Firefox 3.5 for Solaris!

July 10, 2009

These are the direct links for downloading Firefox 3.5 for Solaris:

Version x86 SPARC
Firefox 3.5 OpenSolaris pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 3.5 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar

You can still find the links to the latest Firefox 2 version (2.0.0.20) in this blog entry, and to Firefox 3.0 in this blog entry.

If you are visiting the Mozilla web site from a Solaris system, your system will be automatically detected, and you can a see link which shows "Download Firefox – Free" and "3.5 for SunOS". That link directs you to the Mozilla development page on OpenSolaris.org. Unfortunately, the Solaris versions are not yet mentioned on the "Other Systems and Languages" web page (actually, that’s why I am maintaining the Firefox for Solaris links in my blog), but who knows – maybe we’ll see it there in a while.

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Firefox 3 for Solaris – latest versions as of June 2009

July 10, 2009

These are the direct links for downloading the latest versions of Firefox 3 for Solaris:

Version x86 SPARC
Firefox 3.0.11 OpenSolaris pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 3.0.11 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar

You can still find the links to the latest Firefox 2 version (2.0.0.20) in this blog entry.

If you would like to install multiple versions of Firefox on your Solaris system, you can use the tarballs or my script for renaming a Firefox package.

Oh – and if you are running Solaris or OpenSolaris on x86, I suggest to install the recently released Adobe Reader 9.1 for Solaris x86!

Firefox 3 for Solaris – latest versions as of Apr. 2009

April 1, 2009

These are the direct links for downloading the latest versions of Firefox 3 for Solaris:

Version x86 SPARC
Firefox 3.0.8 OpenSolaris pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 3.0.8 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar

You can still find the links to the latest Firefox 2 version (2.0.0.20) in this blog entry.

If you would like to install multiple versions of Firefox on your Solaris system, you can use the tarballs or my script for renaming a Firefox package.

Oh – and if you are running Solaris or OpenSolaris on x86, I suggest to install the recently released Adobe Reader 9.1 for Solaris x86!

Finally: Adobe Reader 9 for Solaris x86 is available for download !!!

March 26, 2009

Believe it or not. Adobe has finished and made available Adobe Reader 9 for Solaris x86! You can download it from here (in .bin (self-extracting executable), .tar, and .pkg format). System requirements are mentioned here (minimum Solaris level are s10u5 or OpenSolaris 2008.11).

Firefox: How to easier identify secure web sites before entering passwords

March 26, 2009

Recently, I encountered an article on Heise Security (for the English version, click here) and found it very useful. The article recommended to change the property browser.identity.ssl_domain_display from 0 to 1 in about:config so that the area in which the favicon is displayed (left to the URL line) will also display the domain name. The change will make it much easier to identify a secure web sit before entering personal or otherwise sensitive information like passwords, so I also recommend it. You can find screen shots at the bottom of the mentioned article.

Firefox 3 for Solaris – latest versions as of Mar. 2009

March 5, 2009

These are the direct links for downloading the latest versions of Firefox 3 for Solaris. Because there are several security bug fixes implemented in 3.0.7, I strongly recommend to install them soon:

Version x86 SPARC
Firefox 3.0.7 OpenSolaris pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 3.0.7 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar

You can still find the links to the latest Firefox 2 version (2.0.0.20) in my previous blog entry on Firefox versions for Solaris.

If you would like to install multiple versions of Firefox on your Solaris system, you can use the tarballs or my script for renaming a Firefox package.

Local backups with rsync (forget tar -cvf – . | (cd /dest; tar -xpf -)

February 9, 2009

Recently, I encountered the rsync man page by accident (maybe as one of the lines in the top 10 Google search results?) and was quite surprised to find rsync examples where there was no remote host in any of its arguments. Doesn’t rsync stand for something like "remote synchronization"?

So here’s how it works:

If you want to copy all files in a directory and all directories and files below to another directory (for example on another file system on a different disk), use the following command:

$ rsync -avz /source_dir/ /dest_dir

Note the added slash after /source_dir. This command will recursively copy all files and directories in directory /source_dir to directory /dest_dir (will create it if it doesn’t exist). If you omit the trailing slash, it will create a new directory /dest_dir/source_dir. The rsync command will copy links as links, not as the original files they point to (similar to the default behavior of Solaris or GNU tar). If the rsync command was run before at least once, it will copy only the changed or newly added files. It will not remove destination files if files have been removed in the source directory.

