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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
Solaris Central News
For a limited time only, developers can save up to $3,000 for a reliable web server solution. Sun will allow trade-ins of current servers for a Sun Netra T1 or Netra X1 rack-optimized thin(1U) server.
Dio is a device I/O analysis tool. It can analyse a partition, a disk, an entire file system or any other kind of I/O device. It provides realtime output of maximum read rate, total bytes read and other useful stats.
memconf - 16-Nov-2001 V1.44 - perl script that displays memory modules installed in a Sun system. Listed in the SunManagers FAQ.
Usage: memconf [ -v | -D | -h ] [ explorer_dir ] -v verbose mode -D send results to memconf maintainer -h print help explorer_dir Sun Explorer output directory
Solaris Central Archive Thu Nov 29 235700 EST 2001
The Sun System Handbook is a new feature of SunSolve that contains pictures, part numbers, and exploded views of many of Sun's hardware products. Unfortunately no pictures of the 15k (yet).
Adobe Acrobat Reader for Unix - Downloads
Reliable Network with Solaris by Peter Baer Galvin
Until recently, it was very difficult to configure a Solaris machine to have redundant connections to a network, and to use them automatically in case of a failure. Because of the magic of Solaris 8, the task is now easy. If you are not IP Multipathing yet, you should be.
Consider a Solaris host on a network. By default, it expects one network connection per subnet to which it is being attached. If it sees the same subnet on more than one interface, then one interface is used for all outbound packets, and any interface can be used by inbound packets (based on their destination addresses). Unfortunately, if the one outbound interface fails, then traffic is outbound no more.
Until recently, there were two standard methods to solve this problem. One was to buckle down and write scripts that would ping a device (say the default gateway). If the ping failed, the script could configure another interface on that subnet to handle the traffic. Of course, scripts must be debugged, supported, and updated, annoying their authors.
Alternatively, the Ethernet Trunking "Sun Consulting Special" could be purchased from Sun Professional Services. This set of scripts basically did the above work for you. Of course it cost money, and was only somewhat supported by Sun.
The problem is exacerbated by Sun servers' roles in a variety of different architectures. One example is shown in Figure 1, which shows a standard three-tier architecture, as might be found at a Web site. Most firewalls and load balancer clusters automatically manage their IP addresses during a failover. They always make an IP address available to the tier "above" them. Likewise, a database cluster has its IP addresses managed by the cluster software, which moves IPs between cluster servers as needed. The only component in this environment that does not provide such functionality is the Sun servers. Should a network cable, a switch port, or host bus adapter in the communications channel between the Sun and its network go bad, the Sun will be unavailable. Although the facility will continue to function by using the redundant server, user connections may need to be reestablished, state could be lost, and performance could be negatively affected.
A Tom's Hardware article looks at various options for KVM (keyboard, video & mouse) switches. These have long been very common tools in the datacenter. The article takes a look at their use among power users outside of the datacenter.
Netscape for the Solaris[tm] Operating Environment a high-level overview of its new features of Netscape 6 (now 6.01)
Solaris-to-Linux porting guide and Solaris-to-Linux API checker
The Solaris-to-Linux porting guide application checks the APIs used by a Solaris application for compatibility on Linux. The companion article "Solaris-to-Linux porting guide", introduces the tool and provides a detailed roadmap for moving your applications to Linux. There is also a Solaris-to-Linux API checker.
???? JumpStart[tm] Technology- Effective Use in the Solaris[tm] Operating Environment By John S. Howard and Alex NoordergraafISBN# 0-13-062154-4 [Oct 25, 2001]
This Sun BluePrints book provides techniques on using the JumpStart technology for automated, standardized, and secure installations of the Solaris Operating Environment. In addition, detailed examples of using the JumpStart technology effectively on a day-to-day basis are provided in combination with never before documented features and functions. The materials on the included CD contain the Solaris Security Toolkit (formerly known as "JASS") and examples referenced in the book.
***** Solaris system administrators and developers can find their answers more quickly using BigSearch, the enhanced search capability on BigAdmin.[Oct 11, 2001]
NT to Solaris Operating Environment migration program. [Oct 5, 2001]
A ZD Net article explains that Sun will be trying encourage Windows shops to migrate to Solaris as NT version 4 will be retired by Microsoft. Sun has codified this approach by calling it the NT to Solaris Operating Environment migration program. The program will feature tools to assist the migration effort. There is a Sun press release with details.
***** Sun lets loose beta version of Solaris 9 -- Sun introduced a beta version of its upcoming Solaris 9 operating system [Oct 1, 2001]
Sun will put a beta version of Solaris 9 on its Web site and give developers a chance to test applications currently running on previous releases of Solaris for compatibility with the new version of the operating system. See Solaris[tm] 9 Operating Environment Early Access Among features:
- Linux APIs, commands, and utilties enabling most Linux applications to easily be recompiled and run Solaris 9 Operating Environment
- Linux compatibility mode which allows Linux Intel applications to run unchanged (no recompilation) on Solaris 9, Intel Platform Edition
- Multiple Page Size Support in the kernel for better memory management
- Improved threading library for better scaling and performance
- New Reconfiguration Coordination Manager API allows applications to react to Dynamic Reconfiguration events
Solaris installation with Windows on the same PC
WHAT YOU NEED FIRST :
1. Windows PC
2. Intel or AMD Processor
3. 64 MB of Ram (Minimum)
4. All compatible hardware (Check and double-check with the Solaris Hardware Compatibility List)
5. Solaris x86 CDs
6. Hard disk with enough capacity (more than 10 GB preferred if you are going to use the PC extensively)
7. Windows Installation CDs
8. Partitioning Software, like Partition Magic
The following section gives you step-by-step instructions on installing a system with multibooting of Solaris, Win98/ME and Windows2000.
First, Backup all data needed, if any.
Prepare the hard disk with 3 partitions. Make the first as Primary, bootable, Fat32 partition. The second should be a blank, Primary, bootable partition. The third can be a Logical, Non-bootable partition.
