Wednesday Nov 21, 2007

Solaris Security

It's already dark when I leave the hotel, dragging my carry-on behind me. I can turn left, to the pub where the rest of the troops is probably already behind their second beer, but I decide to make a little detour to the right. I walk to the front of the 18-wheeler to see if Dan, the driver of our Project Blackbox rig, is still around. I find him, with big gloves on, between the power generator and the water chiller. He is working hard to make the Blackbox transport ready again. We shake hands to say goodbye.

I met Dan for the first time in Calgary a month or so ago, great guy, not only the driver of our Blackbox demo roadshow unit, but also the one who took the most fabulous pictures of the box in between the high-rise of Calgary's downtown core. Today we are in Vancouver. Different bussiness drivers, but the same crowd that gets inspired by Project Blackbox and sees how it can open new avenues for datacenter expension, consolidation and "going green".

Project Blackbox Roadshow Calgary

After my goodbye to Dan, who's now off to Mexico City, I join my colleagues for beer and then it's off to the airport. For those of you who are "frequent flying" as well, you know the drill. Empty your pockets, get all your keys and stuff into the grey plastic bin, your laptop in the second bin, your coat in the third, etc.

But now it comes....

One of the security folks, I would guess around 60 years old, sees my Sun badge in the bin next to my coins, my keys and phone. He asks me out of the blue, "but is Solaris free" .... and it is clear he means it in the "free as in beer" sense. It catches me a little off guard, but my reply is "you can just download it, no problem". His counter "yeah, but do I get source code and am I then able to change it?" I try to assure him with "of course, that is what open source is all about". Next question: "but do I need assembler code to do this?" (now you understand why he was at least 50+ :-). I hope I was correct with my answer: "no problem, it's all C code, you will be fine".

And this all happened within 20 seconds, five times the speed of an elevator pitch, while at the same time I was emptying my backpack to get my laptop into the gray plastic bin, etc. Time was flying way too fast!! I would have loved to talk with this guy about what project he was working on. He was a really interesting person. As a day job checking our bags for stupid things like bottles of shampoo, but in the end really interested in how he could modify and improve Solaris.

That's special !!