Archive for September, 2008

Sun helps FAA bringing its air traffic systems into the 21st century

September 25, 2008

How many times have you had your meticulously planned travel itinerary go astray because of a system "glitch"? I can remember quite a few times during the past year alone… 😦

That’s going to change!!! Yeay!!!

Well, at least for the glitches that are attributed to FAA. They have upgraded their legacy internal business systems to a new open-systems server and storage infrastructure from us.

Our OpenSolaris/ZFS/Sun Fire server/Thumper storage solutions, which feature built-in, state-of-the-art virtualization capability, is the key building block for the new infrastructure at FAA. And ZFS is playing a major role in their data centers.

ZFS won InfoWorld's BOSSIE award in 2007
ZFS won InfoWorld’s BOSSIE award as the best open source storage platform
"The FAA uses a large quantity of Sun Solaris servers in a variety of configurations to support some of our noncritical business applications," Andy Isaksen, manager of the Communications Infrastructure Engineering Team for NADIN and architect of the original mainframe system, said. "ZFS is being used on at least one service within the Air Traffic Organization Enterprise Data Center."

Check out all the details in this eWEEK article.

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Recent OpenOffice Reviews

September 24, 2008

1. OpenOffice 3 Release Candidate Arrives — Computerworld, 9/14
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols took a look at the new OpenOffice.org 3.0 Release candidate. "This is more than a little cool. Those of us who don’t like paying the Microsoft Office suite tax have been waiting for the next version of OpenOffice.org for some time now and it’s almost ready to go. The OpenOffice.org developers are still saying it’s not ready for production use, but it is more than ready now for some serious testing by regular users," said Steven, "When taken as a whole, I see OpenOffice.org 3 as being perhaps the most significant open-source application release of 2008. And, yes, I’m including Firefox 3/3.1 and Chrome in my listings."
OpenOffice.org
2. OpenOffice.org 3.0 Promises New Life for Office Software — OStatic, 9/18
Kristin Shoemaker said that OpenOffice.org 3.0 is a winner. She noted that its new features were its strength, and its extensibility was its future. Kristin also pointed out that OpenOffice.org 3.0 had some promising extensions available currently and more in the works. Kristin commented, "OpenOffice.org 3.0 showcases a number of ‘working’ improvements. It now includes a document conversion wizard that is able to convert .docx files into the Open Document format with varying degrees of success reported."

3. OpenOffice Version 3, RC1 Adds Many Features — WebWorkerDaily (GigaOm), 9/19
Sam Dean noted the release of the latest version of OpenOffice.org and commented, "The suite’s spreadsheet previously offered only 256 columns, but offers 1,024 in the new version. Names for spreadsheets can also now contain almost any character, while previously only letters, digits, underscores and spaces worked. There are also many additions to OpenOffice’s database." Sam said that the suite has a new PDF Import Extension from Sun that allows for limited editing of PDF content. He continued that even though many OpenOffice users don’t use extensions, there are many good ones.

4. Hidden Linux : Unadulterated OpenOffice.org — PC World, 9/22
Geoff Palmer preferred the version of OpenOffice.org that was not changed by a Linux distribution to meet its own criteria. Goeff pointed out that in the original version of OpenOffice.org you not only get all the features, "but you can also upgrade the moment the latest release is out and not have to wait for your distro’s package maintainers to catch up."

5. OpenOffice lacks a little to take into account the user experience — Dominique’s Weblog, 9/14
Dominique De Vito stated that it seemed as if OpenOffice.org was taking very little notice of the user experience. "Finally, at last, OpenOffice.org has a new improved cross-reference definition in coming v3 release. Before, in v2.4, or other previous versions, when one would like to define a cross-reference on an already defined (section) title, OpenOffice.org was not listing correctly the defined titles," she wrote. Dominique said that although OpenOffice.org’s stability was commendable, however, it’s out of the box usability was somewhat lacking.

6. Test Drive OpenOffice 3 Release Candidate 1 — Tombuntu, 9/11
The blogger, Tom, noted that OpenOffice.org 3.0 should be released in time to be included in Ubuntu 8.10. He added that the test release can be run without disturbing an existing version of OpenOffice and that both versions can even be run at the same time. Tom also listed the features that will be available on the release of OpenOffice.org 3.0.

Positive Linux.com Feature Review of VirtualBox 2.0

September 23, 2008

In a positive review of VirtualBox 2.0, Steven Vaughan-Nichols examined the latest release, noting the remarkable number of supported operating systems as well as the improved performance and 64-bit support.

In commenting overall about his testing, Steven said, "In every case, my installations of VirtualBox and then the guest operating systems went flawlessly."