We will be installing Windows98/ME in the 1st partition, Solaris 8 in the 2nd partition, and Windows 2000 in the 3rd partition. Make sure the 1st and 2nd partitions are Primary and bootable.
Use the Installation Disk and install Windows98/ME on drive C. Windows or Dos will be able to recognise 2 partitions only, Drive C & Drive D. Win98/ME will get installed on the 1st partition easily without any problem.
Install Boot-Magic or similar boot-partition selection software and enable it, and create a Boot Rescue Disk and keep it handy, along with Win98/ME Boot diskette.
INSTALLING SOLARIS x86 :
Do not use the Solaris Installing Diskette as it has only Webstart installation, which is meant only for a clean installation on a dedicated Hard Disk. It cannot be used for Multibooting a system unless you are an advanced user and able to boot with Solaris boot CDROM and able to create all necessary partitions and slices from Solaris before actually installing Solaris.
USE THE SOLARIS SOFTWARE 1 OF 2 CD ONLY.
Use the CD 1of 2 to boot (the boot setting should be done in BIOS to boot from CDROM or using the Device Configuration Assistant Diskette).
Select "Interactive Setup" when pronpted. The installation program will see only a single partition (your 2nd partition which you left as blank-unformatted). Select the partition, and enable Solaris to boot from this partition when prompted. Again double-check the size of the partition to make sure that what you selected is the 2nd partition meant for Solaris.
You can continue with install. Solaris will get installed in partition 2.
When you reboot, the Solaris OS selection blue screen will appear, letting you select either Solaris orWindows. If it does not appear, enable Boot Magic from the Diskette or from Windows. Then you will be able to select the OS every time you boot.
INSTALLING WINDOWS 2000 PROF:
Install Windows 2000 from within Windows98/ME. Select "I want to select the partition" when prompted, and later select "Install in Drive D" when the selection screen appears.
Do not select NTFS system as NTFS partition cannot be directly read by Windows98/ME or Solaris. Install as FAT32 partition.
Windows 2000 will install it's own OS selection screen when you select Windows in Boot Magic screen.
1. DO NOT ADD ANOTHER HARD DISK WITH FAT PARTITION TO THIS SYSTEM. When you add another HDD, the system will automatically assign drive letter D to the second hard disk. Then, you will be unable to boot Windows 2000 unless you can do a successful drive mapping which is very difficult to achieve.
2. The above methods have worked with all my installations. Anyhow, due to the immense varities of hardware available in the market, I cannot guarantee that this will work with all hardware configurations.
3. The above method will not work properly on smaller capacity HDDs (below 7 GB).
4. On smaller HDDs, the system may occasionally be rendered unable to boot with Floppy or CDROM also, after installing Solaris. In that case, remove the cable connecting the Hard Disk and boot from floppy, and then connect the Hard Drive. You may then be able to reformat the Hard Disk with the manufacturer's diskette.
ADDING LINUX TO THE ABOVE SYSTEM :
You can add another HDD and install Linux (it is strongly advised not to install Solaris and Linux on the same HDD unless you are an advanced user) on it. Make sure that none of the partitions in the 1st HDD are selected for formatting when you install Linux on the 2nd HDD. Linux sees Solaris partitions as Linux Swap partitions and will try to format it and use for swapping.
Once Windows and Solaris are installed in Multiboot configuration, you can enable Solaris to read Windows partitions by mounting them with the mount command, or by including in the /etc/vfstab file to mount on every boot.
[Sept 8, 2001] Authorization Infrastructure in Solaris
[Aug 25, 2001] Caldera International, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALD) announced it will Open Source the AIM performance benchmarks and the UNIX Regular Expression Parser, along with two UNIX utilities awk and grep.
These technologies will be released under the GPL (Gnu General Public License). In a related move, Caldera will also be making the Open UNIX 8 source code available to members of its developer program who request it. Information about the Caldera developer network is available at http://www.caldera.com/partners/developer/.
These announcements reflect the continued intention on the part of Caldera to progressively contribute source code and to provide ongoing support to the Open Source community. Caldera expects to release further components of the UNIX intellectual property in coming months.
The AIM performance benchmarks are industry-standard server benchmarks acquired from the former AIM Technology. By Open Sourcing the benchmarks, companies may use them to establish independent validation of internal benchmarking. For example, Caldera can independently establish scalability and stability comparisons between Open UNIX 8 and other platforms. Although the sources will be released under the GPL, the use of the AIM Benchmark trademark in connection with these programs will be restricted based on published guidelines to assure the integrity of these tests as industry standard references.
The UNIX Regular Expression Parser is a library function from Open UNIX 8 used by a number of standard UNIX utilities for complex pattern matching of pieces of text. By Open Sourcing this, along with the awk and grep utilities, Caldera begins a process of making some of the original UNIX utilities, upon which the GNU/Linux system was modeled, available as reference sources. This gives the Open Source community an opportunity to reference these implementations and incorporate the best of both source streams into future GPL implementations of these tools.
"Many in the Open Source community have asked Caldera to GPL these technologies," said John Terpstra, vice president of technology for Caldera International. "We have now delivered these utilities and benchmarks. We have chosen the GPL license to directly support corresponding GNU projects."
The Regular Expression library and tools will be made publicly available on SourceForge this week at http://unixtools.sourceforge.net . In coming months, Caldera will Open Source other UNIX tools and utilities, including pkgmk, pkgadd, pkgrm, pkginfo, pkgproto and more, as well as the Bourne shell, lex, yacc, sed, m4 and make. The licenses under which these technologies will be Open Sourced will be decided based on community and business needs.
"We are very pleased to offer much of the UNIX source code that laid the foundation for the whole GNU/Linux movement," said Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera International. "In each case, we will apply the right license -- GPL, Berkeley, Mozilla, Open Access, or other license -- as appropriate to our business goals.
