Monthly Archives: January 2010

Oracle + Sun link roundup

Excellent roundup by Redmonk analyst:

http://www.redmonk.com/cote/2010/01/27/oraclesun/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PeopleOverProcess+%28People+Over+Process+by+Cote%27%29

The Register (take anything this outfit publishes with several large grains of salt):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/27/oracle_mysql_openoffice_commitments/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/27/oracle_sun_back_to_the_future/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/27/oracle_sun_preview/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/27/scott_mcnealy_goodbye/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/27/ellison_sun_hiring_spree/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/28/oracle_sun_systems_roadmap/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/28/oracle_sun_storage/

Oracle PR releases – some exciting stuff in here:

http://www.oracle.com/us/sun/044498
http://www.oracle.com/events/productstrategy/index.html
http://www.oracle.com/technology/community/sun-oracle-community-continuity.html

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Format a USB flash drive with UFS on OpenSolaris x64

Obtain the disk device name, e.g.:

$ rmformat
Looking for devices...
     1. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c11t0d0p0
        Physical Node: /pci@0,0/pci1028,214@1a,7/storage@1/disk@0,0
        Connected Device: JetFlash Transcend 8GB    8.07
        Device Type: Removable
	Bus: USB
	Size: 7.7 GB
	Label: 
	Access permissions: Medium is not write protected.

 

Create an fdisk partition table. e.g:

pfexec fdisk /dev/rdsk/c11t0d0p0

Then create a Solaris2 partition, make it active, save and exit.

 

Now create a new UFS file system on slice 2 (i.e. entire disk) of the disk, e.g.:

pfexec newfs /dev/rdsk/c11t0d0s2

Done.

Solaris Flash Archives

As performed on a SPARC system:

1) Boot from the Solaris DVD, build and patch the master system

2) reboot to single-user mode (e.g. init s)

3) Create the Flash archive, e.g:

mkdir /flar
flar create -n solaris10-09-sparc -S -x /flar /flar/solaris10-09-sparc-20100123.flar

This will create a Flash archive, skip the (time consuming) size calculation step, and exclude the directory into which we are saving the Flash archive.

 

4) Copy the .flar to a webserver

E.g. CTRL+D to return to the multiuser milestone, SSH the file out to another machine or what-have-you

 

5) boot the system from the Solaris 10 DVD, and run the text installer (e.g boot cdrom -text at the OBP ok prompt)

6) Run through the installer steps, and select Flash archive as the installtion source at the relevant point; make sure your web server is serving OK

7) Watch the installer suck down the archive, reboot the system, and done.

 

Works great, and amazing to think this was a feature of Solaris as far back as Solaris 8…and we have not even scratched the surface of this vis a vis pre/post install scripting etc.

 

The main problem I had with this was my webserver dropping connections when downloading the archive; after working through all manner of troubleshooting steps I determined this has to be a bug with Sun Java System Webserver 7. I was seeing the same problem on three other machines (Solaris 10 u6 x64, OpenSolaris snv_127/snv_130 x64), all running update 7 of SJSWS7, and even when just using a web browser to download the file to the desktop. (The text mode of the Solaris installer handily tells me that the server unexpectedly closes the connection when downloading the Flash archive, as well as MBs copied and remaining, something I can’t see when using the Solaris GUI installer.)

In the server access logs I would see:

22/Jan/2010:11:37:58 warning for host 192.168.10.65 trying to GET /solaris10-09-sparc-20100123.flar, finish-response reports: HTTP2228: Response content length mismatch (704045058 bytes with a content length of 4999012354)

22/Jan/2010:11:34:08 warning for host 192.168.10.65 trying to GET /solaris10-09-sparc-20100123.flar, finish-response reports: HTTP2228: Response content length mismatch (702537730 bytes with a content length of 4997505026)

22/Jan/2010:11:32:36 warning for host 192.168.10.65 trying to GET /solaris10-09-sparc-20100123.flar, finish-response reports: HTTP2228: Response content length mismatch (702996482 bytes with a content length of 4997963778)

 

So, only a few hundred megabytes of the 4.9GB file being downloaded in each case. Searching for the HTTP2228 error didn’t really turn up anything useful in terms of a resolution, and the few pages I did find were Sun forum posts from other users of SJSWS. I performed an MD5 hash of the Flash archive right after creating (and I made several archives in the process of troubleshooting this – a time consuming procedure), made sure this matched after copying it to the document root of my webserver and running another MD5 hash…but in the end I just gave up on it.

