Enterprise Linux Log

July 17, 2007  12:56 PM

Go green with Zonbu’s Zonbox


No, I haven’t discovered another language. I’ve discovered the Zonbox, and if you’re into this idea of green computing, then you’re going to want to stick around to find out how you — yes, YOU! — can cut back your CO2 emissions by a ton every year!

Now that I’m done sounding like RonCo, I can tell you that the Zonbox, made by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Zonbu, is a $99 personal computer that runs open source software and uses 95% less energy per year than your standard PC.

But how does this miracle in green computing work? And all for $99? Easy (via the Palo Alto Daily News):

The Zonbox runs on free, communal programs called open-source software. The silent machine, which has no fan, connects to the Amazon.com server, where it stores much of each user’s information, but also saves a chunk of data on a tiny flashcard. As a result, Gentil said, customers do not have to install any applications.

The tiny device is “cute” says its creator, Zonbu co-founder Gregoire Gentil, and is already amassing a following amongst the Palo Alto green computing elite.

Scot Case, spokesman for the Green Electronics Council, said the Zonbox may be the trailblazer. The product is on track to become the first consumer-oriented product to be “gold”-certified by the council’s ranking system, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. “The eco-geek in me loves this product,” Case said, noting that the Zonbox was “one of the most energy-efficient devices we’ve ever seen.”

We shall see. The Zonbox is set to arrive on store shelves in the next two weeks for $99. A monthly service fee is also attached at $12.95/month.

Some pretty positive reviews have already hit the wire on the Zonbox. The Zonbu website has more.

July 17, 2007  10:22 AM

Solaris user-meeting


Please see the following announcement from the folks at unigroup. There will be visit to Sun offices, tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm. Seems like a worthwhile trip for those of you in the NY metro area.




When: TUESDAY, July 17th, 2007 (** SPECIAL 2rd Tuesday **)

Where: <<<< FIELD TRIP LOCATION >>>>
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
101 Park Avenue, 4th Floor (at 40th Street)
Midtown, New York, NY 10178
** RSVP Mandatory **

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Joint meeting with NYC OpenSolaris Group
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Unigroup may continue with additional topics)

Topic: Field Trip to Sun Microsystems:
– Joint Meeting with the NYC OpenSolaris User Group
– OpenSolaris Update, New Additions (Solaris Futures)
– Nexenta
– Project Indiana

Speakers: Ian Murdock,
Brian Gupta,
Isaac R.,
Sun Microsystems <http://www.sun.com>


As promised, our next field trip to Sun Microsystems is happening on July 17th… a special SECOND TUESDAY Field Trip meeting.

Our friends at Sun have invited Unigroup to participate in the second meeting of the new NYC OpenSolaris User Group, so we are calling this a No-Charge Joint Meeting, and we are looking forward to learning about the newly formed NYC OpenSolaris User Group.

The NYC OpenSolaris group has scheduled Ian Murdock of Sun Microsystems to talk on OpenSolaris and Project Indiana. It seems that we all know Ian… as least as the “IAN” in DEBIAN Linux (“DEB” is his wife). See his bio below for more interesting information.

From the information I found on the web, it looks like Project Indiana will be an OpenSolaris Binary Distribution whose goal is to improve the usability and installation of OpenSolaris, and perhaps make it more easier/friendlier/recognizable to Linux and Windows users. Sounds like a interesting project!

Unigroup will be working on the OpenSolaris Group’s schedule, so we’ll be starting earlier than usual (and we don’t have details beyond the meeting’s start time). Visit the OpenSolaris Group’s web page (below) for further information.

July 17, 2007  10:20 AM

Linux surprises at Ubuntu LIVE confernce?


