Archive for May, 2008

Sun xVM VirtualBox reviews of the week

May 31, 2008

VirtualBox

1. Sun’s xVM VirtualBox: Free Virtualization — Web Worker Daily, 5/27
Samuel Dean noted that VirtualBox is worth a look for web workers who would like to run more than one operating system on a single machine. He highlighted that the environment runs on Windows, Solaris, Mac OS X or Linux systems and lets users create a number of virtual machines onto which they can install whatever operating systems they need to use. Samuel concluded: “Sun’s xVM VirtualBox environment, Parallels and VMware remain my favorite choices in this arena.”

2. Gnome + Compiz + VirtualBox Seamless Window + Workaround = Awesome — Translucent Reality, 5/25
Rick Fleming blogged that he has been a long time user of Linux and that although he hadn’t been impressed with previous versions of VirtualBox, times have changed and he is very impressed with the faster VirtualBox 1.6 with its Seamless Desktop functionality. Rick commented that the one issue he encountered was that when he enabled compiz, a Seamless Windows drawing bug appeared when Seamless Windows was not open on the desktop.

Sun xVM VirtualBox
3. VirtualBox on the Mac — My Little Corner, 5/24
Edwin Chan was impressed that Sun released VirtualBox 1.6 for the Mac. Edwin shared tips for creating a virtual machine for Windows XP and noted that re-sizing the VM can be hard and took time to figure out. He commented that since this is the first release for the Mac, some features are not yet enabled, but the features included are more than enough for any casual user.

4. Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6 – A Worthwhile Upgrade — Simon’s Blog, 5/22
Simon Brocklehurst upgraded to VirtualBox 1.6, noting that it was a worthwhile upgrade, that his old Guest OS virtual machines migrated without any problems and that the new OpenSolaris OS installed perfectly. He highlighted the availability of guest additions for Solaris and Linux, which enabled the seamless mode. simon concluded: “If you’ve never tried VirtualBox before, I’d say it’s probably now at the point where it’s worth giving it a go.”

5. VirtualBox 1.6 is out — My thoughts in e-text, 5/21
Chandan Pitta noted that VirtualBox 6.1 is the most usable release for Mac. Chandan commented that some previous issues he has had with VirtualBox have been resolved. However, Chandan could still not connect to the guest OS from the master OS and hasn’t found a solution for that yet.

OpenOffice.org user reviews of the week

May 30, 2008

1. Is OpenOffice.org getting faster? — OpenOffice.org Ninja, 5/28
Andrew posted a detailed performance benchmark results on OpenOffice.org using the most common operations of starting OpenOffice.org, opening a Writer document, scrolling from top to bottom using the down arrow, exporting the document, and closing both the document and OpenOffice.org.
OpenOffice.org

2. Spell checker of Open Office — Ben not in Campus, 5/25
Ben complained that the spell checker in his OpenOffice.org wasn’t working because the English (Canada) language is not installed by default in OO.o. He noted that using the wizard to this problem does not work because by default, his computer runs Ubuntu OO.o non-root. His solution to the problem was to download the required dictionary from the OO.o Dictionaries site.

3. Presenter Screen in OpenOffice 3.0 — Notablog, 5/25
Peter Ward downloaded OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta and found that "OpenOffice 3.0 has a super-cool presenter mode that surpasses (IMHO) Microsoft’s Presenter Tools for PowerPoint." Peter wrote that OO.o’s presenter mode is loaded with many insightful features including three views, a small help window and the notes feature. However, Peter was most impressed with the ‘Slides’ view feature, highlighting that it allowed for more flexibility in a presentation.

4. Using OpenOffice software (using open office software) — Frances Obolensky’s Blog, 5/24
Frances Obolensky chose to install OpenOffice.org as a free alternative to MS Office. Frances wrote that she had been using OO.o for weeks and kept running into annoying little glitches, including the fact that her version of OO.o could not handle presentations. In the end, Frances conceded: "I like the idea of some sort of alternative to the all powerful Microsoft tools, but am thinking I may have to bite the bullet and pay for a new Microsoft Office license so that I have some way of editing my presentations if nothing else."

5. OpenOffice Comes Natively to Mac! — Barkings!, 5/23
Matt Haggis wrote that OpenOffice.org had "all of the functionality, sleekness and compatibility of expensive office suite products, in a easy to use, downloadable, free package." He also noted that it now has the capability to run natively on Mac OS X. Matt highlighted that though OO.o 3.0 is still in the beta stage, the release shows no signs of bugs or shortcomings. He also commented that one of the best features of OO.o is that it is fully compatible with all Microsoft products.

