Archive for April, 2006

eWEEK’s positive review of Sun Java Communications Suite

April 25, 2006


Yesterday Michael Caton of eWEEK posted a very positive review of the Sun Java Communications Suite awarding “Excellent” ratings in interoperability and extensibility, and “Good” ratings in administration, groupware features and platform support. He also tied in a brief look at the Java System Portal Server, commenting “Companies will likely want to purchase a fourth component of the Sun Java Enterprise System, Sun Java System Portal Server, to really tie the components together with IM presence data.

Mike tested a core set of features of the Communications Suite running on a Sun Fire T2000 server — including interoperability, administration and extensibility.  He found that while the various servers in the suite can be operated independently of each other “Sun has done a good job of integrating the servers where it makes sense to help users manage e-mail, calendars and IM.”  He also highlights Sun’s very low per-user pricing in volume.  

Mike specifically praises the IM server stating that  “it does a good job of providing access to the rich capabilities found on most XMPP-based servers, such as persistent chat.” As part of the IM features, he looks at the use of the Java System Portal Server‘s IM portlet as a way to improve integration of user presence throughout all of the servers’ applications.

Finally, in a positive competitive comparison, Mike highlights a Sun plug-in that “almost completely hides users from the fact that they are accessing a server other than Microsoft Exchange.

Great job, folks…


Identity Manager 6.0 product preview in InfoWorld

April 24, 2006

Today Doug Dineley of InfoWorld posted a product preview of Sun Java System Identity Manager 6.0.  This product preview is a technical update that is tied back directly to the October 2005 comparative review of identity management products at InfoWorld.

The product brief on Identity Manager 6.0 is very positive.  Doug praises Sun’s solution for overall completeness and maturity, and points out that 6.0 will make implementation of identity management technologies much easier.  He also highlights various features in the product that make it easier for administrators to implement including the enhanced workflow debugging, wizards, templates and pre-configured deployment packages for LDAP, Active Directory and PeopleSoft.

Doug offers a brief glimpse at Identity Manager 7, mentioning future support for SPML 2.0 and a business process editor port to NetBeans for better syntax highlighting and code completion. 

Overall, a great piece for Identity Manager

Linux Format “How-To” article on OpenSolaris

April 14, 2006
Mike Saunders published a very positive, in-depth ‘how to’ article for OpenSolaris in this month’s print issue of Linux Format. The article was accompanied by a DVD of OpenSolaris distribution BeleniX 0.4a.

Mike wrote the how-to and installation guide based on his own testing of OpenSolaris using the included BeleniX distribution in the accompanying DVD. He opens the article by praising Solaris, highlighting “it has an excellent and well-deserved reputation of being rock-solid and speedy on multi-CPU servers – it’s very much the OS of choice for large-scale Oracle database systems.”  He then goes into the benefits of running opening up Solaris to a community audience.

The piece walks users for the steps of installing and running OpenSolaris. On the feature side, Mike encourages users to visit the open versions of DTrace and Solaris Zones — highlighting these as two tremendous features of Solaris 10.  

Mike highlights through the ‘how-to’ piece that while OpenSolaris – and Solaris in general – are decent for desktop environment, that it really shines with large servers.  He mentions, “Cosmetically, Belenix is similar to many Linux distributions. Solaris was already heading in this direction before Sun open sourced it, as Solaris 10 (the current release) uses the Gnome-based JDS as its default desktop environment.  It’s when you dig under the surface that you uncover the astoundingly powerful features and capabilities that have kept Solaris a favourite of many admins. They’re not the kind of features that will revolutionise a desktop experience, but on ‘big iron’ machines they’re mightily valuable.” 

InfoWorld Review: NetBeans attempts to eclipse Eclipse

April 13, 2006
InfoWorld published its review of NetBeans 5.0 today, and it is positive.  The review by Andrew Binstock gives NetBeans a score of 8.1 (Very Good), noting that the release of NetBeans 5.0 makes the Java IDE market “tighter” due to the improvements to NetBeans’ usability and the Matisse GUI builder.  In the opening paragraph, Andrew states that “NetBeans 5.0 is a substantial upgrade to what was already a very solid IDE.”  

Andrew gives a strong nod to NetBeans’ competitive advantage by stating, “Several NetBeans features lack direct counterparts in competing products, so it will be of great interest to sites that have specific needs such as designing GUIs for desktop Java applications and intensive collaboration requirements.”  He elaborates later on the unique features — the built-in profiler, collaboration capabilities and Matisse — calling them “crown jewels” that “distinguish NetBeans from other Java IDE’s.” 

