Monthly Archives: November 2020

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 56 – 57 History of Sun Microsystems


I always wanted to make an episode even a two part one on Sun Microsystems.
Unfortunatelly when Sun Microsystem was its height and later after when things turned bad after the dot-com bubble exploded in 2000 I was going through elementary and high school later finally getting my GCSE or High School Diploma in 2002. There were a lot of things on my mind at that age of 19 – 20 years old but I can tell you none of them were Sun Microsystems.

I used computers from a very early age of 6 years old and it was love at first sight. Thanks to that I have never had to look for another hobby elsewhere ever since.

Somehow at that time in hungary I do not recall if I have ever heard of Sun workstations or Sun Microsystems nor I recall seeing any ad or any of their machines anywhere but I do remember I used under linux Staroffice before it became Open Office ( 1999 Sun acquired Star Division and later in 2000 open sourced it and formed as You will see as part of the many contributions of Sun Microsystems to the Open Source Community.

It was later in life when i found out more about Sun Microsystems and all the things they brought to the world, the things they stood for the machines they made and I learnt more and more of their history with time.

I also purchased a Sun T5220 with an UltraSPARC T2 for my homelab which is from the era of 2007 november just years before the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle happened in 2010 January 27

I really would like to get my hands on a Sun Ultra 45 Workstation one of the last ones made by SUN with the SPARC processors but their prices are astronomic on ebay … So if anyone has one which is waiting for a new home in mint condition please get in touch with me by email

Enough of me talking about myself.. Let’s dive into the history of Sun Microsystems.

History of Sun Microsystems

If You recall me mentioning about Sun Microsystems before You are not mistaken. In the History of BSD episodes I mentioned Bill Joy decided to leave BSD behind to go and help found and join a new start up called Sun Microsystems.

In 1982 Scott Mcnealy was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla to help provide the necessary organizational and business leadership for Sun Microsystems. Sun, along with companies such as Apple Inc., Silicon Graphics, 3Com, and Oracle Corporation, was part of a wave of successful startup companies in California’s Silicon Valley during the early and mid-1980s.

On February 24, 1982, Scott McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Vinod Khosla, all Stanford graduate students, founded Sun Microsystems. Bill Joy of Berkeley, a primary developer of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), joined soon after and is counted as one of the original founders.

The name “Sun” was derived from co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim’s original Stanford University Network (SUN) computer project, the SUN workstation.

Sun was profitable from its first quarter in July 1982.

In 1984, McNealy took over the CEO role from Khosla, who ultimately would leave the company in 1985. On April 24, 2006, McNealy stepped down as CEO after serving in that position for 22 years, and turned the job over to Jonathan Schwartz.

McNealy is one of the few CEOs of a major corporation to have had a tenure of over twenty years.

The initial design for what became Sun’s first Unix workstation, the Sun-1, was conceived by Andy Bechtolsheim when he was a graduate student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Bechtolsheim originally designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation. It was designed around the Motorola 68000 processor with an advanced memory management unit (MMU) to support the Unix operating system with virtual memory support.He built the first examples from spare parts obtained from Stanford’s Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley supply houses.

For the first decade of Sun’s history, the company positioned its products as technical workstations, competing successfully as a low-cost vendor during the Workstation Wars of the 1980s. It then shifted its hardware product line to emphasize servers and storage. High-level telecom control systems such as Operational Support Systems service predominantly used Sun equipment.

Sun’s initial public offering was in 1986 under the stock symbolSUNW, for Sun Workstations (later Sun Worldwide).The symbol was changed in 2007 to JAVA; Sun stated that the brand awareness associated with its Java platform better represented the company’s current strategy


Sun Microsystems workstations and servers went through a few changes during the years just like Apple did (Motorola 68k to PowerPC to Intel x86 to Apple Silicon)

Motorola based systems

initially they used Motorola 68000 family based cpus through the Sun-1 through Sun-3 computers. The Sun-1 employed a 68000 CPU, the Sun-2 series, a 68010. The Sun-3 series was based on the 68020, with the later Sun-3x using the 68030

By 1983 Sun was known for producing 68k-based systems with high-quality graphics that were the only computers other than DEC’s VAX to run 4.2BSD. It licensed the computer design to other manufacturers, which typically used it to build Multibus-based systems running Unix from UniSoft.

Sparc based systems

In 1987, the company began using SPARC, a RISC processor architecture of its own design, in its computer systems, starting with the Sun-4 line. SPARC was initially a 32-bit architecture (SPARC V7) until the introduction of the SPARC V9 architecture in 1995, which added 64-bit extensions.

Sun has developed several generations of SPARC-based computer systems, including the SPARCstation, Ultra, and Sun Blade series of workstations, and the SPARCserver, Netra, Enterprise, and Sun Fire line of servers.

In the early 1990s the company began to extend its product line to include large-scale symmetric multiprocessing servers, starting with the four-processor SPARCserver 600MP. This was followed by the 8-processor SPARCserver 1000 and 20-processor SPARCcenter 2000, which were based on work done in conjunction with Xerox PARC. In 1995 the company introduced Sun Ultra series machines that were equipped with the first 64-bit implementation of SPARC processors (UltraSPARC). In the late 1990s the transformation of product line in favor of large 64-bit SMP systems was accelerated by the acquisition of Cray Business Systems Division from Silicon Graphics.Their 32-bit, 64-processor Cray Superserver 6400, related to the SPARCcenter, led to the 64-bit Sun Enterprise 10000 high-end server (otherwise known as Starfire).

In September 2004 Sun made available systems with UltraSPARC IV which was the first multi-core SPARC processor. It was followed by UltraSPARC IV+ in September 2005 and its revisions with higher clock speeds in 2007. These CPUs were used in the most powerful, enterprise class high-end CC-NUMA servers developed by Sun, such as Sun Fire E25K.

In November 2005 Sun launched the UltraSPARC T1, notable for its ability to concurrently run 32 threads of execution on 8 processor cores. Its intent was to drive more efficient use of CPU resources, which is of particular importance in data centers, where there is an increasing need to reduce power and air conditioning demands, much of which comes from the heat generated by CPUs. The T1 was followed in 2007 by the UltraSPARC T2, which extended the number of threads per core from 4 to 8. Sun has open sourced the design specifications of both the T1 and T2 processors via the OpenSPARC project.

In 2006, Sun ventured into the blade server (high density rack-mounted systems) market with the Sun Blade (distinct from the Sun Blade workstation).

In April 2007 Sun released the SPARC Enterprise server products, jointly designed by Sun and Fujitsu and based on Fujitsu SPARC64 VI and later processors. The M-class SPARC Enterprise systems include high-end reliability and availability features. Later T-series servers have also been badged SPARC Enterprise rather than Sun Fire.

In April 2008 Sun released servers with UltraSPARC T2 Plus, which is an SMP capable version of UltraSPARC T2, available in 2 or 4 processor configurations. It was the first CoolThreads CPU with multi-processor capability and it made possible to build standard rack-mounted servers that could simultaneously process up to massive 256 CPU threads in hardware (Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440) which is considered a record in the industry.

Since 2010, all further development of Sun machines based on SPARC architecture (including new SPARC T-Series servers, SPARC T3 and T4 chips) is done as a part of Oracle Corporation hardware division.

x86 based systems

In the late 1980s, Sun also marketed an Intel 80386-based machine, the Sun386i; this was designed to be a hybrid system, running SunOS but at the same time supporting DOS applications. This only remained on the market for a brief time. A follow-up “486i” upgrade was announced but only a few prototype units were ever manufactured.

Sun’s brief first foray into x86 systems ended in the early 1990s, as it decided to concentrate on SPARC and retire the last Motorola systems and 386i products, a move dubbed by McNealy as “all the wood behind one arrowhead”. Even so, Sun kept its hand in the x86 world, as a release of Solaris for PC compatibles began shipping in 1993.

In 1997 Sun acquired Diba, Inc., followed later by the acquisition of Cobalt Networks in 2000, with the aim of building network appliances (single function computers meant for consumers). Sun also marketed a Network Computer (a term popularized and eventually trademarked by Oracle); the JavaStation was a diskless system designed to run Java applications.

Although none of these business initiatives were particularly successful, the Cobalt purchase gave Sun a toehold for its return to the x86 hardware market. In 2002, Sun introduced its first general purpose x86 system, the LX50, based in part on previous Cobalt system expertise. This was also Sun’s first system announced to support Linux as well as Solaris.

In 2003, Sun announced a strategic alliance with AMD to produce x86/x64 servers based on AMD’s Opteron processor; this was followed shortly by Sun’s acquisition of Kealia, a startup founded by original Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim, which had been focusing on high-performance AMD-based servers.

The following year, Sun launched the Opteron-based Sun Fire V20z and V40z servers, and the Java Workstation W1100z and W2100z workstations.

On September 12, 2005, Sun unveiled a new range of Opteron-based servers: the Sun Fire X2100, X4100 and X4200 servers.These were designed from scratch by a team led by Bechtolsheim to address heat and power consumption issues commonly faced in data centers. In July 2006, the Sun Fire X4500 and X4600 systems were introduced, extending a line of x64 systems that support not only Solaris, but also Linux and Microsoft Windows.