The VAR guy’s Spidey Sense is tingling because of some Ubuntu rumor today…

4. Sun Microsystems Cares about Desktop Linux: Sure, Ubuntu has a server version but most folks keep a closer eye on its desktop counterpart. Sun’s decision to sponsor the event hints that CEO Jonathan Schwartz continues to preach open source throughout the company — including the desktop. And, not by coincidence, Sun recently announced plans to add more Linux capabilities to the Solaris operating system.

3. SuSE Linux Isn’t Novell’s Only Priority: In fact, Crispin Cowan, director of software engineering at Novell/SuSE, will speak at the conference about AppArmor, a security program that has been ported to Ubuntu.

2. Red Hat Is Missing In Action: Generally speaking, The VAR Guy remains bullish on Red Hat. But the company apparently doesn’t have any guest speakers confirmed for the Ubuntu LIVE conference. That’s foolish. Surely, IT managers want to know how Red Hat servers can potentially integrate with Ubuntu desktops — and vice versa.

1. HP May Make A Major Ubuntu Move: You’ve heard that Dell preinstalls Ubuntu on selected consumer PCs and laptops. Rumors are swirling that Hewlett-Packard will soon follow suit. Bdale Garbee, Hewlett-Packard’s Linux CTO, is scheduled to keynote the Ubuntu LIVE conference on Monday, July 23. This is pure speculation by The VAR Guy, but it’s the perfect stage to announce an Ubuntu initiative at HP.

We’ve reported on a few of these at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com already, but it’s interesting to see some more grist from the rumor mill hitting the floor. You can see what I mean here (Sun to make OpenSolaris more ‘Linux-like’), here (Dell announces Ubuntu desktops and laptops), and later next month we’ll be covering more Red Hat and Novell news at LinuxWorld San Francisco. AppArmor and SELinux both have sessions at the conference. Should be interesting to see what attendees of each session have to say about the other.

July 17, 2007  8:09 AM

Linux swear counts… wha?


Who knew those savvy Linux developers had such a blue sense of humor? Well, apparently a lot of people did, as there’s a site that graphs how many swear words have made it into the Linux kernel. Oh look, here’s one of those graphs now…

Linux swear words

I’ve take the liberty of removing the exact words in question, but I left in penguin because it’s pretty harmless and I loved that documentary about Emperor penguins in Antarctica. As you can see from the graph, the number of instances have shot up dramatically over the years. It’s probably some SCO frustration. Or Microsoft licensing angst. Or both. Either way, you can hit the link above to get a taste for what’s really in the kernel these days.

July 16, 2007  2:30 PM

So Apple hired Sweet, bought CUPS–what’s next?


CUPS“Apple buys CUPS.”

It was a fun little news item to mull over and chew last week, but what’s the precedent? What’s the big picture when it comes to big name corporate entities snatching up open source projects or their core developers? It’s happened, and will happen again, but is it increasing in frequency? Staying the same? A non-issue?

When Apple bought up CUPS last week, some industry watchers were surprised, but not all. First, Apple’s been using CUPS since 2002. Second, Raven Zachary, senior analyst with The 451 Group, said this kind of acquisition — big name vendor snapping up renown open source project and core developers — is happening more and more. And the trend is set to to continue at an even quicker pace than before.
But before we get into that, a bit of background: CUPS, for those not in the know, is the Common UNIX Printing System. According to the shifting sands of crowd mentality over at Wikipedia.org, CUPS is a modular printing system for Unix-like computer operating systems that allows a computer to act as a powerful print server. A computer running CUPS is a host which can accept print jobs from client computers, process them, and send them to the appropriate printer. Sounds like fun.

Zachary himself has first-hand experience with a corporation snapping up a core developer. In fact, while he was employed at La Quinta, his company and Goldman Sachs almost came to corporate fisticuffs over a lead Apache Tomcat developer. “We ultimately were successful in bringing this developer on-board,” Zachary wrote over at the CAOS Theory blog, “but the reasoning had more to do with locale and the cost of living (Manhattan vs. Dallas) than it did with the salary and deal terms.”

