Tuesday Jan 18, 2011

I'm leaving, and switching gears for a bit

After 15 years, I'm off to somewhere different.[Read More]

Thursday Aug 19, 2010

Thinking about the Birthday Problem on my Birthday, as it applies to my Birthday Present

Thinking about my iPhone, song collisions, and figuring out how to compute the probability of song repeats when you reshuffle.[Read More]

Sunday Feb 07, 2010

Do a "pkg image-update" with multiple zones!!!

Hello you half-dozen readers!

Recently I reinstalled my home server to OpenSolaris, build 130. I used zfs send and zfs recv to recover my relevant bits of data. I also constructed new zones, this time using ipkg zones.

Using ipkg zones takes a bit of acclimation. The biggest thing to note is that if you need a specific software package, you have to use pkg install in the zone you wish to have the software. For example, I have three zones:

  • The Global, internal-only, server zone - My global zone spends most of its time without a default route, serving NFSv4 and anything else I can think of only to my local LAN. If I need a new service, I temporarily add a global route, and pkg install away.
  • The Webserver zone - Just like it says. I needed Apache here, and had to pkg install Apache here.
  • The Router/NAT/IPsec-remote-access/Firewall zone - If you're going to put potential targets on the Internet, why put the global zone there? Especially with Crossbow VNICs and IP Instances!
So I got all of these zones, and the global zone isn't even net-attached most of the time? More interesting still, I need to upgrade all of these zones.

I posed this problem to pkg-discuss@opensolaris.org. Right now, pkg image-update won't upgrade the non-global zones. Worse still, I need to upgrade a zone that's also acting as my NAT and router. Luckily for me, Ed Pilatowicz gave me some good advice:

i do have one other workaround/suggestion you could try. after you do an image-update of your global zone. before rebooting, use beadm to mount the new image on /a. then you can try doing "pkg -R /a/path_to_your_zone/root image-update" for each of your zones. this will probably work as long as your always image-update'ing to the latest bits in the repository (and no new images get pushed to the repository in between all the image-update opreations.) So I took Ed at his word.

Even if you have an ultra-paranoid global zone, you need to get it talking to an IPS repository. Either temporarily add an off-link route like I do, or have a local repository handy. Proceed and pkg image-update your global zone. Make sure you use --be-name to pick a BE name that you'll remember.

Next, you literally beadm mount new-be-name /mnt and for each zone root directory (while still able to reach the repository from your global zone) do pkg -R zone-root-path image-update. For my own example, I did:

  • pkg image-update --be-name 132
  • beadm mount 132 /mnt
  • pkg -R /mnt/export/home/webserver/root image-update
  • pkg -R /mnt/export/home/router/root image-update
  • beadm umount 132
  • reboot

This worked quite well for me moving up from 130 to 132. Just make sure your global zone can reach the repository, and you should be golden.

Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

I, for one, welcome our new database-selling overlords.

In all honesty, I'm glad this regulatory dance is over. We've all been having a little itch in our brains about this. Even if any of us have had real work to do, we've been at least a little distracted by by this whole acquisition uncertainty.

Well, we're finally part of Oracle now, and I think that's pretty cool. Larry E. wants to butt heads with IBM and HP directly, and quite honestly, we at Sun have been doing that on-and-off for at least my not-quite-14-years here. Now that this uncertainty has been removed, we can at least narrow the uncertainty to any internal-to-Oracle decisions, which given certain statements both in the past and yesterday seem pretty encouraging, at least from my engineering perspective.

Jonathan said we should light a candle for Sun. As a prank gift for my 40th birthday, I got a 40-ounce bottle of Olde English. I think instead I will pour that 40 for Sun.

Wednesday Jan 20, 2010

Wanna help your Girl Scouts? Not unless you have Windows. :-P

My wife is the "cookie mom" for our twin girls who are in Daisy Scouts. She was very surprised when she logged in to the regional Girl Scouts cookie site (URL withheld in case any rabid fanboys do something stupid), and discovered that apparently, she needs to use Windows and Internet Explorer.

Their user documentation says: "We do not provide Mac support," and "Use any (non-Mac) computer at home or at work or at the local library." Does this mean they support OpenSolaris, Linux, or \*BSD? Naaah, didn't think so.

