Picked up my first iphone on Friday. My friend Mark and I avoided lines by calling ahead to check status and wait time at a few stores, and arriving at the store late afternoon. In Hingham, MA, we waited only a couple of minutes before having a sales rep help us to our new phones.

Many great things to appreciate about the phone, especially the screen and the (many, mostly) great applications. Some things people complain about I find to be very nice. The camera quality seems to be very good, but maybe as the lens gets some wear and tear the quality will decrease.

Fun applications so far include evernote (my new favorite journaling software), sketches, save benjis, vicinity, weatherbug, google, bloomberg, pcalc, and the built in GPS.  And the UI is tremendous.

But battery life is a problem.  To start, I turned everything on – bluetooth, wifi, 3G, and push email from exchange. This is the way I’d prefer to run so I figured I should give it a try. About 5 hours later, with fairly light phone use, the battery was dead.  Turned off Wifi and (unscientifically) battery life wasn’t much better. Then 3G, and again battery seemed to be draining quickly. Then found a web site talking about how “push” email is a big battery drainer. Tried resetting that to “pull” mode – i.e. the phone will connect periodically to the email (calendar, contact) servers and download changes, rather than getting the changes as they happen. If that greatly increases battery life I’ll try turning on the other services and see if I can get closes to connectivity nirvana or if I’ll have to run lean and mean.  I’ll report back with the results.


I’m now happy with the battery life. It’s at least as good as my old phone – the Verizon XV6800 smartphone. The key is to turn off “push” synchronization. Instead I get updates to Exchange every 30 minutes or whenever I launch the mail / calendar / contact iPhone applications.  I’ve left 3G and wireless on, used the phone a reasonable amount from 9am to midnight without charging it, and still had 25% battery life left.  I have cycled the battery charge a few times which usually also helps battery life.

The current status of my life with iPhone:

Apps do occasionally crash – I chalk this up to version 1.0 of the API and the apps.

Occasionally (once every other day?) the phone will crash when running an app. Note that all the problems are with 3rd party apps, never (so far) the native Apple apps.

UI, location services, look and feel are all great.

Can’t charge the phone in any of my vehicles via the dock connector to my sound systems – at least I can listen to my iPod content though!  This is a bit aggravating. I can charge via a cigarette lighter adapter though, and bought a “Kensington mini battery pack and charger” external battery for emergency use (that works well so far), so not a huge issue. It will be an issue when I finally give in and update my ipod car adapters though (once compatible ones are out) because those are expensive.

Syncing takes a loooong time (full backup each time the iphone is connected to the computer) if left to its own devices. I found that (if I don’t want the backup) just hit the little “x” in the syncing status at the top of itunes, and then itunes will move on to the other aspects of syncing (i.e. loading new apps, podcasts, music). At night I’ll let a full sync run but during the day I just want the contents updated…

Favorite apps: bloomberg, weatherbug, pccalc, shazam, evernote, save benjis, where, yelp, boxoffice, twinkle, sportstap, mlb.com at bat, pandora, sketches, ereader, airme, and some games. Very nice!


The LISA (large installation systems administration) conference of USENIX has released its 2008 call for papers. I have a vested interest in spreading the word because I’m on the program committee and wants lots of (good) papers to read and select from.  LISA is a high-quality, refereed paper conference. The theme for LISA ’08 is “Real World System Administration.”

Have a look at the CFP and as appropriate please consider submitting a paper.

I’ll be teaching (again) for USENIX at their annual general conference in Boston, MA USA during the week of June 22nd. Registration just opened and all of the conference details can be found at the USENIX site. I’ll try to attend the conference as well as teach my two tutorials (Solaris 10 Administration Workshop and Solaris 10 Security Workshop), but sometimes other work projects get in the way. Hope to see you there!

My column has been published in ;login:. This month it’s about the Solaris Security Benchmark, which is a top-notch tool for checking and improving the security of your Solaris systems.  Some ;login: contents is freely available at ;login: April 2008, but my column this month is not one of them. I’ve posted the .pdf here for those without a USENIX membership (although I strongly recommend you get one if you are interested in all things Unix).