On January 22, 2007, Sun announced a broad strategic alliance with Intel. Intel endorsed Solaris as a mainstream operating system and as its mission critical Unix for its Xeon processor-based systems, and contributed engineering resources to OpenSolaris. Sun began using the Intel Xeon processor in its x64 server line, starting with the Sun Blade X6250 server module introduced in June 2007.

On May 5, 2008, AMD announced its Operating System Research Center (OSRC) expanded its focus to include optimization to Sun’s OpenSolaris and xVM virtualization products for AMD based processors


Although Sun was initially known as a hardware company, its software history began with its founding in 1982; co-founder Bill Joy was one of the leading Unix developers of the time, having contributed the vi editor, the C shell, and significant work developing TCP/IP and the BSD Unix OS. Sun later developed software such as the Java programming language and acquired software such as StarOffice, VirtualBox and MySQL.

Sun used community-based and open-source licensing of its major technologies, and for its support of its products with other open source technologies. GNOME-based desktop software called Java Desktop System (originally code-named “Madhatter”) was distributed for the Solaris operating system, and at one point for Linux. Sun supported its Java Enterprise System (a middleware stack) on Linux. It released the source code for Solaris under the open-source Common Development and Distribution License, via the OpenSolaris community. Sun’s positioning includes a commitment to indemnify users of some software from intellectual property disputes concerning that software. It offers support services on a variety of pricing bases, including per-employee and per-socket.

A 2006 report prepared for the EU by UNU-MERIT stated that Sun was the largest corporate contributor to open source movements in the world. According to this report, Sun’s open source contributions exceed the combined total of the next five largest commercial contributors.

Operating systems – SunOS / Solaris Operating System
Emulating a SPARCstation 5 under Qemu (32bit on Fedora 33
Installing Solaris 2.6 (SunOS 5.6)

Sun is best known for its Unix systems, which have a reputation for system stability and a consistent design philosophy.

Sun’s first workstation shipped with UniSoft V7 Unix. Later in 1982 Sun began providing SunOS, a customized 4.1BSD Unix, as the operating system for its workstations.

In 1987, AT&T Corporation and Sun announced that they were collaborating on a project to merge the most popular Unix variants on the market at that time: Berkeley Software Distribution, UNIX System V, and Xenix. This became Unix System V Release 4 (SVR4).

On September 4, 1991, Sun announced that it would replace its existing BSD-derived Unix, SunOS 4, with one based on SVR4. This was identified internally as SunOS 5, but a new marketing name was introduced at the same time: Solaris 2. The justification for this new overbrand was that it encompassed not only SunOS, but also the OpenWindows graphical user interface and Open Network Computing (ONC) functionality.

Although SunOS 4.1.x micro releases were retroactively named Solaris 1 by Sun, the Solaris name is used almost exclusively to refer only to the releases based on SVR4-derived SunOS 5.0 and later.

For releases based on SunOS 5, the SunOS minor version is included in the Solaris release number. For example, Solaris 2.4 incorporates SunOS 5.4. After Solaris 2.6, the 2. was dropped from the release name, so Solaris 7 incorporates SunOS 5.7, and the latest release SunOS 5.11 forms the core of Solaris 11.4.

Although SunSoft stated in its initial Solaris 2 press release their intent to eventually support both SPARC and x86 systems, the first two Solaris 2 releases, 2.0 and 2.1, were SPARC-only. An x86 version of Solaris 2.1 was released in June 1993, about 6 months after the SPARC version, as a desktop and uniprocessor workgroup server operating system. It included the Wabi emulator to support Windows applications.

From 1992 Sun also sold Interactive Unix, an operating system it acquired when it bought Interactive Systems Corporation from Eastman Kodak Company. This was a popular Unix variant for the PC platform and a major competitor to market leader SCO UNIX. Sun’s focus on Interactive Unix diminished in favor of Solaris on both SPARC and x86 systems; it was dropped as a product in 2001.

By the mid-1990s, the ensuing Unix wars had largely subsided, AT&T had sold off their Unix interests, and the relationship between the two companies was significantly reduced.

In 1994, Sun released Solaris 2.4, supporting both SPARC and x86 systems from a unified source code base.

Sun dropped the Solaris 2.x version numbering scheme after the Solaris 2.6 release (1997); the following version was branded Solaris 7. This was the first 64-bit release, intended for the new UltraSPARC CPUs based on the SPARC V9 architecture. Within the next four years, the successors Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

Following several years of difficult competition and loss of server market share to competitors’ Linux-based systems, Sun began to include Linux as part of its strategy in 2002. Sun supported both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on its x64 systems; companies such as Canonical Ltd., Wind River Systems and MontaVista also supported their versions of Linux on Sun’s SPARC-based systems.

In 2004, after having cultivated a reputation as one of Microsoft’s most vocal antagonists, Sun entered into a joint relationship with them, resolving various legal entanglements between the two companies and receiving US$1.95 billion in settlement payments from them. Sun supported Microsoft Windows on its x64 systems, and announced other collaborative agreements with Microsoft, including plans to support each other’s virtualization environments.

In 2005, the company released Solaris 10. The new version included a large number of enhancements to the operating system, as well as very novel features, previously unseen in the industry. Solaris 10 update releases continued through the next 8 years, the last release from Sun Microsystems being Solaris 10 10/09. The following updates were released by Oracle under the new license agreement; the final release is Solaris 10 1/13.

Previously, Sun offered a separate variant of Solaris called Trusted Solaris, which included augmented security features such as multilevel security and a least privilege access model. Solaris 10 included many of the same capabilities as Trusted Solaris at the time of its initial release; Solaris 10 11/06 included Solaris Trusted Extensions, which give it the remaining capabilities needed to make it the functional successor to Trusted Solaris.

After releasing Solaris 10, its source code was opened under CDDL free software license and developed in open with contributing Opensolaris community through SXCE that used SVR4 .pkg packaging and supported Opensolaris releases that used IPS. Following acquisition of Sun by Oracle , Opensolaris continued to develop in open under illumos with illumos distributions.

Oracle Corporation continued to develop OpenSolaris into next Solaris release, changing back the license to proprietary, and released it as Oracle Solaris 11 in November 2011.

Features introduced in each Solaris releases / Version History
Solaris VersionSunOS versionRelease Date SPARCRelease Date x86End of SupportLicense formMajor New Features
1.x4.1.x4.1.xSeptember 2003Traditional LicenseSunOS 4 rebranded as Solaris 1 for marketing purposes.
2.05.0June 1992January 1999Traditional LicensePreliminary release (primarily available to developers only), support for only the sun4c architecture. First appearance of NIS+.
2.15.1December 1992May 1993April 1999Traditional LicenseSupport for sun4 and sun4m architectures added; first Solaris x86 release. First Solaris 2 release to support SMP
2.25.2May 1993May 1999Traditional LicenseSPARC-only release. First to support sun4d architecture. First to support multithreading libraries (UI threads API in libthread)
2.35.3November 1993June 2002Traditional LicenseSPARC-only release. OpenWindows 3.3 switches from NeWS to Display PostScript and drops SunView support. Support added for autofs and CacheFS filesystems.
2.45.4November 1994November 1994September 2003Traditional LicenseFirst unified SPARC/x86 release. Includes OSF/Motif runtime support.
2.55.5November 1995November 1995December 2003Traditional LicenseFirst to support UltraSPARC and include CDE, NFSv3 and NFS/TCP. Dropped sun4 (VMEbus) support. POSIX.1c-1995 pthreads added. Doors added but undocumented 1996May 1996September 2005Traditional LicenseThe only Solaris release that supports PowerPC; Ultra Enterprise support added; user and group IDs (uid_t, gid_t) expanded to 32 bits,also included processor sets and early resource management technologies.
2.65.6July 1997July 1997July 2006Traditional LicenseIncludes Kerberos 5, PAM, TrueType fonts, WebNFS, large file support, enhanced procfs. SPARCserver 600MP series support dropped.
75.7November 1998November 1998August 2008Traditional LicenseThe first 64-bit UltraSPARC release. Added native support for file system meta-data logging (UFS logging). Dropped MCA support on x86 platform. Sun dropped the prefix “2.” in the Solaris version number, leaving “Solaris 7.” Last update was Solaris 7 11/99
85.8February 2000February 2000March 2012Traditional LicenseIncludes Multipath I/O, Solstice DiskSuite] IPMP, first support for IPv6 and IPsec (manual keying only), mdb Modular Debugger. Introduced Role-Based Access Control (RBAC); sun4c support removed. Last update is Solaris 8 2/04.
95.9May 28, 2002January 10, 2003October 2014Traditional LicenseiPlanet Directory Server, Resource Manager, extended file attributes, IKE IPsec keying, and Linux compatibility added; OpenWindows dropped, sun4d support removed. Most current update is Solaris 9 9/05 HW.
105.10January 31, 2005January 31, 2005January 2024before Oracle acquisition in March 2010, open source under CDDL

after March 2010, Post-Oracle closed source
Includes x86-64 (AMD64/Intel 64) support, DTrace (Dynamic Tracing), Solaris Containers, Service Management Facility (SMF) which replaces init.d scripts, NFSv4. Least privilege security model. Support for sun4m and UltraSPARC I processors removed. Support for EISA-based PCs removed. Adds Java Desktop System (based on GNOME) as default desktop.

