Darwin, OpenDarwin, and Virtual PC

I have to admit that I really like Virtual PC
on Windows XP. I still use XP as my primary laptop/desktop
operating system. Virtual PC extends what I can do tremendously
… I now carry a SCO UnixWare machine with also … virtually.
And I am experimenting with a variety of other kernels and operating
systems virtually. The other day I saw a reference to a new release of Darwin v7.0.1
… and I thought about checking it out. I’ve downloaded the ISO
… booted and installed it … I was able to get X configured
and working with the basic ‘twm’ window manager. I have now been
working on getting the LAN driver working … the DEC Tulip driver on
the CD was for Power PC … I’m now close with the OpenDarwin Tulip driver … got it to make with some assistance … it’s not quite installed.

What’s fun is that I am now downloading and carrying around numerous
ISO images of various operating systems … and booting them at
different times to experiment and learn. It’s like carrying
around a bunch of PCs … all within my laptop. Also, with the
“Undo Disks” I am able to boot, experiment and see how far I can get
… if I can’t get things working, I just close the Virtual PC and
discard the disk changes … rolling me back to my last “known-good”

I just saw a new build of ReactOS
… I was going to take another look at it tomorrow … the last
version would start to install, but failed to partition the hard
disk. I’m also going to continue to work on Darwin also … both
of these are interesting efforts!  Both of these also appear to be
free of the current issues surrounding the Linux kernel …

Virtual PC rules!

The Monday after …

Wow. There is almost too much to think about after BrainShare
2004. Being that I worked at Novell four different times, in
numerous different roles, I can see there is a lot that has changed … and a lot
that is still the same. It was great to see a lot of my friends
and former co-workers …

First, although I really loved NetWare as an operating system and a
kernel, it is obvious that its days are numbered. The “100%
Linux” message being communicated at the conference seems to seal the
fate of this, once-dominant, operating system. It will be very
interesting to see how quickly the $300mm-$350mm revenue stream
generated from NetWare sales will shift to the new strategy proposed by
the leaders of Novell. Customers who are still committed to
NetWare, IMHO, are going to find themselves painted into a corner if
they do not quickly begin the progress of planning their
migration. These types of migrations are complex and will take
time … and they will have to look at NetWare as the old 8-track or
cassette player in their stereo rack … it works, but don’t expect
much of a future out of it. In addition to that, it seems that
Novell customers are being pushed to adopt the “100% Linux” strategy
… which brings into question the Novell strategy on two fronts.

First … what is Novell going to provide to customers if they are not
interested in moving from their existing desktops to GNU/Linux
desktops? What if customers are just fine with Windows on the
desktop? Will Novell be able to offer them anything? I
believe that the world has been – and always will be – a place filled
with multiple-choices, and heterogeneous environments. Windows is
not going away anytime soon. We are working on solutions that
bring the best of UNIX and Windows together in our customer
environments … that is what they are asking us for. In
addition, we are looking for ways to leverage the best of the Open
Source world … within the law.

The second big issue … what is the impact to the Novell strategy as
the intellectual property issues continue to expand? Jack and
Chris made a really bold move in altering the foundation of the
business … they moved from one where they had a sinking platform, to
one that is on shakier ground! I can only imagine that they are already
accounting for the impacts on their business as the issues are resolved.

Novell’s future hinges on somehow resolving the revenue issues –
replacing the dying $300mm+ stream with a $40mm+ stream – and surviving
the transistion period … not to mention dealing with the implications
of the lawsuits surrounding the new foundation. Quite a risky bet.

Outside of that, I have to admit that I am also surprised by the amount
of “misinformation” or poor marketing when they continue to represent
UNIX-compatible software as “Linux software”. As I wrote through
my week of blogging … there are numerous areas and projects where
they seem to alter the “truth” and grab for the “Linux” market hype …
at the expense of customers and partners. I’ll be experimenting
with many of their projects on UNIX since they are completely
UNIX-compatible … and demonstrating where the “Linux” that they are
talking about is just a UNIX-compatible kernel.

