Oracle’s committment to Sun Solaris and SPARC

OpenSolaris, Sun 12 Comments

Nice to see Oracle starting to come out of the woodwork on a few issues in the interim. Good strong statement for Sun’s existing customer and userbase, and headsup to IBM –

Go digg it!

New OpenSolaris Mirrors mailing list

OpenSolaris, Sun Comments Off on New OpenSolaris Mirrors mailing list

I’ve set up a new mailing list for those mirroring the OpenSolaris ISO images. If you’re interested in hosting a mirror, or a current mirror maintainer, please join us! OpenSolaris 2009.06 coming soon!

OpenSolaris at CommunityOne

Conference, OpenSolaris, Sun Comments Off on OpenSolaris at CommunityOne

The first travel of the year for me with Sun, with a trip over to CommunityOne and JavaOne. Of course OpenSolaris will be there, with a great line up of activities, and lots of fun parties to help celebrate the release of OpenSolaris 2009.06. Come join us and hang out!

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, 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 2008.11 Released!

OpenSolaris, Sun 7 Comments

So there we have it – another launch event and OpenSolaris 2008.11 goes officially out the door, blessed by holy goat pee. Another release out on time. Hooray for time based release schedules – they really are excellent, thanks GNOME!

There’s a couple of really big milestones for this release –

  • The pkg team have done wonders in this release. There are now a few new repositories – release, contrib, pending and dev, along with an encumbered repository (including VirtualBox and Flash for Firefox) and supported repositories on
  • I talked about mirroring the ISO images (thank you for those who have already signed up), and now Stephen has posted instructions to allow others to mirror the package repositories themselves. There’s still a few hurdles here, but this is a significant step for users right around the world.
  • Erwann has written extensively about Time Slider, and has has a lovely screencast demo of it that I’d encourage everyone to look at. More importantly though, it’s one of the first projects to really include the benefits of using OpenSolaris into an easy to use interface (ZFS + GNOME – mmmm, tasty!). Nice work Erwann, Niall and Tim!
  • Really, really excited by the pkgfactory and source juicer projects – along with Jim’s excellent guidelines for how users can contribute packages, I hope to see the repositories above be full of the best of breed open source software that are being used regularly on other platforms. It’s embarrassing to think that Solaris was such a second citizen when it came to open source software previously, and I’m thrilled we’re making progress on this front.
  • Continual progress from the Install team – with the likes of distribution constructor and automated install really coming along nicely. The team put in some really hard work in keeping the memory footprint to 512MB in the LiveCD (and absolutely delighted to see Jürgen’s work in improving the performance of LZMA compressed LiveCDs).

6 months has really flown, and it’s really been great to see some awesome progress being made. We’ve taken a leaf out of the GNOME community once again, and put together a What’s new in 2008.11 guide, similar to their release notes. This is a very graphically oriented guide to just a small selection of new features that you can get your hands on with this release – looking forward to seeing blogs and screencasts of the features that you are excited with.

If you’re updating from a standard 2008.05 install, make sure to check out Markus’ excellent screencast – there are some tricky bits here due to a couple of bad bugs in 2008.05, but once you get to 2008.11 you’ll never look back!

OpenSolaris Student Packs

OpenSolaris, Sun 7 Comments

If you’re lucky enough to spot them and get your hands on one (they’re relatively rare, and not part of the free media program), these are the OpenSolaris Student Packs – referred to as ‘BTS’ or Back to School on the mailing lists. Essentially it’s a CD and DVD pack in a nice cardboard (printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks) case.

The CD is a re-spin of OpenSolaris 2008.05 to fix some of the bad package management bugs that were included in the May image. We’ve updated the download servers too, so you can download the ISO image from one of the increasing number of mirror sites (thank you!)

The DVD is slightly more interesting. It includes OpenOffice 2.4.1 (for Linux, Mac and Windows) and VirtualBox 1.6.4 (for Linux, Mac and Windows), though our timing on getting these printed misses out on the latest version 2.0.2 which, of course, you can download for free. But best of all, we also include Virtual Image of OpenSolaris where we’ve already downloaded some of the developer software from the network package repository (Java, Sun Studio, AMP, HPC). I like this idea a lot, because I think the virtual image (through VirtualBox or others) is becoming a better LiveCD allowing people to try out OpenSolaris with little or no commitment and enjoy some of the technology included.

I’ll send some out to the first 5 people who add a comment to this blog. Update: This is now closed, and the 7 lucky winners who managed to comment before I shut off the comments will get a student pack sent to them.

Software Freedom Day

FOSS, GNOME, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 1 Comment

The Wellingtonites, led by my very own Jayne, launched their initiative for Software Freedom Day. The event will, predictably, held on Saturday 20th September at the Convention Centre. We’re planning on having a hackfest organized by SuperHappyDevHouse (and br3nda), an installfest organized by WellyLug, and best of all, an open source BarCamp.

Really looking forward to this, and hoping a large crowd get out and register for this event. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’ll be doing a quick session on OpenSolaris, DTrace, and anything else I’m asked to do (perhaps an impromtu GNOME session?).

Hoping this is going to charge up the other teams around NZ into organizing events!

OpenSolaris 2008.05 (Hubba Bubba)

General, OpenSolaris, Sun 10 Comments

OpenSolaris 2008.05 is here, and with the focus on simplicity, this blog post really shouldn’t go much further than 3 simple words –

To those that contributed, thank you! You rock my world, and I’m incredibly thankful for having the opportunity of working with you.

OpenSolaris 2008.05 is the first official release in a new binary distribution based on the OpenSolaris operating system. The single Live CD install image allows you to boot up to a desktop environment in seconds, and enjoy it before needing installing it onto a system. The introduction of a new package management system, IPS, allows users to install additional packages from network-based software repositories. The benefits of ZFS as the default root file-sysem provide the best environment to snapshot and rollback your system at any stage, with a best-of-both-worlds inclusion of the GNU utilities like bash(1). In many ways, hell has frozen over, and we’ve fundamentally changed how software is delivered to our users. For the better.

As Stephen mentioned there’s many more ways to get the install image, with both the Live CD and package repository being freely re-distributable, allowing those in network restricted countries to mirror locally and share.

To top if off, we even pulled off a new website, for those consuming our technology rather than producing it. It seemed the right fit at the time, rather than trying to shoe horn a significant area of growth for us into a set of heavily technical discussions.

Free CDs are also available – normally we ship one per person, but if you intend on organizing an event and you want more, let us know. Share the bubble love. Hubba Bubba.

Up Close and Personal with Stephen and Tim

OpenSolaris, Sun Comments Off on Up Close and Personal with Stephen and Tim

Stephen and Tim talk about what’s coming in the OpenSolaris May 5th release – check it out!.

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, 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!

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