Example: Copy all directories and files in directory /tmp/1 to empty directory /tmp/2:

  • Using the cp command (option P will copy links as links):
    $ cp -Ppr /tmp/1 /tmp/2
  • Using the tar command (Solaris or GNU. Solaris tar will report that a link has been created while GNU tar will only mention the file name of the link):
    $ mkdir /tmp/2
    $ cd /tmp/1
    $ tar -cvf - . | ( cd /tmp/2; tar -xpf -)
  • Using the rsync command:
    $ rsync -avz /tmp/1/ /tmp/2

Firefox for Solaris – latest versions as of Feb. 2009

February 9, 2009

These are the direct links for downloading the latest versions of Firefox for Solaris:

Version x86 SPARC
Firefox 3.0.6 OpenSolaris pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 3.0.6 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 2.0.0.20 Solaris 10 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar
Firefox 2.0.0.20 Solaris 8 pkg  |  tar pkg  |  tar

Note that you can easily install multiple version of Firefox on Solaris, using either the tarballs or my script for renaming a Firefox package.

How to save a lot of money

February 4, 2009

Good news: You can save a lot of money easily! Here’s how it works:

Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=browseList (for the US or Canada) or http://www.spritmonitor.de (for Europe) or a similar site where car drivers can enter data of their cars and their tank fillings. Search for similar cars like yours (same engine/power/cylinder capacity, same year of manufacture), look for the average and also for the lowest fuel consumption of these cars (maybe also for the highest).

Let’s take the 2004 Toyota Prius. The average range is 46.3 mpg but the best is 62 mpg! Even if you do are not the perfect eco driver, you might be able to achieve 60 miles per gallon.

Suppose you are typically driving 20,000 miles a year. That’s 20,000/46.3 = 432 gallons of fuel for the average 2008 Prius. Now let us do the same calculation for the fuel efficient driver: 20,000/60 = 333.3 gallons. Considering a price of 1.7 US $ per gallon, that’s about $165 less (870.5 kg less CO2) per year. Not too bad!

What about the 2004 Ford F150 Pickup 2WD 8 cyl 5.4 L? Average mpg is 15.3, worst is 12 and best is 19 mpg. For 20,000 miles a year, that would be 20,000/15.3 = 1,307.2 gallons in average or 1,052.6 for the best driver. Difference is more than $432, so you should be able to save more than $400 (2.25 metric tons CO2) per year (and even more if you are used to driving at high speed and/or with too low air pressure in your tires, or if you use your car instead of your bike for getting fresh rolls in the morning)! For just a fraction of the saved money, you could buy a good computer racing game. Or do indoor cart racing once a year.

For those of you living in Europe, you will save even more (as fuel prices are a lot higher than in the U.S.). In my case, for about 20,000 km (12,427 mi) per year on a Toyota Corolla Combi 1.6 (station wagon), I achieved 5.7 liters per 100 km (41 mpg) in average, compared to 7.5 liters per 100 km (31.4 mpg) for the average driver. With a fuel price of 1.39 EUR per liter (5.25 EUR per gallon), I saved about 500 EUR (and more than 800 kg CO2) per year compared to the average driver, or twice as much compared to a driver that prefers an F1 driving style.

And this is the "car" I am using for short distances, including shopping in my home village – saved me another 100 EUR (plus the fitness center fees) and 160 kg CO2 per year:

Shopping Bike

Using ZFS as (an iSCSI) target for Mac OS X Time Machine

January 27, 2009

Inspired by this and then this blog entry, I thought it was now time for me to get my own experience with iSCSI.

Here’s the result:

  1. On my eco-friendly server running OpenSolaris 2008.11, I created a new ZFS volume (not a ZFS file system!) with iSCSI sharing switched on:
    $ zfs create -o shareiscsi=on -V 180G pool2/mac-tm
    cannot share 'pool2/mac-tm': iscsitgtd failed request to share
    filesystem successfully created, but not shared
  2. Well, that did not work well. Better search and install the iSCSI packages first:
    $ pkg search -rl iscsi | nawk '{print $NF}' | \
    nawk 'BEGIN{FS="@"}{print $1}' | sort -u
    PACKAGE
    pkg:/SUNWiscsi
    pkg:/SUNWiscsitgt
    $ pkg install SUNWiscsi SUNWiscsitgt
    DOWNLOAD                                    PKGS       FILES     XFER (MB)
    Completed                                    2/2       18/18     0.86/0.86
    PHASE                                        ACTIONS
    Install Phase                                  74/74
    PHASE                                          ITEMS
    Reading Existing Index                           9/9
    Indexing Packages                                2/2
    
  3. Then, I wanted to delete (destroy, in ZFS speak) and create the zvol again:
    $ zfs destroy pool2/mac-tm
    cannot destroy 'pool2/mac-tm': volume has children
    use '-r' to destroy the following datasets:
    pool2/mac-tm@zfs-auto-snap:frequent-2009-01-23-12:15#
  4. OK, I understand that an automated snapshot had already been created in the meantime. Destroy the zvol with its snapshots, and create the zvol again:
    $ zfs destroy -r pool2/mac-tm
    $ zfs create -o shareiscsi=on -V 180G pool2/mac-tm
    
