November 19, 2007 9:40 AM
Posted by: ITKE
Linux blogs and news
, Linux versus Unix
, Linux versus Windows
, Open source applications
When Google launched Android earlier this month, many people assumed that because it was an open, Linux-based mobile operating system, the target was Microsoft. Throughout the relatively brief history of Linux, the first competition was with legacy Unix systems and Microsoft Windows. Closed versus open, proprietary versus open source. It’s David versus Goliath in a Tron-like world (ok, maybe not that cheesey). Add to that the fact that today many mobiles run a Microsoft operating system, and the table appeared set for another Linux vs. Windows rumble in the data center jungle.
And while we don’t typically cover mobile Linux on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com or even here on the quirky Enterprise Linux Log, I couldn’t resist a quick link to a Slate article that discussed Google’s plan to take over the world. Here’s a free Pro Tip: Microsoft is but a small rival in the overall big picture. This isn’t so much a battle between technologies as it is a battle between ideologies.
Google’s truest and most formidable foes are much older and more powerful. Today we call them Verizon and AT&T, but their real name is the Bell system. Their ideology, which today governs the cell phone world, is called “Vailism,” and it can be traced back to 1907 and the origins of AT&T’s domination of American telephony. The Bells’ philosophy, as promulgated by AT&T’s greatest president, Theodore Vail, is based on closed systems, centralized power, and as much control as possible over every part of the network. Vailism is the antithesis, in short, of everything Google stands for. It is this—conquering the business culture of the telephone, as opposed to the computer—that is Google’s great challenge.
Do no evil? You tell me. I, for one, welcome openness not only in my software, but in my Internet and my wireless as well. But that iPhone sure is tempting…
November 19, 2007 9:14 AM
Posted by: ITKE
It arrived a tad later than expected, but today the Ubuntu mailing list announced that Ubuntu JeOS (pronounced “juice”) is available for download.
Ubuntu JeOS is a variant of Ubuntu configured specifically for virtual appliances. As we reported back in September, with JeOS Canonical has ripped out several software packages to streamline Ubuntu for virtualization purposes. The subtractions include the open source database MySQL; the Common Unix Printing Layer, or CUPS; email; and LDAP functionality.
The upshot of this? Users will have access to a server OS that’s 215 MB in size (Ubuntu Server is roughly 700 MB). The streamlined OS means users can download virtual appliances faster and run more of them per server.
Ubuntu JeOS will be available via the VMware Technology Network and is currently offered only ISVs and OEMs. The approach is similar to another VMware partner, rPath, which packages Linux-based virtual appliances with ISV-specified applications using its rBuilder, technology.
Another way to get Ubuntu JeOS 7.10 is to point your browser to:
Currently JeOS is available as a 32-bit flavor only.
November 17, 2007 10:19 AM
Posted by: ITKE
, Legal, licensing issues
When you think turkey and Thanksgiving, you think about open source projects that have adopted the GPLv3, right?
Well, even if you don’t, here’s an update from Palamida about the 50+ OSS projects that have moved to version 3.0 of the GNU Public License over the past two weeks.
Since many people will be off next week, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving early. But onto non-food related issues, as of November 16th 4pm PST, our list has grown to 1151 GPL v3 projects, which is a growth of 56 new GPL v3 projects from last week. Our LGPL v3 count has increased by 1 project, bringing the current count to 95 LGPL v3 projects. The GPL v2 or later list has also passed a large milestone of 6000 GPL v2 or later projects. Over the last week, 76 new GPL v2 or later projects have been added, bringing the count to 6034 GPL v2 or later projects.
This thing keeps on chugging along. Suffice to say, I haven’t heard the same levels of rhetoric and back-and-forth that I heard about the GPLv3 over the summer. Whether that’s just information overload, vacation time, or genuine acceptance remains to be seen.
November 15, 2007 10:55 AM
Posted by: ITKE
Open source applications
, Updates and upgrades
Samba release manage Jerry Carter once told me that the majority of “bugs” in Samba that get reported by users are actually misconfigurations of that user’s system, or a problem with Microsoft Windows, and are not the fault of Samba.
In one of the rare tips I’ve written for SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, Carter said the next time a user comes knocking on your door with an Access Denied error message and blames it on Samba, tell them to slow down. Most of the time, it’s not Samba’s fault, he said. “Our motto is ‘Bug for bug, feature for feature, we are completely compatible with Microsoft Windows,” Carter said.
However, Carter also said that if there was a legitimate bug, the Samba team had no problem admitting it existed and working post haste to get it resolved. Today, the Samba team reported a security issue with Samba’s code, as well as a patch to fix it.
Secunia Research reported a vulnerability that allows for the execution of arbitrary code in nmbd. This defect may only be exploited when the “wins support” parameter has been enabled in smb.conf.
A patch addressing this defect has been posted to
Additionally, Samba 3.0.27 has been issued as a security release to correct the defect.
Samba administrators may avoid this security issue by disabling the “wins support” feature in the hosts smb.conf file.
This vulnerability was reported to Samba developers by Alin Rad Pop, Secunia Research.
