Monday Aug 10, 2009

SXCE Coming to a Close

A brief note to point out that today we posted the announcement of SXCE end-of-life plans to a variety of OpenSolaris and Solaris mailing lists.  As Glynn noted in a followup to the announcement mail, this decision is unrelated to the recent DOA builds, it's been in the works for quite some time.  However, it's worth noting that some of the problems that led to the DOA builds are a result of the primary development line being based on SXCE, as the difficulty of building media with the old tools and therefore failing to test some scenarios until the WOS is built.  As we complete the conversion of the development and release process to be centered on IPS and the Caiman installer technologies (Distribution Constructor, Automated Installer) we expect instances of these problems will decrease.  Now, more than ever, it's time to get on the OpenSolaris train!

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Toshiba + OpenSolaris laptops now shipping

Following up to my entry from January, the Toshiba OpenSolaris Laptops are at last available for order.  They come with 2008.11 pre-installed, and include a year's worth of OpenSolaris support.  I've been using the R500, which is the R600's little brother, for the past few weeks and can say that it's really an enjoyable, lightweight laptop for everyday use.  A little too slow to be a great development machine, but it does a fine job with all of the other things that take up a lot of my time, and it's a great size for travel, which is the reason I chose it.  I use VNC to my desktop shared via the Vino server for running heavy-duty development tasks like building OpenSolaris images.

Now we just need to include copies of OpenSolaris Bible with each one for the perfect bundle ;-)

Friday Mar 27, 2009

OpenSolaris Build 110 Available - Help Test CD Install Performance

Late yesterday we released build 110 of the OpenSolaris distro, see [osol-announce] OpenSolaris development package repository build 110, x86/x64/SPARC for the particulars.

Since I was traveling and missed posting a note about build 109, it's probably a good idea to mention one of the changes that appeared there and continues with 110: going to only a single, global CD image.  This had been our intention all along since starting the distribution, but it depended on the LZMA (de)compression support in lofi; we got that done before the 2008.05 release, but its performance was judged to be too slow at the time so we made the expedient decision to ship two different CD's, with the primary CD using the better-performing gzip algorithm.  We figured we'd come back to that issue once we got the LZMA code integrated into the ON gate, which just finally happened a couple of weeks ago.

In the meantime, OpenSolaris community member (and super-contributor!) Juergen Keil took an interest in the performance issue, and found the primary culprit in the lofi code, which was repeated decompression of the same data (see bug 1119 for the discussion if you're curious).  The performance improvement is, we believe, good enough to return to just the single image for the next release.  But we would like data to confirm that, so if you do an install from the build 109 or 110 CD, please send info on the time it took (you can just send the installation log if you like; it's found at /var/sadm/system/logs/install_log after installation) and the basic stats on your hardware (processor speed and number of cores, memory size) to, we'd appreciate it.

Thursday Feb 26, 2009

OpenSolaris build 108 now available

Per the usual drill, the repository has been updated with build 108 packages, and the various ISO images are on the DLC torrent and  See David's announcement email for more information: [osol-announce] OpenSolaris development package repository build 108, x86/x64/SPARC

Most of the boot and X issues that were present in 106 and 107 will continue to be seen with this build, but fixes in 109 should improve the situation.  Also, for those of you experimenting with the Automated Installer, you'll note that the server setup images for it have dropped in size by about 50%.  We finally finished up refactoring some of the installation packages to isolate the GNOME dependencies, which allowed us to remove a whole pile of packages from those images.

Wednesday Feb 18, 2009

OpenSolaris build 107 now available

Earlier today we pushed out the package repository update and the associated ISO images, see the announcement message for detailed notes.  The big news with this release is the upgrade of Xorg to version 1.5.  This will be transparent for most users, but if you have an existing xorg.conf file, such as I do for using the nVidia Twinview feature on a couple of my systems, you'll need to generate a new one.

Tuesday Feb 03, 2009

OpenSolaris build 106 - now with SPARC support!

Today we released the latest OpenSolaris development build, number 106 (106a is used in the labeling of the various ISO images since it took a couple of spins to get it right).  As usual, see the announcement email for links and so on.  Although I note that we neglected to mention the availability of images via our friends at  We apologize, Al, and thank you for your continued service.  I'll proofread better next time!

The big news today is that this marks the first build with SPARC support.  At this time, the only installation option for SPARC is to use the Automated Installer (AI), which means you'll need to set up an AI server first.  Initial instructions are posted for this piece, questions and discussion should be directed to the caiman-discuss project mailing list.  The interesting IPS development that goes along with this is the release of fat (or phat) package support; there aren't separate repositories for x86 and SPARC, but instead a single repository with unified package instances.  Perusing a package manifest such as that of SUNWcs should give you some clues on how this works, but I'll let someone on the IPS team provide a more complete discussion of this feature.

Many thanks to all of the team who worked very hard since the 2008.11 release to get to this milestone!

Tuesday Jan 13, 2009

OpenSolaris at CES

Over this past weekend I visited the CES show in Las Vegas for the first time.  It was pretty cool for gadget freaks, though I didn't get to see anywhere near everything.  But one booth I did stop into was Toshiba's, and found a nice surprise:

Pretty cool to see your work on display at "the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow", a claim none of my buddies could make!

Update: See the press releases from Sun and Toshiba for more information on availability.


I'm the architect for Solaris deployment and system management, with a lot of background in networking on the side. I spend a lot of my time currently operating Solaris Engineering's OpenStack cloud. I am co-author of the OpenSolaris Bible (Wiley, 2009). I also play a lot of golf.


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