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Showing posts from February, 2010

Funny Ancient Software

I just found out that Ubuntu has been shipping (since version 6.06 -- Dapper Drake I think it was called?) and apparently included all the way into forthcoming 10.x LTS version) a program I wrote nearly two decades ago as a student -- vtprint -- and yes, that link points to manual text I wrote way back when. (This program, "vtprint", was for use with printing from a UNIX shell prompt, when you don't have a better way to move files around. Back then we used commands like "kermit" to connect to a UNIX server from our PC over a 2400 or 9600 baud modem -- and well before PPP or even SLIP.) I haven't used vtprint since about 1995, but its funny to still see it kicking around. Too bad the docs still have an old e-mail address for me at SDSU.... I guess nobody has needed a bug fix for it for some time.

Congratulations to BMW Oracle Racing

If you're involved in the sailing community, you'll already know that Larry Ellison, who's now ultimately my boss, had put together a team to challenge the America's Cup. They won this weekend, bringing the America's Cup back home to America, and I'm enormously proud of Ellison and his team, both as an American, as a sailor, and -- now -- as an Oracle employee.

Open Development

Note: I'm posting this on my personal blog, which as always is a reflection of my own thoughts and in no way represent any official policy from my employer (whoever that may be). Now that we former Sun employees (for the most part) are now part of a larger company, there have been some questions about how much of the trend Sun had made towards open development will continue (particularly where Solaris/OpenSolaris is concerned.) (I want to separate the concern of Open Source -- where source code is made available for products after they are released -- from Open Development -- where the product is developed in the open.) Many of us who were part of that acquisition are wondering the same things. Officially, the word is "no changes in what we're doing", but unofficially there's an atmosphere that our new employer places a greater emphasis on commercial profitability and a lesser emphasis on things like "including the community." Speaking abstract

Scalability FUD

Yesterday I saw yet another argument about the Linux vs. Solaris scalability debate. The Linux fans were loudly proclaiming that the claim of Solaris' superior scalability is FUD in the presence of evidence like the Cray XT class of systems which utilize thousands of processors in a system, running Linux. The problem with comparing (or even considering!) the systems in the Top500 supercomputers when talking about "scalability" is simply that those systems are irrelevant for the typical "scalability" debate -- at least as it pertains to operating system kernels. Irrelevant?! Yes. Irrelevant. Let me explain. First, one must consider the typical environment and problems that are dealt with in the HPC arena. In HPC (High Performance Computing), scientific problems are considered that are usually fully compute bound. That is to say, they spend a huge majority of their time in "user" and only a minuscule tiny amount of time in "sys". I&

Missing audio packages

I have learned that at least two packages, SUNWaudioemu10k and SUNWaudiosolo, are not part of the "standard" ("entire?") install of OpenSolaris b131. If you're looking for either of these, you should do "pfexec pkg install SUNWaudiosolo" or "pfexec pkg install SUNWaudiosolo". Hopefully we'll get this sorted out before the next official release. Update: Apparently (according to the expert I talked to) this problem only affects systems updating with pkg image-update. If you install a fresh system, the audio packages should be installed.

System board for ZFS NAS

I'm thinking about creating a home storage server, like many, and I want it to be performant enough to host work spaces for compilation over NFS, and efficient enough to reduce my current power consumption somewhat. I'm thinking of a new Intel D510 system board, and looking at several, I found a board from Supermicro that looks ideally suited to the task. Does anyone else have experience with this board? It looks like its all stock Intel parts, so it should Just Work. I'm thinking that with 4 or more SATA drives combined with RAIDZ, and dual Intel 82574 gigabit Ethernet (which I could use in an Ethernet link aggregation), I should be able to get excellent performance. (I might even set up jumbo frames, to further bump NFS performance -- if they really are 82574's then they support up to 9K MTU).

Kindle Converts a Skeptic

Recently I bought my wife an Amazon Kindle (the new international unit), at her request. Personally I was rather skeptical -- trying to read book material on computers, even laptops or netbooks, has always felt very awkward to me. I always believed that there was something about holding a paperback (or even a hardback) which would never be replaceable by technology -- maybe for others, but at least not for me . I have to recant. Debbie has read something like a dozen novels already on her unit. I decided to try it out... and I have to say, I was surprised. I was reading H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (not for the first time of course), which was a free download, and wow, was I surprised. After 10 or 15 minutes of reading, I almost forgot I was holding something in my hand that isn't printed paper. (The form-factor, which is quite similar to a book, works quite well here. I don't think I'd like the larger DX, as it would destroy the "illusion" of read

Reprehensible behavior from a monopoly

Misbehavior stemming from lack of competition is apparently not unique to the IT industry. I saw this post today, and couldn't believe it. And then a bit of additional research shows this is not unique -- a number of people complained about actions on the part of Greyhound that would never be tolerated in market where there is true competition. Forcing a grandmother to wait out in cold, while there's still snow on the ground, may not be in violation of the letter of the law, but it is certainly in violation of the basic tenets of human decency, and the management at the Memphis location showed they have none. Its been over ten years since I've ridden a Greyhound (or any other long-haul bus for that matter), and after reading this, I am unlikely to ride another Greyhound again. Instead I'll stick to air transport where lively competition means that even the worst airlines understand that they have to at least pretend to care about their customers. If you're