends.com published a tutorial that demonstrated the step-by-step process of installing and enabling virtualization of xVM on OpenSolaris, which Aaron described as “robust.” Blogger Hiroshi Chonan described how to create an OpenSolaris Live USB stick on Windows with 'dd' utility in his blog, while a blogger from Creation of the Andz posted an in-depth guide to installing the OpenSolaris 2009.06 operating system. Elsewhere, new OpenSolaris adopters expressed their pleasure with the operating system. A blogger from Aello Puppet reported “everything is running without any error,” while a student new to OpenSolaris said he is “having fun playing” with the OS.

Thursday Oct 22, 2009

Tips & Tricks from OpenSolaris Enthusiasts

opensolaris

1. Setting up OpenSolaris Extras Repository for VirtualBox, True-Type Fonts, Flash & JavaFX SDK –- thushanfernando.com, 10/16
The blogger demonstrated how to install and configure the OpenSolaris Extras repository in this tutorial, specifically focusing on the repository for VirtualBox, true-type fonts, and the Flash and Java SDK.
OpenSolaris
2. [Level 2] File ACL... –- stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/15
Stanley Huang responded to a question asking how to copy/backup files with acl, noting that in OpenSolaris “there are several ways to do so,” which he demonstrated in this tutorial.

3. Drupal packages available in OpenSolaris Repositories – at last! –- wcmwire.com, 10/14
The blogger announced the availability of new IPS packages in the OpenSolaris “Contrib” repository, and described how to install them into OpenSolaris 2009.06 in this tutorial.

4. Add OpenSolaris Extras Repository from pkg.sun.com –- rachmatfebrianto.com, 10/13
Blogger Rachmat Febrianto gave instructions on how to access the OpenSolaris repository from pkg.sun.com, as well as how to “see” the available package from the extra repository in this tutorial.

5. [Level 2] How to share screen within 2 sessions -– stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/12
Blogger Stanley Huang gave a step-by-step breakdown of how to share screens with a vendor ssh in order to “monitor” the commands for the vendor keyins using OpenSolaris.

6. Expanding your OpenSolaris NAS –- irrationale.com, 10/11
The blogger followed up on his guide to setting up a Solaris NAS by demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, which he also said mimics changing out smaller disks for larger ones, as well as the addition of disks to the NAS pool.

7. Create tar.gz in OpenSolaris –- .rasyid.net, 10/11
The blogger demonstrated how to make a backup for a public_html directory in OpenSolaris using a tar.gz command.

Tuesday Oct 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, OpenOffice, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
Positive VirtualBox buzz was bountiful this week in the blogosphere with a new VirtualBox user who commented “so far, VirtualBox is AMAZING in my testing process,” noting that it “opens up some amazing possibilities.” Another new VirtualBox user said, “I like VirtualBox so far, it appears to be a useful tool in the toolbox.” A blogger from Tech-Week described VirtualBox as “by far the best free virtualization program on in the Internet,” and gave a tutorial that described how to install and set up VirtualBox, something he noted “is fast and easy.” Finally, blogger Bob Jones reported on his new experience with VirtualBox saying, “I was extremely happy with what I got,” and posted his detailed installation steps on an Ubuntu host.

OpenOffice
There was a bounty of praise for OpenOffice this week starting with a blogger from Frugal in Virginia who said OpenOffice is “super easy to use,” and “allows you many of the same capabilities as Microsoft Office without the cost.” Ghacks.net's Jack Wallen recommended OpenOffice to Mac users as an alternative to iWork saying that although it may look different, “you will find it is just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.” Peter Wayner from Network World also recommended the office suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office noting that “the software reads all major document types.” Finally, a blogger from The eBook Agency called OpenOffice “the real deal,” and said of his experience “so far, OpenOffice is passing with flying colors.”

