Friday Mar 20, 2009

OpenSolaris 2009 Elections & Constitution

Just cast my ballot in this years OpenSolaris OGB Ballot, and voted yes for the new OpenSolaris constitution. I strongly believe that if your entitled to vote on something and didn't then you shouldn't be complaining about it later, so if you are a core contributor you should go vote now. Polls close at Mon Mar 23 23:59:59 2009 PDT.

Wednesday Mar 18, 2009

The Developers Edge

Darryl Gove just announced the availability of a a new book, The Developers Edge over on his blog. The book is a collection of various entries on sites such as, and I have the privilege of having one of my past entries, STREAM and the performance impact of compiler optimization included.

The book is available via Safari, and if your looking for tips tricks and insights to get that little extra edge I'd highly recommend dipping in.

Monday Mar 09, 2009

DTrace, Fortran & Sun Studio

Just read a really, really cool article on a newly evolving feature of the Sun Studio Fortran Compiler, a -dtrace option, which will allow you to automatically generate dtrace probes in your Fortran code. Must go play when I get an opportunity... this is wickedly cool.

Thursday Jan 22, 2009

Irish Open Solaris Groups Meetup

Tim sent an announcement out yesterday to on the 18th IE-OSUG meeting, 7:30 PM @ The Vaults next Thursday Jan 29th.

For those interested in hearing about my adventures in mac book land, be it with OpenSolaris native on the mac or via Sun xVM Virtualbox I'll have the macbook along so you can take a look. You can of course pull me aside to talk about our OpenSolaris service & support offerings if so inclined, but its Thursday evening so it might cost you a beer.

Wednesday Dec 10, 2008

Layers of cool tech....

or tech for tech's sake in some eyes..... (go on click on the image)

yes thats me getting the best of multiple worlds with OpenSolaris running in VirtualBox on my MacBook (running OS X which includes Sun innovations such as DTrace and ZFS) and installing NetBeans. Adventures in my development environment to follow...

And if you want to use OpenSolaris in production with the peace of mind that a support contract brings your boss take a look at our various OpenSolaris subscription services.

Monday Nov 10, 2008

Adventures in MacBook land...

... or getting Solaris running on a Macbook Pro. I do of course have an instance running in Sun xVM VirtualBox, but I like having a native environment to work in as well.

A lot of people have gone down this path before me, so I'll focus specifcally here on getting the ndis wrapper working for the onboard broadcom card, however before going there, a quick list of the places I found info at (and the odd credit as well).

First off I used rEFIt, suggested to me by Nicky as an alternative to Bootcamp, although I did use BootCamp to do the initial partioning of the disk up. Before installing you need to do a bit of fiddling around with EFI id's, the details of which I found from an entry by Paul Mitchell, How to Dual Partition a MacBook Pro with MacOS and Solaris.

After that it was a straight install from a dvd, then onto setting up the required networking. The ethernet nic is a Marvell Yukon, scanpci details area

pci bus 0x000c cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x11ab device 0x436a
 Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Marvell Yukon 88E8058 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller

This is supported by Masayuki Murayama's myk driver (ported from FreeBSD's msk) from and can be downloaded from his driver page. Details are all in the readme. In my case I went with the i386_gcc compile as we need to boot in 32bit mode for the ndis wrapper we will get to in a moment.

Now the awkward part, getting the wireless. The wireless nic in this macbook is a Broadcom, details below

pci bus 0x000b cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x14e4 device 0x4328
 Broadcom Corporation BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n

The folks over at the laptop community on have a detailed page on useing ndis. You need to pull down 1.2 ndis kit, and the relevant driver files (search for 14E4,4328). Now with the arrival of Fast Boot (PSARC/2008/382, flag day) in build 100 of Solaris Express we have a new driver entry point which has yet to be reflected in the ndis code, the fix is a simple change to the if_ndis.c (thanks to Michael Li for the correct quiesce option).