"Our intention is to steer the middle course in the public debate -- it's not a case of free or Open Source versus proprietary, but both, as the situation warrants. We believe the industry is evolving to a model where source code is freely available, innovation is nurtured at the grass roots, and businesses, such as Caldera, can add value as both product and service companies."
Open Access to Open UNIX 8
The Caldera Open Access license is intended to give customers the ability to both reference and modify the source code. However, the initial release of source code will be read only, giving customers and software developers a significant reference as they develop applications for Open UNIX 8. In the future, customers and developers will be allowed to change the source code as long as they return the changes to Caldera. This will allow Caldera to maintain a standard business quality platform.
Open UNIX incorporates some proprietary third party technology which means source code for certain third party modules will not be available due to licensing restrictions.
"Over time the licensing and delivery of our Open Access sources will evolve and improve," explained John Harker, vice president of product management. "Our immediate goal was to provide basic source reference access following the model of SCO's source products by simply eliminating the license fee. We're looking at ways to make this as streamlined as possible."
The Open Access license is free, but will require a signed license agreement. Delivery of the sources in CD form will require a nominal media payment. Further details will be available when the sources are released in October of this year.
From its inception, Caldera has shared technology with the Open Source community. Technologies that have been Open Sourced include Webmin -- a Web-based administration tool, LIZARD -- the award-winning Linux Installation Wizard, Linux Unattended Installation (LUI), Linux Installation Administration (LISA) and Caldera Open Administration System (COAS). Please visit www.openlinux.org to download Caldera's technologies that have been open-sourced.
[Aug 8, 2001] http://www.sysadminmag.com/newsletters/feature/ What I Did Instead of Buying a SAN by Adam Anderson
In situations where SAN technology is not cost-effective, Anderson has used two alternative storage technologies that deliver SAN functionality at reasonable cost.
[July 27, 2001] Solaris Central: Netscape for Solaris 8
Netscape's latest release of Communicator, v4.78, is now compiled for Solaris 8 Sparc. Previous versions were compiled for Solaris 2.5.1. After about a week of use, the native Solaris 8 version of Netscape has yet to crash on me!
[July 27, 2001] Solaris partitioning: Partitioning in itself, doesn't give efficiency, and can actually be a hindrance, since you cannot easily expand a partition, unless you use LVM (Logical Volume Manager).
It depends on your disk sub system: How many disks, software RAID or hardware RAID (1, 0+1, 5), SCSI or IDE.
Generally, I think of my harddisk content divided into 3 categories: data, configuration-files, and binaries /applications /OS.
Efficency can be gained, by distribute I/O load between different disk "sub-systems".
Eg. lets say; the webserver generates lots of logging info on every request, and that every request generates database I/O activity too. It would then make sense, to place the webserver logging data, and the DB on different disks (and therefore on different partitions). This is especially true, regarding SCSI, but IDE disks should benefit too.
Generel rules of thumb:
/home should be on its own partition and ideally on its own disk. Of course, this depends on whether your server has local users, uses .maildir (qmail).
If you got users and userdata in /home this is very convinient, especially when; performing dangerous upgrades (unmount it), restoring the system after a disk crash or compromise, or if users needs more diskspace (see IBM's excellent article on moving /home, on their developer network). Size? Depends entirely, but _a lot_ since you can't just clean up in the users home dirs, if size becomes a problem.
/var should be on its own partition. This may give a little extra security and stability, since /var is used for dynamic data and log-files. If a process runs amok (or by a DOS) and generates ever expanding logfiles, the damage is constrained to a single partition. This may prevent the system from crashing. A couple of GB's is not too little.
Some like a separate /boot partition on eg. 50MB. (I don't use that)
/usr may be a candidate for its own partition. If so, then allocate it lots of free space, since /usr tends to grow a lot with time, and the extra free space may be needed during distribution upgrades. A couple of GB's will do fine for many.
swap The official guidelines for swap space with kernel 2.4, is swap space=2*RAM.
So if the server has 256MB RAM, use 512MB for swap. Again, check out IBM's Linux section on their developer network. They have a nice article, on swap usage; eg. if you have 2 disks, make eg. a 256MB on each. Then swapping would be parallelized, which mean that it would have the same speed advantage as RAID 0.
Always allocate much more space on a partition than you need.
Don't make too many partitions
[July 27, 2001]Solaris Central: Sun Grid software now in Open Source
A NewsForge article tells that Sun has offered the source code for its Sun Grid Engine software to the developer community. This software enables networks to act as a distributed computing system. The source is available for download.
[Jul, 21, 2001] Solaris Central: System Performance Management
The Gartner Group rates IT management processes, referring to different levels of management sophistication as "maturity levels." (Gartner clients can refer to Research Note #DF-08-6312, 'IT Management Process Maturity,' by analysts Donna Scott and David Williams.) Gartner describes a range of maturity levels: Chaotic-No consistent use of performance tools; Reactive-Organization uses event consoles;Proactive-Organization uses performance monitoring and historical tools; Service-Organization employs capacity planning; Value-IT/Business Metric Linkage. This article will discuss why you want to move the maturity of your operations from "chaotic" to "value," and provide an overview of the classes of tool that can simplify that evolution. This broadly based article is intended for those at technical through management positions who are preparing to select or justify the purchase of system performance management tools.
Read this Sun BluePrint by Jon Hill, a consultant for TeamQuest Corporation, and Kemer Thomson, a Senior Staff Engineer in Sun Microsystems' Enterprise Engineering group.
Solaris Central: Automate LDAP Client Installations Using sysidtool
Prior to the release of the Solaris 8 Operating Environment (Solaris OE), systems could not be configured with LDAP as a name service at installation time. Now that sysidtool has been enhanced to accept LDAP as a name service option, LDAP clients can be configured either through an interactive or hands-off installation. While the procedure for configuring an LDAP client is similar to the NIS and NIS+ procedure, there are some differences you need to be aware of.