Solaris 10 1/06 (known internally as “U1”) added the GRUB bootloader for x86 systems, iSCSI Initiator support and fcinfo command-line tool.

Solaris 10 6/06 (“U2”) added the ZFS filesystem.

Solaris 10 11/06 (“U3”) added Solaris Trusted Extensions and Logical Domains (sun4v).

Solaris 10 8/07 (“U4”) added Samba Active Directory support, IP Instances (part of the OpenSolaris Network Virtualization and Resource Control project), iSCSI Target support and Solaris Containers for Linux Applications (based on branded zones), enhanced version of the Resource Capping Daemon (rcapd).

Solaris 10 5/08 (“U5”) added CPU capping for Solaris Containers, performance improvements, SpeedStep support for Intel processors and PowerNow! support for AMD processors

Solaris 10 10/08 (“U6”) added boot from ZFS and can use ZFS as its root file system. Solaris 10 10/08 also includes virtualization enhancements including the ability for a Solaris Container to automatically update its environment when moved from one system to another, Logical Domains support for dynamically reconfigurable disk and network I/O, and paravirtualization support when Solaris 10 is used as a guest OS in Xen-based environments such as Sun xVM Server.

Solaris 10 5/09 (“U7”) added performance and power management support for Intel Nehalem processors, container cloning using ZFS cloned file systems, and performance enhancements for ZFS on solid-state drives.

Solaris 10 10/09 (“U8”) added user and group level ZFS quotas, ZFS cache devices and nss_ldap shadowAccount Support, improvements to patching performance.

Solaris 10 9/10 (“U9”) added physical to zone migration, ZFS triple parity RAID-Z and Oracle Solaris Auto Registration

Solaris 10 8/11 (“U10”) added ZFS speedups and new features, Oracle Database optimization, faster reboot on SPARC system.

Solaris 10 1/13 (“U11”)

The Legacy of Sun

OpenSolaris > Illumos > OpenIndiana
OpenSolaris screenshot from

OpenSolaris was based on Solaris, which was originally released by Sun in 1991. Solaris is a version of UNIX System V Release 4 (SVR4), jointly developed by Sun and AT&T to merge features from several existing Unix systems. It was licensed by Sun from Novell to replace SunOS.

Planning for OpenSolaris started in early 2004. A pilot program was formed in September 2004 with 18 non-Sun community members and ran for 9 months growing to 145 external participants. Sun submitted the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) to the OSI, which approved it on January 14, 2005.

The first part of the Solaris code base to be open sourced was the Solaris Dynamic Tracing facility (commonly known as DTrace), a tool that aids in the analysis, debugging, and tuning of applications and systems. DTrace was released under the CDDL on January 25, 2005, on the newly launched website. The bulk of the Solaris system code was released on June 14, 2005. There remains some system code that is not open sourced, and is available only as pre-compiled binary files.

In 2003, an addition to the Solaris development process was initiated. Under the program name Software Express for Solaris (or just Solaris Express), a binary release based on the current development basis was made available for download on a monthly basis, allowing anyone to try out new features and test the quality and stability of the OS as it progressed to the release of the next official Solaris version.A later change to this program introduced a quarterly release model with support available, renamed Solaris Express Developer Edition (SXDE).

Initially, Sun’s Solaris Express program provided a distribution based on the OpenSolaris code in combination with software found only in Solaris releases. The first independent distribution was released on June 17, 2005

The Solaris Express Community Edition (SXCE) was intended specifically for OpenSolaris developers.

On March 19, 2007, Sun announced that it had hired Ian Murdock, founder of Debian, to head Project Indiana, an effort to produce a complete OpenSolaris distribution, with GNOME and userland tools from GNU, plus a network-based package management system. The new distribution was planned to refresh the user experience, and would become the successor to Solaris Express as the basis for future releases of Solaris.

The announced Project Indiana had several goals, including providing an open source binary distribution of the OpenSolaris project, replacing SXDE. The first release of this distribution was OpenSolaris 2008.05.

On May 5, 2008, OpenSolaris 2008.05 was released in a format that could be booted as a Live CD or installed directly. It uses the GNOME desktop environment as the primary user interface. The later OpenSolaris 2008.11 release included a GUI for ZFS’ snapshotting capabilities, known as Time Slider, that provides functionality similar to macOS’s Time Machine.

In December 2008, Sun Microsystems and Toshiba America Information Systems announced plans to distribute Toshiba laptops pre-installed with OpenSolaris. On April 1, 2009, the Tecra M10 and Portégé R600 came preinstalled with OpenSolaris 2008.11 release and several supplemental software packages.

On June 1, 2009, OpenSolaris 2009.06 was released, with support for the SPARC platform.

On January 6, 2010, it was announced that Solaris Express program would be closed while an OpenSolaris binary release was scheduled to be released March 26, 2010. The OpenSolaris 2010.03 release never appeared.

SXCE releases terminated with build 130 and OpenSolaris releases terminated with build 134 a few weeks later. The next release of OpenSolaris based on build 134 was due in March 2010, but it was never fully released, though the packages were made available on the package repository.

Instead, Oracle renamed the binary distribution Solaris 11 Express, changed the license terms and released build 151a as 2010.11 in November 2010.

There are a few forks based on OpenSolaris, such as: BeleniX, EON ZFS Storage, Illumos, Jaris OS, MartUX, MilaX, Nexenta OS, NexentaStor, OpenIndiana, OpenSXCE, SchilliX, SmartOS, StormOS.

On September 14, 2010, OpenIndiana was formally launched at the JISC Centre in London. While OpenIndiana is a fork in the technical sense, it is a continuation of OpenSolaris in spirit: the project intends to deliver a System V family operating system which is binary-compatible with the Oracle products Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express. However, rather than being based around the OS/Net consolidation like OpenSolaris was, OpenIndiana became a distribution based on illumos (the first release is still based around OS/Net). The project uses the same IPS package management system as OpenSolaris.

illumos is a partly free and open-source Unix operating system. It is based on OpenSolaris, which was based on System V Release 4 (SVR4) and the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). illumos comprises a kernel, device drivers, system libraries, and utility software for system administration. This core is now the base for many different open-sourced illumos distributions, in a similar way in which the Linux kernel is used in different Linux distributions.

OpenIndiana is a free and open-source Unix operating system derived from OpenSolaris and based on illumos. Developers forked OpenSolaris after Oracle Corporation discontinued it, in order to continue development and distribution of the source code. OpenIndiana is named after Project Indiana, the development codename at Sun Microsystems for OpenSolaris.

OpenIndiana 2016.10 live desktop.png
openindiana screenshot

List of Open Source Contributions of Sun Microsystems

Sun had many open source initiatives and products. Almost all of the software was open source as well as some of the hardware designs. Here’s a decent list of the products (I’m sure I left out more than a few)

Operating Systems
Open HA Cluster
Java Desktop Linux

Storage and Networking
Lustre File System

Logical Domains (Virtualization Server)

Java DB (Sun supported version of Apache Derby)

Developer Tools
Java (most of it…)

Sun Grid Engine

GlassFish Enterprise Service Bus
GlassFish Web Server

Star Office >> Open Sourced by Sun and founded

OpenSparc (open source chip designs)
T1 and T2 (multi-core, multi-threaded processors)

Desktop Environments used in Solaris

olvwm with OpenWindows on Solaris
File:CDE running on Solaris 10.png
The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) was open sourced in August 2012. This is a screenshot of CDE running on Solaris 10.

Early releases of Solaris used OpenWindows as the standard desktop environment. In Solaris 2.0 to 2.2, OpenWindows supported both NeWS and X applications, and provided backward compatibility for SunView applications from Sun’s older desktop environment. NeWS allowed applications to be built in an object-oriented way using PostScript, a common printing language released in 1982. The X Window System originated from MIT’s Project Athena in 1984 and allowed for the display of an application to be disconnected from the machine where the application was running, separated by a network connection. Sun’s original bundled SunView application suite was ported to X.

Sun later dropped support for legacy SunView applications and NeWS with OpenWindows 3.3, which shipped with Solaris 2.3, and switched to X11R5 with Display Postscript support. The graphical look and feel remained based upon OPEN LOOK. OpenWindows 3.6.2 was the last release under Solaris 8. The OPEN LOOK Window Manager (olwm) with other OPEN LOOK specific applications were dropped in Solaris 9, but support libraries were still bundled, providing long term binary backwards compatibility with existing applications. The OPEN LOOK Virtual Window Manager (olvwm) can still be downloaded for Solaris from sunfreeware and works on releases as recent as Solaris 10.The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) was open sourced in August 2012.

