Friday, March 31, 2006

Engineer's take on Novell's new SUSE Desktop

Here's an engineer's review of Novell's new SLED10.

"Novell's new SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10) is beating Microsoft Vista to market by months, and the Xen virtualization features in the upcoming SuSE Enterprise Server are right on target. In short, Novell's Linux roadmap looks great.

From the look of SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, it's on par with -- and maybe some steps ahead of -- Mac OS X and Windows Vista.

Novell's ease-of-use focus is obvious in SLED 10's new features, which were created in response to usability research findings reported on Key new features include integrated search using Beagle, the Tomboy note-taking widget and desktop visual effects based on Xgl graphics and Compiz compositing manager.

In my opinion, Novell's products are certainly alive and kicking. The company has the right stuff, and I, for one, hope Novell can get those products into the corporate IT mix."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What's up with Microsoft?

As you know I tend to set a spin on how things are in regards to Microsoft versus the Open Source movement. But this week I really don't have to exagerate in regards to Microsoft's turmoils.

So what's going on with Microsoft? Thank you for the timing of your announcement of Vista delays the day before Novell's Keynote at Brainshare on SLED10, the new Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop. So.. more delays in Microsoft Vista and now some Microsoft Executive Shake ups.

Here are some quotes from Microsoft Employees and testers:
"We're missing the holiday sales market. Not only did we miss last year's opportunity, we're missing this year's opportunity, too. People need to be fired and moved out of Microsoft today. Where's the freakin' accountability?"

"Being a 10+ year vet I feel ashamed and sad. This company is a mess on so many levels."

What is the true reason for the delay?

"If you had spent the last 5 years of your life grinding away to get this thing out the door, you would have realised the only thing worse than slipping the date, would have been to lay a turd in August. Those of us in the trenches see exactly what bugs are between us and shipping."

Article Source

What's going on with the Microsoft Windows Code?

"Windows runs on 330 million personal computers worldwide. Three hundred PC manufacturers around the world install Windows on their machines... A crucial reason Microsoft holds more than 90 percent of the PC operating system market is that the company strains to make sure software and hardware that ran on previous versions of Windows will also work on the new one — compatibility, in computing terms.

As a result, each new version of Windows carries the baggage of its past. As Windows has grown, the technical challenge has become increasingly daunting. Several thousand engineers have labored to build and test Windows Vista, a sprawling, complex software construction project with 50 million lines of code, or more than 40 percent larger than Windows XP."

Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."

So Microsoft is taking a new approach hence the delays. Vista was built more in small modules that then fit together like Lego blocks, making development and testing easier to manage.

"They did the right thing in deciding that the Longhorn code was a tangled, hopeless mess, and starting over," said Mr. Cusumano of M.I.T. "But Vista is still an enormous, complex structure."

Source Article from NYTimes

Article from MacDailyNews

This makes the OS Market interesting. This year in preparing IT budgets, people have choices to make. Not only in the corporate world, but what about the home market. Microsoft has thousands of engineers on its Windows Team. Apple in contrast has roughly 350 programmers and fewer than 100 testers. What does that mean? Does it mean the Microsoft Code will be better because more programmers, or does it mean that it takes more time and money to get the code out. Microsoft has the added complexity of keeping backwards compatibility. Apple on the other hand didn't retain backwards compatibility with OS X and MAC OS 9. And look what Apple is doing switching to the Intel platform. Who is really being the most innovative? And what about Open Source? Companies like Novell and Red Hat lead the Open Source movement by putting money and resource behind it and then work jointly with other programmers around the world. I think it's the best of both worlds. Again... where is the innovation? Think about this when you are making your buying decisions. Do you want to be "closed" or "open"? I think there is room for both.

- Bucky

Article: Open Source Gaining Traction

Let's talk Open Source:
30 percent of Internet servers run Linux; 40 percent of e-mail servers run Sendmail; 65 percent of Web servers run Apache; 90 percent of DNS servers run BIND; and Mozilla's open-source Web browser Firefox has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bucky's Brainshare Page

You didn't get to go to Brainshare this year? Either did I. But there are several places you can go on the Web to experience some of the action. Check out my Bucky Brainshare Page for Links to Sessions, Photo Blogs, and Webcams to get you as close to the action as possible.

- Bucky

Avanti Penguin Relieves Stress at BS2006

This just in... That cute Avanti Anti-Stress Penquin given away at Brainshare really works. Someone really knows how and where to go to relieve stress. Look where someone found this Penquin...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Brainshare Keynote Notes Monday

Jack Messman, Ron Hovsepian and Jeff Jaffe spoke at Monday's Brainshare Keynote Address. Although I won't be attending this year, I watched the live webcast.