I installed lighthttpd on my OpenSolaris webserver instead and used this to serve the Flash archive – worked like a charm off the bat. Looks like a cool little application to boot! ūüôā

Running Command and Conquer Gold under OpenSolaris using Wine

The original release of CnC was made legally free for download last year – the ISOs are publicly available all over the internet (for example linked here and here as on the Wine AppDB). And what better way to enjoy this real-time strategy gaming classic than on OpenSolaris using Wine?

 

Using Wine 1.1.26 as built on a snv_118 x64 system, running on snv_124.

1) mount the ISO as a block accessible device using lofiadm, e.g:

pfexec lofiadm -a /export/home/dkoe001/Documents/Games/CnCGold/CnC_GDI95.iso /dev/lofi/1
pfexec mount -F hsfs /dev/lofi/1 /mnt

 

2) use winecfg to map a drive to /mnt, configured as a “CD-ROM” drive (using drive D: in my case)

 

3) I then had to use the following trick to get the CnC installer to actually run – all other attempts were met with the error similar to “Setup cannot find the files necessary to run the installation…”

See post number 3 by “NZLamb”:

http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=13174

 

So for example:

cd /export/home/dkoe001/.wine/dosdevices

ls -l

drwxr-xr-x 4 dkoe001 staff 8 2009-10-23 23:20 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 dkoe001 staff 8 2009-10-23 22:50 .
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 5 2009-10-23 22:34 d: -> /mnt/
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 17 2009-10-23 22:33 e:: -> /dev/dsk/c8t0d0s2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 20 2009-10-17 18:09 h: -> /export/home/dkoe001
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 1 2009-08-16 16:41 z: -> /
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 10 2009-08-16 16:41 c: -> ../drive_c

ln -s /export/home/dkoe001/Documents/Games/CnCGold/CnC_GDI95.iso d::

ls -l

drwxr-xr-x 4 dkoe001 staff 8 2009-10-23 23:20 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 dkoe001 staff 8 2009-10-23 22:50 .
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 58 2009-10-23 22:50 d:: -> /export/home/dkoe001/Documents/
Games/CnCGold/CnC_GDI95.iso
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 5 2009-10-23 22:34 d: -> /mnt/
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 17 2009-10-23 22:33 e:: -> /dev/dsk/c8t0d0s2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 20 2009-10-17 18:09 h: -> /export/home/dkoe001
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 1 2009-08-16 16:41 z: -> /
lrwxrwxrwx 1 dkoe001 staff 10 2009-08-16 16:41 c: -> ../drive_c

 

Installer now runs without issue.

 

4) Now getting it to run on one core only – running CnC on my Intel Q8200 was unstable to the point of being totally unplayable. Apparently these older games choke on multi-CPU systems.

On snv_124 Wine will run CnC in a full screen nicely, but there is some incompatibility with GNOME such that attempting to bounce out of it (e.g. ALT+TAB) results in the original desktop resolution being nuked in favour of 640×480, if it snaps out of it at all.

 

So, I execute wine ‘C&C95’ on the CLI, halt the process before it takes over the display, obtain the wine PIDs, and feed these into pbind – for example:

pbind -b 0 1082 1083 1098

where 0 is the CPU number, and 1082, 1083, and 1098 are Wine PIDs. One can use psrinfo to obtain CPU information, and pgrep -l wine to obtain wine PIDs if needed.

