Wednesday Nov 09, 2011

Oracle (Sun Systems Group) is hiring!


Oracle is hosting an onsite Microelectronics & Systems Career Fair on Friday, Nov 11th 2011
Time: 9am - 2pm
Location: Oracle Auditorium, 4030 George Sellon Circle, Santa Clara CA 95054
Please RSVP with a copy of your resume to: sca-resume_ww@oracle.com

Some of the available positions:
  • OS & Virtualization Dev
  • Security/Cryptography Dev
  • Embedded Dev
  • Systems Dev
  • SW/HW Quality Test Eng
  • Build/Release Eng
  • Mech Design/SI Eng
  • Verification Eng
  • RTL/Logic Design Eng
  • Circuit Design Eng
  • Product & Test Eng
  • Physical Design Eng
  • CAD Eng
  • Architecture Performance Eng (SW Dev)
I will be at this event, representing the Developer Tools group. So, if you have an interest in a compiler, mathlibs or tools related position, do come by and I'll be happy to talk in much more detail.

Wednesday Jul 27, 2011

Restarting the blog after a long pause



It has been 6-7 months since the last post. One reason for the pause has been that my job responsibilities have undergone some change, the other being that at Oracle we dont talk about products that are in the pipeline, only those that readers have general access to.

With that in mind, two changes have taken place in the meantime. On the first front, I now manage the development engineering activities around Performance Analyzer and Code Analyzer tools and the OpenMPI library. Performance Analyzer is an established and well-regarded (and used) tool within the Sun and Oracle groups as well as with our customers. Code Analyzer is a new effort (and tool) that will be released as part of the next Studio release; the OpenMPI middleware library has been integrated into Solaris 11 and will be a bundled part of its FCS release. On the second front, we have now made the next release of Studio available (more on this in the next entry dedicated to this). So, now we CAN talk about the new Code Analyzer tool and about improvements in Performance Analyzer in particular and the Studio product in general.

So, this is a good way of getting back to blogging. I hope you will enjoy reading it as you did in the past and continue to share your comments and feedback.


Monday Nov 15, 2010

Starting a new, personal blog



Its been more than 5 years since I started my blog here and all through this time, this blog has stayed (almost) entirely professional. I made a decision not to blog about personal "stuff" unless it related directly to Sun Studio. Not everyone liked that, BTW, but I didnt feel comfortable talking about family, leisure time and other things in a corporate sponsored site, although I did enjoy reading what others said about their personal life in theirs. Worked for them, but wouldnt have worked for me (at least thats how I felt).
Now, after all these years, I figured its time to start a more personal version of blogging. So I've created a new account on Wordpress and I am starting a new line of blogging there, that I am (at least tentatively) calling The Other side of the Story .
I hope you will join me there and leave comments and share your views there as well. I will continue to pitch in Studio, Compilers, Developer Tools, Solaris, Sun Systems etc here as I have in the past. I will try to continue to be technical, product oriented and evangelism focussed, as in the past. But increasingly I've found that I cannot write about things that I am working on (yet) or thinking about, so the other blog is an outlet for how I feel outside of Studio. No, dont expect that I will spill the beans there that I cant spill here and perhaps a few things from either place may be cross referenced from the other as well. The separation between personal and professional life is not that clean in this industry.
I am hoping there will be equally interesting things to say on both sides.
So see you there as well, to share the other side of my story.

Sunday Apr 11, 2010

Goodbye, James, and Best wishes!



Sun's foremost, most famous and influential programmer over the years (with the possible exception of Bill Joy), James Gosling, has decided to leave Oracle and move on to other "unspecified opportunities" . Needless to add, this is a huge blow to Oracle's Java efforts and an unbelievable loss to Java leadership.
And in yet another way, this is one more unique twist in the final Sun chapter!
James's achievements over the years have been enormous. From Emacs to pioneering NeWS to of course Java, his engineering contributions to Sun have been at the core of what Sun has done over the years. I came to Sun with much admiration for Bill Joy and James (acknowledged even back then in the late 80s as "the fastest programmer on the planet") and have come to admire his engineering abilities over the years. James is brilliant but he is also very approchable and easily shares with others. James was in classic Sun mould and his presence will be sorely missed at the new Oracle. James was one of the three industry stalwarts at Sun that I had the pure pleasure of observing and interacting with, over the past 20 years (the others: Andy Bechtolsheim and Bill Joy). I doubt I will ever see such an admirable collection of industry experts in one place!
Best of luck, James, in all that you pursue from here on. There was only one Sun and there will only be one James Gosling! I wish him well (and join many other well-wishers) and look to him to take Java to the next level.