And did things pile up while I was out of the office! Bummer … ;-(

BrainShare 2004: Novell eDirectory 8.x Futures

Erin Quill and Ted Haeger are presenting this one … two people that I
have a lot of respect for, and that I’m glad to see owning the
directory. Few people understand the power of directory services,
and how to effectively implement them within a system. Even OpenLDAP has evolved to encompass the majority of what is required for directory-based management to be implemented.

They are going to be covering eDirectory, the recent releases, the upcoming releases, and then a “Project Destiny” Preview.

They started by showing the market, and the market leaders … and how
directories are being commoditized. Ted indicated that Novell’s
target market is “gigantic” directories, or the “high-end”
market. These start at 50,000 identities, and go to
hundreds of thousands. They focus on: Scalable, Compatible,
Reliable, Manageable, and Securable.

Erin took over to talk about the recent releases and what they
added. In v8.7 they added: Hot Continuous Backup, Dynamic
Groups, eDirectory Event Monitoring, Extensible match LDAP search
filters, Novell iManager 1.5.2, Novell iMonitor 2, Novell eGuide 2.1

With v8.7.1 they added: support for Red Hat Advanced Server 8,
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, Solaris 9, and HP-UX 11i, Universal
Passwords, DIBclone (creates exact copy of local directory set), More
Dynamic Group enhancements, Novell iMonitor 2.1, and bundled iManager 2

With v8.7.3 they added: support for Windows 2003, UNIX
package-based installer, Novell Cert ificate Server 2.7, iManager
2.0.2, Novell Modular Authentication Service 2.3, eGuide 2.1.2

Moving on to Upcoming Releases, they outlined the features of “Rosalind” v8.8(?):

Install and upgrade enhancements
– they are making a variety of scripting enhancements and command-line
options. In addition they are altering the rights requirements to
install or upgrade, providing more health checking, making it more
“patchable” with tighter version labeling, and all of this leads to Red
Carpet support for deployments.

Data Import (Bulk Load) – they
are getting huge performance increases ~7x, along with more selectable
options – No schema check, Indexing off, Skip validity checks.
Much of this is driven by customers who do not use DirXML (the old
name) but instead do daily mass imports

Priority Sync – Used for
instant convergence for real-time attributes like passwords. This
will be configurable per attribute, and writes to all replicas at once.

Multi-Instance Support –
this is primarily intended to increase the search speed. It will
allow more than once instance of eDirectory running on a server. Each instance must have a dedicated IP address.

Backup/Restore – Oops …
they skipped this one for now!  Ok they came back to it after the
encrypted stuff. They are adding an LDAP Extension to allow for
backup, and an archive bit that can be reset.

Encrypted Attributes and Replication
– this is where attributes become encrypted in the DIB, and where the
replication traffic is encrypted. This is for government

SASL GSSAPI support – skipped …

Case Sensitive password Policies – skipped …

Next set of high-level features – Project “J.C. Bose”: more
installation improvements, Replication Policies, Optimized Referrals,
Group Enhancements, inetOrgPerson can be a container, Clustered Linux
support, and Solaris, LDAP Sounds-like searches, Federated Attributes,
and …

“Project Destiny” … What is Kepler? This is some pretty good
stuff for directories. They are creating a “reverse-proxy
directory server” that allows you to point to *any* corporate identity
server (be it a directory or database) and have the LDAP requests
proxied through to it. This allows Kepler to augment requests
with its own attributes and information, while preserving the “glass
house” identity server. This is a very interesting stuff …

BrainShare 2004: Friday Keynote

Alan Nugent kicked off the keynote … and the microphones wouldn’t
work. They eventually ran a new mic out to him and he got
going. He indicated that this was the “techy” keynote, with a lot
of demos … he then went into some background information.

He offered his perspectives of the core points of Technology Strategies

  • Devotion to Customer Satisfaction
  • Focus (know your limitations)
  • Compliments and substitutes
  • Temporal Constraints (2-4 years)
  • Forward, into the past

I like these in general.  Obviously, committment to customers
is the primary goal … they are the ones paying for solutions. 
The rest are also fairly obvious …

He also offered some “General Trends” …

  • Customization
  • Commoditization
  • Consolidation./Convergence
  • Consistancy
  • Complexity
  • Compliance (Regulatory)

He then reviewed “What does it mean to Novell?”

