Category: English

What Are Prohibited During The Beijing 2008 Olympics?

By , 2008年7月29日 9:37 上午

Many people are interested in what are prohibited during the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Well, below is a list of the things that I know of.

First, the mailing of dangerous packages are prohibited at China Posts. In theory, you can mail anything that can be recognized and determined to be safe by the attendants at the post office. In practice, you can’t mail anything that can not be recognized and determined to be safe by the attendants at the post office. I myself tried to send a book with a CD from the post office at Tsinghua University, and was denied service because the attendant was not able to determine whether the CD inside the book was safe or not. During this special period you can’t mail packages containing solid, liquid, or gas. This policy knocks down the e-business across China, because you can’t deliver any orders by China Posts.

If your air conditioner or refrigerator is not working, you can still call the service company, but they will have difficulty in coming to provide meaningful service. To service an air conditioner or a refrigerator, the service workers need to carry with them some necessary chemicals which are now prohibited in all public transportations. Unless they are driving their own Benz-Mercediz to your apartment, your air conditioner or refrigerator will have to remain shut down during the summer.

Strictly speaking moving is not prohibited during the game. However, trucks are prohibited in Beijing from July to September. So, the moving companies are now out of business. This is also true for the renovation companies. Starting from July 15, all residents in Beijing are required to terminate their renovation work, and renovation workers are prohibited to enter residences from July 20.

Canine-based cuisine is also prohibited during the game. All local hotels and restaurants have been told by the municipal food safety office to stop serving dog meat to both foreigners and local residents. For an ordinary Chinese person like me, we might accept the idea that animals also have animal rights, but they will certain have difficulties in understanding why dogs are superior to cows, pigs, and chickens. So, there have been suggestions that local government should also respect the muslims, or even the vegetarians.

Peking University is one of the most esteemed advance education institutes in China. Many people would like to visit its beautiful campus while in Beijing but obviously they are going to have bad lucks. At the entrance a guard will politely stop you, ask for your purpose of visit, and inform you that you will need an internal “sponsor” to escort you through out the trip. What? You don’t know of anybody working at Peking University? They can do you a favor by allowing you to have a quick peek at the gate, but don’t assume that they will be kind enough to let you sneak in.

Many gyms and dancing clubs that I know of have been ordered to shutdown because of safety concerns. Gyms are dangerous because the exercise equipment can be used as lethal weapons. Dancing clubs are dangerous because terrorists can easily launch an attack in a dark and noisy environment. After several bus booming accidents in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Kunming, the whole country are scared, just like the US after 911. Don’t go to places where there are a lot of people — this is what the residents in Beijing are told (implicitly).

Human beings are not the only species subjected to these strict policies. Weather armies are now ready to shoot down any rain clouds approaching Beijing, causing unusual precipitation in adjacent areas. Peonies in the city of Luoyang, as well as chrysanthemums in Beijing, are prohibited to bloom in season. Rather, they are instructed to bloom around the game, outside of their ordinary biological life cycle. Many Chinese people are familiar with the female emperor Wu Zhetian in the Tang Dynasty. To celebrate her birthday she ordered flowers of all species to bloom on the same day. However, the peonies refused because that was not the right time for them to bloom. As a result, the peonies were exciled to Luoyang. For thousands of years, the peonies have been a symbol of free spirit that does not surrender to authorities. However, in 2008, for the so-called Beijing Olympics, the lovely peonies finaly lost their dignity.

You might ask, what else are prohibited during this ridiculous Beijing 2008 Olympics? Well, why don’t you try Google for a complete list? I myself actually did that and obtained the answer: according to local laws and policies, some of the search results can not be displayed (据当地法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。).

New Category: English

By , 2008年7月3日 8:49 下午

I came to realize tht I am bloging more and more in English. (And there are a lot of English-speaking folks reading my blog too.) So I decided to setup a new category called “English”. I went back to the WordPress management page, and reset all the English entries to this new category, along with their original categories. In the future I will remember to tag an English entry with the “English” category.

I tried to blog in a bi-langual way, but it proved to be difficult and time consuming. I can’t write an article, and think about how to translate it into English — or Chinese — simultaneously. As we all know, people think — or more precisely, reason — differently when using different languages. So I gave up that idea after several failed attempts.

The content for this new category is available at http://www.qyjohn.net/?cat=15. And you can find it from the menu on the left hand side.

Community Buiding Efforts in China — 365 Days, 122 Events, 19600 Attendees

By , 2008年7月3日 2:20 上午

As the Senior Manager of Sun Developer Network in China, I run (most of) the developer outreach activities (along with several business units in Sun) in China. During FY08 (2007.07.01 — 2008.06.31) there were a total number of 122 technology outreach events of different scale happened in China, covering a total number of 19600 attendees. That’s to say, one event every 3 days, with an average number of 160 attendees.

This achievement was the combined effort of the Technology Outreach Group under Matt Thompson, the Sun China ERI University Program under Sin-Yaw Wang, and the GSS Open Community Team under James Bai. The Asian Globalization Center (AGC), the ISV-E team, and the Solaris Engineering team at Sun China ERI also contributed significantly to this milestone.

Below is a list of the events happened in FY08.

