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Updated: 3 hours 35 min ago

ROSA Fresh R5, Year in Ubuntu, and Fedora to the Rescue

Saturday 27th of December 2014 03:56:32 AM

Still a bit slow on the news front but yesterday, like a Christmas present, ROSA Fresh R5 was released. Simon Phipps offers his Open Source confessions and Phoronix.com reviews the year in Ubuntu. Also, William Moreno Reyes offers a few thoughts on his recent Fedora 21 Workstation install.

The top story of the last day or so is the release of ROSA Fresh R5. ROSA is a Russian distribution based on Mandriva and features a highly customized KDE desktop dubbed ROSA Desktop. Yesterday the newest release was announced on the ROSA Labs Website saying, "The ROSA company is happy to finally present ROSA Desktop Fresh R5, the number 5 in the "R" lineup of the free ROSA distros with the KDE desktop as a main graphical environment." Some of the updates include KDE 4.14.3, Firefox 34, and Linux 3.14.25, but see the announcement for the full list and download links.

Simon Phipps, President Open Source Initiative, today confessed, "I still long for a fully open source solution, but one of my fundamental requirements is that I don't take on a new full-time hobby to keep it working." See, Phipps is enjoying his Chromebook even though the system contains way too much proprietary code. He said he doesn't have any trouble installing Linux and even adding applications or doing his work, but "at some point in the life of the system, a problem arises that at best causes an inconvenience (like the sleep mode failing) and at worst leaves the system impossible to boot." Phipps' point is that just about everything in life is compromise, why should your operating system be any different.

In other tidbits, Michael Larabel looks back at the year in Ubuntu through a review of Phoronix.com's top 10 stories. William Moreno Reyes blogged his recent adventures with Fedora 21 Workstation. And for those that like the Mac OSX look but only the look, here's Macbuntu strikes again.

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Rackspace Joins Ranks of the Holiday Hacked

Friday 26th of December 2014 05:07:36 PM

Are hackers and malware purveyors targeting cloud and network service providers over the holidays? With the news of the Sony hack fresh in everyone's minds, unusual hacking reports are flowing in.

First, leaders of the Tor project said the network may have to contend with attempts to incapacitate it over the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers. And, befitting an online anonymity network, Tor project leaders did not name who the culprit is. Then cloud service provider Rackspace delivered an online post confirming that it has recovered from a DDoS (Denial of Serivce) attack that took down the company's DNS servers for 11 hours earlier this week.

A post from Rackspace on Dec. 22 noted the following:

"We are monitoring a connectivity issue impacting our DNS environment that began at approximately 01:10 CST December 22nd. "Our engineers have taken steps to mitigate impact from this issue, however some of our customers may continue to experience intermittent periods of latency, packet loss, or connectivity failures when attempting to reach rackspace.com or subdomains within rackspace.com."

Another post stated:

"Our engineers have fully resolved the impact to our DNS infrastructure. After blocking the majority of the inbound DDoS attack earlier in the morning some DNS servers that were sending both legitimate and DDoS traffic to Rackspace were blacklisted. Further investigation and alteration of our mitigation profiles resolved the last remaining issues at 12:15CST."

 Rackspace officials have not said a lot about who may have targeted the network, though. One customer wrote that it would be good to hear what the cause of the attack was. Some other customers were not pleased with the customer service that they received following the problem.

Of course, cloud service providers, like every other kind of network service provider can run into attacks. This holiday season, though, it seems like high-profile hacks are taking place more frequently than usual.

 

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Linux Best & Worst, Live Patchin', and Devuan Good

Thursday 25th of December 2014 04:45:38 AM

It was a fairly slow news day today in Linuxville. Nevertheless, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explains why 2014 "was the best of years, it was the worst of years." Gary Newell asks if the Debian-fork Devuan is a good idea and Serdar Yegulalp looks at the competing live kernel patchers and Fedora 21 is reviewed again, twice.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reviews the highs and lows in Linux of the year today. On the down side he lists Heartbleed, the systemd wars, and the decline of the Open Source license. The good includes all those Linux-based smartphones, Docker, cloud, and programmers' preference. After adding up all the pluses and minuses, Vaughan-Nichols says, "It's been a good year for Linux and open-source software. Next year will be even better."