6. OOo 3.0 Is Coming? — BADMOTORFINGER.com, 5/20
The blogger felt that that OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta was a great example of open source software and that the suite worked so well for him that he’s not looking for any feature improvements. The blogger noted that he was impressed that OO.o ran natively on his Mac and that he has already seen an initial improvement on his PC. The blogger concluded: "So if you are still using the $500+ variety of office software? what are you waiting for? OOo is getting better with each release!"

NetBeans Developer Reviews

May 29, 2008

1. Version Control : NetBeans beats ’em all — Java and Nigerian Developers, 5/26
Akintayo Olusegun was very impressed with version control in NetBeans. He said that with NetBeans, as he wrote code he could visually see what had changed, what had been deleted and what had been added since his last commit. Akintayo also highlighted that NetBeans supports three of the most popular versioning systems: Mercurial, CVS and Subversion. Concluding his post, Olusegun recommended that other users try out the versioning system built into NetBeans.
Download NetBeans

2. NetBeans IDE 6.1 …. — Ritwik’s blog, 5/26
Ritwik Ghoshal shared his observations of the NetBeans installation process. He noted that the new release is much faster in comparison to previous releases. Ritwik noticed that just after installation, the IDE evolved a quick indexing service, all projects from the "NetBeansProject" folder were automatically added in the IDE and a popup message showed how many updates were currently available.

3. NetBeans 6.1 Support For Ant File Editing – One Thing What I Miss — Adam Bien’s Weblog, 5/25
Adam Bien said that while support for working with Ant-Files in NetBeans 6.1 is good, he feels that Eclipse provides a better editing experience. Adam noted that the resolution of variables in the build.xml in Eclipse is a useful feature and concluded that if this feature was included in NetBeans support then Ant-Files would be outstanding.

4. Embedded GlassFish — The Next Evolution, 5/25
Tom Rose wrote that as an Eclipse user, he only looked into NetBeans casually in the past. However, Tom said that the noticeable performance improvements in NetBeans 6.1 motivated him to take a closer look at the IDE. During his inspection, Tom noticed that GlassFish v3 had embedded capabilities in NetBeans. He said that with NetBeans he was able to take a JavaSE 1.6 app, spin-up full GlassFish within that application’s JVM and deploy a WAR. He commented that the performance was impressive and that now building single-purpose services seems very appealing.

5. NetBeans IDE 6.1 Early Access for PHP: Where’s Visual Studio Express Edition for PHP and Ruby? — O’Reilly ONLamp.com, 5/23
Todd Ogasawara wrote that though Microsoft provides free developer tools with Visual Studio they do not support the languages he tends to use: PHP and Ruby. Since Eclipse never appealed to him, he tried NetBeans 6.1 along with the Early Access for PHP plug-in. Todd noted that he was impressed by how fast and easy the IDE was compared to Eclipse.

6. JavaScript IDEs — Jonas Maurus’ maurus.net, 5/23
Jonas commented that he was very impressed after watching a presentation about JavaScript support in NetBeans. He noted that although Eclipse does offer similar capabilities, it is not at the same level as NetBeans. Jonas mentioned that the only problem left is that NetBeans is missing a widely advertised Python plug-in, and if good Python support is available, it would provide a reason to leave Eclipse+Pydev behind.

Trading Linux for Solaris

May 28, 2008

Real Time Matrix, a provider of cross-platform modular communication and marketing services, has traded Linux for Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system for many of its production systems.

Real Time Matrix said that Solaris 10’s throughput when compared with Linux impressed them. "On a 64-bit AMD processor and Fedora, we could process approximately 200 matches per second of RSS," Jeff Whitehead, founder and CEO, said. "With Solaris 10 on the T1000, this match rate jumped to 10,000 per second."

The company was recently featured in SearchEnterpriseLinux.com. Check out CEO Jeff Whitehead discussing how the company went from being a die-hard Linux shop to abandoning Linux for Solaris 10 with 50 times better throughput they realized with Solaris 10.

Sun customer -- Real Time Matrix

(Image courtesy: Real Time Matrix)

AnandTech’s Sun Fire X4450 Server Review

May 27, 2008

On the heels of a good InfoWorld review of Sun Fire X4150 server, AnandTech has published a positive review of Sun Fire X4450 server.

In this detailed 8-page review, AnandTech essentially concluded that X4450 is a 2U server that offers the same features and performance as the 4U servers from competition. In their tests, they found X4450 has better serviceability, 17% to 26% more power efficiency over a comparable solution, 7% to 18% better in performance, lower 3-year TCOs (in 2 different ways of measurement), and great pricing via Try-&-Buy program.