Summary of All Events

Type of Event Number of Events Total Attendees
Sun Developer Days 7 1532
Solaris and OpenSolaris Events 23 3542
Java and NetBeans Events 14 1363
Sun University World Tours 25 8075
Hands-on-Lab Trainings 15 508
University Teachers Training — Java and NetBeans 7 210
University Teachers Training — Solaris and Sun Studio 8 415
ISV Visits 9 115
Partner Events 8 1665
Code Competitions 6 2175
Total Events 122 19600

Sun Developer Days

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2008.03.19 Shenzhen Sun Developer Day at Shenzhen 208 Ada Li
2008.04.07 Suzhou Sun Developer Day at Suzhou 94 Ada Li
2008.04.22 Taipei Sun Developer Day at Taipei 140 Ada Li
2008.04.23 Beijing MySQL World Tour — Beijing 400 Daniel Liu
2008.04.05 — 2008.04.06 Shanghai China Education and Research Conference 530 Jason Tong
2008.05.30 Zhuhai Sun Open Source Tech Day 40 Open Community, SDN China
2008.06.05 Fuzhou Sun Open Source Tech Day 120 Open Community, SDN China

Solaris and OpenSolaris Events

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.07.21 Beijing Solaris Performance Tuning 120 Joey Guo
2007.10.09 Beijing Beijing Linux User Group — Alex Peng OpenSolaris Introduction 20 Alex Peng
2007.10.22 Shanghai Shanghai Linux User Group Meeting with Ian Murdock 637 John Jiang
2007.10.23 Shanghai Intel APAC R&D Center — Ian Murdock on Project Indiana 59 John Jiang
2007.10.25 Shanghai OpenSolaris Day 90 Joey Guo, Xinfeng Liu
2007.10.25 Shanghai OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 42 Joey Guo, Xinfeng Liu
2007.10.27 Nanjing OpenSolaris and Sun Studio Tech Talks to ACM/ICPC Attendees 400 Joey Guo
2007.10.29 Beijing Intel Beijing R&D Center — James Hughes on Future OS 14 John Jiang
2007.11.03 Beijing OpenSolaris Day 199 Joey Guo
2007.11.03 Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 129 Joey Guo
2007.11.04 Changchun OpenSolaris and Sun Studio Tech Talks to ACM/ICPC Attendees 412 Joey Guo
2007.11.17 Chengdu OpenSolaris and Sun Studio Tech Talks to ACM/ICPC Attendees 356 Joey Guo
2007.12.01 Beijing ZEUUX Monthly Meeting — OpenSolaris Introduction 20 Alex Peng
2008.01.10 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 180 Joey Guo
2008.02.28 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 73 Joey Guo
2008.03.01 Chengdu Chengdu OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 70 Rachel Zhang, Jacky Cao & Serena Xiao
2008.03.15 Beijing Unix-Center.Net User Group Meeting 15 John Jiang
2008.03.27 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 124 Fiona Duan, Li Jian, Solaris Eng.
2008.04.24 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 72 Fiona Duan, Li Jian, Solaris Eng.
2008.05.20 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 50 Fiona Duan, Li Jian, Solaris Eng.
2008.05.30 Beijing Zeuux Free Software Forum — Tsinghua Science Park 150 John Jiang
2008.05.31 Beijing Zeuux Free Software Forum — Tsinghua University 250 John Jiang
2008.06.26 Beijing Beijing OpenSolaris User Group Meeting 60 Fiona Duan, Li Jian, Solaris Eng.

Java and NetBeans Events

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.10.15 Beijing Beijing University Teachers Salon — Java Discussion 25 John Jiang
2007.10.25 Shanghai NetBeans Day 160 John Jiang
2007.11.03 Beijing NetBeans Day 239 John Jiang
2007.11.03 Beijing GlassFish Day 98 Jim Jiang, Ada Li
2007.11.14 Nanjing Nanjing IT Pro Club — Java User Group 80 Ye Liang
2007.12.07 Beijing SMTH Java User Group Meeting 20 John Jiang
2007.03.29 Beijing RDFZ Middle School Java User Group Meeting 28 Ada Li
2008.05.12 Beijing Open Source Technology in Beijing Jiaotong University 230 Zhen Tao
2008.05.22 Beijing WSN & Sun SPOT Course #1 at BJTU 36 John Jiang
2008.05.29 Beijing WSN & Sun SPOT Course #2 at BJTU 36 John Jiang
2008.06.05 Beijing WSN & Sun SPOT Course #3 at BJTU 36 John Jiang
2008.06.13 Beijing WSN & Sun SPOT Introduction at Tsinghua University 6 John Jiang
2008.06.27 Beijing WSN & Sun SPOT Course #4 at BJTU 36 John Jiang
2008.06.28 Beijing Sun Java Mobility Day 333 Ada Li