Michael Sweet, the creator of CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System), announced last week that Apple acquired the rights to CUPS in February 2007 and that he is now employed full-time by Apple. He’s the kind of developer that Zachary is talking about. Even though Apple is now the copyright holder, CUPS will continue to be made available under the existing open source licenses (GPLv2 and LGPLv2).

It’s now after the fact however, so what’s going to happen to CUPS? Today CUPS is available under the GPL, but will Apple restrict access to it over time? Zachary doesn’t think so, and lays out a pretty good case for openness.

The strength of CUPS is the large community out there writing CUPS drivers for printers. If I were writing CUPS drivers and Apple starting restricting licensing terms, I would stop writing drivers (or advocate forking the project). Apple wins when there are more CUPS printer drivers out there. That said, Apple’s reputation in the open source community is not spotless. There is some concern out there regarding the future of CUPS, understandably, but Apple is not likely to give much more information out other than it has no plans to make any changes to the CUPS licensing terms.

This process, according to Zachary, is set to reproduce itself time and time again in the near future, and with great frequency too. There’s a little wiggle room in there as to what the buyers are going to do with the code they snatch up, but there’s a pretty good case for openness in there too. What’s next? Why? We’ll know soon enough, right?

July 16, 2007  11:52 AM

HP earns EAL 4 certification on Linux


Today HP execs wrote to tell us that their company has been awarded a top international Linux security certification. The certification, called the Evaluation Assurance Level 4 (EAL4+) Common Criteria security certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, applies to HP servers, workstations and notebooks.

In June, if you’ll remember, IBM was awarded the same EAL4+ certification for RHEL5 running on IBM System x, System p, System z, and BladeCenter servers.

This cert is part of the Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS), an internationally recognized standard used by governments and businesses worldwide to determine the level of security and assurance of IT products. CCEVS, undertaken by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP), is part of a collaboration between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency.

HP has been awarded EAL4+, the highest level of assurance for an unmodified, commercial operating system, for Labeled Security Protection Profile (LSPP), Controlled Access Protection Profile, and Role-Based Access Control Protection Profile for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on HP Integrity, ProLiant and BladeSystem platforms as well as select workstations and desktops.

According to HP, the company worked with Red Hat and the Linux community to develop the features required for the EAL4+ certification. This included contributions to help customers integrate a Linux system into a mixed network with other trusted operating systems. As part of HP’s Secure Advantage product portfolio, this certified product offering helps companies protect data and resources across their entire IT infrastructure to achieve better business outcomes.

The LSPP profile enables HP and its partners to build applications with multiple levels of security. This capability allows government agencies and commercial businesses to collaborate securely by sharing applications with different security clearances on a single system and still have assurance that the system will enable only authorized access at the appropriate level.

July 12, 2007  3:29 PM

Linux application server landscape shifts, but still beats proprietary software


We’re working on another series at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com: application servers!

We want to know what’s new, what people are using, and why. We want to get the bottom of how things have changed over the past few years because, basically, a few years in technology is like 10 years to everyone else.

To get things started I had a few conversations with Robert Frances Group analyst Michael Dortch. In 2005, Dortch and the RFG put together a report on Linux application server TCO vs. Windows and Solaris. Linux won prettily handily in that report, but how have things fared over the past two years?

Regarding Linux application servers, Dortch told me the primary “heat” right now seems to be between Red Hat’s JBoss and IBM’s WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS-CE). WAS_CE is basically a streamlined iteration of The Apache Software Foundation’s Geronimo. According to IBM (grain of salt alert), combined downloads of Geronimo and WAS-CE have been outpacing those of JBoss. We’re going to dig into that a bit with some original content later on this month.

“Also, WAS-CE is already certified for Java Enterprise Edition version 5, something I don’t think JBoss has achieved yet,” Dortch said. “JBoss will get there, of course, if it hasn’t already. However, I wonder if JBoss is still too busy integrating itself with Red Hat to devote most of its resources to development and support, where they belong.”