The reviewer, Johan De Gelas, has best summed it up in the conclusion:

Sun Fire X4450 Server
"IBM and HP better take notice: Sun has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet. We would be happy to review HP and IBM systems, but we think it will be very difficult to beat the Sun Fire X4450 …

Unless HP, Dell, or IBM comes out quickly with an appropriate reply, we feel Sun has a winner here. Sun’s aggressive pricing helps, but it is the exceptional hardware design that makes the difference. This 2U server is able to deliver the same performance and 95% of the expandability of the 4U competition, and it is easier to maintain than any of those bulky boxes are. We experienced it first hand, as we are used to working with Dell boxes. Lower power, a pretty face, but especially the "try and buy program" top it off: the Sun X4450 is ahead of the pack. Here’s to hoping this will create a new wave of innovation throughout the x86 server world."

So check one out

Sun xVM VirtualBox reviews

May 26, 2008
Sun xVM VirtualBox reviews from past couple of weeks…

1. Virtualization smackdown: Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6 vs. VMWare Server 2.0 Beta 2 — Jason Perlow, ZDNet Blogs, 5/21
Jason Perlow pitted VirtualBox 1.6 against VMWare Server 2.0 beta 2. In his evaluation, he stated: "xVM VirtualBox has the clear advantage of being the only free personal/SMB virtualization product that runs on all the major computing platforms – Windows, Linux, Mac, and Solaris." He then detailed his test platforms of Windows and Linux and the ease at which VirtualBox can be installed. Perlow concluded: "VirtualBox has the widest range of host system support and has the lightest hardware demands, and excels for single PC personal virtualization needs."

Sun xVM VirtualBox
2. It’s a bumper crop of VM goodness! — Randall C. Kennedy, InfoWorld, 5/20
In this article, InfoWorld’s Randall Kennedy examines VirtualBox 1.6 on the heels of a VMWare beta release. He’s quite positive about the release and the changes he sees since the recent acquisition of the product by Sun. Kennedy noted, "one feature, in particular, that seems to have received some polish is Seamless Windows." And in comparing the feature to VMWare’s implementation, he says, "the only difference is that Sun’s implementation actually works well. There’s none of the window shearing that makes Unity so difficult to stomach and performance seems at or near that of a locally executing application." Overall Kennedy concludes, "VirtualBox 1.6 is a solid release and one that shows how serious Sun is about producing a competitive, Open Source alternative to VMware Workstation."

3. VirtualBox: Open source virtualization with OOmmph!! — on life and bytes, 5/18
Ayo Binitie wrote that his initial apprehensions towards trying VirtualBox disappeared when he found it was a Sun product. Binitie said that after running into some initial problems running the virtual machine, VirtualBox worked perfectly. Binitie was particularly impressed by the seamless mode feature. He also noted that Windows XP ran faster on the Virtual Machine than it had previously as a prime OS.

4. How to test a new OS without installing it: VirtualBox — Computer Borders, 5/18
The Blogger wrote that VirtualBox is easy to install and by following the instructions provided it is possible to setup a virtual OS in a few minutes. The blogger advised users to be careful when deciding how much RAM to allocate to the virtual OS. The blogger also noted VirtualBox’s virtual USB controller, which allowed users to connect any USB devices to the virtual machines without installing specific drivers.

5. VirtualBox: Part II — Qense’s blog, 5/12
Sense Hofstede posted a continuation to a previous blog where he mentioned wanting to use VirtualBox to test Intrepid. He commented that since the 2.6.24.17 kernel modules for VirtualBox are now in hardy-proposed repositories, he could use them to test the software. While he had problems with Intrepid, he noted: "At least VirtualBox works!"

6. OpenSolaris in VirtualBox — The Trouble with Tribbles…, 5/9
Peter Tribble found that while the claim that VirtualBox supports Solaris 10 is true, the procedure for making it work is not straightforward. He described the steps for integrating Solaris, and also tried running OpenSolaris, which he said ran well, except for an issue when it came to escaping the guest.

7. VirtualBox – New and Improved! — Vamsi Gaadi Gola, 5/9
Vamsi Kodali listed the new features of VirtualBox relevant to Mac OS X, highlighting better desktop integration, added support for clipboard integration and a fixed seamless mode. Kodali noted that added support for shared folders was something he missed in the earlier version, and that he had to get help getting the shared feature working in the previous release, so having the feature work out of the box is an improvement.

8. Why VirtualBox is better — My Stuff, 5/9
The blogger wrote that after unsuccessfully trying to load QEMU or Xen on his OpenSUSE 64-bit ver 10.3, he tried VirtualBox OSE, which "worked as a charm." The blogger commented that the proprietary version of VirtualBox worked better, with its support of USB and file sharing between host and guest OS. He wrote that VirtualBox, unlike Microsoft Virtual PC, ran well on Windows XP, but had a small issue with the screen resolution.

Very Positive InfoWorld Review of Sun Fire X4150 Server

May 23, 2008

Paul Venezia of InfoWorld posted a very positive evaluation of the Sun Fire X4150 server, and awarded an "Excellent" rating.