Sun University World Tours

Dates City University Name Attendees Event Owners
2007.10.25 Shanghai Fudan University 435 John Jiang
2007.10.27 Nanjing Nanjing University 419 John Jiang
2007.10.27 Nanjing Nanjing University of Postal and Telecommunications 228 John Jiang
2007.11.03 Beijing Beijing University of Postal and Telecommunications 615 John Jiang
2007.11.04 Changchun Jilin University 1093 John Jiang, Joey Guo
2007.11.16 Chengdu Sichuan University 462 John Jiang, Joey Guo
2007.11.17 Chengdu University of Electronics Science and Technology of China 682 John Jiang, Joey Guo
2008.02.28 Chongqing Chongqing University 180 Sandy Cheng
2008.03.08 Baoding Hebei University 260 Ada Li
2008.03.08 Xiamen Xiamen University 300 Joey Guo
2008.03.17 Hongkong Hongkong University 14 Ada Li
2008.03.18 Hongkong Chinese University of Hongkong 54 Ada Li
2008.03.20 Shenzhen Shenzhen University 223 Ada Li
2008.03.29 Wuhan Huazhong University of Science and Technology 527 Joey Guo
2008.03.30 Hefei Hefei Institute of Technology 506 Jim Jiang
2008.04.09 Hangzhou Zhejiang University 262 Ada Li
2008.04.12 Shanghai Shanghai Jiaotong University 257 Jeoy Guo
2008.04.19 Guangzhou South China University of Technology 420 Fiona Duan
2008.04.21 Taipei National Taiwan University 21 Ada Li
2008.04.24 Taizhong Febg Chia University 46 Ada Li
2008.04.24 Zhongli National Central University 81 Ada Li, Michael Li
2008.04.25 Tainan National Cheng Kung University 52 Ada Li
2008.04.23 Gaoxiong National Chung Hsin University 91 Ada Li, Michael Li
2008.04.26 Dalian Dalian University of Technology 415 Fiona Duan
2008.04.26 Changsha Central South University 435 Joey Guo, Ricky Zhou

Hands-on-Lab Trainings

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.09.14 Beijing Solaris and Sun Studio HOL for Web 2.0 ISV’s 31 John Jiang
2007.10.17 Chongqing Solaris and Sun Studio HOL for Telco ISV’s (Chongqing CMCC) 26 ISV-E
2007.10.29 Beijing Solaris System Administration HOL for ISV’s 42 John Jiang
2007.10.29 Beijing Solaris Development HOL for ISV’s 41 John Jiang
2007.10.30 Beijing Java Performance Tuning and Trouble Shooting HOL for ISV’s 43 John Jiang
2007.10.30 Beijing Java EE and Web 2.0 HOL for ISV’s 38 John Jiang
2007.11.08 Beijing Solaris System Administration HOL for ISV’s 45 John Jiang
2007.11.08 Beijing Solaris Development HOL for ISV’s 25 John Jiang
2007.11.09 Beijing Java Performance Tuning and Trouble Shooting HOL for ISV’s 50 John Jiang
2007.11.09 Beijing Java EE and Web 2.0 HOL for ISV’s 40 John Jiang
2007.11.29 Beijing Solaris System Administration HOL for SD 2.0 Conference 5 John Jiang
2007.11.29 Beijing Solaris Development HOL SD 2.0 Conference 6 John Jiang
2007.11.30 Beijing Java Performance Tuning and Trouble Shooting HOL for SD 2.0 Conference 5 John Jiang
2007.11.30 Beijing Java EE and Web 2.0 HOL for SD 2.0 Conference 5 John Jiang
2008.05.06 Beijing OpenSolaris 2008.05 Installfest 106 John Jiang

University Teachers Training — Java

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.07.24 — 2007.07.28 Beijing Java and NetBeans 32 John Jiang
2007.07.24 — 2007.07.28 Shanghai Java and NetBeans 37 John Jiang
2007.07.24 — 2007.07.28 Harbin Java and NetBeans 15 John Jiang
2007.07.31 — 2007.08.04 Shenzhen Java and NetBeans 27 John Jiang
2007.07.31 — 2007.08.04 Changsha Java and NetBeans 40 John Jiang
2007.07.31 — 2007.08.04 Xi’An Java and NetBeans 33 John Jiang
2007.07.31 — 2007.08.04 Tianjin Java and NetBeans 26 John Jiang

University Teachers Training — Solaris

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.07.31 — 2007.08.02 Yantai Solaris and Sun Studio 102 Joey Guo
2007.08.05 — 2007.08.08 Changchun Solaris and Sun Studio for ACM/ICPC Competition Coaches 97 Joey Guo
2008.03.01 — 2008.03.02 Beijing Solaris and Sun Studio 39 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan
2008.03.08 — 2008.03.09 Xiamen Solaris and Sun Studio 37 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan
2008.03.29 — 2008.03.30 Wuhan Solaris and Sun Studio 41 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan
2008.04.12 — 2008.04.13 Shanghai Solaris and Sun Studio 37 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan
2008.04.19 — 2008.04.20 Guangzhou Solaris and Sun Studio 37 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan
2008.04.26 — 2008.04.27 Dalian Solaris and Sun Studio 25 Joey Guo, Fiona Duan

ISV Visits

Dates City ISV Name Attendees Event Owners
2007.12.03 Beijing BlueDJ 3 Alex Peng
2008.03.20 Shenzhen EpoSoft 3 Ada Li, Ye Liang
2008.03.21 Zhuhai Tencent QQ 6 Ada Li, Alex Peng
2008.03.21 Guangzhou ICBC SDC 20 Ye Liang, Benny Luo
2008.04.09 Hangzhou Alibaba 19 Ada Li
2008.04.11 Shanghai JoyZone 5 Nanjing
2008.04.14 Nanjing Neusoft 20 Ye Liang
2008.04.16 Beijing ChinaCache 3 Alex Peng
2008.05.23 Beijing Adobe R&D Center 36 Ada Li

