Wednesday Jun 01, 2005

SOSUG Meeting last night

Open Solaris

We held the first Sydney Open Solaris User Group meeting last night in the iForce Centre in North Sydney.

About 20-25 people showed up (and the Sun folks appeared to be outnumbered).

Unfortunately I missed the first ten minutes or so as I got assigned door duty (the doors on the building lock at 6pm so someone had to stay out and let folks in. So I missed the Introduction and welcome by Che Kristo and James Eagleton.

South Park Peter

Peter Lees

Peter gave an introduction to what Open Solaris will and will not be.

There was some good discussion about the license and it appears we were able to clear up a few things. For example how the license is file based and that it was designed to be re-usable.

South Park Brendan

Brendan Gregg

Brendan gave a demonstration of tracking down a problem without and then with DTrace. Brendan's style as an instructor really came to the fore as he involved everyone with the "how do we do this with the tools we already know".

He also spoke briefly about the work going on in creating a DTrace Toolkit and encouraged folks to contribute.

South Park Alan

Alan Hargreaves

I spoke about Using SDT Probes, followed by a quick demo of looking glass under Solaris x86 with the shortly to be released Nvidia driver. I had a bit of trepidation about his as I'd only had an hour or so to get it working properly and I'd only just done so before leaving for the meeting.

Beer and Pizza

By the time that I finished, it was about 8pm and food had arived, so unfortunately we did not get to the video of Liane's presentation on SMF, but there is certainly interest in seeing it. Perhaps next month.

There was a lot of good informal discussion during this time.

Oh yes, we did have a door prize. Kavit (elric) Munshi won a copy of Sun Cluster 3 Programming by Joseph Bianco, Kevin Rabito and Peter Lees.

The next meeting should be in about a month and the idea of holding it at the James Squire Brew House was floated. Brendan also suggested that we might want to reserve some time at the next meeting for 5 minute informal sessions of "this is what I'm playing with", or "wouldn't this be a good idea" type material.

All in all, I think we all had a pretty good evening.

Che had a very nice looking video camera there so hopefully we should have video some time in the next week. Kavit assures me that when he watched it last night that it looked pretty good.

Technorati Tags: ,

Update June 2

Inserted South Park Brendan and modified his hyperlinks.

Tuesday May 31, 2005

My presentation for SOSUG tonight

Open Solaris

Well the first SOSUG meeting happens in just under three hours.

I'll speak tonight (after Brendan) on DTrace - Using SDT Probes

This is aimed more at how to put the probes into the code, smattered with a few contrived and not so contrived examples.

Hope to see folks there tonight. I'll post about the meeting either later tonight or tomorrow.

Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday May 26, 2005

Just putting finishing touches on SOSUG presentation

Open Solaris

I spent today at the iForce Centre in North Sydney working with some folks to benchmark a customer application.

As there were long periods of waiting for things to complete, I spent some time on the presentation that I'm going to give at the SOSUG meeting on Tuesday night (May 31, 6pm, Level 1, 33 Berry St, North Sydney).

I've decided to talk a little about SDT (Statically Defined Tracing) probes and how to use them. There'll be a couple of examples in the kernel (using stuff that I can talk about before the code release) and I've fudged up a pretty trivial user space example to give some idea of how to do them there (hint: they're slightly different). I hope folks will find it interesting.

Closer to the day (read, when I've finished the speaker notes ;) I'll put it up here for folks that are interested in looking at it.

I look forward to meeting some more people interested in OpenSolaris on Tuesday night. See you there.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday May 23, 2005

San Francisco Open Solaris Group Meeting Video

Thanks to Ben for giving the url to his home machine where he kept it and to Derek for putting it up on the external site.

The video of the First Open Solaris User Group Meeting is now available.

Be warned, it's about 504mb of DivX. It might takea while to download.

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday May 18, 2005

Sydney Open Solaris User Group Meeting on May 31

From the sosug google group

6pm on Tuesday the 31st May.

Sun Microsystems
Ground Floor
33 Berry Street
North Sydney
note: Building automatically locks front doors at 6pm, so try
      to arrive before the start time.
      Contact Peter Lees if you get stuck outside.
 If you would like more information or have any questions you can also
contact Che Kristo
See you all there 

I've removed the phone numbers for Peter and Che for this blog entry, but they are listed in the email.

