Two million and counting

Wow… apparently we reached two million Solaris 10 downloads this week! I think it’s safe to say that’s exceeded even the most optimistic expectations of anyone at Sun, so much so that we’re having a doughnut day next week to celebrate 🙂 What with that and the company almost literally buzzing with excitement about OpenSolaris, you can’t help but feel we could be on to something big. Here’s hoping.

We also had our 2006 financial year kick-off barbeque here today… despite the odd threatening cloud, the food was good, the beer was flowing, but as usual I didn’t get a sniff of winning anything in the raffle. Almost unbelievable that nobody wanted to go into town afterwards and make a night of it, though… is this really the same company I joined five years ago (almost) to the day?! :/

Desktop Community– "Open" for Business

OpenSolaris now has a fledgling desktop community— although there’s nothing actually on this page yet 🙂 If you want to help with getting GNOME, KDE or any of your other favourite desktops or desktop apps building and running sweetly on OpenSolaris, leveraging the (already remarkable) amount of groundwork that other contributors have laid down, this mailing list is going to be the place to be.

From posts on the general OpenSolaris discussion list, KDE seems to be ahead of the game already, so come on GNOMEies, get stuck in! 🙂

The Network is the Computer (but not everyone’s)

Working at home a day or so a week has been a great convenience, but it looks like my days are numbered… at least if I want to keep using my Mac.

The current Cisco VPN client apparently doesn’t work with OSX 10.4, so I won’t be able to connect to the office from home that way if I decide to install my shiny new upgrade when it arrives next week– and let’s face it, it’s going to be hard to resist 🙂 Rumours abound too that the OSX version is about to be EOL’d anyway, so who knows how well it’ll ever work post-Panther.

Normally I’m running Linux on my Mac when I’m working anyway, so no problem you’d think– except there’s no PowerPC version of the Cisco VPN client, and today we’ve been told that we’re no longer allowed to use the open source vpnc client either, as a security audit has determined the current version to be too insecure.

Even if there was a way around those issues, Sun is taking SOX compliance rather seriously, and in the not too distant future, full remote access will be restricted to employees with centrally-managed workstations running Java Desktop System, with a Java card reader for authentication. If you think this sounds a lot like SunRay@Home, you’d probably be right 🙂 The rest of us will be restricted to accessing so-called ‘edge services’ like mail and calendar from our evil non-JDS boxes.

While SunRay is one of the coolest technologies going, and being able to control who does what with your infrastructure is a must, I’m not convinced that everyone who currently works at home is going to be well-served by this one-size-fits-all approach, or that the world is going to be a safer place as a result. It’s a perfect solution for VPs, managers and salesfolk, who have a SunRay on their desk whose session they can then tap into wherever they go. But I fear that engineers (and Sun does have the odd one or two, so I’m told) with their three or four standalone workstations per desk, and designers with the need for something a little more powerful than GIMP and StarOffice Draw, are going to find it a lot harder to get their job done in the comfort of their own home.

But there’s a way to go before all that happens, and I live in hope… Sun prides itself on the number of its employees who have the opportunity to work remotely. If anyone can find a way to securely connect together a bunch of differently-flavoured *nix machines1 across the internet without limiting their functionality to that of an internet café, you would think it might be us 🙂

1Ignoring the fact that some folk will probably want to connect Windows machines as well, but since they represent the largest part of the problem, I’d have no issue with them being banned from connecting remotely at all…

You’ve got mail… but only for 400 days

So, Sun are going to start making us archive any emails over 400 days old that we want to keep, and everything else will be automatically deleted. According to an Evolution vfolder I just set up for the job, I currently have 23,206 emails older than that, each of which I’ll need to decide whether to archive or not. Think I’m going to have a fun few weekends 🙂

It’s not ‘kay’, m-kay?

Apparently, Scott McNealy pronounced my name ‘Kay-lum’ in his latest
monthly intranet broadcast (as Americans are wont to do for some
reason… especially those who live in Kay-lifornia).  I know this
because everyone keeps coming up to me today and saying “Hello
Kaylum”.  It’s really not that funny any more 🙂

Sam and Tom on JDS R3

and Tom
seemingly aren’t too enamoured with the forthcoming
release of JDS release 3 on Linux.  While they’ve given us a lot
of support in the past, I’d have to take issue with some of their
comments about the beta versions they were given access to (not least
that I was under the impression that our beta participants were subject
to an NDA and shouldn’t be commenting on it publicly yet at all, but perhaps
I’m wrong there).

They don’t get any credit for their real contributions to very
important open source projects because they don’t have any people who
actually understand or talk to individuals in the open source
community,” Hiser said. “They’re not spending any time on the mailing

quite sure which projects they’re talking about here; Googling for
addresses on the GNOME mailing lists
alone turns up 65,000
hits, and that’s without counting contributions to,
Mozilla, Evolution,… if they mean “we don’t have many Linux
kernel hackers” then no, we don’t, any more than Red Hat or Novell have
many Solaris kernel hackers, despite their offering products that are interoperable with (and in some cases run on) Solaris.

[But] the people they have now who rendered JDS release three have
done a terrible job. I think they’re going to find out that it’s not
going to do well at all.

they’re referring to here is the theme that shipped with JDS R3 on
10, which was also the default theme in our Linux beta release. 
While I haven’t heard many Solaris users complaining about it, there’s
no doubt that it wasn’t to everyone’s taste in the Linux beta. 
Just for the record, since it’s not mentioned in the interview, beta
customers were
given an update that reverted it to the JDS R2 look and feel while we
refine the JDS R3 one to take account of their comments.

The Linux model is to give away the software and sell services,”
Adelstein added. “They’re going to give away the software, but they
don’t have any services to sell.

I was under the impression that Sun was selling support– a service that leads most enterprises to choose to buy their
*nix systems in the first place, rather than rolling their own.

time will tell who’s right and who’s wrong.  Look out for the Linux version of JDS R3 in
the next couple of months and make up your own mind 🙂