Dell: Solaris not a standard

Judy Chavis has stated that Dell won’t look at supporting, or providing, Solaris on their equipment until Solaris becomes the next industry standard OS – I quote from here:

“Is it the next industry standard around operating systems? That’s what it would take for us to do that,” she said. So far, the answer is a definitive no. “Since the year started, I haven’t had a Solaris x86 customer come into the briefing center,” Chavis said.

Solaris may not be the next industry standard around operating systems, but it’s hardly a small player in the market. I’d very surprised if Dell don’t have to compete head on with Solaris in the datacenter, whether you are comparing Linux on both platforms (and I include Sun’s AMD platforms in that comparison).Ironically, the article goes on to say:

Dell evaluated Unix years ago, including Solaris, but eventually chose to stick with Linux.

Dell, however, have hardly made their love of Linux hugely public. For months, possibly years, after their decision getting Linux for your Dell was hard. Getting Linux on your desktop on Dell can be even harder.Still, the real issue is how seriously companies are willing to take Solaris. It’s still popular in the datacenter, albeit on SPARC or dedicated Sun x86/AMD hardware. Although Solaris x86 – almost dumped by Sun – is proving to be very popular, especially with the release of OpenSolaris.Solaris is obviously not a standard, but as I’ve argued before, Solaris has a lot more standardization, and for a lot longer, than Linux.Standardization or not, it seems odd that Dell do not wish to support an OS that would enable them to compete on at least similar terms with Sun’s own hardware, although Dell don’t yet like AMD.

One worker in one country

A recent article at CNN talks about how MySQL operates. As one of the MySQL team, I can attest that works, but it requires a significant amount of coordination, and lots of online communication through email, IRC, Skype and other methods to keep everbody talking and all the projects working together. The flip side to that process is that we all get involved in different areas, and you tend to be much more aware of what is going on company wide. There is also better cooperation – because we can all get involved we can all provide our experience and expertise to a wide range of problems and projects. Also, because we come from such a wide range of backgrounds and environments, we have a much wider perspective.So not only does remote, and earth-wide staffing work, but it provides us with a level of cooperation that might be more difficult if we all worked in group offices in the same building.

GNU/Linux – Fad or Favoritism picked up by Linux Today

I’ve picked up bloggin at FSM again, and my first post has been picked up by LinuxToday already. I urge you to read the article, but the basis of my thoughts are whether my current Linux distribution choices are because they are better than my previous ones (and therefore my favourites), or whether I’ve merely chosen them because they happen to popular at the moment (and are therefore just a passing fad).

Memory stick returned!

Years ago, I got into the habit of travelling around with a USB memory stick, probably long before they became the fashion accessory they are now. It became invaluable for three reasons:

  • I keep a copy of my current resume on the stick. If I meet somebody at a show or conference, I can give them my memory stic to copy off the file.
  • I use it for backups – encrypted, of course – of the files on my laptop while I’m away. That way, I have an ‘offsite’ backup of anything that has changed since the machine was last backed up on the network, simply by carrying around the key.
  • It’s become one the most used elements of my tookit for migrating files. I’ve used it to swap files between machines, copy important documents between the office and a client when I didn’t or couldn’t take a laptop, and I’ve used it on a number of occasions for migrating Windows XP users between machines.

When I went to Sorrento for a conference in March, however, I lost my USB stick. I searched everywhere I thought I might find it, and just assumed I’d lost it somewhere amongst the conference rooms or my hotel room. In fact, as evidenced by an email last week, I’d lost it at the airport. And my faith in human nature has been slightly restored, because the gentleman that found it checked the info on the stick, found my resume and through that, found me. The stick itself arrived back just this week. I’d just like to say thanks to Mike for finding, discovering, and returning the stick 🙂