Resume the process, and enjoy! Tad kludgy, but a small price to pay for being able to run it on OSOL:

Command and Conquer in Wine on OpenSolaris

It will run nicely in full screen, as well.

 

Although Wine runs great on OpenSolaris, there are a couple of annoying bugs in Command and Conquer itself that can really put a dent in the enjoyment of the game – in particular, a bug that causes the game to crash when a field unit moves to the border of the game map where there is as-yet undiscovered terrain. The last official release for Windows was 1.04b, but as one can read on Wikipedia (at least you could before it was edited) there are ‚Äúunofficial‚ÄĚ fan patches which handily resolve this issue – hurrah! Installing these in Wine was as simple as running the .EXEs with the Wine Windows Program Launcher (in the case of the first link for the 1.06 patch):

http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/cnc95upd/cc95p106/patch106en.html
http://www.cnc-comm.com/community/index.php?topic=587.0
http://www.commandandpatch.com/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=44

Lighttpd – tiny web server

Having highly annoying problems downloading Solaris Flash archives using Sun Java System Webserver 7 Update 7, and I’ve pretty much fingered SJWS7 as the culprit…bugs, who knows. I figured I would just download and use Apache, but browsing the OpenSolaris IPS repositories I came across Lighttpd:

http://www.lighttpd.net/

http://redmine.lighttpd.net/projects/lighttpd/wiki/TutorialConfiguration

 

Looks pretty neat – so for the purposes of quick Solaris Flash testing, downloaded it and giving it a try:

pfexec /usr/lighttpd/1.4/sbin/lighttpd -f /etc/lighttpd/1.4/lighttpd.conf

prstat -u webservd

PID USERNAME  SIZE   RSS STATE  PRI NICE      TIME  CPU PROCESS/NLWP       
9443 webservd 5148K 1732K sleep   49    0   0:00:00 0.0% lighttpd/1

 

Pretty tiny alright. Process is owned automagically by webservd too using OpenSolaris, which is neat. More to come…

 

EDIT: the server is managed by SMF, natch:

svcs -a | grep -i light
disabled       12:05:52 svc:/network/http:lighttpd14

Brill!

Home coffee roasting blog…

Great series of posts over at:

http://waitwhat.posterous.com/roasting-coffee-beans

Using products from http://www.greenbeanhouse.co.nz/131577/html/page.html (natch).

Green Bean House roasted coffee beans

Mushroom soup

Half a kilo of mushrooms, onion, lemon juice, chicken stock, salt, white pepper, flour, butter…

Mushrooms and onions

Carnage…

Cook it all up...

Blurred photo of the end result:

Mushroom soup

Those that know me well know I don’t really cook, but being in a relationship with a foodie (and watching all those Marco Pierre White vids on YouTube) would seem to have made an impact. Pity I haven’t cooked more often in the past – as this was bloody delicious!

ūüôā

A Cost-Effective Digital Signage Application Using Sun Ray and OpenOffice

As originally posted over at Sun Bigadmin (although I don’t know for how much longer…). Needless to say after a year of operation this thing just keeps on running hassle-free, even on junky “server” hardware. Sun Ray rules.

 

A Cost-Effective Digital Signage Application Using Sun Ray Clients and OpenOffice.org 3 Impress

Dave Koelmeyer, February 2009

Our workplace recently acquired a couple of 50-inch plasma displays with the intention of installing them in high-visibility areas around the building for the purpose of “digital signage.”

The initial direction of the project was to copy the approach taken across similar installations in the company: to install one Microsoft Windows PC per display and pipe Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to each. But this solution would not be centralized, it would not be easy for the administrative staff tasked with managing the content, and with Microsoft Windows PCs in the mix (running on repurposed hardware), the solution would be maintenance-heavy in every sense of the term.

Fortunately, we ended up going with Sun Ray clients, and now we have the beginnings of a very neat little signage setup that is robust, cost-effective, centrally managed, and easy to use.

Although the system is basic, there is scope for a large amount of future refinement and development.

