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Solaris to Linux Migration 2017 Amid Layoffs

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OS
Server
  • Solaris to Linux Migration 2017

    Many people have contacted me recently about switching from Solaris (or illumos) to Linux, especially since most of the Solaris kernel team were let go this year (including my former colleagues, I'm sorry to hear). This includes many great engineers who I'm sure will excel in whatever they choose to work on next. They have been asking me about Linux because I've worked for years on each platform: Solaris, illumos, and Linux, in all cases full time and as a subject matter expert. I've also done some work on BSD, which is another compelling choice, but I'll discuss that another time. The following is my opinion and not an official guide to any OS.

    Switching from Solaris to Linux has become much easier in the last two years, with Linux developments in ZFS, Zones, and DTrace. I've been contributing (out of necessity), including porting my DTraceToolkit tools to Linux, which also work on BSD. What follows are topics that may be of interest to anyone looking to migrate their systems and skillset: scan these to find topics that interest you.

  • Oracle staff report big layoffs across Solaris, SPARC teams
  • Sun set: Oracle closes down last Sun product lines

    None of this is a real surprise. Oracle had cut former Sun engineers and developers by a thousand employees in January. In Oracle's most recent SPARC/Solaris roadmap, the next generation Solaris 12 had been replaced by Solaris 11.next and SPARC next -- incremental upgrades.

    Former Sun executive Bryan Cantrill reported, based on his conversations with current Solaris team members, that Oracle's latest layoffs were, "So deep as to be fatal: The core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90 percent of its people, including essentially all management." James Gosling, Java's creator, summed it up: "Solaris ... got a bullet in the head from Oracle on Friday."

postmarketOS is a Touch-Optimized Linux Distro for Smartphones and Tablets

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OS
Linux

The same situation does not happen with old computers, though, mainly thanks to GNU/Linux distributions. You can actually take a 2007 computer and install a basic Linux distro on it, and it’ll run through most tasks (including web searching, multimedia playback, social networks and more) without a hitch. You will even get the latest security patches and most new features on your old computer. These distros also keep resource usage to a minimum, so while it definitely won’t be faster than a newer computer, it will work just fine for most of your casual needs. There is a small project hoping to bring that kind of support to Android phones and tablets, and that project is called postmarketOS

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Oracle Layoffs and Analysis of Impact on Solaris

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OS
  • Solaris update plan is real, but future looks cloudy by design

    Ever since Oracle quietly announced it would not deliver any more point-zero upgrades to its Solaris operating system and instead move to continuous delivery, The Register has wondered exactly what Big Red plans to deliver, and when. Our interest grew after Solaris boss John Fowler left Oracle and then grew again as soon-to-be-former Oracle staffers told us of big cuts to he Solaris and SPARC teams.

  • Oracle Cuts More Jobs in Its Hardware and Solaris Units

    Oracle has laid off what appears to be a significant number of employees working on its hardware and Solaris operating system efforts, according to anonymous posts on TheLayoff.com, the gist of which were confirmed to Fortune by former Oracle employees.
    Both Oracle's server and Solaris efforts emanated out of Sun Microsystems, a company Oracle acquired in 2010 for $7.4 billion. Before then Oracle had been a software company specializing in databases and financial applications, so jumping into computer servers and SPARC microprocessors—another Sun business—was a stretch. Solaris was Sun's version of Unix, a powerful operating system that powered its servers.

The sudden death and eternal life of Solaris

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OS

As had been rumored for a while, Oracle effectively killed Solaris on Friday. When I first saw this, I had assumed that this was merely a deep cut, but in talking to Solaris engineers still at Oracle, it is clearly much more than that. It is a cut so deep as to be fatal: the core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90% of its people, including essentially all management.

Of note, among the engineers I have spoken with, I heard two things repeatedly: “this is the end” and (from those who managed to survive Friday) “I wish I had been laid off.” Gone is any of the optimism (however tepid) that I have heard over the years — and embarrassed apologies for Oracle’s behavior have been replaced with dismay about the clumsiness, ineptitude and callousness with which this final cut was handled. In particular, that employees who had given their careers to the company were told of their termination via a pre-recorded call — “robo-RIF’d” in the words of one employee — is both despicable and cowardly. To their credit, the engineers affected saw themselves as Sun to the end: they stayed to solve hard, interesting problems and out of allegiance to one another — not out of any loyalty to the broader Oracle. Oracle didn’t deserve them and now it doesn’t have them — they have been liberated, if in a depraved act of corporate violence.

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Oracle Layoffs and Sun Projects/Staff

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OS
  • Oracle Layoffs Hit Longtime Solaris Developers Hard

    It looks like the Oracle layoffs just before the US Labor Day indeed hit the SPARC and Solaris groups hard.

    There hasn't been any official announcement from Oracle, but unconfirmed reports put it at 1,000~1,500 Oracle staff losing their jobs, particularly in the Solaris and SPARC divisions.