Novell Keynote Replay

Here are some of my notes:Highlights of Brainshare Keynote 3-20-06

"Software for the Open Enterprise"
* GroupWise Mobile Server - powered by Intellisync
* Blackberry for GroupWise Quick Start Offer
* Novell Open Workgroup SuiteIncludes Server and Desktop Bundle
GW, ZEN, OES - Server
OpenOffice, Linux Desktop - Client
More on Keynote Wednesday

* SLES10 - Platform for the Open Enterprise
* SLED10
* Novel ZENworks 7 Linux Management - Dell Edition - Biggest Announcement
* GroupWise Support for next 10 years
* Novell NetWare is supported at least through 2015.
Messman touched on the company's plans for its Open Enterprise Server. Drawing cheers from attendees, he said that Novell will extend support for Netware.
Quote: "We will support Netware at least through 2015," Messman said. "We will support Netware 6.5 for as long as customers want to support it. If you want to continue to run on Netware, I would encourage you to upgrade to 6.5."

* Virtualization on SLES10 - One click from YAST to create a virtual server
Installed and configured a Virtual Machine quickly and easy with minimal clicks

Virtualization gives you High Availability and Security. Get more out of your Hardware.
Linux Application Security - Novell AppArmor

Clustering - Virtualization Clustering
Hith Availability - Cluster physical and virtual

Don't forget to check out the Novell Brainshare videos

Infoworld Article: Novell CEO outlines Novell Road Map

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What stress? I run NetWare

For those of you heading to Brainshare. I want you to be on the lookout for some cute Penguin Stress Balls that I'm sure are going to be a hit and will become a collector's item.

Avanti Technology is handing these Penguins out the first two days of Brainshare.

"While Stress and NetWare are as much of an oxymoron as Flying Penguins and Open Source Windows, we still thought a stress ball might come in handy when dealing with non-NetWare issues that arise daily.

We'll be handing them out the weekend before and during the first two days of Brainshare so be on the look out for the Avanti Penguin Stress Ball. "

Please post a comment on this blog and let me know if you were able to obtain the Penguin Stress Ball. When you see Steve Meyer from Avanti, tell him Bucky sent you!

After you're done reading this post I'd like you to check out two very cool Pro NetWare sites.

1. Of course - Avanti Technology - Check out Task Master!
2. IWANTNETWARE.COM - Stop by and sign the Online Petition.

Help Save NetWare! NetWare is a great operating system. You can't go wrong using tools around NetWare and eDirectory such as IDM3, ZENWorks, and GroupWise which all scale nicely and provide so much networking power with a minimum amount of servers and staff.

Have fun at Brainshare! I won't make it this year, but I won't miss it next year!

- Bucky

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to ssh / putty into a NetWare OES Server

One of the very cool things about OES NetWare (NetWare 6.5 SP4) is the ability to have new ways to access your server and files remotely. You can now use SSH to access your file server. It doesn't matter if it's OES NetWare or OES Linux. SSH (or Secure SHell) is a protocol for creating a secure connection between two systems. In the SSH protocol, the client machine initiates a connection with a server machine. SSH is very similar to Telnet except it uses a secure connection.

To start the SSH Deamon, load SSHD.NLM on a NetWare OES Server. If you're using Linux as your workstation just try typing SSH [ipaddress], ie "ssh".

If you're running Windows I recommend obtaining PuTTY. PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32, Linux, and Unix platforms.

You can obtain PuTTY from a variety of mirrored sources. But try this link:

Once you SSH and authenticate to your server, what can you do? It's a little like Remote Console, but right away I had a hard time figuring out how to switch screens. I tracked down SSH keystrokes and I'll list them, but the some of the most important are:

CTRL Z - Select Screen
CTRL F - Go Forward a screen
CTRL U - Up Arrow
CTRL X - End session

Another cool thing that's new with OES NetWare is the BASH Shell. Try typing :bash
This is like the old Netbasic DOS Shell, but it's a Linux BASH like shell. Try typing a few Linux commands such as: cd \ ; ls ; ls -la ; cd \system ; cat autoexec.ncf
It's very cool! But I still prefer the old CPQFM.NLM to access files.

Here is the complete list of SSH Keystrokes for NetWare access:

Ctrl+B Begin (Home)

Ctrl+D Move the cursor down (Down Arrow)

Ctrl+L Move the cursor to the left (Left Arrow)

Ctrl+U Move the cursor to the up on the screen (Up Arrow)

Ctrl+R Move the cursor to the right (Right Arrow)

Ctrl+F Switch to a different server console screen.
The server GUI screen is not supported.

