On occasions, it has proved difficult to amend the configuration of a zone in SmartOS using –

vmadm update <uuid>

SmartOS zone configuration may be accessed and amended directly using the zonecfg command as follows –

zonecfg -z <uuid>
zonecfg:uuid> select attr name="dns-domain"
zonecfg:uuid:attr> set value="example.net"
zonecfg:uuid:attr> end
zonecfg:uuid> verify
zonecfg:uuid> commit
zonecfg:uuid> exit

Virtual machine instances

To obtain a list of virtual machine instances registered with a VirtualBox host –

VBoxManage list vms

Individual virtual machine instances

To obtain configuration and status information relating to a specific virtual machine instance registered with a VirtualBox host –

VBoxManage showvminfo <virtualbox_instance>

<virtualbox_instance> refers to the name or UUID associated with a specific virtual machine instances reported using the "VBoxManage list vms" command.

Distribution tracker

To follow is a list of OpenSolaris-derived and Illumos-derived operating system distributions in alphabetical order. The list will be updated from time to time whenever I learn about a new distribution and any entries may be accompanied by any additional information that is deemed relevant to a person selecting between the distributions. I presently omit reference to the Oracle distributions because they are no longer open source; the source having become closed in or about August 2010. Illumos also has an official list of distributions here; the official list is likely to be more up-to-date than the list presented here.

DilOS

DilOS is an Illumos-based operating system that uses the Debian package manager (dpkg and apt).

http://www.dilos.org

Dyson

Dyson is a general-purpose operating system derived from Debian that uses an Illumos kernel, GNU libc and the SMF init system. It is not a derivative of any existing or previous distributions based on Illumos or OpenSolaris. It appears to be being developed as a drop-in replacement for Debian with, presumably, the inherent benefits of an Illumos-based kernel, namely: ZFS, OS-level virtualization in the form of containers / zones and virtualized networking (also known as Crossbow technology).

http://www.osdyson.org

Illumian

Illumian is an Illumos distribution combining the Illumos operating system with the Debian packaging tool set.

 http://www.illumian.org/

OpenIndiana

OpenIndiana is a desktop-oriented distribution of Illumos which represents a good, stable environment for the development of Solaris / Illumos software using the latest versions of the Illumos kernel.

http://www.openindiana.org

OmniOS

OmniOS is an installable, multi-tenant cloud oriented server distribution of Illumos.

http://omnios.omniti.com/

OpenSXCE

OpenSXCE is an implementation of OpenIndiana for machines based on SPARC architecture.

 http://www.opensxce.org

Schillix

Schillix is a self hosting operating system distribution based on a fork of the original OpenSolaris code base and is now developed independently of Illumos.

 http://schillix.berlios.de/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage

SmartOS

SmartOS is a live-image distribution of Illumos, designed to boot off a USB memory key and run exclusively from system memory to support multi-tenant cloud computing applications using newly integrated technologies such as KVM with core OpenSolaris / Illumos technologies such as Zones (operating system virtualisation), CrossBow (network virtualisation), ZFS (high integrity / redundant array software-based file system), and DTrace (application tracing / debugging system).

 http://www.smartos.org

Tribblix

Tribblix is an operating system distribution derived in part from OpenIndiana with a Xfce-based desktop and SVR4 packaging.

http://www.tribblix.org

XStreamOS

XStreamOS is a minimal self-hosting and installable distribution of Illumos to provide a base from which new "computing appliances" can be built.

 http://www.sonicle.com/index.jsp?pagename=xstreamos&parent=products

 

 

When installing a new guest operating system under VirtualBox, the network mode for the guest defaults to "network address translation" ("NAT"). NAT involves the VirtualBox host operating as a stateful packet router that (i) accepts packets from the guest, extracts the TCP/IP data and resends it using the host operating system; and (ii) receives packets destined for the guest, repacks the TCP/IP data and transmits the resultant packet to the guest through the emulated driver operating on the guest platform. NAT works with internet protocol ("IP") packets; it therefore operates at OSI network layer ("L3").

Certain guests or applications rely on establishing connectivity between peers on the same logical or physical network at OSI data link layer ("L2"); for example, where peers connect to each other using a form of discovery protocol that operates by exchanging media access control ("MAC") addresses. In this case, it is necessary for the emulated driver serving the VirtualBox guest to have access to a physical or virtual network adapter indirectly through the VirtualBox host.