    Solaris has been slowly dieing and these latest layoffs seem to further reinforce that and some anonymous reports as well that Solaris 11.4 isn't going to happen, or at least not as planned, and Solaris 12 can definitely be kissed goodbye.

  • Oracle could leave Java EE to an open source foundation and more news

    Database giant Oracle wants to hand Java EE over to an open source foundation. With this move, Oracle hopes a foundation will be able to "adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing and change the governance process." Possible candidates are the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, to which Oracle has passed software in the past. Oracle got Java EE as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems back in 2010.

ReactOS 0.4.6 released

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OS

The ReactOS Project is pleased to release version 0.4.6 as a continuation of its three month cadence.

0.4.6 is a major step towards real hardware support. Several dual boot issues have been fixed and now partitions are managed in a safer way avoiding corruption of the partition list structures. ReactOS Loader can now load custom kernels and HALs.

Printing Subsystem is still greenish in 0.4.6, however Colin Finck has implemented a huge number of new APIs and fixed some of the bugs reported and detected by the ReactOS automated tests.

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Petition Asks the Developers of Phoenix OS to Open Source the Kernel

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OS
Android
OSS

Android is mainly considered an open source mobile operating system, but there are a number of closed source elements that hundreds of millions of people use every day. The actual requirements of Android is that the kernel be open sourced for the public. This is enforced by the GPL but sadly this is one of those gray areas where someone actually needs to take legal action to enforce it. Some companies have violated this time and time again, and a new petition is calling for the developers of Phoenix OS to do the right thing.

For those who are unaware, Phoenix OS is one of the only full desktop versions of Android that is still being maintained. We’ve covered another popular platform, RemixOS, on a number of occasions but even they dropped out recently to focus on being a 2B2 company. This has left a lot of people to look towards Phoenix OS as their desktop Android solution, but there’s one glaring flaw here. The developers have yet to release the source code for the kernel that’s being used.

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Operating Systems Genode and Haiku

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OS
OSS
  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 17.08

    The flagship feature of Genode 17.08 has been in the works for more than a year: The support for hardware-accelerated graphics on Intel Gen-8 GPUs. This is an especially challenging topic because it is riddled with terminology, involves highly complex software stacks, carries a twisted history with it, and remains to be a moving target. It took up a lot of patience to build up a profound understanding of the existing driver architectures and the mechanisms offered by modern graphics hardware. On the other hand, with the proliferation of hardware-based sandboxing features like virtual GPU memory and hardware contexts, we found that now is the perfect time for a clean-slate design of a microkernelized GPU driver. Section Hardware-accelerated graphics for Intel Gen-8 GPUs introduces this work, which includes our new GPU multiplexer as well as the integration with the client-side Mesa protocol stack.

  • Genode 17.08 Now Supports Broadwell Graphics, Xen DomU Support

    Version 17.08 of the Genode open-source operating system framework is now available with a variety of changes.

    Genode OS 17.09 now features support for Intel "Gen 8" Broadwell graphics thanks to its ported open-source Intel Linux driver code and also upgrading to Mesa 11.2.2. They have made other improvements too for their graphics driver stack in Genode, including an experimental GPU multiplexer.

  • BeOS-Inspired Haiku OS Had A Successful GSoC 2017: Swift, Btrfs, Preferences GUI

    With Google Summer of Code 2017 now in the books, the final reports on the various projects carried out within the BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system are now available.

Jolla demos Sailfish OS on Sony Xperia X, software ready for sale soon

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OS

At MWC 2017, Jolla announced that the company was determined to see Sailfish OS in phones of more users this year, and it came up with a plan to put the Android alternative in Sony Xperia devices. Now we have a video from Jolla showing just what Sailfish OS can do on a Sony Xperia device.

Jolla was one of the companies that sprung from the old Finnish giant Nokia, after it decided to stop selling phones. Jolla made Sailfish OS, a software for mobile devices that was based on Linux, but also combining some elements from Android – all the while being totally different from Google’s mobile platform. If you want to see what Sailfish OS can do, check out the video below.

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Asus Tinker Board – TinkerOS Android 13.11.0.5 – Anything Special?

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OS
Android

Asus published their first beta Android release (version 13.11.0.2) for the Tinker Board back in April. It was an important step for this single board computer, as Android is a hugely popular operating system with a phenomenal range of open source and proprietary software available. While the initial release was withdrawn from Asus’s support website, Asus followed up the initial release with some minor updates (versions 13.11.0.3 and 13.11.0.4) boasting some fairly modest improvements.