Wednesday Mar 17, 2010

Deleting spam from comments



I'm seeing some pure spam in comments. I have indicated them as such to the roller that manages Sun Blogs but I feel I should also remove them from here. These submitters have inserted random, unrelated (to the blog posting, at the very least) links or text in the comments section.
Please be assured that none of your comments, positive or negative, that pertain to the blog content will not be removed or edited in any form. I value your opinions and even those that challenge my opinion are equally a learning opportunity and I welcome them. I'm hoping that the Sun system that hosts these blogs does a better job of removing such comments from entering in the first place. But the emergence of spam detracts from this conversation. Thank you for understanding this.

Thursday Jan 01, 2009

Happy New Year, its 2009!


Its time to look forward and its time to reflect on what has, and may have, happened in the past year. There are significant lessons to carry forward.
I expect many changes on the immediate horizon for the industry, for Sun and I know there are upcoming changes for me. (More on this soon, ...).
But, for now, heres hoping to much success in the year ahead!

Sunday Nov 16, 2008

India lands its first lunar probe


Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully landed a moon probe on Friday. Chandrayaan-1, (or Lunar Vehicle, in English translation) is India's first lunar spacecraft and represents a milestone for India in the space race.
India's vehicle and launch is entirely indigenous. I have been following, with quite some fascination, the success and challenges that ISRO has faced over the years. It is quite a remarkable organization and being one of the elite few in the space club is undoubtedly a matter of great pride (as it rightfully should be). Subsequent reports have highlighted how well the probes are working, which is indeed very pleasing to read.
My congratulations on the success of the program and best wishes for future offerings. As a passive onlooker from my undergraduate days when I interacted with some members of ISRO who came over to our IIT (Madras or Chennai, these days) to discuss the programs and later on interacting with some on some usages of parallelism, it has been a pleasure to watch their progress and successes.

Wednesday Sep 03, 2008

Beyond Sun Studio 12:New presentation uploaded


I've uploaded a new preso (PDF) with features, plugins, etc that have been developed in Sun Studio past the last release. You can get the preso here or in the Presentations section of this blog.
As always, comments are most welcome . We will probably start using some of this material gradually in our regular TechDays (and other) presentations.
The current preso has a number of screenshots of the new features that might be interesting to look at, as well.

Friday Jul 11, 2008

A sad, tiring and brutal day


Yesterday, Sun finished a major portion of its RIF (Reduction in Force)in the US. Its always a sad day when we lose a colleague; for a manager (like me), it is doubly so on a day like this. Very tiring. Very stressful. Very brutal. But nothing compared to the sentiments that overwhelm those who are at the other end of this discussion. When you have to communicate this news as a manager, to someone you have worked with for a decade or more, the sadness in the room is indescribable. I have learnt so much in the past decade about management that this feels like a part of me has been cut off.
Of course, I wish I never have to do this again. Ever. Telling yourself that its part of the job is nowhere near convincing. Trying to convince oneself that its necessary for the business we are in (or, not in, which is why we have to do this) sounds hollow. For a manager, this is by far, the hardest job in their career. I still believe in this company passionately. I still believe this company has far more potential on the basis of its technical strength. But just once in a while, on a gloomy day like this, I get the feeling of being the bright, superbly talented person who is unable to reach their true strength.
Its also a day to be extra careful. That the same colleagues who took joy, pride and dignity in the execution of their daily duties are today afforded the same pride and dignity. That, yes, we will move on and accept the job eliminations some other day, but that today its about the memories and the abilities and interactions of those who are leaving that have dominated our lives in the past years.
So, Good luck friends. The memories will stay with us forever. Sun wishes you well and that someday you may even find it interesting to return to Sun and join the Sun Boomerang Club.