Partner Events

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.07.28 — 2007.07.30 Yantai 9th China OS Teachers Conference 110 Joey Guo
2007.11.10 — 11.11 Beijing Java Teachers Confenrence by Tsinghua University Press 35 John Jiang
2007.11.20 Beijing China Java Conference 2007 500 John Jiang
2007.11.24 Beijing Distro Show via BUPT Open Source Club 200 Alex Peng
2007.11.25 Nanjing Nanjing Programming Club Technology Open Day 230 Ye Liang
2007.11.29 — 2007.11.30 Beijing CSDN – Dr. Dobbs Software Development 2.0 Conference 500 John Jiang
2008.05.20 Beijing Beijing Linux User Group on OpenOffice 50 Fiona Duan, Robert
2008.06.13 Beijing Co-Create China Software Expo — Open Source Track 40 Polly Wang, John Jiang

Code Competitions

Dates City Event Attendees Event Owners
2007.06 — 2007.10 China OpenSolaris Programming Contest 768 Joey Guo, John Jiang
2007.09.15 Chengdu ACM/ICPC Provincial Competition 170 Joey Guo, John Jiang
2007.10.25 — 2007.10.27 Nanjing ACM/ICPC Regional Competition 400 Joey Guo, John Jiang
2007.11.03 — 2007.11.05 Changchun ACM/ICPC Regional Competition 412 Joey Guo, John Jiang
2007.11.10 — 2007.11.11 Beijing ACM/ICPC Invitation Competition 69 Joey Guo, John Jiang
2007.11.16 — 2007.11.18 Chengdu ACM/ICPC Regional Competition 356 Joey Guo, John Jiang

Life Is Changing

By , 2008年6月18日 1:10 上午

Sin-Yaw Wang made an announcement today that he is leaving Sun for an external opportunity. This is such an unexpected news that reminds me that life is always changing. Sin-Yaw Wang is a great leader with a helping heart. He is open minded, kind, and straight forward. As a versatile blogger, he maitains several blogs simultaneously, including NomadicMinds, Whiteboard Infinity (English), and Whiteboard Infinity (Chinese). It was very strange, but my first thought after reading his “opt out” message was whether his blogs on Sun’s web property would remain there after he departs.

Another collegue whom I have been working very closely during the past three years also decided to leave Sun. He did a great deal of great work in promoting Sun’s product and technology — especially OpenSolaris — in the academic space. His departure will be a significant lost for Sun’s technology outreach efforts in China. I will miss him a lot.

Yes, life is changing, constantly.

Updated: Now I believe that it is a wise decision to host my blog on my own domain domain. Nobody will work for a single employer for a life time, and it would be a great headache to migrate your blog every time you make a change in your career.

Building Campus Communities

By , 2008年5月12日 6:06 下午

Recently many Sun campus ambassadors expressed the intention to establish Sun Clubs in their colleges / universities, and leverage the Sun Clubs to promote Sun’s product and technology. Within Sun, some of my colleagues also share the same thoughts. In this article, I would like to share with you my opinions on this aspect.

In recent years, more and more companies are building their communities in university campuses. The earliest adventure seems to be the Microsoft Clubs sponsored and advised by the university relationship unit of Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA). The most recent attempt is Google Camp, which is advocated and promoted by Dr. Kaifu Lee, the founding president of Google China. Before discussing the possibility of establishing Sun Clubs, I would like to review the experiences from our friends such as Microsoft and Google, which can be of references for our future work.

The first Microsoft Club was founded in Sichuan University in October 2000. By May 2004 there were already 34 Microsoft Clubs in China. To support the variety of events in universities, MSRA launched several programs such as “Imagine Cup” software development competition, “Tomorrow’s Star” internship, student MVP (Most Valuable Person) selections, summer / winter camp, and practicing projects. It was through these programs that club members, especially the leading members, came to realize the value of participation and leadership in a Microsoft Club. In 2003 MSRA university relationship unit began to recommend outstanding club members for the MVP selection process. By 2007 there were 35 club members recognized as Microsoft MVP. The Microsoft student practicing project program was started in 2002. By 2008 Microsoft received 1700+ project applications, sponsored 450+ projects, and 30+ students became employees of Microsoft through this program. In execution, Microsoft provides funding and engineering resources (engineers to deliver technical presentations, equipments, books and CD’s) for the student activities (including technical exchange, software development, team building, and outing), while the club leaders are responsible for event planning, delivery, and reporting. The goal-oriented management method significantly stimulates the enthusiasm and creativity of club leaders, which results in very active club activities, and Microsoft Clubs becomes famous among student communities. During the past two years the activity and influence of Microsoft Club appears to be declining – possibly due to personnel changes at MSRA. However, most of the Microsoft Clubs in China are still in healthy shapes.