Sun and other Unix vendors created an industry alliance to standardize Unix desktops. As a member of the Common Open Software Environment (COSE) initiative, Sun helped co-develop the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). This was an initiative to create a standard Unix desktop environment. Each vendor contributed different components: Hewlett-Packard contributed the window manager, IBM provided the file manager, and Sun provided the e-mail and calendar facilities as well as drag-and-drop support (ToolTalk). This new desktop environment was based upon the Motif look and feel and the old OPEN LOOK desktop environment was considered legacy. CDE unified Unix desktops across multiple open system vendors. CDE was available as an unbundled add-on for Solaris 2.4 and 2.5, and was included in Solaris 2.6 through 10.

In 2001, Sun issued a preview release of the open-source desktop environment GNOME 1.4, based on the GTK+ toolkit, for Solaris 8. Solaris 9 8/03 introduced GNOME 2.0 as an alternative to CDE. Solaris 10 includes Sun’s Java Desktop System (JDS), which is based on GNOME and comes with a large set of applications, including StarOffice, Sun’s office suite. Sun describes JDS as a “major component” of Solaris 10. The Java Desktop System is not included in Solaris 11 which instead ships with a stock version of GNOME. Likewise, CDE applications are no longer included in Solaris 11, but many libraries remain for binary backwards compatibility.

The open source desktop environments KDE and Xfce, along with numerous other window managers, also compile and run on recent versions of Solaris.

Sun was investing in a new desktop environment called Project Looking Glass since 2003. The project has been inactive since late 2006


Sun Ultra 1
Sun Ultra 5
Sun Ultra 30
Sun Ultra 45

Sun Ultra Workstations Timeline
1982 until 2010

The Sun Ultra series is a discontinued line of workstation and server computers developed and sold by Sun Microsystems, comprising two distinct generations. The original line was introduced in 1995 and discontinued in 2001. This generation was partially replaced by the Sun Blade in 2000 and that line was in itself replaced by the Sun Java Workstation—an AMD Opteron system—in 2004. In sync with the transition to x86-64-architecture processors, in 2005 the Ultra brand was later revived with the launch of the Ultra 20 and Ultra 40, albeit to some confusion, since they were no longer based on UltraSPARC processors.

The original Ultra workstations and the Ultra Enterprise (later, “Sun Enterprise”) servers were UltraSPARC-based systems produced from 1995 to 2001, replacing the earlier SPARCstation and SPARCcenter/SPARCserver series respectively. This introduced the 64-bit UltraSPARC processor and in later versions, lower-cost PC-derived technology, such as the PCI and ATA buses (the initial Ultra 1 and 2 models retained the SBus of their predecessors). The original Ultra range were sold during the dot com boom, and became one of the biggest selling series of computers ever developed by Sun Microsystems, with many companies and organisations—including Sun itself—relying on Sun Ultra products for years after their successor products were released.

The Ultra brand was revived in 2005 with the launch of the Ultra 20 and Ultra 40 with x86-64-architecture.

x64-based Ultra systems remained in the Sun portfolio for five more years; the last one, the Intel Xeon-based Ultra 27, was retired in June 2010, thereby concluding the history of Sun as a workstation vendor.

The SPARC-based Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation laptop was released in 2005 as well, but it would prove to be a short-lived design and was retired the next year. Its release did not coincide with the rest of the line as most of the brand had already moved on to x86.

Additionally, new Ultra 25 and Ultra 45 desktop UltraSPARC IIIi-based systems were introduced in 2006.

In October 2008, Sun discontinued all these, effectively ending the production of SPARC architecture workstations.

The original Ultra/Enterprise series itself was later replaced by the Sun Blade workstation and Sun Fire server ranges.


Dally Rhythms – 2020.11.29


  • Nadja Lind – Drifting Elements (Chris Lattner Remix), F major, 122 bpm
  • Paolo Faz – The Same, F major, 124 bpm
  • Solardo – Psycho Girfriend (Original Mix), F major, 124 bpm
  • Dashdot – Strings Gone Wild (Earstrip & Torha Remix), D minor, 120 bpm
  • Deepjack, Mr.Nu – Take Me Down Deeper (Dj Runo Remix), D minor, 120 bpm
  • Diego Moreno – Let’s Dip (S.K.A.M. Remix), D minor, 120 bpm
  • Dj Runo & Moe Turk – Flyin (Original Mix), D minor, 120 bpm
  • Dj Soulstar, David Sterry – Send Me An Angel (Original Mix), D minor, 122 bpm
  • Dohten – Showrill, D minor, 120 bpm
  • Dontknower – Sometimes (Christos Fourkis remix), D minor, 124 bpm
  • Doomwork – Lost In Memory (Aki Bergen Remix), D minor, 125 bpm
  • Dusty Springfield – Spooky (Audiojack Remix), D minor, 123 bpm
  • Hunter Game – The Island featuring Bajka (Baikal Remix), F major, 120 bpm

Available for download in the archives.

boy telling girl behind him at school that "No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them"

News To Me – 11/24

News to me links for November 24th, 2020


FroggyMe’s Fantastic Fantasy – playlist for Nov. 15, 2020

Alice Coltrane – IHS – Huntington Ashram Monastery
Alice Coltrane – Atmic Peace – A Monastic Trio
Kamasi Washington – Leroy & Lanisha – The Epic
Joe Sample – In All My Wildest Dreams – Rainbow Seeker
Joe Sample – There Are Many Stops Along the Way – Rainbow Seeker

Snowboy – Beyond the Snowstorm
Herb Alpert – Rotation – Rise
Richard Worth – Rise
Groove Collective – Everything is Changing – Declassified

Dally Rhythms – 2020-11-22


  • Artbat & Dino Lenny – Atlas, Eb minor, 122 bpm
  • Moonwalk – Orbital (Original Mix), Bb minor, 123 bpm
  • Left-Right – Feels (Original Mix), G minor, 128 bpm
  • Mass Digital – Language of Love (Original Mix), D minor, 119 bpm
  • Max Elto – Backyard Animals (Michael Cassette Remix), D minor, 124 bpm
  • Freiboitar – Nobody Dance (Original Mix), Bb minor, 120 bpm
  • Brokenears – Feeling Good (Original Mix), Bb minor, 123 bpm
  • Oliver Koletzki, HVOB – Bones (Nosta Remix), Bb minor, 120 bpm
  • Following Light – Defoliation (Stas Drive Remix), Eb minor, 122 bpm
  • Andrea Bertolini & Valerio Vaudano – Improvvisazione 24 (Jorgio Kioris Remix), Eb minor, 123 bpm
  • Mr. Yam Nor – Orion 81 (Danila Remix), Bb minor, 120 bpm
  • No Logo – Party Animal (Toomy Disco Remix), Bb minor, 118 bpm

Available for download in the archives.

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 54 – 55 Text Editors

Text Editors Vs IDEs

Very simply put a text editor is a type of computer program which edits plain text.

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of at least a source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger. Some IDEs contain the necessary compiler, interpreter, or both; while others, do not.

The boundary between an IDE and other parts of the broader software development environment is not well-defined; sometimes a version control system or various tools to simplify the construction of a graphical user interface (GUI) are integrated. Many modern IDEs also have a class browser, an object browser, and a class hierarchy diagram for use in object-oriented software development.

Notable Text Editors (Some old and Some new)

ed / ex

The ed text editor
ed text editor

ed is a line editor for Unix and Unix-like operating systems. It was one of the first parts of the Unix operating system that was developed, in August 1969.It remains part of the POSIX and Open Group standards for Unix-based operating systems, alongside the more sophisticated full-screen editor vi.

The ed text editor was one of the first three key elements of the Unix operating system—assembler, editor, and shell—developed by Ken Thompson in August 1969 on a PDP-7 at AT&T Bell Labs. Many features of ed came from the qed text editor developed at Thompson’s alma mater University of California, Berkeley. Thompson was very familiar with qed, and had reimplemented it on the CTSS and Multics systems. Thompson’s versions of qed were notable as the first to implement regular expressions. Regular expressions are also implemented in ed, though their implementation is considerably less general than that in qed.

Dennis M. Ritchie produced what Doug McIlroy later described as the “definitive” ed and aspects of ed went on to influence ex, which in turn spawned vi.

ex, short for EXtended, is a line editor for Unix systems originally written by Bill Joy in 1976, beginning with an earlier program written by Charles Haley.

Ex is heavily based on the text editor ed.The first versions of ex were modifications of a text editor em (named editor for mortals as creator George Coulouris considered the cryptic commands of ed to be only suitable for “immortals” ) developed at Queen Mary’s College in England and shown it to various people at Berkeley in the summer of 1976 including Bill Joy who was very impressed with it. Em was a modified ed which had some added features which were useful on high-speed terminals.The earlier versions of ex also included features from the modified ed in use at UCLA and the ideas of Bill Joy and Charles Haley, who implemented most of the modifications to em which resulted in these early versions of ex.

