Hello? Is this thing on? (thump thump thump...)
By kucharsk on May 25, 2005
My career to date has largely focused on issues of booting and VM, with a lot of my time spent in initial platform bringup and massaging memory management on various systems. Over the course of my career I've worked on machines from IBM 370-class mainframes down to PCs, and on a wide variety of CPUs including MIPS R3000s, various PowerPCs, SPARC CPUs and now x86, especially Opterons.
The last two years of my life have been largely devoted to porting Solaris to Opteron, and I've got to say it's been one of the most rewarding projects I've ever been involved in. One thing I've noticed when working on past projects is that many of them seemed like a lot of work at the time but didn't seem especially technologically innovative or important except perhaps when looked back upon with the benefit of hindsight. The amd64 port was one of the few projects I've worked on where I could tell how important the project was (in an engineering sense, not only in a marketing one) while the work was occurring. We faced considerable technical challenges each day (and over more than a few sleepless nights) but in the end it was all worth it when we got to release our code to the world in Solaris 10. It's really neat to be able to think that whenever a multi-CPU Opteron system boots, CPUs other than 0 start because of my code. :-)
In coming posts I hope to detail a few of the more entertaining challenges we faced and what we had to do to overcome them (for me, one of the biggest was trying to learn to think in little-endian byte order. :-))
For now, the blogs of Tim Marsland, Joe Bonasera and Nils Nieuwejaar, a few of the other members of the Opteron team, are excellent sources for more information. (They are, of course, also considerably more interesting to read than anything I've blathered on about for about for far too long now.)