Friday Jun 08, 2007

SunStudio 12 is released


Finally! Its here!
SunStudio 12 is now available for downloads right away.
      For Solaris/SPARC, Solaris/x86(and x64), and Linux/x86(and x64).
If there is a single message to remember, its this one:
       Performance, Parallelism, Productivity, Platforms

Performance
Detailed numbers will follow some official announcements, which undoubtedly will highlight World Record Numbers of some kind, but here are some preliminary numbers at this time.
  • Sun Studio 12 provides substantial improvements vs. Sun Studio 11
    • x86/x64 Solaris
      • Studio12 is 15% faster on SPECint2006 (8.98e vs. 10.36e on an older Opteron)
      • Studio12 is 10% faster on SPECfp2006 (8.91e vs. 9.77e on an older Opteron)
    • SPARC Solaris
      • Studio12 is 12% faster on SPECint2006 (4.15e vs. 4.65e on an old SPARC)
      • Studio12 is 1% faster on SPECfp2006 (4.17e vs. 4.21e on an old SPARC)
  • Sun Studio 12 is substantially faster than GCC 4.2
    • x86/x64 Solaris
      • SunStudio 12 is 9% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECint2006 (9.41e vs. 10.29e on an older Opteron)
      • SunStudio 12 is 19% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECfp2006 (8.33e vs. 9.90e on an older Opteron)
    • SPARC Solaris
      • SunStudio 12 is 18% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECint2006 (3.93e vs. 4.65e on a very old SPARC)
      • SunStudio 12 is 52% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECfp2006 (2.79e vs. 4.23e on a very old SPARC)
    • x86 Linux
      • SunStudio 12 is 11% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECint2006 (9.20e vs. 10.20e on an older Opteron)
      • SunStudio 12 is 18% faster than GCC 4.2 on SPECfp200 (8.42e vs. 9.92e on an older Opteron)
  • Tuning:
    • Studio 12: -fast -xipo=2 (For Opteron, add -m64; for C++ add -library=stlport4)
    • GCC: -O3 -funroll-loops -fpeel-loops -funswitch-loops-fprefetch-loop-arrays -ffast-math -m64  (For Opteron, add -march=opteron; for SPARC add -mcpu=ultrasparc3)
        Note: In SPEC terminology, (e)Estimates refers to results that are not officially submitted at this point.
         Please also see the Required Information at the end for machine details, etc   
        
Note also that these are NOT the  numbers  submitted to SPEC, but on older  TEST machines        
  • STREAM Benchmark Comparison: SunStudio is substantially faster than GCC4.2
    • SunStudio 12 is 70% better than GCC4.2 on x86/x64
    • SunStudio 12 is 94% better than GCC4.2 on SPARC
Parallelism:
    SunStudio 12  enables future applications to take better advantage of CMT (Chip Multi-threading, Sun's terminology for multicore chips that can serve several threads in parallel for increased throughput computing), with:
  • Thread Analyzer tool detects runtime dataraces and potential deadlock conditions. More info here...
  • Automatic Parallelization: let the compiler detect parallelism in the program. In some cases the compiler may be able to do a better job of it than is manually possible. See this STREAM case, for example. Of course, users know much more about their programs than compilers are able to automatically deduce, nevertheless "this is free" (minimum effort on the part of users).
  • Highly tuned Threaded libraries
  • Support for OpenMP 2.5 APIs in the Compilers, Debugger and Performance Analyzer
Productivity:
    SunStudio 12 has improved the most in this area. With a completely new and upgraded IDE, based on Netbeans 5.5.1, SunStudio 12 now offers support for:
  • Intelligent language-aware editor helps with code completion, code folding, syntax highlighting
  • Dynamic class browser
  • Support for existing Netbeans-based and Workshop-based projects
  • Full-fledged and featured GUI debugger
  • Partner-friendly plugin model
Read about these and other features here in more detail.

Platforms:
    SunStudio 12 is now fully optimized for all platforms and takes advantages of each platform feature fully, eg
  • CoolTools for SPARC
  • Runtime Checking, aka, Memory debugging for x86 and x64
  • All of Solaris Performance features (OpenMP, Autopar, Dependency analysis
  • Increased GCC Source compatibility with such extensions as __asm_inlines, __attribute__, etc
  • Stable C++ ABI so you can upgrade your compilers and OSes independently, and leverage existing investment
The basic platforms message is "Same Source, Same Components, Same Features, Same Performance". We are really trying hard not to bias the product towards any one platform. However (in full disclosure) there are features that we havent either gotten around to implement on some platform (typically Linux) or where the platform itself differentiates itself (eg. on Linux, due to a lack of libcpc interface, the ability to do HW Counter Profiling is significantly different than on Solaris).

