Enterprise Linux Log

March 28, 2007  12:13 PM

GPLv3 Dicscussion Draft out now


You can head on over the the Free Software Foundation to read the whole thing, or check the highlights below.

Changes in this draft include:

  • First-time violators can have their license automatically restored if they remedy the problem within thirty days.
  • License compatibility terms have been simplified, with the goal of making them easier to understand and administer.
  • Manufacturers who include the software in consumer products must also provide installation information for the software along with the source. This change provides more narrow focus for requirements that were proposed in previous drafts.
  • New patent requirements have been added to prevent distributors from colluding with patent holders to provide discriminatory protection from patents

Novell, predictably, has a response to the GPLv3 up on their PR blog. Later this week, I’ll be speaking with SearchEnterpriseLinux.com legal beagle Tom Carey about the changes, so stay tuned for more.

UPDATE @ 2:33 EST: Simon Phipps over at Sun Microsystems weighs in as well. He likes the SaaS parts and the reshuffling of the DRM section, but admits there’s more to learn from this document over the next few months.

March 28, 2007  10:26 AM

Open source systems management


Are IT management and network monitoring options from IBM, HP and the other two in the “big four” bloated?

Seems they are, if you’re talking to Zenoss CEO Bill Karpovich. Zenoss is an open source IT management company and while IT management in and of itself is an incredibly broard, impossibly vague term, I get the impression that’s how the folks at Zenoss like it. In my chat with Karpovich this morning, he set about attacking the big vendors for providing IT managers with way too much product for far too much money. It’s a criticism I’ve heard before of IBM Tivoli and HP’s OpenView (mainly from open source companies trying to compete with them), but it was also one that didn’t have that magic word attached to it: traction.

Until now, anyway. Zenoss — a relatively young company — now boasts at least 10 enterprise level customers and more than 40,000 downloads of its free product every month. It’s also SourceForge’s project of the month. Karpovich admits that IBM and friends still own the big customers, but that’s not his goal. With Zenoss, he’s attacking the mid market (1,000’s of servers or less), alongside three other smaller open source vendors in Qlusters, Hyperic and GroundWorks. Analyst firm Red Monk has taken to calling them the “little four” in homage to their big brothers.

Whether these “little guys” can take on the mid market remains to be seen, but it sounds like the traction really is there, and growing. I’ll have my talk with Karpovich up later this week on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, and hopefully a nice Zenoss customer case study sometime after that. In the interim, what’s your management scene looking like these days>

March 27, 2007  11:51 AM

Linux kernel to include VMI


eWEEK is reporting that the next stable release of the Linux kernel, version 2.6.21, will include a new feature submitted by VMware Inc. called VMI, or Virtual Machine Interface.

The initial promise of Virtual Machine Interface was that it would provide a common protocol across which multiple hypervisors could communicate with the Linux kernel instances they paravirtualize, as opposed to having different sets of hooks built into Linux for different hypervisors.

The idea is similar to the Linux Security Module framework, on which both the SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) and AppArmor rights-hardening technologies are built.

This is the second bit of virtualization-related kernel news in as many months. In February, Linux Torvalds made a splash after the Super Bowl when he announced that Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) would be included in stable release 2.6.20.

March 27, 2007  9:41 AM

OpenDocument Format Alliance celebrates one year anniversary


I used to cover the OpenDocument Format in spades over at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, but things have been a bit quiet on that front for a while, at least from our site’s coverage of it anyway. But the slow boil that is ODF (an open standards-based file format meant to compete directly with proprietary formats like Microsoft Word) has persisted over the past year.

It all began, as far as our site’s media coverage was concerned, with a clash of the titans in the Massachusetts over the fate of ODF in that state. Blogger and IP attorney Andy Updegrove gave us a lifeline into the inner workings of the debate via his blog at ConsortiumInfo.org while execs like Sun Microsystems’ Simon Phipps told us of a looming Digital Dark Age that would descend on users if ODF was not adopted en masse.

One of the organizations formed to help ODF along was the ODF Alliance, which celebrated its one year anniversary this month. I covered their progress back in April 2006, when membership was swelling thanks to the weight given to it by founding members IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp.

Today, they sent me a brief release with some of their progress over the past year.

  • More than 50 federal, state, and local bodies across the globe are using office applications that support ODF, including the India Election Commission, Finland’s Ministry of Justice, and the City of Vienna
  • 7 national governments have recommended ODF or open standards for document formats in legislation, policy statements or interoperability frameworks including Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, and Norway
  • Studies from six governments on moving to open standard supported applications for document formats have shown savings of 60-90 percent over 5 years
  • Ensuring that the needs of persons with disabilities are addressed, OpenDocument v1.1, which incorporates accessibility-related enhancements, was approved unanimously by OASIS in January 2007.

That last point was especially important to the state government workers of Massachusetts, who had been worried that a migration off of Office to ODF would have meant headaches or worse (an inability to do their jobs).

March 26, 2007  9:14 AM

Reduce your Linux memory footprint


IBM software engineer Martyn Honeyford has a paper up on developerWorks that getting some notice over at Digg.com because it teaches users how to reduce the memory footprint of Linux.