The first Google Camp was founded in Beijing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics in June 2006. Dr. Kaifu Lee attended the inauguration ceremony and delivered a keynote on “7 Most Demanded Qualifications in 21st Century”. During the next 6 months, like bamboo sprouts after a heavy rain in spring, 20+ Google Camps – along with Dr. Lee’s preaching, fermented campuses across China. As compared to Microsoft, Google seemed to have a different point of view regarding the future of Google Camps. As said by Dr. Lee, “Google Camps should be run by its members, and we expect good ideas. Google is responsible for provide funding.” Well, after the honey-moon fantasies, most of the Google Camps became silent and miserable. Except for several clubs that maintain a google relationship with Google, most of the clubs do not know what to do, or do not have the resource to do what they want. It seems to me that the country-wide inauguration of the many Google Camps across China in 2006 was simply a public propaganda, with a clear objective to promote hiring for the new-born Google China. Well, Google did achieved its hiring goal through these events, but might actually harvest an negative impact to its image in the long run.

What do we learn from Microsoft and Google? The most obvious is – money alone is not enough in building campus communities. Being one of the most valuable companies in the market, Google does have the money needed to build student communities. The problem with Google Camps was: Google set its goal too close. As we all know, the objective of any investment of a commercial company is to fulfill the interests of its share holders to the maximum. The interests mentioned here can be the elevation of the image of the company, the adoption of its key technologies, or the sales of its products, etc. However, this process, while maximizing the interests of the share holders, needs to provide benefits for the participants. The benefits mentioned here can be the acquisition of new knowledge, being known or respected by others, or increasing competitiveness in related fields. A cooperation relationship can not survive in the long run unless it brings value for both sides. In the case of Google Camp, Google achieved its goal before a trustworthy and reliable relationship can be established between Google Camp and Google. Because the lack of a long term vision, Google was reluctant to inject more fuel to the camps, and the relationship was discontinued. It is fair to say that the destiny of Google Camps was predefined on the very first day.

I don’t want to re-emphasize the importance of campus communities for Sun, which should be self-explaining. We have been thinking about the possibility of building campus communities for a while, but our approach will be different from those of Microsoft and Google. Microsoft and Google chose to established their own communities, while we will choose to join existing communities. In specific, we will joint the existing science and technology society, open source club, Java club, and Linux clubs, and provide the necessary resources for their activities. For example, we will provide funding for community activities, provide training for their major members, send engineers to deliver technical presentations, and provide internship opportunities for outstanding community members. In other words, by cooperating with existing campus communities, we provide students the opportunity to learn and use Sun’s product and technology, therefore acquiring new knowledge and enhance self-competitiveness. At the same time, Sun’s product and technology will be promoted and adopted in universities. Win-win, that is the word we would use to describe this relationship.

Microsoft Clubs and Google Camps are both exclusive communities. In other words, their subject matters are limited to the the product and technology from Microsoft or Google. This exclusiveness is similar to that of a religion – when a person is tagged with a certain religion, he/she will automatically reject thoughts and believes from other religions. We believe that this exclusiveness is incompatible with the open source spirit we are promoting. There are both pros and cons in different product and technologies from different vendors either in design, implementation, or application. All companies tend to demonstrated the best side of their product and technology, and avoid their shortcomings during the show. As a students, he/she should study the product and technology from various vendors without preference, and form his/her own option through comparison and critic. If a student decides to love Sun’s product and technology, we hope that this is not because he/she has only the opportunity to study and use ours.

So, Sun campus ambassadors, you should start looking for your community right now. Find an active organization in your campus – science and technology societies, open source clubs, or Java clubs. Join them, become part of them, and contribute to their growth. Tell them that recently you have learn something on OpenSolaris, MySQL, VirtualBox, or Java, and are willing to share with your fellow members. When the members of your organization have learn the basics of OpenSolaris, MySQL, VirtualBox, or Java, you will also be able to invite engineers from Sun to deliver more technical presentations and workshops. I believe, other than those exclusive organizations, no one will reject a sharing heart.

I like Korean movies, especially Dae Jang-Geum featuring the famous royal chef and the first royal woman physician during Li’s Empire in Korea in 16th century. When talking about cooking, Dae Jang-Geum mentioned that the most important qualification of a chef is sincerity – a chef needs to consider the needs of his/her patron at all times, even if he/she is simply presenting a glass of water. We as technology evangelists needs to possess the above-mentioned sincerity. Even if we are presenting a very simple topic/subject, we need to consider the needs of the audience. Take OpenSolaris for example, a student wants to know how to provide FTP service with OpenSolaris, how to create websites with OpenSolaris, and how to build applications for OpenSolaris. For any operating system, its users can be roughly categorized into four groups: desktop users, system administrators, application developers, and kernel developers. This is a pyramid-like structure. All system administrators, application developers, and kernel developers are desktop users. Both application developers and kernel developers need to know about system administration, while kernel development can be regarded as a special breed of application development. I am not suggesting that kernel developers are superior as compared to other users. Rather, I am suggesting the importance of desktop users, system administrators, and application developers, because they represent the majority of our audience. Therefore, we should introduce more content related to desktop usage, system administration, and application development, and less content related to kernel development – simply because this is not what the audience want. As to the question of whether OpenSolaris is much better than others, we should leave this to the judgement of our audience.

I believe that the team in China has began to possess the sincerity as defined by Dae Jang-Geum.

Chinese Version: 2008.05.10, midnight, on flight CA 986
English Version: 2008.05.13, Tsinghua University

Yueba Buena

By , 2008年5月9日 9:33 下午

It is extremely frustrating and annoying to realize that you are on a different intelllectual level as compared to someone else. That was exactly my feeling when visiting the Yueba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) at downtown San Francisco.

