Monday Apr 13, 2009

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

The announcement of OpenSolaris on Toshiba notebooks drove a lot of positive blog coverage, with users celebrating the new availability and functionality. One blogger said that with pre-installed "outstanding technologies" like ZFS Time Slider and Songbird, users could get started right away. Another blogger using his Toshiba M10 laptop with OpenSolaris was "overall happy with it so far." Finally, another blogger commented that with this new availability, he would "surely hope to see OpenSolaris getting the kind of attention and support needed to really be fun on a notebook."

Sun xVM VirtualBox
The VirtualBox 2.2 launch was accompanied by several reporters and bloggers discussing the key features in the update.

ZDNet UK's Matthew Broersma highlighted the OVF support, as well as support for Windows 7, Snow Leopard, and other performance improvements.

Discussing other versions of VirtualBox, bloggers Josef Barron and Aman Hardikar both noted the ease of use they found with the software, and blogger Garrett Meiers summed up his experiences with testing VirtualBox by saying, "Everything went flawlessly... To be frank, I love it."

Both current and new NetBeans versions received strong developer support on blogs. After downloading NetBeans 6.7 M3 and installing Python plugins, Austrian blogger Ewald Ertl said, "I was really surprised about the functionality," and went on congratulate the plugin team.

Another blogger, who just developed his first NetBeans plugin, commented, "I know this plugin still needs further development to be more useful, I am happy that I could make something run inside NetBeans."

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.

Sunday Feb 01, 2009

eWEEK's OpenSolaris 2008.11 Review

eWEEK's Jason Brooks recently reviewed OpenSolaris 2008.11 and stated that the OS "includes improvements around software package management and incorporating community packaging efforts."
From his findings, Jason noted that the platform and community are not sitting idle; "updates to the free Solaris-based OS shows that Sun will not follow IBM and HP in letting Linux take over the platform space once dominated by Unix."

Jason called out Sun's package management framework as well as the platforms for server-focused technologies. "One of the most eye-catching features of OpenSolaris 2008.11 is its new Time Slider tool, which wraps the snapshotting capabilities of Sun's ZFS file system in an elegant and useful tool for accessing previous versions of files and directories on one's system," he noted.

For the desktop minded, Jason highlighted the inclusion of Firefox, and GNOME. And as a server OS, Jason spoke to the flexibility of the platform, which supports "running applications downloaded through IPS, installed via the traditional Solaris SVR4 package system, or compiled directly on the machine."

He did experience a few issues with support for his Lenovo ThinkPad and concluded with some criticism of Linux application support and the packaging framework. Thanks Jason for your input, we are definitely working to improve these in upcoming releases.

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."

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 Nov 26, 2008

OpenSolaris Review in Phoronix

Phoronix reviewer Michael Larabel conducted a three-way comparison among OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu 8.10, and FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2, providing several graphical comparisons of benchmark tests.

OpenSolaris' strongest area of performance was in the Bonnie++ file-system/disk-centric testing, where "OpenSolaris 2008.11 was the champion and had trenched its competition." In other tests, OpenSolaris had the best rankings in the test areas of Bork file encryption test and the Java SciMark test for FFT and Monte Carlo performance.

While Ubuntu had the most number of first place finishes with eight, versus OpenSolaris' seven first-place finishes and FreeBSD's three, Michael noted that FreeBSD and OpenSolaris were using their latest testing builds while Ubuntu was using a final release copy.

Overall, Michael said that the selection among the operating systems depends on your usage. For example, "one operating system may appear more favorable, like OpenSolaris with the greater disk performance."

Michael also notes that he plans to conduct more benchmarking tests on different hardware as final releases become available...

Monday Nov 24, 2008

OpenSolaris reviews

1. OpenSolaris 2008.11 -- Bunny's Place, 11/13
Rachel Terri Clark decided to try OpenSolaris 2008.11, and found the installation process flawless. She was interested in trying it for the ZFS capabilities in order to build a new file server, and was pleased to discover how easy it was to use. She described it as "a piece of cake." She noted that "the zpool and zfs tools are lovely (simple yet powerful) and I love the hierarchal pool system." Rachel recommended OpenSolaris to readers if they were looking for a server OS, and added that she was glad to say goodbye to the old windows manager that she had been using.
2. Why I am Leaning Toward OpenSolaris -- Code Ghar, 11/14
The blogger had heard and read many good things about Solaris, especially regarding Sun hardware and its operating in big enterprise environments. He checked out the open source version -- OpenSolaris -- and noted several reasons why OpenSolaris is a good choice. He specifically complimented a few of OpenSolaris' features including ZFS and DTrace.

3. How Open Source Coders are helping Sun with Solaris -- Bits On Bytes, 11/17
The blogger noted that since introduction of OpenSolaris in 2006, the community had expanded to 14,000 members with 29 user groups across the world working on over 30 active projects. He praised Sun on these efforts, saying, "The features of OpenSolaris show Sun Microsystems' commitment to be on the cutting edge of the computing world without losing touch with the current development environment. The OpenSolaris project is the ultimate display of these twin strengths - Sun has leveraged the creative energy of coders across the world and receives instant feedback about what their audience wants."

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Sun helps FAA bringing its air traffic systems into the 21st century

How many times have you had your meticulously planned travel itinerary go astray because of a system "glitch"? I can remember quite a few times during the past year alone... :-(

That's going to change!!! Yeay!!!

Well, at least for the glitches that are attributed to FAA. They have upgraded their legacy internal business systems to a new open-systems server and storage infrastructure from us.

Our OpenSolaris/ZFS/Sun Fire server/Thumper storage solutions, which feature built-in, state-of-the-art virtualization capability, is the key building block for the new infrastructure at FAA. And ZFS is playing a major role in their data centers.

ZFS won InfoWorld's BOSSIE award in 2007
ZFS won InfoWorld's BOSSIE award as the best open source storage platform
"The FAA uses a large quantity of Sun Solaris servers in a variety of configurations to support some of our noncritical business applications," Andy Isaksen, manager of the Communications Infrastructure Engineering Team for NADIN and architect of the original mainframe system, said. "ZFS is being used on at least one service within the Air Traffic Organization Enterprise Data Center."

Check out all the details in this eWEEK article.

Friday Sep 19, 2008's perspective on OpenSolaris as a storage platform

In this look at OpenSolaris, reviewer Tory Skyers examined the storage features of Sun's offering to determine its value to the storage community; specifically, the SMB market. Tory notes, "as far as the storage-related aspect of this operating system goes, it's a home run. It offers iSNS, iSCSI, CIFS, NFS (Sun did help develop NFS you know!) and, most of all, ZFS."
Tori provided a primer on OpenSolaris, then outlined his test goal -- building a cost effective NAS device. He commented, "ZFS takes quite a bit of worry out of my day. I don't have to worry about purchasing expensive RAID controllers. I can use the SATA ports on my motherboard and get great redundancy and fault tolerance."

Overall, Tory was quite pleased with OpenSolaris as a storage platform. In closing, he notes, "Keep a close eye on the development of this product, once it matures a bit more it will save you some cash, enough cash to make getting some paid support every once in a while not such a terrible thing. If you have previous experience with Solaris either on Sparc or X86 then you will definitely find value in this initiative."




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