Data protection and security may become easier if a new Linux-friendly product from IRI Cosort delivers on its promises. The product, Rowgen, integrates the formerly independent tasks of data sorting and data synthesis.
“A lot of security softwares are device-centered or hard drive-centered. We’re applying protection to specific fields so that you can access the parts of a document that don’t need to be protected,” IRI CoSort’s David Friedland told me recently. Friedland, vice president of business development, said the product reveals a new vision of software security.
IRI’s CoSort’s product page for Rowgen explains, “Until now, you could either forgo adequate testing and make inaccurate suppositions and extrapolations, or, you could spend a lot of time writing custom 3GL or shell programs to build specific test sets with the layouts you want,”
Friedland claims that Rowgen is breaking new ground in being able to run comprehensive tests while administrators perform multiple other tasks simultaneously. The software is compatible with a variety of Linux flavors, including Itanium, SUSE, Fedora Core and Ubuntu.
The target customer for Rowgen is the “security-sensitive manager,” Friedland said. These IT managers have a great need for stronger data protection as information theft crime is on the rise, he said.
On the flip side, automating data security in this way may have a negative impact for lower-level security administrators. Fewer programs will mean fewer employees required to manage them; data center security will change shape in more ways than one.
Recently, Novell Inc. has been the beneficiary of generally good news. First, Microsoft gave Novell the nod to write open source extensions to its new System Center, which signals Microsoft’s move toward greater interoperability. This will benefit all open source vendors, but Novell in particular, because these extensions are built on Novell’s ZENworks management software. Score one for Novell. Second, Novell’s SUSE Linux price cut may target Red Hat Inc.’s mainframe aspirations and make it more difficult for Red Hat to challenge SUSE’s already overwhelming lead in the open source mainframe market and creates financial incentives for businesses to consider a move to mainframes.
But the news wasn’t all good for Novell: Astrum Inc., a Texas startup now headed by two former Novell employees, for example, filed a suit against Novell for breach of contract in connection with the development of a mini-operating system appliance. The scuttlebutt is that Novell has dumped the partners in favor of a more established company.
According to blogger Roy Schestowitz of BoycottNovell.com, if Novell back-stabs its close partners like Astrum, its code-base partners like Ubuntu and Red Hat should expect similar treatment. In fact, Novell’s interoperability pact with Microsoft, which jeopardizes free software, indicates that Novell has already done so, he warned. Novell “gets no sympathy from me,” Schestowitz wrote.
Meanwhile, Red Hat launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 of its flagship operating system and Novell issued a service pack with beefed-up virtualization, clustering and other features, both on the same day.
With all this action, Linux fans may just have to keep their iPhones and BlackBerrys at the ready to keep up with all the news updates this summer.
In response to the last post I wrote for this blog, a user commented: “It’s the opposition that has the boring names. Linux is fun, don’t ya know.”
Well, now I know.
This week, I went to my second Boston Linux and Unix Users (BLU) group meeting at MIT. It was also my second time going alone, and I once again felt a tad timid. A young, female reporter at a BLU meeting, I have learned, is much like a hippie at an NRA meeting — people are curious.
The topic of the night’s presentation was High-End Audio on Linux. I figured I would get to hear some music and pass out my business cards to Linux admins and potential interviewees. And I was right; my pencil broke early on because I took mounds of notes on audio software engineering while periodically perking up for music demos.
But they weren’t done with me yet. Two Linux admins chatted me up after the meeting, subsequently inviting me for free chicken wings at MIT’s student hangout, the Muddy Charles.
I followed and learned about the rise and demise of the legendary Boston Computer Society, the largest such group in the world at one point, and about MIT’s other student bar, The Thirsty Ear. “Does it usually have live music?” I asked. No, that’s just the name. On the third leg of my progressive Linux party, I saw a video of the MIT Salsa club in action. I made a new buddy when I said I had taken Flamenco classes in Spain.
So I haven’t drunk any Kool-Aid but have now officially eaten the Linux chicken wings. Can I take off my “Ms. Linux Chicken” name tag now?
Novell’s Service Pack 2 for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 released yesterday has one especially hot item in its bag of assorted goodies: the Xen 3.2 virtualization engine. Since both SUSE as well as Windows Server 2003 and 2008 run natively (and fully supported by Microsoft) on Xen 3.2, Novell customers can run both SUSE and Windows virtual guests on the platform with no loss in performance — or so Novell promises.