Since SysAdmin Magazine stopped publishing, I’ve been looking for a new place to write for. The USENIX association publishes a bi-monthly journal called ;login: for its members. In my view the contents there are always top-notch, so I was pleased when they invited me to write a column for them.

Feb 2008 marks the debut of “PATS” – Pete’s All Things Sun. (Cleverly, I managed to make the column name also the name of my favorite team :-).  ;login: is printed and shipped to members. USENIX also runs conferences and has other valuable member benefits, so if you are interested in all things Unix you should consider becoming a member.

;login: is also available on-line with some contents free but some members-only at ;login: . To make sure that everyone interested has access to my writings, I’ll post them here as well after they come out in ;login.

So without further ado, here is the first column, about my view of the “future of Sun”: ;login: Feb 2008 Galvin column

(For those interested in the NorthEast (US) Open Solaris Uses Group…)
Hi NEOSUG’ers!

Sorry for the lateness of this update, but now the holidays are over and it’s back to work.

Our November NEOSUG meeting featured two great talks:

Jeff Victor talked about the Solaris 8 Migration Assistant, which is a software technology that enables a Solaris 10 Container to behave like a Solaris 8 system. The slides from the talk are available here: http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/ne-osug/files/S8MA-Customer.pdf

In its first public demonstrration (!), Dave Miner showed off Project Indiana, which is a new project to create an OpenSolaris binary distribution. Dave also handed out CDs containing this first preview distribution (version .75). Quite a few folks at the meeting used this liveCD to boot and test Indiana, while others (like me) installed it as a VMware guest to play with. Dave’s slide are available here: http://blogs.sun.com/dminer/entry/slides_from_indiana_at_neosug

Finally, this user group is actually for y’all, the users. Please take a minute to fill out this survey to tell us about logistics and topics for future NEOSUG meetings: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=KEoVVsviYk1cJD56XeWeaw_3d_3d

Also, if you have an interesting topic to talk about, and want to talk about it, please get in touch and we’ll try to include that in a future meeting.

Based on your surveys and feedback, we’ll start planning the next NEOSUG meeting.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

Just announced: the Fourth NEOSUG meeting. It will be on Nov 1 starting at 6:30 at the Sun campus in Burlington, MA. This month’s meeting has two great topics and some fun.

Talk 1: The Solaris 8 Migration Assistant is a software technology that enables a Solaris 10 Container to behave like a Solaris 8 system. Most applications that run on Solaris 8 will run in a Solaris 8 Container without recompilation or other modification. S8MA enables a consolidated platform to run both Solaris 10 and Solaris 8 applications, and both can benefit from the innovative features of Solaris 10. This session will describe and demonstrate the S8MA technology, and will discuss the types of situations for which S8MA is  an appropriate technology. Jeff Victor will present this talk.

Talk 2: Project Indiana. This meeting is scheduled to coincide with the first preview release of Indiana. Dave Miner, one of the leads on Indiana, will give a talk about the project and then we’ll have an “install fest” where NEOSUG attendees can try out this new distribution of Solaris. Dave will have live CDs to allow exploration without installation. We are also planning on having VMware images, so VMware-happy laptops are welcome as well.

The meeting should run until 9:30 or so. Snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

Here are some useful links:
OpenSolaris Indiana project
NEOSUG discussion forum
NEOSUG homepage

Sun, rather quietly, has released Solaris 10 update 4. It’s available here. Note that it’s currently only available for download. Media kits are not yet available.

Hi, just updated The “Best” Mac OS Resources page again. This time incorporated a bunch of feedback and added some stuff I use but didn’t include the last time around.

Saw The White Stripes last night at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. This is the third time I’ve seen them (not counting the Raconteurs concert last year) but probably my least favorite of their concert. The Stripes are one of my favorite bands and the first time I saw them (at a similar ice rink in Lowell on the Elephant tour) I was floored by the energy and quality of the concert. This time there seemed to be less energy, and certainly there was less volume. Maybe the tour is wearing on the Stripes, or maybe it was the venue. Had a good time but probably the last time I’ll see them live unless the concert meets one of my “go-to-concert criteria”.

