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Solaris Bulletin 2001

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.

The Problem

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.

Solaris Laptops

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:

Solaris installation with Windows on the same PC


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.



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 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 or Windows. 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.


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.



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

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 . 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.

Open Source
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 to download Caldera's technologies that have been open-sourced.

[Aug 8, 2001] 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:

[Jul, 21, 2001] The GNOME Usability Project -- Sun's usability report about Gnome. Pretty interesting read.

Summary of Design Recommendations

Architectural Issues:

Logging In:

Exploring the Desktop:

File Management Tasks:

Customization Tasks:

Logging Out:


*** "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:

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.

Special Notes:
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.


Jeremy Allison,
Samba Team.

***** 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, not like 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:

  1. Prerequisites: Solaris 2.6 for Sparc (not Intel)
  2. Become Superuser and change to the directory containing the file you downloaded
  3. Type "uncompress ./filename" where filename is the .Z file you downloaded
  4. Type "tar -xvf ./filename" to untar the packages. filename is the name of the file you downloaded minus the .Z suffix. The file will be extracted to a directory named spool in the current directory
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 for each file that you downloaded (except ldap.client_rte.pkg.tar, which only requires step 4)
  6. Change to the spool directory and type "pkgadd -d." (note the period after the d) and follow the prompts to install the packages

[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, an independent Web site maintained by Steve Christensen.

[June 6, 2001] -- 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 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) -- offers Solaris tools as open source 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:

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 vmstat output, 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

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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 cdmount,dosmount,fdmount,mountcd, and 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 volcheck command, which will tell the Volume Manager to go look for a disk in the disk drive.

Many people use the tar and cpio commands 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 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:



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

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The Last but not Least

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