"Sun has developed a 1U chassis design that can handle an impressive number of drives, yet also provide for a standard two-socket Intel-based mainboard and the company’s signature four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, not to mention a relatively advanced Lights-Out Management coprocessor," said Paul.

In his evaluation, Paul did make competitive references, "it’s a very real competitor to HP’s ProLiant DL360 G5, IBM’s x3550, and Dell’s PowerEdge 1950 III. In fact, the fit and finish of the X4150 are generally better than the rest of the field’s and far ahead in local storage." Paul was also impressed with the X4150’s wealth of built-in features.

Sun Fire X4150 Server
In MySQL and LAMP stack testing, Sun Fire X4150 server performed extremely well. It was 12 minutes faster than Dell system for the disk-intensive sql-bench tests running on MySQL 5.0.22 database. Even in less disk-intensive tests, X4150 came out at least 50 percent faster than the Dell unit.

In conclusion, Paul summed up his evaluation by saying, "the most suitable roles for the Sun Fire X4150 will be in database, Web serving, and virtualization tasks. In these spaces, the X4150 provides significant bang for the buck in nearly all respects."

A great review!

Customer of the week: SmugMug

May 14, 2008

SmugMug is a personal story!

Back in August 2006, SmugMug posted a very detailed unflattering review of T1000 running Ubuntu Linux. We assembled a team of experts to get to the bottom of their issues. Several fire-drills, phone calls and meetings later, we found that the Sun Fire X2200 server is a better fit for their target application.

SmugMug wanted to standardize on a server platform. After a set of server reviews from various vendors, they selected Sun as their infrastructure supplier. Subsequently, Smugmug CEO Don MacAskill posted a detailed blog reviewing the benefits they are seeing from X2200.

I was thrilled to see that they have recently done a video telling the world why they chose Sun. Nice one, check it out.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta reviews in InformationWeek and ZDNet

May 13, 2008

With the OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta release last week, the reviews are starting to appear. Here I’m highlighting InformationWeek and ZDNet reviews, more to follow soon. OpenOffice.org

InformationWeek review

Serdar Yegulalp of InformationWeek is pleased with the OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta release, although he is careful to state this is a beta version and that his attention was focused on the more visible changes to the product. Serdar identifies that this release adds support for VBA macros and read/write support for Office 2007 / OOXML documents, and noted, “a couple of major additions seem designed to lure in existing Microsoft Office users.”

Serdar also talks about the lack of major change in OO.o’s interface — a good thing considering the grief Microsoft has taken over Office 2007 ribbon interface. He states, “a new interface would have created the kind of divisiveness over the program that Office itself experienced, which is not what OO.o needs.”

ZDNet review

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes decided to test the viability of abandoning Microsoft office in support of the OpenOffice.org suite. In this review, he shared positive findings on download size, installation time as well as a key area of concern: backward compatibility with Microsoft Office. From a replacement standpoint, the author believed that he could replace Microsoft Word with Write, but had some concerns regarding Calc and Impress.

Overall the author stated, “the installation of the suite was easy and fast and that the applications were as responsive as their Office 2007 counterparts.” Further, Adrian says, “it’s early days for OO.o 3.0 Beta and things could get a lot better between now and release.”

OpenSolaris 2008.5 reviews in ZDNet and Phoronix

May 12, 2008

Several reviews have popped up since we announced OpenSolaris 2008.5 last week. Here are two quick ones from ZDNet and Phoronix.

OpenSolaris

ZDnet review
Jason Perlow of ZDNet posted a very positive review of the OpenSolaris 2008.05 release. He categorized the operating system as Ubuntu for grown-ups; further stating, "[OpenSolaris] shows great promise and enormous potential as an enterprise-class UNIX desktop and server with Ubuntu-like flavor."

Jason goes on to share a historical perspective, then turns his attention to the product directly stating, "I’m very impressed with the OpenSolaris 2008.05 release" and "end-users for the most part should feel right at home with OpenSolaris." In particular, Jason enjoyed the ease of installation, refreshing configuration applets and included applications. Beneath the UI and end-user tools, Jason praised the enterprise-proven high-performance found in the Solaris 10 kernel.

Phoronix review
Michael Larabel posted a review of OpenSolaris 2008.5 stating he is pleased with the evolution of OpenSolaris from beta to 2008.05. "Our initial experience with this new OpenSolaris release is vastly better than what we had encountered less than three months ago when last looking at Project Indiana." At the top of his list is the addition of the graphical package manager for IPS.

Michael is also happy with the work done on the underpinnings of the OS, "this test release of OpenSolaris 2008.05 has also offered the best hardware support from our testing and corrects some issues we previously encountered with Solaris/OpenSolaris. Overall, OpenSolaris 2008.05 provides a new user experience and gives a new face to Solaris."

Great reviews, more to come soon.