There is a lot more to this release than these highlights. In coming weeks, I am planning to blog about each one in much more details. Hopefully you will find the information here useful. I'm very open to feedback. Leave me a comment if you'd like to hear more about a particular topic and I'll try to elaborate on it more.

Required Information:
SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp registered trademarks of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.
Sun Fire X4600 M2 (2xAMD Opteron model 250, 2 cores, 2 chips, 1 cores/chip, Solaris 10):  SunStudio12 SPECint_2006 - 9.92(estimate), SPECfp_2006- 9.90 (estimate)
Sun Fire X4600 M2 (2xAMD Opteron model 250, 2 cores, 2 chips, 1 cores/chip, Solaris 10):  SunStudio11. SPECint_2006 - 8.92(estimate), SPECfp_2006- 8.91 (estimate)
Sun Fire X4600 M2 (2xAMD Opteron model 250, 2 cores, 2 chips, 1 cores/chip, Solaris 10):  GCC4.2SPECint_2006 - 8.95 (estimate), SPECfp_2006- 8.33(estimate)
SunBlade 2500 (2xUltraSPARC IIIi at 1600MHz, 2 cores, 2 chips, 1 cores/chip, Solaris 10): SunStudio 12. SPECint_2006 - 4.65 (estimate), SPECfp_2006- 4.23(estimate)
SunBlade 2500 (2xUltraSPARC IIIi at 1600MHz, 2 cores, 2 chips, 1 cores/chip, Solaris 10): GCC4.2 SPECint_2006 -  3.93(estimate), SPECfp_2006- 2.79(estimate)


Friday Feb 23, 2007

Mobfest! aka SunTech Days Hyderabad, Part Deux

None of us SunStudio folks had a presentation today, so the SunStudio gang spent the day doing booth duty and in talking to the mob near and around the booth. I also went and checked out some of the more interesting presentations. An interesting highlight of the day follows in this report, so read on (and comment).

Jim Hughes kicked off the day with an excellent OS futures presentation. Extremely well-attended 4000+ crowd, which took in the futuristic pleas quite well. He was followed by Vijay Anand, division head of Oracle, India. I think Vijay was more dry and stuck to the podium/lectern and even the demo was dry in comparison to Jim's animated talk. [At one point in his talk, lights went out and the room went dark. This happens often in Hyderabad, tho we didnt see it at all on day 1. Not to be taken aback, Jim instantly retorted: "What, is my time up already?" Huge roar from the crowd!  He then cheerfully carried on in the semi-dark, until a generator came back online in a few mins. Ya'll should listen to his talk]

As the regular sessions began on day two, something hit all of us who wandered by the speaker room (this is where, election-style, a board was maintained with presos/talks of the day and attendance level for each talk. This is how I know we had between 300-550 on day1]: Day2 attendance was AT THE SAME LEVEL as day 1. It almost never happens, I'm told (and from what I've seen at Seoul and Seattle). Across the board, the total attendance for classes stayed in the 3000 level on day2, while it was 3500 in day1. No kidding, these guys were here to learn. They must have taken Rich Green seriously after all (who said "Remember, sleep is optional for the next three days. Go learn as much as you can") :-)

Geeky highpoints of the day for me as I walked/talked around the pod were folks were from India's foremost atomic research center and aerospace center. I talked OpenMP with them, I talked Autopar with them, I talked MT programming with them, they talked with me about MPI in much more detail than I knew about it. They even wanted to explore using OpenMP and MPI together because it clicked on them from my talk that future blades will have 16 cores or more per blade "thats 16-32 threads with x86/x64 and perhaps 256+ threads with N2 and Rock".. that was my push to make them understand that MT-programming isnt just someone else's problem. That was the best 1/2 hr conversation I had.