+++ if_ndis.c   Mon Nov 10 05:39:52 2008
@@ -159,7 +159,7 @@

 uint32_t identify;
 DDI_DEFINE_STREAM_OPS(ndis_dev_ops, nulldev, nulldev, ndis_attach, ndis_detach,
-    nodev, NULL, D_MP, NULL);
+    nodev, NULL, D_MP, NULL, ddi_quiesce_not_supported);

 static struct modldrv ndis_modldrv = {
        &mod_driverops,         /\* Type of module.  This one is a driver \*/

Guidelines for the rest of the process are listed on on the ndis page mentioned above. Once you have built the modules and copied them in place add the ndis driver with

        add_drv -i '"pci14e4,4328"' bcmndis

Plumb up the interface and you should be ready to go. The trade off here is that you have to use a 32bit kernel, so make sure you've booted into one.

The final item to get working is a right click emulation, covered in detail in Pradhaps entry Solaris Nevada / OpenSolaris Mac book right-click. Anyway after all of that, unless you really want to have Solaris running natively on your macbook I'd suggest using Sun xVM VirtualBox, and OpenSolaris.

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

Blogging bosses...

My new boss, Amy O'Connor, (well my bosses boss) got a mention over on the On The Record blog last week, but for a slightly less formal introduction, and a lot more background, take a look at her blog.

Amys first post in her role as VP of Services Marketing is highlighting our OpenSolaris Essentials and OpenSolaris Production Subscriptions. Changing my hat from an OpenSolaris user (and yes still a core contributor to the test community) to a member of the Services marketing team, these subscriptions offer you an unprecedented level of support with an open source OS, so go forth and deploy with confidence. Oh our multiple acronyms get a mention as well, although they are not quite up there with Tom Waits and PEHDTSCKJMBA.

Now we just have to get the direct boss blogging :).

Friday Dec 21, 2007

DTrace ip Network Provider

I see that Brendan Gregg has posted a draft PSARC case for the first part of the DTrace Network Provider over on DTrace-discuss. I can't even begin to describe how useful this will be.
Technorati Tag(s) : ,

Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

DTrace and the case of the slow login...

An interesting little problem came my way earlier on today which yet again let me show just how useful DTrace is. Way back when I did a bit of work with a customer around a small webapp they migrated to Solaris from Linux. Anyway I got a mail from them earlier today, they split out the webserver onto a seperate box a while back, and recently the initial connections to the database tier have gotten very slow, for no obvious reasons.

They were looking into things like large logs and slow writes etc, but nothing obvious was popping up. So we went through a couple of initial steps to see if anything obvious jumped out - the various \*stat tools showed everything running normally so time to reach for DTrace. A quick oneliner showed up exactly where the problem was, and while its a simple fix I thought I'd share it as an example here. The key point here is that this isn't a resource starvation issue, which is when people generally reach for DTrace, rather its a nasty side effect of a simple change that doesn't manifest itself in an obvious manner. Right, enough typing, the oneliner was...

dtrace -n 'syscall:::entry { @sc[ustack()] = count(); } tick-5sec { printa(@sc); }'

Looking at the output the first thing that I spotted were some stacks similar to`_so_send+0x7
Hmmm, so nscd is busy. The next question was "have there been any network changes?", they weren't aware of any but on some digging there was some reconfiguration work done recently on the DNS server they use. Anyway the temporary solution that they have put in place until the DNS issues are resolved is to add the new webserver machine directly to /etc/hosts.

Without DTrace the root cause would have been a lot more painful to find, instead this exchange was a couple of e-mails in the background while I got on with the day job. Gotta love DTrace ;).

Technorati Tag(s) : ,

Tuesday Nov 20, 2007

IPS @ 16th IE-OSUG

Tim has been busy organising the next Irish OpenSolaris Users Group meeting. The announcement mail is here, but for your ease of viewing..
I'm happy to announce the 16th Irish OpenSolaris User Group meeting:

Topic           Image Packaging System (IPS)
Date            Tuesday November 27th
Time            7:00pm onwards
Location        DIT, Kevin Street, room KE: 1-008

This month, Michal Pryc has kindly offered to give a talk on the Image
Packaging System[1] - a new package management system for OpenSolaris
that will ease the pain of package installation and upgrade.

The project is still in it's early stages, but you can try it out now by
downloading and experimenting with Indiana[2]. Come along to the meeting
to find out more!

Michal plans to give a quick outline of:

  \* IPS structure
  \* client/server side tools
  \* limitations (some would say benefits ;-)
  \* portability

as well as a GUI tool he's been working on. He's asked if people have
specific questions about IPS before the meeting, to feel free to post
them to the list and he'll try to prepare them for the meeting.

