Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Man pages vs Google

I have noticed something kind of strange, I usually find the information I am looking for faster via Google than I can with using the "man" command right on my own machine.  Google tries to guess what I am looking for by the domain, location, and other secret sauce components to try to customize a search results which work pretty good most of the time.  I wonder if the shell should try the same thing?  After all, most shells keep a history of commands so maybe it could use that information to help rank a man -k search?  Just a thought.  Probably just too much work, why reinvent the wheel anyway?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Thank you Adobe!

Someday soon it looks like we'll have Adobe reader for Solaris x86:


I see this as another sign that Solaris x86 is coming around.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


OpenSolaris 2008.5: I'm a Believer

Ever since the release last week I have spent plenty of time with the new OpenSolaris 2008.5. I have to admit I am was a little apprehensive about this release. First of all I was a little turned off by the whole naming fiasco but I am over that by not. Second, even though I converted from Linux to Solaris I was afraid that Indiana was just an attempt to copy popular Linux distros and everything I like about Solaris would be ruined. My fears were unfounded, I really like the new OpenSolaris release.

In my previous job I spent plenty of time with all of the popular Linux distros. I had a wide range of opinions of distros from ones I detested, others that I could live with to Slackware, my favorite distro. Probably the main reason I like OpenSolaris is because it does some things that seem normal on Linux but often seem old fashioned on Solaris. For example, every time I su in Solaris the first thing I type is bash so I can use backspace. But after I have used it for awhile I have realized that OpenSolaris is not a Linux distro clone with the Solaris kernel. It's more like the next evolution of Solaris that picks up on some ideas from the Linux community that are just better ideas, at least in my opinion. OpenSolaris is not the easiest to use version of Solaris but it also ranks up there with the best Linux distros.

The one piece of technology that really sets OpenSolaris apart from all the OS's on the planet is ZFS. By using ZFS as the boot partition it allows for some pretty amazing things that you just don't find on a desktop. As an example, the package management system is integrated into ZFS. Not only does that make it easy to rollback packages but it also allows for things like live upgrade. Live upgrade is a great to upgrade things like the kernel (in Linux speak) and be able to rollback easily if things go bad.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The View from the inside of Sun, Part 1 (Openness)

I have been a member of the OpenSolaris community since close to the beginning and I was fortunate recently to get a six month contract to work for Sun. So I have the unique experience of seeing things from a community stand point and now from within Sun as a contractor. I am now a little over a month into my contract now. I am now seeing things through an entire different perspective and decided to share my observations with other community members with the hope that you'll get a better appreciate for what is going on here at OpenSolaris.

Almost from the beginning it seems that there have been complaints that OpenSolaris is not open enough. I actually sort of thought that way before too. When I started with Sun working on OpenSolaris.org I was expecting to learn about all kinds of secrets of the inner sanctum of inside Sun when I started. It's been a bit of a surprise. From an Engineering standpoint things here are much more open than anyone from the outside could ever really appreciate. Recently slashdot pointed out a Linux blog post that complained about among other things that developers still can't directly check in their changes into OpenSolaris. First of all that is true of the ON (the kernel so to speak) but there are plenty of projects within OpenSolaris that do have public repositories. Two projects I work on, the Website and Chime both have public repositories. One of the things I am working on during my contract is documentation for the SCM migration project. Here's the surprising part, ALL of the discussions and documentation is out in the open either at OpenSolaris.org or genunix.org. So you can see for yourself what is going on and more surprisingly jump right in and contribute just like if you worked for Sun. For people that wonder what's taking so long take a look at all of the work that has already been done and understand the complexity of the task.

I still have more observations. Over time I'll post more thoughts. Next week I'll be visiting Menlo Park. I very exited about meeting many people I have been corresponding with via the web over the past few years.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Sendmail "unqualified host name" on Solaris

If you run some version of Solaris at home you probably get annoyed with Sendmail complaining about an unqualified host name. There's an easy fix right here.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Sun Type 6 Keyboard

One of my favorite computer keyboard is the Sun Type 6. It ranks up there with the original IBM keyboards. It is a keyboard specially designed for Sun Workstations but will work with PC's running Windows. First it is a UNIX style keyboard which means the control key is next to the A key and caps lock is on the bottom row. At first this might seem awkward coming from a standard PC keyboard but after you use a ctrl key intensive application like Emacs it makes sense. One feature I really like to have in a keyboard are audio volume and mute which Type 6 keyboard has. Other features I really like are the dedicated cut, copy, and paste. I really wish this was a more common feature in all keyboards. There are a few weird keys that I still have yet to use like Compose, Alt Graph, and a blank key which I assume is meant to be user definable. Many of the special keys don't work in Windows but all of the standard keys work just fine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Happy Debunking Day!

