7 Things You May (or May Not) Know About Me

Brewing, Climbing, Family, FOSS, Friends, General, GNOME, Indiana, Ireland, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 2 Comments

Wow, it’s grown from 5 to 7, but since I’ve been tagged many moons ago by Sara and now by Patrick. Where should I start?

  1. I am indeed Tim’s little brother. You wouldn’t believe how many years I got through Sun without people figuring that one out. When I joined, I had another brother in Sun, Duncan. That made 3 of us. The 3 amigos (though fortunately we never had a dance routine). I shared a bedroom for many years with Tim, and played my fair share of Top Trumps, Action Man, StarWars and Squares (and almost getting run over on my way back from the supermarket carpark across the road).
  2. I studied at Trinity College Dublin and loved my college years. I found out relatively quickly that while maths in secondary school was quite enjoyable, taking it to the next level felt like a massive step. I got through my course with a first, but I don’t think I developed a strong aptitude for what I was studying (memory monkey = results). However, I did find a love of Unix somewhere along the way. Duncan let me use his maths account to dial up to the internet, and I soon learned a love of MH, taught as many freshman classes as I could with their computing labs and generally found the computing side of my maths course a whole lot easier and enjoyable.
  3. At secondary school I learned to climb through Mr.Blackmore and Mr.Cryan. We used to head out to Dalkey on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. It was awesome fun, and I’ve kept that going right through college and was captain of the Climbing Club for a year, along with designing their website (though it’s a bit of a mess now). You can read a bunch of the old trip reports here for much hilarity.
  4. My current passion is brewing. Tim had a strong part to play in this one having started it first in the family. I’m loving it. I have a monthly subscription to BYO, a growing collection of brewing books (including John Palmer’s “How to Brew“, and Charlie Papazian’s “Joy of Homebrewing“) and starting to put some all grain beer together. I’ve taken recently to ordering from the awesome guys at www.libertybrewing.co.nz, which conveniently means I can collect my grain just around the corner. I’m still learning the ropes, but this is definitely a career I’d change to.
  5. I’m getting married in 2 months time to Jayne. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve lived in NZ since 2003, have residency and a screwed up accent (though apparently I now have a US twang on the phone).
  6. I was rather fortunate to fall into free software, having picked up a job in the desktop group at Sun, Ireland (yay, nepotism!). Turns out they were looking at free desktop alternatives and chose GNOME. Always shared my code at college, so working on open source was a pretty easy step, and enjoyed spending my time on the IRC channels getting to know people, and them getting to know me (that’s Jeff’s influence, of which I am entirely indebted). I’m not so active in GNOME anymore, but I still lurk in the shadows observing and proud of where the project has come and my participation in it.
  7. Sara tried to hire me over to be a product manager of a new (at that time heavily secret) distribution, OpenSolaris. It took a weekend of her convincing me that I should do it and her persistence is something I’m entirely grateful for as I’ve enjoyed every minute (and worked with some really great people), despite the occasional rough times.

That’s it. And here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, I hereby nominate: @comay, @epicbeer, @maupuia, @charliebird, @bogan, @basicbrewing and @marekkuziel as a rather eclectic bunch.

OpenSolaris gets Firefox 3 and Javascript probe love

Indiana, OpenSolaris, Web 4 Comments

Old news for a lot of Linux distributions, but the build 94 update that David posted finally brings Firefox 3 to OpenSolaris. Yay. What’s better is

gman@rampage:/var/pkg# pfexec dtrace -l | grep moz
   30 javascript1491       libmozjs.so             jsdtrace_execute_done execute-done
   31 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                        js_Execute execute-done
   32 javascript1491       libmozjs.so            jsdtrace_execute_start execute-start
   33 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                        js_Execute execute-start
   34 javascript1491       libmozjs.so            jsdtrace_function_args function-args
   35 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                      js_Interpret function-args
   36 javascript1491       libmozjs.so           jsdtrace_function_entry function-entry
   37 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                      js_Interpret function-entry
   38 javascript1491       libmozjs.so            jsdtrace_function_info function-info
   39 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                      js_Interpret function-info
   40 javascript1491       libmozjs.so          jsdtrace_function_return function-return
   41 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                      js_Interpret function-return
   42 javascript1491       libmozjs.so            jsdtrace_function_rval function-rval
   43 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                      js_Interpret function-rval
   44 javascript1491       libmozjs.so            jsdtrace_object_create object-create
   45 javascript1491       libmozjs.so        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create
   46 javascript1491       libmozjs.so       jsdtrace_object_create_done object-create-done
   47 javascript1491       libmozjs.so        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create-done
   48 javascript1491       libmozjs.so      jsdtrace_object_create_start object-create-start
   49 javascript1491       libmozjs.so        js_NewObjectWithGivenProto object-create-start
   50 javascript1491       libmozjs.so          jsdtrace_object_finalize object-finalize
   51 javascript1491       libmozjs.so                 js_FinalizeObject object-finalize

Yes, you’ve got it – DTrace Javascript Probes have been included.