 

Summary and Parts List

In this tech tip, I’ll describe how we created a system capable of displaying an OpenOffice.org 3 Impress presentation to multiple remote Sun Ray 2 clients connected to large-screen displays.

Presentation content is created and uploaded to the server by non-technical admin staff from a central location. The staff use Microsoft Windows XP Professional workstations.

Hardware List

* Sun Ray 2 clients (two units)
* Panasonic TH-50 series plasma displays (two units)
* Dell Precision Workstation 380 (repurposed hardware used as a server)
* Custom-made mounting brackets (to secure the Sun Ray clients)

Software List

* Solaris 10 5/08 OS for x86-based systems
* Sun Ray Server Software (part of Sun Ray Software 4)
* OpenOffice.org 3 Impress
* Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX Version 3.5
* Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2

 

Building the Sun Ray Display Server

Since I’m generally an all-Sun guy nowadays, I used Sun Ray Server Software running on the Solaris 10 OS for x86-based systems, as nature intended. Our corporate network is all 100Mb Ethernet for clients in a shared environment, so there is no private Sun Ray network. The Sun Ray clients in our particular scenario run on the same subnet as the server, so setup is a no-brainer; we just rely on the Sun Ray clients performing a broadcast to discover the local server.

During installation of the Solaris 10 OS, I made a point of performing a custom software installation and removing the StarOffice software, because we wanted to supplant the StarOffice software with the latest version of OpenOffice.org.

Aside from patching the fresh install and setting up roles, and so on, there was no other tweaking of the Solaris OS or the Sun Ray Server Software to be performed.

I downloaded and installed OpenOffice.org 3.0 from the OpenOffice.org web site.

 

Disabling the First-Run Wizard and Registration Dialogues

When OpenOffice.org 3 Impress is launched in the Sun Ray Server Software Kiosk sessions, we wanted to prevent the first-run Wizard and product registration dialogues from derailing the command-line option for automatically opening and displaying a presentation. Note that these are two separate issues that are resolved in two slightly different ways.

First, disable the first-run Wizard using the extension and instructions provided here:

Instructions for Deactivating the OpenOffice.org Registration Wizard

The unopkg command referred to in the instructions lives in <openoffice-installation-directory>/program/.

Next, to disable the registration dialogue, do the following:

1) Launch OpenOffice.org 3 Impress as a standard, local user.

2) Complete the registration procedure, and exit OpenOffice.org 3 Impress without saving a new document.

3) Under the user account used to do the previous steps, navigate to the following directory:

~/.openoffice.org/3/user/registry/data/org/openoffice/Office/

4) Copy the Common.xcu file, which is visible in the previous directory, to the following directory:

<openoffice-installation-directory>/program/

5) Execute the following command:

unopkg add –shared Common.xcu

 

Creating a Custom Application Executable in the Sun Ray Server Software Admin GUI

We now take advantage of the command-line options for launching OpenOffice.org Impress to open and run a presentation all in one command. You might want to have a test OpenOffice.org Impress file ready to go at this stage.

Fire up the Sun Ray Server Software admin GUI. The Kiosk Mode application executable custom path that is used is similar to this:

/opt/openoffice.org3/program/soffice

The arguments used to launch OpenOffice.org Impress and run a presentation are as follows:

-impress -show /<path>/<to>/<your>/<presentation.odp>

If all goes well, on session reset, the Sun Ray clients should launch OpenOffice.org Impress, bypass any registration prompts, and automatically open and run the presentation file. You might want to ensure your OpenOffice.org Impress presentation is set to loop endlessly.

 

Creating a Shared Folder on the Server for Microsoft Windows Users to Drag and Drop Content

I wanted to make it as seamless as possible (using the built-in Solaris OS and Sun Ray Server Software features) for admin staff to upload presentation content to the server. I figured sharing a folder to these Microsoft Windows users (and using this shared folder in the Kiosk Mode Impress path mentioned previously) would be one way to accomplish this. Admin users could simply drag and drop OpenOffice.org Impress files into a folder mapped as a drive in Microsoft Windows, and then log in to the admin GUI and reset the Kiosk sessions to broadcast new and updated content simultaneously to all displays.