We're not quite as far along as the SanFran group with regards to having an agenda or a speaker (although Peter is leaning on me at the moment to come up with something), but I'm sure it will be a good evening. One of the thoughts is to do some excerpts from the last SanFran group's video.

Ideas for the meeting should probably also be posted to the sosug google group.

Technorati Tag:

Monday May 09, 2005

More on "Vapourware"

This is not going to be as short as I would have hoped, but we'll see how we go.

First off, I do thank Renai LeMay from ZDNet Australia for what I read as a good article reporting what was going on and not an opinion piece. As such I think the neutral stance was more than appropriate.

The only correction that I would make is a relatively minor one. That is, that I'm not a Kernel Developer. I am doing work with these folks to get opensolaris out the door, so I guess in that sense I could be mistaken for such. My main job is customer focussed, but at a kernel source code level.

Now shortly after this article was releasedit hit slashdot

This prompted a lot of comments there, against the ZDNet AU article and my blog.

I think that 19 comments is the most I've had on any entry.

More than a few pointed out the perception that until the source code is out there that it is difficult to see it as other than vapourware. Quite honestly, I can see that point of view and I would like nothing better than for us to be in the position to say, "OK folks, here it is. Go for it". I hope that when we do release it folks will see the amount of work that has gone into making it available.

A few also suggested that we should be releasing it piecemeal. For example, as code gets reviewed and "passed", it goes up. This was discussed amongs the pilot members during January and the decision was taken that this would actually delay the release. There were strong arguments in both camps on this issue.

I would agree with the comments about pure hype, except that we have people building and using the code tree outside of Sun. Many of these have also spoken about their experiences building and running it, along with posting screenshots. The latest that I've seen here are from Dennis Clarke of Blastwave.

Another questioned how many developers we expect. Well we have in excess of 120 external folks on the pilot. Already we have a number of them talking about distributions based on opensolaris and we have a PPC port underway. I think we're off to a reasonable start.

I must take exception to the commenters that believe that Once opensolaris is out there that Sun will immediately start the lawsuits. Check out our history, Sun has no history whatsoever as a patent terrorist. This argument is pure FUD.

Shipping Solaris under licence to a commercial partner is a completely different beast to open sourcing it. Many companies license their code in such a way that it is easy to do one and not the other. This is one of the areas where a lot of work has been going on.

One anonymous poster to my blog was saying that we should not be trying to beat Red Hat. Reality check people. Red Hat and Sun are competitors. Competitors compete. I'm sure if you had a look through some of what Red Hat is saying about us it would be in the same vein.

Now to comments on the ZDNet AU article.

The first two are from me, I probably don't need to say anything about those (short of the fact that I managed to submit one of them before I had finished writing it ;-).

The majority of these comments are along the lines of "Put up or shut-up", that is, "show use the code or shut-up". I know it's sounding like a worn our record (you remember those vinyl things from a previous era), but it really is coming. I think if we miss the deadline that we have set ourselves now, we deserve a roasting.

One poster appears to have Containers (zones) confused with something else (ZFS perhaps?), as they were implying that we hyped it before it was present. Containers were present when Solaris 10 FCS'd. ZFS and Janus? Fair comment. I can only say that we want these right before they go onto production enterprise hardware. In my (20) years as an SA, I know I would be less than happy if I changed my filesystems over to a new filesystem, only to find that a bug-fix changed the on-disc format and I had to take out a major production fox for an extended outage while I fixed it.

I also believe that ZFS is currently in a public beta.


I'm going to miss a lot in here as even at Threshold 0, there are comments that I don't see and also as of writing this, there are 258 comments. I've also already addressed a lot of what I saw on slashdot in the preceding text.

Some of the early comments were quite good. I like the ones about vapourware and clothing, particularly the undergarments one.

I do see a lot of speculation on what we are doing, for example one poster believes that we have to rewrite large sectoins of code becuase it contains Veritas code. Nope.

One poster pointed out that we would not be going for a "it barely works" first release. This is spot on. Quality is one of the main concerns for any Solaris. One of the things that anyone putting back code to Solaris lives by is "FCS Quality All the Time".

