Thursday, May 22, 2008

I learned something today, on the boot/init system of Solaris 8. Yes, it's an old mechanism that isn't used anymore in Solaris 10, but still it amazed me.

A new init script was added in /etc/rc3.d, it simply configured the network interfaces, it is called and the entry in rc3 was called something like, it only contains a 'start' part as it doesn't matter what happens to the network interfaces during shutdown.

Now, the strange thing was that all init scripts after were no longer executed, thus a bunch of stuff still needed to be started when the system had finished its boot sequence.

Turns out the culprit was the postfix '.sh', when it has this extension Solaris does something else with it. Witness this part of the /sbin/rc3 script;

for f in /etc/rc3.d/S*; do
if [ -s $f ]; then
case $f in
*.sh) . $f ;;
*) /sbin/sh $f start ;;

Notice that would get 'sourced' instead of executed by a shell. To demonstrate the effect, I have made a simple test that shows this nicely.

dirk@my-mac-mini:~/Temp$ ls
dirk@my-mac-mini:~/Temp$ cat test*

. ./
echo "test1 ends here"
exit 0

echo "test2 ends here"
exit 0
dirk@my-mac-mini:~/Temp$ ./
test2 ends here

Because of the 'exit' command in everything stops, and is not continued. Hence the init sequence stopped when it reached the end of the netcfg init script. It took some time to figure that one out, and i found no mention of the special case of '.sh' init scripts in the Solaris manuals on the Sun site.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yes, Ubuntu Hardy Heron works just great on the Mac mini. Well, at least for the most part. I you have an Apple keyboard you will have to pull of some tricks to get it working 'better'. For example the 'num lock' does not work and will screw up your keyboard usage, I found you can reverse the effect by pressing the 'fn' key, which is located at the 'insert' key location on a PC keyboard.

You can easliy solve this buggerness by enabling this function in the 'keyboard layout' options in the 'preferences' (see screenshot). Another thing is the none-working function keys. Really great, luckily these can be enabled simply by the command;

echo 2 > /sys/module/hid/parameters/pb_fnmode

put this in your '/etc/rc.local' or for your lazyness. The one major drawback is that the sleep function isn't working. It is probably kernel related, as 2.6.24-12 from rc1 worked just fine, but the current 'stable' 2.6.24-16 doesn't. I'll try to figure out which part is responsable later.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

About a month ago a press release was issued about a study from the Standish Group International, where they claim that OSS is costing software vendors $60 Billion, or about 6% yearly.

That is just great news. I suspect it will only increase in these financial challenging times. The bottom line is that we all have been paying $60 Billion to much all these years. Money we could have used to expand our own businesses.

Another way to look at it is from in investors side of things. When you think about it, it means that right now, OSS is already a $60 Billion business. And the 'commercial' OSS market is still very young and growing. It sure does look tempting to invest in such a growing market which is already eating away at other long lasting companies (well, long lasting for IT anyway).