Enterprise Linux Log


November 2, 2007  9:21 AM

Ubuntu Hardy Huron to limit new features, boost existing ones

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As far as the desktop side of things are concerned, the next Ubuntu update, code named Hardy Huron, will forgo major functionality additions and instead focus on boosting what’s already in the operating system.

Ars technica, reporting from the Ubuntu Developer Summit, said “the primary goal for the Hardy development cycle is to make existing features more usable and robust rather than adding a lot of new functionality.”

This differs significantly from the Gutsy Gibbon development cycle which focused on delivering highly experimental features—like compositing by default—that improved the user experience at the expense of robustness in certain documented areas. Stability and resilience are important for Hardy Heron because it is a long-term support release and will be supported on the desktop for three years.

This makes a lot of sense. As a Long Term Support (LTS) release, Huron will have three years support for the desktop version and five years for the server version. Working on what’s there, instead of mucking it up with new, untested features is pretty much a given. The most recent LTS version, Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake), was released on June 1, 2006 (updated to Ubuntu 6.06.1 on August 10 2006 (Wikipedia).

Hey, Ubuntu team — Let’s hear more about the server edition!

October 31, 2007  9:35 AM

Analysts debate Active Directory’s role in Linux authentication

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Analysts debate ADI had the interesting opportunity to be a third party to a battle of analysts today, and I thought I would share some of the things I learned from that conversation.

First, a little background information:

On Monday, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com posted a story on Active Directory and Linux authentication. The story gave a general overview, attempting to lay out some of the more mainstream ways IT pros are using AD to manage identity, authentication and security on their Linux servers. These include LDAP and Kerberos protocols, Samba 3, and proprietary third party cross platform management applications. While there was room to expand on the points made and some areas that could have been articulated better, the article was not intended to be in-depth from a technical point of view. But, as the reporter who filed that story, I can appreciate when an expert in the field takes the time to email me and explain, politely, that there were a few things that needed clarification. Continued »


October 31, 2007  8:24 AM

Happy Halloween from a PC (pumpkin computer)

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Here’s one IT-related and on un-IT related pumpkin pic, in honor of that zany holiday we call Halloween.
495_ppc3.jpg

Does it have heat sinks though? Or does this PC (pumpkin computer, to you) roast its own seeds?

495_pumpkin1.jpg

Not my house, by the way. Not on a writer’s salary ;-)


October 29, 2007  10:03 AM

Novell lays off workers, moves positions to India

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Novell Inc. today announced a “restructuring” designed to eliminate costly American engineering jobs and re-create them in India, where labor costs are significantly less.

On Oct. 9 these layoffs were only a rumor, as we reported it here on the Log, but today it’s cold, hard fact.

Novell laid off 250 workers in the United States as part of an ongoing restructuring program to slash costs, company spokesman Bruce Lowry said Friday. Many of the jobs will be moved to Bangalore, India, where labor costs are lower than in the United States, he said. “While it’s not a one-to-one match of jobs lost in the U.S. to jobs gained in Bangalore, the most significant impact was on product development,” Lowry said. “The most important piece of that was, in fact, hiring engineers in India and reducing engineers in the U.S.” The company has previously told investors that it will take $35 million to $45 million in restructuring charges this year. Costs associated with these layoffs are included as part of that $35 million to $45 million, Lowry said.

The estimate earlier this month was that Novell would lay off 50-60% of its Workgroup division, although this brief from Reuters said nothing of which department these layoffs came from. This leads me to believe that the $35 to $45 million restructuring mentioned above is nowhere near complete.


October 29, 2007  1:51 AM

Open source: The most disruptive influence in IT today

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For some it is gospel. To others, it is completely mind-bending and new. Sound familiar? We are talking about how people feel about open source and its future in the enterprise. The fact of the matter is clear: Open source software, Linux included, is quickly becoming the disruptive force in IT. Some would say it has become that already.

The analysts at Westport, Conn.-based Saugatuck Technology have taken a liking to this particular topic, and over the past year have really picked the brains of IT managers to find out what they think about open source in the enterprise. If you’re a fan of the open source drama, keep reading.

Open source surges against the norm
Open source software is not following the adoption and deployment paths that most have predicted, according to the latest Saugatuck report, “Open Source as Disruptive Influence: research Study Highlights.”

“It already accounts for as much as 10% of user business software, far more than previously reported or expected by industry insiders and media reports. Thirty-two per cent of user enterprise executives expect that by 2010, more than half of their key on-premise software will be open-source,” said author Bruce Guptill.