The time line is as follows:
- Oct 30, 2007: Initial report to email@example.com.
- Oct 30, 2007: First response from Samba developers confirming the bug along with a proposed patch.
- Nov 15, 2007: Public security advisory to be made available.
“Our Code, Our Bugs, Our Responsibility.” – The Samba Team
November 14, 2007 11:37 AM
Posted by: ITKE
Open source applications
, Red Hat
When the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) launched alongside Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5) in March and was expanded upon at the Red Hat Summit last May, I’m not sure a lot of people knew exactly what to expect from it.
Red Hat’s vice president of global engineering, Paul Cormier, compared RHX to Amazon, in that both services allow users to comment on and rate the “products” being sold on the site. In RHX’s case, these products were open source applications being offered by companies like Alfresco (content management) and Zimbra (messaging and collaboration), to name a few.
Red Hat’s director of online services, Matt Maddox, compared RHX to an open air market and even showed Summit attendees a digital short of some Red Hat staffers navigating a real life open air market searching for fruits and vegetables.
When the service launched more than six months ago, there were 12 companies. Today there are a few more, but only recently has Red Hat really started to solidify what the real goal of RHX might be. Part of that goal was revealed last week, when the Red Hat Appliance OS became a reality. This “optimized version” of RHEL will be offered to ISVs along with a virtual appliance development kit (VADK) sometime in the first half of 2008.
The way this ties into RHX is that a wide range of software applications on Red Hat Exchange (RHX) are already available for trial and purchase as pre-configured software appliances. With an RHX and AOS combination, Illuminata senior analyst Gordon Haff said Red Hat could streamline the appliance distribution process, but he also stressed it’s too early to give a definitive answer on that front. “We’ll have to see how the integration with ISV updates and so forth gets put into place because that’s an integral piece,” he said. More to come from Red Hat on that point sometime in 2008, I’m sure. Perhaps at next year’s Summit?
Further RHX updates were offered up by Red Hat via their news blog earlier today:
Expanded products and services from red hat partners
- Groundwork Monitor Pro will be available with three levels of support on RHX. Groundwork will also offer installation and training services through RHX.
- JasperSoft will offer JasperAnalysis through RHX with two levels of support. JasperSoft will also offer implementation and training services through RHX.
- Zmanda will offer Zmanda Network for Amanda Enterprise on RHX with back-up clients for Unix and Linux. This offering comes with three levels of support. Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL and Zmanda implementation services are available through RHX as well.
Expanded Support Offerings
- RHX will also begin offering significant enhancements to its support offerings with the availability of 12×5 and 24×7 phone and web support.
Or course, there’s also that little point about how RHX could, in all actuality, be a personal incubator for future Red Hat acquisitions, but there’s nothing much to report on that front just yet. Or is there?
November 13, 2007 12:52 PM
Posted by: ITKE
Administration, interoperability and integration
, Ubuntu Linux
From HowtoForge comes a timely tip and tutorial about the installation of a Samba fileserver on Ubuntu 7.10. The tutorial, submitted by Falko Timme, a system developer based in Germany, also lists how to configure files erver to share files over the SMB protocol and how to add users.
“Samba is configured as standalone server, not as a domain controller. For this setup, I will use the Ubuntu Server installation CD but the same installation procedure will work on an Ubuntu desktop as well,” Timme said.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also pitch SearchEnterpriseLinux.com’s wealth of Samba tips and news, some of which, coincidentally enough, were compiled by yours truly.
But you want more? You can also check out our Exploring Samba and Active Directory integration options landing page that was compiled by site expert Sander van Vugt. In that compilation, van Vugt discusses everything from Samba basics, to installation, to administration and migration. If you have no idea what Samba is, I salute you for reading this far, but I still encourage you to check out Sander’s tips — he defines Samba in the first paragraph
Check it out.
November 13, 2007 10:23 AM
Posted by: ITKE
, green computing
, Linux basics
, Linux desktops
On October 31, Wired Blogs wrote about Wal-Mart’s $200 Linux-based PC. Today, about a month and a half later, the Linux PC (sans monitor) has sold all 10,000 units. The customer reviews are glowing, to say the least. “It’s $200, with no gimmicks or subsidies,” Everex spokesman David Liu said.
Score one for the good guys. That is, score one if you treat operating system sales like you treat religious wars.
November 13, 2007 10:08 AM
Posted by: ITKE
, Oracle Linux
, Red Hat
While VMware’s stock dropped another 6 points yesterday, losing about one-third of its trading value in the past two weeks, Oracle’s stock soared after investors rushed to buy following the database giant’s surprise virtualization announcement. Conveniently, traders ignored any analysis of the unpatched zero-day vulnerability (public exploit available) that the company won’t patch until Jan. 15 (link courtesy of a tip at Slashdot).
Lucky Larry, no?
And that’s just the stock news. On the tech side, Oracle’s announcement signals clearly that the future of the operating system as we know it today is again in flux. Truly, Oracle VM is Target: Red Hat AND Microsoft Windows.
