Enterprise Linux Log

June 19, 2007  11:50 AM

No patent deal possible, says Red Hat and Ubuntu (and now Mandriva too)


We predicted that the Linspire-Microsoft deal was no big deal at all to Linux this week over at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com with the help of analyst Gordon Haff, but today it’s official: Red Hat and Ubuntu (via Canonical Ltd.) have categorically rejected any patent compromises with the devil Microsoft.

ZDNet reports on both players:

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s CEO, said in a blog posting on Saturday, that Canonical has declined to talk to Microsoft about any agreement that provides legal protection to Ubuntu users related to “unspecified patents”.

Red Hat said there would be no such deal. Referring to previous statements distancing itself from Microsoft, the company insisted: “Red Hat’s standpoint has not changed.”

The revelations come on the heels of several recent Novell-like deals involving Xandros, Linspire and LG Electronics. Earlier this month Xandros entered into a patent protection deal with Microsoft and then last week Linspire did the same. Worries about Microsoft momentum in the Linux space were quashed by Gordon Haff, who said these “small potatoes” were of no real concern to industry leader Red Hat.

Red Hat’s Tim Yeaton told me as much in a face-to-face meeting at the Red Hat Summit in San Diego last month, but it appears Microsoft thinks it can outmaneuver or flank his company. John Rabena, an intellectual property attorney based in the Washington, D.C., offices of Sughrue Mion, laid out the basics of what he perceived as MS’s plan in an interview our site ran in May. “The fact that they did not name specific patents does not have any real significance yet, so I would expect this could be Microsoft looking for a broad agreement across the industry,” he said. We called it “arm twisting” in our headline, but there might not be any arms left to twist.

Mandriva is also following suit, it would seem, although things aren’t official just yet:

“As far as patent protection is concerned, we are not great fans of software patents which we consider as counter productive. We also believe what we see, and until we see hard evidence from, say, SCO or Microsoft, that there are pieces of codes in our software that infringe existing patents, we will assume that any other announcement is just FUD. So we don’t believe it is necessary for us to get protection from Microsoft to do our job […] We also believe what we see, and up to now, there has been absolutely no hard evidence from any of the FUD propagators that Linux and open source applications are in breach of any patents. So we think that, as in any democracy, people are innocent unless proven guilty and we can continue working in good faith. So we don’t believe it is necessary for us to get protection from Microsoft to do our job or to pay protection money to anyone. We plan to keep developing and distributing innovative and exciting products and making them available to the largest number in the true spirit of open source.” — Francois Bancilhon.

Mandriva was another of the smaller vendors Gordon pointed out in his analysis of this month’s string of events. With that vendor out of the picture, and with Red Hat and Ubuntu standing strong on previously made statements, could this little run of Redmond’s be over before it started?

June 19, 2007  8:10 AM

BIND 9.5.0a5 is now available


BIND 9.5.0a1 is now available. BIND 9.5.0a5 is a alpha release for BIND 9.5.0.

From the BIND mailing list:

This is a technology preview of new functionality to be be released in BIND 9.5.0. New APIs are not yet frozen.

Please as a minimum perform a test build on your operating system. We don’t have test platforms for every operating system and sometimes we accidently break builds. Now is the time to tell us about that. Bugs should be reported to bind9-bugs@isc.org.

BIND 9.5 has a number of new features over BIND 9.4, including:

  • GSS-TSIG support (RFC 3645).
  • DHCID support.
  • Experimental http server and statistics support for named via xml.
  • Use Doxygen to generate internal documention

BIND 9.5.0a5 can be downloaded from


June 19, 2007  7:14 AM

Red Hat expands into telecomm


Red Hat acquires MobicentsRed Hat today announced new moves in the telecommunications market with the acquisition of Mobicents technology and a new membership to the SCOPE alliance.

According to a Red Hat statement, Mobicents will add a Service Logic Execution Environment (SLEE) to Red Hat’s technology portfolio. It complements J2EE to enable convergence of voice, video and data in next-generation intelligent applications. In the telecommunications industry, with call setup transactions as many as ten times the number of web data transactions per second, Mobicents enables high throughput with low latency.

Red Hat intends to develop a communications platform offering that integrates Mobicents with the broader Red Hat middleware offerings. More information about subscription product offerings will be available later this year. For the time being, Red Hat will offer a beta program and a “bridge support” offering for development and deployment of production applications that incorporate Mobicents technology.

Red Hat is also announcing its membership to the SCOPE Alliance and will be contributing to the definition of carrier-grade operating system and middleware requirements. Red Hat will also work with the broader Linux community to define a road map for availability of carrier-grade operating system requirements. The SCOPE Alliance, formed in January 2006 by Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, NEC, Nokia and Siemens, was founded to drive the adoption of open source software and commodity hardware in carrier-grade environments as an alternative to proprietary Unix platforms. SCOPE currently develops requirements profiles for various hardware and software components, including a profile for carrier-grade Linux (CGL).

