When the Sun sets, the stories come out.

Posted by Bill Bradford on May 30, 2014

This IEEE Spectrum article tells about the Sun employee reunion that happened last Saturday evening at Sun’s first corporate headquarters building in Mountain View.

TechTarget article about Oracle and the “hobbyist” community

Posted by Bill Bradford on Apr 3, 2013

I’m quoted in this TechTarget article about Oracle’s attitude toward the “hobbyist” community.

No Longer Running Ads

Posted by Bill Bradford on Feb 13, 2013

I’ve completely removed all advertising from SunHELP, and will be redesigning the site soon. If you happen to run into a page with an ad on it, please let me know.

Still Here, Still Going

Posted by Bill Bradford on Nov 29, 2012

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 mrbill@sunhelp.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.

Still here, and still going!

Posted by Bill Bradford on Apr 3, 2012

I’ve been VERY busy over the past few months and haven’t had much time to dedicate to SunHELP, but the site’s still here and isn’t going away! With Oracle’s seemingly new policy of not caring about the “little guy” and dropping all support for older UltraSPARC hardware in Solaris 11, SunHELP is needed more than ever by people who want to keep the older systems up and running.

I’ve made some minor clean-up changes today, and will be continuing this work. Would also like to thank Jerry for posting the occasional news article over the past few months.

Oracle proposes donating OpenOffice.Org to the ASF

Posted by Bill Bradford on Jun 1, 2011

According to this article, Oracle is proposing to give the OpenOffice.Org code to the Apache Software Foundation incubator for further development.

Oracle to make OpenOffice a community project

Posted by Bill Bradford on Apr 26, 2011

After its recent fork as the LibreOffice project, according to this Register article, Oracle is turning the OpenOffice effort into a purely community-driven project and no longer plans to offer a commercial “StarOffice” version.

SUN.COM website NOT going away after June 1 (updated)

Posted by Bill Bradford on Mar 12, 2011

In what I think is a really stupid decision on Oracle’s part, the SUN.COM website is going away after June 1, 2011.

(March 30th Update: Thanks to Jerry Kemp for pointing out an update where it is clarified that SUN.COM will not be going away, and 1:1 redirects will be in place)

Updates will resume soon – migration in progress!

Posted by Bill Bradford on Dec 17, 2010

Timely news and information updates will resume soon; I’m in the process of migrating everything from my current colocated system in Austin to new hardware and bandwidth in Houston. Thank you for your support.

New sunhelp.org server coming along nicely

Posted by Bill Bradford on Nov 21, 2010

Thanks to donations from supporters and people whose websites I host, the hardware for the new ohno.mrbill.net server is in place and the Comcast Business Class line with static IPs was installed yesterday. The current server will remain in-place until the end of the year, giving me plenty of time to migrate content without having to rush. I will also be hosting two “machines” (converted to VMs) for a friend on this system; he has paid for a good part of the hardware and is paying for the Comcast installation fee in exchange.

Antec Sonata Proto case, Corsair VX450 power supply, Gigabyte motherboard, AMD Athlon II x4 640 CPU, 8GB RAM, and pairs of WD Caviar Blue 250G and Caviar Green 1TB drives each mirrored in a RAID-1 configuration.

Update on the sunhelp.org hosting situation

Posted by Bill Bradford on Nov 7, 2010

Thanks to the users of the SunHELP website and mailing lists who have donated enough to cover the existing colo facility fees for a couple of months! This lets me leave the machine as-is while I do a gradual peaceful migration.

I’ve decided that instead of going with another “favor from a friend” hosting deal or discount, that I will be getting a Comcast Business Class connection with static IPs here at home (in addition to the ATT Uverse line I have for my “personal” Internet use), building a quiet and energy-efficient multi-core x86-64 system, and hosting everything there. All current sites and services will move to the new machine with no changes; all you’ll see is a different IP address once the DNS propagates. This also means direct physical access to the hardware in case of problems.

Due to Oracle’s policy changes over the past few months, I will *not* be able to host SunHELP on a Solaris system! This is strictly a hobby and labor of love, and I cannot afford to pay for a service contract that would give me access to security patches and updates for Solaris x86. At this point it looks like the OS of choice will be either Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu Server 10.10 (opinions and suggestions welcome, in email). The existing T1000 system is way too loud to run in a residential environment.

In any case, the current system isn’t going anywhere till at least the beginning of the year, and I will keep posting updates. Thank you for your support over the past 13 years.

Sunhelp.org may be moving – I need your help!

Posted by Bill Bradford on Oct 27, 2010

Got a call from my ISP this morning; a special deal I’d been getting for colocation of my server for the past ten years is going away at the end of November. Unless I can come up with approximately $160/month after that (for 1RU, one Ethernet drop, one static IP, 1megabit sustained bandwidth usage), I will have to find a new home for the machine. This will affect this site and all of the other mailing lists and services I run on the machine.

The system is currently located in Austin, TX, and I’m in Houston. If I move it, I would prefer moving it to somewhere in Houston, but the system has a serial console and I can pretty much do all management from anywhere.

Suggestions of colo providers (especially in Houston) will be GREATLY appreciated. Please contact mrbill@sunhelp.org.

UPDATE: Situation not so dire, see the next post.

Illumos Project launched

Posted by Bill Bradford on Aug 3, 2010

The Illumos Project has launched. It aspires to be the community built and maintained version of Oracle’s OpenSolaris code.

Oracle announces Premier Support on HP and Dell systems

Posted by Bill Bradford on Jul 29, 2010

Oracle announced today that Dell and HP will certify and resell all Oracle operating systems – Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM – on their x86 server systems.

Server Upgrade Completed

Posted by Bill Bradford on Apr 8, 2010

The way-long-overdue SUNHELP.ORG server upgrade is completed. Last night I migrated everything from the old Sun E420R (4x450Mhz US-II, 4G RAM, dual 18G disks) to the new T1000 (8-core 1Ghz UltraSPARC T1, 8G RAM, 1T SATA disk). Everything appears to be running fine so far.

Thanks to everyone for their patience. I intended to do this last June/July, but the death of my wife threw things for a loop and it fell to the back of my priorities list for a while.