Welcome to the United States

I just returned from a trip to the US, which required a nonimmigrant visa.
For those of you who have never needed to apply for a US visa, here are some of the questions they ask you on the DS-156 nonimmigrant visa application form:

  • Have you ever unlawfully distributed or sold a controlled substance (drug), or been a prostitute or procurer for prostitutes?
  • Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose?
  • Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State?
  • Have you ever participated in persecutions directed by the Nazi government of Germany; or have you ever participated in genocide?
So, having convinced US Homeland Security that I am not a prostitute, terrorist or Nazi, they granted me a visa valid for 10 years.

Often the sanest refuge from bureaucratic idiocy is humour, and highly appropriate in this context is Welcome to the United States from Franks Zappa's Yellow Shark album.

The lyrics are based on the actual text of a US visa application form. Zappa was best known as a rock musician with fondness of satire and off-beat humor. But he was also a composer and the Yellow Shark album contains recordings of some of his more "serious" compositions performed by a German chamber orchestra with Zappa conducting. The album was released shortly after his death in 1993.

Anyway, back to the trip... I met up with Sun Ray engineers to discuss work we are doing on a new Sun Ray administration user interface. So, if you are a Sun customer and a Ray Server administrator, please let me know if there is anything you would like to see added to the admininstration UI, or any other comments on Sun Ray administration tools in general.

My visit coincided with the Desktop Performance Summit led by John Rice. I popped in on Wednesday when there was a talk on the performance analysis tools in Sun Studio. I also talked with Sean Meighan, who leads the development of Canary - a tool that gives an overall birds-eye view of the health of a group of machines on a network. I did some work on Canary a few months ago, and from what I have seen it is bound to be of great value to systems administrators in general, and Sun Ray server administrators in particular.

I felt a bit out of my depth with all the performance experts around, but it has motivated me to start playing around with DTrace and other tools available on Solaris. Up till now I have done most of my development on Linux, but with all these tools available on Solaris I'm going to make it my primary development platform from now on. My past experience in multiplatform development has proven that it is always beneficial to compile, test and run on as many OS's as possible, using as many different compilers as you can get your hands on. Subtle differences can expose bugs that may remain hidden if you stick to only one platform. So, with the Solaris tools now available, the desktop team should be able to identify and fix more performance bottlenecks in GNOME - work that will benefit both Sun and the GNOME community in the long run.

I would encourage free and open source software developers to consider using Solaris in addition to their favourite OS. With Open Solaris there are already a variety of different Solaris distributions available. One that I'm particularly interested in is Nexenta, which combines the Solaris kernel with Debian tools, which will result in an environment similar to my favourite Linux distro: Ubuntu.

A good working relationship between Open Solaris and Debian would be great. Some people have been keen on this for quite a while already, though there are some reservations about the CDDL. Hopefully these can be ironed out - my colleague Alo is certainly keen on getting a discussion going on this topic, and has proposed a talk at next year's Debian conference titled: OpenSolaris and Debian: Can we be friends?

Now, time to download the Nexenta LiveCD...


Felicitaciones Johan, el español es un lenguaje muy difícil de aprender. ¡Te recomiendo venir a Argentina para practicarlo! saludos

Posted by sergio on December 16, 2005 at 08:29 AM GMT #

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