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 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.




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