A few folks asked why Fintan and I bothered to respond to an obvious troll. The main reason that we both responded to this is that we both felt incredibly insulted by the assertions. That writeup that I did only took me about 10-15 minutes. I've spent much more time on this one already. In fact this one took me a little over an hour (of my own time after my workday finished for those who are interested).

> There are a lot of us out there who both do and do not work for Sun

Wow! Quantum programmers!


A few other folks tried to get pedantic on the above italised statement by taking it out of the context in which is was written. Please note the phrase "a lot of us" which is referring to the previous sentence - "opensolaris certainly exists, you only have to speak to anyone involved in getting it out there."

Some others are saying that Renai whould have used the word "claim" rather than "refute" as we were only claiming, not showing. Why do I need to show when we have folks already posting screenshots and build logs of open solaris? Folks who don't work for Sun. Surely it would be difficult to do this with a product that does not and will not exist?

People also complained about how Jim Grisanzio set the tone by "attacking every critical statement about Sun's OpenSolaris release like a brain-dead pitbull with rabies (appologies to all pitbulls)". I for one have only seen Jim getting this critical on people who are posting obvious rubbish with an obviously anti-Sun agenda. The flamewars started well before this. I believe that there are a lot of folks out there who are scared silly by the concept of an open source Solaris (note that I am stating a personal belief here, there is no way that I would try to claim this as a given fact or anyone else's belief for that matter, I'm not that arrogant).

I will mention that there was one Anonymous post (who I am all but certain that I know who it is) who points out that I was not a kernel developer when he worked at my office. He points out that when he left he was a tier 4 CPRE engineer and that I was tier 3. Well actually, at the time that he left we both worked for the same group (which was a merger of tier 3 and 4) for the same manager. Since that person left I have actually gone on to work with kernel sustaining and workign with engineering to get fixes into the code base, and I don't just mean backporting to the non-develoment versions either. He also claims that any kernel development work that I do is in my own time and I should be doing customer work. Things have changed in the two years since you left and process has changed considerably. As this person posted anonymously I will respect their privacy and not name them.

Well, that's considerably more than I intended to write, but for what it's worth, there it is.

I'd like to think that when I comment on this (and pretty much any topic), that I come across as well considered rather than rabid. You get a lot more accomplished through calm conversation than flame fests.

Update - May 10

As Dan Price points out in the comments to this entry, , ZFS is actually in a private Beta.

Also in the comments, Carl Trusiak provides links to information about builds done by Bill Bradford, Jörg Schilling and Ben Rockwood. I would have put these in but I was a little pushed for time when writing as I wanted to get home.

Chris Rijk also made some good points on the usage of the word "Vapourware".

Technorati Tag:

Wow, I'm on slashdot

I noticed an article on zdnet au quoted me on Friday evening and I left a few comments.

On Saturday morning, one of my colleages called me to tell me that I was featured on slashdot.

There are a few things that I'd like to reply to in the blog comments and some of teh slashdot comments. However, I actually have a bit on my plate at the moment work-wise. I'll try to get something coherent up efore the end of the day.

One thing that I will state is that the reason I did not reply to anything over the weekend is that I actually have a family that I spend time with and deliberately do not go near computers during this time, especially as they do not see much of me because of my normal (90 minute each way) commute during the week.

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday Apr 27, 2005

Sydney Open Solaris User Group

When Simon recently visited he discussed the formation of this group with a number of folk.

As a direct result we now have a (pretty basic admittedly) website and a sosug google group.

I'd encourage folk with an interest to sign up.

We haven't a lot up there yet, but I am confident that discussions will start soon.

Thanks to the xolinc guys for running with this.

I should probably also acknowledge Peter Lees too :)

Tuesday Apr 26, 2005

OpenSolaris is not Vapourware

There was a particularly insulting post to osnews that Fintan also took exception to.

I have to agree with Fintan's sentiments.

My feeling is that the crux of the insult is in the word "vapourware".

Wikipedia defines it thus:

Vaporware (or vapourware) is software or hardware which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle. The term implies deception, or at least a negligent degree of optimism; that is, it implies that the announcer knows that product development is in too early a stage to support responsible statements about its completion date, feature set, or even feasibility.