A much-touted benefit of Linux is that it is more efficient than Microsoft Windows, and will therefore perform better on less than cutting-edge hardware. This performance makes Linux a very attractive upgrade for the many people who have old Windows 98-era boxes still sitting around that are no longer being treated to the latest and greatest software.

The truth of the matter, however, is that while the Linux kernel can still be configured to be reasonably small and efficient, as new computers have increased in power, many Linux desktop environments (such as KDE and GNOME) have added lots of features. Consequently, the default install of most distributions offer a less than stellar level of performance when installed on older hardware. The same is true of many modern applications also — Web browsers such as Firefox and office suites such as OpenOffice are fully featured, but trying to run them on a machine with 128MB of RAM can be a painful experience!

Never fear: as those in the Linux community have known for years, a great strength (some would say the great strength) of the Linux kernel and Linux distributions in general lies in their ability to be customized. This article delves into how you can tailor your Linux systems for better performance on modest hardware.

An interesting read for all you tweakers out there, which I assume is all of you. You are reading a Linux blog, after all, right?

UPDATE: On second glance this is more for personal boxes, rather than servers. A good read none-the-less however.

March 26, 2007  8:45 AM

Watch out Oracle — MySQL rising (to 40%)


From Stephen Shankland over at CNET comes good news for MySQL fans:

You now can discard any lingering traces of doubt that the open-source MySQL database competes with the incumbent proprietary products from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM. Data released Thursday from an Evans Data Group survey of database usage among developers shows MySQL use increased from 32 percent in 2004 to 40 percent last year. The survey tallied real production use in corporate environments, not just tire-kicking or pilot projects, Evans spokesman Jon Broenen said.

I spoke recently with the CTO of eClinicalWorks about his company’s use of MySQL in Linux and Windows environments, and the conversation was almost too upbeat. Naturally, I was suspicious, but now it appears the praise for MySQL was genuine, and we really can discard the doubt about whether or not MySQL is chipping away at Oracle’s base.

March 23, 2007  9:01 AM

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta delayed


A slight delay today for the beta release of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, according to the Ubuntu developer mailing list.

The beta release of Ubuntu Feisty was delayed for a day because of a kernel regression issue that caused problems booting a large number of systems. A new kernel has been uploaded and built, and the beta release will now take place on Friday, March 23.

Does Feisty Fawn have a lame leg? Probably not, but I couldn’t resist.

3/23/07 UPDATE: It’s launched: “The Ubuntu team is proud to announce the beta release of Ubuntu 7.04. Ubuntu 7.04 is the most user-friendly Ubuntu to date and includes a ground-breaking Windows migration assistant, excellent wireless networking support and improved multimedia support. Ubuntu 7.04 server edition adds support for hardware facilities that speed up the use of virtual machines as well as other improved hardware support, making it an excellent choice as a web, database, file and print server, the fastest growing area of Linux server use.”

March 22, 2007  7:04 AM

Red Hat’s new one-page SLA in pictures


Are you curious what a service level agreement looks like after its been through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 SLA wringer?

Linux service agreements

“If it’s in the bits, we support the bits,” said Red Hat’s v.p. of engineering Paul Cormier. “No more legalese.”

March 22, 2007  6:49 AM

Second preview release of Samba 3.0.25


*NOTE* This is the second preview release of the Samba 3.0.25 code base and is provided for testing only. It is NOT intended for production servers.

Major features included in the 3.0.25 code base include:

  • Significant improvements in the winbind off-line logon support.
  • Support for secure DDNS updates as part of the ‘net ads join’
  • Rewritten IdMap interface which allows for TTL based caching and
    per domain backends.
  • New plug-in interface for the “winbind nss info” parameter.
  • New file change notify subsystem which is able to make use of
    inotify on Linux.
  • Support for passing Windows security descriptors to a VFS
    plug-in allowing for multiple Unix ACL implements to running side
    by side on the Same server.
  • Improved compatibility with Windows Vista clients.
  • Man pages for VFS plugins.

If you’re not on Samba’a mailing list, then you have no idea what you’re missing! (especially if you’re really interested in Linux-to-Windows/Active Directory type things)

March 20, 2007  3:25 PM

Novell: SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 service pack 1 imminent


How unabashedly Microsoft this news is today: Novell is set to release “service pack 1” for SUSE Enterprise Linux 10.

As DesktopLinux.com notes and Novell confirms on its web site, service packs are usually smaller fare comprised of bug-patches, with few major changes. Like Microsoft with its SP2 patch to Windows XP, however, Novell will make major improvements in SUSE 10’s SP1.

So what’s the major change? News out of BrainShare this week says it’s going to be Xen-specific. According to Novell, SP1 will include virtualization support and management via version 3.0.4 of the Xen hypervisor (the latest stable version).

More from Novell:

Novell will also include paravirtualized network and block device drivers to allow Microsoft Windows Server 2000/2003/XP to run unmodified in Xen virtual environments on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with chips that support Intel VT and AMD “Pacifica” virtualization.

All this battling over Xen between Red Hat and Novell these days isn’t very, well, Zen now is it?

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