Rather than installing and configuring Samba on the Solaris 10 OS, I installed Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) Version 3.5 on a dedicated Microsoft Windows “signage workstation” in the admin office (for admin staff to use) to connect to a folder shared through NFS from the Sun Ray server.

On the Sun Ray server, I created a local signuser account, and set permissions on the shared NFS folder to be owned by this user.

On the Microsoft Windows workstation I installed the NFS Client and User Name Mapping components of SFU. I made a note of the UID of my signuser Solaris account, made copies of the server password and group files to the Microsoft Windows workstation, and set up mapping between the Microsoft Windows user account and the UNIX account name.

Then I was able to connect to the NFS share using Microsoft Windows Explorer. I mapped this to a drive to make it familiar and easy for our Microsoft Windows users.

 

Miscellaneous

The really cool thing was watching the tiny Sun Ray 2 clients automatically pick up the correct resolution for the 50-inch plasma displays as soon as we flicked the switch. Everything “just worked.”

Sun Ray mounted on display

We had some custom mounting brackets constructed for the Sun Ray clients and “lump-in-the-middle” power supplies (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). The Sun Ray client is so light and small it fit easily on the inside of the wall mounting plate of the display itself.

Sun Ray on custom mounting bracket

We’ve received good feedback from the non-technical users about how easy this solution is to use. In addition, compared to what the likely alternative would have been, it’s a very low-maintenance solution. This is both in terms of the advantage over using PCs with myriad moving parts and in terms of the technician time that would otherwise be tied up fielding support requests that go with the territory of supporting Microsoft products (in my experience).

Surprisingly, Sun Ray Server Software on the Solaris 10 OS for x86-based systems hardly breaks a sweat running three or four simultaneous OpenOffice.org Impress sessions on the three-year-old Dell midrange workstation that was repurposed to act as the server.

 

About the Author
Dave Koelmeyer is an IT Support Specialist based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Disabling the First-Run Wizard and Registration Dialogues

When OpenOffice.org 3 Impress is launched in the Sun Ray Server Software Kiosk sessions, we wanted to prevent the first-run Wizard and product registration dialogues from derailing the command-line option for automatically opening and displaying a presentation. Note that these are two separate issues that are resolved in two slightly different ways.

First, disable the first-run Wizard using the extension and instructions provided here:

Instructions for Deactivating the OpenOffice.org Registration Wizard

The unopkg command referred to in the instructions lives in <openoffice-installation-directory>/program/.

Next, to disable the registration dialogue, do the following:

1) Launch OpenOffice.org 3 Impress as a standard, local user.

2) Complete the registration procedure, and exit OpenOffice.org 3 Impress without saving a new document.

3) Under the user account used to do the previous steps, navigate to the following directory:

~/.openoffice.org/3/user/registry/data/org/openoffice/Office/

4) Copy the Common.xcu file, which is visible in the previous directory, to the following directory:

<openoffice-installation-directory>/program/

5) Execute the following command:

unopkg add --shared Common.xcu

Sun Fire v240 – my old new toy

Acquired one of these locally for the purpose of doing my SCSA (which has SPARC-specific elements, naturally).

Sun Fire v240

Dual UltraSPARC IIIs, 8GB RAM, redundant power supplies, quad gigabit ethernet and discrete graphics too. This will have Solaris 10 installed on it at some stage real soon…

A companion piece to the x64 X2100 M2:

Sun Fire X2100 M2

OpenSolaris development build upgrade probs

Came across two separate issues on two separate machines – click to link to forum posts:

SUNWipkg error when attempting to upgrade from snv_128a to snv_129 x6 (forcing an image update worked)

Dependency Issue in >snv_127 pkg image Update (still looking into this one…)