iPad, meet GNOME

Just been playing with the new Oracle Virtual Desktop Client for iPad, which to you and me means “the first Sun Ray client for a tablet”. Here I am playing with GIMP on a Solaris GNOME 2.30 desktop, which is running on one of the Sun Ray servers in the Dublin office:

Sun Ray client for iPad

There are a couple of rough edges — the main one, perhaps, being that you can’t scroll the content of windows on the remote desktop in the same way that you’d scroll any other content on the iPad. Right now you have to grab and move the scrollbars, which isn’t so easy on a touchscreen. But other than that, it’s pretty tidy for a first release.

If you have access to a Sun Ray desktop and want to join in the fun, the app is a free download from the iTunes App Store.

VirtualBox 4.0.10

Today’s maintenance release of Oracle VirtualBox (4.0.10) spreads the GNOME 3 love a little further — following the fixes in 4.0.8 for GNOME 3 guests on Linux hosts, GNOME 3 now finally works glitch-free on OS X hosts in 4.0.10.

Small and fuzzy video evidence (.ogv file)

Guess this means I have fewer excuses than ever before for not knuckling down on the GNOME 3 HIG :)

Solaris 11 Express 2010.11

Yesterday, Oracle released Solaris 11 Express 2010.11 (complete with GNOME 2.30.2 as its default, and indeed only desktop), the first interim step along the road to Solaris 11 since OpenSolaris 2009.06 was released almost 18 months ago.

The change in name reflects that, unlike its OpenSolaris predecessors, Solaris Express is not a freely-redistributable distro (check out the OpenIndiana project if you need one of those), and it remains free to use only for “the purpose of developing, testing, prototyping and demonstrating your applications”—business or commercial usage now requires a support contract. However, the download itself for x86 or SPARC remains free of charge, and it’s also possible to upgrade from an existing OpenSolaris installation (see the release notes for details).

As you’d expect, there are many new things to play with in this release—the one I’ve been most closely involved with is the new Network Auto-Magic GUI, which has many more features than the one that shipped in 2009.06.

I know a lot of GNOME folks won’t be delighted by this apparent step backwards in Solaris open-ness. On the other hand, things are really no different now from how they were for the first five years or so of Sun’s involvement in GNOME, when nobody could have imagined there would ever be an open source version of Solaris. And we all got along just fine then, so I hope we can continue to do so now :)

Feel free to take Solaris 11 Express 2010.11 for a spin in VirtualBox and let us know what you think.

A decade at Sun redux

I felt a mild flutter of excitement when I finally received my 10 year Sun/Oracle service award notification on Friday, two months after my actual anniversary, because Sun had some nice gifts you could choose from (I chose a telescope for my five year award!).

Assuming Oracle would be much the same, I hastily logged in to see what I fancied, only to discover out that there was only one option: a ballpoint pen. A $200 ballpoint pen, certainly, but a ballpoint pen nonetheless.

How many people in the IT industry, I wonder, have a use for a $200 ballpoint pen? I certainly wouldn’t carry around a pen that expensive, as it’s the sort of thing I’d inevitably lose. Even as UI designer who does a fair bit of sketching, I just tend to use whatever pen or pencil comes to hand. And if I did want my own fancy, personal pen, it would be a fountain pen, not a ballpoint. (But you have to rack up 20 years at Oracle to earn one of those—even 15 just gets you a ‘rollerball’.)

Indeed, up until I left university, and for a while afterwards, I did carry around a fountain pen. But it wasn’t an expensive one, and it was in the days when I still wrote a lot more than I typed. I doubt there are many people in our line of work who do that nowadays.

So if you’re reading, corporate gift overlords, we minions do appreciate a choice. And if you’re not going to give us a choice, could you please at least give us something we can either put to good use without fear of losing or breaking it, or something that looks nice on a shelf? Or, if in doubt, just stick an extra few quid in our pay packet that month, and let us buy whatever we like :)

A decade at Sun

Well, 9.66 years at Sun, and 0.33 at Oracle… it was the Tuesday after the August 2000 bank holiday when I first ventured into this office, from the B&B that Sun were putting me up in until I found an apartment. Back then, we were working on getting the forthcoming GNOME 1.4 to play nicely on Solaris 8…

Have to say it would be nice if I got to choose the traditional thank-you gift from any leftover Sun stock in one of the countries that hasn’t LEC’ed yet :) But somehow I can’t see that happening…

All my pictures seem to fade to black and white

Tonight we head into town for a few beers, to commemorate the untimely passing of Sun Microsystems Ireland Limited, some 17 years after Sun’s operations began in Dublin, and a little less than ten years after I joined.

Tomorrow, at 10.30am sharp, and likely with a few sore heads, we become inducted as employees of Oracle Ireland. See you on the other side.

OpenSolaris Governing Board Election Results

This time last year, I noted I was slightly disappointed at the low number of non-Sun folks who’d been elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board. No fear of that this year, with just one of the seven newly-elected board members currently representing Sun^H^H^HOracle… although there are certainly a few ex-Sun faces in the mix too.

The new constitution was approved this time around as well. Here’s hoping all concerned can keep up the momentum that’s been gathering over the past few years.