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More in Tux Machines

Purism's Linux Phone to Use Convergence for a Unified Experience Across Devices

For Purism, the company that sells quality computers using a Linux-based operating system and are intended to protect user's privacy and freedom, designing a convergent Linux phone is a long-term goal to unify the mobile experience across various devices. Purism's François Téchené shares some initial details on how the company plans to use convergence for their short and long-term design goals of Librem 5, the Linux smartphone that raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter last year, saying they're looking to unify the human experience across different device you might own. Read more

Leftovers: ExeeLinux Show/Unleaded Hangouts, Linux Foundation's CNCF/Akraino and More

  • What’s Holding Linux Back – Unleaded Hangouts
    What’s Holding Linux Back? Obviously we’ve seen some growth, but it does feel like there may be some things that hold Linux back a bit. We discuss.
  • ExeeLinux Show 18.9 | Mr. Desktop & Mr. Server Ep. 9 – PDisks
    ExeeLinux Show 18.9 | Mr. Desktop & Mr. Server Ep. 9 – PDisks
  • How Kubernetes became the solution for migrating legacy applications
    In 2015, Google released Kubernetes as an open source project. It was an implementation of Google's internal system called Borg. Google and the Linux Foundation created the Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to host Kubernetes (and other cloud-native projects) as an independent project governed by a community around it. Kubernetes quickly became one of the fastest growing open source projects in history, growing to thousands of contributors across dozens of companies and organizations. What makes Kubernetes so incredible is its implementation of Google's own experience with Borg. Nothing beats the scale of Google. Borg launches more than 2-billion containers per week, an average of 3,300 per second. At its peak, it's many, many more. Kubernetes was born in a cauldron of fire, battle-tested and ready for massive workloads.
  • Akraino, a New Linux Foundation Project, Aims to Drive Alignment Around High-Availability Cloud Services for Network Edge
    Akraino will offer users new levels of flexibility to scale edge cloud services quickly, to maximize the applications or subscribers supported on each server, and to help ensure the reliability of systems that must be up at all times. While several open source projects exist to help solve pieces of the puzzle, nothing currently meets the need for an edge infrastructure solution. Integration of existing efforts in this new project will help deliver ease of use, hardened reliability, unique features, and performance for carrier, provider, and IoT networks.
  • Absolute 15.0 Beta 4 released
    Based on Slackware64-current Another beta... with all the kernel updates, glib and such -- trying to make things easier on beta testers :-)
  • State of Wisconsin Investment Board Has $33.92 Million Stake in Red Hat Inc (RHT)

Security: Updates, Nintendo 'Hackers', Microsoft Windows Back Doors, and FlightSimLabs Malware

  • Security updates for Tuesday
  • Hackers Release Video Of Nintendo Switch Running A Linux Distro
    When it comes to porting software to potentially unsupported devices, hackers are quite comfortable to push themselves beyond the boundaries set by the manufactures.
  • Epidemic of cryptojacking can be traced to escaped NSA superweapon [Ed: It's a Microsoft Windows issue. All versions of Windows (ME onwards) have NSA back doors]
    It all started when the Shadow Brokers dumped a collection of NSA cyberweapons that the NSA had fashioned from unreported bugs in commonly used software, including versions of Windows. The NSA discovered these bugs and then hoarded them, rather than warning the public and/or the manufacturers about them, in order to develop weapons that turned these bugs into attacks that could be used against the NSA's enemies.
  • Flight Sim Company Embeds Malware to Steal Pirates’ Passwords

    Flight sim company FlightSimLabs has found itself in trouble after installing malware onto users' machines as an anti-piracy measure. Code embedded in its A320-X module contained a mechanism for detecting 'pirate' serial numbers distributed on The Pirate Bay, which then triggered a process through which the company stole usernames and passwords from users' web browsers.

Software and Games Leftovers

  • LXD Weekly Status #35
    This past week we’ve been focusing on a number of open pull requests, getting closer to merging improvements to our storage volume handling, unix char/block devices handling and the massive clustering branch that’s been cooking for a while. We’re hoping to see most of those land at some point this coming week. On the LXC side of things, the focus was on bugfixes and cleanups as well as preparing for the removal of the python3 and lua bindings from the main repository. We’re also making good progress on distrobuilder and hope to start moving some of our images to using it as the build tool very soon.
  • Performance Co-Pilot 4.0.0 released
    It gives me great pleasure to announce the first major-numbered PCP release in nine and a half years - PCP v4 - is here!
  • Performance Co-Pilot Sees First Major Version Bump In Nearly A Decade
    The Performance Co-Pilot open-source cross-platform monitoring/visualizing stack has reached version 4.0 as its first major version hike in almost ten years.
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  • Sci-fi mystery 'The Station' has released, it’s a short but memorable experience
    What would happen if we discovered the existence of alien life? A question I've often asked and a question many games, films and books have covered in great detail. The Station [Steam] is a sci-fi mystery that sees you investigate The Espial, a space station sent to research a sentient alien civilization.
  • Halcyon 6: The Precursor Legacy DLC released, some good content for a small price
    Halcyon 6: The Precursor Legacy DLC [GOG, Steam] was released earlier this month, adding some really nice content at a small price to an already great game.
  • Parry and dodge your way to victory in 'Way of the Passive Fist', launching March 6th
    Way of the Passive Fist [Steam, Official Site] is a rather unique and very colourful arcade brawler and it's releasing with Linux support on March 6th.