Friday Jan 29, 2010

Updating To A Specific Development Build

The development builds of OpenSolaris provide access to some great new features, but they also commonly bring with them some great new headaches. Fortunately, OpenSolaris' boot environments make it easy to get back on your feet.  However, that doesn't help you get any closer to that great new feature.

A common question on the various help aliases is how to upgrade to a specific development build of OpenSolaris? The pkg image-update command currently doesn't address this, but there's and enhancement request in to solve it: pkg image-update should provide the possibility to specify a build.

In that enhancement request you'll find a workaround, which I'll walk through in more detail here.[Read More]

Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

Don't Blame the Printer

If you have a printer that works with OpenSolaris, please take the time to allow your fellow community members to know about it. Here's how...[Read More]

Wednesday Dec 23, 2009

Critical Security Update for Adobe Flash Player

Earlier this month, Adobe released a security update for its Flash Player. Adobe has assigned this update its highest risk rating of Critical. This update is available for OpenSolaris.[Read More]

Friday Dec 18, 2009

iSCSI SAN - Part 2: The Clients

In part 1 of this blog I created an iSCSI storage target exposing 3 LUNs: one each intended for OpenSolaris, Linux and Windows clients. In this entry I'll set up the clients (initiators) to connect to those LUNs.[Read More]

Thursday Dec 17, 2009

iSCSI SAN - Part 1: The Server

If you have OpenSolaris as part of your home network, you can put that box to work as a storage server accessible by the other machines on your home network, regardless of their operating system.[Read More]

Monday Nov 16, 2009


As a user of OpenSolaris, one of the best ways you can contribute to the community is by taking the time to submit the bugs you find in the product.[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

A D Script for Observing the Network

A little gem included with the Crossbow Virtual Wire Demo Tool is a DTrace script and associated Chime display written by Crossbow engineer Kais Belgaied. I've augmented the script a bit by adding an END clause to format the output, which shows the number of bits transferred over the period of time the script is run:[Read More]

Friday Oct 30, 2009

Crossbow Virtual Wire Demo Tool

At the CommunityOne West keynote last June a demo of Crossbow was given using a tool called Virtual Wire. If you haven't seen the demo before, you can watch a 10 minute replay of it here:[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 28, 2009

D Script Archeology

I've read that the best way to learn DTrace is to study existing D scripts. However, upon doing so I quickly find myself asking "where is that documented?" And it turns out, with tens of thousands of probes, as is often the case, it's not. So I'd love to hear what others with more DTrace experience do, but these are the steps I seem to have stumbled upon.[Read More]

Friday Oct 23, 2009

DTrace Quick Start Guide

Sun ISV engineer and DTrace evangelist Angelo Rajadurai has just authored a new quick start guide to DTrace. The guide is based on his "Observing Applications with DTrace" presentation (slides, video) at CommunityOne West and focuses on tracing web applications. The examples from the book have also been added to a wiki page for easier copy & paste.

(click the image to open PDF)

Wednesday Oct 21, 2009

DTrace Toolkit

A hidden little gem that comes included with your installation of OpenSolaris is the DTrace Toolkit. You'll find it installed at /opt/DTT.

The DTrace Toolkit is a collection of tools written by volunteers of the DTrace community, led by Brendan Gregg. What I find most impressive is how well it has been put together. There are 230 executable DTrace scripts, each with their own man page. The scripts are organized by type (CPU analysis, I/O analysis, etc.) so they are easy to study, but they've all been symlinked into a Bin directory, so they are easy to put on your path. I've added the following to my ~/.bashrc file:

# DTrace Toolkit

In addition to their man pages, all of the scrips have a -h help option, for example:

bleonard@os200906:~$ execsnoop -h
USAGE: execsnoop [-a|-A|-ehjsvZ] [-c command]
       execsnoop                # default output
                -a              # print all data
                -A              # dump all data, space delimited
                -e              # safe output, parseable
                -j              # print project ID
                -s              # print start time, us
                -v              # print start time, string
                -Z              # print zonename
                -c command      # command name to snoop
        execsnoop -v            # human readable timestamps
        execsnoop -Z		# print zonename
        execsnoop -c ls         # snoop ls commands only

Note, if you want to run the DTrace scripts from your user account, run the following command to add the needed privileges, substituting in your user name:

pfexec usermod -K defaultpriv=basic,dtrace_user,dtrace_proc,dtrace_kernel <user>

To get started learning all that's available, I recommend reading the DTrace Tookkit page. Also, Stefan Parvu has an excellent presentation on DTrace and the toolkit that's worth a look.

With this toolkit there's probably little need to write a DTrace script from scratch - it's literally a treasure chest of material that I've only begun to explore.

Thursday Oct 08, 2009

vi colors

When I edit a text file in vi, I find it much easier to read if the syntax is color highlighted. There are 2 steps to enabling this. First, add an alias for vi (or vim) to your ~/.bashrc file as follows:

# Enable color support for vi
alias vi='TERM=xtermc vim'

You can read the gory details about why this needs to be done in bug 1641 - xterm terminfo entry doesn't support color.

You also need to tell vi to use syntax coloring. Adding the following to your ~/.vimrc file (create one if it doesn't yet exist):

syntax on

Much nicer:

Thursday Oct 01, 2009

Screencast: Configuring a Local IPS Repository Mirror

I've had my local IPS repository mirror running for about 1 month now and I find it extremely beneficial. So much so that I've gone ahead and produced a short 6 minute screencast on the process of creating it.

[Read More]

Thursday Sep 10, 2009

NetBeans Python Editor

NetBeans 6.7, released earlier this summer, has a pretty nifty Python editor. To give it a spin a decided to set up a project for the Image Packaging System. If you want to try it yourself, here's the steps I took:[Read More]

Wednesday Sep 09, 2009

IPS Cache

[Read More]

The Observatory is a blog for users of Oracle Solaris. Tune in here for tips, tricks and more as we explore the Solaris operating system from Oracle.


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