The massive adoption rate is one reason why open source software is rapidly becoming one of the most disruptive influences seen on IT and business – for users and for vendors.

We’ve already reported a bit on how Linux fits into this puzzle. In early January Saugatuck penned a report that said a looming Linux surge in Linux deployments meant that 50% of mission critical operations would be conducted on Linux by 2011.

The surge in Linux deployments can be attributed to two distinct factors, Analyst Bill McNee said at the time. “Part of the surge is not necessarily due to Linux itself, but instead is due to the fact that the entire open source applications stack that sits above Linux is now ready for prime time,” he said. Areas like systems management, the database and the aforementioned Web server are all components McNee said were ready to sit on top of Linux in mission critical environments. The second driver for growth comes at the expense of other operating systems currently handling mission critical loads in the data center. This does not include Microsoft Windows, which will remain strong alongside Linux in mixed-OS settings, McNee said.

Right now, Saugatuck’s Guptill said open source’s key advantages for users derive from its community-driven development model. The bulk of these advantages will stem from the use of open source software in every corner of heterogeneous IT shops. In the long term, looking out to 2010, the greatest open source presence in most enterprises will be as components within vendor and SaaS provider solutions, he said. To get to that point, leading look for leading SaaS providers to partner with, be acquired by or acquire leading open source software providers.

Truly, when Matt Asay over at the Open Road said the laid off AppArmor guys from Novell wouldn’t have trouble finding a windfall in some of the up and coming open source vendors out there, he wasn’t kidding.

Open source surges in three stages
Like a rocket, open source will blast off over the next four years in a series of stages. Liftoff happened a while ago for users, who left vendors in the dust to play catch up. “Stage 1: Early adoption,” was one owned by users and basically shunned by vendors, and the rest of the stages are represented in this handy dandy graph complied by Saugatuck:

21.jpg
Image source: Saugatuck Research 2007.

See? Handy.

No open source free lunch
However, while all those arrows are trending upwards, that’s not going to translate into any open source free rides.

“While open source software can reduce the costs of software acquisition and development, and can reduce development time frames and resource needs, it almost always increases management resource requirements,” Guptill said. “This applies to user enterprises and software vendors – including SaaS providers.”

Open source market impact
“Open source’s presence in user enterprises is far from haphazard or accidental – it is increasingly planned and managed as would any other IT asset,” Guptill said. “This requires resources, and user executives understand that. More than half of user enterprises surveyed by Saugatuck indicate that they are dedicating IT management resources to open source acquisition, implementation and ongoing management.”

Good news is that Saugatuck’s research shows the depth and cost of open source software will not exceed the costs of traditional proprietary software in the enterprise. Good news indeed, considering how prevalent it will be in less than four years.

“While pure-play open source is going to continue to gather significant market share in the coming years – we believe that mixed-source software that incorporates open source to reduce development costs and improve user adoption will become a dominant industry trend.

Key points to take home about this disruptive “new” open source technology:

  • Open source software’s presence will increase from approximately 10 percent of key user enterprise on-premise software in 2007, to between 15 percent and 20 percent by 2010.
  • Through at least 2010, user enterprises will continue to lead most vendors when it comes to understanding the enterprise role and presence of open source software.
  • By 2010, more than 50 percent of SaaS vendors will incorporate open source platforms and systems code into their service delivery models, yielding a margin advantage of at least 10 percent over those with solely proprietary stacks.
  • While the open source LAMP stack (i.e., operating system, middleware, databases and development tools) will lead most user adoption, open source applications and desktop productivity tools will experience some of the highest growth rates through 2010.
  • By 2010, more than 35 percent of new commercial software implementations will include open source components.
  • Current barriers to broader user adoption of open source (security, technology/functionality maturity) will largely be resolved by 2010, although licensing issues will remain a critical management challenge through 2012.
  • By 2012, four or five dominant open source Master Brands (some of whom will come from a traditional IT software heritage) will emerge, that will influence or control at least 30 percent of the open source software marketplace.


October 26, 2007  3:19 PM

Thoughts on the Linux job market

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IT jobs surveyThe Foote Partners report comparing average pay for certified IT skills versus non-certified IT skills got a lot of people talking. While news that the average salary for non-certified professionals was higher in the third quarter of 2007 came as a shock to some, others were not as surprised.

So what does this mean? To answer that I asked some of our SearchEnterpriseLinux.com experts what they think this survey says about the current IT job market and the Linux front specifically.