In addition to the performance, the program’s small footprint and support for graphics and networking adapters were highlighted.

Steven noted, "VirtualBox runs extremely well. Over the course of almost a week of constant work on the systems, I couldn’t find a single Windows or Linux program that didn’t run correctly on a VirtualBox guest."

Sun xVM VirtualBox
Overall, Steven was quite pleased with VirtualBox, and concluded, "VirtualBox is equal to the purely proprietary VMware Workstation and better than most other open source desktop virtualization programs … open source VirtualBox is the desktop virtualizer of choice."

SearchSMBStorage.com’s perspective on OpenSolaris as a storage platform

September 19, 2008

In this look at OpenSolaris, reviewer Tory Skyers examined the storage features of Sun’s offering to determine its value to the storage community; specifically, the SMB market. Tory notes, "as far as the storage-related aspect of this operating system goes, it’s a home run. It offers iSNS, iSCSI, CIFS, NFS (Sun did help develop NFS you know!) and, most of all, ZFS." OpenSolaris
Tori provided a primer on OpenSolaris, then outlined his test goal — building a cost effective NAS device. He commented, "ZFS takes quite a bit of worry out of my day. I don’t have to worry about purchasing expensive RAID controllers. I can use the SATA ports on my motherboard and get great redundancy and fault tolerance."

Overall, Tory was quite pleased with OpenSolaris as a storage platform. In closing, he notes, "Keep a close eye on the development of this product, once it matures a bit more it will save you some cash, enough cash to make getting some paid support every once in a while not such a terrible thing. If you have previous experience with Solaris either on Sparc or X86 then you will definitely find value in this initiative."

Project Kenai — a new site for hosting open source projects

September 16, 2008

We have launched Project Kenai last Friday. The primary goal of the site is to host open source projects and encourage collaboration on them. Project Kenai
Why Project Kenai? Nick Sieger, lead engineer of the project, comments, "We need to demonstrate credibility in building on top of more traditional LAMP/SAMP web stacks (not just Java EE); and we need to show viability of Sun technologies and hardware for next-generation web applications."

So how is it running?

From Tim’s blog: Project Kenai is using Sun Fire T2000 servers along with a Sun Fire X4500 (Thumper) for storage. OpenSolaris Nevada 70b is the OS. Apache runs in front, using mod_proxy_balancer to connect to multiple redundant GlassFish V2 instances talking to a single MySQL database. The main site is a Rails application running on JRuby, deployed in GlassFish as a war file built with Warbler. Perl, Python, and other various bits of Apache-based bailing wire help integrate Mercurial, Subversion, Sympa (mailing list software) and Bugzilla into the mix as well.

Tim’s blog has all the details.

Project Kenai is in invitation-only beta mode — if you want to try, contact Tim.

InfoWorld’s VirtualBox 2.0 review

September 15, 2008

InfoWorld’s Randall C. Kennedy compared our xVM VirtualBox 2.0 against VMWare WorkStation, calling the desktop virtualization market a "two-horse race" between the two products.

Randall reviewed the products separately, calling out the Easy Install, Direct3D acceleration and ACE technology of VMWare as key product features. Regarding VirtualBox, Randall said, "VirtualBox delivers a combination of features that you simply cannot find outside of VMware, including USB device integration and 64-bit guest OS support. Add to this the killer price (free) and you have the makings of a cult classic," wrote Randall.

Overall, Randall said VirtualBox is "a maturing, relatively stable tool for running multiple guest operating systems on a host PC." Randall commented that Sun has carved out a niche user base with VirtualBox, and that "VMware had better not let its guard down anytime soon."

Sun xVM VirtualBox

NetBeans Reviews

September 14, 2008

1. Current winner for JSF development: NetBeans — Musings by Seref Arikan, 9/8
Seref Arikan was porting a Google Web Toolkit project and said, "I have to admit it that none of the choices I’ve tested on Eclipse is a match for NetBeans 6.1." According to Seref, the solutions on the Eclipse platform for JSF development aren’t very intuitive.
Download NetBeans
2. Getting back into java using NetBeans — Development and Stuff, 9/8
Marius van Zundert said that when he had first worked with NetBeans, it had been buggy and slow, and he had been forced to do his Java work on Eclipse in spite of the many incompatibility issues that cropped up. Now however, Marius wrote, "things have changed, because I’ve been working with NetBeans for the last couple of weeks (both Mac and Fedora versions) and I rather like using it. It’s quick, easy to setup and doesn’t have some of the buggy things we take for granted with the Eclipse IDE."

3. Diffing Files In NetBeans 6.5 – In Favourites, Without projects — Adam Bien’s Weblog, 9/7
Adam Bien wrote a small comment on how easy it was to diff two files, without even having or creating a project in NetBeans. "NetBeans opens a nice diff view, which allows even moving different blocks back and forth between the two files," wrote Adam.