Regarding application server TCO, Dortch said that with enterprise-class application server software (and beefed-up versions of Linux and OpenSolaris) available for free download, “TCO” stands less for “total cost of ownership” and more for “take costs out.” However, to have a “totally compatible organization” often requires enterprise-class service and support, he said, and perhaps integration and interoperability assistance.

Even with the support hurdles however, Dortch said that the Linux route still ends up saving IT managers money in the long run. “These can cost money, but the overall costs can still be significantly below those of traditionally licensed software, especially running on non-commodity hardware. So from this perspective, the recommendations RFG made in 2005 remain valid, although choices have expanded and evolved dramatically,” he said.

Dortch’s advice to IT managers:

  1. Enterprise IT decision-makers therefore have to expand and evolve their focus, and that of their business colleagues, beyond dollars-and-cents views of TCO.
  2. These expanded views are going to have to include elements ranging from the availability, cost, and quality of service and support to “time to success” with new applications, servers, and services.
  3. Open source community involvement: Other important factors in many cases include the accessibility, relevance, and responsiveness of — and enterprise willingness to participate in — the developer and user communities surrounding chosen and candidate solutions. A growing number of enterprises are finding that participation and support of these communities generates direct and significant benefit to their enterprises.

But enough about that. What are you using today? Why?

Drop me a comment or send an email to me at Jack Loftus, News Writer.

July 12, 2007  10:22 AM

Oracle 11g will be made available first on Linux


Oracle made some news within news yesterday during its webcast for the launch of Oracle 11g. The official unveiling of 11g would have been more than enough to garner some headlines, but Oracle took things a step farther. During a Q&A following the event we discovered that 11g would come out first on Linux. Details on other operating systems were not released, even after some prodding from the press.

PC World:

While Wednesday marked the official unveiling of Oracle Corp.’s 11g database and a look at its new features, pricing and availability information was pretty thin on the ground. All the vendor would confirm is that the Linux version of 11g will ship this quarter, probably in August.

“It’s our intention to do a pricing announcement closer to the release date,” said Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president, server technologies at Oracle. “It’s just a matter of weeks before we make that announcement.”

He was speaking during a question-and-answer session following a more than two-hour 11g launch event in New York. Oracle wouldn’t comment on when 11g would be available for the other operating systems the database will support including Microsoft Corp.’s Windows.

Other versions will undoubtedly ship later in the year, but for now this marks a small coup for Linux and is a reflection of Oracle’s continued support for that OS in enterprise environments.

July 11, 2007  12:01 PM

Optaros launches online open source project guide


In January, SearchEnterpriselinux.com wrote about Optaros’ open source project guide, called the Open Source Catalogue 2007. At the time, the catalogue was a tome of information about the maturity of some of the more than 140,000 open source projects that are found around the Net today, mostly on repository sites like SourceForge.net. The hook was that IT managers, unlike developers, were probably not as up-to-date on these projects, and were at risk of getting behind one that wasn’t quite ready for the enterprise.

But the catalogue was a catalogue in every sense of the word: it was a physical thing that you downloaded and opened up on your desktop or — gasp! — PRINTED out to read on your couch. This isn’t the 1990’s anymore, and we geeks shun paper products, no?

Today, I received a call from Optaros telling me that the catalogue was now completely online and accessible at http://www.eosdirectory.com/. Oh, and it’s now called the Enterprise Open Source Directory. According to Optaros, the EOS Directory provides corporations with expert and user ratings, case studies, forums and requests for advice based on functionality, community backing, project trends and maturity of technology.

When I spoke with him in January, Bruno von Rotz, vice president for research and strategy, told me “At the end of the day, the selection and evaluation will always be somewhat subjective, even when the analysis and the decisions were made as objectively as possible. We are convinced that it is the experience and the implementation knowledge of our consultants and the pragmatic approach in compiling the data that will make the catalog a useful tool when thinking about alternatives to existing technologies or starting a new implementation project.”