OpenSolaris 2008.05 Development Updates

Indiana, OpenSolaris 1 Comment

For those people who like living on the bleeding edge of development, you can now update your system to include the latest builds coming out of the OpenSolaris sausage factory. Alan has been posting updates on indiana-discuss when they are available. Those who have been used to SXCE should be pretty comfortable updating, and both IPS, ZFS and beadm have made this a breeze.

The current update is build 91, and here’s the steps to clone your ZFS file-system, and download the latest packages -

# Refresh the package catalog
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg refresh
# Install an updated version of SUNWipkg (which avoids a few bugs)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg install pkg:/SUNWipkg@0.5.11,0.5.11-0.86
# Refresh the package catalog again (to get fixed up content)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg refresh
# Image Update for the win! (sit back and watch the progress)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec pkg image-update
# Now you need to ensure to active your new boot environment (temporary step)
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec mount -F zfs rpool/ROOT/opensolaris-1 /mnt
gman@rampage:~$ pfexec /mnt/boot/solaris/bin/update_grub -R /mnt
# Now reboot and enjoy!

In the works is build 92, that should be available in a week or so – including GNOME 2.22. Hopefully by the time 2008.11 rocks around, we’ll have 2.24 included!

OpenSolaris Planning Meeting Reminder

Indiana, OpenSolaris Comments Off

Tomorrow, Thursday 19th June at 2pm PT, Tim Cramer is hosting an OpenSolaris Planning Meeting to help plan the OpenSolaris 2008.11 release. We have a whole bunch of local freephone numbers for this call (see list), and hopefully will have a SIP bridge, to allow everyone to participate. Come join in the fun, and help us to set the right set of priorities for 2008.11, and point out what things we should be doing differently!

Lead up to May Release

Conference, Indiana, OpenSolaris, Sun 1 Comment

The year is flying. Really flying. Not only has NZ changed clocks screwing up my Google calendar settings once again, but I’m just over a week out to flying over to the OpenSolaris Developer Summit, starting a full month of travel. Jesse is continuing to rock in organizing the summit, and by the line up of rock stars attending, the event should be a real treat. If you haven’t made your arrangements and are in the area, do please attend – we’d love you to be there! I’m really looking forward to hanging out with all the people I met last year, and the few new faces that will be there too.

We’re also co-ordinating the summit with the first meeting of the OpenSolaris Governing Board. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with jbeck, alanc, jimgris, webmink and plocher, and Michelle is keep us all in line as the OGB Secretary this year. We’ve had some incredibly productive calls so far, and will be nice to catch up over dinner on Friday night right before the summit. We’ll also be hosting an OGB Townhall at 15:45-17:00 on Saturday – if you have anything you’d like to bring up, email ogb-discuss@opensolaris.org, or log a bug against the OGB category.

No sooner is the developer summit over, then Jesse is going to wrap us all in a bus and take us up to San Francisco to attend CommunityOne – it’s free to attend, and has a pretty cool line up of talks. I’ll be taking part in a “Operating System Community Panel” with Bacon, Brockmeier and Wade from Ubuntu, OpenSuSE and Fedora moderated by the charming Barton George. The event is free to attend, so you too can come along and throw tomatoes at us. I’ve heard rumours there’ll be an OpenSolaris party that evening too – bonus!

One day later, it’ll be into the JavaOne week and I’ve signed up to be a booth baby at the OpenSolaris stand, dropping into SecondLife, and hopefully getting to attend some of the keynote sessions. College students can attend free this year. Come by the stand and say hi.

Then it’s most definitely vacation with Jayne around SF, Spain and Italy. Woo!

opensolaris.com mockup

Indiana, OpenSolaris, Sun, Web 8 Comments

As opensolaris.com starts to focus more on the ‘download, install and run’ experience, catering towards the consumer rather than the producer, a few people in Sun have been working on a design separate to that of the current opensolaris.org, here – though much of the content is still being worked out.

opensolaris.org will continue to be the live hub for most of the day-to-day activity we currently see across the projects and community groups – nothing changes there, though hopefully the benefit is that it will relieve some of the burden from opensolaris.org on trying to cater for 2 pretty distinct audiences than it was originally intended for.

Of course I can’t take any credit in this, but personally I think the design is pretty fabulous! Have a play with the mockup, tell me what you think!

