Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 09:59:19 -0800 (PST)
From: help (computer support)
To: users (mailing list)
Subject: notice concerning Sun system upgrades (Solaris and applications)
The computing support staff plans to undertake a major operating systems upgrade in the Astronomy Sun/Solaris cluster in the near future. We plan to upgrade all of the Sun workstations (that can be upgraded) to Solaris 9, the current release. In a month or so we will in addition deploy a new server; see item 2) below. At the present time Astronomy Suns are running a variety of operating systems versions (Solaris 2.6 thru 8) which limits our ability to support the most recent versions of important software packages used in the Astronomy Division and seriously complicates system maintenance.

The upgrade process will take several months and will be accomplished in a series of stages.

1) By approximately February 21, a work-around will be installed that will allow all users to access the most current versions of the following applications that can be run on their workstation: Netscape, StarOffice, Mathematica, Sun compilers, GCC. Also, an updated version of IDL will also be installed as soon as licensing issues are resolved. Instruction as to how to use the work-around will be announced.

2) By the end of the Winter Quarter (March 21, 2003) a new Solaris 9 server will be configured. The existing server running Solaris 2.6 will continue to operate which will permit us to continue to provide service to Sun workstations that are not (yet) running Solaris 9. Philippe will be primarily responsible for the new server configuration and he will consequently be less available to deal with other user problems during the remainder of the Winter Quarter.

3) During the Spring Quarter all Astronomy Sun workstations that can be upgraded will be upgraded to Solaris 9 one after another. The staff is aware that some users may not want their systems upgraded (or upgraded later) and some very old systems may present unanticipated problems, so we intend to continue provide central support to earlier Solaris versions in the transition process. By the beginning of the Spring Quarter (March 26, 2003) a list will be posted on the web showing the order of upgrade so that users will have an indication of approximately when their workstation will be upgraded to Solaris 9. Toby will be primarily responsible for the workstations OS upgrade and he will be consequently less available to deal with other user problems during the Spring Quarter.

Users need to be aware that while the Astronomy Divisions 50+ Sun systems are being upgraded, ``normal'' user support services will be impacted. At times, computing staff members will be engaged in work that cannot be interruped. Consequently, users should expect that the response to ``help'' requests will be less prompt at times and that urgent ``help'' request will receive a faster response by the computing staff than less urgent items. If you are planning to add a new computer to the Astronomy cluster it would be better if you could delay until after the upgrade, but we will of course continue to support the addition of systems and users throughout the upgrade process. New systems are generally delivered with the most recent version of the OS already installed but time consuming adjustments are often required.


Please contact ``help'' with any concerns or questions you may have about the Solaris upgrade process or schedule. If it is important that the upgrade of your workstation take place (or not take place) at a particular time, please get us this information. We also need to know if you do not want your operating system upgraded for some reason or if there is a system constraint that you are concerned about.

Bill Robinson
Department Manager

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