Wednesday Dec 08, 2010

Moving On

In my seven years at Sun and Oracle, I've had the opportunity to work with some incredible people on some truly amazing technology. But the time has come for me to move on, and today will be my last day at Oracle.

When I started in the Solaris kernel group in 2003, I had no idea that I was entering a truly unique environment - a culture of innovation and creativity that is difficult to find anywhere, let alone working on a system as old and complex as Solaris in a company as large as Sun. While there, I worked with others to reshape the operating system landscape through technologies like Zones, SMF, DTrace, and FMA, and fortunate to be part of the team that created ZFS, one of the most innovative filesystems ever. From there I became a member of the Fishworks team that created the Sun Storage 7000 series; working with such a close-knit talented team to create a groundbreaking integrated product like that was an experience that I will never forget.

I learned so much and grew in so many ways thanks to the people I had the chance to meet and work with over the past seven years. I would not be the person I am today without your help and guidance. While I am leaving Oracle, I will always be part of the community, and I look forward to our paths crossing in the future.

Despite not updating this blog as much as I'd like, I do hope to blog in the future at my new home:

Thanks for all the memories.

Monday Dec 12, 2005

Nobel Aftermath

What a party.

I can't say much more - I'm afraid I won't do it justice. Suffice to say that we rolled back into our hotel room at 5:00 AM after hanging out with Swedish royalty and Nobel laureates in what has to be one of the most amazing ceremony and banquest ever conceived.

You'll have to ask me in person for some of the details, but a few highlights include my father escorting princess Madeleine down the staircase, as well as my mother being escorted (and talking with) the King of Sweden in the more private dinner the next night. Not to mention way too many late night drinking escapades with the likes of Grubbs and Nocera.

The only downside is that my flight home was delayed 5 hours (while we were on the plane), so I missed my connection and am now hanging out in a Newark hotel for a night. At least I get a midway point to adjust to the new timezone...

Hopefully the banquest footage will be available soon at Check it out when it is.

Thursday Dec 08, 2005

Nobel day 5

Things have picked up over here in Stockholm. The rest of the troops have arrived, filling up the Grand Hotel to the best of our ability. My father's been running around to press conferences, interviews, and various preparations. The rest of us only have one or two events each day to keep track of. Thankfully, my father has a personal attendant to make sure he doesn't miss a thing, not that my mom would ever allow such a thing to happen.

On the 6th, there was a small reception at the Nobel museum. They used the opportunity to show an "instructional" video to make sure we all knew how to behave during the ceremony and the reception. My father even signed one of the cafeteria chairs, apparently a tradition at the museum:

It was a real treat to arrive in a limo with dozens of cheering children peering through the windows and waiting to see who got out. My father has even met his adoring fans outside the hotel:

The whole experience is rather surreal. The next day we had a reception for all the science (physics, chemistry, and economics) laureates and their families at the Royal Academy of Science. Besides having the chance to get our whole family together in once place, it was interesting to talk with other families in the same boat. There were a few amusing moments when we were standing with Bob Grubbs and his children, who are all above 6'3" tall (including his daughter Katy), as my father, brother, and myself are all 6'3" or taller. The 7 of us are able to make almost anyone feel incredibly short.

Today was the day of lectures. Besides being hung over from some ill-advised late night wine via room service, these lectures were definitely intended for colleagues, not family members. I'd like to say that I understood my father's lecture, but when you can't pronounce half the words coming out of his mouth, it makes it rather difficult to keep up. At least there were some molecular diagrams that I could pretend to understand, though even those were quite a bit more complex than the ones I learned in high school chemistry.

Of course, Stockholm is a beautiful city. Lots of time is spent walking around the streets and poking our heads in the little shops. Tomorrow we'll try to hit up a few more museums in the little spare time we have.

Monday Dec 05, 2005

Nobel day 2

I'm off on vacation for a while while I attend the Nobel Festivities. While this is my second trip to Stockholm, it will be rather different as a Nobel guest staying in a 5-star hotel. Last time I was here I was a poor recently graduated college student at the end of his backpacking trip. While pizza and kebabs were nice, I think I'll get a better taste of Swedish food this time around.