Available on Sun's web site, this article examines the mechanism that is used to configure a Solaris OE name service client in general, and highlights the differences for configuring a client to use the LDAP name service. This articles also presents an overview of sysidtool to familiarize the reader with the mechanics of system configuration. In addition, a description of the information required to configure an LDAP client is provided along with an example showing how that information is entered. Finally, the steps required to set up a JumpStart[tm] server capable of servicing a hands-off installation of LDAP clients are provided along with example configuration files.
Read this Sun Blueprints article by Tom Bialaski, a Senior Staff Engineer with the Enterprise Engineering group at Sun Microsystems.
[Jul, 21, 2001]The SunBlade [tm] 100 Workstation Architecture, a 48-page technical white paper, is now available online in PDF format: http://www.sun.com/desktop/sunblade100/sb100_wp.pdf
[Jul, 21, 2001] The GNOME Usability Project -- Sun's usability report about Gnome. Pretty interesting read.
Summary of Design Recommendations
- Design Recommendation: These architectural issues, which are pervasive throughout GNOME, would best be addressed in a User Interface Style Guide for GNOME. To solve these issues, which have a large impact on the user experience, will require the coordination and cooperation of the community; to develop user interface guidelines, to implement the necessary changes, and to adhere to the guidelines.
- Design Recommendation: The term 'login' is unclear, as it is both a noun and a verb. We recommend that the field labeled 'Login' be relabeled 'Username' (see 'Logging In' for illustration).
We recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide. We also recommend developers to involve a technical writer in the review of any terminology, error messages, or other on-screen text delivered into GNOME. Developers are encouraged to ask terminology questions on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend that the login dialog be made active by default. No matter where the cursor is, the user's entry should go into the text field. The text field should also be in focus by default. It should not be possible for the dialog to become inactive or the text field to lose focus. If it simply is not possible to implement this solution, then feedback, both audio and visual, must be provided if the user tries to type while the cursor is outside the dialog.
- Design Recommendation: Provide brief yet clear feedback to the user that communicates what went wrong, why, and what the user can do about it. We recommend providing error feedback within the login dialog itself. For example, the following text string could appear in the login dialog when users enter incorrect login information: "The username or password you entered in incorrect. Letters must be typed in the correct case. Be sure the caps key is not selected." This error message would appear above the username field to communicate that the user should try logging in again (see 'Logging In' for illustration).
We also recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide. We also recommend developers to involve a technical writer in the review of any terminology, error messages, or other on-screen text delivered into GNOME. Developers are encouraged to ask terminology questions on the email@example.com mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: If there are no technical reasons to the contrary, then consider putting the username and password fields together in the same dialog.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend supporting users who are more mouse-oriented as well as those comfortable navigating with the keyboard. To support mouse-oriented users, we recommend adding an 'OK' button on both the username and password screens. This button should be the active default. We also recommend consulting the proposed guidelines for accessible keyboard navigation.
- Design Recommendation: Not knowing what "marge-hci" was did not hinder users from successfully completing the task. However, novice GNOME users' confusion did highlight an opportunity for us to provide more assistance. To support new GNOME users we suggest including a Help button or menu in the login dialog. Selecting this button or menu should invoke Help with information about the elements and terminology found in the dialog. Again, we recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide. We encourage developers to involve a technical writer in the review of any terminology, error messages, or other on-screen text delivered into GNOME. Developers are encouraged to ask terminology questions on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
Exploring the Desktop:
- Design Recommendation: The logout icon relies heavily on elements commonly associated with sleep, a moon and stars, to convey its meaning. A moon and stars can convey night time, but users did not associate night time with the end of the day and logging out. This icon also uses the same computer as the terminal icon, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. We suggest redesigning the icon and removing the moon and stars as well as the computer imagery. Alternate design elements that might communicate "logging out", "leaving", or "exiting" more successfully include arrows and/or doors. We recommend trying to illustrate the physical aspect of "leaving" rather than relying on "sleep" or "nighttime" imagery to imply "the end of a work day or work session". We recommend testing new designs with a wide range of users to ensure that they interpret it correctly.
- Design Recommendation: The terminal icon might be more clear if the logout icon is redesigned to not use the same computer imagery (see the logout icon design recommendation). However, we recommend testing a version of the terminal icon that does not have the small GNOME footprint overlaid on the computer. The footprint seemed to confuse users the most. The icon might also be improved by thickening or brightening the color of the small light gray lines on the monitor so there is greater contrast between the lines and the black screen. We recommend testing new designs with a wide range of users to ensure that they interpret it correctly.
- Design Recommendation: Consider using the existing application icon for the default browser in the default configuration of the panel. If Mozilla is the default browser, use the application icon for Mozilla in the panel. Likewise, if Netscape is the default browser, use the Netscape application icon in the panel.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend redesigning the GNOME Main Menu foot icon so that it is more obvious that clicking it will display a menu. The small arrow above the foot, that indicates a menu is invokable, needs to be made more noticeable. Possible redesigns could include enlarging the arrow or changing the color of the arrow when the user mouses over the foot icon.
- Design Recommendation: Most future GNOME users coming from Macintosh or Windows will have no concept of man pages, just Help. Therefore, the emphasis on 'integrated' help will only confuse them. We recommend rewriting this tooltip. Suggestions to user-test, as alternatives to "Integrated help system (info, man, HTML)", could include "GNOME User Guide" or "Online Help". We also recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide and involving a technical writer in the review of any terminology, error messages, or other on-screen text delivered into GNOME. Developers are encouraged to ask terminology questions on the email@example.com mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: Icons at small sizes must be clear and simple designs. Most often, a large icon squeezed down to 16x16 will become unreadable. While the spider foobar icon might not be the most important icon for the average user, it illustrates a larger problem throughout GNOME, where one icon design is used at all sizes, much to the detriment of icon legibility.
File Management Tasks:
- Design Recommendation: We recommend moving the Programs > Utilities > GNOME Search Tool menu item to the top level of the GNOME Main Menu (see 'File Management Tasks' for illustration).