NetBeans
Praise for NetBeans was easy to find this week amongst the IDE's users. A blogger at Tech-how.com claimed with NetBeans “you get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications,” for a variety of programming languages in an IDE that “is easy to install and use straight out of the box.” A blogger from JavaSign said NetBeans is “the best tool to configure your environment,” and demonstrated how to create dynamic libraries in NetBeans stating that “in 10 minutes spent you can do much more than before with the best GUI ever.” Finally, a blogger from Ruby for Scientific Research said “NetBeans is a great development platform,” and demonstrated how to write and run a jRuby script with a library file from NetBeans.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and Solaris bloggers had plenty of commendations and user tips to share this week, starting with blogger Martin who reported that he regularly uses Solaris at work and recently uploaded OpenSolaris to use on his home system stating: “I always really enjoy OpenSolaris when I run it in a virtual machine under Linux.” Another blogger listed the top 10 reasons to try the Solaris 10 OS, noting that the constant innovation of the OS pays off for the user: “innovation matters, because it saves you money.” Finally, a blogger from Irrationale.com followed up on his recent OpenSolaris NAS guide with a tutorial demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, how to change out smaller disks for larger ones, and how to add disks to the NAS pool in OpenSolaris.

Friday Oct 09, 2009

At a Glance: Recent OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


OpenOffice
New and experienced OpenOffice users wrote about the office suite this week with blogger Nikki reporting that she has “found it to be very user friendly,” saying “it is a great alternative for those who either don't have or cannot afford MS Office.” Another blogger focused his attention on OpenOffice Draw, calling it “a powerful graphics package,” and highlighting the connectors feature between shapes. And finally, long-time OpenOffice user Jack Wallen published a tutorial demonstrating how to install extensions in OpenOffice, with which he said “you can expand the capabilities of this outstanding office suite.”

VirtualBox
VirtualBox users were abuzz this week, posting dozens of reviews and tutorials for the popular program. One blogger posted a short introduction aimed at new VirtualBox users and said, “it's in my opinion the easiest to work with on all platforms and likely the easiest for the beginner,” when compared to other virtualization technologies. Another blogger reported that VirtualBox saved the day by giving her the ability to read .vhd files natively, “without any conversion hoops to jump through,” after setting up Windows with a Cisco VPN running on Linux in VirtualBox. Finally, a blogger excited to have access to Magicjack exclaimed: “Hooray for VirtualBox! I can have my Linux and Windows too!”

NetBeans
NetBeans bloggers had commendations for different features of the IDE this week, with a blogger from Edmonds Commerce Blog working on a project with heavy Javascript requirements reporting that “the excellent jQuery support in NetBeans (my IDE of choice) is making this a real pleasure to work with.” Adam Bien wrote about kenai.com this week and said: “The integrations with the NetBeans IDE is unique – it is very easy and convenient to find and check-out an existing project and nicely integrated chat.” Other NetBeans users focused on helping others, with a blogger from totalprogUS describing how to create your own shortcuts with the NetBeans macro and a blogger from XLAB tech discussing how to access classes and resources from multiple modules in the NetBeans classloader system.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared praise and tips for the operating system this week with a blogger from IT knowledge Indy applauding the OS saying it “is perpetually ahead of the curve in the computer world,” and that it demonstrates Sun's “ability to be innovative and flexible.” Regular OpenSolaris aficionado Stanley Huang described how to decompress rar files in OpenSolaris on his blog this week. And finally, a blogger reported on his successful installation of the 2009.06 release on a “still powerful” Sun V40Z, and gave tips for anyone else looking to install the latest release on an older system.


Thursday Oct 08, 2009

Now available: Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System


Today we announced the availability of the Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System. In this update, Solaris 10 has been extended with new performance and power efficiency enhancements, more streamlined management of system installations, updates and fixes, new updates for ZFS and advancements to further leverage the functionality of the latest SPARC(R) and x86 based systems.

I talked with Larry Wake, Group Marketing Manager, Solaris Software, about what is new and exciting in this Solaris 10 10/09 update. Listen to the short podcast for the details.


Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Blogosphere conversations on OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris


OpenOffice
OpenOffice users wrote glowing reviews of the office suite this week starting with Luc Feyes of Earth Times who described OpenOffice as “the undisputed king of open source software.” Blogger Stephen Lunn from Hyper Gadget stated that “as far as word processors go at least, this [OpenOffice] is one of the best.” Jay Garmon from notebookreview.com published an in-depth review of OpenOffice and said it “will prove utterly interchangeable with Microsoft Office 2003,” for the vast majority of users. Stephen Lilley from ehow.com expressed a similar sentiment when he pointed out that “everything you can do in Microsoft Office you can do with OpenOffice.” Finally, openSUSE forum member Patti, excited about what she noted was increased performance of an OpenOffice 3.1.1 Calc spreadsheet asked, “Am I the only one whose [sic] noticed OpenOffice suddenly got a whole lot better?”

VirtualBox
The steady flow of VirtualBox buzz continued this week with a blogger from Am!NeS0ft's blog describing VirtualBox as an emulator that effectively lets you “have your cake and eat it too.” He demonstrated how to install Guest Additions in VirtualBox which he noted “is a simple process that can be done quickly.” Dave Lopan posted two separate articles on ehow.com relating to VirtualBox, which he described as “an excellent free virtual machine manager, capable of running nearly any operating system on the market.” He looked at both how to install and configure a Linux Ubuntu virtual machine in VirtualBox as well as how to create a shared folder between a Linux guest and Windows XP host.

NetBeans
NetBeans users were singing the praises of the IDE this week with a blogger from C++ Web Services saying he prefers NetBeans because it has: “very good navigation features,” it is “easy to get started,” it has a “no-nonsense user interface with its intuitive features,” and it has a “feature-rich editor.” Another blogger at softwarepoets also declared his affection for NetBeans, noting that it has several advantages over Eclipse including: an “excellent GUI builder,” a “very good module system,” a “mechanism for decoupling called lookup,” a “very good API to build explorers, editors, property sheets, etc.,” and a learning curve that “is not very steep.” Finally, a blogger from Manikandan's Weblog pointed out the easy debugging and troubleshooting environment NetBeans provides stating, “with NetBeans debugger, you can step through the code line by line while viewing status of variables, threads and other informations.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users shared a bounty of tips this week, with a blogger from SolarisNevada providing a series of commands to help users diagnose problems that can affect OpenSolaris shutdown and reboot times. A blogger on HowtoForge.com posted a popular tutorial that demonstrated how to create an OpenSolaris paravirtualized Xen guest under Debian Lenny. Blogger Stanley Huang showed how to change the resolution support of OpenSolaris in a EeePC netbook in order to re-size it for VGA output, and finally, a blogger from Triple Boot, Loading.. wrote a tutorial that walks through a triple-boot setup of OpenSolaris, Vista, and Ubuntu.

Wednesday Sep 23, 2009

At a Glance: Last week's VirtualBox, NetBeans, OpenSolaris and OpenOffice Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users had nothing but praise for the emulator last week, starting with a blogger who has been using it as a testing forum simply stating, “VirtualBox, wow!” He also noted there have been “major improvements in the way this software handles new hard disk installations, and even better handling with Guest additions and integration features of the mouse and keyboard.” A blogger from RedFerret.net has been testing VirtualBox for the past few weeks and said “it's awesome...set up is a breeze and my installation of Ubuntu into a Windows box went without a hitch.” That sentiment continued with a blogger from valiant-ny.com declaring “I would definitely recommend VirtualBox to clients, friends, and even enemies as a useful tool in their arsenal.” Finally, a blogger from TTC Shelbyville stated: “VirtualBox is by far the best free virtualization program on the planet,” noting that it is “hands down an excellent application for home and enterprise users.”

NetBeans
NetBeans users posted plenty of tips, tricks, and tutorials this week starting with a blogger from the Tiju Sujono blog who reported using NetBeans “for all my projects, since it does integrate so nicely with Ruby/Webrick/GlassFish/Mongrel for Ruby on Rails application development.” The blogger discussed a configuration he had developed that uses NetBeans with SQLite in this informative blog post. Another blogger from Tech Solution Logs posted a tutorial that demonstrated how to enhance the usability and appearance of structured documents using the jQuery Java Script library in the NetBeans IDE. Blogger Ruben showed how a user can set up an OpenJPA Enhancer Ant task in a NetBeans Java Class library, while blogger Padam Thapa gave a step-by-step account of how to set up the LLWJGL library with NetBeans.