Bernard Golden, a Linux author and the CEO of Navica Inc. consulting, said cross-platform virtualization could be convenient for a Novell shop that wants to test or deploy a Windows application virtually on SUSE machines prior to a full-scale rollout without tying up a lot of Windows servers.
“The key thing is to get Windows running a virtual machine on a hypervisor without an emulator,” Golden said. “If you can get rid of the [emulator] software layer, you’ll improve performance a lot.”
But live migration — the ability to move workloads from one server to another to balance loads or provide backup for one another — is even more important. And the ability to move computer images from one machine to another in a second or less without taking the server offline is critical, he said.
And now, with both Windows and SUSE fully supported on the Xen 3.2 hypervisor, users can test or deploy Windows applications — or move workloads around — on a virtualized server without tying up an entire machine to do so, Golden said. And by testing, data centers can prevent deployment conflicts with other functions, such as identity management, he said.
“It gives data centers a lot of flexibility to be able to do this without operating directly on the hardware,” Golden said. And with Windows’ dominance of application market, being able to test Windows apps virtually on Novell machines is pretty darned slick.
Almost from the start of launching his managed services provider business about eight years ago, Matthew Porter has been a big-time Linux proponent. Porter, who is founder and CEO of Contegix, a St. Louis-based company, currently uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5) to run the company. “From a technical perspective, Red Hat has been a good fit for us,” Porter said. Some of Contegix’s customers run versions of RHEL 3 and RHEL 4, and Porter likes the flexibility of the OS. “The security updates and the ability to “back port” security fixes – to port them to the version you’re on – work well for our business.”
As a managed services provider, Contegix’s use of software fluctuates from month to month, and Porter says that Red Hat’s licensing terms are also a good fit for his business. “Red Hat is one of the companies that truly gets what a hosting company is all about,” he said. “We pay a monthly subscription that changes on a month-to-month basis depending on our business.” Porter went on to say that he looked into Novell’s SUSE, but since “Novell offered us the same traditional license since the Netware days,” Contegix opted for Red Hat. “I think the licensing with Red Hat is really the epitome of just-in-time software,” Porter said.
Astrum Inc., a software security company in Carrollton, Texas, has filed suit against Novell Inc. Astrum claims that Novell violated its contract regarding development of the mini-operating system appliance that Novell launched last month. Novell’s JeOS or Just enough Operating System, is a miniature version of the SUSE Linux Enterprise OS, which was created to help independent software vendors develop or deploy new SUSE-based applications easier and faster.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Texas’ Eastern Division, the lawsuit contends that the two companies entered into a mutual nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 25, 2006, to develop the software appliance but Novell violated the agreement by revealing confidential information to partners and customers. Then, after the prototype was successfully tested in November 2007, Novell engaged rPath of Raleigh, N.C., the following April to create the appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.
The suit alleged breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, common law misappropriation, misappropriation of ideas and promissory “estoppel,” or broken promises.
The suit sees preliminary and permanent injunctions against Novell to stop downloads of its JeOS appliance as well as a related white paper and to halt the sale of appliances in the PCI industry. A jury trial was requested.
Ironically, the parties involved shared close ties at one time. Both Astrum CEO David Bunn and Patrick Cush, Astrum’s vice president of product development, are former Novell employees. In 2006, the same year Bunn was laid off from Novell, Bunn and some investors bought Astrum and then proposed the project soon after. Astrum also was an exhibitor at Novell’s BrainShare conference last March. Bunn has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Kevan Barney, the acting director of Novell’s global public relations, said the company is “aware of Astrum’s claims and believes such claims are without merit. “Novell intends to aggressively defend against these claims,” Barney said.
In a recent story on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, we reported that Windows Server 2008 eked out a narrow 2-watt power savings over Ubuntu 8.04 Long Term Support. The findings emitted some sparks of protest from Ubuntu fans. The latest is from Fred Marsico, the chief technology officer of Quantum Mechanics R&D in Corvallis, Ore., and a Ubuntu desktop user.
Like another reader who responded to the story but preferred to remain anonymous, Marsico said the test would have been more meaningful if it had compared energy use while the servers were active rather than in idle mode and if the test had been done on multiple hardware platforms instead of just one. We agree in principle with Marsico, but once you open the door to testing on different applications, the task would be endless. (This doesn’t mean Marsico is wrong, of course.)