To join the Mobicents beta program, check out https://www.redhat.com/apps/webform.html?event_type=simple_form&eid=996 or visit the Red Hat News blog at http://press.redhat.com. To read more about Red Hat’s membership in the SCOPE Alliance, point your browser to http://www.redhat.com/solutions/telco/industry/scope.html.

June 18, 2007  3:51 PM

Linux and the “support barrier” — where do things stand?


Linux and open source software supportEarlier this morning I finished up a podcast with Patrick Green, a Linux consultant and migration expert. Green, a native of Chicago, saw his fair share of ups and downs as a Linux consultant and entrepreneur in the late 1990’s and early 00’s, so I thought it would be best to talk with him about the strengths, successes, challenges and even failures of Linux support today.

The query isn’t out of the blue. To close out 2006, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com conducted a broad survey of its readership about a host of present day Linux and open source software issues. Support, surprisingly or unsurprisingly depending on where your experience with the matter lies, made the list as a “barrier to adoption.”

This is not to say that the support structure for Linux and other open source software is viewed as inadequate. Just three years ago SearchEnterpriseLinux.com reported that only the most diligent of IT managers were considering Linux or open source in their data centers. At the time, Linux deployments in mission critical areas just didn’t happen as they do today because they lacked the standard commercial support that businesses were accustomed to receiving from IBM, Microsoft and others. This perception, some of it earned and some not, was one of the main reasons SUSE Linux couldn’t compete and its founders chose to sell to Novell.

Since then, however, Red Hat dropped support of older Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) versions to streamline the cost of support. Ubuntu, based on Debian, had commercial support in two years–an accomplishment Ubuntu corporate sponsor Canonical Ltd. said indicates the community got the message that support is of extreme importance. HP made a bundle supporting Debian in Europe. The list goes on.

But what also goes on is this residual effect wherein IT managers not accustomed to Linux continue to view it as less supported and more difficult to administer than Windows, for example. Fair or unfair, it’s out there, and as of the end of 2006 IT managers — and these are somewhat pro-Linux guys who read SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, mind you — are still listing support as a barrier. This is even in light of the cost savings and success associated with Linux and open source software. IDC, as you may know, says open source will go gangbusters in 2011,with revenues through the roof.

So some of this is a skewed perception, the result of Old Guard admins who were raised in the late 1980’s and early 90’s on a diet of Unix and Windows, and who are not as familiar with Linux as they could be. These guys are aware of the forums and mailing lists and the fact that Red Hat sells a very robust (albeit premium-priced) support structure, sure, but are they *really* aware?

Green, in our discussion last week and subsequent podcast this morning, doesn’t seem to think so. He thinks some due diligence and re-education is in order; some hard work on the part of IT staffs to demonstrate the savings of open source AND the richness of the support offered by the major distros and leading commercial open source companies to their higher ups and CIOs.

But that’s not all there is to it. There’s also a documentation problem. Documentation exists but it’s not uniform across the board. Green suggests commercial vendors put some serious effort into making their documentation hum. And this is all while they re-educate users on the importance of community forums, chat channels, and mailing lists. In other words, the support outlets that some open source advocates take for granted.

There’s so much more to be written about this topic. It’s as broad as it is deep, and it’s definitely on the radar of more than a few IT pros out there in the trenches of today’s data center. Information and education are key, and it’s something we here at the Log and SearchEnterpriseLinux.com take seriously enough to dedicate a substantial amount of time and effort into addressing.

All that said… What’s your criteria for evaluating an open source company? Linux vendors? Linux communities (Ubuntu, Debian, etc)? How far have things come, in your opinion, from even just 4-5 years ago? Are users today still doing a lot of their own support? As for the criteria for evaluating support question, here are some examples: time of response, quality of first contact support person, how quickly your question moves up the help ladder, exclusions from contract or things not covered, flexibility, cost, etc. Choose your own adventure, but with support.

It’s been a long time coming (perhaps too long, eh Jan?), but SearchEnterpriseLinux.com will soon be running a regularly updated series on the broad topic of Linux support in the data center. Having a user-generated list of support criteria and some testimonials in place will not only help you get your job done better (and save a buck or two), it will also help your fellow open source community leaders do the same. You guys swap code all the time. How about we try the same with support war stories?

June 18, 2007  8:53 AM

Ubuntu Live Stats goes live


Do you like Ubuntu? Do you like statistics? When the two come together do you find that sitting down helps keeping you from fainting? If so, then remain seated, because Ubuntu Live Stats is here!

About the project: “The main idea behind this project is to reflect the enormous activity Ubuntu has on all fronts. We parse every data source we think is interesting to show you how much the community is working and display it in an easy-to-read format.”

While I was checking it out this morning, some wonderful Web 2.0 goodness on the page showed a real time bug update flash yellow and appear right before my eyes. Now I know what the guy who found that burning bush felt like.

June 18, 2007  8:34 AM

GPL mudslinging, flame war have no effect on Linux kernel schedule


The chippy Linus Torvalds was at it again today, but not in the way you might think given all of the back and forth over the GPL these past few weeks. Instead, Torvalds was hitting up the Linux Kernel Mailing List with news that Linux v2.6.22-rc5 is now available!