OpenSolaris
It was hard to miss the OpenSolaris buzz in the blogosphere this week with Tux Review's widely publicized article for Linux users wanting to try a new operating system. The blog simply stated “we humbly suggest OpenSolaris,” and published an in-depth quick-start guide that went through all the highlights of the operating system including OpenSolaris' hardware support, the ZFS file system, its virtualization capabilities, and its performance as a desktop distribution. Also this week, blogger Marco reported on his process of selecting OpenSolaris as the primary server for his home saying he ultimately chose the operating system because, “it's free, open-source, has a good community and probably the best ZFS support of all operating systems.”

OpenOffice
Last week, OpenOffice users praised several features of the multi-purpose office suite starting with Jacqueline Emigh from Linux.com who declared OpenOffice “a winner, by and large,” because it provides both software applications and cross-platform support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from Ethiopian Review stated that OpenOffice “is incredibly compatible with Microsoft Office,” and noted that “OpenOffice has coped exceedingly well,” with use in his day-to-day work. Finally, a blogger reported that she was thrilled when OpenOffice was able to completely handle a critical PDF file and an Excel file, saying “OpenOffice handled it like a charm...there were no formatting errors and the graphics came down in place.”


Friday Sep 11, 2009

Recent Developer Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users were buzzing with praise, tips and tricks this week, with a blogger from Technology FLOSS writing about his experience with VirtualBox reporting that he “was gladly surprised by its performance...it was veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery fast.” Blogger Rafi recommended VirtualBox as “a very good solution” to anyone who wanted to work in multiple platforms simultaneously, and shared a tutorial on how to set up VirtualBox on a Fedora host system with a Windows Vista guest. A blogger from Jordan Team Learning described how to link the graphics card device to the driver in VirtualBox, reporting that he was able to get “more than 16 colors and higher than 800x600 resolution” on his VirtualBox guest operating system.

JavaFX
JavaFX developers kept the adoption momentum rolling this week, starting with Carl Dea who wrapped up his proof of concept series and encouraged developers to try JavaFX by saying, “it's not every day that you can start from the beginning to learn a soon-to-be popular language.” Nik Silver, who recently created a JavaFX applet for The Guardian, described JavaFX as “kind of a cross between Javascript and Java, and, against the odds, manages to combine good elements of both with a bit of extra magic thrown in,” pointing out that JavaFX “allows you to integrate Java easily.” Finally, blogger John O'Conner discussed the advantages of mixins in JavaFX 1.2, over “duck typing” used in other languages saying the mixins feature “is truly a mixture of both abstract class and interface features.”

NetBeans
NetBeans users were quick to praise the IDE this week with blogger Jack Warnes saying “NetBeans is a great development environment,” pointing out that “it can be used for a wide variety of programming languages.” The blogger at CodeWeblog.com said “NetBeans is a good choice” for developing applications because it has strong functions, and noted that NetBeans is “a lot better than the powerful Eclipse.” Blogger Benny from The Computeress recommended NetBeans because of how easily it “can take scripts from one language and put them into a project with another,” and said “I would surely recommend NetBeans.” Finally, Nate Burchell stated that “NetBeans has been invaluable as I have been learning the Java language and syntax,” noting that “it will alert you when you have made a syntax error.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris bloggers generously shared helpful tips they discovered while working in the OS this week. A blogger from Relevance Found posted two quick installation and setup hints that described how to set up VNC using the built-in OpenSolaris VNC server and how to set up CIFS file sharing with a built-in OpenSolaris CIFS server. Blogger Simon recorded all the steps needed to completely restore the OpenSolaris NAS by setting up a mirrored ZFS root boot pool, while a blogger from Morph3ous's Weblog described how to use OpenSolaris and ZFS to build an energy-efficient NAS.

