RIP Sun Ray

Checking the daily tech news, I see tonight that Oracle is axing their ‘desktop virtualiaztion’. What this really means is the end of the Sun Ray. Such a sad day for those “Sun” people who worked on that and brought the “Network is the Computer” to reality. I remember getting my first Sun Ray (Sun Ray 1) from some Sun guys in Texas. It was awesome, hooked it up to a Sun Blade 100 and now had 2 “heads” on it. I then went on to recommend it for the rest of my group and then the rest of the office. It was nice when I figured out how to make them work from home before Sun made them work with DNS. Once they did that, we got them for the rest of our office to take home as well.

How awesome was it to start something at work or home, and pull the card out and go to the other office and your desktop was there. Same with going between datacenter’s. It truly was the best Thin Client I have ever dealt with. It is not a “chubby” client, but a true Thin Client. You will be missed, but not forgotten. If Oracle know what they have, they should open source the software so that it can be kept up and enhanced by the community of die hard Sun Ray enthusiasts.

sun ray fw rip

Changing passwords? lets make it as difficult as we can…

In this day and age of computer hacks and security problems, why do companies make it awkward to change usernames and or passwords? One example of an awkward procedure to change a password is on the VMware vCenter server. If like any good security minded person you have all  your passwords set to expire every 28 days or so, to change the password on the vCenter server you have to do some “command line fu” to change it. Heaven forbid that you have to change the username as well. So how do you do it? Well if you are running vCenter on a Windows 2008 server and connecting to a Oracle server (that actually holds all the data) there are a couple of things you need to do:

  1. Shutdown the vCenter server (disable it in the Services Control panel)
  2. Change the password for your vCenter user in the oracle DB
  3. Now here it the BIG gotcha. On the windows side you have to run a CMD prompt as an admin user. Just clicking on it in the start menu won’t do it. You have to right click on it and do “Run as Administrator”. If you fail to do this, the next step will fail and just piss you off even more. (The reason for this is the username and password are stored in the registry and I guess running cmd as normal user revokes all privs to modify the registry.)
  4. Now go to the location where VMware vCenter is installed and run the vpxd command with either a -p or a -P. If you use the lower case -p it will prompt you for the new database user password. If you use the -P option, right after the P you can put the new password on the command line.
  5. Now you should be able to start back up the vCenter processes.

Now if you need to change the userid, you need to use Regedit and go to :

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VirtualCenter\DB (under My Computer)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\VMware, Inc.\VMware VirtualCenter\DB for 64 bit versions of Windows.

and change #2 to be the new userid.

This is documented in the VMware KB Article : Changing the vCenter database userid and password. But if you don’t pay attention go the run as part, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure it out even if you are logged in as an administrator.


If your password expires in Oracle while vCenter is up and running, it appears to continue to work while it is up. But if you reboot the vCenter server or restart the vCenter processes, it will “hang” and never start. They also need to make their error messages a little more detailed as to why it is ‘failing’ to start.

30 minutes with Solaris 11 Express

Havn’t really posted anything Solaris / Unix related in a while, but Oracle gave me a reason to do so today. They released Solaris 11 Express today. So like any “Sun Geek” I downloaded all the different installers; text, automated, live cd, and the full ips package stuff. First up on the install was the text based installer. Needless to say if you are used to the old Solaris text based installer, this one is almost 100% different. The colors are different, there is next to no customization of the install (you can’t do any network config other than auto(dhcp) or none), can’t pick what Filesystem you will use for root (glad I started doing all zfs roots a couple of months back.)

Some of the things I have noticed:

1. Sudo is now installed, and the first user you create (during the install) is automatically given full “root” access via sudo.

2. Seems all of the commands that were in /usr/sfw/bin are now in /usr/bin with symlinks in /usr/sfw/bin

3. There is a new /usr/gnu structure that has a lot of the GNU based commads, one cool thing [date “+%s”] now works and prints out the date since the EPOCH.

4. $PATH has /usr/gnu/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin by default. Which means doing an ls -la looks different than when using the /usr/bin/ls -la. This means it may break scripts ….

5. It seems that when installing in a VMWare environment (I was using Fusion at the moment and will try with ESX later this weekend) that on the first reboot, it will hang indefinitely. You have to do a force reboot or shutdown and restart to get it to “boot”

6. The graphical startup is sort of cool, but it “hides” all the boot messages unless you hit a key to show them

7. cc and gcc are NOT installed by default. 🙁

8. showrev doesn’t exist any more.

9. Secure by default is enabled

10. IPfilter is enabled by default (no rules though)

that is just a few.. more later.

See the What’s New doc for more info and the Release notes.

Bad Oracle, Leave Solaris free

I just read Ben Rockwood’s post about Solaris No Longer Free. All I can say is I am severely disappointed in how Oracle has pretty much killed Sun and it’s products. One of the best things that Sun ever did was allow people to use Solaris for free. The caveat was you only got the Security patches for free. About a month or so ago, Oracle decided that you couldn’t get any patches unless you had a support contract. Ok I can sort of see your position on that, but why the hell are you now going to start charging for the OS as well. You have taken one of the best OS’ in the world for servers and basically killed it. What you are going to do is push more people to Linux (eck, I hate linux..). I am not sure why a company that has the number one OS would ever push people away from its OS. Linux is still immature in many ways and can’t scale at all unless you want to scale out and use up more power/floor space.

I hope that the Solaris user community will come around like they did when Sun tried to kill Solaris X86, and let Oracle know what a bad idea this was.

Seeing Red – RIP Sun

Not sure how I feel now that Sun is no longer Sun. Kinda weird watching the Oracle web cast of their purchase of Sun and what is going to happen. One thing I can’t understand is they are all wearing badges saying “We’re Hiring!”. But yet they let go SO many good Sun employees. I just don’t think it is going to be the same old Sun that I have used since 1994.

RIP Sun 1982 – 2010