- Design Recommendation: We recommend spelling out the terms 'glob' and 'regexp'. For example, instead of 'regexp', we suggest 'regular expression' (see 'File Management Tasks' for illustration). Users should also be able to access online Help that will provide explanations of menu items and how to use the search syntax.
Again, we recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide. We encourage developers to involve a technical writer in the review of any terminology, error messages, or other on-screen text delivered into GNOME. Developers are encouraged to ask terminology questions on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: Remove the red pencil icon. It is unclear why it appears in the sidebar or what it means. If it does mean the user can't edit a file, then for consistency it should remain in the sidebar when the file is double clicked and opened into a Nautilus viewer.
- Design Recommendation: It is important to communicate to users that the system is busy and to provide feedback indicating that the system has received the users' input and is operating on it. During a lengthy search operation, when users must wait until the operation is complete, change the shape of the cursor. Because users are still able to click elsewhere in Nautilus while a search is in progress, we recommend changing the cursor to a combo cursor (arrow + hourglass), such as the combo cursor seen in xalf when an application is launched. However, this combo cursor only applies to the active Nautilus window with a search in progress. If the user clicks elsewhere, for example invokes a terminal or opens the Control Center, the cursor should return to the normal arrow cursor within those applications.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend designing a more distinctive Nautilus throbber that provides better visual feedback to the user that the system is busy. To be effective, the inactive state of a throbber must be easily distinguishable from its in-progress state. (see 'File Management Tasks' for examples.)
- Design Recommendation: Users expect the ability to click on live links and be taken to the web. We recommend supporting live links and implementing appropriate cursor changes over live links in the Nautilus viewer. The cursor used over a live link in the Nautilus viewer should be the one that Mozilla uses for live links if Nautilus has been compiled with Mozilla support to render its HTML pages, or the cursor that GtkHTML uses if Nautilus has been compiled with GtkHTML support to render its HTML pages. This will ensure that the same cursor is used for live links whether Nautilus is used to look at a text file or a web page.
- Design Recommendation: The carriage return symbols are an awkward way to represent line wraps (see screenshot in 'File Management Tasks'). It is fairly standard to just wrap the lines without symbols. We suggest removing the symbols entirely and wrapping lines at word breaks.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend providing more visual indication that the user is in viewer mode and cannot edit. One possible approach is to present the file surrounded by a gray border, to imply that the user is not looking at the actual file but at a view of the file. Adobe Acrobat Reader uses a similar approach successfully to indicate that files are read-only. Other possibilities include an explanatory tooltip for the read-only view, or a message box if the user tries to type into the read-only area. Additionally, we recommend adding help text to the top of the view pane and above the Open With... buttons in the Nautilus sidebar. (See 'File Management Tasks' for illustration)
We recommend involving a user interface designer when redesigning how Nautilus views are visually presented. Developers are also encouraged to ask UI design questions or solicit feedback on the email@example.com mailing list or the #usability channel on IRC.
For any on-screen text, we recommend following the GNOME Documentation Style Guide. We encourage developers to involve a technical writer and to ask terminology questions on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list or the #docs channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend adding a text string above the Open With... buttons that reads, "Click a button below to open the file in an appropriate application." We also recommend that tooltips be implemented for the buttons that mirror the application's .dekstop file comment, or, for applications without .desktop files, "Open with [executable name]". To be consistent, tooltips must be implemented for all buttons. The proposed text string and tooltips will help novice GNOME users, unlikely to be familiar with GNOME application names, to recognize that the buttons will launch applications. (See 'File Management Tasks' for illustration.)
- Design Recommendation: There is currently a discussion taking place on the GNOME usability mailing list about applets, gagdets, and panel gagdets. We feel this discussion is going in the right direction towards addressing the issues raised in this usability study around the Applets menu. We recommend referring to and becoming involved in that discussion.
- Design Recommendation: We recommend simplifying the Clocks menu by removing some of the clocks. User do not need that many choices. For any clocks that remain in the menu, we suggest renaming them with more meaningful and descriptive names.
- Design Recommendation: We strongly recommend implementing submenus so that clicking the menu title does not dismiss the menu. If this is not possible, then we recommend giving the menu titles better visual affordance so it is clear they are not the first selectable items in submenus. Approaches to create greater visual affordance can include displaying menu titles in a bold font, using a thicker line to separate menu titles from menu items, or removing icons that appear beside menu titles.
We also recommend consistently implementing menu titles for every submenu. To be consistent, the Applets menu should be implemented with its own menu title.
- Design Recommendation: We suggest duplicating the "Remove from panel" menu item somewhere in addition to contextual menu. Hiding this option behind the right mouse button penalizes users who do not use more than one mouse button. Everything in the contextual menu should be duplicated somewhere accessible without using the right mouse button.
- Design Recommendation: When icons are used in menus, it is recommended that all menu items have icons. If an icon does not exist for a particular menu item it is recommended that a generic icon be displayed, rather than no icon at all. It is important to be consistent so that users do not get confused or think there is a bug with the system.
- Design Recommendation: The relationship between 'Wallpaper' and 'Color' needs to be presented more clearly. 'Wallpaper' and 'Color' are mutually exclusive, yet they are not presented in a distinct way. One suggestion is add 'Wallpaper' and 'Color' radio buttons to the top of the capplet. This would allow a user to state whether he or she was applying a wallpaper pattern or a color. Currently, if users wants to apply to color they have to first select 'none' in the 'Wallpaper' pulldown. It is not intuitive to go to 'Wallpaper' when the desire is to manipulate 'Color'. Selecting 'none' in the 'Wallpaper' pulldown has the effect of toggling between 'Wallpaper' and 'Color'. It could be more straightforward to pull this step out of the 'Wallpaper' pulldown, where it was confusing and difficult for users to find, and to present it at a higher level using radio buttons.
