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Some info about the upcoming Sun Niagara chips has been leaked; The Register got some output of an OpenSolaris box running on a 8-way Niagara chip, showing 32 threads at a time, which makes Niagara very interesting for webbased stuff. I definitely would like to see some Apache2 benchmarks on this stuff, and can't wait to have one of these in our computer room. The first server based on the Niagara chip is believed to be called the Sun Fire T200.

Ben Rockwood has some more info about the different Sun chipsets and their codenames. Interesting to see is that a Niagara chip is in fact a scaled down UltraSparc II.



I wanted to play around with smf (System Management Facility) in Solaris 10 on my laptop, when I noticed it wasn't present. Apparently, the Solaris Express build on my laptop was b63, which is quite outdated. Time for an upgrade, then. Sun hasn't simplified things by making three versions of Solaris available for download :

  • OpenSolaris : the bleeding edge developpers release
  • Solaris 10 : the stable release
  • Solaris Express : located somewhere in between the first two

OpenSolaris is, off course, the most interesting one to follow. There is quite a bit of new stuff in the latest build, called Nevada :

  • The version number in 'uname' has been upgraded to 5.11 to make the difference with Solaris 10
  • The x86 build uses grub now to boot
  • This is cool: metasync operations can now be cancelled and resumed later, via the new -c option.

OpenSolaris now contains BFU, an utility to upgrade the system without the need to download a whole ISO image (yay!). Off course, you can use Flash Archives to backup your previous system.



I find this very impressive :

# top
load averages: 501.82, 436.45, 366.07
621 processes: 524 sleeping, 75 running, 17 zombie, 5 on cpu
CPU states: 0.0% idle, 64.9% user, 35.1% kernel, 0.0% iowait, 0.0% swap
Memory: 4096M real, 142M free, 2349M swap in use, 2790M swap free

The box is a 4 CPU Sun Enterprise 10000 domain, running Solaris7. The server still feels very responsive, too.



C|net's has reported that Sun Microsystems is releasing parts of the OpenSolaris code today licensed under the OSI-approved CDDL . The release consistes of over 5 million lines of code for the base system OS/Net (kernel and networking). OpenSolaris is based on Solaris 10, the current version of Sun's Unix Operating System. Back in January, Sun released the code for DTrace, a dynamic tracing tool for analyzing and debugging kernel and userland events. DTrace is one of the big features in Solaris 10. Some other highlights include the GRUB bootloader, SMF (Service Management Facility) which replaces init.d scripts, it starts up processes in parallel for faster boots as well as providing features for automatically restarting.

OpenSolaris provides support for x86/x86-64 processors as well as Sparc. The Blastware guys are working on Polaris, which is an OpenSolaris port to PowerPC. Sun has been working on opening Solaris for over a year now. The OpenSolaris project started with a pilot group of Sun and non-Sun users. During the pilot program a lot of info including screenshots could be found on various OpenSolaris member blogs. (My favorite is Ben Rockwood's blog).

Teamware is the source code management system Sun uses for Solaris and OpenSolaris. Which was designed by Larry McVoy (now of BitKeeper) while he was at sun. No word yet on if Teamware will be available for OpenSolaris developers or not. Sun also uses CollabNet for it's Open Source project websites so that might be a possibility as well.

Solaris 10 in-depth review


Solaris 10 has been out for a while, and I even noticed it comes already preinstalled on our new V440 Sun servers. Sure, everyone now know about zones, ZFS and DTrace, but since there are 600 new features added to Solaris 10, there's still lots to discover. finally brings a Solaris sysadmin which talks about the forgotten new stuff in Solaris 10, which isn't sexy enough to make the marketing flyers, but still delivers a great advantage compared to Solaris8 or 9.


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