Michael Larabel, the editor of the Phoronix website that tests Linux hardware, was kind enough to add a test of the respective servers in time for our story. No one claims the test is definitive. But its results were surprising, given Windows’ reputation for bloatware and Linux’s for minimalist agility.
Thanks for writing, readers. Keep the comments coming.
If a Linux distribution is not named after a Red Hat, does it still exist? Do sports teams improve their chances with Linux-inspired monikers? Do Linux administrators need to learn fencing to keep up with the tech industry?
No, I’m not trying to throw you back into the fog that was the college philosophy class in which the only question on the final exam was “Why?” Rather, as a former philosophy student working as an assistant site editor at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, I have pondered these questions of late.
Many Linux distributions have names that one would not expect of an open source software product, and some of these names have begun to grow into the broader culture because of it.
The Boston Celtics, for example, recently adopted the word Ubuntu. The word Ubuntu is South African for “a philosophy of life that promotes the greater good rather than individual success.” CNET cited Ubuntu as also having the connotation, “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Apparently, athletes and open source software developers draw from the same inspirational pool. Perhaps they operate on the same principles.
Before making that jump, though, let’s take a look at the differences between sports and open source software.
Athletes are well paid; open source developers are lucky to have a salary. Athletes are viewed as social and sexual heroes; open source developers are not. Athletes each play a defined role on a team to achieve a win, while open source software developers work independently to lose all limitations upon their engineering creativity. Athletes have simplified public personas and often resort to assuming imaginative names to represent themselves to society; open source developers do … too.
Red Sox, Red Hat; EnGarde, Cavaliers; Ubuntu, Saints; Seattle Seahawks, Linux Penguin.
All right, so the last one might stretch things a bit. Yet all of this name talk highlights a broader fact: Creativity is green and made of paper in these fields. Both the Linux software developers who succeed and the athletes who do the same cast their work in mythical terms.
If you’re looking for a sports team or a Linux distribution on which to place your bets, look at the stats. Read the records. Then consider the options and choose the one with the Odyssean name.
Ubuntu may not be a household word, but the increasingly popular Linux operating system is no stranger at Fox News. A Ubuntu blogger who complained that he couldn’t view video on FoxNews.com got a personal response from David Denis, Fox News Digital’s director of development. Denis not only went to the trouble to solve the problem (which actually stemmed from Fox’s video vendor, Maven Networks) but acknowledged the growing use of Ubuntu.
“Most of our developers actually run Ubuntu, so we’re definitely focused on correcting [the problem],” he wrote, according to the ERACC Web Log.
Martin Owens, the leader of the Massachusetts Ubuntu Local Community Organization, said, on the one hand, that he was surprised that Fox would allow its employees to use Ubuntu. On the other hand, technical people “are on the cusp of understanding what all this IT mumbo jumbo is about,” so it’s only natural that they would want to use Ubuntu’s advanced features at work, he said. Maybe the feedback from technical teams will convince the rest of the Fox gang to try it too, he added.
Move over, Windows … Ubuntu wants more room in the nest.
It must be the warmer weather. Ubuntu happenings are springing up everywhere in Boston. Just five days after Boston fans gathered at an upscale downtown nightspot to celebrate the release of Hardy Heron, Ubuntu’s latest operating system, a local school technologist kicked off a new organization to promote open source software in education.
Michael Selva, who works at Saint Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, Mass., attracted some 25 teachers and technologists to the kickoff event for a new group called Moving to Open Source Software in Schools, or MOSSIG, drawing attendees from many nearby communities and as far away as New Hampshire and Maine.
An offshoot of Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE), the new group aims to wean educators from proprietary software. In November 2006, Selva himself became an advocate of open source after finding Saint Stephens’ computer hardware and software out of date and too expensive to replace. Converting a Dell server and 11 workstations to Kubuntu, a version of Ubuntu, and obtaining open source software for work and education proved just the ticket, he said.
Selva plans to follow up with working meetings on the first Tuesday of every month during the school year, starting at 7 p.m. May 6, at the school. He also plans an adult education program in open source for teachers and a hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be reached at (617) 605-7429 or email@example.com.