There is a similarity between vaporware and a species of hoax; both involve promoting a product or event which cannot later be produced. There have been a number of hoaxes in technological fields, wherein the hoaxter promises that proof of his offering will be forthcoming -- eventually. Examples include Clonaid, the Raelian company which promised proof of human cloning; or any number of perpetual motion machine "inventors". The distinction may be that in vaporware, the proponent truly does intend to produce the advertised product, while in hoax, he knows the product does not exist or cannot be produced.

Now by calling OpenSolaris "vapourware", there are a number things which you are immediately saying (that I suspect you might not be meaning to - I'll give you the benefit of the doubt).

Let's address these points in order.

  1. ... announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge

    OK, we announced it and have been talking about it for a while, but now we are within a few months of release. I'd hardly call that "well in advance" at this point.

  2. The term implies deception

    To my knowledge we have not been involved in any deception and to imply otherwise is simple lieing and terribly insulting.

  3. it implies that the announcer knows that product development is in too early a stage to support responsible statements about its completion date, feature set, or even feasibility

    See above, it will be out this quarter. I have yet to see a statement by anyone involved with opensolaris that could be regarded as not a responsible statement.

  4. There is a similarity between vaporware and a species of hoax; both involve promoting a product or event which cannot later be produced.

    It's certainly not a hoax. I and the engineers involved in this would certainly not lend my reputation (which I live by) to such a thing. Nor would the Sun engineers involved or the more than 110 people who are not Sun employees who are a part of the pilot. I'd also be surprised if Roy Fielding would risk his reputation similarly.

  5. wherein the hoaxter promises that proof of his offering will be forthcoming -- eventually

    I'd hardly call "before the end of this quarter" eventually.

While I can see where the original poster was coming from (opensolaris is not generally available), I think they could have chosen a better word to express their views than "vapourware".

opensolaris certainly exists, you only have to speak to anyone involved in getting it out there. There are a lot of us out there who both do and do not work for Sun.

I have to comment on the last line of the post that started this.

If Sun really is paying attention... STOP TELLING US ABOUT ALL THE GREAT THINGS SUN IS ABOUT AND EFFING SHOW US ALREADY! I've waited about seven years for Sun to make good on its promises.

Ummm what do you think Solaris 10 was? We spoke an awful lot about the great things in that. Hey, guess what? Solaris 10 is out and available.

Technorati Tag:

Friday Apr 15, 2005

Drinks in Sydney with Simon Phipps

Earlier today, I noticed Simon Phipps posting from Australia and remembered that he was actually coming out. Digging back through my email I discovered that he had mailed me and a few others about this and mentioned that he would be in Sydney on the 15th (today). I emailed one of the people that that email was addressed to (Peter Lees, one of our Solaris Operating Environment Ambassadors) and asked if Simon was coming up to Gordon to say hi. His reply was "I'm just going to pick him up, would you like him to come out?"

Of course I did.

As a result, a few of us who are involved in Open Solaris not only got to meet one of our CAB members, but as our Social Club had also organised a Beer and Wine on the Balcony afternoon, we also got to share a drink with him.

It was great to actually meet Simon. He took one look at me and said "Yes, you're Alan" (matching up the blog photo with the reality). We chatted about various things both including various Open Source issues/happenings, as well as other work and non-work related stuff; I gave him a brief tour of our lab (which almost has one of just about everything we sell) and then we went out for drinks on the balcony.

All in all it was a pretty good afternoon, topping off a colleague's presentation of his 5 year with Sun certificate, which involved a lunch at the local pub.

One of the reasons that Simon is in Australia is that a number of non-Sun folk have expressed interested in setting up Open Solaris user groups and he was meeting with them. The interesting part for us is that apparantly we will get leaned on heavily for content. Hey, that shouldn't really be a problem.

The only really disappointing thing was that James had to leave just before Simon arrived. Oh well, maybe next time.

Simon is heading up to the area that I live on the weekend, so I hope we have decent weather, as the Central Coast of New South Wales really is a very beautiful place. He's then heading of to the national capital (Canberra) on Monday.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday Apr 14, 2005

SCO Gives Sun Blessings to Open-Source Solaris

In September last year, SJVN quoted...

"Until we see what kind of licenses Sun is talking about and see what their plans really are, it's hard to say anything," SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said. "SCO is showing that it will fight for its Unix intellectual property rights with IBM, and I'm sure Sun sees that."

I guess that this article by the same journalist indicates that SCO got to see what we are doing and became reassured.