I heard on the radio today is "debunking day" here in the US (seriously, it really is). So to celebrate debunking day I decided I would give it a try for Sun's Web Infrastructure Myth Busting Challenge.

This month's myth is "Sun's web solutions are proprietary". This is actually a pretty easy one to debunk from my own personal experiences. I was actually kind of surprised that this was actually a myth for the contest it seems so easy to debunk.

Awhile back I architected a website and a couple of Java Enterprise applications it was pretty much an entire Sun solution with a couple of exceptions. It ran on a Sun v120, Solaris 10 (in a zone nonetheless), and Sun Application server. The backend was Microsoft SQL server, yes a Microsoft database on Windows. Authentication was against IBM's Domino server (if you really want to know what proprietary means). I knew that in the future infrastructure requirements might change and change they did. The applications and website had to be moved from Sparc servers to Windows Servers running under VMware. One top of that the client wanted to move to JBoss if it wasn't a big deal. So off of Sun hardware, off of Sun's OS, and no longer on Sun's app server. So how much effort do you think this was? With the exception of one problem it took a couple of hours. Yes HOURS to move. I bet it would have been quicker if I knew what I was doing with JBoss. How many other companies out there make it so easy for you to move off of their platform. But I know what you are thinking, what about that one problem? That one other problem was a custom built JAAS module I had built for authentication against a Lotus Domino server. That took me about another day to rewrite the custom module. But that wasn't the fault of Sun's architecture but that of the Domino server not following the standards (now there's a company that knows how to lock you in! :-)). So even with the problem I ran into the migration was way quicker that anyone could have imagined.

Sun's web solutions are proprietary? I'd say that myth's busted.

Monday, March 03, 2008


OpenSolaris Fulltime

In a couple of weeks OpenSolaris will no longer be just a hobby of mine but will be a full time endeavor. I will be a contractor for Sun working on the OpenSolaris.org website. To say that I am excited about this opportunity is an understatement.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Sun Blade 100 Rides Again

It's been awhile since I played around with the latest builds of Solaris Express Community Edition even though I spend most of my day at work in front of Solaris Express Developer Edition. So I decided I would blow off the dust on my old Sun Blade 100 and I gave build 78 a try and see where things are. I was very surprised to find that it still works very well the latest builds even if it is a little slow. For those that you don't know the Sun Blade 100 is an "entry level" Sparc workstation from around 2000. It's clock speed is 500 mhz but since this is Sparc it isn't as slow as you would think it is. Running a Sparc at home is kind of exotic thing to do now days. Its kind of like driving an old Lotus or Ferrari or something. Not real practical but cool nonetheless. It also uses ordinary IDE drives so it makes a nice Sparc machine for the home hacker on a budget. I have it stuffed with a scavenged CD burner and hard drives from Windows boxes that long ago became too slow to be of any interest. So its might be a little exotic but its cheap. My intention is build this into a ZFS backup server for my home network along with being a machine to play with Sparc.

A couple of things now work that never did when I last had OpenSolaris on this box. First, ZFS no longer seems to slow the box down to a crawl like it did before. I am running this headless and the power management works very nicely by default. Finally, my cheap external Firewire drive now just works. I could never get the thing to work before on any release of Solaris, Sparc or x86 so this was a nice surprise.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Java Garbage Collection Presentation

Here's a link to a presentation on the Java Garbage Collector that I did a couple of months ago.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merry Christmas

"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


VMware Workstation and Norton Protection Center

If you use Norton Anti-Virus you might run into a problem with your VMware Workstation guests accessing the network. There is an easy fix that isn't obvious at first. First go into options for Norton Anti-Virus and select "Internet Worm Protection". Then select the "Program Control" button. Now Add a rule for C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\bin\vmware-vmx.exe set to "allow". That's it.