Ctrl+P Page up

Ctrl+N Page down

Ctrl+G Delete

Ctrl+O Insert

Ctrl+X Exit

Ctrl+T Reboot server

Ctrl+E End

Ctrl+Z Select screen

Ctrl+H Backspace

Ctrl+S Setting screen

Ctrl+Q Display SSH keyboard help screen

Ctrl+K Access the kernel debugger screen

To find out more about SSH on NetWare access the Novell Documentation.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Memory Tuning NetWare 6.5 with memcalc

I've heard reports that there are still memory issues in NetWare 6.5 SP4. Starting with SP3 there have been many enhancements in regards to memory.

This post will direct you to the necessary articles and tools, SEG.NLM and MEMCALC which will assist you in further tuning your NetWare 6.5 Server.

Back in May 2005, I posted a detailed blog on the memory issues before SP3 and what changes were made:
Memory Fragmentation on NetWare

Ed Liebing, technical editor at Novell, wrote a great article on the enhancements and understanding memory through Novell Remote Manager (NoRM). Read this for a great review and understanding of memory on NetWare 6.5.

Novell has released a new SEG.NLM memory analysis tool.
Download the latest SEG.NLM.

To examine your memory on NetWare 6.5 SP3 or SP4 you'll need to download the latest SEG.NLM and use SEG.NLM to write a SEGSTATS.TXT file.

Next read the Novell Cool Solutions article on Memory Tuning Calculator.
Download the Memory Calculator from

There is a windows or linux version of memcalc and it is a DOS executable. Copy your segstats.exe from sys:\system to a dos folder or directory.

memcalc segfile | /i
Where segfile is the path and file name of the segstats.txt file
or use /i to enter the figure manually

So from my lab server:

F:\myfiles\>memcalc segstats.txt
NLM Memory = 356843520
NLMHWM Memory = 392794112
DS Memory = 10142080
Phys Memory = 1068937216
UAS Memory = 936566784

Calculating settings based on following values:

Physical memory (Bytes) : 1,068,937,216
NLM Footprint (Bytes) : 356,843,520
NLM High Water (Bytes) : 392,794,112
UAS (Bytes) : 936,566,784
DS Foot print (Bytes) : 10,142,080

Physical memory is less than 2GB - no tuning recomended

From the readme of memcalc and the cool solutions article:

"In recent NetWare 6.x Service Packs, the memory management with NetWare has undergone a rather radical overhaul to help address limitations NetWare was starting to experience under intensive loads - e.g., Running large databases, multi gigabyte eDirectory trees with millions of objects, multiple Java applications etc.

These changes to memory management were initially quite problematic, but have become much more reliable in the current service packs - except, in my opinion, for the “auto tuning” feature that is enabled by default.

The Auto Tuning feature monitors the memory usage on the server and adjusts two parameters to try and free up more logical address space on the server.

The AutoTuning feature operates by lowering the “File Cache Maximum Size” (FCMS) setting, which controls how much memory is available to the server for use as NSS and/or TFS cache. If the FCMS setting reaches its minimum possible value of 1GB then the auto tuning will then start recommending that the “-u” setting is reduced. The “-u” setting controls how much space is available for the “User Address Space”. This is a logical memory region that is reserved for running protected mode and Java applications.

In my opinion, the memory tuning algorithm is too aggressive, and too simplistic:

  • It wants to keep too much memory in the VM pool.
  • It’s too keen to drive the FCMS setting down.
  • It will only "tune" in one direction, and it "tunes" the server to accommodate one off memory allocations - an NLM accidentally requesting a 1GB allocation today will mean a server "tuned" for that size memory footprint a year from now. If I remove a large memory footprint NLM from the server, memory will not be “tuned” back towards a larger cache- the memory will be forever reserved for the VM pool.
  • The “tuning” can result in even more memory fragmentation than the tuning is designed to prevent. When the FCMS setting is reduced, the complete NSS cache is thrown away (flushed), then its starts growing again. I’ve seen servers with 2-3% of fragmented memory suddenly have 15% or more after being “tuned”.
  • The tuning can cause server abends. I’ve seen it cause Poison Pill abends on Cluster nodes, and other abends on standard servers.
This aggressive auto tuning in addition to some “interesting” default settings bias the server towards giving excessive memory to the VM pool at the expense of the FS Cache pool. " - Hamish Speirs

Read more about it...