March 2, 2004
Rich Teer's Solaris Book
Dennis praised Rich Teer's 1200 page book which was sent to him. This book is a Solaris book that will be published and available real soon now.
Slashdot, OSNews, solariscentral stats
Eric threw out some numbers, 21000 hits to Amy Rich's Solaris Express article during Feb. 2/3rds of the hits came from Slashdot when Eric sent a submission that was accepted. Dennis Clarke posted an article about Zones on OSNews along with a follow-up post on solariscentral.org and got 14000 hits in 2 days from both OSNews and solariscentral.org. Rumor has it that there could have been a link on a Slashdot article on Zones, but when searched it couldn't be found. Dennis was very pleased to get so many hits on an article he wrote, and hopes to write more in the future.
Solaris Express Articles
It was mentioned that marketing would like any articles, such as the article Dennis Clarke wrote for Zones, to be sent to them so they can give it a go-over before posting publicly. In the future we'll make a note. This primarily has to do with posting articles about Solaris Express, due to the current obligations the user has when getting the Solaris Express builds. Anyone wishing to write articles about Solaris Express are encouraged to do so, and to understand your obligations when using Solaris Express.
Sun has setup an internal pkgsrc server for both x86 and SPARC. Initial response is positive. Sascha asked if we're using NetBSD or Solaris tools, and it was said that we use the standard NetBSD tools. It was asked how patches get implemented. Eric explained how the system uses the patch files which are submitted for the given architectures NetBSD supports. Ben Taylor mentioned that it sounds similar to the garnome project. It was asked which compiler is used. Currently we use mostly the GNU compiler since it is used to develop most of the code in the NetBSD tree. The compiler can be changed by editing the environment settings easy enough, and some of the NetBSD packages use the Sun Forte compiler when building on Solaris already. NetBSD pkgsrc tree has binaries and source code available to the user with more than 4500 packages. Currently Sun has more than 1600 packages built.
Forte 9 EA
Vicki mentioned that if people are wanting to use the new early access of the tools, they now have the SSE/SSE2 instructions implemented. Phil asked about the binary compatibility and Vicki mentioned that the compiler is smart enough to select which binary to use (i.e., SSE/SSE2 vs non-SSE/SSE2). Phil asked if there would be 64 bit user land before kernel, but Vicki replied no. Dennis expressed interest in putting the early access tools on the Solaris Express system at Blastwave. Any Cabal members can end their interest to the Cabal mailing list.
Phil has submitted patches to help the Solaris x86 build which where broken from changes that were submitted into the tree for SPARC. Phil has seen mp3 audio playing, which is a big step. We need to encourage people that are interested in joining this effort to please help in getting Helix built for Solaris x86. Phil and Alan show interest so far, and we'd like to get more people interested in doing this. Hopefully Phil's changes will help others be able to build and gain interest.
Sascha asked about the proposals put forth to Sun to OpenSource Java. Specifically, how we could expect any of these *possible* changes to help us and/or what Sun was doing in regards to this. Nobody had any solid knowledge about what was going on, and said it might be possible to find out from the Java folks that are involved with it. It was mentioned that Sun was interested in keeping the APIs neutral so that everyone can have the same Java available to them.
Solaris being sold by the "little guy"
John Weekley asked how things have been progressing for the smaller business to be able to sell Solaris x86. Chris mentioned that progress is being made on that front, and he's been trying to push that and free up the current contract license that is in place.
Dennis mentioned that the stats are going up tremendously, and is working on scaling up things. He also mentioned he had fun writing the Zones article and was curious how we can help by providing a channel to submit such articles. Sun will be glad to assist in helping anyone wanting to write articles about Solaris Express. Please contact any of the Cabal or Sun folks involved in the Cabal and Sun will help you out.
Engaging Community with Engineers
Sun is trying to engage the community and the engineers at Sun are very interested in doing that as well. We need to work out the process so it goes smoother in the future, but that is underway for the most part. It is Sun's hope that more engineers will participate in the Solaris Community, and there has been a recent surge in participation on some of the newsgroups and mailing lists which are popular.
Bruce asked about the current status of device IDs getting added to /etc/driver_aliases. Sun currently requires that the HCTS be run for a vendor/device ID to be added and that hasn't changed. Joerg mentioned that we need a better way to have people report that hardware works. The response was that Sun is working towards moving in that direction, and that we want to encourage more hardware vendors to certify their hardware offerings. The department handling the HCL/HCTS has been contacted and mentioned there will be changes coming ASAP, so keep your eyes posted to the BigAdmin HCL web page to find out when that happens.
It was asked when we would be able to see ZFS in Solaris Express. Alan responded that on the BigAdmin Xperts QA, Jackie Bao stated "ZFS will likely be available in Solaris Express 05/04". Also of note is a quote from the same Xperts QA which stated, "Yes, ZFS will be available on SPARC and x86 platforms at the same time.". This aligns with Sun providing the same features to Solaris x86 and SPARC at the same time, which continues to get more and more in sync.
Alan mentioned that people internally had mentioned their appreciation for Bruce Riddle's assistance in getting them hardware from Agere to certify and/or get working on Solaris. Bruce has helped to assist this relationship between the USB developers and Agere, and appreciation was shown from the Sun developers working with him. Thanks go to Bruce Riddle, one of the passionate Solaris x86 users of our community!
Intel Xeon 64 bit extensions
Rich Teer asked if Sun plans to support the newly announced Intel Xeon 64 Bit Extensions. Even though Sun has not made any announcements, it was noted that there are very little differences between the AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon 64 Bit Extensions. It's certainly not clear if Sun will support it, but it would appear that the work being done on Solaris x86 will be applicable to running on Intel's Xeon 64 Bit Extensions.
Adaptec is working with Sun to provide RAID support on Solaris x86.
All of the most recent controllers have recently been listed in a press release as being supported on Solaris x86 by QLogic.
LSI has been providing support to Sun to assist them in getting drivers done. We do not currently have RAID support but that work is underway and LSI is assisting for that to happen.
Work is in progress to deliver support for Serial ATA. This support will be seen in Solaris Express before it ships in the next release of Solaris.
We will try to get someone from EDU to contact some of the Cabal members involved with EDU. If possible we'll encourage them to join the Cabal next month.