The confusion in the Background capplet is caused by layout and UI design issues. We recommend involving a user interface designer to redesign how users select and apply wallpaper patterns and colors to the desktop background. Developers are encouraged to ask UI design questions or solicit feedback on the email@example.com mailing list or the #usability channel on IRC.
- Design Recommendation: We suggest replacing the text field containing the string of font information with something more intuitive to users in Appearance > Sawfish Window Manager. The current representation looks like the string of code the system uses. This is an example of where the system architecture is getting exposed at the user level and confusing the user. It would be more intuitive to simply say, "Helvetica, medium. 12pt". We recommend looking at the way popular word processing applications display font information.
- Design Recommendation: The font information in the Desktop > Theme Selector capplet should be represented the same way it is in Appearance > Sawfish Window Manager capplet. This, the large font button should be removed. We also recommend removing the Use Custom Font checkbox if at all possible because most users did not see it.
- Design Recommendation:The Control Center needs a major redesign to address all of these issues. This work is already in progress and those involved need to bear these quotes in mind while creating a new design.
- Design Recommendation: 'Halt' is not a very intuitive term and does not clearly indicate that selecting it unintentionally could be harmful. We recommend replacing 'Halt' with a more intuitive term such as 'Suspend' and adding a text string explaining the severity of Halt, such that the checkbox label reads 'Suspend (Halt - stops the processor)'. Also, the placement of 'Halt' between the two other choices makes it very easy for a user to accidentally select it without realizing they have done so. We recommend changing the position of the Halt checkbox, or even separating it from the others, so that it does not appear between two very common choices. (See 'Logging Out' for illustration.)
*** "Sun Microsystems, which, a few days ago, announced that they would be re-closing their source code, announced today that they would not be doing so. You can now continue to download Solaris source (where they verify the reversal).". See also Slashdot Sun Recants Solaris Source Closure[Jun 30, 2001]
**** Internet Explorer 5 and Outlook Express are now available on both Solaris and HP-UX![Jun 30, 2001]
Internet Explorer 5 and Outlook Express are now available on both Solaris and HP-UX! This release of Microsoft's award-winning Web browsing technology makes using the Web simpler than ever, more automated, and more flexible to let you use the Web the way you want. In short, Internet Explorer 5 brings Intellisense® to the Web to save you time on the things you do most often.
What is Intellisense?
Originally introduced in Microsoft Office, IntelliSense technology is designed to save you time by automating routine tasks and simplifying complex tasks. By building IntelliSense throughout Internet Explorer 5, Internet Explorer 5 makes the Web easier and more accessible for everyone. Internet Explorer 5 brings IntelliSense to the Web with:
- Simplicity: Improvements to the Search, History, and Favorites bars make it easier than ever to find and organize information.
- Automation: Internet Explorer 5's Intellisense technology can save you time by doing the most common Web tasks for you, like typing web page addresses.
- Flexibility: Internet Explorer 5 even gives you freedom of choice to use different platforms, email and news clients, and source editors, including popular UNIX programs such as emacs or vi. Different types of web content may also be associated with programs directly from Internet Explorer's options panel.
We focused on meeting the needs of our UNIX customers by implementing the things you asked for, including:
Consistent support for standards. Internet Explorer 5 for UNIX offers the most complete support of Internet standards and technologies, including XML and DHTML. Content developers can take advantage of these technologies across both UNIX and Windows platforms.
Ease of deployment and maintenance. The Internet Explorer Administration Kit allows network administrators to roll out custom packages of Internet Explorer which are tailored to fit a particular corporation’s needs. Administrators can set up proxies and accounts, apply advanced settings and security restrictions, and customize the Internet Explorer interface all from the IEAK Wizard. The settings are centrally maintained using the IEAK’s auto-configuration feature.
Best UNIX browser for viewing Office 2000 documents. Internet Explorer for UNIX provides the rich formatting, high-fidelity rendering, and DHTML support which make it the ideal choice for viewing HTML documents saved from Office 2000.
Something for Everyone
IT professionals will save time deploying and managing Internet Explorer 5 and its associated Outlook Express, through the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK). The IEAK allows network administrators to roll out customized packages of Internet Explorer, tailored to fit their organizations' needs. Administrators can set up proxies and accounts, apply advanced settings and security restrictions, and customize the Internet Explorer interface -- all from the IEAK Wizard. The settings are maintained centrally using the IEAK auto-configuration feature.
Web authors and developers will enjoy building powerful Web-based applications with Internet Explorer's extensive support for the latest standards-based web technologies, including Dynamic HTML, CSS, CSS-P, XML, XSL, XQL, and the W3C DOM. And you can be assured that applications you write for Internet Explorer 5 will run seamlessly on UNIX as well!
Users will appreciate the simplicity, usability enhancements and overall flexibility of Internet Explorer 5.
Internet Explorer combines ease-of-use, powerful developer features, and customizability to deliver the most compelling browser solution on UNIX today. For a complete overview of the latest additions to IE 5, see our new feature list.
Internet Explorer for HP-UX continues to support Hewlett-Packard's world class Java Virtual Machine for Java applets.
Internet Explorer for Solaris now integrates the Sun Microsystems Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to support Java applets. The Sun JVM is natively optimized for Solaris, includes a Just-in-Time (JIT) Compiler and provides support for JDK 1.1.7. It is available for Solaris 2.5.1 and 2.6.
Internet Explorer is available with 128-bit encryption for U.S. and Canadian users.
[Jun 21, 2001] Samba officially supported on Solaris. Jeremy Allison of the SAMBA Team writes:
Since VERITAS is too shy to announce it on the Samba lists (I think they don't want to spam people with commercials) I thought I'd mention it for them :-).
For everyone who has wanted an officially supported Samba on Solaris solution, supported by Sun, check out the VERITAS whitepaper at :
Yes, it's Samba based (currently 2.0.9). VERITAS is working with us to add new stuff like MS-DFS and MMC support to 2.2 as well.
The reason I'm so pleased is that I've been trying to get Sun to officially support Samba for some time now (with the valliant attempts of Dave Collier-Brown and Don DeVitt at Sun) and now, with this joint announcement, they've done it !
