Home / Events / 2003-12-03

December 3-4, 2003, Berlin, Germany

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Conference notes

by John D. Groenveld

Attended the keynotes. They are online at http://sun.feedroom.com/. Mark Toliver noted that there was about 6300 attendees. Neil Knox referred to his systems as extreme performance at compelling prices. Sybase saw a 13% performance increase with Solaris x86. Solaris is considered the foundation of the software stack.

I was unable to attend the StarOffice 7 and Solaris Patch Management sessions as the rooms were filled.

Visited a few vendor pods. The guy manning the Oracle wouldn't commit to when 10G for Solaris Opteron would be available, but Solaris x86 will either accompany Solaris SPARC or follow very soon after its release. Aldo from Sun's Compilers group said a lot of cool things are coming as far as x86 and Opteron performance. Customer input regarding Fortran for x86/Opteron is getting back to the decision makers. Sun's going to release a SunONE Studio 8 C/C++ IDE.

Attended Paul Lovvik's "Solaris Software for Linux Developers and ISVs" and handed out Solaris case badges. Juergen Keils' website got a plug when Paul mentioned Juergen's distribution of Electric Fence for Solaris. Sat next Markus Gyger who may have taken better notes. Besides instrumenting your applications for memory management bugs, Paul took a good bit of time describing GNU/Linux APIs which aren't standard and require work-around for Solaris. I asked Paul if he'd make the information in his slides available on Developers.sun.com and he said he'd get the info on BigAdmin.

Attended Jack O'Brien's "Operating Systems Strategy" talk on Wednesday. I think he may have been bitten by jet lag or recycled-air flu but his presentation was extremely worthwhile. I don't regret choosing his session, actually titled "Sun's Operating Systems Strategy," over one about the AMD deal and another by the kernel guys on /proc and tools. To my amazement, it appears that this Cobalt Networks guy is no longer shoving Linux down Sun customer's throats. In fact, I think maybe he had a hangover from too much (nay too fast) Solaris koolaid being shoved down his throat, perhaps in an effort to save him from his mercury poisoning. His message sounded awfully like some of the comments post January 8 2002: Solaris x86 is the preferred solution if you've got existing Solaris expertise, if you want the best tuned JES foundation, if you've got Solaris code that you simply want to recompile to take advantage of x86 price/performance, etc. He's still got some serious lingering symptoms, JDS is still referred to as Sun's Linux desktop operating system. Other folks from Sun still refer to Linux when they mean commodity x86 hardware, but things are definitely improving from SunNetwork 2002.

Sun's Linux pod was next to the Solaris x86 one in the exhibit area. I didn't find enough time to listen to what the Linux pod people were telling EMEA customers.

Attended Graham Lovell, Glenn Weinberg, and Karsten Beins' session, "The Future of the Solaris Operating System - A Preview". Graham mentioned Project Atlas and Sun's efforts to tune Solaris for x86. Glenn spoke about ZFS, Solaris Trusted Filesystem and Karsten spoke about Zones. Graham used a laptop running Solaris x86 and OpenOffice. Joerg Schilling asked a question to Glenn about ZFS and star but I forget the details.

Attended Alban Richard and Vicki Abe's talk, "Solaris x86: Everything you need to know." The room was near capacity and Alban spent a lot of time recapping this years major announcements. One customer asked why his company should believe Sun's now truly committed to Solaris x86 having been burned by January 2002 and Alban stated that Sun was prepared to have high level managers and execs make site visits to answer customer doubts. Joerg asked Alban whether LKP was included in the SCO device driver deal, which Alban ducked. Joerg asked Vicki about DMA being disabled for removable media devices under Solaris 9 among lots of other questions. Sun handed out Solaris Express builds.

On Thursday, I attended Joerg Heilig's "StarOffice Overview and Roadmap" session for those who couldn't be seated on Wednesday. He described the distinction between OO, SO and SO Enterprise Edition. He mentioned Sun is working on integrating DRM based on Project Liberty into StarOffice. He mentioned Sun and OpenOffice Glow project which to me looks like a replacement for Evolution.

Finally, Thursday evening, I attended Vicki's "Porting Your App to Solaris x86." Vicki introduced Mainsoft's Eyal Alaluf who's company produces tools to run Win32 apps under UNIX. Mainsoft may become a Sun partner. Vicki then walked through the building of an OSS application under Solaris. She also spoke about her x86 laptop as an ideal tool for developers who need to move between Windows, JDS, and Solaris. The x86 IHV team can be reached at x86ihvteam@sun.com. Alban handed out remaining Solaris Express CDs, I handed out remaining Solaris case badges.


Last modified: 2003-12-18