Re-thinking the Media Kit

Indiana, OpenSolaris, Sun 7 Comments

Over the last couple of days or so, I’ve started to think about the media kits a little more, particularly with respect to get.opensolaris.org for the OpenSolaris release, but also in terms of being able to create derivations targeting specific sets of our potential user base. As I see it, I think it should be possible to create a generic framework that would allow us to swap in and out components, depending on that focus – with the addition of more CD’s depending on the focus.

As such you could think about a number of standalone ‘modules’ –

  • OpenSolaris LiveCD ISO image
    This is the standard image that has been part of the OpenSolaris Developer Preview series, providing the user a LiveCD image, with an opportunity to demo it before they install it to their system. This will track the standard ISO images produced as part of Project Indiana, complete with IPS should they wish to download and install additional software from the network package repositories
  • OpenSolaris Source Code
    With the very real limitations of network bandwidth across the world, most notably in emerging communities such as India, China and many parts of Africa, it is absolutely vital for people to have easy access to the source code. This module will provide source code to the various consolidations working out on opensolaris.org as a checked out repository (either Mercurial or Subversion), allowing the user to pull updates from the network or browse off-line. Additionally with a simple set of scripts provided, it will provide an opportunity for those running the OpenSolaris distribution to run an OpenGrok instance and allow full searching on the local source code. This could also be useful in a classroom environment, where network access is limited.
  • User Documentation
    This module will provide all the user documentation for running the OpenSolaris distribution, complete with a number of tutorials or other guides.
  • Developer

    In the developer section, it will provide a set of simple tools and applications to develop on OpenSolaris, both for the OpenSolaris community itself and also in the wider developer community.

    • OpenSolaris Community
      • Mercurial, SVN, OpenGrok, ..
      • ON build tools
      • Sun Studio Compiler
    • General Developer Community
      • Netbeans
      • Sun Studio Compiler
  • Module Derivatives
    A number of variations of the Media Kit should be possible, including a tailored set of derivations of the OpenSolaris distribution. Some possibilities may include –

    • WordPress/Roller Blog Appliance
      Run an instance of the popular WordPress blogging application, with everything automatically configured out of the box, including a web server.
    • Ruby on Rails Web Developer
      Provide a running web server with DTrace enabled Ruby, Firefox and Apache server.
    • HPC Research
      Provide a set of developer tools to monitor performance and throughput for highly parallel tasks.
    • Others Appliances
      Are there other specific appliances we could be doing?
    • Xen Client
      Automatic Xen client configured out of the box.
    • Community Participant
      Provide an out of the box OS that could be installed to automatically mirror sources/binaries or whatever to another part of the world, helping the global distribution of OpenSolaris.

Let me know what you think!

Post Indiana Developer Preview 2

Indiana, OpenSolaris, Sun 8 Comments

Time is flying. They always say the older you get, the quicker it goes, and that seems true for the latest release of the OpenSolaris Developer Preview, codenamed Project Indiana. The announce mail pretty much covers most of the changes since the last release, and another incremental step towards really changing the delivery model of software for Sun has been made.

Shrinking down to a single CD image has proved massively useful for me as a remote worker, and it’s given me the flexibility of testing several ISOs on the run up to the release, without hurting my broadband plan too much – I can’t help but think that it will give 1000′s of people in developing countries with poor network infrastructure an opportunity to try it out. While the application availability on pkg.opensolaris.org is still poor, the introduction of OpenOffice fills the gap for pretty much all my needs in my day job. I can now install the packages I care about, and my disk feels lighter. Thank you to everyone who’s worked on this over the last couple of months – your patience and dedication are appreciated. Thank you to everyone who have downloaded and installed it, and more importantly, given us feedback.

But controversy continues to be the compromise for that progress.

Stephen’s two blog posts, here and here nail the issues for anyone who hasn’t caught up. It’s been a roller coaster ride over the last few months, both personally, for the project and the wider community. John Plocher has been rocking on putting together a set of draft guidelines for trademark usage and branding, after the official response from Sun on the continued plan to call it OpenSolaris.

At a personal level, being on this project is massively challenging. Not only in the desire to create the best possible user experience while encouraging continued open development, but also in terms of community dynamics and finding the right line to walk between my Sun commitments and my community ones, namely the OGB. There’s no question that there has been a shift in the community, both indicated by Sun’s rightful desire to name the artifact OpenSolaris (of which I agree with), and the interesting discussion in defect.opensolaris.org around the independence of OGB members. Dalibor’s “Finishing governance before finishing bootstrapping is a bad idea” quote highlights one of the main concerns I’ve had from the start – you can’t just switch to a self governing community overnight, you grow into it. Nor can you expect to apply a model that works in one community to another. We are all different. OpenSolaris, comically, is no exception.