It wasn't obvious to me because I was looking for "firewall" in the options. "Program Control" doesn't make any sense either.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Taking Things for Granted

As a long time Java developer who has been recently working in C/C++ I have realized that there are a few things in Java that I really have taken for granted. The biggest thing by far has to be the automatic memory management. Most of the time we Java programmers don't even think about until there is a problem. And with modern JVM's the problems don't happen as often as they did back with the earlier JVM's so problems aren't as common. I always am interested to see how things work under the hood and lately the garbage collector is one thing I am having fun with. For one thing there are plenty of ways to configure it. To really use any of those configurations you really have to understand what is going and a good article to get started with is here at the IBM Developer Works.

So why is it really important to understand Java's garbage collection? Garbage collection can be the cause of one of those things that makes people say that Java is slow. One of the worst bugs I had to deal with was a serious performance problem on a large scale J2EE application and involved the garbage collector. The real bug was that someone was instantiating an incredible amount of short lived objects when they shouldn't have and this caused the garbage collector to use more and more of the CPU eventually causing disastrous slow downs of the application. This happened about 6 years ago and unfortunately some try people to lay blame to Java for things like this. But I know better, try and see what happens when you have to manage you own memory and abuse it (hint, much worse things happen than just a slow down!).

Thursday, November 01, 2007


First Glance at Project Indiana

A very early release of Project Indiana is out over at OpenSolaris. I haven't really been paying close attention to it but it is impossible to ignore lately anywhere in the OpenSolaris forums. I just installed it to see what all the hype is about. The install went flawlessly on to VMware. My first gut reaction is that it looks like a blue version of Ubuntu. Obviously there are a few rough edges this being such an early release but I am really impressed at how good it looks so far. Something like this could really get more people interested in Solaris as a desktop.

Monday, October 29, 2007


PIttsburgh OpenSolaris meet up

I am trying to organize a OpenSolaris meet up here in Pittsburgh. Last week I posted a request on the OpenSolaris forums but so far I only have one person interested. I am hoping to get something going to see if we can start up an OpenSolaris user group. If you are interested send me an email.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Slackware: Still my favorite distro

As part of my job I test my company's software product and many different Linux distros. So I get plenty of experience with all of the "popular" ones. I kind of figured that eventually I would eventually migrate to a different distro that is more user friendly or better package management but I never found one I like better. Here's a few reasons why:

1. Stability: Some distros have updates on an almost seemingly daily basis. In my experience updates break things almost as often as they fix things.
2. Developer tools: Slackware has one of those most complete sets of tools and libraries for development. I am still annoyed that some very popular distros still don't come with Sun's Java.
3. GUI not the default: I still like the fact that the default is still the console. Who needs a windowed environment for a server anyway?
4. The Subscription Service: I signed up for the CD subscription service at least 9 years ago and it has never stopped. I have moved several times, changed my email address a few times, and have forgot about on several occasions but some how they have tracked me down and got the CD to me shortly after a release. Sure I could just download it for free but I want to support the Slackware team.

One of these days I am going to get my chocolate with my peanut butter by getting Slackware working on OpenSolaris using BrandZ. From what I have read it will work.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


A Good C++ Resource

After 10 years of programming Java* I am finally trying to master C++. Yes, I know I have it backwards. Since I am probably still in the stage of not knowing what I don't know with C++ yet a helpful resource is cplusplus.com. I like it because it reminds me of Javadoc. So if you have any other resources to recommend please comment. A very good book I found is "The C++ Programming Language" from the man himself, Bjarne Stroustrup. It's such a good book that if you read it and never even work on C++ you would still learn to be a better programmer.

*Yes, that is right 10 years of Java programming. I started with Java 1.0 as a hobby on OS/2 over 10 years ago and in a few months will be the 10 year anniversary of when I actually got paid to do Java 1.1 stuff. Wow, I'm old.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


OpenSolaris on VMware ESX

Special thanks to Eric Lowe who let me know how to get OpenSolaris working on VMware. Whenever I tried to boot OpenSolaris it would spin at "Configuring Devices" for what seemed like forever. It would eventually boot up if you were extremely patient. Eric let me know about a work around. Just add this to your vmx file:

monitor_control.vt = "false"

Afterwards it will boot up just like it should. Just remember if you are using Virtual Center you'll need to remove from their before you edit the file.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


SCO Customers - An Oppurtunity for Sun

The company I work for sells plenty of software to people that still use SCO operating systems. For some of us it is a surprise to find that so many still use Unixware and Openserver. But these people have been using these OS's for a long time and have proven to be reliable. They'll figure if ain't broke then why fix it? With the recent news of SCO filing for bankruptcy this is a good time for Sun to step up and woo some customers over to Solaris. Traditionally these customers were not on Sun's radar because they were "too small" but with the success of Solaris x86 things have changed.