OpenOffice
Enthusiastic OpenOffice users continued to praise the office suite this week, with a blogger at Open-tube describing OpenOffice's Writer as “one of the best open source word processors available today,” noting that “it is a fine replacement for Microsoft Word.” Felicia Williams from No Job for Mom! raved about how easy the office suite was to use, saying “anyone currently using Word or Excel should be able to transition from Microsoft to OpenOffice easily.” Finally, a blogger at Unixmen described OpenOffice as “the leading open-source open software suite,” which he made even better with the help of freely available extensions.

Monday Aug 31, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenSolaris and OpenOffice Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox evangelists raved about the software this week while also highlighting some of their favorite features. Jack Wallen of ghacks demonstrated how to connect to a VirtualBox machine using rdesktop and said, “VirtualBox continues to show itself to be one of the most flexible, useful tools available.” Scott Spanbauer of TechWorld discussed VirtualBox installation and noted “Sun Microsystems should rename its free, open-source virtualization utility VersatileBox,” because of its significant operating systems support. Finally, TechWorld's Richard Leon demonstrated setting up and installing a new operating system in VirtualBox on a Mac, highlighting how with the software one “can switch to a different operating system almost instantly.”

JavaFX
JavaFX users continued to inspire other RIA developers to try the programming language by posting plenty of tips and tutorials. JavaFX Coding Challenge Winner Sten Anderson demonstrated a new method to create a border panel, and Jeff “JavaJeff” Friesen posted a new JavaFX 1.2 units conversion application with an in-depth article that takes a deep dive into the process of building the application. The breadth of JavaFX resources inspired Martin to try the programming language, who reported on his experience noting that when building his first application “I got 80% of the initial functionality done within an hour.” Within a few days Martin was already up to speed with JavaFX, and posted a tutorial of his own that discussed how to create a custom subclass of javafx.async.Task.

NetBeans
NetBeans bloggers generously shared their knowledge this week with Tushar Joshi publishing a tutorial that fully detailed and demonstrated how to create a desktop application in NetBeans, how to find the JAR file after building the application, and how to start a Java Desktop application. Blogger Ali Riza Saral from TEKNE – TECHNE posted an in-depth tutorial that explained how to create custom packages with NetBeans, while Alfonso Romero of packpub.com connected NetBeans with VirtualBox, demonstrating how to configure the software programs with the TurnKey LAMP appliance to develop complex PHP applications in a virtual environment.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users had nothing but positive things to say about the operating system this week with blogger Tami from milkdrop.de detailing why she selected OpenSolaris for her new machine, listing the operating system's ZFS, RAID-Z2, and iSCSI functions as major factors, which she noted are “perfect for a file server.” Similarly, a blogger from Random Ideas praised his OpenSolaris NAS box which he described as “rock stable,” noting that even with daily use he had not needed to reboot for more than a month.

OpenOffice
Bloggers were buzzing about OpenOffice this week with a long-time user from the Paradosis blog stating: “I've been using it now for around two years and as I rack my brain in search of a memory, I cannot discern any complaints or bad experiences I have had with OpenOffice.” A blogger from Revelations from an Unwashed brain said “OpenOffice is a great thing. I use it all the time. My kids use it...I find it does everything I need to do.” Finally, a blogger from A Whiff of Doom praised the utilities of OpenOffice saying it offers all you would expect from a big-name, big-bucks business suite, but pointed out OpenOffice “takes up less hard drive space and memory than comparable programs.”

Friday Aug 14, 2009

Math -- Powered by Sun


Founded in 1861, the University of Washington has one of the leading mathematics research departments in the United States. Several years ago, William Stein, an associate professor of mathematics at UW, collaborated with more than 150 mathematicians around the world to build Sage, an open-source computational software program. Sage can be used to solve a wide range of mathematical problems including algebra, calculus, number theory, numerical computation and more.

Stein recently looked to expand the computational capabilities of Sage, but felt limited by the hardware the department was using to run the software. Additionally, the department wanted to increase the overall performance of Sage while also making the automated testing of the platform faster and easier. Last November, the department began evaluating new server solutions to support Sage and eventually selected a new system from Sun.