I came rather early with my parents, thanks to a convenient business trip to the east coast. So while today is my second day in Stockholm, nothing really starts until tomorrow (when there is a tour of the Nobel museum). Eventually, we'll end up with 28 family and friends here when all is said and done. But arriving with my parents did have its advantages. We got to hang out in a private room in the SAS business lounge during our layover in Newark. When we arrived in Stockholm, we were whisked away from the gate via limousine to a private VIP lounge with a respresentative of the Royal Academy of Sciences and my father's personal handler. We handed over our passports and baggage tags, and half an hour later we were climbing back into the limo pre-packed with all our bags.

I haven't done much as of yet, but I did walk around Skansen with my mother, aunt and uncle. This is probably the last time I'll have a stretch of free time with my parents, as starting tomorrow my father is busy with receptions, meetings, rehearsals, and interviews. I'll leave you with a picture from the top of Skansen, taken at 2:30 PM - we don't get much light here this time of year:

I'm sure I'll have more interesting things to report in the coming days. Be sure to check out videos from last year to get an idea of what I'm in for.

Wednesday Oct 05, 2005

To my father

ZFS work and RSI issues have prevented me from making regular postings to this blog, but I do want to make a brief personal entry in honor of my father:

Nobel Prize Announcement
AP article
For the scientifically inclined

I've been so proud of you for so long, and now I think the rest of the world finally understands how I feel.

Monday Nov 22, 2004

Sun and Linux

If you haven't already, go check out Tom Adelstein's article at LXer, as well as Jim's blog entry. Quite a departure from the usual Sun analysis. It's an interesting take: Sun is (and has been) doing great things, but corporate messaging (both our competitors and our own) has muddied the waters to the point where most people don't know what we're about anymore. I also like the view that Linux and Solaris can and should live in harmony - I'm tired of the "all for one and one for all" attitude when it comes to Linux. It'll be interesting to see if OpenSolaris will sway public opinion, or whether we're too firmly cast into the role of evil empire.

Saturday Nov 20, 2004

RSS-friendly code samples?

So in the past two days, my posts have contained a lot of code/text samples, that have to be formatted in a fixed with font and have their spacing preserved. Previously, I've just been using <pre></pre> tags around these samples. This work on, but I've found that this wreaks havoc with some RSS readers because the whitespace is not preserved. The newlines go missing, or whitespace disappears from the beginning of lines.

In an effort to be more RSS-friendly, I wrote a script that goes through and replaces spaces with &nbsp;, puts <br/> at the end of each line, and encloses the whole thing in <tt></tt> tags. The result is extremely ugly, but it seems to get the job done. I'm wondering, is this the best way to accomplish this? I'm not too familiar with RSS, so if anyone out there knows a better way that works for all varieties of RSS readers, please let me know. My googling abilities have yet to turn up anything...

Wednesday Oct 27, 2004

w2100z reviewed

There's a nice little review of the w2100z over at AnandTech. Primarily a hardware review, it also contains loads of benchmarks between several different operating systems, including the Java Desktop System. It was nice to see Solaris 10 thrown into the mix, but it only showed up in a few benchmarks, as they were primarily geared towards the 64-bit OSes. The good news is that amd64 support will hit the streets in a month or two, so maybe we can force our way into a few more benchmarks - although the amount of amd64-specific performance tuning we've done is next to nil.

It was also refreshing to see Solaris presented as a desktop OS. I'm certainly not used to seeing Solaris showing up in mp3 encoding benchmarks. Hopefully this will become more common in the future - we've put a lot of effort into making Solaris run well on small systems and commodity hardware. Java Desktop System version 3 is now part of Solaris, and will show up in the next Solaris Express release.

One more thing:

86 years

Enough said.

Saturday Sep 11, 2004

Sold! To bidder number 42...

What am I up to these days?