  5. Check if the shareiscsi property is on for our volume:
    $ zfs get shareiscsi pool2/mac-tm
    NAME          PROPERTY    VALUE         SOURCE
    pool2/mac-tm  shareiscsi  on            local
  6. List all defined iSCSI targets:
    $ iscsitadm list target
    Target: pool2/mac-tm
    iSCSI Name: iqn.1986-03.com.sun:02:3f4f551a-41ab-4a3a-adf9-ea3ce5c2789c
    Connections: 0
  7. Looks great! On the MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.5.6, I installed the globalSAN iSCSI initiator software (version 3.3.0.43) from Studio Network Solutions, after downloading from this link.
  8. Then I rebooted the Mac (as required by the globalSAN iSCSI software).
  9. Next step was to mount the iSCSI drive:
    Mac OS X System Preferences
    a) Click on the globalSAN iSCSI icon to display its control panel:
    GlobalSAN iSCSI control panel #1
    b) Click on the + symbol in the lower left corner to get the following popup:
    GlobalSAN iSCSI control panel #2
    c) Enter the IP address or host name of the OpenSolaris server, leave the port number as it is, and enter the target name (the last column in the line starting with iSCSI Name: in the output of the iscsitadm list target command on your OpenSolaris server – in our case, it’s iqn.1986-03.com.sun:02:3f4f551a-41ab-4a3a-adf9-ea3ce5c2789c ), and press the OK button. The iSCSI control panel will then look like:
    GlobalSAN iSCSI control panel #3
    d) Click the Connected switch at the end of the iSCSI target line (the line which starts with iqn) to get the following popup:
    GlobalSAN iSCSI control panel #4
    e) Press the Connect button to connect to that iSCSI target. As we did not specify CHAP or Kerberos authentication, the connect will work without user and password. For a walkthrough and more on CHAP authentication, click this link.
    After pressing the Connect button, the control panel will look like:
    GlobalSAN iSCSI control panel #5
    At this time, the newly created volume will show up in Disk Utility. Note that I clicked on the Persistent button to build the connection again after a reboot – I didn’t try rebooting to check, but believe it will work.
  10. Then, I created a Mac OS X volume in Disk Utility.
    Disk Utility #1
    a) Click on the disk drive and then on the Erase tab, enter a new name for the volume (or leave it as it is), and press the Erase… button. The following screen will displayed to show the progesss:
    Disk Utility #2
    After the erase is completed, the new volume will show up in the left part of the Disk Utility (For this screen shot, I created the volume again after providing the name ZFS-180GB for the volume. Not sure if it’s possible to rename a volume without formatting it):
    Disk Utility #3
  11. Now the volume is usable in Time Machine.
    a) Click on the Time Machine icon in System Preferences to start its control panel:
    TM control panel #1
    b) Click on Change Disk to change the destination volume for Time Machine (the lock in the lower left corner has to be unlocked first to allow for the change):
    TM control panel #2
    c) Select the new volume and press Use for Backup. Then, just start the backup (or wait 120 seconds until it starts automatically):
    TM control panel #3
    Mac OS X Time Machine has started its first backup on a ZFS volume!

However, as always in my blog entries, this is no guarantee that it will always work as described, or that the backup and restore will also work after your next Mac OS X upgrade, or that there will be no errors or problems with such a setup. What I can tell you is that a simple restore attempt worked for me just as if I had done it from a USB disk!

Up to now, I have always disconnected the USB disk drive before closing the Mac’s lid so that a Time Machine backup would not be interrupted in the middle. Not sure what would happen if a Time Machine backup is running while you close the lid, so better read the docs and test it, or just always unmount Time Machine’s active volume before letting your Mac sleep.

And I discovered that if an iSCSI volume is mounted before closing the lid, the Mac Book Pro cannot transition into deep sleep mode with a power consumption similar to the switched off state. It somehow sleeps, but with rotating fan and a steady front LED. And in order to wake it up, I had to open and close the lid several times. So the steps to do before closing the Mac’s lid are:

  1. Eject (unmount) the volume (use the eject menu item after right-clicking on the volume’s icon on the desktop).
  2. Disconnect the iSCSI target (and all others) in the globalSAN iSCSI control panel in the Mac OS X System Preferences, by unmarking the tick in column Connected for all targets. A confirmation popup will be shown when unmarking the Connected tick.

After waking up your Mac next time, just tick the Connected mark in the globalSAN iSCSI control panel again and confirm the popup that will be shown. If you did not choose another destination disk for Time Machine in the meantime, Time Machine will recognize the iSCSI drive as a valid destination volume automatically and use it for its next scheduled backup.

BTW For an interesting article on how to use ZFS iSCSI sharing with a Linux client, please click here.