Monthly Archives: February 2010

Solaris 10 (Intel) and Documentum

So I previously, and ecstatically, posted about running Solaris 10 in a VM.  While that worked nicely, there was a killer detail I overlooked.  The goal was to run Documentum Content Server in that VM.  But, alas, the installer is for an UltraSPARC processor so the bundled JRE failed miserably.

While there might be a way to trick the basic Linux installer to work in an Intel/Solaris-10 configuration, it is more prudent to switch over to CentOS 5.3 to emulate a RHEL 5.3 install.  Oracle can be coerced into installed on CentOS 5.3 (did it for Fedora Core a couple years ago), and the EMC|Documentum CS is none-the-wiser about the RHEL clone (well… I’m hoping that is still the case).

Today drips with geekdom, and it is good.


KDE 4.4 Upgrade and Debug Package Problems

I find it funny the day after I make a glowing comment about support in FOSS projects, I run into a snag that is not documented anywhere.

I filed a bug on it, but was able to resolve it myself.  Trying to look at this from a newbie or non-technical point of view, I’m not sure how I would have reached the same conclusion.  I happen to know that all *-dbg packages are “debug” packages and are therefore implicitly optional.  Removing them was a reasonable step, and it happened to fix it.

However, as a normal end-user, I am not likely to have known about this.  In fact, when seeking help, I may have been asked to install these packages to gather more information about a problem.

This is not a good problem to have during an upgrade process.  But I did draw this problem down upon myself by installing packages from the backports.  However, I seem to recall this same issue when performing a supported upgrade from the previous version of the distribution (Kubuntu 9.04) to the current version (Kubuntu 9.10).

Pirates and Control – Thoughts on FOSS

I saw this today and thought it was a great summary about why FOSS is important.  I was just looking at KDE 4.4 the other night and was wondering what it was that the commercial vendors are missing from their approaches.  So much of it is summed up in that bullet list:

  • Scientifically peer reviewed engineering is better.
  • Group collaboration is more efficient.
  • User participation is more effective.
  • Transparency is more trustworthy.
  • Openness is more educationally valuable.
  • Freedom means greater self control.
  • Multiple rights holders reduces artificial restrictions.
  • Enlightened self interest funds development and progress.
  • And that this ownership means a choice between self reliance and support.

I’m sure that “the major vendors” would make statements about QA departments, market research, product planning, and so forth.  However, I put my faith in the community and active participation to drive an interface that actually looks good, works, and rides on an operating system that is stable and trustworthy.  I don’t use FOSS only because it is free, I use it because it is more reliable.  And when it does let me down, the transparency makes support absolutely amazing.

Solaris 10 in a VM

I had the chance today to assist a coworker install Solaris 10 in a VM.  The last time I used Solaris in any meaningful was was Solaris 7, I think.  But I could be such a geek that I am mixing that up with the arena planet in Battletech…  but back to the point.  I never thought I would see the several things that I saw.  I was very surprised at how well this went given relative ignorance of a Solaris installation.

The most noteworthy surprise I believe is in actually seeing Solaris run on non-SPARC architecture.  That’s been how long it has been since I’ve sat at a SPARCstation and been meaningful with Solaris.  I did a Documentum install/config on Solaris last year, but that is different — if you’ve installed it on one ‘nix, you’ve installed it on them all (except for Solaris’ damn penchant for useless, superfluous directory levels…).

The second biggest surprise is… free.  I’m trying to figure out the catch here.  We downloaded the ISO, installed it, and never was there something that said in so few words “you must pay for this or enter a license key”.  It just worked.

The biggest challenge was in getting the partitions setup the way we needed them.  Of key importance was getting the swap partitions setup so that Oracle (10) would run at all.  I will draw your attention to setting up the swap space.  That was fun.  But that was fun only after I figured out how to partition on Solaris.  It works nothing like Windows or Linux, and I am glad I remembered my acronyms so that c0d0p0s0 made sense to me.   Unlike anything else I’ve done, the partition is not what I expected and the slices are what I expected the partitions to be.  A little trial-and-error helped me figure that one out pretty easily — and a couple of web searches, albeit none very informative about what I was seeing.  Many kudos here to SUN (Oracle) for having such a clear and clean installer.

The swap space was perhaps the strangest thing I have setup.  We made the primary filesystems UFS, and when it came to the swap space, all you do is call it “swap” … just like calling root “/” and any of the other mount points by their appropriate path.  In the end, the three swap spaces we defined (to get 3GB) just simply existed and were implicitly understood to be of fstype “swap”.  Huh…

Finally, I have to say I like what they did with Gnome… at least, I think it is Gnome.  They molded it into a very familiar paradigm (more like KDE3 than typical Gnome), and it was quite easy to navigate.  It still had some of that 1980s feel to it, but how could it not.  It would be a shame if it were to look too bleeding-edge.  {har har}

I will be interested to see the final results.  I have installed Oracle on UNIX before, but never on Solaris.  This is all to facilitate a client in upgrading a system and move it from either “Oracle on SunOS4” (ACK!) or “Oracle on Solaris 2” over to MS SQL Server on Windows Server 2008.  Yes, you read that right — I don’t understand, but I won’t bait for debait {har har}.

Overall, this makes today more interesting than other days, and definitely worth of a technology note.  Solaris in a VM.  Amazing.  I love it.  There is even a VirtualBox appliance that can be downloaded.  I am tempted to do it just for the fun of it because I still get the yearning to tinker away at Solaris from time to time.  It was the ‘nix I cut my teeth on, and it will always have a place in my geeky little heart.