Recently, I putback my last round of major bugfixes in my "traditional" area of expertise - procfs, libproc, mdb, etc. And since I'm not attached to any of the major S10 projects, I can actually pick and choose what to work on next. I have tons of projects I'd love to start, but I can't justify new projects so late in the release cycle. There are simply too many other things that need to be fixed first. The downside of choice is that eventually, word gets out that you have copious amounts of free time with only two months of development left in the release. I've basically been put up for auction, except the bidding price is always the same - though the work itself becomes the reward.

I've been spending quality time with our bug database, as well as entertaining offers from potential suitors. I've been pinch hitting on the amd64 project, helping out with greenline (SMF), and most recently signed up to help design and implement a new subsystem for ZFS. I'm also getting to play with cool things like ZFS on amd64: we're getting it up and running on some very cool (and super-secret) hardware that I unfortunately can't talk about. I'm learning about parts of Solaris that I never thought I'd have a chance to work with. It's all very exciting, but I will definitely be happy when S10 ships so I can get back to some personal projects that have been evolving in the depths of my mind. Stay tuned...

So, do I hear a hundred? How about two hundred?

Thursday Aug 19, 2004

And now for something completely different

In a departure from all my previous blog posts, I thought I'd try my hand at a personal entry. Yesterday, the Olympic Track and Field competitions began, with the U.S. taking Silver in the Men's shot put. What was supposed to be a sweep ended up in disaster: Cantwell never qualified at the trials, Godina fouled his first two and didn't make it to the finals, and Nelson fouled all but his first throw. If you're wondering how I know all of this, it's becuase I'm a track nut. I've been running track and field since sophmore year of high school, and by this point know almost all the men's world records, and a fair number of the women's.

Back in high school, I ran everything; most notably the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, and triple jump. In college I was a walk-on, and focused solely on the triple jump (with a few 4x400 legs sprinkled here and there). The Olympic triple jump preliminaries start tomorrow. Despite the craziness at the U.S. Olympic trials, I'd put my money on Christian Olsson, with Jadel Gregario and Kenta Bell rounding out the top three.

Back in college, I was a fairly mediocre Division-I athlete, managing to jump 14.61 (47'11.5") at the Ivy League championships my sophmore year. In contrast, Olsson's best is 17.83 (58'6") and the world record is a whopping 18.29 (60'0"). When you have a moment, try measuring out 20 yards and imagine traversing the distance in 3 steps.

For your amusement, I'll leave you with some track pictures, courtesy of Dan Grossman, a great friend of Brown Track and Field. Some of these are certainly less flattering than others, thanks to the speedsuit and my unique facial expressions.

Harvard 2001
Sean Thomas and myself
Possibly one of my two good jumps sophmore year
Warming up at Heps 2001
Me not getting my feet out in front of me
More jumping at Yale
Indoor Heps 2002 (with bleached hair)
More indoor heps
Ridiculously cold meet at Harvard
Heps champsionships @Navy 2002
A very bad jump at Heps

By this point, I hope you've enjoyed my humiliation. Next post I'll get back to some real issues, including kernel debugging and the joys of KMDB.

Thursday Jun 17, 2004

Descent into the fray

So begins my first blog post ever.

I have been a Solaris Kernel Engineer for 10 months now after graduating from my alma mater. Since I joined so late in the Solaris 10 development cycle, I have not had the pleasure of working on one of the larger S10 projects such as DTrace, Zones (N1 Grid Containers), FMA (Predictive Self Healing), or ZFS. But this has given me the unique opportunity to attack bits and pieces of Solaris from all directions. In particular, I have spent more than a few lonely nights with mdb, procfs, and the ptools. I've enjoyed growing up in this playground built by Mike Shapiro, Adam Leventhal, Roger Faulkner, and those who came before me. More recently, I have been drafted into service for the AMD64 (opteron) army, selflessly sacrificing my free time for the good of our porting effort.

From here, I will most likely continue to post about Solaris development as well as general software principles. You'll likely see a focus on software observability, debugging, and complexity. This comes with the territory, as you can see from Bryan's blog. It is not a coincidence that we kernel engineers share similar views and goals. It is an essential part of the philosophy that makes Solaris what it is today: a robust, reliable, manageable, serviceable, and observable operating system.


Musings about Fishworks, Operating Systems, and the software that runs on them.


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