We're a no-Windows household. We have three Macs, one work-issued OpenSolaris laptop, and a homebuilt OpenSolaris server. Especially in this age of people understanding vendor lock-in as a Bad Idea (TM), I'm shocked and appalled.

I'm going to forward this to a few Mac sites, and maybe slashdot. I'm sure nothing's going to change, but at least this should be discussed a bit, no?

Thursday Jun 18, 2009

Endian-independence -- NOT just for kernel hackers

If you are not considering that your code will run on a different-architecture machine, you're making a newbie mistake. [Read More]

Tuesday Feb 03, 2009

Dear Santa... Steve... Tim Cook - A 64GB iPhone, please?

Or, "Why Kebe doesn't own an iPhone yet."[Read More]

Sunday May 18, 2008

How to rescue data from an iBook with thermal problems

My wife Wendy has had her iBook G4 for not-quite four years now. We had to return it once before via AppleCare due to thermal problems. Well, the thermal problems are back, and this time, there's no AppleCare for us to invoke. I managed to get the machine to behave itself only after leaving it powered off for a bit, but then it would lock again. I'd heard stories about putting computers in refrigerators to keep them cool enough to run. I never thought I'd try it myself.

We do, however, have a freezer in the basement. So check this out:


I managed to get Wendy's home-directory off, and that's what mattered. I'm heading off to the Apple Store to get a new MacBook (thank goodness for the just-arrived George-and-Nancy "Will you be my friend with this stimulus?" check). I hope to do the frozen data transfer one more time to bootstrap the new MacBook.

Monday Apr 21, 2008

Can't let this one slip by

Really dumb protestor or really funny Photoshop - you be the judge.[Read More]

Monday Mar 03, 2008

Kebe's Home Data Center (or f''(Bart's new home server))

A little over a year ago, Bart Smaalders blogged about his new home server. Subsequently Bill built a similarly-configured one. (I thought that he had blogged about his too, but he hadn't.)

I'd been toying with the idea of following in Bill's and Bart's footsteps for some time. A recent influx allowed me to upgrade lots of home technology (including a new Penryn-powered MacBook Pro), and finally allowed me to build out what I like to think of as my home data center. I mention f''(Bart's...) because this box really is the second-derivative of Bart's original box (with Bill's being the first-derivative).

And the starting lineup for this box is:
  • An AMD Opteron Model 185 - I was lucky enough to stumble across one of these. 2 cores of 2.6GHz AMD64 goodness.
  • A Tyan S2866 - I bought the one with two Ethernet ports - one nVidia (nge) and one Broadcom (bge). It has audio too, but I haven't tested it as I've my Macs for such things. It has all of the goodies Bart mentioned, but I \*think\* that the SATA might be native now. (Please comment if you know.)
  • 2GB ECC RAM - with room for two more if need be.
  • A two-port old Intel Pro Ethernet 10/100 - good thing the driver (iprb) for this is now open-source. I'll explain why I need four Ethernet ports in a bit.
  • Two Western Digitial "green" 750GB SATA drives Each drive has 32GB root partitions (yes that's large, until Indiana matures, though, I'll stick with UFS roots), 4 GB swap (for core dumps), and the remaining large areas combine to make one mirrored ZFS pool with ~700 decimal GB of storage.
  • A cheap MSI nVidia 8400GS - It's more than enough to drive my 1920x1200 display.
  • An overkill Antec 850W power supply - obtained for only $100 from the carcass of CompUSA.
  • A Lian Li U60 case - My brother-in-law, who has years in the trenches of PC care, feeding, and repair, recommended Lian Li to me. It has all the space I need and more for drives, and its fan layout is pretty comprehensive. Since this box lives in my office, noise isn't that much of an issue.
  • OpenSolaris build 83 - While I'm pumped about what's going on with Indiana it's still under development, and I want something a bit more stable.

So why four ethernet ports (covering three drivers)? Well, like Indiana, Crossbow is exciting, but not yet integrated into the main OpenSolaris tree. I do, however, very much like the idea of Virtual Network Machines and I'll be using these four ports to build three such machines on this server using prerequisite-to-Crossbow IP Instances. Two ports will form the router zone. The router will also be a firewall, and maybe an IPsec remote-access server too. With Tunnel Reform in place, I can let my or my wife's notebook Macs access our internal home network from any location. One port will be the public web server, and assuming Comcast doesn't screw things up too badly on their business-class install, the new home of www.kebe.com. The last port will be the internal-server and global-zone/administrative station. All of that ZFS space needs to be accessible from somewhere, right?