Conventional wisdom would be that SCO customers if they went somewhere else they would just migrate to Linux. But do you really think there will be many in the Linux community will be willing to reach out them? Besides that, from a technical standpoint Solaris is much closer to those operating systems and from my experience would be an easier port than Linux. My experience has been that most of these SCO users still see Solaris as a SPARC product running on big hardware and Solaris x86 is an after thought that doesn't support a whole lot of hardware. Now is a real good time to show them what its really like.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Virtual PC and OpenSolaris

This week there was a big press release from Sun about cooperation with Microsoft. The thing that caught my attention was about collaborating on virtualization. The plans are to have Solaris working on Windows and vice versa. That is great news as far as I am concerned. This got me wondering about Virtual PC and the latest OpenSolaris builds. I downloaded Virtual PC which is free and tried Build 72. To my surprise it booted and went through the install. First problem was X didn't work, just a black screen. It found a network card but that didn't seem to work either. There might be some tweaking necessary to get those things to work so I'll need to do more research. But the install did finish and OpenSolaris booted up to a black screen.

I also wondered what do they mean by Windows working on Solaris? Could this be simply be the return of the SunPCI card? A Windows branded "zone" like thingy?

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Another indispensable tool from Google

While I have been using the Google calendar I have also been playing around with some of the other tools available from Google. One I really find useful is the Google reader. It's a pretty slick tool to keep track of all of your feeds. I used to keep around rss bookmarks in Firefox but that was pain if I was on a different computer, which is pretty common for me. Now I have the same experience from my laptop, family desktop, or from an OpenSolaris play box.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Google Calendar, another reason why I like it

So I add an event to Google Calendar and I go to fill in the "Where" field for the event. I was really hoping that I could have created a link to Google maps in the field but it was just a text field, at least that is what I thought. So I just typed in the location's name "New Hazlett Theatre" figuring I'll just do a Google Maps search the day of the event to get my directions. But when I clicked on the event in my calendar view I saw a map link to Google maps. Now that's how interfaces should work, do things for me without me telling it to for things I want done anyway.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


When it rains it pours...

This past week was just one of those weeks where all kinds of things went wrong. Things like a big dental bill, blown tire, TV that broke, and my CLIÉ UX-50 with a completely dead screen. But there is a silver lining to all of this. I really relied on the CLIÉ for my own personal organization. Even after just a couple of hours I was feeling the pressure of my life spiraling out of control into a disorganized mess. Because of all the other expenses from the week getting an immediate replacement wasn't a good option. So I remember I had heard good things about Google Calendar and decided to give it a try. Google Calendar is awesome. I really should have been using this thing a long time ago. It's my favorite Calendar program to date and it is a web app on top of it all! In the days of Web 2.0 I still should be so impressed with great web apps but I am. So I made a decision, what ever I replace the CLIÉ it has to sync with Google calendar.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


GNOME Workplace Switcher

It is always fun when you accidentally discover a new feature of something. Today I discover that if you have your mouse pointer over the Workplace switcher you can cycle through your desktops with the mouse scroll wheel. I had three different builds going on three different machines in three different workspaces so that feature was handy when I wanted to check the statuses of the builds. I found this out by just bumping the scroll on the mouse when I was switching desktops.

Friday, July 27, 2007


How to get VMware tools to install on the latest OpenSolaris

There is an easy work around to get the VMware tools on workstation to work with the latest releases of OpenSolaris. I just did this with build 69:

1. Install VMware tools as you normally would but say no to run vmware-config-tools.pl at the end of the install.
2. As root cd into /usr/lib/vmware-tools/configurator/XOrg
3. Create this sym link: ln -s 7.0 7.1
4. Now run vmware-config-tools.pl
5. At some point it will asks where to put the modules, enter this: /usr/X11/lib/modules
6. Do not let it create a xorg.conf file, the one created by the script has errors and will leave you with no X.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


The latest OpenSolaris Problems on VMware

There are two issues with recent builds of OpenSolaris on VMware. The worst is that OpenSolaris is no longer working on VMware ESX 3. You can't even get into the install on OpenSolaris from the boot CD. I have a post at OpenSolaris help on this issue but no responses yet.

