Thursday Mar 09, 2006

Leaving Sun, taking Java and Solaris with me!

Hello all,

Friday, March 10th will be my last day here at Sun. An opportunity has presented itself and I felt I could not pass it up. I've spent almost 6 years at Sun, mostly working with Developer Tools and the Java platform. In this time, I feel that I've learned an immense amount, not only in a technical capacity, but also in business, cultural, and personal capacities. I can easily say that working at Sun has had a massively positive influence on just about every part of my life and I will remember my time here dearly.

Although Sun is a relatively large company, I've always felt that I could approach just about anyone, from my colleagues, managers, all the way up to VPs and above. I think this simple fact is the one thing that I will miss the most about working at Sun.

While I may not be a Sun employee after March 10th, I would like to emphasize that I will still be working with both the Java and Solaris platforms, in some ways even more so than I did during my time at Sun.

With all that out of the way, I'll still be posting over at http://www.unixville.com/~moazam. Come by for a visit. :)

Tuesday Jan 17, 2006

When Apache met DTrace -- meet mod_dtrace

This is one of the coolest and most practical things I've seen in a while. DTrace hooks for the Apache webserver. 'Matty' (Ryan Matteson) over at daemons.net wrote this up and posted it on the OpenSolaris forums a little while ago. Matty includes the full source code for mod_dtrace here.

Some examples from mod_dtrace,

View HTTP Requests By Method:

  $ viewreqs.pl -d 5
  Timestamp GETs POSTs HEADs TRACEs
  02:05:59  0    0     0     0
  02:06:04  12   0     0     0
  02:06:09  15   0     0     0
  02:06:14  59   0     0     0
  02:06:19  68   0     0     0
  02:06:24  70   0     0     0


  View HTTP Requests By HTTPD Process:

  $ viewreqsbyproc.d
  Execname  Process  Requests Processed
  httpd     19103       16
  httpd     19152       17
  httpd     19101       17
  httpd     19102       19
  httpd     19104       20
  httpd     19105       20

Reading some of the articles from Matty, it sounds like he's one of those super-uber-sysadmins with amazing multi-OS skills.

Looking for a Solaris hosting provider

I currently run my personal site via 1and1.com which charges me $70/month for a dedicated Linux server on which I have full root access. The service has been great and the connection speed is very good also, but I'm starting to look for greener pastures as I really would like to host my site on a Solaris machine instead. My reasoning is that I'm just more knowledgable with Solaris and would like to have the ability to run zones, dtrace scripts, etc.

I'm looking for a hosting provider who can offer me similar pricing as 1and1.com but uses Solaris (x86 is fine by me). I could even supply my own hardware if I had to, but the monthly bandwidth price has to be reasonable.

Friday Jan 13, 2006

Installing Solaris 10 on the Fujitsu P7120D

After a day or so of hacking, I was finally able to get Solaris 10 U1 x86 to run on my new Fujitsu P7120D with fully fuctioning widescreen (1280x768) resolution and support for the Atheros Super AG wireless card. For those who are not familiar with this machine, the Fujitsu 7120D is a subcompact laptop with a crisp widescreen LCD, a built-in DVD drive, and excellent battery life.

The general steps for installation and configuration are as follows,

To install base OS
1. Boot and install from Solaris 10u1 DVD by selecting the 'Interactive Text (Console)' option.

To install wireless driver
1. Download and install the SUNWatheros package from the OpenSolaris ath page.
2. Follow instructions on the aforementioned OpenSolaris ath page except the 'wificonfig createprofile' section is incorrect and should be

wificonfig createprofile essid=ssid encryption=wep wepkey1=wepkey
To install native widescreen video driver
1. Download the frkit from OpenSolaris.
2. Install the 915resolution package from within frkit. Don't install the cardbus or wifi packages, they seem to break the SUNWatheros driver. I have to confirm if both are the cause of the break, or just one. More news later on this.
3. Run xorgconfig and select the i810 generic driver.
4. Within the xorgconfig program, set custom Horizontal screen specs to 30-65 and Vert to 30-60.
5. Uncomment the following two lines in /etc/X11/intel_vbios.conf

modeline="3c 1280 768 24"
export modeline
6. Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add a 'Modes "1280x768"' line within Section Screen, Subsection Display, for example,

Section "Screen"
.......
    Subsection "Display"
    Depth       16
    Modes      "1280x768"
    ViewPort   0 0
7. Reboot...

If you face problems with any of this, feel free to ping me and I'll try to help out as much as I can.

Installing Solaris 10 on the Fujitsu P7120D

After a day or so of hacking, I was finally able to get Solaris 10 U1 x86 to run on my new Fujitsu P7120D with fully fuctioning widescreen (1280x768) resolution and support for the Atheros Super AG wireless card. The general steps are as follows,

To install base OS
1. Boot and install from Solaris 10u1 DVD by selecting the 'Interactive Text (Console)' option.