So where next for the project? I’m hopeful that it will turn out just fine, perhaps naively so, but I can see people trying out the developer preview and realizing that it’s not too bad. Most of all, we need to execute in a regular and predictable fashion, as a community in as transparent an environment as possible. United. Not just Sun, but everyone.

Trying out ksh93

General, Indiana, OpenSolaris 5 Comments

One of the hotly debated issues since we launched last week was around the addition of /usr/gnu/bin to the default path, along with the addition of bash as the default user shell. I’ve been a bash user for a pretty long time, and never really found that it got in the way much (especially compared to the older generation shells). I’ve never really had much of a reason to change.

This week I’ve decided to make ksh93 my default shell, downloaded and installed from Roland’s excellent snapshots. While I use the command-line pretty much every day, I certainly don’t use it extensively for scripting, and I probably mostly care about tab completion, and clearing my terminal window.

For tab completion, ksh93 lists the options by number and details the path, allowing you to choose one by a simple ‘N<tab>’ key combination -

gman@rampage:~$ z
 1) /usr/bin/zipgrep                  10) /usr/bin/zcat
 2) /usr/bin/zsh-4.3.4                11) /usr/bin/zipcloak
 3) /usr/bin/zipsplit                 12) /usr/sbin/zlogin
 4) /usr/bin/zipnote                  13) /usr/sbin/zoneadm
 5) /usr/bin/zip                      14) /usr/sbin/zpool
 6) /usr/bin/zsh                      15) /usr/sbin/zdump
 7) /usr/bin/zipinfo                  16) /usr/sbin/zic
 8) /usr/bin/zenity                   17) /usr/sbin/zonecfg
 9) /usr/bin/zonename                 18) /usr/sbin/zfs

which feels pretty useful, though less useful when you type ‘gnome <tab>’ since the output is now a single column. With bash you get a similar single column output, but it is piped through more to avoid having to scroll up later. Tab completion also seems a little awkward with ksh93 if you get part of the path wrong, since it seems to add 4 spaces after you tab making it look as if the completion succeeded.

For clearing a screen, ksh93 at the moment seems a lot more irritating. The key combination is ‘<esc><ctrl>l’, whereas bash is just ‘<ctrl>l’. I’m sure the ksh93 one is doing something more, but well, gets in the way for my use.

I’ll continue for the rest of the week and see how it all works out. I do like the shnote, shtinyurl, and shtwitter scripts in /usr/demo/ksh/fun though!

OpenSolaris Developer Preview, Try it!

GNOME, Indiana, OpenSolaris 15 Comments

Today we released the first milestone for Project Indiana, the OpenSolaris Developer Preview. Before you even read the rest of this blog entry, start your download. The locals of Guam (the last known inhabitable place in the planet to see the final hours of October pass by) are now celebrating, hopefully with some strong alcohol.

I’d like to shout out some “thank yous” right off the bat. Thanks to everyone involved in the various projects that made up this distribution, not just those on opensolaris.org but the wider free and open source community – you guys are my heros, and I strongly value your continued commitment to freedom. I’d also like to thank those projects a little closer to home that we’ve focused on for this first release, caiman, ips, and modernization (and those behind the scenes herding them – Bill, Dan, Kelly & Bonnie). They’ve survived network outages, fires *and* earthquakes to get this out the door on time – awesome! At a personal level I’d like to particularly thank David, Stephen, Dave, Danek, Sanjay and Bart for their continued patience in answering my many questions. And finally, I’d like to thank my wonderful, wonderful team mates Sara, Patrick, Jesse, Derek, Jim, Terri, and most of all Ian. We got there, woo!

Enough of the oscars, show me the software!

The developer preview is only x86 at this time (for sheer practical reasons of wanting to get something out of the door), and should run on a minimum memory requirement of 512Mb on the metal, but also in VMWare. You’ll also notice when you start playing with it -

  • It is a single CD download, so much of the software you’d expect to see in Solaris Express is not there, some of which will be available from a network package repository
  • It’s built on Nevada b75a
  • It is also a LiveCD, allowing you to try before you install on to your disk
  • Contains the latest bits of the new Caiman installer, with a significantly improved user experience
  • ZFS as default filesystem – NO WAY! WAY
  • IPS as the underlying network based package management system (though SVR4 packaging is still available)
  • /usr/gnu/bin has been added to the default path
  • bash is the default shell
  • GNOME 2.20 goodies

This first release is a prototype – some indication that we really are serious about putting this together. It has come out of the proverbial sausage factory with relatively little testing and could contain bugs that could lead to panics, data corruption or other similarly uncomfortable situations. You should probably not run this in your data center.

Download it, try it, but most importantly, tell us about it! As always, we need your help – join us on indiana-discuss (or one of the other specific project aliases). We’re not done, we’re just getting started.

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