Tuesday May 03, 2005

Decoding data

I see that Sun has a new look on our website today - I like it. I then noticed that my blog is linked from the Solaris Security Page as a Security related blog. Hmmm, I sort of feel obligated to post a bit more frequently now and try to remain topical (it's hard).

Lately, I've had my head buried in ASN.1 encoding and decoding software. If you have ever needed to parse ASN.1 data, you may sympathize with me a bit - it is a pain. There are some freeware tools for helping encode and decode ASN.1 data, but upon closer investigation, they always seem to fall short in some critical area - such as being able to parse and compile a complex ASN.1 syntax like PKCS#12. Anyway, if anyone can recommend a good ASN.1 package, I'd love to hear from you. (I've already looked at esnacc and asn1c).

Tuesday Nov 16, 2004

Firefox and Open Source success

There is a nice article about the success of the Firefox browser. Firefox is a great open source success story. So many Open Source projects get started with good intentions and then die due to lack of interest or follow-through. Just browse through the thousands of entries at sourceforge and see how many are actually active and useable. They claim (as of today - 11/16/2004) to have 90,830 active projects. Thats ALOT. The number of projects that are begin actively worked on and developed is probably quite a bit smaller than that number.

Everyone has read by now that Solaris 10 is going open source, so I won't blow that horn again here. Sun has always embraced the open source movement, we have incorporated many open source projects into our distributions and have also contributed many many thousands of lines of code back to the open source community (GNOME, OpenOffice, and Mozilla just to name a few more high profile projects), so this is not a new concept to us. Despite that fact, Linux zealots will likely take issue with our motivations or our licenses (still TBD), as it may seem like a threat to the continued growth of Linux (the typical Slashdot reaction is to respond first, then read the details later). Regardless, Solaris 10 will stand up to any scrutiny with its rich feature set, strong security, and reliability.

Thursday Jul 01, 2004

S10 on laptops

It used to be a real pain to install Solaris on a laptop - PCMCIA networking wouldn't work, very few video cards were properly supported which made getting an X display working a frustrating experience. Getting sound to work was also usually a very difficult task.

No more. Solaris 10 (Try it out!) installed painlessly on my new laptop without any problems (dual boot or single OS boot both work fine). The built-in network interface worked (Gigabit ethernet), the video display was easily configured. Native AC97 sound support worked with my system's soundcard. The addition of the Gnome interface makes the overall user experience very pleasant. The only non-default package I had to add was StarOffice 7, but once that was in place it was a fully functional laptop. I can think of very few features I miss from Windows or Linux that I cannot get when using Solaris 10. Even CDRW support is now a standard feature - write your own CDRW backup disks!

Additionally, great new security features like IPfilter (bundled in S10) make it very easy to secure your system with just a few simple commands. You can quickly configure your system to block unwanted packets and just allow secure things like SSH in and out of your box.

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