Bernard Golden, CEO of the open source software systems integration firm Navica, Inc., says the trend is very interesting but ultimately makes sense. While he recognizes that there is a need for certification and that certification is still very much in demand by both organizations and professionals, Golden points out that certification is only good for demonstrating ability in established, commodified skills. The job market has shifted away from “standard issue stuff” in the industry, which demanded basic skills from large numbers of employees and Golden said those days are long gone. Drawn to certified credentials are organizations that still require professionals who can perform basic skills (cost centers, for example).

Golden adds that certification can be more helpful offshore as a way of establishing credibility. “Offshore, they aren’t looking for innovation, just commodity skills … non-differentiated skill sets,” he said.

In today’s IT environment, certification alone isn’t enough to command a higher salary, Golden said. But the outlook is better for professionals with more expertise to offer potential employers, regardless of whether or not they have certified skills.

“If (an organization) needs to find someone with a particular skills set, above and beyond that of the average IT professional, an alpha-candidate, someone who won’t need certification to convince an employer that this is someone with the background and confidence to do the job, that is something special,” Golden said.

Expert Don Rosenberg, president of the marketing consulting firm Stromian Technologies, agreed that people who are senior enough not to need a certification will do better in the job market. Professionals who have had enough time to develop their niche or some kind of specialized function often will not need to bother getting certified, he said.

“It is a lot of trouble to go through a certification,” said Rosenberg, who believed the Foote survey reflects this to some extent. But he also expressed some skepticism about the study. He said it is problematic to gauge average salary for IT professionals across the board, citing major differences between Microsoft and Linux pros, the latter of which Rosenberg felt are typically more qualified and command higher salaries. “It takes so many Microsoft certified personnel to do what Linux personnel can do,” he said.

Rosenberg said Linux professionals could be blowing the curve, while the marketplace could also be seeing a surplus of Microsoft certified administrators forcing Linux out of the marketplace.

Nevertheless, Golden and Rosenberg both agreed that things keep looking up in the Linux job market. “Linux and open source skill sets are in demand,” Golden said. As as a member of a local Linux users group is seeing more job postings for Linux jobs showing up in the mailing list.

“People are starting to reach out in slightly unconventional ways,” Golden said. “I’m taking this as a sign that, having exhausted conventional avenues, employers are trying harder to find Linux professionals.”

For professionals who want to move up in the world, Golden suggested they develop skills that set them apart from the certified crowd: “When somebody needs that skill set, they’ll beat a path to your door.”


October 26, 2007  12:37 PM

ODF Alliance hails record growth in application support for ODF

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The OpenDocument file format isn’t really something we cover a lot here on the Log or on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, but from time to time I like to check in on it for no other reason than Simon Phipps from Sun Microsystems said a “Digital Dark Age” would descend upon us all if we didn’t get the world to adopt it. It’s also all about open standards, which for a guy who covers Linux and open source is a Siren’s Song.

It was a cool and completely foreboding premise: in the not so distant future documents of all kinds will be unreadable because the software that created them was proprietary, locked, and access expired with its creator. Basically, anyway; Simon put it much more eloquently than that (he has an accent).

Work has progressed since then thanks to the efforts of the OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance, for short), and today a milestone of sorts was reached. The ODF Alliance is an organization of governments, academic institutions, non-government organizations and industry dedicated to educating policy makers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of ODF.

“During September and October, there were more than a dozen announcements of new or improved application support for ODF,” said Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance. “These recent announcements are a clear reflection of the strong and growing demand for ODF in the marketplace.”

In total, there are now more than two dozen ODF-supporting text, spreadsheet, and presentation applications announced in the past three months, including some big name ones listed below:

The struggle against Microsoft — and, really, that’s what this is — continues…


October 26, 2007  11:28 AM

Oracle Unbreakable Linux program having no effect down under

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When we first wrote about the Oracle Unbreakable Linux support program late last year, Red Hat Enterprise Linux users appeared ready to at least give it a look. The program, officially announced in October 2006, promised deep discounts for Red Hat users that opted to go to Oracle — not Red Hat — for their Linux support. Sometimes these discounts were as much as 50% below what Red Hat was asking.

In our article, “Red Hat users pine for discounted support”, a Pacific Crest Securities survey of 188 enterprise operating system buyers — 86 of whom were Red Hat Inc. support customers — revealed that one-third of respondents said Red Hat would need an Oracle-like discount of 50% to 74% to keep their business.

A story from down under today leads me to believe that Pacific Crest might want to revisit that survey for another go.

