thoughts, ideas, code and other things...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The OpenSolaris Meetup

Since the netinst says 6 hrs remaining, I have enough time to kill...

Yesterday I was at the OpenSolaris meetup at TW. There were supposed to be three topics of discussion - DTrace, ZFS and Zones. These are some of the really cool things one can talk of when talking about OpenSolaris. By end of first two there was hardly any time left to go on. And neither I had much capacity left out.

This time I saw a few more familiar faces. It was surprising to find Santhu from IITM, sitting just behind me for the DTrace session. I had met him at CodeBreakers (I just loved the prelims and final round questions) at Shaastra 08. I also found some familiar faces from PyCon India 09, made some new friends, etc, etc.

This meetup has left me with a bigger to-try-out list, which includes -
  1. [ ] Trying out DTrace. Do that uname -a hack on it so that the user thinks he is on Ubuntu while running BeleniX :)
  2. [ ] use DTrace to develop an understanding of what goes behind the scenes. It's an awesome tool that gives you a goldbag of hidden knowledge, will be great for Unix Internals next sem.
  3. [ ] Would love to tinker with ZFS, manage some stuff, make some space for backups and use snapshots over them.
  4. [ ] Understand the difference b/w linux and unix. Yes! I had a very very tough time today morning with OpenSolaris.
  5. [ ] Play around with Evince's code to solve the small usability glitch I found out. More over use stow as suggested by rrs to build it rather than breaking my system as I did yesterday.
  6. [ ] Checkout Alioth (looks cool), maybe put gtweetbar over it.
  7. [ ] KDE. Yeah, have to, I found KDE 3.5.x that runs on BeleniX 0.7.1 to be giving decent performance.
  8. [ ] Figure out how the hell to get networking done on BeleniX - wired and wireless. To my disappointment as for today morning's attempt. dladm show-link shows nothing :( Even /usr/bin/inetmenu isn't present, so I can't procede the n00b way. But I have to show some patience to it, read some more and come back.
Btw, its pretty cool to know that in ZFS you don't need any formatting, it builds up as you use it! And there was another point where Moinak discussed about how the scheduling algo places related things nearby so that the disk head doesn't have to move a lot. I could relate that to OS course we had last semester. I definitely plan to take up Unix Internals next semester. I hope they don't cancel it. You'll notice a 'Bheria Dhasaan' (crowd induced decisions) at my college when it comes to course selection. Many people tend to decide what they choose on three factors -
  • Where's majority heading to?
  • What is easy?
  • Which one's got the teacher I know/heard of?
What about the subject itself ??? Maybe I should start influencing some people to build a recognizable Unix Internals gang.

After the meetup I was walking around Koramangala with Navin, who was very happy to hand me a CD of OpenSolaris and NetBeans. I'm still not an IDE guy. He also talked about OSUM, etc, and asked me if I could start a group at my college, but how do I explain that I goto a college which bans use of personal computing equipments (laptops) for 2 years of the 4 year engineering course. How would I find a suitable audience there?? Its a place where a guy asked this to my friend who was using Ubuntu - "Is this genuine, did you purchase it or got it pirated?" (that's true, I'm not exaggerating). Its a place where they keep you busy-tied with their awesome course plans and irrelevant courses.

So, if I do form any such group, there might be hardly any output apart from a very few getting an understanding of the things. The sole purpose of forming such group would drill down to self promotion instead of intelligent discussion, getting some Certificate from Sun and goodies, which I do not want and which is not the _way_. There must be some better purpose behind my actions. After all being in third year, your audience are going to be 1st and 2nd year students who don't have a laptop to try anything you've talked about. Correct me if I'm being too negative.

I still don't buy that "everything runs on java" or "sab kuch aajkal java pe hi to chalta hai" thing some people point-out around me, have heard it from a java guy and another mate who thinks that he knows. "Chalta hai to chalta hoga, main apna ghar to apni marzi se chalaunga", atleast I've not run a Java Applet since 6 months, I'm sure about it, the enterprise scene might be different. Besides as a student who wants to play around and actually use his computer to do cool things, why would I waste writing 100 lines of java, where I could do same or more in 20 lines of Python, getting input from user in 3 lines where I could do it in one raw_input(). And again if such baseless rumours drive what you plan to learn, then what's the fun?

That also reminds me of Digambar from NTRO internship - "Poora duniya Oraccle pe hi chalta hai.", notice the extra 'c'. And his machine gun of baseless arguments supporting Oracle the moment 'MySql' came out of my mouth. His love for ASP.NET, the moment 'PHP' came out of my mouth.

I installed OpenSolaris 2009.06 from that live cd today. It worked, bootup time was little high, no problem. Got proper resolution, a polished gnome (Ubuntu 9.10 is more polished) and was again stuck on how to get wireless working, before I could get the windows XP drivers to be used with ndiswrapper, I rebooted and osol failed to start X... I located gdm (which gdm), rant it and was presented with this - "Can't locate /export/$HOME" etc... Something had gone wrong without reasons! My /export was empty. Felt pointless investigating it and threw in the BeleniX liveCD.

Some more observation on it - whenever I restart it from KDE, instead of a restart I get dropped to CLI login screen with a warning message that kdm could not execute reboot. I wonder if its a user priviledge issue...

4 hr 56 minutes more to the Debian netinst. This time I've selected KDE as default desktop on it. Will fetch gnome later, need that to work upon gTweetBar and Evince.

I tried finding some presentations from the meet, here is a huge list -

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At October 26, 2009 at 1:11 AM , Blogger Jass said...

Saying majority of the world runs on java so you should use java is like saying 60 percent of world uses IE6 so you should use IE6.

That said, I really like java as a language. My first love. After
coding in C/C++, Java has been a great experience. Picked up python a couple months back and it is amazing how much you can do with less. Reading code is really better if the code is written with python philosophy in mind.
IMO Developers should be aware of more than just one language and know when to use what. :)

At October 26, 2009 at 1:26 AM , Blogger IdeaMonk said...

Wow, the IE6 analogy is really cool way to put it down :)
Hmm, I realize my opinion on programming languages tends to be based on how easy and quick it is to implement ocassional bathroom ideas.
Python is something that has satisfied this need after old days of QuickBASIC.

At October 26, 2009 at 1:26 AM , Blogger IdeaMonk said...

I must start looking at other aspects of the languages too.

At October 26, 2009 at 4:01 PM , Blogger Jass said...

Besides even if you want to leverage the fact that world runs on java. You still got jython with you ;)


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