  • Support/Facilitate customization/personalization
  • Embrace Commoditization
  • Drive and Manage consolidation
  • Reduce complexity and risk
  • Increase Predictability

Under his command, the office of the CTO is looking at the following areas:

  • Open Source and Linux
  • Wireless
  • Grid Computing
  • Wireless Grids
  • “Autonomous” Computing
  • Virtualization
  • Service Oriented Architectures
  • Trusted Computing
  • Identity-based Computing
  • Context-based Computing

He then said that he would focus on things that are really being worked
on …even if only in an investigation stage. He then showed a
slide of “Ubiquitous Linux”. After completing a quick brush of
this slide, he showed an intro SGI video and introduced Rich Altmaier,
VP of Storage and Software at SGI.  Interesting partner …

Rich began by introducing the SGI solution for it’s markets. He
talked about their Numaflex architecture, and adoption of the Linux
kernel. He indicated that the are using the Intel Itanium – “the
fastest processor on the planet.” He then walked down on the
floor to show one of the SGI 3000(?) machines. One of the VPs
from SuSE then began a demo using ‘linpack’ benchmark running 32 and 64
threads … and he showed a bunch of graphs showing activity … uh,
not that impressive since most people probably don’t get the context of
what is occuring. Wow … SGI is done … he left. That was really short …

The SuSE VP then went through what is coming in SuSE Linux 9.1 …
Linux Kernel v2.6, KDE 3.2.1, GNOME 2.4.2, OpenOffice 1.1, KDevelop
3.0, SLP support, and support for Intel and AMD (32 and 64 bit)
processors. Note that everything listed (except for the Linux v2.6 kernel) is all UNIX-compatible software.

Cluster Resources, Inc. – a Utah company – came on stage to talk about TeraGrid, and grid
computing. They demonstrated their software, submitted a job into
TeraGrid, and explained some of the optimizations and resource choices
that are made to pick the appropriate. He indicated that they are
now using Red Carpet to automatically deploy the resources to be able
to run any particular application. This is much like what we have
been working with in our Application Substrate.

Nugent then introduced the Chief Architect of Xiotech, Rob
Peglar. He talked about Storage Clustering and Future Storage
Design. Ok … he had some good examples of the evolution of
storage and storage networks … his “jokes” were a little weak. 😉 Ugh … the
jokes are continuing …

He is showing (in between the “jokes”) a variety of Storage
architectures. These are very similar to the types of storage
systems that I was working with as Chase Manahatten. He expanded
to touch on clustering in general … and leading to grid
computing. They are unifying much of their architecture around
directories and LDAP. He mentioned that “CPUs are peripherals”
… an interesting concept.  His point is that “memory” is where
the data is … and that CPUs are just peripherals that manipulate

Robert Wipfel from Novell then came on stage. I worked with
Robert for years while at Novell and he is an amazingly bright guy when
it comes to clustering. They again emphasized their adoption of
CIM from the DMTF … and are showing a demo of extending a filesystem
in real-time, while mounted and in use, based on the disk free space
exceeding a threshold. This *is* the future of storage systems
… where you will add bulk disk to a storage network, and have it
allocated to servers on-demand. There are numerous vendors providing
this type of solution. They went on to show a cluster failover

Miguel and Erik showed up to do the Mono demo. They indicated
that their objective was to improve Linux developer productivity, and
ease application migration. Miguel went through the current
Mono stack and architecture, and talked about the .NET libs that they
currently have. He then went on to create a very simple app, and
showed it running on SuSE and Windows. He is going to expand the
demo using Glade … he’s doing his browser demo again. This time
he showed some of the power of this environment, icluding the language
support. He talked about this being a part of the power of using
the stock components. Erik then showed off their “Wiki-Doc” for
Mono … this is a very good idea for docs and how to allow for
contributions to documentation … so it’s “Open Source” docs … not
just code. Miguel then showed the SOAP/Web Services capabilities built into the .ASP server.

Nugent then showed the Novell Student Videos winners.

