Saturday, December 25, 2004

Blame the boss!

So I log in just now and no new mail. That's odd - just the normal system cron jobs give me a couple of dozen messages a night.

My boss looks after the mail system (postfix, with generous doses of amavis, clam, and spamassasin). And he goes skiing abroad for Christmas. So if it's going to be fixed it's going to be me. I've just been landed in it!

(Tracked it down to a typo in the amavisd config file. Would have been alright if it hadn't fallen over and failed to restart. So I roll back a version and everything recovers.)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Compatibility - a double edged sword

One of the key drivers for using Solaris is binary compatibility between releases - applications don't gratuitously stop working.

And compatibility doesn't just go back one release, or just prior Solaris releases. It also covers binaries from SunOS 4 (on sparc, that is). As an example, we have an old copy of microemacs

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root 139264 Apr 17 1989 emacs*

(although it might be even older).

That's a 15 year old binary in regular daily use.

During the Solaris 8 beta program, we discovered that it no longer worked properly. So Sun fixed Solaris for us so that it did. No ifs. No buts. No excuses. Solaris got fixed.

And that it broke at all is unusual. In a decade of running Solaris on sparc, and 5 years on x86, our experience is that applications just keep working. We don't need to requalify applications on the latest release, and can thus roll out new releases of Solaris with confidence.

So why is this a double edged sword? Well, I've been trying to wean users off using this binary for years, and it just keeps working so they aren't forced to switch...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not amused

So Linus thinks that Solaris/x86 is a joke?

Sorry, I'm not amused.

Solaris on x86 has been undervalued by Sun at times, but it's been brilliant for us for over 5 years now. It's an absolutely serious top-class operating system.

All operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses. Is Solaris perfect? Heck, no, there are lots of things I would like to see fixed. And with OpenSolaris maybe I'll be able to do that myself.

Not necessarily an improvement

Just had a peek at the new look, and I can't say that I'm overwhelmed.

The home page just seems too cluttered to me, and it's nasty that they've gone and fiddled with the visited link colors so you can't see where you've been.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Waiting for Solaris 10

Like many people, I'm eagerly awaiting the final release of Solaris 10.

Today's reason isn't based on some of the fantastic new features - like zones and dtrace - but on something rather mundane.

Solaris 10 comes with jdk 1.5 (or 5.0 or whatever number they dreamt up this week - you know what I mean though).

I've been upgrading some of our web servers (and building new ones for deployment) using tomcat 5.5.4. Which wants jdk 1.5. (It doesn't require it, but it's quite keen.) I don't see a problem with this, but it's meant I've had to drop a copy of jdk 1.5 (actually, update 1 which just came out) on the machines. And that will be one less chore I need to worry about once Solaris 10 actually hits the streets.

A great episode!

With a name like mine, Star Trek jokes are pretty much obligatory. I don't mind, though, because I am a Star Trek fan, and the episode named after me (no, I know it's not really...) is one of my favourites.

It's not that it's the best episode (although it is right up there), but that it's well-paced and fun.

Just don't cross us Tribbles, because even the Klingons are afraid of us...