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Strategies and resources for porting to open source

Unix-to-Linux migration expert Ken Milberg recommends resources for porting Solaris and ClearCase to open source alternatives.

We are planning a major Java port from Solaris to Linux. We will also be migrating from ClearCase to an open source alternative. What are the best strategies for an effort like this? Where can we find reference guides?

You should know that the following products are fully supported on Linux: Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE);

Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE); and Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) toolkit. Generally speaking, porting Solaris-based applications to Linux is relatively easy, since both Solaris and Linux are Unix-based. In many instances, porting often requires only a recompile with minor changes in some compiler and linker switches.

When applications depend on hardware- or kernel-specific implementations, they will require major modifications. If you use Solaris Make in the source platform, you need to modify your makefile in order to use GNU Make on Linux. IBM even provides their own free resource kit, that explains how to migrate Solaris to Unix. It contains C and C++ source code, shell scripts and an Endian byte ordering check. Also, take a look at the IBM developer kit. There are also many Linux variant-specific guides to help you. For example, here is a great one from SuSE that is very specific to Java.

Regarding ClearCase, which provides life cycle management and control of software development assets, you didn't mention which open source product you are looking to convert to, so I'll assume it is CVS, the most popular one. Here is a web resource that discusses this and other open source products. You may also want to do research on the clearexport_ccase command, that might help you with the technical specifics that you will need to export your ClearCase.

This was first published in December 2005

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