The original Unix editor, distributed with the Bell Labs versions of the operating system in the 1970s, was the rather user-unfriendly ed. George Coulouris of Queen Mary College, London, which had installed Unix in 1973, developed an improved version called em in 1975 that could take advantage of video terminals. While visiting Berkeley, Coulouris presented his program to Bill Joy, who modified it to be less demanding on the processor; Joy’s version became ex and got included in the Berkeley Software Distribution.

ex was eventually given a full-screen visual interface (adding to its command line oriented operation), thereby becoming the vi text editor. In recent times, ex is implemented as a personality of the vi program; most variants of vi still have an “ex mode”, which is invoked using the command ex, or from within vi for one command by typing the : (colon) character. Although there is overlap between ex and vi functionality, some things can only be done with ex commands, so it remains useful when using vi.

Interesting fact:
The non-interactive Unix command grep was inspired by a common special use of qed and later ed, where the command g/re/p means globally search for the regular expression re and print the lines containing it. The Unix stream editor, sed implemented many of the scripting features of qed that were not supported by ed on Unix.

What is a Line editor

In computing, a line editor is a text editor in which each editing command applies to one or more complete lines of text designated by the user. Line editors predate screen-based text editors and originated in an era when a computer operator typically interacted with a teleprinter (essentially a printer with a keyboard), with no video display, and no ability to move a cursor interactively within a document. Line editors were also a feature of many home computers, avoiding the need for a more memory-intensive full-screen editor.

Line editors are limited to typewriter keyboard text-oriented input and output methods. Most edits are a line-at-a-time. Typing, editing, and document display do not occur simultaneously. Typically, typing does not enter text directly into the document. Instead, users modify the document text by entering these commands on a text-only terminal. Commands and text, and corresponding output from the editor, will scroll up from the bottom of the screen in the order that they are entered or printed to the screen. Although the commands typically indicate the line(s) they modify, displaying the edited text within the context of larger portions of the document requires a separate command.

Line editors keep a reference to the ‘current line’ to which the entered commands usually are applied. In contrast, modern screen based editors allow the user to interactively and directly navigate, select, and modify portions of the document. Generally line numbers or a search based context (especially when making changes within lines) are used to specify which part of the document is to be edited or displayed.

Early line editors included Colossal Typewriter, Expensive Typewriter and QED. All three pre-dated the advent of UNIX; the former two ran on DEC PDP-1’s, while the latter was a Unisys product. Numerous line editors are included with UNIX and Linux: ed is considered the standard UNIX editor, while ex extends it and has more features, and sed was written for pattern-based text editing as part of a shell script. GNU Readline is a line editor implemented as a library that is incorporated in many programs, such as Bash. For the first 10 years of the IBM PC, the only editor provided in DOS was the Edlin line editor.

How To Use VIM Split Screen – Linux Hint
Vim welcome screen

vi is a screen-oriented text editor originally created for the Unix operating system. The portable subset of the behavior of vi and programs based on it, and the ex editor language supported within these programs, is described by (and thus standardized by) the Single Unix Specification and POSIX.

The original code for vi was written by Bill Joy in 1976, as the visual mode for a line editor called ex that Joy had written with Chuck Haley. Bill Joy’s ex 1.1 was released as part of the first Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Unix release in March 1978. It was not until version 2.0 of ex, released as part of Second BSD in May 1979 that the editor was installed under the name “vi” (which took users straight into ex’s visual mode) and the name by which it is known today. Some current implementations of vi can trace their source code ancestry to Bill Joy; others are completely new, largely compatible reimplementations.

The name “vi” is derived from the shortest unambiguous abbreviation for the ex command visual, which switches the ex line editor to visual mode.

In addition to various non–free software variants of vi distributed with proprietary implementations of Unix, vi was open sourced with Open Solaris, and several free and open source software vi clones exist.

Many of the ideas in ex’s visual mode (a.k.a. vi) were taken from other software that existed at the time. According to Bill Joy inspiration for vi’s visual mode came from the Bravo editor, which was a bimodal editor. In an interview about vi’s origins, Joy said:

A lot of the ideas for the screen editing mode were stolen from a Bravo manual I surreptitiously looked at and copied. Dot is really the double-escape from Bravo, the redo command. Most of the stuff was stolen. There were some things stolen from ed—we got a manual page for the Toronto version of ed, which I think Rob Pike had something to do with. We took some of the regular expression extensions out of that

Interview with Bill Joy by Jim Joice

Joy used a Lear Siegler ADM-3A terminal. On this terminal, the Escape key was at the location now occupied by the Tab key on the widely used IBM PC keyboard (on the left side of the alphabetic part of the keyboard, one row above the middle row). This made it a convenient choice for switching vi modes. Also, the keys h,j,k,l served double duty as cursor movement keys and were inscribed with arrows, which is why vi uses them in that way. The ADM-3A had no other cursor keys. Joy explained that the terse, single character commands and the ability to type ahead of the display were a result of the slow 300 baud modem he used when developing the software and that he wanted to be productive when the screen was painting slower than he could think.

ADM-3A terminal keyboard layout

Bill Joy explains in the previously mentioned interview done by Jim Joyce that He nearly fully implemented multiwindows mode for vi. Here is a quote regarding that from the interview:

What actually happened was that I was in the process of adding multiwindows to vi when we installed our VAX, which would have been in December of ’78. We didn’t have any backups and the tape drive broke. I continued to work even without being able to do backups. And then the source code got scrunched and I didn’t have a complete listing. I had almost rewritten all of the display code for windows, and that was when I gave up. After that, I went back to the previous version and just documented the code, finished the manual and closed it off. If that scrunch had not happened, vi would have multiple windows, and I might have put in some programmability—but I don’t know.

Interview with Bill Joy by Jim Joice

Over the years since its creation, vi became the de facto standard Unix editor and a hacker favorite outside of MIT until the rise of Emacs after about 1984.

Emacs in Linux console

Emacs or EMACS (Editor MACroS) is a family of text editors that are characterized by their extensibility. The manual for the most widely used variant, GNU Emacs, describes it as “the extensible, customizable, self-documenting, real-time display editor”. Development of the first Emacs began in the mid-1970s, and work on its direct descendant, GNU Emacs, continues actively as of 2020.

The original EMACS was written in 1976 by David A. Moon and Guy L. Steele Jr. as a set of Editor MACroS for the TECO editor. It was inspired by the ideas of the TECO-macro editors TECMAC and TMACS.

Emacs development began during the 1970s at the MIT AI Lab, whose PDP-6 and PDP-10 computers used the Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS) operating system that featured a default line editor known as Tape Editor and Corrector (TECO). Unlike most modern text editors, TECO used separate modes in which the user would either add text, edit existing text, or display the document. One could not place characters directly into a document by typing them into TECO, but would instead enter a character (‘i’) in the TECO command language telling it to switch to input mode, enter the required characters, during which time the edited text was not displayed on the screen, and finally enter a character (<esc>) to switch the editor back to command mode. (A similar technique was used to allow overtyping.) This behavior is similar to that of the program ed.

E had another feature that TECO lacked: random-access editing. TECO was a page-sequential editor that was designed for editing paper tape on the PDP-1 and typically allowed editing on only one page at a time, in the order of the pages in the file. Instead of adopting E’s approach of structuring the file for page-random access on disk, Stallman modified TECO to handle large buffers more efficiently and changed its file-management method to read, edit, and write the entire file as a single buffer. Almost all modern editors use this approach.

Richard Stallman visited the Stanford AI Lab in 1972 or 1974 and saw the lab’s E editor, written by Fred Wright. He was impressed by the editor’s intuitive WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) behavior, which has since become the default behavior of most modern text editors. He returned to MIT where Carl Mikkelsen, a hacker at the AI Lab, had added to TECO a combined display/editing mode called Control-R that allowed the screen display to be updated each time the user entered a keystroke. Stallman reimplemented this mode to run efficiently and then added a macro feature to the TECO display-editing mode that allowed the user to redefine any keystroke to run a TECO program.

The new version of TECO quickly became popular at the AI Lab and soon accumulated a large collection of custom macros whose names often ended in MAC or MACS, which stood for macro. Two years later, Guy Steele took on the project of unifying the diverse macros into a single set. Steele and Stallman’s finished implementation included facilities for extending and documenting the new macro set. The resulting system was called EMACS, which stood for Editing MACroS or, alternatively, E with MACroS. Stallman picked the name Emacs “because <E> was not in use as an abbreviation on ITS at the time.” An apocryphal hacker koan alleges that the program was named after Emack & Bolio’s, a popular Cambridge ice cream store. The first operational EMACS system existed in late 1976.

In the following years, programmers wrote a variety of Emacs-like editors for other computer systems.

James Gosling, who would later invent NeWS and the Java programming language, wrote Gosling Emacs in 1981. The first Emacs-like editor to run on Unix, Gosling Emacs was written in C and used Mocklisp, a language with Lisp-like syntax, as an extension language.

The most popular, and most ported, version of Emacs is GNU Emacs, which was created by Richard Stallman for the GNU Project.

