Thursday, 5 January 2006

Sun and Solaris

I'm up for a job interview with Sun on Monday, so you decide for yourself whether this is just fake advocacy in the hopes that somebody over there reads it and thinks I'm a nice guy.

Sun have kicked out a whole pile of open source stuff recently, most notably OpenSolaris and DTrace (in my mind anyway). I don't know about the status of Sun Studio 10, but I know it is available free of charge, as are spin-offs of certain Java tools.

Sun really looks to be an interesting place recently.

I recently noticed that BrandZ has been announced, previously codenamed Project Janus. This strikes me as very similar to the FreeBSD Linux emulation layer, allowing it to run Linux binaries natively. In my experience with FreeBSD, this has worked very well, to the extent that complex applications such as Quake 3 ran flawlessly with no slow-down. BrandZ ties in with Solaris Zones somehow. From the website: "BrandZ is a framework that extends the Solaris Zones infrastructure to create Branded Zones, which are zones that contain non-native operating environments."

These "non-native" environments are not limited to GNU/Linux. Impressive. Unfortunately my knowledge of Zones is fairly limited (again a comparison to FreeBSD jails can be made, but this massively understates Solaris Zones).

Another amazing thing in Solaris is ZFS. This allows totally painless management of data, providing redundancy, compression and flexible reallocation. The only thing that I can think of comparing this to is "vinum or Veritas Volume Manager... done properly". Again, that comparison doesn't even come close.

Okay, now for the final "amazing" thing in Solaris -- the startup routine. There was a lot of talk a while ago about the new parallel startup process laucher that Sun introduced with Solaris 10. I didn't get too heavily involved with that because Solaris was little more than some vague "other" Operating System I didn't know much about. But after an initial bootup of Solaris Express yesterday I was seriously impressed at how fast the machine booted up. This is certainly something that needs to be adapted to work under Linux.

Everybody seems to be jumping ship to Google these days. I can only assume that the money is good... everything I've heard about Sun lately makes me seriously impressed. At the end of the day, all Google do is provide a powerful search engine, a bunch of maps and host some old USENET archives. Doesn't everybody do this?

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