Monday Jun 01, 2009

OpenSolaris 2009.06 Now Available

OpenSolaris 2009.06 is now available for deployment from the desktop to datacenter, check out the latest features at

  • Network Virtualization with Crossbow
  • Turn any host into a SCSI target with COMSTAR
  • Host virtual guests using xVM Hypervisor or LDoms
  • SPARCĀ® support for Distro Constructor, Auto Install, and Snap
  • Intel Xeon 5500 processor support with deep power management
  • MySQL and PHP DTrace Probes in the WebStack

And by the way, our book, Pro OpenSolaris, is still perfectly relevant, since it focuses on key OpenSolaris features that have not changed since the earlier 2008.11 release.

Tuesday Apr 21, 2009

Pro OpenSolaris book available this week

Available this week:

Pro OpenSolaris (Apress)

Apress' Pro OpenSolaris is the second English language book to be published specifically about Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris open source operating system. The first was the comprehensive,1000-page, OpenSolaris Bible published by Wiley in March 2009. That book purposely covered all aspects of OpenSolaris for those with only basic familiarity with Solaris and UNIX as well as for those with greater administration and developer experience; it reviewed desktop tools, networking, shell programming, and system administration along with the unique features of OpenSolaris.

Pro OpenSolaris, published in April 2009 and based on the OpenSolaris 2008.11 release, assumes the reader is already comfortable with the user and development environments of GNOME and Linux; it focuses primarily on the key OpenSolaris features that should be learned and exploited for Web development. It includes an extensive chapter detailing a sample Web stack project based on the zones, ZFS, security, and SMF topics introduced in the preceding chapters. The book also highlights relevant online references and resources for further learning. Although all of the information about OpenSolaris is available on myriad Web sites, books such as Pro OpenSolaris give you a roadmap and recommended sequence of what to learn first. It also strongly emphasizes that open source solutions can be effectively hosted on OpenSolaris as well as on Linux.

Pro OpenSolaris (Amazon)

Pro OpenSolaris (Barnes & Noble)

Monday Jul 07, 2008

"Who' Finishing Second?"

OpenSolaris reported second to Ubuntu in DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking.[Read More]

Tuesday May 20, 2008

OpenSolaris at the Source

OpenSolaris at the Source

No, not the source code...but the source of learning about operating systems: university CS courses. Recently I presented Real World Observability Tools in Computer Science Education at the ACM's SIGCSE08 meeting in Portland, OR. Sun was one of the symposium's Platinum Sponsors; I attended both as a Sun system engineer who specializes in OpenSolaris and as a university CS educator who teaches a graduate course in operating systems based on OpenSolaris.

My course was in progress when I presented it at the symposium; it's completed now. I focused on two major topics: OS Observability, and Virtualization. For the observability topic we studied DTrace in OpenSolaris along with other OS tools such as Linux SystemTap. For virtualization, we studied Xen, OpenSolaris containers, and Linux features such as vServers. In general, such topics are not covered in depth in university CS curricula.

Most of the students were in the MS in CS program at GMU, although there were a few in the CS PhD program as well. The students' backgrounds were quite varied; some were already experienced and employed in highly technical IT work, some were only beginning their CS graduate studies and careers. I required the students to do two projects, one on observability and one on virtualization. Most of the projects, but not all, centered on OpenSolaris features and issues; I allowed students to choose the specific areas of investigation within the two broad topic areas.

I asked several students for permission to share their projects in order to illustrate the variety and utility of such assignments in learning about operating systems in general and about OpenSolaris in particular:

As you can see, providing students with state-of-the-art open source tools inspires them to investigate real world problems and to create interesting solutions. And, since I insisted on inclusion and fair coverage of observability and virtualization technologies other than those found in OpenSolaris, students were encouraged to report on the good, bad, and ugly of these technologies.

Student feedback about this course has been very positive, although many students expresed a preference for focusing in greater detail on just one of the two topics. I'll propose such a change for the next offering of this course; for the DTrace topic, I would follow the excellent example being set by the OpenSolaris-based curriculum currently being taught in China, as was presented at SIGCSE08.

Friday Feb 15, 2008

That Useful '\*'

Programmers know the value of the '\*' wildcard symbol. And for many years technology trade press writers and journalists have also employed it as a useful shorthand notation for a variety of terms. One that comes to mind is '\*NIX', generally meaning "all the different implementations of UNIX" such as AIX, IRIX, and even those not ending in 'IX' like HP-UX and Linux.

Well, here's another one: '\*AMP'. I'm sure you've heard of or even used 'LAMP' Web solutions: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. In fact, a very large fraction of Web sites use these four technologies. But any of the four letters can be replaced with a wildcard, including the 'L'. Think '\*AMP'. But what could possibly replace the '\*'?

How about 'S' for 'Solaris'? Or 'O' for 'OpenSolaris'? Because that first letter represents the operating system foundation that supports the other three. And all those useful AMP applications are not only available but run fine, or even better, on other letters of the alphabet. Like 'S' and 'O'.

And now, to make using either of those two letters even easier, the 'AMP' stack, as it is generally called, is integrated with and optimized for Solaris, on Intel, AMD, and SPARC systems. Get the record-setting 'AMP' stack for Solaris along with all your favorite developer tools like Ruby, Squid, and Java. Build leading edge Web 2.0 solutions with the Solaris Express Developer Edition 1/08 release, which includes Sun's new xVM virtualization technologies.

So expand your view of '\*AMP'. Think of Sun's continuing and innovative support for open source solutions. Oh, and more about that third letter, 'M'. Check out the news about how Sun has enhanced its level of support for your favorite open source database software.




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