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September 18-20, 2002, Moscone Center, San Francisco

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Solaris x86 BoF

by Alan DuBoff

We were scheduled to meet Chris Baker in the lobby of the main entrance of Moscone Center in San Francisco at 7:30am (that's right, not a typo;-) so we could get to the room for our 8:00am BoF (yep, not a typo here either;-). Me (Alan DuBoff), George White, and Dave Lampe met Chris Baker and Eric Boutilier (both of Sun Microsystems) and waited for Phillip Bruce to show, but he was late. Luckily, they had all of the speakers registered under my company and Phil Brown was mistakingly registered instead of Phillip Bruce, so the lady at the desk kindly changed his name and the rest of us went down to room 102 (even though she had instructed me that our room was 112;-). We figured if Phillip Bruce showed up he could register himself, which he did on both accounts.

There was about 40-50 people in the room possibly, and Chris Baker brought a Toshiba 9100 with Solaris x86 installed on it. The technicians were there and got the laptop hooked up which had one presentation. Dave Lampe had another presentation for pkg-get on a floppy, which had thrown the techies for a loop initially since the laptop didn't have a floppy drive, but we managed to get one of the machines to mount it and copied it to run on it, which the technician was able to flip the projectors over when the time was right.

Chris Baker opened the session with some general welcomes and points about Solaris x86 and I started to speak on the BoF presentation I created in StarOffice 6 now running on the Toshiba.

Being one of the representatives, I gave a brief update of where the community is in negotiating the resurrection of Solaris x86, and then took a quick poll to see how many had used Solaris x86 and/or how many were there to consider installing it. There were surprisingly between 5 and 10 people that had raised their hands to consider installing it, so I began talking about what Solaris x86 is, what hardware it runs on, and what the likely problems are when trying to install it. After, one of the attendees came up to ask me where to get a couple of the items mentioned (PCMCIA patches from XiG, pkg-get which was discusses by Dave Lampe, sunfreeware, etc...).

Then, Dave Lampe proceeded to show and discuss pkg-get, written by Phil Brown, a prominent member of the Solaris x86 community (who was unable to make the BOF unfortunately). Dave showed how to install, configure, and use pkg-get against the Companion CD or sunfreeware packages.

Since Eric Boutilier was in the audience, we asked him to come up and talk a bit about the Companion CD. One of the questions that was asked by George White was "Is the XFree86 porting kit included on the Companion CD?", which Eric answered with a no, but marked it down for possible inclusion.

We started a Q&A session after that as it didn't appear that the crowd was awake yet, or had enough interest in device driver development and/or enterprise solutions on Solaris x86. Some interesting questions, and Chris Baker responded that JavaCard support was being considered and looked into when John Groenveld presented him with the question of when it would be available for Solaris x86. One attendee asked about Itanium support, which Chris elaborated on, pretty much saying it's not being considered seriously at this time but did make a point that Sun is interested in the Opteron CPUs from AMD even though he couldn't comment on anything.

There was a decent shoot-the-bull session after, and some people were able to put some faces to names from community members (me [Alan DuBoff], John Groenveld, George White, Dave Lampe, Bob Palowoda, Chris Baker, Eric Boutilier, Peter Gavin, and Phillip Bruce who had shown up somewhere along the presentation or Q&A).

We all proceeded to walk down to another room where James Burke was giving quite an interesting speech on innovation which then turned into a technology discussion between Bill Joy, Rob Gingell, and James Burke.


Last modified: 2003-11-08