Is there an alternative to the illumos native fdisk? Yes, for example, GPT fdisk from Rod Smith. It includes the gdisk, cgdisk, sgdisk, and fixparts programs. Site mentions only usage on Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Windows, but it is possible that GPT fdisk may be suitable on illumos-based distributions. It requires popt library (OmniOS contains it) and latest version built with no problems, except for a small fix for ncurses.
One of the exciting challenges of being an all open source company is figuring out how to get design conversations out of the lunch time discussion and the private IRC/Jabber/Slack channels and into the broader community. There are many different approaches to this, and the most obvious one is to simply use whatever is used for issue tracking.
Once, long ago, there was an engineer who broke the operating system particularly badly. Now, if you’ve implemented important software for any serious length of time, you’ve seriously screwed up at least once — but this was notable for a few reasons. First, the change that the engineer committed was egregiously broken: the machine that served as our building’s central NFS server wasn’t even up for 24 hours running the change before the operating system crashed — an outcome so bad that the commit was unceremoniously reverted (which we called a “backout”).
I've put some distro-const scripts to the github repo at https://github.com/alhazred/firefly for anyone who wants to build their own illumos-based failsafe image. Current stuff was tested on OmniOS but also should work on OpenIndiana. Anyway the code can be simplified, so any pull-requests and customization are welcome.
The older I get, the more engineering values matter to me — and the more I seek out shared values in those with whom I endeavor to build things. For us at Joyent, those engineering values reflect that we operate the software we make: we believe that foundational systems must be designed to be robust and high-performing — and when they fail in this regard, it is incumbent upon the system itself to provide the tooling to diagnose the errant behavior. These values are not new (indeed, they are some of the oldest in computing), but there are times when they can feel endangered.
Like many programmers I like to try out new languages. After lunch with Alex Crichton, one of the Rust contributors, I started writing my favorite program in Rust. Rust is a “safe” systems language that introduces concepts of data ownership and mutability to semantically prevent whole categories of problems.
I recently found myself with a support request to do some research involving looking at the results of removing vdevs from a pool in a recoverable way while doing operations on the pool.
My initial thought was to make the disk devices available to a guest ldom from a control ldom, but I found that Solaris and LDOMS coupled things too tightly for me to do something which had the potential to cause damage.