Max McLaren, Red Hat Australia managing director, said Red Hat has not been losing business to Oracle for support, with one exception: Melbourne firm Opes Prime Stockbroking said it would switch allegiance to Oracle last year.

McLaren told Australian IT that “out of the top five banks in Australia, four are our customers … (but) we don’t have much penetration in the insurance sector. That’s an area to work on.” He added that the Pacific Rim is another area of huge expansion for Red Hat, which we kind of touched upon in previous posts on the Enterprise Linux Log (or TELL for short).

So that’s Red Hat’s take abroad anyway. I’m sure McLaren made sure his comments went through the spin cycle a few times before he said them, but it’s interesting to see how little of an effect Oracle *might* be having on Red Hat’s business. It’s about one year in now, so we’ll see if Unbreakable is maturing or manuring, if you get my meaning.


October 24, 2007  8:24 AM

World Series hype, GPLv3 adoption increase in October

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What could the World Series and the General Public License (GPL) possibly have in common?

Well, there’s one thing, if you stretch it really thin: October. The World Series, obviously, will begin tonight between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. The hype, no thanks to FOX and those Dane Cook promos, has reached a fever pitch (pun intended). The GPL, on the other hand, saw above average adoption rates among open source developers and their projects.

GPLv3 in October

Palamida gives us the details:

As of Oct. 19, 1pm PST, our database contained 898 GPL v3 projects, as compared with last week’s number on October 12th of 833 GPL v3 projects. This is a larger-than-average increase of 65 GPL v3 projects which puts us on the brink of 900 GPL v3 projects and closer to the important milestone of 1,000 GPL v3 projects.

As much as I’d like to think baseball had some kind of profound effect on the adoption rates of the GPLv3, I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I’m betting that with the cold weather there are probably just a lot more geeks inside coding than there were in August and September.


October 23, 2007  7:41 AM

See Ken Milberg at POWER-AIX/Linux Users Group Meeting in NY

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One of our SearchEnterpriseLinux.com experts, Ken Milberg, will be speaking at the following event. If you live in the metro area, drop by and say hello (but remember to pre-register, or else you won’t get in!)

Please mark your calender for the first ever Manhattan meeting of the NY Metro Power-AIX/Linux Users Group (at IBM headquarters at 590 Madison Avenue); Thursday Oct. 25, at 6 p.m. EDT. Registration is free, but it is required. You can register at this link.

Summary, Presentations

1. Presentation #1: Bharvi Parikh — System p Specialist (IBM)

System p Overview and virtualization (AIX and Linux on Power)

2. Presentation #2: John Tesch, Ph.D., Certified Consulting IT Specialist (IBM)

AIX Deep Dive 6.1 New features and enhancements

3. Presentation #3: Ken Milberg, PMP® — IBM Certified Advanced Technical Expert – System p (Future Tech)

Introduction and Demonstration of the IBM System p Application Virtual Environment for x86 Linux (System p AVE) using the Virtual Loan Program (VLP).

There will be a raffle for an exciting grand prize! (to be announced)
Door prizes include the following:

1) IBM system magazines
2) IBM USB thumb drives and other memorabilia
3) Power-AIX pens
4) Future Tech (IBM BP) T-shirts
5) Linux CDs

Directions:

Located on the corner of 57th and Madison with easy access to mass transportation in and around Metro New York.

Agenda

1. Food/refreshments ~ 6:00 pm to 6:15 pm

2. Introduction of NY Metro Power-AIX/Linux group, goals ~ 6:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

3. System p, the new Power6, Virtualization (AIX and Linux) ~ 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

4. AIX 6.1 Deep Dive ~ New features and enhancements 7:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

5. IBM System p AVE (Application Virtual Environment for x86 ) ~ Bringing Linux on Power (LoP) to the masses, including a live demo ; using IBM’s Virtual Loaner Program (VLP) 7:45 pm – 8:15 pm

6. Q/A 8:15 p.m. – ……

Please also extend a warm welcome to our friends at Unigroup of New York, the oldest and greatest Unix Users group in the world, which will bring its members to the meeting.

UNIGROUP Announcement

Unigroup’s October 2007 meeting will be a field trip to IBM headquarters located at 590 Madison Ave. NYC, Conference Room 1219 on Thursday, Oct. 25 (** SPECIAL 4th Thursday **) at 6:00 p.m. (** SPECIAL TIME **). Our presentation topic is: Power6 and AIX 6.1 and our speaker is Bharvi Parikh from IBM. Note: This will be a joint meeting with the new IBM PowerAIX User Group!


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