Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Developer's Journal: Solaris #11

CTRL+BACKSPACE has bitten me for the last time.

I've been trying to make OpenSolaris/JDS my work environment for the last week and time and time again my desktop restarts itself because of CTRL+BACKSPACE. 99% of the time I swear I didn't press the key combination! Fixing it has solved one of the many things about JDS that annoy the crap out of me (I'll tell those stories another day).

The solution is extremely simple. Edit the xorg config file located at /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the following line to the ServerFlags Section:

Option         "DontZap"  "true"
Save the file and hit CTRL+BACKSPACE to restart the JDS for the last time.

I'm so elated I figure I would take a moment and send this one up. Thanx Alfred Peng.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Developer's Journal: Solaris #10

I've solved the font problem. It was a font rendering issue. I have dual 20 inch LCD monitors and the default font rendering settings just wasn't cutting it. A quick visit to the "Font" dialog box under "Preferences" made all the difference. The fuzz is gone. Yeah!

I've also completed configuring my bash environment ala Gentoo so Solaris is starting to feel a lot less foreign to me than it did two days ago. The next step is installing and configuring IDEA and pulling down my current working set from a couple Subversion repositories. I don't think the real benefits of Solaris are going to be evident to me without hacking on some code.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Developer's Journal: Solaris #9

Installation complete! Yeah!

Initial Reactions

The fonts look like crap! At this point, I'm not sure if the problem is the default set of fonts or if font rendering just sucks. Every bit of text everywhere is fuzzy. Text is my life! I am a programmer and sometimes blogger, after all. Solving this issue is at the top of my todo list.

The default configuration for the root user account is just plain insipid. The root user does not have a default HOME directory so every file and directory that gets automatically created by the shell or the desktop environment gets dumped to /. How absolutely, positively, retarded is that? Every Linux distro I have ever used creates a /root directory to store the root user's files. I just can't fathom the rationale behind not setting a decent default directory for root.

Now some of you may say or be thinking, "you are not supposed to be using the root user account anyway". If you did say that then you've obviously never installed Solaris 10. Because if you have installed it then you know you only ever get prompted to provide a password for the root user. The install process forces you to wait until the installation is complete to create a normal user account. The problem is on first reboot the only account you have to log in with is root and the minute you log in, the desktop environment creates a host of hidden files and directories on the root filesystem for root. So you never get the opportunity not to use the root account. Like I said before, insipid, and that's putting it nicely.

The good news is most of my hardware works out of the box. The only thing that isn't working is my USB DVD-R/W. One more item for my todo list.

A Developer's Journal: Solaris #8

I am returning to the world of Solaris. My original foray into the land of (the) Sun didn't go so well. It was a try and buy 60 day trial of a T1000 that just didn't go a well as I had hoped. Some of the problems were Sun's fault but most of them where mine. One of the big issues was proximity. The T1000 was hosted in an off site data center which required several layers of indirection to get to the machine and some things are just harder to do remotely. The bottom line is I didn't get the most out of the 60 days. But I really am interested in learning more about Solaris. DTrace is simply too compelling a technology to ignore, especially now that Solaris is opensource. So almost 8 months later I'm revisiting the land of Sun.

This time around I'm doing things a lot closer to home. I've added a SATA RAID controller and 4 35GB 10,000 RPM HD to my workstation. This will be Solaris' new home. I had to get rid of my CD-R/W for a 3 disk enclosure but I have an external USB DVD-R/W so no sweat.

A standard Solaris install is bit more heavy weight that I'm interested in. Coming from the land of Gentoo, I'm used to and prefer installing things as I need them instead of a default kitchen sink install like the one that comes w/ standard Solaris 10. Plus, I'm a tinkerer. Fortunately for me, Sun saw me and my kind coming and has a distro taylor made for us; OpenSolaris Developer Edition. We get the latest and greatest Solaris kernel and the developer tools necessary to tinker, compile, and profile. It has a (relatively) recent GNOME based desktop and Firefox is the default browser.

As soon as I'm done posting this I'm going to go burn my (downloading) distro to DVD and install it. Stay tuned.