Monthly Archives: August 2011

Cool new features in Spark 2.6.3 and the Kraken Openfire plugin

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the Spark Java IM client – after Jive Software officially withdraw support and development resources for it I’ve tended to use other clients such as Pidgin, as Spark development had all but seemed to have ceased.

It was a nice surprise then to see that in the year or so since I last looked Spark has had at least a couple of community-developed releases, most recently version 2.6.3. There are a substantial amount of new features available, from OTR support, to a cute built-in language translator and an array of skins – my fave being the MS Office 2K7 lookalike:

Spark preferences and skins

Also neat is that the previous IM Gateway plugin for Openfire now lives on in a community-developed variant called Kraken:

http://kraken.blathersource.org/

Once installed in Openfire via the easy web admin BUI, one can control client connections to an array of consumer IM networks. I’ve been trying the v1.1.3 beta 3 release with Google Talk and Facebook users, and it works very well.

Spark with Facebook and Google Talk users

There is no Spark release available for OpenIndiana, but that is something I hope to address in the near future.

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KVM is coming to Illumos…

Things are about to get verrrry interesting:

https://www.illumos.org/issues/1362

Update: Bryan Cantrill makes it official: http://dtrace.org/blogs/bmc/2011/08/15/kvm-on-illumos/

Unfortunately not supported on AMD CPUs (yet), but brilliant all the same. Long-term I hope this provides a migration path from Oracle VirtualBox.

Intel makes Ars Technica staffer’s head hurt (and mine too)

Great article published recently by Ars Technica on the product differentiation methods used by Intel in the marketing and pricing of their CPUs:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/08/what-processor-should-i-buy-intels-crazy-pricing-makes-my-head-hurt.ars

Gotta agree with most of what Peter Bright has written about here. I also happen to be one of the poor saps that got caught out by Intel’s shitty marketing, having purchased an Intel quad core part that as it turned out was missing Intel VT-x. Ever since that discovery I’ve vowed to look for alternatives in future upgrades, and over the weekend I made good on this by upgrading the OpenIndiana oi_148 box to an AMD Phenom II X6. Six cores on the desktop, great for heavily threaded workloads, a no-unwelcome-surprises feature set and all for a terrific price.

AMD Phenom II X6

AMD Phenom II X6 - cores working in OpenIndiana