I agree that we are living in a crazy world, and artists today are reflecting our crazy world back to us. I agree that through their works they are trying to capture our attention, make us think, and force us to care. However, I have a feeling that all this can be done in a more straight-forward, more persuasive, and therefore more productive way. Especially, it seems to me that it is very difficult to make people realize this crazy world by driving them crazy.

For example, in contemporary art video is often used as an element in an artwork. Although I myself don’t watch TV that often I don’t have any problem with this new element in an artwork. The problem is, if you want to show people a video clip, you really need to learn some camera skills, at least don’t make the camera shiver in your hands. Data from medical researches in related fields has indicated that watching a vibrating video not only leads to visual impair and motion sickness, but also stimulates psychiatric disorders. I must agree that an audience will feel uncomfortable after viewing such an artwork (vibrating motion scenes on a screen), and come to the conclusion that only in a really crazy world can such a piece of crap be considered as artwork, which might be exactly what the artists want. But, what happens after the audience resumes consciousness? I don’t know what other people will do but I really hate that artist who makes me sick through his/her work. They should all be put to jail for murdering the neurons and brain cells of their audiences with such a systematic plot.

With that said, I should probably step back and admit that I am just too dumb to understand all these. 🙁

PS:

During the past 4 years I have been visiting San Francisco for a dozen times, but I have never really walked around downtown San Francisco. (I usually stay at Palo Alto and work at Menlo Park, which is 45 minutes drive from downtown San Francisco.) This time the JavaOne conference was being held at the Moscone Center in downtown Francisco, and I had the opportunity to take a 2-hour walk after all the highly intensive work. It was a great pleasure to find out that San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts (MOMA) was quite close to Moscone Center, where the JavaOne conference was being held. However, my time was so limited that I decided to visit YBCA instead, which was a lot smaller. (And I am feeling sorry for the decision.) A couple of blocks away, on Market Street, stands Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Not far away from YBCA there is a shop of 琉璃工坊(Liuli Gongfang, AKA Glass Arts Workshop), which is labeled as an art gallery. I stepped in, and a Chinese lady greeted me with charming smile on her face. I was delighted to see my favorite 娟索手 designed by Lady Huishan Yang on the shelf, but gave up the purchase when looking at the price tag.

Will probably come back in July. By that time I really need to spend a whole day hanging around the museums.

Norovirus

By , 2008年5月9日 1:13 下午

Last night, Matt sent out a notice to our team saying that some of our SDN editors working at the JavaOne site had come down with flu-like symptoms. Early in the morning, all JavaOne attendees received an email from the JavaOne team that San Francisco Department of Public Health believed that there was an outbreak of morovirus, and the Moscone Center (where the JavaOne event is being held) was impacted. The email also informed all the JavaOne attendees that actions had been taken overnight to disinfect the facility, and the event will go on as scheduled.

It should be mentioned that the JavaOne event got started on Monday. On Thursday afternoon the flu-like symptoms were reported by employees of Sun to their managers. Sun and the JaveOne event team immediately contacted San Francisco Department of Public Health, who inspected the venue, collected samples, disinfected the facility, and made justifications for the event to continu, overnight.

This reminds me of the hand-foot-mouth disease that is currently outbreaking in China, which have caused the death of more than 10 children in different provinces. According to related news releases, doctors began to suspect the outbreak of the disease in early March. Local authorities denied the outbreak of a contagious disease in the end of March. It was after the death of 6 children that medical authorities admitted the outbreak of the disease in mid-April — as of today there have been 25000 infections and 34 deaths reported.

All lives should be respected. The difference is — different lives are being respected at different levels in different countries. It makes me feel very bad by the fact that China is doing so poor in this aspect.

Photos from OpenSolaris Installfest Event

By , 2008年5月7日 3:39 下午

We provided 45 laptops for this installfest event. But this is not enough, so some of the attendees had to share a laptop. The laptops we used were Lenovo E680-A, which was sold only in China. It took about 45 minutes to install OpenSolaris 2008.05 from the LiveCD onto the hard drive.

我们为这次初体验活动提供了45台笔记本电脑。当人数比较多的时候,笔记本电脑竟然不够用了,所以有一些参与者需要共用一台笔记本电脑。我们采用的笔记本是联想昭扬E680-A,似乎只在中国有卖。在这个型号的笔记本电脑上,从LiveCD上将2008.05安装到硬盘上需要45分钟左右。

A near view. When planed for this event, we expected that the average time an attendee would spend on the installfest will be about 2 hours. So, we did not plan for providing them lunch. That was too bad. 🙁

However, when seeing that most of the attendee spend more than 4 hours on the event, I decided to call McDonalds for delivery. So, at noon every attendee got a lunch box from McDonalds.

近景。当我们策划这次活动的时候,我们以为每位参与者平均在场的时间大概在2 个小时左右。因此,我们并没有计划为参与者提供午餐。这后来被证明是一个错误的决定。

不过,当看到大部分的参与者在场的时间超过4 个小时的时候,我决定立即打电话给麦当劳让他们送餐。因此,中午的时候每一位参与者都得到了一份麦当劳的快餐。

This picture was taken at about 10:00 AM, when the installfest event got started. There were about 20 people in the room at that time. The boy sitting with the big “Unix” on his T-Shirt was an intern from Sun doing onsite support. The T-Shirt he was wearing had the URL www.unix-center.net on it. Well, we call it a Unix-Center.Net T-Shirt.