O’Reilly RSS Feeds getting annoying

For some strange reason at the moment, O’Reilly feeds are creating duplicates. It’s obviously deliberate, but I can’t see the logic behind the process. The main culprit (but not the only one) is a series on Refactoring (called Refactoring Everything). Refactoring is an important part of any programming process, but the application they are looking at specifically is Perl based. However, of the feeds I subscribe the latest issue (7) and all previous issues, as well a a number of other articles, has appeared on:

Every single one of those links is unique…The ONLamp link is obviously the key one, and I can, at a stretch, understand why it appears on the PHP and Python areas. The Apache one also a little relevance (it’s key to the LAMP stack), but while the application is web based, the refactoring has nothing to do with Apache. But why does it also appear on the BSD feed? I guess you could be refactoring on a BSD platform, but why pollute a BSD focused feed with a programming story?

Office suites

Last month, my review of StarOffice 8 was published. It had a subtitle of “Office Killer? – Alternatives to Microsoft Office”. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ve been giving the matter some more thought.I’m not entirely sure I agree with the approach of an ‘Office killer’. We are of course referring to Microsoft Office, and while I’m happy to support a product based on open standards and the open document format, compared to the proprietary format offered by Office, I have general issues with combined ‘office’ application suites.The concentration on a ‘suite’ and the competition with Office means that what we have is a range of different applications that compete with each other with similar features and a similar interface to Microsoft Office. While the compatibility – and the ease of migration for users – between the different solutions is an obvious advantage of these office suites, we also end up in a situation where the choice between office suites comes down to the price and the philosophy of their development. In terms of functionality or method and ease of use all of the office suites are more or less on a par for the 95% of features that most users want.This is not a criticism of the suites, the developers or of their approach. Any company developing a package that is competing with a market leading product that has the enormous advantage that Microsoft Office has is obviously going to have to work very hard just to match the capabilities of that product. It would be nice to see, for example, different interfaces or approaches to interacting with the application than an environment which directly duplicates the familiarity of Microsoft Office. I also think an alternative approach to the idea of separate applications for key functionality is beginning to feel restrictive. Within the Web environment we’re seeing the merging of different technologies and environments into a single, but powerful, application. Why can’t we see this on the desktop?

Grid Meter mentions Grid/Web Services Series

Greg Nawrocki, over at Grid Meter, has mentioned the convergence of SOA (Service Oriented Architectures) and Grid technology, and points readers to my recent Building a Grid with Web Services series (which I wrote with Tyler Anderson). I agree 100% with Greg – if you aren’t already working with SOA and want to get into Grid development then you should take a look at SOA now. If you are already working on SOA applications, then you already have a good base for migrating that into Grid tech. If you want to get the jump, start reading Building a Grid with Web Services right now!

Cheffy goes live!

Over the years many of you will have heard me mention things like Foodware, Cheffy and Foodies. All names for essentially the same thing, a recipe site that does more than just provide you with a simple way of finding recipes. Today, 18th December, we went live and we (Suna and myself) would like you to be among the first to visit and try out the site. The basics of the site are simple; you can search by ingredients, diet, nutrition, a whole range of keywords and you can combine all of this to pick out exactly the recipes you want. When you find the recipe you want, the recipe is fully scalable, up and down, and you can view in any of the available measurements to suit your preferences. All recipes include full nutritional information, calories, and even the glycemic load and index for each and every recipe. At the moment we also provide customized viewing preferences (sort order, measurements and quantities), your own cookbook and shopping list functionality. The site is still officially in beta, but consider the bulk of the site and functionality (as advertised) to be complete and working. We do, of course, appreciate feedback and bug reports on anything that you find that doesn’t look right. Waiting in the wings, there’s a meal planner, recipe ratings, comments and the ability to add your own recipes – all with full nutrition and searching capabilities from the moment you add it to the database. Please visit the site: http://cheffy.comWe also have a blog where we are asking for comments in input at Please feel free to contact me or use the contact form on the sites to convey your views. And meanwhile, spread the word!