Then up came
Ed Reed … I forgot that he had returned to Novell. He is now a
part of the Office of the CTO working on security. He showed the
ability of the Linux Security Module capabilities of the v2.6 kernel to load “policies” to restrict what can be done on a system .

Martin Buckley came up to show a Windows 98 to SuSE Dektop
migration. There were numerous issues that were not addressed …
but the overall migration demo was impressive.

They went into the drawing for the Segway … and that is the end of the keynote!

BrainShare 2004: SUSE LINUX Futures

This session was over at the Marriott … that’s a first.  The
projectors are not working … there is no audio … and Juergen Geck
couldn’t make it here.  Bummer.  The VP of R&D is doing
the presentation … I didn’t catch his name.

He defined SuSE as a new business unit of Novell … I hadn’t heard
that before, but it makes sense.  He also expanded into discussing
the difference between Open and Closed Source companies … “the
difference isn’t that big” … SuSE simply takes Open Source projects,
tests and certifies, and supports.  So they are really selling the
process … not the product.  It’s cool to hear this since I used
to argue this at Novell … we used to have people that thought we sold
NetWare … but we really sold the development and support services
.  At least that is what customers were paying for …

SuSe has been going forward with the 2.4 kernel, and has been adding
features of the 2.6 on their own.  They are now embracing and
integrating the 2.6 kernel in their latest products.

He brought up an interesting chart of “Effort” and “Committment” …
what you get with what product.  With SuSE Linux you get “no
committments” … with the Enterprise products you get “availability of
support” and “availability of maintenance”.  They have a model for
their “Technology Strategy” … he has a great chart … Customer Value
across the bottom (with build, manage, and integrate) and then
Competitive Advantage up the left side (with technology, platform, and
integration platform) … from this he explains that  they began
at the “build-technology” … moved to “build-platform” … then to
“manage-technology” … and now to “manage-platform”.  I might
have to recreate this diagram … it’s interesting.

Again … they emphasize the power and value of their “AutoBuild”
process .. . and I would agree … it’s this automation that enables
them to deliver.  He indicated a database of ~4000 packages that
they track.  Updates are detected, patches are created, builds are
created, QA and Doc are notified, eventually they are released to
maintenance.  There are both manual and automated aspects … some
of the original tests and security checks are manual.

The Support cycle is:

  • Phase One – bugs reported/found
  • Phase Two – temporary patch released to reporter of bug
  • Phase Three – recertification/testing
  • Phase Four – customer deployment

Ok … now I’m really bummed.  They aren’t talking about futures
at all … this is the same stuff that I have heard in several SuSE
presentations.  What the products are … how AutoBuild works …
what’s in each product … what is different between products.  I
understood this the first time I heard it.

Wow … he just finished his presentation!  People are grumbling
out loud … they are as shocked as I am …  No Futures! 
This is the worst presentation that I have been to … not that he
didn’t present well, it’s just that he didn’t touch on *anything* that
the title and synopsis mentioned … this sucked.

BrainShare 2004: The Lab …

I spent some time in The BrainShare Lab after the first session … it
seemed a little “empty” compared to previous years.  Not a bad
thing … since there was a lot to look at and see.  I ran into a
lot of friends, and had a blast talking with people about their

One thing that I am glad to see is that I found almost no negative
people … even when they knew or were told that I worked for SCO …
and most realized that it will be great in the future when our
companies can collaborate in the future.  It’s great to be able to
have professional technical conversations with professional technical
people.  😉

I spent a bit of time over at the eDirectory booths … they are still
continuing to do amazing work with LDAP and directory technologies in
general.  They have a new “Embedded eDirectory” product, but is
not what I would ahve thought.  It’s more like a “Bindled
eDirectory” solution that allows an application vendor to bundle
eDirectory with their application.  The main purpose is to act
like an LDAP directory and proxy … with some added features.  It
can store local users, or if configured, if can proxy requests through
to an alternative directory.  This allows an application to extend
the “local” schema and add application specific attributes … and then
pass through all other information to the corporate (or upstream)
directory.  It’s a very powerful capability.

