Archive for January, 2008

Positive Review of NetBeans by The Register

January 31, 2008

The Register has published today the first of a two-part review of NetBeans. Written by Pan Pantziarka, this first part positively focuses primarily on the support for Ruby in NetBeans 6.0, but covers a few other areas as well.

Download NetBeans 6.0

Pan opens the review by offering the opinion that the Java IDE tide has risen because of the popularity of Eclipse, and this has helped to lift NetBeans as well over the past few years. He then puts forth his premise that while this has been the case, NetBeans 6.0 brings it to parity with Eclipse and sets it up to take off in terms of more widespread adoption.

He first discusses the improvements in the interface, which he describes as “a lot snappier and it has scored some definite points by homing in on areas of weakness in other IDEs (not just Eclipse).” He cites Matisse as a prime example of this.

Pan also praises NetBeans for its installation and deployment options, saying that NetBeans has stolen a page from Eclipse’s long-time advantage of modularity. In listing the different packs, he states, “it’s much simpler to grab big blocks of functionality in the form of packs.”

Pan then goes into his evaluation of the Ruby pack, implying how NetBeans now has a broader appeal among non-Java developers because they can get a “tool that is stripped down and focused.” Despite this, he calls out how developers get the advantage of a full IDE and such things as syntax-colored editing, highlighted keywords, auto-completion, and flags for code errors. He also highlights support for databases of choice, and that with Sun’s acquisition of MySQL, this integration will get tighter.

Pan concludes his review by stating, “The NetBeans of today, though, is a long way from the bloated and poorly performing beast it was a few years ago. Indications are that perceptions are changing, too, and that in the case of Ruby at least, NetBeans is closing the gap on certain rivals.

ZDNet: Sun xVM – Foundation for a Dynamic Datacenter?

January 30, 2008
ZDNet blogger Dan Kusnetzky discusses his conversation with Steve Wilson, Sun’s Vice President of xVM and Connected Systems, regarding our xVM hypervisor. He says, "If Sun’s efforts in operating system virtualization and partitioning are used as a guide, I know that Sun will bring really powerful technology to market. It’s going to be interesting to see how Sun competes with all of the others that are trying to offer similar capabilities in their own way."

In a blog post discussing the conversation, Steve goes on to add,"… we at Sun are putting a lot more focus on Windows consolidation and management that Dan thinks. Clearly Windows is a platform where customers want consolidation and we’re putting a huge amount of work into optimizing xVM Server to be a great host for Windows."

Customers line up for data center in a shipping container

January 29, 2008

Today we announced new customers for Sun Modular Datacenter S20, widely known as Project Blackbox. These new implementations for Hansen Transmissions, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (UMCN), Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) and a second unit at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) highlight the global demand for Project Blackbox — a virtualized, modular datacenter housed in an enhanced 20-foot shipping container.

"We have found that it has broad applicability," notes Sun VP for Integrated Platforms Darlene Yaplee. "We have seen different examples of customers using the data center in different ways. It’s not just one segment. What we are hearing from our customers is that many of them are growing out of their current data center space and they are looking for a high density solution that is eco-efficient."

Need one? Contact Sun. 😉

Project Blackbox

Customer of the Week: Elektrofilm Digital Studios

January 28, 2008

Media services company Elektrofilm Digital Studios and sister company eMedia are able to effectively manage 750 terabytes of data it expects to scale to 1.5 petabytes in the coming year, while lowering its total cost of ownership, using a tiered storage and content lifecycle management consisting of Sun StorageTek software and a variety of Sun StorageTek systems. It also deployed a variety of Sun Fire servers running the Solaris 10 Operating System. Elektrofilm Digital Studios

According to Chip Aycock, COO of eMedia Systems, “Digital media management of this scale has until recently been prohibitively expensive. Additionally, the complexity of the enabling software and infrastructure has acted as a barrier to the successful commercial implementation of our vision – until now. With the help of Sun Microsystems and their comprehensive platform components, including servers, storage, software, and professional services, we’ve been able to focus our development efforts into realizing the Digital Media Environment (DME).

Check out the details here.

Noteworthy blogs of this week…

January 27, 2008
My selections for this week…

1. Quick Script to See Missing Patches on Solaris — unixwiz, 1/18
This blog covers missing patches and how to recover them on Solaris. The blogger shares how he wrote his own script for an HTML page, which lists the patches that needed to be installed on his machine.

2. Online Software Tutorials – Are they Useful or Messy? — Writers Gateway, 1/23
Rupa at SAP Labs praises the NetBeans tutorials in this post, which looks at good and bad examples of online tutorials. She specifically discusses how the most valuable tutorials are those that describe real business scenario and calls out the NetBeans tutorial on building a loan processing application, saying it is extremely useful in helping with the complex work of building a composite application.

3. Which IDE Supports Groovy Best? — Javalobby, 1/23
Rick Hightower contributes a post to the Javalobby community to provoke discussion about how the three leading IDEs – NetBeans, Eclipse and IDEA – are supporting Groovy. He references a post on the feedlr blog that rates the support of each, with NetBeans rated lowest – but with a clear note that support is not out yet. He believes that Groovy will never live up to its potential until it is fully supported by NetBeans and Eclipse because of the mass market appeal represented by both.