这张照片是在上午10点左右拍的,那时侯活动才刚刚开始,屋里大概有20个人的样子。坐在后面的男孩的T-Shirt背后印着大大的Unix字样,他是在现场提供支持的Sun 实习生。他所穿的T-Shirt上还有www.unix-center.net这个URL -- 这就是Unix-Center.Net的站衫。

OpenSolaris 2008.05 in Retrospect

By , 2008年5月7日 2:37 下午

We obtained the ISO image of OpenSolaris 2008.05 a week ago, and made arrangements for CD production immediately. Because I was so consumed by other assignments, by the time we launched the OpenSolaris Installfest on Tuesday, I had only less than one day’s experience with this new release. So, it is fair to say that I am a new comer to OpenSolaris 2008.05, as well as others. In this blog I would like to share some of my thoughts about OpenSolaris 2008.05. It should be bear in mind that although I work for Sun, these opinions are strictly mine and do not represent those of Sun as a company.

It is so cool to have a one-CD installation disk, very cool! Previously, Solaris 10, as well as SXDE, needs one DVD. When you install, you don’t have a lot of choices, the installation procedure usually installs that whole thing for you. As we all know, different people have different needs, and that represents a problem – after the system installs, we end up with too many things in our operating system that we don’t need, that compete for our disk space, processor, and memory. Furthermore, the traditional installation procedure in Solaris was so annoying, which made it very difficult for a non-professional user to carry out a successful install. I have tried to install Solaris 8 for x86 in 2001, and felt that it was more difficult than installing RedHat 6.0. When Solaris 10 released, the installation procedure was basically the same as the one in Solaris 8, with no improvements. In June 2005, Sun announced the OpenSolaris project, and we started the promotion of Solaris in universities. The problem was, we were unable to install Solaris onto most of the computers in a university computer lab due to its high-end requirements and complex installation procedure! At that time there was no project Indiana yet, but I knew clearly that Sun needs a one-CD version of OpenSolaris. The target audiences of this version are students and developers – that’s, desktop users. The objective of this version is not to compete for the desktop market with Windows, rather, to attract students to study programming on OpenSolaris, amateurs to setup FTP service and websites with OpenSolaris, and developers to develop on OpenSolaris. And, all these require that OpenSolaris is easy enough to install.

OpenSolaris 2008.05 distributes in the form of a LiveCD. When the systems boots from CD-ROM, the user is presented with a full-function operating system. Now the user clearly sees clearly what hardware is supported and what is not. Within this working operating system the user can run the installation program, and install OpenSolaris onto his/her hard drive while using it. This is not a whole new way to install an operating system. Many versions of Linux have been doing this for a while. But, it is a big step for OpenSolaris. From user experience’s point of view, the installation procedure of 2008.05 is far from perfect. However, it significantly reduces the number of steps to install, and we must admit that it has reached the objective of of project Indiana. There were a couple of people whose WIFI chipsets were not supported by SXDE. During the installfest they booted the LiveCD, found that there WIFI is now supported, and decided to install 2008.05 onto their own machine right away.

There are two techniques that can be employed to convert one DVD to one CD: compression, and tailoring. The compressed content needs to be uncompressed during installation, so compression means slowing down the installation speed. Tailoring means some of the software – either driver of application – that existed previously need to be removed. It is a complex technical and political issue when deciding which component should be tailored away (or to be reserved) from the huge Solaris operating system. More importantly, when some of the drivers or applications are tailed away, the longly neglected dependency problem becomes serious. A developer with 2-3 years of experience with Linux should know this: when I want to install a piece of software A, it needs software B, and B needs C and D, and both C and D need E. The problem comes when C needs version 1.01 of E, and D needs version 1.05 of E, and these two version of E are not compatible with each other. At about year 2006, residents in the Linux world had basically solved the problem (not yet perfect, but working to some extent), while residents in the Solaris world were still thinking.

At the beginning of year 2007, a guy call Ian Murdock joined Sun. As the founder of the Debian Linux, Ian was CTO of the Linux Foundation before joining Sun. Under Ian’s advocacy, the OpenSolaris community started project Indiana (Indiana is a state of the US, while Ian is a resident of the state of Indiana), and IPS is an important part of this project. Similar to apt-get, IPS sorts out the dependency relationship between packages in the Solaris operating system, and publishes them to repositories that are connected to the Internet. When a users installs a base system, he/she can download and install the additional software packages from the repositories, and IPS resolves the dependency problems automatically. For instance, when I ask IPS to install NetBeans and my base system does not have JDK installed yet, IPS will also automatically download and install JDK for me. Again, IPS is not an innovation of Sun, similar approaches have been used in other operating systems a while ago. However, it is another great step towards the right direction for Solaris. Similarly, IPS is not the idea of Ian Murdock alone, similar thoughts have existed in Solaris engineering and the OpenSolaris community for a while. But, it is indisputable that this could not have been accomplished at such a speed without Ian’s advocacy and championship.