In 1976, Stallman wrote the first Emacs (“Editor MACroS”), and in 1984, began work on GNU Emacs, to produce a free software alternative to the proprietary Gosling Emacs. GNU Emacs was initially based on Gosling Emacs, but Stallman’s replacement of its Mocklisp interpreter with a true Lisp interpreter required that nearly all of its code be rewritten. This became the first program released by the nascent GNU Project. GNU Emacs is written in C and provides Emacs Lisp, also implemented in C, as an extension language. Version 13, the first public release, was made on March 20, 1985. The first widely distributed version of GNU Emacs was version 15.34, released later in 1985. Early versions of GNU Emacs were numbered as “1.x.x,” with the initial digit denoting the version of the C core. The “1” was dropped after version 1.12 as it was thought that the major number would never change, and thus the major version skipped from “1” to “13”. A new third version number was added to represent changes made by user sites.In the current numbering scheme, a number with two components signifies a release version, with development versions having three components.

GNU Emacs was later ported to the Unix operating system. It offered more features than Gosling Emacs, in particular a full-featured Lisp as its extension language, and soon replaced Gosling Emacs as the de facto Unix Emacs editor.

Emacs has over 10,000 built-in commands and its user interface allows the user to combine these commands into macros to automate work. Implementations of Emacs typically feature a dialect of the Lisp programming language that provides a deep extension capability, allowing users and developers to write new commands and applications for the editor. Extensions have been written to manage email, files, outlines, and RSS feeds as well as clones of ELIZA, Pong, Conway’s Life, Snake and Tetris.

Emacs is, along with vi, one of the two main contenders in the traditional editor wars of Unix culture. Emacs is among the oldest free and open source projects still under development.

GNU nano
GNU nano: Screenshots
nano screenshot

GNU nano is a text editor for Unix-like computing systems or operating environments using a command line interface. It emulates the Pico text editor, part of the Pine email client, and also provides additional functionality. Unlike Pico, nano is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Released as free software by Chris Allegretta in 1999, nano became part of the GNU Project in 2001.

GNU nano was first created in 1999 with the name TIP (a recursive acronym for TIP Isn’t Pico), by Chris Allegretta. His motivation was to create a free software replacement for Pico, which was not distributed under a free software license. The name was changed to nano on 10 January 2000 to avoid a naming conflict with the existing Unix utility tip. The name comes from the system of SI prefixes, in which nano is 1000 times larger than pico. In February 2001, nano became a part of the GNU Project.

GNU nano implements several features that Pico lacks, including syntax highlighting, line numbers, regular expression search and replace, line-by-line scrolling, multiple buffers, indenting groups of lines, rebindable key support and the undoing and redoing of edit changes.

GNU nano, like Pico, is keyboard-oriented, controlled with control keys. For example, Ctrl+O saves the current file; Ctrl+W goes to the search menu. GNU nano puts a two-line “shortcut bar” at the bottom of the screen, listing many of the commands available in the current context. For a complete list, Ctrl+G gets the help screen.

Unlike Pico, nano uses meta keys to toggle its behavior. For example, Meta+S toggles smooth scrolling mode on and off. Almost all features that can be selected from the command line can be dynamically toggled. On keyboards without the meta key it is often mapped to the escape key, Esc, such that in order to simulate, say, Meta+S one has to press the Esc key, then release it, and then press the S key.

GNU nano can also use pointer devices, such as a mouse, to activate functions that are on the shortcut bar, as well as position the cursor.

Atom with an open project on Windows 10
Atom text editor

Atom is a free and open-source text and source code editor for macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows with support for plug-ins written in Javascript, and embedded Git Control, developed by GitHub. Atom is a desktop application built using web technologies. Most of the extending packages have free software licenses and are community-built and maintained. Atom is based on Electron (formerly known as Atom Shell) a framework that enables cross-platform desktop applications using Chromium and Node.js. It is written in CoffeeScript and Less.

Like most other configurable text editors, Atom enables users to install third-party packages and themes to customize the features and looks of the editor. Packages can be installed, managed and published via Atom’s package manager apm. Syntactic highlighting support for other languages than the default, can be installed through the packages, as well as the auto-complete function.

Atom’s default packages can apply syntax highlighting for the following programming languages and file formats:

Atom’s syntax highlighting for the following programming languages and file formats
Sublime Text
Sublime text v3

Sublime Text is a shareware cross-platform source code editor with a Python application programming interface (API). It natively supports many programming languages and markup languages, and functions can be added by users with plugins, typically community-built and maintained under free-software licenses.


Column selection and multi-select editing

This feature allows users to select entire columns at once or place more than one cursor in text, which allows for simultaneous editing. All cursors then behave as if each of them was the only one in the text. Commands like move by character, move by line, text selection, move by words, move by subwords (CamelCase, hyphen or underscore delimited), move to beginning/end of line, etc., affect all cursors independently, allowing one to edit slightly complex repetitive structures quickly without the need to use macros or regex.

Auto completion

Sublime Text will offer to complete entries as the user is typing depending on the language being used. It also auto-completes variables created by the user.

Syntax highlight and high contrast display

The dark background on Sublime Text is intended to reduce eyestrain and increase the amount of contrast with the text. Syntax highlighting also makes syntaxes of the language easier to read.

In-editor code building

This feature allows users to run code for certain languages from within the editor, which eliminates the need to switch out to the command line and back again. This function can also be set to build the code automatically every time the file is saved.


This feature allows users to save blocks of frequently used code and assign keywords to them. The user can then type the keyword and press tab to paste the block of code whenever they require it.

Goto anything

This feature is a tool that allows users to switch between open, recent or project files and also navigate to symbols within them.

Other features

Sublime Text has a number of features in addition to these including:

  • Auto-save, which attempts to prevent users from losing their work
  • Customizable key assignments, a navigational tool which allows users to assign hotkeys to their choice of options in both the menus and the toolbar
  • Find as you type, begins to look for the text being entered as the user types without requiring a separate dialog box
  • Spell check function corrects as you type
  • Macros
  • Repeat the last action
  • A wide selection of editing commands, including indenting and unindenting, paragraph reformatting and line joining

Package manager

Package Control is a third-party package manager for Sublime Text which allows the user to find, install, upgrade and remove plug-ins, usually without restarting Sublime Text. The package manager keeps installed packages up-to-date with an auto-upgrade feature and downloads packages from GitHub, BitBucket and a custom JSON-encoded channel/repository system. It also handles updating packages cloned from GitHub and BitBucket via Git and Hg, as well as providing commands for enabling and disabling packages. The package manager also includes a command to bundle any package directory into a .sublime-package file.

Notable third-party packages include:

  • SublimeCodeIntel – Features include Jump to Symbol Definition, Function Call Tool-Tips.
  • Sublime Goto Documentation – Opens relevant documentation for the highlighted function
  • Bracket Highlighter – Enhances the basic highlights Sublime Text provides for bracket pairs
  • Sublime dpaste – Sends selected text to the service
  • SublimeLinter – Code linting (validation) for JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and others
  • Side Bar Enhancements – Enhancements to the Sublime Text 2 sidebar with new options for deleting, opening, moving, creating, editing, and finding files
  • ColorSublime – Expands the number of Themes available from the standard 22 to over 250 community-submitted color schemes
  • WordPress – Adds autocompletion and Snippets for the blogging platform WordPress
  • Git – Integrates Git functionality into Sublime Tex

( a user friendly text editor written for the Midnight Commander)
MCEdit running in Linux terminal

MCEdit is part of the Midnight Commander package a very popular multiplatform Norton Commander clone which runs also under Linux.

mcedit’s features include syntax highlighting for many languages, macros, code snippets, simple integration with external tools, automatic indentation, mouse support, a clipboard and the ability to work in both ASCII and hex modes.

Typical screen layout of XEDIT
see detailed explanation of it here:

XEDIT is a visual editor for VM/CMS (( a family of IBM virtual machine operating systems used on IBM mainframes System/370, System/390, zSeries, System z and compatible systems, including the Hercules emulator for personal computers. ))using block mode IBM 3270 terminals. (Line-mode terminals are also supported.)

It is not a Unix or Linux text editor but as You will see it influenced editors created to other platforms such as Dos and Unix/Linux.

XEDIT is much more line-oriented than modern PC and Unix editors. For example, XEDIT supports automatic line numbers, and many of the commands operate on blocks of lines. A pair of features allows selective line and column editing. The ALL command, for example, hides all lines not matching the described pattern, and the COL (Column) command allows hiding those columns not specified. Hence changing, for example, the word NO as it appears only in columns 24 thru 28, to YES, and only on lines with the word FLEXIBLE, is doable.

Another feature is a command line which allows the user to type arbitrary editor commands. Because IBM 3270 terminals do not transmit data to the computer until certain special keys are pressed [such as ↵ Enter, a program function key (PFK), or a program access key (PAK),[5] XEDIT is less interactive than many PC and Unix editors. For example, continuous spell-checking as the user types is problematic.

When PCs and Unix computers began to supplant IBM 3270 terminals, some users wanted text editors that resembled the XEDIT they were accustomed to. To fill this need, several developers provided similar programs:

KEDIT by Mansfield Software Group, Inc., was the first XEDIT clone. Although originally released in 1983, the first major release was version 3.53 for DOS, released in 1985. By 1990, KEDIT 4.0 had a version supporting OS/2, and included the ALL command.