To install wireless driver
1. Download and install the SUNWatheros package from the OpenSolaris ath page.
2. Follow instructions on the aforementioned OpenSolaris ath page except the 'wificonfig createprofile' section is incorrect and should be

wificonfig createprofile essid=ssid encryption=wep wepkey1=wepkey
To install native widescreen video driver
1. Download the frkit from OpenSolaris.
2. Install the 915resolution package from within frkit. Don't install the cardbus or wifi packages, they seem to break the SUNWatheros driver. I have to confirm if both are the cause of the break, or just one. More news later on this.
3. Run xorgconfig and select the i810 generic driver.
4. Within the xorgconfig program, set custom Horizontal screen specs to 30-65 and Vert to 30-60.
5. Uncomment the following two lines in /etc/X11/intel_vbios.conf

modeline="3c 1280 768 24"
export modeline
6. Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add a 'Modes "1280x768"' line within Section Screen, Subsection Display, for example,

Section "Screen"
.......
    Subsection "Display"
    Depth       16
    Modes      "1280x768"
    ViewPort   0 0
7. Reboot...

If you face problems with any of this, feel free to ping me and I'll try to help out as much as I can.

Monday Nov 14, 2005

Sun Summit on 21st Century Eco-Responsibility

Sun Summit on 21st Century Eco-Responsibility" hosted by Mike Krasny of KQED fame and Sun Microsystems. The event lasted a bit over an hour, out of which there was about 10 minutes of Sun specific talk, mostly about the new Sun UltraSparc T1 processor (aka Niagara). At first, I figured this even may be a Sun marketing event, but after viewing it, I'm glad to say it is much more than that.

The replay is available at:

http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/environment/watch.jsp


Tuesday Nov 08, 2005

Moazam in South Park



Sunday Oct 30, 2005

Banned from NetBeans?

It looks like I've been banned from the NetBeans mailing lists! :(

My personal email server, which has a lot of its infrastructure, went down for a couple of days because of hurricane Wilma. When I finally got my personal email address back I realized that many of the mailing lists that I participate on had gotten bounce backs and disabled my subscriptions. Unfortunately, it seems that the NetBeans lists I was on are now totally ignoring all emails from me. Can someone help me out with this?

Update: I'm getting emails from the nb lists again now...I guess someone fixed the problem.

Monday Oct 17, 2005

Dust inside my 2005FPW LCD!

I bought a Dell 2005FPW LCD a couple of months ago and have been generally very happy with it, except that a little while ago I started to notice that some dust particles had gathered inside the monitor. I called Dell support and they told me pound sand (no no, not literally, that would only cause more dust..., they told me that there was nothing they could do about it).

I tried blowing compressed air through the rear vents but that did'nt help much. The whole problem occured because the monitor has open rear vents. I know that the Apple LCD panels don't, and I suppose now I understand why. My other LCD monitor, an SGI 1600SW, with tiny rear vents, has never experienced this problem and I've owned it for 6+ years now. I finally figured out the solution though! I ended up tapping the LCD screen with my knuckles and little by little I dislodged the dust particles until they fell to the bottom and off the visible screen. When I say 'tapping' by the way, I mean 'tapping somewhat hard'. Hard enough that my knuckle could feel it. The LCD screen is pretty tough and can take it, although I was a little scared of cracking it. Nevertheless, all is well now, no more dust particles in my LCD panel.

PS> One of the reasons I originally bought the monitor was so that I could use the S-Video input to play Gran Turismo 4 on it in high-res mode. Unfortunately the screen looks like crap when trying to play in high-res, it has the infamous 'screen door effect'. The same is true for many HDTV LCD TVs.

Tuesday Oct 11, 2005

Google Pakistan, fix your Punjabi.

I just found that Google has a Google Pakistan site, and it offers both Urdu and Punjabi language. The Urdu portion works properly and uses the correct arabic script/fonts but the Punjabi script is actually incorrect. I suppose this is a bit of a cultural faux pas on Googles part, although I can't really blame them for the honest mistake. It's not easy to understand the intricacies of other cultures and languages, especially in this case.

The problem is that Google.com.pk displays Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script, when it should actually be in the Arabic script. Gurmukhi is the script used for the Punjabi language in India, but Arabic script is used in Pakistan. The difference is quite severe, I can read arabic script but can't read a single thing in Gurmukhi.

Anyways, the point is, Google.com.pk needs to change the script for Punjabi over to arabic. Incidentally, almost 60% of the Pakistani population is Punjabi speaking.

ObHistoryLesson> The image to the left shows a sufi saints tomb in Jalalpur Sharif, Punjab, Pakistan. Jalalpur Sharif is also the location where Alexander fought with the leader of the area, Porus. Alexandars famous horse, Bucephalus is also buried nearby. [more historial info] Oh, and they use arabic script for Punjabi in Jalalpur Sharif. ;)

NetBeans 5 Beta screenshots with JGoodies PlasticLookAndFeel

It looks like my screenshot of NetBeans 5 Beta with JGoodies PlasticLookAndFeel was added to the NetBeans page. I'm so proud. :)

In all seriousness, I initially had some reservations about the UI for NetBeans on OS X. I'm not a big fan of the Aqua L&F, not in Java apps, and not even in the OS itself. The next problem was that NetBeans on OS X seemed to take up too much screen real estate. I work on a 12" Powerbook at 1024x768 so I need all the screen real estate I can get. I fixed all these problems by installing ShapeShifter on OS X with the Gershwix theme, and then using the JGoodies Looks library to provide NetBeans with the PlasticLookAndFeel. I also used the 'small icons' option for the toolbar (second mouse click on toolbar).