Thanks to everyone at VERITAS and Sun who made this (finally :-) happen ! Special thanks to Tamir Ram and Shirish Kalele at VERITAS. Now people have a good business and technical response to doubts about running Samba on Solaris.
***** Solaris Central: Sun blinded by devotion to Java tactics [Jun 14, 2001]
A VNU Net article takes a critical look at Sun's adherence to Java as a weapon against Microsoft. It seems that Sun angered analysts by saying that Java was the only language suitable for the growth of web services.
ZDNet eWEEK Tux Built for speed and ZDNet eWEEK Devils and details of benchmark tests
My comment: This experiment was mostly marketing like most of such experiments are. I would say in most cases the speed of delivery of static content does not matter much. May be it's relevant only to some porno sites with a dozen of O1 connections ;-), but even here I doubt. Porno sites have better specialists than people who believe in such stories :-). Still I would say that's the only realistic application that I can think of.
Most decent sites use dynamic content that comes from database. In this case all those TUX-style games are marginal and Apache is good enough. Just think that each request spends 1% of its time in the WWW server and networking stack, and 99% in the servlet /database.
Also TUX is non-portable Linux oriented thing (some features, including zero-copy networking, even require server application changes before they can be used) and this means that it cannot be compared to Apache directly. Probably without bloated Linux kernel one can get even better speed for static pages (specialized for routers kernels probably can win the game), but with average server sporting a couple of 800 MHz CPUs or better this exercise is only is an entertaining game ;-)
And please note that current Linux kernel does not support RBAC which are essential for any large WEB sites. Security sucks and can be a bigger problem than speed, but I would not explore this any further :-). Ext2 is also a very risky proposition for serious WEB site. That means Solaris and AIX have huge edge over current Linux kernel and naive people who deploy Linux (with its current networking layer) for a serious WEB sites (like etrade.com, not like weather.com) might face a lot of troubles afterward :-).
[June 17, 201] IBM HTTP Server Download -- Apache-based but with built-in support SSL. Avalable for Sun Solaris
IBM HTTP Server features include:
- Easy installation
- Support for SSL secure connections
- Fast Response Cache Accelerator
- NT enhancements
- IBM support as part of the WebSphere bundle
- Only commercial version of Apache that includes a GUI to administer the server
- Help information that uses the easy-to-navigate design that is common to all WebSphere products
[June 14, 201] SunPCi Pro The new card have several minor improvements:
*** From Solaris Central. The 4/01 update of Solaris 8 is available for download at this site [June 8, 2001]
Previously available only with the Solaris 8 media kit, the Solaris 8 Companion CD is now available for free download at this site. This release is loaded with new features, including WBEM 2.4, Web Start Flash (advanced provisioning technology) and others. Read this Sun article to find out more.
The companion CD contains a wide variety of popular freeware, including samba, vim, pine, rsync, many GNU commands, and development tools. Both SPARC and Intel versions are available.
*Note: This is the 04/01 update of the Companion CD and corresponds to the 04/01 update of the Solaris 8 Operating Environment. Proper installation has not been verified on previous updates. Freeware for previous releases of the Solaris Operating Environment, as well as a number of packages that are not on the Companion CD, are available at sunfreeware.com, an independent Web site maintained by Steve Christensen.
[June 6, 2001] SunSource.net -- a new developer web portal called that centralizes critical information on all of Sun's free and open source projects and acts as a focal point as developers inside Sun and throughout the community engage in conversations on open source issues. Here is a press release
[May 25, 2001] Inside Solaris - Midnight Commander -- available in Gnome 1.4 for Solaris
A long time ago, on another computing platform, Peter Norton Computing released Norton Commander. This became my favorite file management program. As I wandered further and further into the UNIX realm, I found it hard to believe that a program like this wasn't available on UNIX. Finally, I came across Midnight Commander, as shown in Figure A. It offers more features than Norton Commander and, unlike Norton Commander, it runs on a variety of different computing platforms.
[May 20, 2001] Sun has sneak preview of the next generation desktop on their Gnome webpage.
Sun sets the stage for the next level in desktop computing with the delivery of Exploring the GNOME 1.4 Desktop for the Solaris 8 OS. GNOME, with its compelling, intuitive user interface, combines advanced desktop organization and navigation features that enable easy access to information. It earns top billing for usability, appearance, and personalization to match a user's unique working style. Features Midnight Commander both in GUI incarnation(not impressive) and command line version (decent).
Exploring the GNOME 1.4 Desktop gives users the opportunity to evaluate the product's key features including...Runs existing CDE and Java-based applications.
Installing a virus filter for Sendmail
Sunhelp.org article discusses how to use the AMaVIS; the article goes into detail on what one must do to get this software working in the Solaris environment.
Sun Management Center 3.0
Sun is offering a Basic package -- free of charge and downloadable from the web -- that allows you to manage an unlimited number of nodes. Advanced Systems Monitoring and Premier Management Applications are licensed per node or per Solaris image.
New Product Briefs (August 16, 1999) -- BeOpen.com offers Solaris tools as open source
BeOpen.com announced that three of its next-generation Solaris tools -- InfoDock, OO-Browser, and Hyperbole -- have been released as open source software.
InfoDock is an advanced, turnkey integrated development environment. The OO-Browser is a fast object-oriented code browser. Hyperbole is an everyday hypertextual information manager that sports Web integration.
InfoDock is an IDE that provides multi-language editors, point-and-click compiler and debugger interfaces, and a color-coded program editor. It features:
- A compiler interface that lets users run arbitrary build commands
- Support for five different debuggers and interfaces to emulators for embedded debugging
- An autonumbered outliner tool for requirements capture, to do lists, and brainstorming sessions.
