Tuesday 21 April 2009

Oracle to buy Sun

This blog is typically about stuff I'm doing, but having invested 10 years in working with Sun kit, I think this deserves a comment. I'm not particularly qualified to make an informed contribution to the Oracle buyout discussion, but since that doesn't stop most Slashdot commentators, here are my observations:

1) It could have been a lot worse. If IBM had bought Oracle, they would have two directly competing CPU architectures (POWER and SPARC), two directly competing Unix implementations (AIX and Solaris), directly competing storage, Java development tools, application servers, databases etc. The long term outcome would have been that some of these technologies would have been sunset and development consolidated.

2) It could have been much, much worse: HP could have bought Sun. See DEC/Digital and the Compaq merger to see how that would have played out.

3) Sun seems to get a bad rap from the Slashdot crowd, but the number of people who are dismayed that their favourite Sun product is under threat highlights the significance that Sun has in the market. This is especially telling when you see that the object of dismay is one of many different products: Solaris, Java, OpenOffice, Virtualbox, MySQL...

4) Oracle have now migrated from being a software solutions house to a total solutions provider. Although there is talk that Oracle will sell off SPARC to Fujitsu, or port everything to x86, the reality is that SPARC is a very lucrative platform for Sun and will be a revenue generator for Oracle. In fact, Oracle now own a very good portfolio.

5) In the last 12-18 months, Sun has "got" Open Source. I'm not sure Oracle has. Hopefully the Sun culture will impact Oracle (remember how NeXT "absorbed" Apple after being bought?).

So although I'm no expert in the area of business, the future for Sun might be okay after all. Time will tell...

Saturday 11 April 2009

Getting CIFS permissions working in OpenSolaris

I blogged a while back about how I managed to get NFS4 configured on my OpenSolaris server. At the end of that blog, I promised to update on getting CIFS working as well using the OpenSolaris CIFS server.

Finally got around to it tonight. Took a while as every attempt from my Vista machine was reporting an "Access Denied" message when running "net view \\opensolaris".

To cut a long story short, the problem was caused by me setting up a mapping between Unix and Windows using the idmap command. The answer was to remove any mappings and allow the CIFS server to work it out itself. All sorted!

Upgrading to OpenSUSE 11.1

Although it's been out for a number of months (released in December), I've just taken the step of upgrading my workstation to OpenSUSE 11.1. In order to perform a clean upgrade, I decided a reinstall from scratch would be easiest, especially since my services and custom scripts are now running on the OpenSolaris server.

I finally took this opportunity to move all my documents to the server. They now benefit from having regular ZFS snapshots and get backed up to the external USB drive for added security.

Once my home area was clean and having backed up my ~/.mozilla directory, I proceeded to install from the OpenSUSE 11.1 DVD download. I had previously used the 64bit version and hit a few problems with Java and Flash, so this time I opted for a 32bit install (only got 2GB RAM so not a huge hit). All worked as expected, although the default partitioning seems a bit tight - something I've had to rectify this morning using LVM. If installing, it would be worth creating a bigger root filesystem (15GB?) (assuming you're not using multiple partitions for /usr, /var etc.)

The only thing that is bugging me slightly is the beagled indexing daemon causes the CPU fans to spin up when the machine is idle. I need to see if this is because it's doing an initial index build or if this will be permanent, in which case I might turn beagle off.

I was surprised at how easily the Compiz "wobbly windows" was to enable, especially when I remember how difficult and flakey it used to be. I have however turned it off because it's faster without the effects.

All in all, a good distribution upgrade with no major issues.