Sun Customer University of Washington
(Image courtesy: University of Washington
The solution included four Sun Fire X4450 servers, powered by 2.6 Ghz Six-Core Intel Xeon processors, and one Sun Fire X4540 server that runs the OpenSolaris Operating System. The department received SunSpectrum Silver support in addition to support from the Sun market development organization during the solution’s implementation.

Since deploying the Sun solution in December, the department has gained a huge increase in computing power that has significantly sped the automated testing of Sage. Stein reports that with the Sun X4450, it only takes three minutes to run the standard Sage test suite, a task that previously took at least an hour. Stein noted that “our previous infrastructure was fine, but the entire thing was only about one-third the capacity of a single Sun X4450 server.” He said Sage runs computations much faster and stated: “The whole way I do mathematical calculations using Sage is so much different now that I have this hardware.”

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's Reviews


VirtualBox
Computerworld’s Steven Vaughn-Nichols tested VirtualBox 3.0 on a variety of systems and platforms, concluding that “you owe it to yourself to try VirtualBox… It’s never been easier and VirtualBox has never been better.” Jack Wallen from TechRepublic came to the same conclusion, calling VirtualBox “one of the easiest of all virtualization products available,” and made special mention of its “amazing” Seamless mode. Blogger Tara focused on VirtualBox's speed when she wrote, “VirtualBox's disk throughput is phenomenal, in fact, this is the first time I've seen almost-native speed disk in [a] virtual machine,” concluding that “it's an awesome app.” Rounding out the group was a blogger who praised VirtualBox’s seamless mode and noted that “the graphics also feel nicer and run faster.”

JavaFX
Praise for JavaFX this week started with blogger Matt Van Bergen, who discussed how the RIA platform of JavaFX makes Internet based applications much more user-friendly and intuitive. Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein focused on JavaFX 1.2’s overall update, concluding that 1.2 was “a much needed update that fixed important holes and performance bottlenecks.” Blogger Jim Weaver turned his attention to the JavaFX-powered Indaba online recording studio, noting that JavaFX “enables recording high-quality audio directly onto the client platform.”

NetBeans
NetBeans beat out the competition this week starting with a longtime TextMate user who made the switch to NetBeans, calling the IDE’s features “just amazing.” A different blogger wrote, “I've tested many, many IDE's and options for programming and getting your work done. But…NetBeans gets the first prize.” Finally, blogger JJ Behrens, who has been using NetBeans for six months, noted that NetBeans is “way easier to get up to speed with than Eclipse.”

OpenSolaris
Bloggers highlighted a range of Solaris and OpenSolaris features, with blogger Alan Fineberg, a computer science and engineering student at University of Washington, calling Dtrace “awesome.” ZFS Mirror also earned a thumbs up from a blogger who explained how much easier Solaris 10’s ZFS Mirror makes the difficult work of breaking down a large task into smaller sub-tasks. A third blogger then gave a step-by-step guide showcasing how “easy it is to recover your favorite OS after installing” for what he called a “glorious recovery.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice.org won new followers this week, including a blogger who reported his surprise with “the incredible power of OpenOffice.org” writing that “it has completely blown me away.” Blogger Peter Daley described OpenOffice as “a very sophisticated office suite,” and called it “a viable alternative” to Microsoft Office. Finally, blogger Travis Hampton got hands-on with OpenOffice, posting the first part in a series of tutorials on how to prepare an OpenOffice.org document in book form.

MySQL
Kicking things off was a blogger at Rawseo, who explained why developers should opt for MySQL instead of Access, naming features such as MySQL’s attractive free price tag, multiple-user access, better management of large databases and increased security. Other developers focused on making MySQL even better, with one providing a list of the chief principles for optimizing PHP and MySQL scripts, while Linux Magazine’s Jeremy Zawodny, who has used MySQL for almost a decade, offered helpful tips based on MySQL problems he’s seen in the past.

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.

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