This should be a pretty interesting talk, and I'd definitely encourage
you to come along – please feel free to pass this message around and
spread the word.

As always, we'll also give a quick run down of OpenSolaris news
over the past month, and will be recording the talk and adding it to our
podcast feed as well as posting the slides here, in case you can't make
it to the meeting.

As always, many thanks to the nice folks at DIT for offering to host
our meeting!

A link to this announcement is:

Look forward to seeing you there!   There's a poster on my blog if you'd
like to help us publicise this meeting.



Thursday Sep 20, 2007

Ldoms @ IE-OSUG

The fourteenth Irish OpenSolaris Users Group meeting is on next Tuesday. Liam Merwick will be presenting on Logical Domains. If you have any machines with Coolthreads technology, this will definately be of interest to you.

The good folks at the Dublin Institute of Technology are hosting the meeting.

Logical Domains @ IE-OSUG
DIT, Kevin St, @ 7.00 PM, September 25th 2007

Technorati Tag(s) : ,

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

DTrace for #!/bin/sh

Now this is seriously handy - Alan Hargreaves has released a DTrace provider for sh over on No more hiding under the excuse "its the shell" - bad shell scripts will now be exposed :).

Thursday Aug 02, 2007

13th Irish OpenSolaris User Group Meeting

Tim has been busy organising the next Irish OpenSolaris users group meeting -

To: [ug-ieosug] 13th Irish OpenSolaris User Group Meeting
From: Tim Foster Tim.Foster at Sun.COM
Date: Wed Aug 1 08:42:29 PDT 2007

Hi all,

I'm happy to announce the 13th Irish OpenSolaris User Group meeting:

Topic		Discovering Open High Availability Cluster
Date		Tuesday	August 14th
Time		7:00pm onwards
Location	TBD

This month, we're lucky to have Nick Solter, from the Open HA Cluster
community visiting Dublin who will give us a talk about Open HA Cluster,
which forms the basis of one of the newer communities on

Solaris Cluster, Sun's high-availability cluster software, is going
open-source! This presentation will first give an overview of High
Availability software and Solaris Cluster, and demonstrate how Open HA
Cluster can be used with OpenSolaris and the Apache webserver to provide
higher availability for web services.

Nick's talk will next describe the open-source roadmap, give an overview
of the source code, and walk through the steps to download, compile,
install, and play with Open HA Cluster and Cluster Express. The talk
will conclude with a description of the contribution process and some
sample projects for community participation.

As usual we'll also be doing the roundup of news since our last talk,
and will be adding audio from this meeting to our podcast feed.

More info at:

We \*don't\* yet have a venue for this meeting, so if you'd like to host
it, please drop a mail to this list [ I'm actually out on vacation from
Monday for 2 weeks, but will of course be at the meeting on the 14th and
will try to monitor this list in the meantime: so please could someone
finalise the venue for the group - otherwise, I'll assume we're at
meeting at the Sun offices in East Point as per last month. ]

I'd also like to take this opportunity to poll for talks or speakers for
our September meeting - if you'd like to talk about anything
OpenSolaris-related on Sep 25th, we want to hear from you.

If you're looking for an excuse to visit Ireland, here's your chance -
we'd love to have you present a talk to the user group, and will do our
best to show some Irish hospitality!

See you all then!

Technorati Tag(s) : ,

Wednesday Jul 25, 2007

compiling lame

I was compiling up lame earlier on this evening, and encountered the following error
brhist.c: In function `brhist_disp':
brhist.c:432: error: syntax error before '->' token
brhist.c:459: error: invalid type argument of `->'
brhist.c:465: error: invalid type argument of `->'

Anyway the good folks over at pkgsrc have a work around documented.

Thursday Jul 12, 2007

Project Indiana @ IE-OSUG Tonight

Just a quick reminder that Glynn Foster is talking about Project Indiana, the project to create a reference OpenSolaris distro, at tonights Irish OpenSolaris Users Group Meeting.

Tonights meeting is being held at the Sun Ireland office in Eastpoint Business Park - just a short walk from Clontarf Road Dart Station. Tim has already created map.

Technorati Tag(s) : ,



« July 2016