To enable a VirtualBox guest to operate at L2 the network mode for the guest must be set to "bridged" with the object of making the guest platform appear to be directly connected to the underlying network. To update a guest platform to use a bridged network interface, use the following command –

VBoxManage modifyvm "<virtualbox_instance>" --nic<nic> bridged

<virtualbox_instance> refers to the UUID, or the name of the VirtualBox guest; while <nic> refers to the numeric identifier associated with the relevant network interface card. For assistance with obtaining this information, refer to " Obtaining information about Virtualbox virtual machine instances".

If necessary, the type of network interface presented to the guest platform may be amended using the following command –

VBoxManage modifyvm "<virtualbox_instance>" --nictype<nic> <nic_type>

<nic_type> may be one of the following strings --

"Am79C970A" which refers to the emulated driver for the AMD PCNet PCI II network interface;

"Am79C973" which refers to the emulated driver for the AMD PCNet FAST III network interface;

"82540EM" which refers to the emulated driver for the Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop network interface;

"82543GC" which refers to the emulated driver for the Intel PRO/1000 T Server network interface;

"82545EM" which refers to the emulated driver for the Intel PRO/1000 MT Server network interface; and

"virtio" which refers to a further network interface called a "paravirtualized network adapter" which is software layer designed to reduce the overhead associated with emulated network interfaces.

Despite amending the network mode for the guest platform to "bridged" and being able to connect to certain services such as DHCP to obtain a dynamically assigned network address, a subnet address, a subnet address mask and a default gateway the guest platform may have difficulty communicating with systems and devices on the physical network such that –

  1. attempts to contact or ping other machines on the same logical or physical network fail reporting "network unreachable", lost packets or similar errors; and
  2. attempts to contact or ping the guest platform from other machines on the same logical or physical network fail reporting "network unreachable", lost packets or similar errors.

These symptoms appear to flow from a mismatch between the MAC address that the guest platform uses to construct packets destined for the logical or physical network, and the MAC address of the physical or virtual network adapter presented to the VirtualBox host by the host operating system. The MAC address for a particular network interface presented to the guest platform may be amended using the following command –

VBoxManage modifyvm "<virtualbox_instance>" --macaddress<nic> <mac_address>

<mac_address> refers to the MAC address of the physical or virtual network interface adapter that constitutes the "bridged network interface".

The "bridged network interface" for a particular guest platform may be amended using the following command –

VBoxManage modifyvm "<virtualbox_instance>" --bridgeadapter<nic> <device_name>

<device_name> refers to the network connection or network device exposed to the VirtualBox host by the host operating system.

Note: This article was developed in connection with difficulties experienced running VirtualBox 4.2.4 in a container / zone on an OpenIndiana 151a7 host using a separate virtual network interface ("VNIC") as the bridged network adapter.

From time to time, I am asked what the difference is between the various versions (or editions) of Windows 7. The concept of editions of the Windows operating system arose largely during the transition from Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Millenium edition which, broadly speaking, was a "windows, icons, menu and pointer" ("WIMP") interface with Microsoft DOS as the underlying operating system to Windows XP which was, comparatively, a monolithic operating system which integrated traditional operating system functions (such as file handling) with a WIMP interface.

Windows XP was launched with several different editions: Home, Home Premium and Professional. In a similar fashion, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 were launched with different editions. Comparing the editions of legacy versions of Windows, Windows XP and Windows Vista, is a bit pointless given that the question of feature comparison most likely relates to a current or prospective need to choose between the various editions of Windows 7.

Comparing Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Home Premium

According to Microsoft, the principal differences between the Home Premium and Professional editions of Windows 7 concern the user's ability, using the Professional edition, to

  1. run Windows XP programs in "Windows XP" compatibility mode using a piece of virtualisation software that may be downloaded separately, from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx;
  2. connect to company networks more easily and more securely using a technology called "Domain Join" and is therefore dependent upon whether the Windows 7 operating system is to be used in setting requiring interaction with network servers;
  3. perform backup and restore operations to a home or business network server.

Comparing Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Professional

Similarly, the principal differences between the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 concern the user's ability, using the Ultimate edition, to

  1. encrypt their file systems using a logical-disk encryption technology called "BitLocker"; and
  2. switch between any of 35 languages at runtime, a feature that is likely to be of benefit to anybody developing software for use internationally.

BitLocker ensures that the contents of the relevant logical disk may only be read using the installed operating system thereby preventing unauthorised access to data on a drive using an operating system capable of reading Windows NT File System ("NTFS") volumes but without necessarily observing the access control lists ("ACL") associated with individual files and directories. BitLocker can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Encrypted File System ("EFS") which provides for encryption of file systems while the operating system is running.

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