Archive for March, 2007

Protecting Your Project From Poisonous People

March 29, 2007

I just watched a Google TechTalk by Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick, titled How To Protect Your Open Source Project from Poisonous People. It’s almost an hour long, but well worth watching for people involved in open source communities, or really any communities at all, technical or not. Their “four stages of protection” against poisonous people (comprehension, fortification, identification, and disinfection) are relevant for dealing with misbehavior in any group.

Their abstract:

Every open source project runs into people who are selfish, uncooperative, and disrespectful. These people can silently poison the atmosphere of a happy developer community. Come learn how to identify these people and peacefully de-fuse them before they derail your project. Told through a series of (often amusing) real-life anecdotes and experiences.

focuses on poisonous people in particular, but their talk also shares some more general wisdom about running effective open source projects. Many of their examples come from their experiences with the Subversion project. And, yes, some of the anecdotes are very amusing.

The video is here.

Thanks to Monty for the pointer.



March 16, 2007

[snowblower in march]
I’ve been waiting all season for this.

Open MPI 1.2 Released

March 16, 2007

The Open MPI community announced yesterday the availability of Open MPI 1.2, which includes a number of bug fixes, feature enhancements, and performance improvements over 1.1.x versions of the library. Congratulations to the community, including Sun’s MPI engineering team, for reaching this significant milestone!

Among the improvements cited by the community are:

  • Much improved MPI collective algorithms
  • General performance improvements throughout the entire code base
  • Much improved run-time support, particularly when dealing with error scenarios
  • Support for MPI-matching networks such as Myrinet MX and QLogic InfiniPath
  • New support for Sun platforms: Solaris, Sun Studio compilers, N1GE / Grid Engine resource managers, uDAPL networks
  • Tested with a variety of compilers on several platforms, including: GNU, Intel, Portland, Pathscale, Sun Studio
  • Improved support for heterogeneous execution environments to accommodate differences in CPU architectures and adapter capabilities

See the full announcement for a more complete list of changes.

Sun’s supported MPI library for Solaris, based on Open MPI 1.2, is currently available via Sun’s Early Access Program. The official release will be available soon.

Dimming the Sun

March 14, 2007

I saw a very sobering and well-made Nova documentary this past weekend. Called Dimming the Sun, it’s about a phenomenon that has been dubbed global dimming. Did you know the amount of sunlight reaching the ground has dropped 10-20% worldwide since the 1950s? 10-20%

The particulate matter in polution is the primary culprit., e.g. car and airplane exhaust, power plant emissions, waste incineration. The very large number of very small particles causes an increase in cloud cover and a consequent increase in the amount of solar energy reflected away from the Earth. With less solar energy reaching the ground, one would expect to see a cooling effect. And we would–except for the presence of global warming, which acts as an opposing force on the environment.

Ironically, as we work to reduce global dimming through reductions in particulate matter via catalytic converters, smokestack scrubbers, etc., we are making global warming worse. Dimming has been masking warming. It is likely that current global warming models, which do not take either dimming or a reduction in dimming into effect, are significantly under-predicting the magnitude and timing of global temperature increases. In other words, we are in even more trouble than we thought.

Yet another inconvenient truth.

Blackbox in Person

March 13, 2007

Last night I had a chance to walk through a Project Blackbox container as part of a NEOSUG tour. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised by the sheer solidity of the infrastructure. Everything about it felt very substantial: the electrical, water, and data hookups; the airflow system; the equipment racks and plumbing; even the doors. The shock absorbers mounted under each rack completed the impression that these units are engineered for real-world, mobile deployment.

Solaris Virtualization Talk

March 13, 2007

The 2nd NEOSUG (New England OpenSolaris Users Group) meeting was held last night on Sun’s Burlington campus. About 30 people attended Nils Nieuwejaar‘s talk on Solaris virtualization technologies and took a tour of Project Blackbox, which is visiting Burlington for a few days.

Nils covered Solaris Zones, BrandZ, and Xen in his talk (slides here). He also gave a good demo of Xen’s live migration capability. He created a Solaris virtual machine on Machine A and started a compilation of Solaris. One command started the migration, which moved the virtual machine to Machine B with only the tiniest of pauses as the migration completed and the Solaris compilation continued uninterrupted on the new physical hardware. Sweet.

Due to interest expressed at the meeting, there will be a talk on SPARC virtualization technology (called LDOMS–Logical Domains) at the next NEOSUG meeting, tentatively scheduled for mid-May. There will also be a Solaris installfest for people who would like help installing OpenSolaris on their laptop, whether on bare metal or virtualized, as for example with Parallels on an Intel Mac.

Staying on the Cutting Edge: Hardware Subscription Service

March 12, 2007

I just learned about the Sun Refresh Service, a 42-month hardware subscription service for Sun Blade 8000 and Sun Blade 8000 P systems. Basically, Sun promises to automatically upgrade each of the 10 server modules in the chassis at least three times over the course of the subscription term. Upgrades will be to the latest and greatest blades as they become available.

It seems like an interesting idea for HPC customers, who are often worried about keeping their system performance as competitive as possible. I would guess this is a lot less disruptive than fork-lift upgrades to entirely new systems over the same period.

What’s Your Blog Worth?

March 9, 2007

Find out how much your blog is worth here.

Results for the Navel…

My blog is worth $14,678.04.
How much is your blog worth?

Virtualizing SPARC

March 6, 2007

Interested in running multiple, virtualized Solaris instances on your CoolThreads server? Well, now you can: SPARC virtualization is here! Details on Logical Domains (LDoms) 1.0 Early Access are available on Eric Sharakan’s blog, Virtuality.

Go team!

Plum Island in Winter

March 5, 2007

plum island in winter