- Programming language-specific modes for all major programming languages, including assembler, as well as many scripting languages; most language modes provide automatic indenting of code
- A code coloring feature based on language syntax
- Function browsing, a simple click on a function call, takes the user to the definition of the entity
- A visual comparison tool that uses colors to show the differences between two files
The OO-Browser object-oriented code browser supports most major object-oriented languages (Java, C++/C, Python, Eiffel, Objective-C, Lisp [CLOS], and Smalltalk). It provides both textual views within an editor and graphical views under the X Window System and Windows. Method and typically attribute browsing is supported for all languages except Smalltalk. CLOS supports browsing all elements defined with (def* constructs. In-source feature browsing is also supported for all of these languages.
Hyperbole is a programmable hypertextual information management and outliner system that includes a diverse set of hypertextual button types, including Internet URLs, which may be embedded in ordinary text documents, source code, and even e-mail messages.
Support pricing for InfoDock starts at $7,000 ($1,400 per user, includes support for OO-Browser and Hyperbole).
SiteMaestro Site, Network and Systems Monitoring Tool. Solaris, Linux, NT and Win 2000 Agents. FREE. Embedded HTTP Web Server. Professional and Enterprise versions available.
[May 14, 2001] Dot-Com Builder Best Practices for Sun-Oracle Performance Tuning
As a Sun Solaris[tm] and performance-tuning expert, I am frequently called upon to assist customers in resolving performance problems with their systems. For the sake of this paper, I will describe a scenario in which I work to resolve a Sun/Oracle customer's issues with performance, and thus I can share my knowledge on how to track down and resolve these kinds of problems.
I arrive at a customer site, having heard they are having performance problems with one of their systems. I realize that they are running a very large application over a very large Oracle database. The application and the database run on Sun's high-end E10000 (or it could be one of the other mid-range Sun servers).
Where do I start? I may begin by looking at the customer's application (which could be a Web application, SAP or PeopleSoft, or a home-grown legacy application built by the customer). Or I might first look at the Oracle database, the Sun box and the Solaris operating system.
Normally, I do all of this. Analyzing the performance at each tier indicates where the bottlenecks lie. Some of the bottlenecks found at each layer (in Solaris or Oracle or an application) may point to the same problem manifested in each layer.
For example, when there is a bottleneck at the disk I/O level, it will show up in the Solaris level stats for I/O, such as the
vmstatoutput, as well as in the Oracle level stats for I/O, such as the log writer wait event discussed in section 3.1.1.
There are traditional performance-tuning procedures and techniques used to tune Solaris, Oracle and applications. But note that the three tiers -- the OS, the database and the application-- have changed significantly during the past couple of years. Now experts at Sun and Oracle have written tools to analyze and tune the performance of these systems, taking into account all the new features. In this article, I discuss a systematic approach to resolving performance bottlenecks at all three tiers, emphasizing use of the latest available tools.
[Apr 23, 2001] Sun's BigAdmin has a list of useful command-line examples. For example listing files by size of a particular partition, e.g. /var can be done using:
du -ad /var | sort -n
Another way of doing this is to use find, e.g. list files greater that 1MB older than 7 days on the current filesystem:
find . -xdev -mtime -7 -size +1000 -ls
[Apr 23, 2001] JumpStart for Solaris Systems Part II by Ido Dubrawsky
This is the second of two articles examining JumpStart, a tool that enables Solaris system administrators to install and configure systems remotely. In the first article we introduced Sun's JumpStart system as well as the JumpStart Architecture and Security Scripts (JASS) toolkit from Sun. We also showed how the JumpStart system allows a system administrator to automate the installation of Solaris systems, while the JASS toolkit builds on top of JumpStart to allow the automated installation of hardened systems. This article will focus on the use of the JASS toolkit in the installation of a bastion mail host.
[Apr 04, 2001] Ecora -- very nice package that includes Solaris documenter with HTML output
Whether you are an IT manager, systems integrator, consultant, or reseller, the demands on the IT environments you support are considerable and complex. Preparing for an IT audit, for example, is a time-consuming and tedious process. Our Documentor and IT Auditor products automatically create a comprehensive, natural-language report of your IT infrastructure. This can be used to create an audit trail to meet HIPAA requirements, prepare for a security audit or provide thorough documentation for a system audit. We invite you to experience for yourself the benefits of documentation. Click here to download an .exe file to document a server for free.
installing and configuring Oracle on Solaris -- a nice guide. From the Database Specialists web site.
Solaris volume manager Solaris provides a new tool called the Volume
Manager which replaces the special commands
mountfd. The Volume
Manager automatically detects when a CD-ROM or floppy disk has been inserted
into the drive, and mounts it automatically.
On many Sun hardware platforms, it is not possible to automatically detect the presence of a floppy disk in the drive. If the Volume Manager does not appear to mount your floppy disk, execute the
volcheckcommand, which will tell the Volume Manager to go look for a disk in the disk drive.
Many people use the
cpiocommands to read and write files on floppy disks. On SunOS systems, this is done by reading or writing the device /dev/rfd0c, and on older Solaris systems, by reading or writing the device /dev/rdiskette. Under Volume Manager however, a new device name must be used. The new device file can be found in /vol/dev/aliases/floppy0.
Solaris has changed the way removable media is mounted in the filesystem. When the volume management daemon is running, CDs and floppies are automatically mounted at default locations, /floppy/floppy_name and /cdrom/cdrom_name. This happens regardless of your window manager.
That's how it is supposed to work. If you run the OpenWindows filemanager, a window is supposed to pop up showing the contents of the disk. Frequently, the floppy does not. volcheck with no arguments will check the floppy drive for the presence of media. The floppy should be available at /floppy/floppy_name, and files may then be copied elsewhere.
[Jan 31, 2001] Sun.com: Sun Grid Engine Software Now Available For Linux
"Sun Grid Engine software is designed to harness idle compute resources, match them to individual job requirements and deliver network-wide compute power to the desktop, thus speeding time to market and fundamentally changing the economics of technical computing."
[Jan 31, 2001] XNC 4.4.0 compilation for Solaris is OK. One change is required:
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