SRKR Engineering Collge Visit

[Another backlog post from March 12th.]

Visited SRKR Engineering College on March 12th. This trip combined several activities at the college:

  • Meeting of Bhimavaram Open Solaris User Group and inviting new members.
  • Review of specification for new hardware that would install OpenSolaris in labs.
  • Guidance for summer projects in open source.

The OpenSolaris meet is attended by 3rd year students. Most of them have internal examinations that afternoon, so we did a very short meeting covering features of OpenSolaris. Since I don’t have my laptop with me in the conference room, I used just the slide deck and there are no interactive demo sessions. My next visit will for sure have more interactive sessions.

We also talked about potential summer projects in the areas of or using OpenSolaris, OpenJDK, Netbeans, Eclipse and others. Most ideas are around minor bug fixes, extensions and nightly builds using code management tools. We may soon have a couple of phone call sessions involving faculty.

I also reviewed the specifications of new hardware for installing OpenSolaris in the labs. All of them are PCs with good amount of RAM, descent CPU speed, nVidia graphics chips and AMD X64 processors.

Some photos here:

SRKRMar2008

I left a copy of OpenSolaris Developer Preview at the college for them to try out.

Sun Tech Days Day02

It is fun and technology again. No time to take photos. Shared some ideas, issues, tools and tricks with my OpenSolaris buddies and some of the attendees. More socializing with Sun folks. Interacted with more attendees and suggested hints on the best ways to learn (a) OpenSoalris, (b) Java technologies. There are some in depth discussions on virtualization, types (and the good, bad & ugly) of hypervisor technologies from Sun and others.

Had to shorten my visit today due to other commitments in the evening. Short, yet sweet!

ibibo

This week, I checked out ibibo, a social networking site targeted primarily towards India’s netizens. At first, I thought that this is similar to facebook, but later found some key differences.

  • ibibo depends heavily on pre-cooked applications (blogs, photos, polls, yada, yada) and facebook has a rich set of user or group contributed applications.
  • facebook gives you a feel of being event driven and ibibo gives you a feel of conversation/content driven, mostly due to blogs, questions and polls.
  • facebook seems to be exploring an individual’s prior contacts, but ibibo’s contact building (at least for now) seems to be pretty random.

I haven’t explored ibibo much (yet), but there are already a few positive things I can tell, when compared to other community/networking sites.

  • Their photo uploading interface is lot better. You can upload a single photo at a time using the “browse” selection or launch a Java applet to upload a large number of photos at once. This works fine on all platforms including Linux and OpenSolaris, making life easy for power sharers. I am usually irked when I have to upload lot of photos at once to other photo sharing sites from a Unix based desktop.
  • The account comes with built in blog interface. I am surprised to see a bunch of frequent bloggers. There is a bloggers hall of fame!
  • Lot of applications are tuned to Indian scenarios (like searches and polls based on India current affairs, location specific Q&A, etc.) For example, a question like “How do I reach Taj Banjara Hotel in Hyderabad?”. India’s maps or search engines are not yet detailed enough for answering such questions.

Overall, this is a site worth exploring, especially if you are in India or know the Indian scenarios.

NetBeans and Dual Licensing

Recently Sun dual licensed its IDE, NetBeans 6. That means the code is open with both CDDL and GPLv2 (with Classpath Exception.) What would this mean? It would mean that all the GPLv2 based distributions can ship the NetBeans IDE easily. Better reach, better for integrations. (I am not a license expert and won’t comment on the finer details of this dual licensing.)

BTW, downloaded NetBeans 6 Beta recently, but am yet to test the full power of that.

Sun Tech Days Hyderabad

This is in continuation of my first day’s summary of Sun Tech Days Hyderabad.