The rest of the day, I fielded a range of questions on Solaris and sometimes on SunStudio, ranging from the really naive to very Linux-friendly. But by this time, I had begun to understood the crowd and was, I think, ready with answers they would understand. A few would drift by and ask "Sir, what is this Solaris. Is it different from Windows. Can you tell us about it? Did Sun invent it? Is it new?". Time to put a professorial hat on. "No, its very mature; its based on two popular early versions of Unix. The earliest is 30 years old now; the younger one is more than 25. See, around 1970, a few researchers at AT&T wrote up an operating system to work in multiuser mode on a DEC/PDP machine ...." and so on, and so on. Clearly, these were like juniors who'd slept through the Operating Systems class, but were now ready to make up for it .. :-) By the time I got to "Bill Joy reportedly wrote telnet in one day; whether or not that is true, TCP/IP Networking code in BSD 4.x is still present in all networking code, including Microsoft Windows" and "Sun invented NFS under Bill Joy's lead  and then released it into Opensource" and "Solaris runs on Sun servers with 72 CPUs and 144 cores; does your favorite Linux more than 8. Does Windows?" "Solaris runs applications with 300K threads, does Linux even come close" "Sun had NFS since day 1 of that invention; notice how my Solaris laptop complains when its not connected to the network. Thats how much its integrated into the system". All of that makes it easy to then make the next argument with advanced Solaris features: dtrace, ZFS,  SSH and secure by default (which makes Solaris the most secure OS in the world... private views of the security group/team, notwithstanding :-) World Records in performance and scalability, etc, etc. Interestingly enough, these discussions would attract other listeners there who were equally curious about the answer and the history lesson and stayed on for the whole 1/2 hr "lecture" (?)

The other set of discussions were the type I told Roman made me feel like I was a Gorbachev having his arguments with crowd (remember those days?). Each answer was followed by two additional questions. Most of these were: "is Solaris and Sun Studio a command line set of tools" "I see only advertised jobs to run on closed systems; how can I make this open source thing relevant to me" "you know these open source applications are not as crisp and complete as closed and proprietary solutions" "how can I make open source work for me" all the way to "how do I write an application that controls a database written onto a CD" and "do you think long-term, open source will make systems more robust and useful than closed systems". Since this crowd was predominantly Windows (Linux was something they admitted to knowing, but they didnt really know to any degree; it was a just a hacker's shouldnt-be-ashamed-to-know-Linux experience). The questions were indeed wonderful, and in a sense very curve-ballish. And they certainly expected someone an old-timer Sun guy to know the answer (or at least they were willing to listen to a reasonable answer). Learning unlimited. I did the best I could, with openness and whatever little wisdow from the years I had gathered. But in particular, I emphasized that opensource wasnt about producing a superset of Windows. It was about sharing ideas openly so that each one of us didnt have to invent our solutions in isolation. It was like textbooks and research papers and publications taken to the SW world. Expect ideas, not products. Products are the realm of companies like Sun and RedHat and IBM. Measure their value based on how well they can convert the open ideas into customer solutions, but dont expect the Opensource community to do that. Like research papers and publications and even technical articles, these ideas are also not entirely complete. There is a history behind it and then theres "whats the next steps". But think of where we'd be, if all we had was closed solutions: did MSFT invent Google or yahoo like searches and browsers and internet classification? Did they invent Ebay or Youtube or facebook or Myspace like social/commercial exchange sites. If MSFT was all we had, we would have none of the trends of the last 10-15 years; they didnt invent any of them. Not one. All of these came from universities and from those who took an open exchange of ideas and converted them into products. That trend will continue. We open sourced Solaris because we have something to contribute and perhaps even lead in, in this movement.

Interestingly enough, that kind of reasoning actually made sense to them.

But... the highlight of the day came when a gentleman came to our pod with a new laptop and said "I have the Solaris 10 DVD collection and I want to install it on my laptop. I dont care if you blow away the Windows on it, but will you help me install Solaris". This was too much to resist. After the three of us playing Gorbachev or Professor Solaris for two days, this was manna! We did him better: we told him we had Build 55b, the latest Solaris build with a simple new installer: should we try that one? It also has Staroffice8 and Studio tools and Netbeans and the latest Firefox browser and email reader, etc. He agreed. So for the next hour or so, we did a live demo of installing Solaris DVD onto a laptop. A lot more crowd came in to look and asked lots of questions around that. They enjoyed this part. [Note to Jeff Jackson (VP, Solaris): we MUST do a Solaris install-fest at each SunTech Day. I've said that before and I'll repeat it more energetically after this experience: we MUST] [Note2: we had to rip off Gparted from SuSE. Shame on us for not having Gparted on  Solaris: BTW, some Belenix guys have just done that and are putting it back into OpenSolaris source. It looks REALLY BAD when we dont offer the tools to let users do this more easily] A neighbour in our booth who was a Belenix guy even came around after the install and showed him how to do themes and other cool stuff. All in all, this guy left very happy and it provided some nice eye-candy for others who saw installation in action. We took pictures to show to Jeff :-)

