Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MartUX: Second SVR4 SPARC Release!

MartUX History: MarTux is an OpenSolaris based desktop, created by Martin Bochnig, and released for SPARC platforms. It was originally released in October of 2009, billed as the first distribution on SPARC, but only on sun4u architectures. An early screenshot is here. Some of the early work proved difficult in compressing OpenSolaris onto a single live DVD, but with the help of the BeliniX community, the work was successful. A sun4v release would soon follow.

MartUX - The New Work:
In July 2012, Martin started his new work, of updating MartUX on SPARC. In August, Martin indicated he was "working day and night" to continue progress on a new distribution cut. The question was broached on the SPARC distribution again, in September. The shift from IPS to Live-DVD occurred, in order to release a product. People discuss buying of older SPARC hardware and reserving some equipment, in preparation for the new distribution. Martin posts some screenshots of the new distribution on September 10. Discussions about under 10% savings between gzip-5 and gzip-9 occur, and the drawback of great CPU usage during the packaging phase. By September 27, a MartUX DVD ISO was made available.

MartUX - September 2012 Release:
By the end of September of 2012, there was an indication a new distribution based upon OpenSolaris code base and OpenIndiana. OpenIndiana now uses a new living codebase of Illumos to augment the static code base of OpenSolaris. The OpenIndiana community had screenshots and instructions noted on their 151a release wiki of the MartUX LiveDVD. A short, but useful articles appeared on some of the industry wires such as Phoronix. MartUX OpenIndiana SPARC release is also now booting on the first sun4v or newer "T" architectures from Sun/Oracle!

Tragedy Strikes:
October 4 hits, Martin starts the process of formalizing the distribution. The goal is to move from his previous MartUX distribution name. Martin, however, had a catastrophic disk failure. His struggling was noted on a different list, but he comments about it on the OpenIndiana list, suggesting using triple-mirrors, and disconnecting the third mirror to ensure a solid backup.

Where's Martin?
Martin mentioned on October 2nd through twitter that Dave Miller was working on an installer and pkgadd. There was little sign of Martin posting in November on the OpenIndiana list, after his hard disk issues, but an occasional tweet here or there. Martin set up a separate blogspot for SPARC OI work. The web site is down, as of the end of November, although a snapshot of the content is still available on We hope all is well, as he continues his unbelievable work on a SPARC release.

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