Wednesday Jan 13, 2010

New Year, New Role and New Build

Happy New Year. Its a new year and I have started a new role in Applications Integration Engineering which is part of the Sun Storage 7000 - Unified Storage Systems group. AIE's main charter is to integrate ISV products with Sun Storage 7000 family. I hope to continue working with databases and other applications and specially how it interacts and integrates with the FISHworks based products. Years ago, interestingly, I don't think I would have recommended NFS to be used with any database application. But looks like it is now way more stabilized in its current form. Then there is also iSCSI. But there is yet another way to connect to these systems soon which I think is more attractive to me and maybe even other database folks at large. More about that when time is right.

 Anyway with the new role, I thought it was time to update my existing OpenSolaris (b128a) to the latest OpenSolaris build 130. I must admit this has been the first OpenSolaris upgrade which was not as smooth as expected. First things first I got hit with bug with the naming of /dev repository. I first heard about the bug from George Drapeau but even though I worked around it I could still not upgrade to the latest build.  Then I heard from Mandy about the problem that if I had ever installed from /contrib repository I could still not upgrade to the latest build with the changed /dev name. I uninstalled all the software from /contrib and crossing my fingers the pkg image-update command still failed. Of course I then realized I probably had couple of packages from the /pending repository and even the Sun /extra repository. Uninstalling all the extra software was not fun but still the darn thing did not upgrade. Finally gave up and read about this forced upgrade using -f  as follows

# pkg image-update -f

and it worked. It started downloading the updates and finally created a new boot environment with the new build.

However the reboot to the new environment just stuck at the graphical boot with the orange bar going from left to right. After 5 minutes I killed the power and rebooted and this time used "e" on the grub menu and deleted the splashfile, foreground and background lines and changed the kernel boot line from console=graphics to console=text and pressed "b" to boot using the modified grub entry. I figured out that the X server refused to start. Cutting a long story short (it actually took me almost a day) to figure a simple solution, re-move my custom /etc/X11/xorg.conf (which I was forced to create few upgrades (b111a)  ago) so the X server can use its new defaults to start without any problems.

Of course that worked till I got the login and when I entered my login information, I ended with a white screen. Arrg yet another bug. Reading the mailing list got the following solution

$ pfexec /usr/sbin/unlink /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/GL
$ pfexec ln -s ../../../../../var/run/opengl/server /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/GL

With the above changes, finally rebooting the desktop into fresh working build 130 of OpenSolaris and I was ready to try out the new Thunderbird 3.0 and Firefox 3.5. Of course AWN (the mac like dock) worked for most part but the dock preferences refused to start. I did file a bug and it seems that it will be fixed in b131 but the quick fix is to edit

/usr/bin/awn-manager and replace the first line

#!/usr/bin/python

to

#!/usr/bin/python2.6

and that should allow you to see your AWN dock preferences once again.

If you ask me was it worth all the pain to upgrade to this new version. My simple answer is yes

Few thing fixed for me:

  • The new login screen is much nicer (in last few builds I could hardly read what I was typing in the login name text field on a widescreen monitor.
  • On build 128a I saw that the screen saver unlock screen was taking a long time to respond which seems to have gone away with this build.
  • I like the full text search capabilities of Thunderbird 3.0

Of course your reasons may be different then mine to upgrade and who knows build 131 might be out soon in next week or two then it probably might be a smoother upgrade if you can wait for it. (I can't.)

About

Jignesh Shah is Principal Software Engineer in Application Integration Engineering, Oracle Corporation. AIE enables integration of ISV products including Oracle with Unified Storage Systems. You can also follow me on my blog http://jkshah.blogspot.com

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