...during SCO's earning teleconference on Tuesday, CEO Darl McBride revealed that Sun had discussed with SCO its plans to open-source the Solaris operating system and that SCO has no problems with them.

"We have seen what Sun plans to do with OpenSolaris and we have no problem with it," McBride said. "What they're doing protects our Unix intellectual property rights."

There are some other interesting quotes in there.

Sun has slowly moved towards open-sourcing Solaris 10, or OpenSolaris, for over a year. To date, though, the only released components of OpenSolaris are programs, such as DTrace, which aren't parts of the operating system.

Actually, Dtrace is very much part of the operating system. If you download and have a look at it, you will see that a great proportion of it lives under usr/src/uts. Source code under here is what is used to build the kernel and the kernel modules.

Last fall, Sun officials maintained that the company had the appropriate intellectual property licensing rights to open-source Solaris.

Yes, we did, didn't we. Why is it the so many people won't take us at our word when we say things like that?

SJVN also mentions the Community Advisory Board announcement.

Anyway, that's one of the arguments that folks have been using against us doing the open sourcing that has been knocked on the head.

Unfortunately, things being as they are, and as James points out, we should now expect the hew and cry from the peanut gallery about how this proves that Sun is in cahoots with SCO and Microsoft to kill Linux.


I know that that there is an anti-Sun brigade out there who won't believe anyt hing that we say and will always believe that we have hidden motives based upon conspiricies. Unfortunately, there is little that we can do to change people who believe this kind of claptrap. About the best that we can do is to keep posting factually and let the more balanced folk make up their own minds.

Technorati Tag:

Wednesday Apr 13, 2005

Andy Tucker on the CDDL

Andy Tucker, one of the folk involved in the development of the CDDL has refuted some of the misinformation that is being thrown about, especially by various journalists who appear to have other agendas.

He also talks about some of the reasoning for why some things appear in the way that they do.

A worthwhile read for anyone who has a desire to find out some facts about the CDDL.

Technorati Tag: , , .

Wednesday Apr 06, 2005

Q and A with Simon Phipps about Open Solaris

Just noticed this article contining a Q & A session with Simon, specifically discussing Open Solaris.

One question and answer that jumped out at me was

Q: What do you envision the relationship between OpenSolaris and the Linux community will look like as it matures?

Phipps: I'd expect the two to develop a spirit of friendly competition. OpenSolaris starts on day one with innovations that are either absent from Linux or available in a much less evolved form, and I'm sure the Linux community won't take that laying down! Having real peer competition is good for both Linux and OpenSolaris and each will catalyze the innovation of the the other.

And this is exactly how it should be. Putting Solaris out into the Open Source Community adds to the community and the peer competition should act to raise the bar on Operating Systems in general.

All in all, this can only be a good thing.

Simon also talks about how he sees his role on the Community Advisory Board, his experiences on the pilot and thoughts about community.

Technorati Tag:

Tuesday Apr 05, 2005

Solaris CAB - the Cat's out of the Bag

Today Sun announced the membership of the Open Solaris Community Advisory Board.

Simon has posted a photo to flickr along with captioning of names (on mouse over of faces, very neat).

Congratualations to

A little more searching on my part showed that there is a list of bios accessible from along with a description of just what these folks will be doing.

Rich and Al were elected by the non-Sun members of the Open Solaris Pilot, Casper and Simon were selected for the two Sun positions, and Roy was selected as the independant participant from the Open Source Community.

Something that is important to note here is that of the five positions on the board, only two of them are held by Sun folk (Casper and Simon).

Ben Rockwood, Jim Grisanzio and Fintan Ryan also have something to say about it, as do Ashlee Vance at The Register, Stephen Shankland at Zdnet. and Elizabeth Montalbano at CRN

Yahoo has the press release.

Technorati Tag:

Thursday Feb 17, 2005

Sun Responds to Red Hat on ZDnet

And of course after writing something on the Red Hat Article (previous blog entry, links are there); I notice that Sun has responded formally to it.

James Eagleton, does a much better job of taking the claims apart than I did :).

Technorati tag:


* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre

Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him


« July 2016

No bookmarks in folder

Sun Folk

No bookmarks in folder

Non-Sun Folk
Non-Sun Folks

No bookmarks in folder