My Go-to-Concert Criteria

Only go to a concert if it meets these specs:

– Way up front at a big venue (was in the front standing room only area at Tweeter for Nickelback et al) – otherwise the acoustics are so bad it’s not worth going.

– Haven’t seen the band before and want to see them at least once – last year that was Roger Waters, Bob Dylan, and Aerosmith, this year The Cure. Still kicking myself for not seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan when I lived in Austin, and Led Zeppelin when they were Led Zeppelin. Although good concert DVDs certainly make up for a lot.

– It’s at a small venue – I’ll take a smaller band at a small venue over a big band at a big venue – last year the Raconteurs at Lupos in Providence, this year Cowboy Junkies at the Iron Horse in Northampton.

Here is the partial set list from the concert. Didn’t take notes ’cause I was there to listen, not report. Sorry…

Icky Thump
Little Cream Soda
Rag and Bone
Hotel Yorba
In the Cold Cold Night
Ball & Biscuit
I Think I Smell a Rat
300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
Hello Apple Blossom
Seven Nation Army
When I Hear my Name (?)

So they played a lot of my favorites, although they didn’t include some like Black Math, Hardest Button to Button, Blue Orchid. I was seated toward the back, toward the side, so maybe the show was better from the floor or closer. Didn’t seem to be though based on watching the fans around the arena. Not much boppin’. Certainly lots of applause after (and sometimes during) songs, so people clearly liked the band. The acoustics were fairly good (for a hockey rink – it’s a smallish one so I’m sure that helped). I think a few more clean decibels would have made all the difference. I don’t envy sound engineers who have to try to balance out the sound in a large place like that, but paying good money means I want good sound.

Speaking of bad sound, the worst case of poor concert audio I’ve heard in the past few years was at the tent that gets set up during summers on the Boston waterfront. This year it’s called the Bank of America Pavilion. The concert was Jethro Tull. The sound was so lacking in volume that you could carry on a conversation at normal speaking levels during the show. Terrible. That’s not always the case in the pavilion as that same year John Hiatt put on a great show there.

Hmm, while I’m talking about concerts I’ll list a few of my favorites:

– Talking Heads at a big bar in the Springfield MA area in ’81 or maybe ’82. My girlfriend and I were standing about 20′ from the stage. Amazing.
– Talking Heads on the Stop Making Sense tour (the tour they made the DVD from). At the Worcester Centrum or some such.
– Tom Petty at the Tweeter Center (Great Woods) around ‘2004.
– Pretenders / B-52s at Great Woods around ‘2001.
– Buddy Guy at Lupos (or some big bar in Providence) around ‘2005.
– Susan Tedeschi at the Avalon in Boston around ‘2003.
– B.B. King at Foxwoods around ‘2003.
– The White Stripes Elephant tour (see above)

Uh, and my first concert was Styx at the New Haven Coliseum, which I’m not too proud of but hey, I was in high school and enjoyed it at the time. Or maybe it was Charlie Daniels at the Cape Cod Coliseum. That was great too. Thanks to Uncle Billy for taking me.

Still on my list of “bands to see while I can” are The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Page and Plant. So if you have a spare ticket… 🙂

Update – the participation of Usenix at SANs conferences was postponed so I won’t me making this conference.


I’ll be teaching my Solaris 10 Administration Workshop and Solaris 10 Security Workshop at the SANSFIRE conference – the major SANS event. It’s in Washington D.C. this year. USENIX and SANS are working together to provide more training on varying topics at their conferences and my classes are part of that cross-polination. I’ll be there July 28th through 30th (at least).



Just a couple of weeks until Usenix ’07 in Santa Clara, CA. Hope to see some of you there. I’m teaching two courses there and taking some vacation time as well. Solaris 10 Admin and Solaris 10 Security.


From the Usenix Ad:

2007 USENIX Annual Technical Conference

June 17-22, 2007, Santa Clara, CA

Early Bird Registration Deadline: June 1, 2007




USENIX ’07 is coming to Santa Clara, CA, June 17-22, 2007. As always,

the breadth and quality of this year’s tutorials, refereed papers, invited talks, and

participants is excellent. Some highlights:


The 6-day training program at USENIX ’07 provides in-depth and

immediately useful training on the latest techniques, effective tools,

and best strategies, including:


— Richard Bejtlich on TCP/IP Weapons School, Layers 2-3

— Peter Baer Galvin on Solaris 10 Security Features

— AEleen Frisch on Administering Linux in Production Environments

— Steve VanDevender on High-Capacity Email System Design

— And more . . .