4. Mavenized projects in NetBeans 6.1 — Java and more …, 9/6
Peter Karich had Mavenized timefinder to allow developer coding in IDE’s other than NetBeans. Peter admitted that he was new to Maven but still thought that NetBeans 6.1’s support was good and better than Eclipse’s. "A really great feature within NetBeans: you can resolve dependencies very easy," wrote Peter.

5. NetBeans IDE for Ruby on Rails — Paul’s Jabber, 9/6
Paul Kolozsvari wrote about getting started with Ruby on Rails. Paul had been searching for an IDE to make his work easier, and with NetBeans 6.1, he had "finally found something that I am happy with."

6. A Look At Free/OpenSource Cross-Platform Installers — Sunny Talks Tech, 9/3
Saptarshi Purkayastha looked at the different Open Source Cross-Platform Installers available, saying, "we, as software programmers forget the importance of easy distribution and easy installation of software that we develop." After some research, Saptarshi decided to work with the NetBeans installer, saying that NetBeans provided a completely customizable and powerful installer framework.

OpenSolaris reviews

September 14, 2008

1. Getting up to date with OpenSolaris (snv_64 -> snv_96) — Zoly’s Blog, 9/6
Zoltan Farkas discussed his recent installation of the newest version of OpenSolaris, saying that ZFS made everything so much easier. Zoltan was able to get SNV_96 running easily and added, "the system seems faster, even boots faster, and is more reliable."
OpenSolaris
2. Welcome OpenSolaris — Software Libre y algo más, 9/6
After experimenting with OpenSolaris in VirtualBox, the blogger decided to install OpenSolaris 2008.05 directly to his hard disk. The blogger listed some of his experiences while doing so.

3. OpenSolaris looks nice *wow* — Overwhelmingly Geek, 9/5
Shaon Diwakar found OpenSolaris a marked improvement over the previous version he worked with. He was especially impressed with OpenSolaris’ desktop UI. Shaon concluded, "Based on first impressions – as I install this, ITS PRETTY! *gasp* Even more so than the standard Ubuntu 8.04 desktop!"

VirtualBox 2.0 reviews

September 13, 2008

1. VirtualBox 2.0: The Open Source virtualization software — Hardmac.com, 9/10
The blogger wrote that Sun’s latest version of VirtualBox is more resourceful and effective than the previous versions for the Mac. Further, the blogger noted that version 2.0 offered more comforts when compared to VMWare Fusion and Parallels. The blogger said, supporting a large number of OSes, NAT or Bridge networking modes, USB 2.0, 64 Bit for the machine host and guest and VT-x mode of the Intel processors, Version 2.0 is available for free and cost only $30 per year per seat for business use.

2. VirtualBox: Free and Open Source Virtualization for Mac — Smoking Apples, 9/9
Milind Alvares wrote that on the Mac platform, VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems was a great free open source application, as the recent 2.0 release offered 64-bit support, better all round performance and a new Leopardised interface for the Mac client. Milind wrote that apart from that, VirtualBox provided almost all the features of Parallels and Fusion, including "seamless mode," it also offered plenty of USB, networking, and SATA support.

Sun xVM VirtualBox
3. VirtualBox 2.0 Released — Tombuntu, 9/8
The blogger wrote that VirtualBox received a major update in version 2.0 since the user interface had been converted from Qt3 to the nicer-looking Qt4, 64-bit guests were supported and there had been major overall performance improvements. He advised users who were using VirtualBox from the Ubuntu repositories to remove the old version and modules first, and mentioned that VirtualBox does not work with the Ubuntu 8.10 alphas unless hardware virtualization is enabled.

4. Sun releases VirtualBox 2.0 just couple of days after 1.6.6! — Thushan Fernando Uncut, 9/7
Thushan Fernando noted that one of the hottest virtualization applications available today was Sun’s recently acquired VirtualBox software suite. Thushan wrote that he was greatly impressed to see VirtualBox improve, develop and offer a wide range of platform compatibility for free personal use. He summarized some of the key features of VirtualBox 2.0, which included 64-bit guest support, new native Leopard user interface and notifier, support for Nested Paging on modern AMD CPUs and VHD disk images and clipboard integration for OS/2 guests, amongst others. Thushan also mentioned the additions that were made, including support for jumbo frames and shared folders, Linux additions, VT-x fixes and improved performance of AHCI/SATA.

5. Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.0: Too Much Fun — Linux IT Consultant, 9/5
Dietrich T. Schmitz wrote that people who have had second thoughts about using virtualization software should give VirtualBox a try. Dietrich lauded VirtualBox as being the "easiest, slickest, vmm of them all." In a concluding paragraph Dietrich said, "I can’t say enough nice things about VirtualBox. It has taken top spot with me over VMware and unless by some ‘miracle’ something new appears, it will stay that way for a long time."

6. Sun xVM VirtualBox 2 enhances the free virtualization experience — The Unofficial Apple Weblog, 9/4
Steven Sande expressed his happiness over the release of Sun’s xVM VirtualBox 2.0 and said that this current release was most suited over Parallels or VMWare Fusion since it was a free and full-featured package. Steven also summarized the features that the new version offered, which included 64-bit OS guest support, new-version notifier and native Leopard user interface on Mac OS X hosts, guest property information interface and added SATA asynchronous IO, among others.

7. Head to Head – VMware Player vs VirtualBox — OnSoftware, 9/4
Elena Santos posted a comparative review of VirtualBox and VMware. Elena stated that each of the virtualization applications have their own pros and cons, "VMware Player supports shared folders and also lets you directly drag and drop files between both the guest and host systems, while VirtualBox only works with shared folders that you need to configure before running the program," she wrote. In her conclusion, Elena said she felt that VirtualBox is more suited for the casual user who just wanted to test new apps in a safe environment.

8. Trying out VirtualBox 2 — Neil Turner’s blog, 9/4
Neil Turner noted the release of VirtualBox 2.0 saying that he felt that it seemed to work well. "Not only do you get dynamic screen sizing (the display area adjusts depending on the virtual machine’s window size), seamless mouse pointer integration and time synchronization – there’s also clipboard synchronization and an attempt at desktop integration, which resembles Coherence mode in Parallels, but it works under Linux as well as Windows," Neil wrote.

This week’s OpenOffice reviews

September 12, 2008

1. Opening .docx files on multiple operating systems with OpenOffice — fibre stream, 9/9
The blogger discussed OpenOffice.org’s compatibility with MS Office 2007 formats. He found that OpenOffice allows you to open MS Office 2007 files but doesn’t allow files to be saved in those formats. However, the blogger added that it is still possible to save files in the .doc format in OO.o before sending them out.
OpenOffice.org
2. A First Look at OpenOffice.org 3.0 — Lifehacker, 9/8
Jason Fitzpatrick posted an early review of OpenOffice.org 3.0 saying, "OpenOffice.org 3.0 Release Candidate 1 offers several new features and improvements from its last major release, including better Mac support and collaboration capabilities." Jason felt that Mac users would be pleased with the robust OSX support that OO.o 3.0 provided.

3. OpenOffice: An Early Look at OpenOffice 3 RC1 – ReadWriteWeb, 9/8
Frederic Lardinois reviewed OpenOffice.org 3.0 RC1, saying that, "the team has added a lot of new functionality and user interface enhancements to the OpenOffice suite that make this a worthwhile release for those who already use OpenOffice." Frederic called OO.o "one of the most popular word processors" according to the site’s latest poll. Frederic concluded that he doesn’t think people will convert to Microsoft Office 2007, but users of older versions of OO.o "will feel right at home."

4. OpenOffice.org 3.0 RC1 released — Download Squad, 9/8
Brad Linder noted the release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 RC1 by Sun. Brad was impressed with OO.o’s new launcher menu and said, "You can still launch Writer, Base, Sheet, or another application without pulling up the unified launcher if you want to." Brad also listed some new features in 3.0.

5. OpenOffice: An Early Look at OpenOffice 3 RC1 — dsgnwok, 9/8
The blogger said that according to a poll, run by the site, OpenOffice.org is one of the most popular word processors amongst their readers. The blogger wrote that while MS Office changed to the new ribbon interface, OO.o’s newest release has modernized the user interface a bit, overall, there have been no major changes to the interface and users of OO.o version 2 should feel right at home in this release.

6. OpenOffice 2.4 Review – Open Office Suite/Microsoft Office & StarOffice Alternative for Windows — All Software Review Blog, 9/8
The blogger posted three reviews of OpenOffice.org 2.4 which highlighted OO.o’s viability as an alternative to MS Office. The blogger said, "I have found OpenOffice to be everything I need in my office suite and it definitely cannot be beaten for the price! Even better, this program can run on non-Microsoft operating systems. I can now think seriously about ditching Windows for Linux without fear!"

7. OpenOffice vs. MS Office — Techsier.Com, 9/8
The blogger said that because of OpenOffice.org it was no longer necessary to use MS Office for ordinary word processing, spreadsheet and presentation. "OpenOffice is now a very stable and feature rich application that should get rid of the excuse to use pirated MS Office software," the blogger stated.