The last version for DOS and OS/2 was KEDIT 5.0p4. KeditW (for Windows) is at version 1.6.1 dated December 2012.

KEDIT 1.6 supports syntax highlighting for various languages including C#, COBOL, FORTRAN, HTML, Java, Pascal, and xBase defined in the .kld file format.

KEDIT supports a built-in Rexx-subset called KEXX. Mansfield Software created the first non-IBM implementation of Rexx (Personal Rexx) in 1985.

In December 2012 Mansfield Software released 1.6.1 to provide compatibility with Windows 8 and extended support to at least June 2015. These 32bit versions work also in the 64bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, but do not directly support Unicode.

SEDIT (first released in 1989) is another implementation on both Windows and Unix, which supports a variant of Rexx language called S/REXX (announced in 1994).

The Hessling Editor
The Hessling Editor (THE) running a twin session

The Hessling Editor (THE) is an open source text editor first released in August 1992. For more than ten years it has been written and maintained by Mark Hessling, who along with being the original author of THE is also a maintainer of Regina, an open source REXX interpreter that has been ported to most Unix platforms.

At the 1993 REXX conference in La Jolla, California, Hessling discussed why he created a new text editor.

Here is a quote from the 1993 REXX conference from Hessling about the history of The Hessling Editor

Work began on THE in 1990 after my then workplace purchased a Sun workstation. This then meant that I was using DOS, VMS and Unix. This meant using 3 different editors. Having used XEDIT for a considerable period of time prior to 1990, I was keen to continue using an editor with the same capability and power. After receiving a copy of LED (Lewis Editor) from Pierre Lewis in Canada, I found that the only way to be able to use the same XEDIT- like editor on a variety of operating systems, was to write my own. Pierre assured me that writing an editor was wonderful for one’s character. The original intention of THE was to provide me with an editor I was happy with and had all the features of XEDIT and KEDIT that I used frequently. Once I had achieved this goal, I decided to make THE available to anyone who also had a need for a multi-platform XEDIT- like editor. THE 1.0 was released to the public in August 199 1. Since then, I then began to add features that I still found lacking and that other users requested. This work resulted in THE 1.1 which is publically released at this Symposium.

Proceedings of the REXX Symposium for Developers and Users , May 18-20, 1993, La Jolla, California


  • Provision of both a GUI interface along with a command line interface, and the ability to edit a text file using either one or both
  • Availability of folding which can be controlled in various sophisticated ways (keyword based, indent based, etc.)
  • The use of REXX as macro language

Folding is controlled by the “all” command. It permits one to display and work on only those lines in a file that contain a given pattern. For example, the command: all /string/ will display only the lines that include “string”; any global changes one makes on this slice (for example replace string command) will be reflected in the file. (In most cases this is a more convenient way to make global changes in the file.) In order to restore visibility of all lines one needs to enter: all (without a target string).

Similar to XEDIT, THE uses IBMs REXX as its macro language, which makes THE highly configurable and versatile. This provides the ability to create powerful extensions to the editor and/or customize it to specialized needs. For example, one can create edit commands that would allows one to manipulate columns of text (e.g. copy/move or insert/delete a column of text within a file). With REXX, one can also integrate OS commands or external functions into an edit session. Since version 3.0, THE also has user-configurable syntax highlighting.

While THE and XEDIT are not GUI editors, THE has its own syntax highlighting language definition .tld file format comparable with KEDIT’s .kld format.

Interesting fact:
two of my favourite multi OS terminal emulator (Win,Mac,Linux) SecureCRT and ZOC Terminal both supports REXX scripting


TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 52 – 53 -Kodi and the rest

Media Servers / Media Centers

By definition, a media server is a device that simply stores and shares media. This definition is vague, and can allow several different devices to be called media servers. It may be a NAS drive, a home theater PC running Windows XP Media Center EditionMediaPortal or MythTV, or a commercial web server that hosts media for a large web site. In a home setting, a media server acts as an aggregator of information: videoaudio, photos, books, etc. These different types of media (whether they originated on DVDCDdigital camera, or in physical form) are stored on the media server’s hard drive. Access to these is then available from a central location. It may also be used to run special applications that allow the user(s) to access the media from a remote location via the internet.


Initially released at 2002 as Xbox Media Player and from 2003 as Xbox Media Center and today known as Kodi is one of the best known and used Media Center solution oe multi platform Home theater PC (HTPC) application.

It is highly customizable which is one of its most important feature. You can customize its look via skins and extend its capabilities via plugins beyond what You might imagine.

It can support Live TV via TV Tuner cards or be as an IPTV player can do DVR – Digital Video Recording and EPG functionality which like the IPTV Player and EPG capability is missing still from its No 1. rival Plex and its a feature I would love to see it acquiring in the coming future.

* in theory there is a plugin to add some sort of IPTV player capability with m3u playlist support to Plex but I could never actually make it work myself… A feature like that should be built in together with EPG Support into the core of the application *

Kodi can also handle Your music library and Photo collection like many other alternatives we willl see today but its real power is not in what the other alternatives also do but the one they do not and that is the one single feature which makes Kodi the perfect choice which can not be replaced with anything else.

One of the main issue for me with Kodi that out of the box its a stand alone application and not a client-server nature one like many of its alternative options We will see today : Plex. Emby, Jellyfin, etc.

However with additional work and configuration it can be done that Kodi’s catalog ( Library Sharing) be shared with another Kodi client as a UPNP server same goes for a centralized Database for Multiple clients see this link to know more ( article is from 2015 but it should still be relevant today)

Kodi’s real power is in its addon / extensible nature through plugins which is also why it receives a lot of negative press regarding being a safe heaven for illegally streamed Live TV content and Movies/TV Shows * pretty much like Popcorn TV application*

Via its third party addons Kodi can be extended with a broad source of content ( Live Sports, Live TV Channels (iptv), Movies and TV Show (VOD) and also with legal content from the likes of Spotify and Tidal or Amazon Prime and Netflix.

However it is a laborious job constantly being on top of which addons / sources work and which got defunct for this You will need to read some websites , forums or other sources of information to get to know the latest * also what works today might not work tomorrow*

Some third party addons are not free but paid and mainly coupled with IPTV subscriptions which I am not sure anyone would need with the tons of sources out there for free iptv and other free addons providing You with the same

* as always IPTV service can stop working from one day to another and there is not a thing You can do about it.. therefore the IPTV services or links i tried in the past were from reputable sources and with nearly always on a pay monthly basis so if the service goes away at any moment I can also cut my losses *

Kodi 18 Released: How to Install it on Ubuntu & Linux Mint
Kodi Destiny Skin Review: an overall good skin for your Kodi HTPC
Kodi with Destiny Skin

Alternatives to Kodi

Many of the below alternatives are based on Kodi / XBMC


Initially released in 2008 is a client-server media player system based on the XBMC source code.

The Plex Media Server application can be installed on Windows, MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Nvidia Shield TV and available also on Qnap and Synology NAS as well * I personally run it on a QNAP NAS connected directly to a Smart TV via HDMI *

Unfortunately Plex killed back in 2019 the plugins support * i think it did not want to end up where Kodi is with constant negative news around illegal and pirated content streamed via third party plugins which they would have no control over just like Kodi *

The server desktop application organizes video (movies & tv shows), music and Photos from your hardrive or network storage folders and also from online services ( podcasts and also Plex from 2019 started to offer free ad-supported video on demand with TV Shows and movies from distributors from Crackle, Warner Bros, MGM, Endemol Shine Group, Lionsgate and Legendary

Also offers Live TV channels for free some of which are quiet great to be honest.

If you upgrade to a Plex Pass (4.99 a month) You can add a compatible HDTV Tuner and access even more Live TV in Your area and also do DVR (Digital Video Recording) to Your harddrive

Plex offers a comprehensive and personalised news experience featuring the most reputable and trustworthy news sources worldwide through Plex News hub integrated into Plex

My only issue with Plex is the lack of IPTV support builtin to the application. Before 2019 when Plex had a some kind of a plugin system it was possible though I never made it work myself and the latest way to make it work * i did not try myself* is to install some additional thing on a docker container to make it work .. see the link here

I honestly think IPTV support in the day and age of today should be part of Plex and IF i ever look for alternatives that being the only reason.

Plex Media Server

Plex Pass

Starting from 4.99 euros a month You can have a long list of additional perks in Plex , my favorite is the skip intro in tv series the same like when You watch Your tv series on Netflix 🙂 )

Skip Intro
Phhoto albums
Mobile Sync (download content Movies,TvShows, Music. Photos for Offline viewing)
Parental Controls
PlexAmp (beautiful Plex Music Player, Build Radios from Your collection, Parametric EQ, Fades. Loudness leveling)
Discount on Tidal subscription

For me Plex is the best alternative and the one I use since many years.

I always think about to build a small plex server with more transcoding power connected directly to my Smart TV and indexing content from the Qnap NAS or just go via the Nvidia Shield TV box route and use that as my Plex Media Server.