The full training program can be found at



In addition to the training, 3 days of technical sessions include

top-notch refereed papers, informative invited talks, expert Guru Is In

sessions, and a Poster Session.



* Our invited talks feature our most impressive slate of speakers to

date. They include:


— Keynote: “The Impact of Virtualization on Computing Systems,“ by

Mendel Rosenblum of Stanford University


— Plenary Closing by Mary Lou Jepsen, One Laptop per Child,

“Crossing the Digital Divide: The Latest Efforts from One Laptop per



— Rob Lanphier, Linden Lab, “Second Life“


— Luis Von Ahn, Carnegie Mellon University, “Human Computation“


— Werner Vogels, VP and CTO, Amazon.com, “Life Is Not a State-

Machine: The Long Road from Research to Production“


* The Refereed Papers track provides a look into current research and

practices on in-demand topics.


For complete program information and to register, see



USENIX ’07 promises to be an exciting showcase for the latest in

innovative systems research and cutting-edge practices in technology.

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Clara in June.



WHAT: USENIX ’07: 2007 USENIX Annual Technical Conference

WHEN: June 17-22, 2007

WHERE: Santa Clara, CA

WHO: Anyone interested in state-of-the-art computing issues

WHY: To get to and stay on the leading edge of practical and actionable research and tools

HOW: http://www.usenix.org/usenix07/progm

My two-part column discussing the ins and outs of system virtualization are now available on-line from SysAdmin Magazine.

Navigating the System Virtualization Maze – Part 1
Navigating the System Virtualization Maze – Part 2

I’m on the program committee for the USENIX LISA ’07 conference (a preeminent systems administration conference with refereed papers). The deadline for paper submissions is fast approaching. Below I’ve included the call for papers. If you’ve been doing research on systems administration or been implementing new tools or methods please consider submitting your work to the conference.

Call for Papers
LISA ’07: 21st Large Installation System Administration Conference
November 11-16, 2007, Dallas, TX, USA
Extended abstract and paper submissions due: May 14, 2007
Sponsored by USENIX and SAGE

Dear Colleague,

The submission deadline for the 21st Large Installation System
Administration Conference (LISA ’07) is less than a month away.
Please submit your work by May 14, 2007.

The LISA ’07 organizers invite you to contribute proposals for refereed
papers, invited talks, and workshops, plus any ideas you have for Guru
Is In sessions, Work-in-Progress Reports, the new poster session, and
training sessions.

The Call for Participation with submission guidelines and sample topics
can be found on the USENIX Web site at http://www.usenix.org/lisa07/cfpb

For twenty years, the annual LISA conference has been the foremost
worldwide gathering for everyone interested in the technical and
administrative issues of running a large computing facility.
Administrators of all specialties and levels of expertise meet at LISA
to exchange ideas, sharpen old skills, learn new techniques, debate
current issues, and meet colleagues and friends.

The conference’s diverse group of participants is matched by an equally
broad spectrum of activities:

* A training program for both beginners and experienced attendees covers
many administrative topics, ranging from basic administrative procedures
to using cutting-edge technologies.

* Refereed papers present the latest developments and ideas related to
system and network administration.

* Invited talks discuss important and timely topics and often spark
lively debates and conversation.

* Work-in-Progress Reports (WiPs) provide brief peeks at next year’s

* NEW! The Poster Session offers the opportunity to describe your
current work.

* Submit a draft paper or extended abstract proposal for a refereed
* Propose a training session topic.
* Suggest an invited talk speaker.
* Share your experience by leading a Guru Is In session.
* Submit a proposal for a workshop.
* NEW! Submit a poster.
* Present a Work-in-Progress Report (WiP).
* Organize or suggest a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session.
* Email an idea to the program chair: lisa07ideas@usenix.org

We look forward to hearing from you!