Further, in his evaluation of the improved development environment, Andrew asserts that “it is more intuitive than Eclipse and, as opposed to that product, it does not get in the way of developing.  You can create a complex project, code away, import resources, and build and debug the executable in NetBeans without ever looking at tutorials or consulting the help system. That’s an almost impossible feat for a first-time user in Eclipse.

Pretty compelling review if you ask me…

Ultra 3 Workstation Review in Free Software Magazine

April 5, 2006
MC Brown’s Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review is now published online, and included in the new issue of Free Software Magazine (March/April 2006 issue). His review – titled “Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation: Portable Power Computing” – is very positive!

The Ultra 3 is clearly positioned within this review as a mobile workstation, not a traditional laptop/notebook. Within, MC praises the power, components/connectivity, Solaris and SPARC binary compatibility, application support – and of course the mobility – delivered with the Ultra 3 in the broader context of the Ultra 3’s support for free software (Solaris and software development tools bundled with the machine).

Among the highlights:

Power:To get the level of power that is on offer within this unit would be difficult, even when looking at some of the ‘desktop replacement’ units available within the Intel/AMD space. Actually, a desktop unit with the configuration of this workstation would be impressive. In a portable unit it is astounding.

Software Development:Using the unit for its main market—software development —is where it really shines.

Mobile Applications:As a portable development unit it is a dream. The ability to effectively run both a client and a deployment environment on the same machine at reasonable speeds certainly makes a difference to your ability to work while mobile…I can also imagine a workstation like this being used in environments where server power is required in a portable size.

Software Platform:As a tool for a free software junkie like me there is little to fault. Running OpenSolaris and the ability to run the free software tools I use means that I could happily choose this unit over a more traditional Intel, AMD or Apple laptop.

A special thanks to Ravi Sanjeev and Nathalie Nann for supporting this review

NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 in Peter Coffee Podcast

April 3, 2006


Last week’s Peter Coffee InfraSpectrum podcast features Sun’s Robin Smith talking about NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5. The theme of this week’s podcast is governance in the development process, and the role of tool and platform improvements in aligning IT with the organization. He cites the adoption of SOA as having the potential to shift the emphasis of IT governance toward high leverage issues such as architecture and accountability. Sun is positioned well on this issue as Peter asserts that this requires good Java toolsets, which tees up the interview with Robin.

Key excerpts from the podcast are included below. 

RS: We recently announced the new NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 preview, which includes new toolsets for visual SOA design.  These allow you to edit simple to complex XML schemas and allow you to author, orchestrate, build and test BPEL processes as part of you SOA solutions.

PC: UML is a big part of what you have been doing, so this embeds itself into that larger UML context.
RS: Absolutely.  We’ve added our award-winning UML technology to the Enterprise Pack that has been part of Java Studio Enterprise.  It includes some very unique features, including full two-way round-trip engineering and markerless code, so this a very useful tool now for our NetBeans community.

PC: How is the Java platform growing to accomodate the kinds of things Java developers want to do with your powerful visualization and interaction tools?
RS: We’ve included in the NetBeans Enterprise Pack the newest release of the Java EE 5 platform together with the new Java System Application Server PE 9 beta.  We’re excited about the fact that we are offering this complete bundle of the runtime platform and the visualization tools.

PC: For the developer who wants to know when take the next quantum jump to new Java platform capabilities, when is that time going to be?
RS: We are looking at providing the final specification of the Java EE 5 framework in conjunction with JavaOne and the final version of Java server PE 9 around the end of Q206.

PC: Are there key messages for this year’s JavaOne to focus developers on where Sun feels the confluence of market opportunity and technology will be most fruitful for them?
RS: Our strategy around NetBeans is to provide new pack technologies integrated together with the base platform so developers have one concise development environment to work with.  We’re also offering new educational courses and support services to offer more value to developers going forward.

PC: What is biggest challenge for developers over next 1-2 years?
RS: The emergence of the visual SOA design space causes complexity in marketplace.  Customers want tools to simplify the Web services and SOA paradigm.  We believe we’re offering the toolsets to do this.  We’re hoping developers will be able to evolve their solutions using these new toolsets.

StarOffice 8 and Galaxy servers are finalists in eWEEK Excellence Awards

April 3, 2006
Last Friday eWEEK announced the finalists for this year’s eWEEK Excellence Award.  Our StarOffice 8 and Sun Fire X4100/X4200 servers were named to the list in Productivity Applications and Server Hardware categories respectively. Congratulations to the teams!!!

The final awards will be announced in May and included in one of the June issues of eWEEK…

2006 Excellence Awards finalists