I'd like to thank Bart and Bill for the hardware inspiration, and to my friends in OpenSolaris networking for offering up something I can exploit immediately to create my three machines in one OpenSolaris install. I'll keep y'all informed about how things are going.

Wednesday Sep 26, 2007

Go Blue! Recruiting at Michigan (day 2)

Oh my am I exhausted! I hoped to have most of the text of this completed before my flight got back to Manchester last night, but that didn't happen.

I keep telling people I know that Michigan is a hardware school (in spite of having some great software people - see my post from Monday). We Solaris developers at the Sun table were brutally reminded of this yesterday. Lots of EE's with Verilog and/or VHDL experience. Many of them asking about architecture and/or verification, but a surprising number who have never heard of SPARC, the UltraSPARC T1 (aka. Niagara), or that they can see the entire source for the Niagara with OpenSPARC. Almost every business card of mine I handed out to folks had the word, "OpenSPARC" on the back so they could Google it later.

We also tried to make sure everyone had OpenSolaris disks. There are four binary distributions of OpenSolaris on that set of disks: Solaris Express Community Edition (see the previous link) - Sun's current OpenSolaris vehicle, Nexenta - which is probably going to be one of the more comfortable ones for Ubuntu Linux users to land in, Belenix - which is optimized for Live CD use, and Schillix, which was the first non-Sun distribution of OpenSolaris, by Joerg Schilling of "cdrecord" fame. I hope some of the students went home and had success playing with OpenSolaris. You all should visit opensolaris.org and engage the community discussions with your feedback and questions.

I mentioned Monday about how much like a geezer I felt. I had more of that yesterday not only saying, "Class of '91" a few times, but also when Professor Quentin Stout visited our table. My only graduate-level class I took at U. of M. was his Parallel Algorithms class in the fall of 1990 (during Football/Marching Band season). Back in the day it was all theory - we discussed how to partition problems using the abstract PRAM (Parallel Random Access Machine). It was the ONLY parallel ANYTHING class offered when I had an available slot. This was when shared-memory multiprocessors were experiments or startups (anyone remember the BBN Butterfly, the Sequent Balance, or the Encore Multimax?). I mentioned to Prof. Stout I took his class back then. He then proceeded to tell me how the class is far more practical now. He told me all about stuff like OpenMP, and other high-level constructs that as a systems' programmer I just don't get to use all that much. I still, however, felt pretty smart for seeing the future back in 1990. I hope I have as good luck 17 years later.

Anyway, I had a great time in Ann Arbor, and I hope to get back there sooner rather than later. If anyone who visited our table is reading this, leave a comment, and don't be afraid to be honest. :)

Monday Sep 24, 2007

Go Blue! Recruiting at Michigan (day 1)

Dan's back in A\^2![Read More]

Friday Sep 21, 2007

More ZFS Love - Rapid Recovery

Like ZFS needs more praise... :)[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 27, 2005

No hard-drive wipe needed for Solaris x64 support!

Someone sent me this link about the new 64-bit Windows XP. There's some interesting text on that page I would like to quote here (assuming the link doesn't change...):

  • Back up your data and settings. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition requires a "clean installation," meaning the contents of your hard drive will be erased during the installation.

  • I can tell you with confidence that if you go from Solaris 9 on x86 to Solaris 10 with both x86 and x64, you will NOT have to erase your hard drive (assuming you've enough room for the new x64-native binaries, and you probably do already if you're in possession of an x64-capable box).

    Tuesday Nov 30, 2004

    Hello, world!

    Welcome to my Sun blog. I was encouraged by certain people (who appear on my list of other Sun blogs) to set up one of these, and so I have.

    The title of this blog comes from one of the fundamental principles of the Internet architecture -- The End to End Argument. Anyone who claims to do networking for a living should at least know about this paper, if not be able to explain it to you. Basically, the end to end argument states that only the application(s) at the two endpoints of communication know exactly what's going on. The network should not get involved, unless it can provide a useful performance enhancement.

    That's all for now. I will be back as time permits. Thanks!



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