Apologies for the lack of updates or news items lately. I’m still here, just have been dealing with a lot of problems in my personal life and things related to my wife’s untimely death. When stuff like that happens, you tend to lose enthusiasm for personal projects and at times it’s hard to start caring about some things again. I’m on the upswing finally, and look forward to completing a site redesign for SunHELP by the end of the year. One of my eventual goals is to make the site into more of a reference / database than it is now, full of helpful information for people that want to keep their Sun-branded hardware going for as long as possible. Part of that is a “back burner” project I’ve got going on to collect and archive online as many different versions of SunOS and Solaris (SPARC *and* x86) as possible, to have available for the hobbyist community when needed and allowable under Oracle’s copyright guidelines.
Speaking of Oracle, Sun’s “new” owners (it’s been a few years now, hasn’t it?) – I’ve not seen otherwise, and I can’t speak for all of the Oracle/Sun employees, but their attitude towards the hobbyist community and sites like mine seems to be a large upraised middle finger. I’m not even able to run SunHELP on actual Sun / Oracle hardware or software, as the cost of a support contract in order to get Solaris patches is more than any income that this site brings in nowadays (basically zero).
My question to you, the Sun and Solaris and SPARC enthusiasts, is – is it worth it? Do you get any benefit, education, or enjoyment out of my continuing work keeping this site and the mailing lists going? Has it helped you solve a problem, defeat an emergency, “put out a fire”, be a hero, get a job, keep a job, get a better job? Have you learned anything that you might not have found out anywhere else? Have you scored awesome computer systems that a company was just going to toss out, and got them running at home? Does your spouse understand the desire for raised flooring in the garage?
When I was a young beginner sysadmin, I received a lot of help and mentoring from other folks, and have always appreciated that. SunHELP started in July 1997 (then as sunhelp.com) as a collection of links and resources, and gradually expanded into a major web site, I believe at one point this was the largest third-party non-official Sun-enthusiast informational resource. I became the official home for the Sun Hardware FAQ – a document that was a big part of my learning about Sun systems in the first place. In 2000 I became one of the list maintainers of the Sun-Managers Mailing list (and hosted it from my own hardware for a few years; I still help with and in 2005, I was honored to take over hosting of Celeste Stokeley’s Unix Serial Port Resources pages. All of my efforts over the past fifteen years have been an attempt to give something back to the community, and I hope that my peers feel that my contributions have been worthwhile.
I’ll keep putting my money and effort into SunHELP and the mailing lists for as long as it proves useful to someone else – and if it has been useful, entertaining, or educational, please let me know. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me your story.
Update: Don’t worry – I have no plans to stop doing all this or cease hosting the mailing lists and web site! I’d just like to know, for my own personal knowledge, what benefit you’ve gotten out of everything here.