I also saw a company that is embedding LDAP clients into some wireless
gear … for directory-based management of wireless radios.  I got
me thinking about something that could be added to the Linksys APs that
are out there that have Open Source firmware.  This is something
that I was trying to do at Novell years ago … and now it’s looking

There were a number of other booths on NetWare, SuSE GNU/Linux, and
their other products.  I’ll have to think about what hit me as
really cool or valuable … there were too many things to see in a
short amount of time … I’m off to the SuSE Linux Futures session …

BrainShare 2004: Introduction to the SUSE LINUX Technology Partner Program

The speaker – Malcolm Yates? – is a great presenter … he’s
quite an interactive and lively presenter … it’s apparent that he
enjoys his job. He joked about the acquisition and pondered what
you get when they combine? 😉

  • Novell & SuSE
  • No Se?
  • No Use?

He progressed through the various versions of SuSE … Personal,
Desktop, Professional, Standard Server and Enterprise Server.
Professional is really the one that has everything for the “power”
user. Web interface for all administration and services.
You can also use YaST … written in NCurses. They also have Open
Exchange Server …

Enterprise Solutions … SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 … of SLES 8
… he then went through his “picture presentation” that
was great. What a kick … this is just getting better and
better. He was giving away prizes for the people who could figure
out what each picture represented …

He then went through the various customer/partners … Mobile, Ford,
Deutsche Bank (2000+ servers world wide), Catapillar, Safeway,
SmithBarney … 80%-90% of mainframes running Linux are running SuSE.

He then went through all of the certifications – Carrier Grade (Jun
2003), EAL 2+ (Aug 2003), EAL 3+ (Jan 2004) … most of these within
the last year in partnership with IBM. He indicated that this is
the fastest that anyone has ever got EAL 3+ certification after their
2+ certification.

“We do not sell software” … “We sell our experience, our support, our
ability to provide tested maintenance, our integration capability, our
development effort …”

Their process is:

  • Open Source Community (~3000 packages) ->
  • SuSE Common Code Base (Configuration and Test ~6000 packages) ->
  • AutoBuild (Automated system identitifes incompatibilities) ->
  • QA + Doc (Manual Regression, Automated Regression, Feature Test) ->
  • Production

Their products have a 5-year life cycle. Releases of new version
every 18-24 months. So there is overlap between versions, and
customers understand the schedule and when they will have to
update/upgrade.  No questions and this obviously allows them to plan their revenue stream.

He listed all of the SuSE firsts … Enterprise Class Linux, 5 year
maintenance support, Linux for S/390 & zSeries, iSeries, 64bit on
all eServers, Global support contract with IBM, AMD Opteron support,
2.6 kernel features on a 2.4 kernel, Enterprise Desktop, EAL 3+
certified … and 1st class world class partner for business …

And some caveats about using Linux?   There are some obvious
ones that he won’t say … there are conflicting things … there are
some that he can not say.

It was an amusing presentation, and quite entertaining … he did a
great overview of the products  … however I am not really sure
that I learned anything about the “Partner Program” and what is it, or
what it has to offer. 

BrainShare 2004: Migrating from Microsoft Windows to SUSE LINUX on the Desktop

This session was pretty full … I chose to stand in the back and
listen.  This appeared to be a German company, based in
Germany.  They started to review the details of the company, and
outlining the Windows/Citrix solution that they had been using. 
He indicated that they had a huge savings in licensing fees … someone
asked ho much and the speaker indicated that he was not allowed to say.

I listened for a bit more, and then got another call … busy day.  ;-(

BrainShare 2004: Advanced Mono Development: Best Practices

I came to Eriks advanced presentation to see what else I could pick up
on Mono and where its going. I ended up entering a completely
dark room … except for the projector. Miguel was here writing a
quick “mini-web browser” using Mono, Glade, and a Mozilla
component. It was very cool to see him work, and how quickly he
got it close to working. I say “close to working” since he was
pressed for time and had to run to a meeting … the app ran, however
the Mozilla component was not showing in the window … Miguel left.

Erik got going and presented the “What is Mono?” pitch. It
was going for a while, and then one of the other attendees asked the
question … “Is this the Advanced Mono or not?” Erik expressed
that due to the fact that Miguel had to leave it was going to be an
“evolved intro” … bummer.