OK, this has rambled on enough. I'll probably clean it up to stick into the blog, but a few final thoughts:
  • We MUST have a hands on lab for Solaris. Maybe an install-fest on day 1 and then more advanced work on day 2 maybe.
  • We MUST have some "knowledge" sessions: "You know Linux; come learn how you can leverage that to learn Solaris quickly" or "You know Windows; why should you care about Solaris" or even "Open Source: what is it, what does it buy you and why do you care" ... you know, those kinds of sessions.
  • Its imperative to have better FAQ style posting on the Solaris pod that explains clearly what Solaris is and why a reader would care.
  • Perhaps some unconference like things. There seemed to be enough action around Hyderabad to do a short, impromptu(?)  unconference
  • Lastly, we dont do enough to attract new users to Sun at SunTech Days. This is probably the best bang-for-the-buck
And a final thought on the SunTech crowd at Hyderabad. After reading my first report on this, a relative of mine said something that has stuck in my mind; he said:
No wonder big Internationals want to tap this enthusiastic and knowledge thirsty talent.
Extremely well said and it defines it best in a single sentence!


Thursday Feb 22, 2007

How to get mobbed, part 1. aka SunTech Days, Hyderabad, India, day 1


[ed: I had posted this internally; it was well received and several asked me to post it to my blog as well, so here goes. I was going to post an edited version in a day or two, but I'll just post it as I see it for now. Day 2 version coming up tomorrow]
Its OK to preface all of this with: India is a populous country!
As it turns out, SunTech Days had a record attendance of 4200 for Rich Green's keynote address (boy, was he pleased! When I talked to him after his preso, he was thrilled, esp. when he compared it to Seattle which had 1 zero and a factor of 2 missing from that number). The huge room was packed and the crowd dutifully lapped all he had to say and the engineering rapid-fire 4minute demos that followed. Yes, Roman's demo came across very well: geeky, deep, ideal chow for hackers there.
In the Solaris track, Jim Hughes (Sun Fellow, Storage security and all around fun guy) had a successful keynote. He got the crowd especially excited by the end of his preso and questions were furiously flying back and forth until he had to be literally cut off. I should have known then, that I was in trouble!
My preso was literally a Q&A session with me making a feeble attempt at presenting slides :-) The questions were from all directions and all backgrounds and answering them was a challenge of sorts, but one that I relished and perhaps the crowd did too. I too ran over and Frank  (Curran, who ran the Solaris Track) indicated to the audience that I could finish my last two slides, but they were not obligated to stay, since lunch was already being served. Amazingly enough, even after I had finished my preso and focussed on even more questions and answers, fewer than half in the audience walked out. I ought to be thrilled that they preferred talking to me over lunch! I was literally mobbed when I turned the Q&A into a more 1-1 event. Alexander and Roman("Yellow Submarine" Shaposhnik), who were in the crowd at this stage, were clearly very amused and instead of helping me out, they took pictures :-) :-) [Just kidding, Roman and Alexander!]
Quite an experience. But by no means a unique one. The tools and Solaris pod where we were was constantly crowded and Alexander, Roman and I never had a spare moment.
I'm amazed at some of the misunderstandings that this crowd came with and did my best to clarify it as clearly as I could. Heres a sampling:
  • Does Solaris have a UI. How friendly is it? [A: do you use Linux? Are you familiar with Gnome. Its the same Gnome. Come, try it out on my laptop here]
  • Netbeans vs. CDP vs. SunStudio [A: It uses the same source base underneath. CDP is a C/C++ customization. No, Studio compilers are NOT available on Windows, but CDP is,etc]
  • How hard is it for me to get Solaris Network certification
  • I want to do college project (you have to be careful not to use "school" here; school means upto high school. Higher education is "college") on Solaris and/or compilers, how do I do that [A: There is an active University program being set up; theres a talk tomorrow, come and attend that; you'll get lots of useful nuggets there]
  • Isnt Solaris a mainframe OS. [A: Look at my laptop; its running Solaris just fine]. Why doesnt everyone know that Solaris does desktops as well?
  • How can we get students to learn Solaris in their college programs [A: look at variants of the University program, above. Plus, Solaris in course material, etc] Lots of discussions on how they would like to collaborate on research; "can you suggest some related topic areas" [A: Glad you asked: and I rattled off half a doz off the top of my head. Lets go look at what the University programs can do.
  • How come Linux is so popular when Solaris seems to have everything and looks quite nice and has all these great features that Linux doesnt [A: we're asking for your help to make Solaris overtake Linux, now that you know whats in it]
and of course,the obligatory questions on
  • How does Sun make money if you give the SW away for free (A: services, learning, longterm customer engagement so maybe the NEXT machine you buy will be a Sun machine, etc, etc).

