LOSUG – UKOUG February

I missed a few months of LOSUG due to one thing and another so was looking forward to Andrew Watkin’s talk on ‘Solaris 11 Automated Installer Walkthrough’. As usual, an engaging and interesting talk! I hadn’t even realised that Jumpstart was dead, as it quickly transpired in the talk. Jumpstart, Jet, building servers in general was my ‘specialist subject’ for a large part of my Unix sysadmin career. It made me realise how out-of-date my Solaris skills were becoming, not having used it on a daily basis for, well a few years. The last major piece of Solaris work I did was the build engineering for a Solaris 10 rollout and that was all done with Jet and flars.

This new ‘AI’ system in Solaris 11 does seem like work still in progress, although it has been around since 0609. ‘What about images?’, I asked, only to find that no equivalent of flar’s existed in Solaris 11. I really must install some Solaris 11 on my home lab!

P.S. I downloaded the llive DVD and started an install from it. The first stage of the install is transferring cpio files. Perhaps there’s life in the old flar yet!

Learning programming

As my daughter continues with the excellent coding club project, I still fear that programming is being taught “backwards”. By this I mean people seem to be taught a specific language and concepts are introduced as the syntax of the language is learnt. True, I, and most of my peers, learnt programming this way but we were self-taught, typically using BASIC on the school computer, housed in a broom cupboard of the Maths department.

Recently, having looked at various scripting languages: Perl, Python, Ruby to name but a few, I still end up using the same concepts and techniques and just using the syntax of the language at hand. Perhaps if I used one language enough, I would come to learn powerful language specific features. But would that necessarily be a good thing?

Provided you know the basic concepts of programming: variables, iteration, recursion, functions, parameters, you can compute what you want in most cases. Or so I have found. To widen the field, introduce list processing, functional and object oriented programming paradigms.

The basic concepts can be written in almost any language. I would start with these ideas and illustrate examples in various languages.