I checked out the site this afternoon, and it boasts a number of dashboards that track the most popular projects being researched on the site (which you can monitor with RSS). You can also access various topics, like operating systems and clients; communication infrastructure; and systems management; all via a nice Web 2.0-like interface. Each project listed gets a rating, case study information, and licensing information.

The catalogue is a good starting point for educating yourself about all sort of open source technologies out there today, including Linux. While it shouldn’t be your final source for IT decision making, it could complement the process. Being completely online helps too.

July 10, 2007  11:06 PM

22 super-useful Linux command line tools: IT pros’ choices


Our readers and experts helped us create our first guide to the 50 most-used Linux command line tools. This wildly popular guide needs updating, so we asked our inner circle to pitch in again.

First of all, it’s really true that many IT pros use Linux commands even when GUIs are available. Hey, our first Linux command line guide has gotten over 50,000 clicks. But let’s hear the reason from an IT pro, in this case from David Witham, Engineering Dept. technical specialist for gotalk limited:

“I live by the command line. The command line gives you the ultimate control over doing whatever you need to get done. If there isn’t a command to do it, you can write a script or a pipeline to do it. With a GUI, what you see is what you get. You generally can’t make up your own GUI add-ons. A big advantage is remote access. Its generally much easier to get remote access using a command line, and it uses less bandwidth than terminal services or other graphical remote access methods.”

We’ve gotten some great suggestions for our upcoming new guide. Here’s a small taste of the commands four IT pros — Joe Klemmer, David Witham, Jim Reem and Christian P. Roberts — use constantly, couldn’t find on our first list and want to see on our new list:

Joe Klemmer:
1. expect: “I use expect in some cron jobs to automate many sysadmin tasks that are usually repetitive; things like moving files around all of my desktops and the server and the like.”
2. lft: “lft is like traceroute on steroids. You can get a lot more information than traceroute for debugging connections or just finding where a box/system is.”
3. mc: “It’s the best file manager there is. The transition from DOS to Linux was so much easier since I used Norton Commander on DOS.”

David Witham:
4. sdiff: “sdiff produces a human-friendly description of the differences between two text files. It shows the files side-by-side with the symbols to indicate lines only in the left file, lines that differ between the two files and lines only in the right file. Much easier to read than the output of diff.”

Jim Reem:
5. xargs: “xargs create command line from data on standard input.”
6. for, while: for, while are used to “loop through a list of items and do something for each one”
7. read: Used to “read lines of text from standard input into shell variables for further processing.”
8. sort: Used to “sort lines of text alphabetically or numerically; supports multiple sort keys.”
9. uniq: Used to “remove duplicated lines from a list.”
10. tr: Used to “translate or delete characters from a text stream.”
11. od: Used to “dump binary files in octal (or hex or binary).”
12. wc: Used to “count words (and characters, and lines) in files.”
13. top: “like vmstat, get a view of how the system is performing, see which processes are hogging all the memory.”
14. ps: “Get details on a specific process.”

Christian P. Roberts:
15. date: “Useful call to make in a script file to output current information when benchmarking.”
16. env: “To check environment variables on another account to troubleshoot dotfiles.”
17. ln: “Ahhh…softlinks are a must in working on web sites.”
18. mget: “Not used much anymore, but it sure was nice to be able to handle multiple files with one command
19. nslookup: what’s the real name of a computer … or “Is it safe to go there?”
20. passwd: usually having others issue the command to set a password I may temporarily use
21. uname: helpful when working on different computers which may not be in synch at the OS level.
22. whoami: yes, who am I … as in “What userid am I running under?”

There are many more handy commands in our inbox. I’ll post some more soon. In the meantime, please send us some more, or comment on the ones named here or in our first guide, by commenting on this post or writing to me at jstafford@techtarget.com.

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