Sunday, July 30, 2006

Self Preservation

It's been unpleasantly warm here in the UK over the last month. I'm sure other places have it hotter, but we're not used to it and not geared up for it.

I have some old work colleagues who I set up some systems for, and I got an urgent phone call just before going on holiday: "the air conditioning failed yesterday and the power in the data centre was unceremoniously yanked - could you check the systems out?".

It turns out the servers - Sun machines - were fine. With a fine sense of self preservation they had shut themselves down gracefully due to the heat:

Jul 19 18:00:14 foobar rmclomv: [ID 690426 kern.crit]
SC initiating soft host system shutdown due to fault at MB.T_ENC.
Jul 19 18:00:15 foobar rmclomv: [ID 222544 kern.error]
SC Request to Power Off Host.
Jul 19 18:00:16 foobar rmclomv: [ID 428258 kern.crit]
TEMP_SENSOR @ MB.T_ENC has exceeded high soft shutdown threshold.

So far, all appears to be well, and I haven't seen any further errors.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Enhancing the JDS desktop look

While the JDS desktop that currently comes with Solaris is essentially functional, I've always found it rather bland. In one sense it's a good thing - it has no major irritations (most window managers or desktop environments have something that drives me up the wall).

Still, I would like to get a bit more character out of the desktop. Unfortunately, the available themes are pretty thin on the ground. Unlike the huge array of themes that you can get for Window Maker, you're really very restricted.

I actually quite liked the new theme that the latest JDS builds come with, but it doesn't seem to be separately available.

I've found a couple of themes that I like. I've used eXPerience for most of the last year. I've got my Windows XP box set to the olive green theme, and find that color combination works quite well for me. And I've just been playing with Clear Blue, which works pretty well. It's a bit pale on my current monitor, and I might have to tone down some of the other applications I use to blend in a little better, but it's looking good.

There's still a lot of room for more gorgeous looking desktop themes, though.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

S10U2 companion problems

Recently, the update 2 of Solaris 10 was released.

Along with this comes the companion CD - a collection of unsupported freeware.

However, the S10U2 companion DVD has a number of problems. Apart from the old one of being distributed as a single ISO image with both sparc and x86 binaries, so that you have to download both architectures even if you only wanta one, some new problems have appeared.
  • There isn't an installer. THere are over a hundred packages here and installing them individually by hand can get a bit tedious.
  • Worse, some packages depend on packages that are no longer shipped. I had to install SFWgcc2l, SFWgcc34l, SFWgfile, SFWgtext, SFWshutl, and probably SFWgm4 off the S10U1 companion to get the dependencies and missing components back.
  • Some useful utilities (some of them listed above, but also things like bluefish) have just disappeared.
  • Coreutils has been added, without the g prefixes.

For all that pain, is there any gain? I can't see any. I can't see any new packages that add any value, we've lost functionality, the installed packages don't work, and it's not even as if we have anything useful like a more up to date version of KDE.

I recommend going back to the S10U1 companion.