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The (Ever?) Expanding Sun

Hello happy reader…back in March, I wrote about Sun’s acquisition of MySQL and the xAMP collection of Open Source Software that powers much of the web. Well, Sun has gone and done it again. Sort of, anyway. The actual event was announced back in February of this year, before Sun purchased MySQL. OK, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head so, please excuse me for missing it. Anyway, this particular acquisition concerned innotek, a “provider of the leading edge open source virtualization software called VirtualBox.” Yup, the V word: virtualization.

For those of you who don’t get out much, virtualization is:

  • a) the latest and greatest way to save energy
  • b) a great way to securely divorce application from platform
  • c) one of the star technologies in the profit seeking IT scrum
  • d) all of the above

The answer is, of course, C. Remember, always pick C on a multiple choice test when you don’t know the answer…just kidding. The real answer is D. Yup, savior of the world and a great way to escape the dread Clutches of Redmond, all in one swell foop.

Some of you may be aware of virtualization in some capacity through Microsoft’s offerings, Citrix’s ZenSource, Parallels or VMWare. I happen to find VMWare’s stuff to be, at the moment, the most reliable but, if there’s an open source software (OSS) version of something I use, on my platform, then I’ll usually give it a try, if only for the sheer geekitude. As often as not, an OSS solution is either bare bones but right for the job or, it’s laughably incomplete and a PITA to use.

Sun’s new product, VirtualBox, is open source, as is Sun’s MySQL, OpenOffice and their home grown operating system, OpenSolaris. To my knowledge, VirtualBox is the only true virtualization solution that is open source. Lest I cloud this rant further without defining terms, the Hyperdictionary defines “open source” as a “method and philosophy for software licensing and distribution designed to encourage use and improvement of software written by volunteers by ensuring that anyone can copy the source code and modify it freely.” Copy and modify freely: that’s the key. There are existing and valuable OSS projects out there like Wine that provide some level of application hosting but, that don’t count for this discussion.

At present, Seneschal is saving its shekels to purchase a new computer but, until such time, these virtualization products are off limits in the home lab since they require an x86 processor on which to run…Hey buddy, can you spare a MacBook Pro? Later this, year, I’ll be mucking about with both Fusion and VirtualBox and I’ll let you know what I come up with. In the meantime, that’s all for now…Enjoy the upcoming holiday and, take it slow.

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2 Responses to “The (Ever?) Expanding Sun”

  1. For an interesting take on virtualization, specifically Fusion, check out Frank Dzubeck’s “Desktop virtualization pioneer runs into early bugs” commentary in the June 23rd issue of Network World…

    http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2008/061708dzubeck.html

    He ends with the encouraging statement, “Once you have experienced the virtualization-enabled multitasking-power and application-flexibility of the next-generation desktop, you will not look back!”

  2. Hallo hoppy reader,

    Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that “International Business Machines Corp. is in talks to buy Sun Microsystems Inc. in a combination that would bolster IBM’s heft on the Internet, in data storage and in government and telecommunications areas, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The two companies have a common interest in that both make computer systems for corporate customers that aren’t reliant on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software or Intel Corp.’s microprocessor technologies. The two companies are also strong supporters of open-source Linux and Java software for Web application development…”

    A fascinating development!