Or just build a plex server myself with the now inexpensive (230 euros) Geforce GTX 960 4GB Ram which has H.265 support and can stream to multiple clients even when need to transcode from 4K to 1080p or 720p high bitrates. I left a link in the shownotes where You can look up Nvidia GPUs and their Plex Hardware Transcoding Performance

* right now both content and plex server lives on the Qnap NAS and it connects via the Qnap’s HDMI out to the TV but actually I use it most of the time with the Plex App on the Samsung Smart TV which goes through the network anyways…*

as You can mount network folders on a linux server or nvidia shield pro tv box and make those available for Plex Media Server


OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is perhaps snother good looking Kodi alternative that you can find among the score of media centers. It’s based on the same Kodi project but brings a new and modern user interface that is best suited for TVs and larger screens. Similar to Kodi, OSMC is also open-source and brings the identical tabbed-layout UI.

However, the UI elements are quite polished and clean as opposed to Kodi. And the best part is that you can even use some of the popular Kodi addons on OSMC. OSMC offers its own app store where you can discover new addons and plugins to get content of your preference.


OSMC can play almost all the major media formats out there with a powerful built-in transcoder. Apart from online content, you can also use OSMC as your media center just like Kodi. You can manage your library of movies, TV shows, music, pictures and more.

Best of all, OSMC scraps movie posters, synopsis, and other relevant information from the web for you the media player on OSMC feels much more cohesive and in control than Kodi which is an added advantage.

OSMC can be installed on a variety of devices or purchase their purpose built device for it from their web shop.

I think personally I would spend a bit more and get the Nvidia Shield TV box however I tried Stremio on my Raspberry Pi and it worked very well I must add.


The only issue with Mediaportal that it is a Windows only application 🙁

* i used it in the past under windows to handle my then small tv series collection and watch them.. I nearly bought a remote control compatible with it – MCE remote compatible – It was around 25 euros and i never bought it because I could not afford it at the time *

– i watched the entire series Six Feet Under on Mediaportal the first time –

It has a great interface mainly based on Kodi, can be themed / skinned offers Live TV & PVR functionality , Music, Radio , Movies and TV Shows and it has integration to Remote controls .. I nearly bought one remember?



One of the things I love in Emby that it has IPTV support built in the feature I miss most from Plex Media Server.

However the same in the case of Plex a premium subscription is required to acquire certain premium features for example Live TV and DVR same as in Plex called Empy Premiere costs the same 4.99 per month or 54 a year ( Lifetime 119)

Its premiere features are pretty much close to or identical to Plex Pass:

Offline Media
DVR feature
Free client apps
Cover Art
Cinema mode ( trailers, custom intros)
Cloud Sync
Emby Theater app for TV
Convert content to streaming friendly format
Folder Sync – (Sync your media to folders and external hard drives for easy backup, archiving, and converting)
Backup and Restore Server Configuration
Smart Home integration (Amazon Echo and Google Home)


Jriver Media Center (originally Jriver Media Jukebox)

Pretty much the only application which has no free tier tough it has free trial. It is a paid application.

It is also one of the oldest initially released in 1998 written entirely in C++ exists for Windows , Mac OS X and Linux.

Its a multimedia application ( A Jukebox like its original name suggests) most similar to the now disappearing iTunes application which uses most of the screen to display a potentially very large library of files.

It can rip and burn cds and supports static and dynamic playlists ( very jukebox like)

It allows access via the network to its library as Tivo Server , UPNP and DLNA Server and the central machine can also act as a library server sharing its content up to 5 clients.

It has web services integrations tough Netflix is now depriciated 🙁

Some of the plugins to services are

Amazon Music
CD Baby
Digitally Imported
Radio Tunes
Shoutcast Server

JRiver Media Center software
Jriver Media Center Application
The Only Jukebox like application on this list.


Movies, TV Shows, Music , Live TV & DVR is what Jellyfin is or as it defines itself on their website

Has clients for nearly all the platforms ( Samsung Tizen is on the way)
The Server can run on Windows, Mac OS X , Linux , Docker Container or in a portable form on anything with a .NET Core runtime

What is very refreshing to see while It is simple in offering compared to Plex or Emby while it only has Movies TV Shows , Music and Live TV & DVR if eventually that is all You need You might not need to look elsewhere. Another great thing is there no free and premium tiers. One package and its free.

Sure if You need bells and wistles found in Plex or Emby or Mediaportal like Radio (mediaportal) Podcasts or IPTV , Collected News and Ad Sponsored Movies and TV Shows (plex and/or emby) You might need to pay a monthly fee 4.99 or go for a lifetime pass on the chosen platform the next time they bring a discount or black friday deal on those passes as those usually worth it.

Screenshots · Issue #7 · jellyfin-archive/jellyfin-desktop · GitHub


Stremio is a modern media center that’s a one-stop solution for your video entertainment. You discover, watch and organize video content from easy to install addons.

Movies, TV shows, live TV or web channels – find all this on Stremio.

Stremio is available for all devices Windows/Mac/Linux and Android / iOS

You can install official and community add ons and additional sources to add more content like Youtube, Netflix Amazon Prime

i really like it as it brings together many of my favorite sources.. netlfix and popcorn time for example amongst other sources.

Stremio really deserves Your attention as it is great to bring many sources together effortlessly for You the viewer.



Started at 2002 MythTV is a Free Open Source software digital video recorder (DVR) it also allows to organize and manage Your video library and it provides similar functionality to Plex * tough Plex is much more streamlined and perfected towards that goal where MythTV is more focused to watch , pause, rewind and record Live TV watching it through MythTV also offering EPG support ( pretty much like modern set top boxes or iptv streaming boxes)

MythTV Live TV feature

Addons and Extras

MCE Compatible Remote Controllers

( they look beautiful)

MCE Remote Control with Keyboard Mouse IR Learning(id:6761101) Product  details - View MCE Remote Control with Keyboard Mouse IR Learning from  Qingdao Feilan Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. - EC21

Some Remote Controllers from Aliexpress search results

TV Tuner Addons ( i still have a TDT Compatible PCIe card somewhere)

Silicondust HD HomeRun is definetly the best one I have seen out there

HDHomeRun boxes

It comes in two versions DVB-T (2 tuners or 4 tuners) and DVB-C (4 tuners) — make sure You know the signal type You have in Your country or region for 100% compatbility.

You can receive free local tv via antenna in the DVB-T version or Cable TV Subscription via the DVB-C models and stream it to clients in your existing home network ( tablets, phones, etc.)

These boxes are NOT compatible with the popular IPTV type of services ( for that anyway You have Kodi or other apps and also You can get an IPTV compatible streaming box if You wish to have a separate physical box for it)


Android TV Boxes
Nvidia Shield or my Xiaomi Mi Box S are the ones I would recommend.
I am seriously thinking of an Nvidia Shield Pro TV Box to see its performance as a Plex Server.

Smart TVs
I had the best experience with Samsung Smart TVs. I had LG TV in the past (still do ) but I was not lucky with its smart features hence I have the Xiaomi Mi Box S android tv box and a google chromecast before that.

Mobile Phones and Tablets
I always prefer and recommend flagship brands and devices for best experience ( Samsung phones, Samsung S7 tablets, etc)

Had no issues on Samsung mobile phones and tablets.

Laptops and Computers
If Your expectations are not 4K content being streamed down to Your device You could be suprised that even an older 8-10 year old laptop can do 720p content easily and without an issue.

Most of the apps shown here today have clients for major platforms (Linux, Mac OS X , Windows) and if none of those works for You then Web Player or Browser based playback is possible most of the time.



FroggyMe’s Fantastic Fantasy – playlist for Nov. 1, 2020

The Crusaders – Mosadi (Woman) – Crusaders 1
The Blackbyrds – Supernatural Feeling – Action
Wilbert Longmire – Lovely Day (Bill Withers) – Sunny Side Up
Wilbert Longmire – Starflight – Sunny Side Up
EW&F – Runnin’ – All ‘N All
EW&F – Can’t Hide Love (master’s album mix) remix by Masters At Work – Soul Source EW&F remixes
Isaac Hayes – Soulsville – Shaft OST
Isaac Hayes – No Name Bar – Shaft OST
Isaac Hayes – Baby’s Blues – Shaft OST

EW&F – Betcha – The Promise (2003)
Vikter Duplaix – I See the Sun – Bold and Beautiful
Joe Sample – Fly With Wings of Love – Rainbow Seeker

FroggyMe’s Fantastic Fantasy – playlist for Oct. 25, 2020

Freddie Hubbard – First Light
Booker Ervin – East Dallas Special – Booker ‘n Brass
Quasimode – Dance of the Little Children feat. Dwight Tribble – Sounds of Peace
Mario Biondi – A Child Runs Free – Handful of Soul
Stanley Clarke – Children of Forever feat. Andy Bey and Dee Dee Bridgewater – Children of Forever
Stanley Clarke – Unexpected Days feat. Andy Bey and Dee Dee Bridgewater – Children of Forever

Scuba – Music for Driving
Camelle Hinds – Sausalito Calling
Michael Shrieve – Transfer Station Blue – Transfer Station Blue