Breakout Sessions at CEC 2007 [Day 02] - Some Notes

[Published on 10/October/2007 at 3:20 A.M. localtime]

Session 1: Some Cool Things Available on Solaris, Thanks to Sun's Open Source Activities
Speaker: Gilles Gravier
When I stepped into the venue to attend this session, I thought I got it wrong. There was music in the background and I felt I landed up in a wrong location. But then soon realized that Gilles was playing that cool music in Rhythm Box on Solaris Nevada Build 74 (Does it work??? Yes it does and I saw it working. Gilles's approach of taking up the session in the form of demonstration, rather than a more slide show was commendable and the audience responded to it positively; quite evident from the fact that the applaud after the end of session lasted for a few seconds! Honestly, I was stunned to see many of the cool things working on Solaris. May be, I might consider going back home and install Solaris Nevada (build 74) on top of the existing Ubuntu installation. Believe, Solaris is catching up for sure. Now, the following are what Gilles demonstrated to us (and it worked).

(1) Native support (joint work with Logitech and the author of Video4Linux2) of USB-VC webcams (QuickCamTeam & USB WebCams at OpenSolaris). Gilled showed us the webcam working in Ekiga.
(2) Compiz (3D Effects on the Desktop). Download the script from this location, install it and it works. Looks cool.
(3) Video Conferencing on Ekiga, and making phone calls using VOIP with Skype(not open source) in a BrandZ (opensource) zone.
(4) Building open source applications (PIGDIN, OTR, CUPS, VIM, SUDO and more) easily using "./configure;make;make install." Gilles thanked Sun Studio for this, for he says this was a suffering some three months back or so.
(5) USB attached cell phones as modems. There are a couple of files that you might want to keep in mind here (/etc/ppp/evdo-chat and /etc/ppp/peers/evdo).
(6) Google Earth runs on Linux, but not on Solaris (Gilles demonstrated this in the BrandZ though)
(7)Gobi7 SunRay laptop with VPN (not open source, but still way cool). More information about it here

An interesting piece of information from Gilles:" If you boot a Linux distro, by the time you boot to the login manager, you see more codes written by Sun than anyone else. Sun is one who wrote the maximum amount of code for GNOME."

It is interesting to know that immense amount of development is happening in the field of OpenSolaris to make it more userfriendly. Way to go!

Session 2: Solaris Adoption in a GEM
Speakers: Franz Haberhauer & Uwe Strahlendorf
I don't know if the very nature of this topic gives me enough freedom to publish the contents of this particular website to the public. Well, I don't really want to violate this.

During the presentation, Franz suggested us a book titled Crossing the Chasm authored by Geoffrey A Moore. You might want to pick this up and read it know more on Technology adoption. And by the way, this book is available as an E-book at Netlibrary.

Session 3: A Biometric Authentication Integrated with JES in a systemic Security Architecture
Speakers: Domenico Minchella & Giuseppe Russo
Honestly, I couldn't quite digest the first half of this session, as the topic covered was something that I wasn't really familiar with. The speaker continuously emphasized on the security features of Solaris 10 Operating System, which they recommended to their clients at Italy. Towards the end of this session, they demonstrated a finger print authentication using Access Manager Interface and a custom authentication module. The token card that they used had a finger print reader in-built into it. The demonstration was really cool I must say.

I have been getting many queries on the biometric authentication using Access Manager, probably now I have some answers to those queries. I'm quite clear about the flow of the process.

Session 4: Logical Domains: How to install, configure, user and position them
Speaker: Jeff Savit
Jeff appeared quite dynamic. The way he dealt with the questions that popped up from the audience and the way he made the difference between different virtualization solutions (like zones, VMWare, LDoms), clearly demonstrated his authority on this subject. The following is what Jeff said on one of his slides:

How to create Logical Domains?
(a) Firstly, get T1000 or T2000 servers.
(b) Install Solaris 10 u3, build 8 or later
(c) Update firmware to support LDoms
(d) Reboot the system
(d) Install the appropriate packages and patches.
(e) Ensure that the necessary services are running.
(f) Create LDom
You are done!

I know it was a very high level, shall I say, checklist in creating an LDom. Of course there is more to it and some information you may find it here as well. Look out for me, it appears to be a good virtualization solution.

Session 5: Dynamic Resource Pools in Solaris 10
Speaker: Scott Dickson
Scott helped me clear some of my basic doubts about the man behind the curtains for the Dynamic Pools in Solaris - poold. It is a big Java program responsible for making decision about allocation of CPUs in pools. That's to say the least. A few poins about poold that I can remember from Scott's discussion are jotted down below:

\*Each move (processor) is tested to see if it might help, or whether the move helped in the past.
\* If poold decides that objectives aren't met, it models possible configuration changes that might meet objectives or show improvement.
\* A single, best move is selected and carried out.
\* Only one processor is moved at a time.

What was most amazing to me was the information on the improvement in pool allocation for a zone in Solaris 10, from Update 4 (8/07 Release) onwards. Scott quickly ran through the following snippet:

# zonecfg -z z1
zonecfg:z1>add dedicated-cpu
zonecfg:z1:dedicated-cpu>set nepus=2-6

The simple commands above would create a processor set and associate the pool with the processor set!! Isn't this amazingly simple. I am sure people who have done the same thing, in the earlier releases of Solaris 10, using the poolcfg command would agree with me completely. From now on, no processor set configuration, no pool association; a completely hassle free configuration. I am sure it is going to get better.

Thanks Scott for such an enlightening session at CEC 2007.


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