The second issue with the latest builds is with the VMware tools install in VMware workstation. Xorg has been updated and the install script doesn't like it. There might be a work around which I am looking into. You can run it with out the tools installed just fine but the mouse gets weird on you sometimes and the clock may go haywire too.

So if you want to run OpenSolaris in VMware I suggest you stick with the developer edition for right now.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Vaio is Upgraded!

The Vaio TR1A is now running with a maxed hard drive and maxed out memory. Taking apart the case was not a real big deal really, thanks to some instructions posted at Silicon Pop Culture. It is like a whole new computer. I now have VM workstation 6 running so now I can get back to some OpenSolaris work. Even though it's a slow cpu it and not exactly a fast hard drive, it doesn't do too bad. Still faster than the Sun Blade 100!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Google Maps - A Very Cool New Feature

Google maps is a great tool but has always had a big limitation, you couldn't add way points. This is a problem because sometimes you want to avoid construction or known traffic spots. Where I live Google maps just doesn't come with the best route all the time, some local wisdom always helps. But now you can just drag the route anywhere you want and it is a much more useful tool for me. It is the best implementation of way points I have seen in map software.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Some more UNIX Shell tricks

One thing I really love about UNIX is that I learn something just about every day which makes my life easier. One is what to do if ls is not available or in my case broken. You can use 'echo *' instead.

Another thing I never realized was instead of typing 'exit' just hit ctrl-d. That one I felt a little dumb for not figuring out! Think of all the time I am saving now!

Friday, June 29, 2007


Upgrading the Vaio TR1

I have been using OpenSolaris for several months now on my tiny little Sony Vaio TR1. I have actually been using it for some hardcore C++ development and surprisingly it has been doing a fairly decent job. I ended up destroying my Solaris partition. It looks like the hard drive could be reaching the end of its life. I figured this was a good time as any to finally upgrade the machine. I was planning on getting a new machine this summer but plans change so I decided to upgrade the memory and hard drive to the max sizes available. That will end up costing me a little over $200. An easier amount to deal with rather than a new machine. BTW, Google price search saved me some money that's for sure! The parts on on their way via UPS and I'll blog more about the upgrade later.

Now I have to decide once things are upgraded if I will be running Solaris dual booted like I did before or under VMware Workstation. I am leaning towards VMware, since I'll be playing with things that can ruin my system if done wrong and it makes it much easier to recover from stupid mistakes!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The Blog is Back

It has been a long time since I posted but I will back to regular postings. The problem was that I was busy with the new job (lots to learn) and having some medical issues that put me out of commission for awhile.

Stayed tuned to here because I will be updating the OpenSolaris on VMware article. Things have changed significantly in this space and the old article is pretty much obsolete at this point.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Best Way To Get Started With Solaris

If you are a developer you can really benefit by using Solaris as your development OS. However, many are scared off by trying to get it setup. However, there is a little know short cut. That is the VMware for Solaris, Developer Edition It is a prebuilt VM image of Solaris Community Edition with a plenty of developer's tools preinstalled. I have been using it at as my primary development system at my new job for the past couple of weeks. I am shocked at how well it works. No need for multiple machines with a KVM. All I do is set Solaris' resolution the same as my Windows desktop. Then I just switch to VMware and hit ctrl-alt-enter and the whole screen is my Solaris desktop. Almost as good as the Sun Blade 1000/SUnpci combo. I figured it would be too slow but so far so good. The only bad thing has been Emacs doesn't accept the alt key as the meta so I need to use esc instead. I am sure the is a fix I can put in my .emacs but I just haven't got there yet.

My only wish was that Solars was the host and Windows was the guest instead of the other way around. Maybe one day...

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Linux Distros

Part of my new job I have to work with Linux. So I have tried out a few distros. I really surprised at the differences between them. So far I installed on VMware Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE, Fedora, and Slackware. So far SUSE is the front runner since seems to work well on VMware and has a desktop similar to Solaris. Ubuntu just wouldn't work for me and Fedora has had some issues but works.

So any suggestions for a good Linux distro for development that works well on VMware?

Friday, February 09, 2007


A New Job

The job search is over, I have a new job! I'll start shortly as the Vice President of Engineering at a small software company that makes backup software for UNIX called Microlite. I am very excited that will get to work with an OS I really enjoy and back at software company.