Gordon Haff, a senior analyst with Nashua, N.H.-based Illuminata Inc. was, as always, in front of this issue from the beginning. He was quoted heavily in our sister site’s day one coverage of Oracle VM and then mere hours later he was posting more of his expert analysis on the Illuminata Perspectives blog on how Oracle would love for the kids to start just saying no to drugs and operating systems, thank you very much.
“There’s a nasty little war afoot over the future of the operating system.” — Gordon Haff, Illuminata
That’s Haff’s lead to a blog post titled “Oracle: Just Say No to Operating Systems,” and it’s pretty spot on, IMO.
The battle has many sides, each with many players, and every one of them has officially solidified his or her strategy for the future. You have smaller players like application vendor rPath carrying a big stick with rBuilder and pre-packaged virtual appliances; then there are the operating system vendors peddling new wares like Red Hat Appliance OS (AOS), announced last week, which seeks to create a massive Red Hat-certified channel of appliances built on an “optimized RHEL” in the first half of 2008.
And let us not forget another major operating system vendor: Viridian and Microsoft’s standalone hypervisor. Due out next year, it will officially make Microsoft the last big name vendor to get a hypervisor of its own out onto the market, but … that last point is a moot one, I think, and Haff agreed in a recent post covering the MS hypervisor’s big reveal. “Microsoft has a huge footprint in data centers — and even more in the IT installations of smaller companies. Thus, however tardy and reluctant Microsoft’s arrival to virtualization may be (Virtual Server notwithstanding), its plans and presence matter.”
But back to this operating system war. Billy Marshall, CEO of rPath, has been particularly vocal about this topic during the past year, and for good reason: This former Red Hatter has built a business around mitigating the importance of the operating system in the enterprise and couldn’t wait to lace into his former employer following the AOS announcement.
“It will be interesting to see how Red Hat manages the conflict between their legacy general-purpose operating system business and the technology requirements associated with delivering JeOS to support an application vendor-maintained virtual appliance,” Marshall said in a statement sent to SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.
He even blogged a Top 10 list, Letterman-style, to prove his anti-certification point even more:
Top Ten Responses to Certification Problems
10 – Re-install and call me back if you are still having problems.
9 – Can you send me a test case that reproduces that problem?
8 – It works for me.
7 – Have you been to any of our training classes yet?
6 – This is obviously not an application problem. Call the OS vendor.
5 – My shift is about to end and I am going to need to transfer you to someone else
4 – Did the sales guy talk to you about our consulting services?
3 – I’m going to need to escalate this one to engineering
2 – Your support contract doesn’t cover this type of issue
1 – Take a picture of your screen and email it to me because I have never seen anything like this
I half expected a flying pencil or Paul Shaffer to burst forth from my laptop after that last one. Perhaps the certification touted over and over again by Red Hat during our call last week is more Achilles Heel than Golden Fleece? We shall see.
Roger Burkhardt from Ingres gave some real world examples of why he thought rPath’s model would work best (hint: it’s because they built their BI appliance with rBuilder).
I’m in your camp, (Billy) … I’ve never bought a “kit car” myself and back in my CTO role at the NYSE I didn’t want my team building the software equivalent. I had 30 people just building development stacks for trading systems alone and – to your point – they started with certified components. The need to coordinate patches between various vendors sometimes led to substantial project delays. Now, at Ingres, we have addressed this with your team and our customers and partners are reporting enormous reductions in effort from our rpath and JasperSoft-based Ingres Icebreaker BI Appliance. A 75% reduction in effort is at the low end of the metrics reported back and the speed improvements are even greater.
And then there’s Oracle. According to Haff, the Unbreakable Linux department, from which this Xen-based Oracle VM announcement sprung yesterday, is “based on the idea that when you buy an application from Oracle you also get some bits that let the application sit on top of the hardware and perform necessary tasks like talking to disk. Oracle has been subsuming operating system functions like memory and storage management for years; subsuming the whole operating system was just the next logical step,” he said.
And I’ll let you connect the dots from here: Oracle VM is based on Xen, which is a hypervisor, which by definition is all about subverting the role of the OS. Oracle is just taking the whole thing a step further, a step roughly the size of Larry Ellison’s private yacht, to the point where they want to reduce not only the role of the OS (with Unbreakable), but also the hypervisor. Trouble is, there’s really no data available today to support the theory that IT managers are ready to accept separate silos of hypervisors from a slew of different vendors and then one dedicated to just Oracle applications.
For now, the biggest challenge Haff saw facing Oracle is similar to that facing software appliances in general. “There’s an implicit assumption that users will be willing to have one virtualization for their boxes that run Oracle and another virtualization for everything else. That the maker of the hypervisor bits doesn’t matter,” he said.
So far, there’s scant evidence that users are willing to be quite so blase about their server virtualization. Furthermore, brand preferences aside, it remains early days for standards that handle the control and movement of virtual machines across virtual infrastructures sourced from different vendors. — Gordon Haff
This is an announcement and a trend with long term implications. There’s nothing to see here in the short term and, just like Unbreakable Linux, once the original run of press stories and industry discussion dies down, it will stay pretty quiet. For now.