The virtual desktop manager you see in the upper right corner is WSmanager

Sunday Oct 09, 2005

I'm not sure I understand java.net

Maybe I'm just in an off mood today, or maybe I'm missing some basic UI concept, but when I login to java.net as a plain ol' user, I'm not sure I understand what exactly is going on.

The "My start page" doesn't really allow me to create a meaningful page for myself. As a site, java.net is pretty useful to me with projects such as Glassfish and Mustang. The problem is that when I setup an account and login as a regular user, I don't seem to get anything for it, not even the ability to create a nice lil' start page with real information on it. I don't want to necessarily go through the process of joining a project, but I would like to be able to monitor certain projects and be notified when updates are made. Oh, and getting around within the Glassfish project page is somewhat confusing also.

I'm sure this isn't the most popular thing for a Sun employee to be writing about, but I figure I must be missing something. Soo...what am I missing? Am I just not clicking the right things here?

Saturday Oct 08, 2005

More aftershocks in Islamabad

Another aftershock in Pakistan, this time it's a 5.5 magnitude which hit about 40 minutes ago. 60 miles north of Islamabad, and 100 miles WNW of Srinigar/Kashmir.

Magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Islamabad, Pakistan

Yesterday, late in the evening, I got news of a magnitude 7.6 earthquake which happened in Islamabad. This is the same city I was vacationing in a couple of months ago and posted photos of here. Unfortunately, this is also the same city where some of my cousins, uncles, and aunts live. To make things even more exciting, my brother is currently visiting Islamabad.

To give everyone some background, Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, and a relatively small city with a population under 1 million. Islamabad 'proper' covers about 85 square miles so it's pretty easy to get from one part of the city to another. The city is divided up into sectors, I-8, G-10, F-7, F-10, E-7, and so forth. The lettered sectors are arranged in rows, and then numbered in a matrix format. You can see a map which shows the layout here. The epicenter of the quake was at 34.43N, 73.54E, which is roughly 60 miles NNE of Islamabad. Due to the shallowness of the quake, the effects have been felt for hundreds of miles around the epicenter.

After I found out about the quake I tried to contact my brother in Islamabad via his cellular phone. The cellular network was pretty jammed up so I couldn't get through for about 45 minutes. I finally got through and was relieved to hear that my brother and the family were perfectly safe. My brother was in the F-7/4 sector when the quake hit, which is minutes driving distance from F-10 where the one of the Margalla Towers units collapsed. My brother said the quake seemed to last for almost a minute and was extremely startling. There are rumors of another building or condo unit which had some damage in the F-8 sector, but this is unconfirmed for now. There have been about 11 aftershocks ranging from 5.5 to 6.9. According to my brother, many people are either sleeping on the first floors of their houses, or not sleeping at all for now. The quake caused 2 small rooms at a factory in my village (over 120+ miles from Islamabad) to crumble, but luckily no one was hurt at all. Phone service, electricity, and cable tv services seem to be uninterrupted in Islamabad and in my village.

Initially we felt pretty lucky that such a strong quake did not cause a huge amount of damage. We thought the worst was the Margalla Towers building collapse, but now it looks the damages are many times that which we originally estimated. The hillside villages in Kashmir have been hit heavily with landslides and the latest estimates are 18,000+ casualties. We can only pray that this estimate is exaggerated. Although the quake was centered near Islamabad, the areas of Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, and Manshera seem to have sustained the most damage.

My brother should be back in Miami, FL on Monday as long as the Islamabad airport does not have any service interruptions. I've been told that the military and emergency personnel were able to get into the Islamabad areas extremely quickly. I'm not sure if that will be true for the more rural and hillside areas.

Bug: javac on OS X does not support -Xmx or -Xms switches

The javac command on OS X does not support the -Xmx or -Xms switches for changing default memory sizes. For example, the following works on Solaris & Windows, but fails on OS X Tiger,

javac -J-Xms256m -J-Xmx256m Hello.java
javac: invalid flag: -J-Xmx256m Usage: javac


Other switches, such as -J-Xloggc:file.out work fine on OS X.

I've tried passing the switch as '-Xms256m' also, but that also fails. This is a pretty significant bug because without being able to pass -Xms/Xmx values to javac, certain large software builds will fail with an OutOfMemory error.

This is on OS X 10.4.2, with Java 5.

ae86:~ moazam$ java -version
java version "1.5.0_02"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_02-56)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_02-36, mixed mode, sharing)


I've filed a bug with Apple, let's see what happens.
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