In a stunning turn of events, I’ve actually been able to make another -rc release despite all the discussion (*cough*flaming*cough*) about other issues, and we now have a brand-spanking-new Linux 2.6.22-rc5 release out there!

As usual, you get *five* kernels for the price of one! You can get the tar-ball, the patches, or the git tree. And the tar-balls and patches come not just in the old gzipped format, you can have them bzip2’d too! So you have an incredible selection of kernels to choose from, fresh from the oven!

By a happy turn of events, we have even succeeded in solving a number of annoying regressions! Special thanks go to Tejun Heo, who worked night and day, and finally reproduced and fixed the odd suspend/resume problems in the ATA layer that got introduced by some previous cleanups.

Getting back to a more serious note, Torvalds said he’s “a bit unhappy with the pure *volume* of changes this late in the game.”

“Yeah, the *bulk* of the patch is things like PA-RISC, Blackfin and the libertas driver, but I really *really* wish people would also more obviously be working on the regression list,” he said.

June 18, 2007  8:20 AM

Be Safe. Use Linux.


[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/LAr3XbqUbjo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

A bit of the ol’ Linux humor to start the week off right.

June 15, 2007  7:46 AM


Linux humor

Hat tip to Mark F. for this Linux web comic gem.

June 14, 2007  10:35 AM

Linux GPLv2 vs. GPLv3 debate is over


A column at Linux-Watch.com today leaves little doubt about the fact that Linux will not be going GPLv3.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — If anyone out there still thinks that the main Linux kernel might change to the GNU GPLv3 (GNU General Public License Version 3) anytime soon, you can forget about it. At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at the Googleplex, five of the leading Linux kernel developers said that they couldn’t see anything like a good enough reason to switch to the forthcoming free software license

I’ve taken some interest in this GPLv3 business not so much because of the expected impact on the future of Linux (of which there now appears to be very little), but instead because of the vitriol and angst that has bubbled to the surface whenever SearchEnterpriseLinux runs a story that puts the GPLv3 in an unfavorable light.

In April, I interviewed a patent attorney for his thoughts on the latest draft of the GPL, and he promptly gave the GPLv3 a “thumbs down.” The response to that article was, to say the least, negative.

Today, the leading Linux developers come out and thank the FSF for the old college try, but were still not convinced. The final draft is due out June 29, so there isn’t really much more room for debate on this. Will the negativity subside now? Time will tell, I suppose.

Greg Kroah-Hartman said he thinks the “GPLv3 is bad.” Ted T’so added “pragmatically speaking, it’s too much trouble for not enough advantage.” James E.J. Bottomley, CTO of Steeleye and Linux kernel developer, gave a hat tip to the FSF, as they listened to complaints about the license, but still he still doesn’t see it changed enough. Dan Frye, IBM’s VP of open systems development said that people should just “chill about v2 and v3.”

June 13, 2007  1:21 PM

Software as a Service headlines updated Red Hat Command Center


Today, Red Hat announced the immediate availability of an updated Red Hat Command Center service. The service, available since 2003, is marketed at small and medium-sized business that want makes enterprise-class monitoring technology at a reduced cost.

According to a release from Red Hat, the Command Center update extends Red Hat’s portfolio of systems management capabilities offered under both on-premises and software as a service (SaaS) delivery models.

Red Hat Command Center delivers monitoring for a wide range of IT infrastructure components spanning from servers and network devices to business applications and web sites. Customers can monitor both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss instances; as well as web servers like Apache and Tomcat; databases like Oracle and MySQL; and network services (DNS, FTP, SNMP). With the update, Command Center will now provide unlimited basic up/down monitoring for all systems in a customer’s network, with one paid Command Center subscription.

Red Hat executives said in a statement that Command Center can complement Red Hat’s other SaaS management services, delivered using Red Hat Network Hosted or Red Hat Network Satellite and the JBoss Operations Network.

The primary system management SaaS solution is Red Hat Network Hosted, providing software updates, management and provisioning without the need for additional customer-deployed infrastructure. Customers can keep machines current with the latest security fixes and patches for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Directory Server, Application Stack and now any ISV application delivered through Red Hat Exchange (RHX). Red Hat Network Hosted is included with every Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription. Red Hat Command Center extends these capabilities to include extensive online monitoring, alerting and escalation capabilities.

The primary system management on-premises applications are Red Hat Network Satellite and JBoss Operations Network. These are designed for larger environments. Red Hat Network Satellite provides software updates, configuration management, bare-metal provisioning, system monitoring and virtualization management for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It is ideal for larger configurations, scaling from a few dozen to thousands of servers. JBoss Operations Network provides a cross-operating systems management platform for the JBoss Application Platform. Deployed in a server-agent architecture it provides inventory, administration, configuration, deployment and advanced monitoring for components which comprise middleware applications.

Red Hat Command Center is available in North America today, with worldwide availability expected later this year.

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