On behalf of the LISA ’07 Organizers,

Paul Anderson
University of Edinburgh

Extended abstract and paper submissions due: May 14, 2007
Invited talk proposals due: May 21, 2007
Notification to authors: June 27, 2007
Final papers due: August 20, 2007
Poster proposals due: September 3, 2007
Notification to poster presenters: September 17, 2007
Submission guidelines and more information can be found at

About this mailing list:

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members or conference attendees. We would like to continue sending you
occasional announcements like this one. However, if you no longer wish
to receive these announcements, please reply to this message and
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If you wish to send email to Paul Anderson, please use
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If you have any questions about the mailing list, please send email
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I thought it would be fun / informative to post the covers of the history Operating System Concepts. The general name for the series is “the dinosaur book” although the covers have included non-dinos as well. As far as we know this series is the best-selling operating system textbook.

The critters on the cover indicate both the evolution of operating systems and the ongoing “OS wars”. I became a co-author on this book in its Third Edition, after it was well established as one of the leading operating systems textbooks by James Peterson and Avi Silberschatz. Over time Peterson went on to other things and Avi and I were joined by Greg Gagne. The First Edition was published in 1983 and was 548 pages long. On its cover were dinosaurs and mammals labeled with the names of the important operating systems of the time, including OS/360, Multics, Scope, OS/MVS, VMS, UNIX, and CP/M. The book was a break-through because it covered not one operating system but abstracted key operating system features and used specific operating systems to illustrate those concepts. This method is still the one employed in the current edition. The Second Edition went disco with the same dinos and mammals but this time lit up in neon. The Third Edition updated the creatures and showed the following operating systems on the cover: OS/MVS, Multics, VMS, UNIX, OS/2, Mach, and MS-DOS. For the Fourth Edition we decided to stop labeling the animals on the cover, but on the inside of the cover we had descriptions of the animals as well as a time-line of operating system evolution. I thought that was cool. The same theme was in the Fifth Edition as well. The Sixth Edition had the animal information but stopped including the timeline. Along the way we published alternate versions of the book that used Java as the descriptive language and for exercises and projects. For more information on the current OSC, including sample exercises, errata, and teaching aids, check out the text home page.

OSC 1st editionOSc 2nd editionOSC 6th XP UpdateOSC 3rd EditionOSC 3rd EditionOSC 5th EditionApplied OSCOSC 6th Java Operating System Concepts, 7th ed Operating System Concepts with Java, 7th edScreen Shot 2013-03-21 at 5.50.48 PM



(Talking Heads live in Rome 1980)

Does anyone know who the guest guitarist is?

Thanks to my colleague Tom R who points out that the guitarist is none other than Adrian Belew.

Just occurred to me that I never blogged about my book(s). The latest edition just came out – it’s Operating System Concepts with Java, 7th ed. It’s a partner to the other current edition Operating System Concepts, 7th ed. Together they are among the best selling operating system textbooks. The new book has a Java flavor, specifically in the examples and projects. Both are available from the usual sources including Amazon (OSC7th w/ Java, OSC 7th). The main URL for the books is www.os-book.com. There we keep the errata, slides for lecturers using the class, and links to other useful resources like sample exercises and solutions and on-line chapters.

Operating System Concepts with Java, 7th ed Operating System Concepts, 7th ed

This astounding snippet from David Byrne’s blog. (I’m a huge fan of all things David Byrne.)

Lastly: There are 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in the human body. That means we are basically a means for bacteria to become mobile, to complete their life cycles and to procreate. We think they are living off us, but it is we who are living for them.

Sort of reminds me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the mice run the world by producing specific results from the mazes that we make them run in our experiments.

Just released at SysAdmin Magazine (both in print and on the web) is my latest column. This being part one of a two parter on virtualization. Here is the link. Also in this same issue of SysAdmin is an article by my colleague, Chris Page, about the cluster technology that is part of Oracle’s RAC product. Well worth a read.

Hi, just updated The “Best” Mac OS Resources page again. This time incorporated a bunch of feedback and added some stuff I use but didn’t include the first time around. Hopefully this version 1.2 one won’t need updating for a little while…