He again touched on where Mono is doing better than .NET … besides
the breadth of language support, Mono has a wide range of platform
support. He then went into MonoDevelop
… an IDE for Mono. It looks pretty good and has project
support, integrated debugging, project templates, code completion,
etc.  I’ll still be interested to see if they might choose to move
this to Eclipse in the future.  I could see where they might not
… although they ought to find a way to integrate it …

Erik then went into MonoDoc … the documentation engine.  He was
talking about how it’s like a Wiki … and then I realized what time it

It sucks … today I am being interrupted for all kinds of calls. I had to leave. ;-(

BrainShare 2004: Understanding the Future Direction for NetWare and NetWare Services on Linux

The session began with the usual oneNet pitch, and then went into the
discussion of what Open Enterprise Server is … or will be. The
speaker reviewed the Strategy that was being followed:

  • NetWare 6/6.5 – Emphasis on the Services
  • NetWare 6/6.5 – Open Source Technologies (AMP)
  • Novell Linux Services 1.0
  • Ximian and SuSE Acquisitions
  • OES Announcement

OES is the combined solution to: Protect your investment, Leverage your
infrastructure, Infuse agility to your environment, Manage costs,
Benefit from Open computing, and Keep your choices open.
This lead into some discussion of other advantages for the customer.

Some of the current GNU/Linux inhibitors were listed:

  • Fitness within current strategic plan
  • Service and support responsibility
  • Ease of useability and interoperability
  • Third-party applications and integrated solutions
  • Total cost of ownership considerations
  • Legacy applications

It was indicated that these were being addressed. One by one …
knocking them out. He then addressed a lot of “frequently asked
questions” …

What happens to NetWare and NetWare 7?
– Its going to keep moving forward.
What happens to Novell Linux Services?
– Customers will have support moving forward.
When will OES be available?
– This year.
What version of SuSE will come with OES?
{I missed the answer}
Can I use SLES?
– Yes.
Will SLES continue to be sold seperately?
– Yes.
Will OES be supported on Red Hat?
– Yes.
How will OES be priced?
– We’re working on that.

Man … he ripped through these so fast I almost couldn’t keep up! 😉

What enterprise services are in OES?

  • Open User Experience
  • Identity and Security
  • Enterprise Management
  • Business Continuence

Virtual Office is being promoted as a major component of their Open
User Experience. iFolder is also a big part of
this. I can see where these two products combined
begins to provide a Groove-like solution. They are saying that it
can work both server and client based. iPrint is also included in
this for printing. He also mentioned Seamless File Services
… mixing and matching client and server protocols.

eDirectory, of course, is the cornerstone of the Enterprise Identity
and Security pitch. Features of this are Enterprise Access
Control , Role-Based and Delegated Administration, Global Management
and Deployment.  iManager was talked about as the “console of choice” going forward.  They also indicated embracing CIM and WEBM from the DMTF
I’m surprised in a way … HP is doing much more exciting stuff via Web
Services that I believe are longer term solutions.  Maybe there is
some good integration between the efforts.  {Note to self: 
Go look into DMTF recent work …}  😉

Wow … he just talked about OpenWEBM and that it works on Caldera
Linux and UnixWare!  I’ll have to check into that also …

There was a review of the products and capabilities in the Storage and
Backup area, along with the Clustering capabilities.  I think they
said that 2 node clusters are free and included with NetWare … I
wonder if they are doing this for GNU/Linux also.

2004-second half will bring lots of new things … NetWare is getting a
Bash shell(!), RPM support, Python scripting, and the Red Carpet
agent.  Both kernels will get migration tools, Virtual Office
enhamcements, Workgroup iFolder, CIMOM instrumentation … GNU/Linux
will get NSS volume support, Clustering, NCP Server, and iPrint Client.

2005 will bring Shared iFolders, Cluster File System, Virtual Office
integration with iFolder and GroupWise, Business Clustering for
GNU/Linux, Hybrid Clustering (NetWare and Linux!), and more.

That wrapped it … a lot of interesting stuff to look forward to.