Compression, tailoring, IPS, plus the new installation procedure, that is the OpenSolaris 2008.05 we see today. Boot from the LiveCD, install the base system, then download and install additional applications from the Internet. In an era when bandwidth is becoming cheaper than DVD, this is with no doubt a direction that deserves more research. However, for countries and regions with relatively poor network conditions, this constitutes new challenges. For example, China has but very limited bandwidth between the vast country and other parts of the world, and it is even worse that professors and students reside in the academic network (AKA CERNET) need to pay for each and every bit of their international traffic (domestic traffic is basically free). Currently OpenSolaris only has one official repository that is deployed in the US (pkg.opensolaris.org). If I need to install OpenOffice, I need to download from the US. If I need to install NetBeans, again I need to download from the US. This problem can certainly be solved by setting up mirrors in China, and we are in the process to set this up. But, is this the only way to solve the problem?

We think about the DVD again – if we put the content of the LiveCD onto one DVD, then we have an additional space of about 1.5 GB. Then, can we fully utilize this additional space, setup a repository and put some frequently used applications in this repository? During the installation of the operating system, we are still installing the base system. After the base system is installed, a user can login to the base system, and install additional applications from the repository on the DVD. Again, this has been done in the Linux world, and in OpenSolaris we should be able to do the same. So, I believe that for the next release of OpenSolaris, there will be two ISO’s that can be downloaded – one is the LiveCD as we have today, the other is a DVD with the base system and a repository. With no doubt that those repositories on the Internet, domestic or abroad, need to provide more and up-to-date software packages as usual.

This is so similar to Linux, you might wonder. Yes we are learning from our friends in the Linux world. It is not shameful to admit our shortcomings and learn from others. Rather, it is shameful to cover our shortcomings and disparage the good things of our friends. Solaris operating system has its unique advantages (like stability, reliability, and security), but, if it is very difficult to install and very difficult to use, it can not attract and keep our users. 20 years ago, there were less than 50 universities in China that had a computer science department, while this number exceeds 800 in 2008. In other words, the huge demand for informatization from the society is continuously lowering the bar to enter the IT industry, and related technologies need to lower the bar for entry accordingly. Take programming languages for example, from assembly to C, from C++ to Java, is exactly a process that continuously lowering the bar. Another example is programming tools, from edline to Turbo C, from QBasic to Visual Basic, exactly the same. This trend also applies to operating systems. 20 years ago only graduates from a CS department had the opportunity to work on a real computer. Today, a student studying architecture needs to do CAD on a computer, and a student studying mechanics needs to do finite element analysis on a computer, and a grade-3 student in the primary school has an IM account. Today there are so many operating systems to choose from – Windows, Mac, and Linux, who are continuously improving their user experience. The objective of the Solaris operating system, is unlikely to be a popular desktop in the short term. However, if we are not able to attract developers today, there will be no deployment on our platform tomorrow.

We are not there yet. OpenSolaris 2008.05 is only an experiment, which stands for the future direction of the Solaris operating system (can we call this Solaris Next?). As the first official release, it is still in a very “primitive” state, with a lot of problems to solve. But, we are continuously trying. More importantly, we are not alone now. OpenSolaris is a community, and Sun is part of this community.

From Solaris to OpenSolaris, what does Sun learn during this process? If I were to pick one sentence I would like to pick this one: listen to the voice of our users, admit the variety of our users, and give choices to our users.

In short: keep pace, or diminish.

2008.05.07, midnight, on flight CA 985

Feedbacks from OpenSolaris Installfest

By , 2008年5月6日 6:17 上午

Today in Beijing we organized an installfest event with OpenSolaris 2008.05. The machines we used are Lenovo E680A, which has an intel core-duo 1.73 GHz CPU with 1 GB memory. This was a full-day event — we provided 45 laptops, which attracted more than 100 people during the whole event. They were instructed to install OpenSolaris 2008.05 from CD, and install some packages via IPS and traditional method. Some engineers and interns from Sun were there to provide onsite. Most of the attendees had but very little experience with Solaris previously, some of them used Linux for various periods before.

Some feedbacks:

(1) Installation was very slow. We used to install SXDE onto the same machine before, which took us less than 45 minutes to finished. Today, most of the folks spent about the same amount of time on installation. We think this is too much to install a CD.

(2) There was some problem with WIFI, don’t know exactly why. Some of the machines were getting IP, and most of them were not. It took extremely long for the AP selection dialog to popup after the system booted. There were several Mac and Windows machines in the same room and worked just fine during the whole day. “wificonfig -i wpi0 scan” return the correct information, but “wificonfig -i wpi0 connect AP_Name” would failed. At first we suspected that this was because the name of the AP was Chinese, but when we changed the name of the AP to English we encountered the same error.

(3) A majority of the people complained that OpenSolaris could not mount their USB drive correctly. Well, we did see some success, but a lot of failures at the same time.

(4) Compiz totally failed due to the fact that we are using integrated graphic cards. The problem is, when Compiz failed it is very difficult to turn it back to non-3D desktop. We knew how to do the trick via Alt+N key combinations, but sometimes the system was not able to response to this trick.

(5) Many people would like the shutdown button to be placed at a more visible location.

(6) When connected to the networked, there was a network icon on the task bar, and it is annoying that you can’t change anything via clicking on that icon. Since NWAM was not yet smart enough (to pick up the AP’s in a timely manner) during the show and so new to the folks, they were very unhappy about this.

(7) For those who have previously installed Solaris 10 or SXDE, they were happy about the installation procedure, and the new UI.

I will try to write more later.

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