Adding DTrace probes to your applications

A new article on adding DTrace probes to your application has been published on IBM developerWorks:

DTrace provides a rich environment of probes that can be used to monitor the execution of your system, from the kernel up to your application. You can perform a significant amount of examination without changing your application, but to get detailed statistics, you need to add probes to your application. In this article we will examine how to design the probes, where to add them into your application, the best locations for the probes, and how to effectively build and use the probes that you have added.

Read Adding DTrace probes to your applications

Systems Administration Toolkit: Using SNMP data

A new article on consuming and using the SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) data that is published and provided by different devices is now available:

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is built in to many devices, but often the tools and software that can read and parse this information are too large and complicated when you only want to check a quick statistic or track a particular device or issue. This article looks at some simplified methods for getting SNMP information from your devices and how to integrate this information into the rest of your network’s data map.

Read: Systems Administration Toolkit: Using SNMP data

Systems Administration Toolkit: Understanding DNS

A new article on understanding the Domain Name System (DNS) is now available:

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the service that converts hostnames and domain details into the IP addresses required for application to communicate. Under UNIX, the primary DNS service is based on BIND, and DNS itself is a key part of most UNIX installations. This article looks at the basics of DNS setup, how servers and requests are distributed, and exchanged and how to set up and keep a DNS environment running smoothly.

Read: Systems Administration Toolkit: Understanding DNS

Systems Administration Toolkit: Log file basics

A new article on some basic log file information and maintenance is available:

A typical UNIX or Linux machine creates many log files during the course of its operation. Some of these contain useful information; others can be used to help you with capacity and resource planning. This article looks at the fundamental information recorded within the different log files, their location, and how that information can be used to your benefit to work out what is going on within your system.

Read: Systems Administration Toolkit: Log file basics

Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

My review of the Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation had made it into Issue 11 of Free Software Magazine.Here’s a taster:

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.The Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation is based an 64-bit UltraSPARC CPU. There are two main models, a 15″ unit that comes with a UltraSPARC IIi CPU at 550 or 650MHz, and a 17″ model with a 1.2GHz UltraSPARC IIIi CPU. Both are standard CPUs-these are not cut down or restricted versions designed to work within a laptop-and that is a key parameter for identifying the target market for the unit.

Read the full article.If you don’t get the vibes, I like this machine, and Solaris as a laptop operating system is pretty good too. In fact, I’ve start up a new blog, Laptop Solaris to talk about my experiences with this machine and Solaris on a laptop in general.

StarOffice 8 Review – Office Killer?

LinuxPlanet have just recently published my very detailed StarOffice 8 review. To summarize, I like it, and with a few caveats, it gives Microsoft Office a run for its money. The article is spread over a number pages, with screenshots, a brief TOC is below:

  1. Alternatives to Microsoft Office
  2. Availability
  3. Installation
  4. StarOffice Writer
  5. StarOffice Calc
  6. StarOffice Impress
  7. StarOffice Draw
  8. StarOffice Base
  9. Office Killer?

You can read the full article at LinuxPlanet.

Write software for multiple UNIX platforms

I have a new tutorial on writing software for multiple UNIX platforms at IBM developerWorks. The focus is on the technical aspects, such as header and library availability, build environments and understanding what some of the key elements are. I also take the opportunity to go over a basic configure script system, using the GNU autotools/autoconf toolkit to generate the necessary scripts. You can read the full tutorial Write software for multiple UNIX platforms.This tutorial is part of a new series on UNIX (rather than Linux, or Open Source) technology at developerWorks, and some of the tutorials are already in the system, with others in process of being written and developed. I’ve got help in this area in the form of Chris Herborth, long time writing associate and friend, and David Dougall, a system administrator at Brigham Young University (BYU). David’s latest piece, Use free software within commercial UNIX it also available.

OpenSolaris and Linux

Regular readers will know I am both a fan of Linux and Solaris, for different reasons and, often, different solutions and environments. Back at the beginning of October I wrote this mammoth piece on my Computerworld blog: Distributions and standardization. It looks at the movement of Linux (an open source OS) towards a standardized base just at a time when OpenSolaris has been released, an OS based on standards that is now open source. There’s the potential here for OpenSolaris to have the advantage over Linux in this regard. I was asked by Computerworld to condense that piece down into an article to appear in the printed magazine, which now appears online as OpenSolaris Has a Leg Up on Linux. The latter has solicited more comments (directly by email) than the blog post, but the common thread is the same – Solaris may have an advantage, but it could be its only one. I’m not here to take sides, merely to point out the situation – I always will choose the operating system according to its target use and environment – but the OpenSolaris/Linux debate is going to be an interesting one to watch.

Announcing Laptop Solaris

Regular readers will know I’ve been a long term fan and user of Solaris, but things in the Solaris space have changed recently. I haven’t used Solaris as a desktop operating system for about 7 years, but for a long time, despite working at an agency where Macs were the desktop operating system, I used to spend most of my time programming and managing a Sun server network using an Axil SPARC sworkstation running Solaris, and before that, Solaris 2 had been my desktop operating system more or less since leaving college while I managed a Sun based database system. Now I’m going back to those roots and installing Solaris 10, and in the future OpenSolaris, onto my Sony Vaio Z1 and use it as my main desktop operating system. Just to make it interesting, that’s also a laptop. Hence Laptop Solaris is born.For more information on what I’m going to be covering on the site, read the Intro post.