Also, I promise more regular blog posting now. I will certainly have plenty of material to blog about as I learn new things!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Solaris Express Community Release 55b

My new memory finally arrived this weekend and found the bad IDE connection so now my HP Pavilion 642n is once again useful. It only had 512m of memory which was just not enough for Vista (which I use for games and just to see how the other half lives) and the developer edition of the new Solaris Express Community Release (SXCR) 55b. The latest version of SXCR is definitely a milestone release. In my opinion this is the release that is probably the first one I would highly recommend to developers new to Solaris. Be warned, you need at least 768m for the developer edition to install. You can force it but as I found things did not go well. The new release comes with all kinds of extra things for developers but by far the best feature is the installation. It actually sets up a host name and DHCP for the initial install. Easiest Solaris install ever. No tweaking just install and yo have a usable system!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


When disk space gets low

Over the past couple of days we had the same problem on two on two of the VMware ESX servers at where I work. The problem was that we had intermittent trouble connected to the consoles of the running guest machines from virtual center. Something seemed to be wrong with the server itself so the first thing I did was to log in and check the logs. The problem was that /var was filled up on both machines. This was an easy fix to get things back going, just clean up the old log files.

Then a little the Notes admin gave me a call, seems like one our Notes servers crashed hard. The problem, low disk space on C:. However, it did not clean up as easily as the ESX server did.

Solaris in the past has been a little more forgiving than the other two when space runs out. On my systems at home I usually just a really big / partition. Once I had a memory stick go bad and after awhile the log files filled up the 60gig drive. Nothing ever stopped working or behaved erratically.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Looking for Work

As of today I am on the market looking for a new position. So if you or someone you know is looking for a top notch developer drop me an email!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Sparc test drive

Since I "retired" my Sun Blade 100 several moths ago I really haven't done much with OpenSolaris on Sparc. But recently I had a chance to try out build SXCR 54 on a borrowed Sun Blade 1000. It really struck me how similar the user experience was between the two platforms. I did notice two differences. First, the Sparc platform gets the Adobe Acrobat reader. At first this might seem like a real big plus for the Sparc platform. Guess again. It doesn't run very well. Evince is just fine for what I need. Second, you can't change the screen resolution from Gnome. I had to remember that I needed ffbconfig. And naturally when I changed it the first time I picked a resolution my monitor didn't agree with. Just make sure you have networking in place before you mess around with ffbconfig. You may need to ssh in to straighten things out!

I really didn't have much of an opportunity to do too many benchmarks the Sun Blade 1000. However, from what I could tell it really is a machine that one could live with on a daily basis (unlike the Sun Blade 100). That is pretty amazing when yo realize the it was released 2000 and seven years later it still is usable.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Vista Test Drive

I decided to give Windows Vista a try. I installed it on my HP Pavillion a642n. The install was not much of a big deal excpet for the PCI network card I use for OpenSolaris did not work. I had to enable the mother board nic instead. The sound card didn't work out of the box either which is strange since it is just a plain AC97. But once the NIC card was straightened out I use the update drivers feature and it fixed the problem. So the experience of installing Vista was pretty close to installing Solaris Express!

As for Vista, seems like a OS X knock off really. Also the whole Aero thing doesn't really impress to much but that is just my tastes I guess. But if you are in to Windows probably not a bad evolution I guess. I'll stick with Solaris.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


OpenSolaris on the Ferrari 5000

The good news is that OpenSolaris build 54 installed on the Ferrari 5000 and the Nic worked. The bad news is that's about all that worked really well. The big problem for me is that there is no audio which will probably not be solved anytime soon. The ATI audio chip set spec has not been released so the open source world can write a driver for it. I don't expect it to be released either. The problem is with the big "Windows Vista Premium Ready" sticker on the front on the Ferrari. If you haven't read already, Vista has some crazy ideas about protecting copyrighted content. So my advice is that if you are an OpenSolaris or Linux user and looking at a new Laptop check the drivers carefully if it comes with Vista. I think that is going to be a problem for us in the future.

This isn't really a bash against Microsoft, just me complaining. However, I always feel that getting the OS and hardware from the same company is always the best situation. Then the driver problems go away. Unfortunately, Sun doesn't make an x64 laptop, and why is that Sun? Yeah, yeah, I know, economics...

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