Dr. Dobb’s publishes positive review of NetBeans 6.0

January 25, 2008

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Dr. Dobb’s Journal has published its review of NetBeans 6.0 and it is very positive. The author, Eric Bruno, covers what he feels are the areas of improvement that are most requested by developers. In particular, he highlights installation, the code editor, tools support, and other improvements like project support, local history, EasyDoc creation and Web services and database support. Download NetBeans 6.0

Eric characterizes the new installation approach as efficient and intuitive by saying, “Simply install all of the plug-ins for a particular category (such as the “Web & Java EE” category in shown) and it’s as though you downloaded and installed that package right from the start.

He spends a great deal of attention on the code editor, saying that Sun/NetBeans “listened to the feedback” from the community to bring it up to the competition. Then he implies how Sun responded by enhancing so many aspects of the editor that “add up to a much-improved coding experience. I’ve personally seen my productivity grow as a result.” In terms of tools support, Eric drills down into three he feels are most notable, specifically the Profiler, Heap Walker and the JMeter integration.

In his conclusion, Eric makes note of how Sun has converged its range of development platforms to NetBeans by saying, “When you combine the tool and language support, the license offerings (CDDL, and GPL v2 plus the CLASSPATH exception), the supported operating systems (Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows), and other available developer applications (such as OpenSolaris, MySQL, and PostgreSQL), Sun offers the largest degree of choice and flexibility for all types of development when compared with competing offerings.

A nice one.

Free Software Magazine reviews OpenOffice.Org

January 24, 2008

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Ryan Carywright of Free Software Magazine has posted a review of OpenOffice.org. He has been using OpenOffice since it used to be called StarOffice 5 and has been using it exclusively at home since before OpenOffice.org 1.0. At his workplace, he uses Microsoft Office XP but is considering upgrading to OpenOffice.org sometime in the near future. OpenOffice.org

Overall, this review of OpenOffice.org is positive as Ryan states he feels there is not much difference between OpenOffice.org’s applications and Microsoft’s applications that a little education would not solve. He does note some important differences and issues such as Writer’s occasional inability to convert  Word docs properly. He also states that he is less than confident in Calc’s ability to handle large size files with multiple lookups and references. He likes the Presentations application overall but would like to see embedded video added.

He concludes his review by stating that while he is seriously considering upgrading to OpenOffice.org over MS Office XP, he would like the mail merger feature to be fixed in the short term before he migrates. In a nutshell, he feels the “process needs to be more intuitive, less obstructive, a bit more explanatory and a lot shorter. What we really need is a fluid-flow, step-by-step, hand-holding wizard which walks the user through using a single-use data source, inserting the mail merge fields and producing the final merged documents. I don’t want this to hold back the migration to an otherwise perfectly excellent piece of software, so perhaps the answer will lie in some Basic scripting.

So Ryan — I’m following up with the OpenOffice.org teams as well to see how we can help…

Sun ODF Plugin 1.1 for Microsoft Office Released

January 23, 2008

This is old news, but I was on vacation and didn’t notice it till today…

Sun ODF Plugin 1.1 for Microsoft Office is now available. And it is working fine with Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 1. (That’s a highlight, huh?)

Well, it was not working with Microsoft Office 2007 before, and folks were complaining. As Microsoft’s Brian Jones explains, there was a bug in the Microsoft Office 2007 that prevented the translator from Sun to work. It has been fixed in the Office 2007 Service Pack 1, and Malte is vouching that everything in the Sun ODF Plugin land is running fine without a glitch.

Open Document Format

Customer of the Week: Dow Corning Corporation

January 21, 2008

Chemical giant Dow Corning Corporation avoided a $2 million server hardware cost at the same time achieving a 99% reduction in server deployment time and a 50% gain in storage capacity where Solaris 10 ZFS file system disk compression is utilized, by broadly deploying the Solaris 10 Operating System on Sun Fire servers and Sun StorageTek systems. The underlying infrastructure supporting 47 locations worldwide is managed by an IT UNIX team of just three people. Sun Customers

According to Ken Karls, Manager of Network and Datacenter Engineering, "The stability of Solaris 10 has been simply outstanding. It’s delivered additional key functionality while continuing to provide the same outstanding level of availability to which we’ve become accustomed."

Check out the details here.

Solaris blogs this week…

January 18, 2008
Selected Solaris conversations from the blogosphere…

1. Uninstalling Sun Studio — Martello, 1/16
This blogger explains that he recently needed to upgrade to a newer version of Sun Studio on a Solaris 10 system due to better support of natively compiled Ruby Gem packages. He found that uninstalling Studio 11 was not the easiest thing to do, therefore shares a quick step process.
Solaris 10

2. ZFS for Your Mac — Tech.Nocr.At, 1/15
Frank Linhares posts a quick definition of ZFS and goes on to tell his fellow Mac readers that the "superior file system" provides simple administration, transactional semantics, end-to-end data integrity and "some serious scalability." He adds that, when ZFS for the Mac matures, it will be a great benefit for any user.

3. Installing the OpenSolaris Preview Remotely — To Timidly Go Where Many Have Gone Before, 1/13
In this blog post, Chad Mynhier discusses his trials, errors and successes while installing the OpenSolaris preview on a ThinkPad. In the end, he’s able to complete installation by copying the sshd binary to his desktop, then back to his laptop.

4. Zone Update on Attach Functionality — Blog O’Matty, 1/10
Matty notes that many users may have run into issues when trying to migrate a zone from one machine to another using Solaris’ zone migration features, especially if the servers don’t have the same set of patches or packages installed. He links to a Sun site where PSARC 2007/621 information is posted, claiming this "super super useful feature" fixes the problem.