Lots of very basic Solaris questions and turning the discussion to Linux that they are often familiar with, makes it easier to put it in context. Then you can point out the differentiators and strengths of Solaris. I was also amazed at the number of students in the audience... much more than in any past event.
But we were constantly mobbed with questions like these. Quite a different experience from other SunTech days!
We later learned that for the music program at the end of the day, Rich was mobbed by a crowd 10-deep and he needed help from organizers to get out of that large hall.

All in all, this is proving to be Mobfest 2007. Oh, and by the numbers (we went around at the end of the day to see the tally of attendees for each session)
Solaris track had between 300 to 550 attendees (in Hyderabad alone; there were more in remote sites). The Java tracks had in the range of about 1000. Totally, we counted that the 4 tracks together had about 3500+ attendees on an average throughout the day. Those are impressive numbers!

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

Rice University Professor Ken Kennedy passes away


Rice Alums: you might want to read this.
This is indeed a sad day for Rice computer science students (like me), the programming languages and parallel programming community in general. He was undoubtedly a pioneer in compiler optimization techniques and in parallel programming and his influence spread from Houston to science halls of Washington and the nation. What he taught us, directly or indirectly, guides us even today. Everyone at Rice U knew him, sooner or later. Anyone lucky enough to have passed through the computer science halls at Rice U will attest to his immense stature, technical prowess and human side. All of which were extremely fascinating.
He passes away but leaves a rather large legacy. The Rice U news release is a good read for those who were unfamiliar with him.
Rest in Peace, Ken. We will never forget the knowledge and education you have gifted to us.

Thursday Jan 11, 2007

Where is the Ada compiler on Solaris? (Answer follows)


We (the compiler group) often get asked this question:
What Ada Compiler does Sun recommend? Does Sun ship an Ada compiler as part of its compilers+tools set?

The answer to the second one  is: "No, Sun no longer ships an Ada compiler. The last one we shipped was in 1995. It is now EOLed".
The answer to the first one is a bit longer. Here goes:
The currently recommended Ada product is based  GNAT (GNU Ada Translator). It's available from GNU at:
http://www.gnu.org/software/gnat/gnat.html

Ada Core technology is the company that provide support, training etc...and they can be reached at:
http://www.adacore.com/home/
Ada Core is also a Sun Partner (you can find them here).
Sun currently has no plan to provide its own Ada Tools on Solaris. Both the Ada products (one free and one supported) mentioned above, work fine on Solaris and interoperate with Sun Studio.

Hope that clears it up!


Thursday Jan 04, 2007

Congrats to Sun product teams among 2007 InfoWorld Award Winners!


InfoWorld announced their 2007 Technology of the Year Award winners Among the winners this year are these three Sun products

Sun Fire X4600 M2
Sun packed a whole lot of power into the Sun Fire X4600, which sports as many as eight AMD Opteron dual-core CPUs and 128GB of RAM. The plentiful processing and I/O resources make this server a tremendous platform for virtualization, HPC, and database applications. And the overall server design is impeccable.
Sun Fire X4200
The Sun Fire X4200 is a serious server in a seriously well-designed package. A frontrunner in both performance and management, it held its own in our file server and Web server tests, and Sun's remote control function is nicely implemented. We could picture ourselves building out an entire datacenter with X4200s.
Sun NetBeans 5.5
NetBeans already had the most complete collaboration features among IDE platforms. This year it added important new modules such as Matisse, the most advanced Java GUI designer available today, and complete support for Java EE 5. NetBeans is likely all that developers of enterprise Java applications will need.

Congratulations to the respective product teams. Its great to start off the new year with these great awards!


About

I have worked with Sun and Oracle for 25 years now; in compilers and tools organization for most of these years followed by a couple of years in Cloud Computing. I am now in ISV Engineering, where our primary task is to improve synergy between Oracle Sun Systems and our rich ISV ecosystem

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