Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boomer: Next Generation Audio for Solaris

I've posted draft inception materials for our PSARC case, 2008/318, for Boomer. Boomer is the code name for the effort to integrate a modern OSS-compatible API, and additional drivers, into Solaris.

PSARC inception review for this case is scheduled for November 5, 2008. Please check the ARC web page for call in details (any engineer in the community may dial in.) Be advised that the meeting is an engineering meeting, though. (PSARC provides engineering architectural review for projects.)

We have a working prototype for most of the bits we are ARC'ing at this point, and I expect to be opening up the source code tree, and binary test bits, in the coming weeks. Perhaps by Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sun position available in Austin

A new position in Austin, TX has opened in my group (onsite only). This is for a junior or mid-level administrator or QA type person -- great for someone who loves playing with new hardware, software, etc. No specific programming skills beyond every day scripting required (though perl and C would probably be useful.) Send replies back to me. (Full disclosure: I get a referral bonus for anyone I refer.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Microsoft & NetBSD

Some folks might be interested in this. I used to hack on NetBSD at my previous job. I recently had an inquiry from a recruiter at Microsoft (don't worry Neal, I'm not going anywhere! :-) which I thought I'd share here.

Location: Redmond, WA
Client: Microsoft.
Job Description:

Seeking a talented NetBSD software developer interested in helping Danger (a subsidiary of Microsoft) ship the next generation of Danger’s Sidekick platform. Specifically, we’re looking for NetBSD developers interested in commercializing the NetBSD platform for an embedded mobile computing device, focusing on performance and optimization, bug fixing, and integration with Danger’s higher-level platform code, with an emphasis on kernel and driver support.
- 8+ years of software development experience
- 8+ years experience with C
- Strong understanding of OS concepts (particularly with NetBSD) such as multi-threaded program design and synchronization, processes & memory protection, etc.
- Strong communication skills
- Strong understanding of the NetBSD/GNU software development process and embedded development & debugging techniques
- Deep understanding of NetBSD, including timers, RPC, TCP/IP, etc.
- Experience with ARM processors highly desirable

So, not Windows CE or some other Windows platform. Cool. Wonder when they'll start posting job offers for Solaris engineers? (Probably as soon as Solaris is useful for small embedded devices -- i.e. I wouldn't hold my breath. :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Stuff in OpenSolaris 2008.11

OpenSolaris 2008.11 is coming soon. Build 101 is the stabilization build before it, and as usual, new features are excluded from this build. So we can say pretty certainly what features are in, and what are out.

While there are a lot of new features coming in this release, there are some in particular that I've been more involved with.

  1. SDcard support. Numerous laptops can now use SDcard and MultiMediaCard media directly. A good way to know if you're laptop is one of them is to search for pciclass,0805 in the output of prtconf -vp. While it isn't completely conclusive (in particular some models from Texas Instruments are schizophrenic here), if you see this, there's an excellent chance it will work. I'd always like to hear feedback about this feature -- if your unit works, or doesn't work, let me know. (Also, of course, the Tadpole SPARCLE models are supported. )
  2. AudioHD improvements. Notably, many more laptops will now have working audio. The audiohd driver is also updated to support Suspend/Resume.
  3. Fast Reboot. I participated as a consultant. I'll also be updating (post OpenSolaris 2008.11) additional drivers to support this feature. The upshot of this project is that a healthy system can reboot much more quickly now.
  4. Brussels (NIC Administration). I've participated in converting several drivers to Brussels, and in generally improving Brussels (I'm also the ARC sponsor for this work.) The upshot of this project is greatly improved manageability for network interfaces.
  5. Suspend (S3) Support. I helped review the conversions of several drivers, and provided fixes for several NIC devices.
  6. Bug Fixes. I've worked on a number of them, and of course, there are huge numbers of bugs that have been fixed in this release.
All said, I think OpenSolaris 2008.11 is going to be great -- I confess that I was skeptical about the earlier releases, but this release is shaping up to be really awesome.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ancient History Exhumed

Okay, maybe not so ancient (circa 2000), but I recently got an e-mail from the Sun IT group notifying me about changes that impacted web pages I set up for Alternate Pathing, which was the very first project I did that involved work within the Solaris kernel. Apparently they didn't notice that I'd left the company and returned.

Of course Alternate Pathing was canceled a long time ago, although someone may still be using it on older E10K Solaris 8 systems.

Here's the Sun internal URL to which the e-mail referred. The bug tracking pages are broken, since the scripts behind them were developed (by me) to talk to the BugTraq+ Sybase server, which Sun hasn't used in ~forever.