Based on the interest we have seen for T2000, we wanted to get some printouts of this brochure on T2000. Satish called me on the night of 21st and I could get 400 copies of this brochure printed by a local internet kiosk, for a cost of less than USD 9.00.
I reached the venue by 8.00am on Thursday (22nd) and people started trickling in, even an hour before the actual start. I quickly settled into the SysNet stall. Today, there are more questions on Systems Management products and T2000. Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • how we manage the system (hint: SunMC, System Manager, UCE)
  • how we configure zones on T2000 (hint: Use Solaris Container Manager)
  • how do we actually leverage the presence of so many cores
  • how do we provision 100s of such systems (hint: SPS)
  • how do we know if something is wrong with such a system (hint: SunMC alarms)
  • how do we pull management data from the kernel or hardware (hint: SunMC agentry)
  • what happens if one of the core goes bad for some reason
  • the benefits of fair share scheduler
  • how the security isolation works for many applications running on such box (hint: use Solaris zones)
  • what alternatives do I have if I don’t require such CPU power, but require lot of disk space (hint: use Thumper along with ZFS.)

Overall, it is better than the previous day in terms of depth of questions and curiosity level. Both Harshit and Satish had presentations today and we are swamped by questions even when all three of us are there at the pod. By 6.00pm, I am really tired physically, but the energy level of the visitors kept me up.

Harshit’s laptop doesn’t have any entertainment media. So I couldn’t demonstrate the answer to one question. Does Solaris support media like mp3 and DVD video. I don’t have my laptop with me today, which has some demos for such occasions.

By 6.30pm, we started with HOSUG (Hyderabad Open Solaris Users Group) meeting. The hour long preso by Moinak is good and the subsequent Q & A session transformed into a well participated discussion amongst all members. There is a volunteer from community to run the HOSUG efforts. I am going to assist that person with the logistics help needed from Sun or otherwise.

By the time we winded up Day 2, it was 8.30pm.

For the third day, I packed my laptop and a couple of Discovery Channel DVDs (I love this DVD series, gifted to me by one of my friends) to demonstrate the multimedia abilities of Open Solaris. The day is split to three tracks: Open Solaris, NetBeans and Java ME. Before the OpenSolaris track started, I could demonstrate the DVDs running on OpenSolaris with xine video player. Even though my laptop is 3 years old, it plays DVDs great! I attended the OpenSolaris track till post lunch and then headed home with Satish and Harshit.

The three day event ended on a very positive note and I could see smiles on faces of everyone involved. The efforts of people who worked for the success of the event has paid off and this is one of the greatest Sun Tech Days yet, I can bet.

Sun Tech Days Hyderabad: What a Start!

Wow! Thats the word that came to my mind when I saw the keynote hall of Sun Tech Days – Hyderabad event at Hyderabad International Convention Center this morning. By 8.00am this place is so alive both in terms of excitement level and spectacular visual appeal. Located in the premises of the Novotel hotel, this is a great place to conduct such a great event!
Few thousand people registered at twenty something registration desks and made their way to the demo stalls. Quickly got myself into the SysNet stall featuring SPS and Sun Management Center demonstrated on a T2000 box. We thought that the visitors will start at about 9.00am, but they were here 45 minutes early. I could assist Harshit and Satish till the keynote began and then went to the seminar hall.

The Seminar hall could host anything close to 8000 people (thats what I guessed, I could be wrong) and it is full. The audio visual arrangements, along with the Sun backdrop and the sponsors’ logos, are fantastic. The crowd is enthusiastic and cheered every great moment, especially during the demo of emerging Sun ideas and technologies: the voice front end to AJAX code builder, FFF front end, perf monitoring using Sun Studio compiler plugins, NetBeans based application development for a GoogleMaps front-end, what not. Speeches by Bhaskar and Rich Green are well received too.

That has set the mood for the day and the next two days to come. Once I am out of the keynote session, I am busy till 5.00pm (thats when I had to leave to beat the home bound traffic.) I never had a spare time to relax. There is a continuous stream of visitors to the booth. I think people got lot more excitement when they saw the T2000’s internal view. SunMC demo also attracted lot of attention.

Student community attended the event in great numbers. For all those attendees who want to ask questions about the Sun Technologies that we displayed there: send a mail to askraju __a t__ spurthi.com

There will be photos and more (read better) reports of this event coming soon, but this is the way to beat the excitement of this great event. Blog it now!