Everyday Linux User Gary Newell today asked if forking Debian into Devuan was a good idea. He says if folks didn't like systemd, they should have chosen another distribution - even though the number of hold-outs is dwindling. He thinks it's wasted effort and compares trying to compile a complete clone-sans-systemd to "creating an exact clone of the United Kingdom and moving it slightly to the left." He thinks those who will lose out the most are those that don't care about systemd one way or the other.

InfoWorld.com's Serdar Yegulalp yesterday said that given the choice of Kgraft, Kpatch, or new hybrid of two that "a winner is in, and it amounts to all of the above." The new hybrid comes from a Red Hat developer and "not only does it fuse ideas from both Kgraft and Ksplice, it accepts patches used by either solution." But then again, Yegulalp said CoreOS or "delivering Linux as a service" is another trend in this area to watch.

And finally on this Christmas Eve 2014 we have two reviews of Fedora 21. Arindam Sen reviewed the GNOME version and said the live image was crashy and unable to provide screenshots, but the installation was quick and easy. The desktop was pretty but performance was off a bit. However, with an overall score of 9.2 out 10.0, Fedora 21 is recommended for those "fed up with Unity/Ubuntu/."

Dedoimedo.com today reviewed Fedora 21 KDE edition, having recently put Fedora 20 on his best distros of 2014 list. He didn't have issues with the KDE live image but reported installation issues and "bootloader nightmares." He found a buggy login manager, inoperative desktop effects, and a resource hog among other problems. Dedomedo asked in conclusion, "Why did Fedora 21 have to be so buggy?"

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Apprenda and Piston Partner on OpenStack PaaS Solutions

Wednesday 24th of December 2014 04:51:13 PM

Now that many enterprises are actually moving forward with OpenStack deployments, they are also wrestling with the complexities of putting applications and appropriate services on their cloud platforms. The last days of 2014 have brought news of some interesting choices becoming available for OpenStack deployments.

A few days ago, Google announced the SDK for its Cloud Dataflow tool that analyzes pipelines with "arbitrarily large datasets." It's billed as a MapReduce killer, and is part of a set of cloud services that Google is opening up. Meanwhile, Apprenda, a player in enterprise Platform as a Service (PaaS), announced that it has partnered with Piston Cloud Computing to deliver a solution that enables software development teams to build Java and .NET cloud applications and microservices faster in hybrid cloud environments.

Apprenda's enterprise PaaS solution is built to ease app and microservices development. In the new partnership, Piston provides infrastructure, while Apprenda provides a software layer for a policy-driven, hybrid cloud application platform. 

"Apprenda's integration with Piston allows developers to have policy based access to OpenStack APIs to quickly manage infrastructure," Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller said.

Additionally, Piston's web-scale infrastructure solution can allow Apprenda's customers to deploy a scalable, secure private cloud environment in a single day, according to Apprenda officials. "Once you have set up an Apprenda and Piston environment, developers can quickly and easily build new—or modernize existing—on-premise applications for SaaS-based consumption," the announcement states. "This flexibility allows for rapid updates to web software and scalable configurations that simplify the pre-cloud setup process."

"From day one, Piston set out to build a product that would eliminate the complexity associated with managing and deploying a traditional on-premise environment," Piston CEO Jim Morrisroe said.  "And together with Apprenda, we provide customers additional freedom from datacenter complexity by delivering a scalable turn-key IaaS and PaaS solution, out of the box."

 For much more on cloud computing resources and posts we've compiled at OStatic, see the interviews below:

CloudSwitch's Founder on What's in His Cloud Stack

CloudBees' Founder Discusses What's in His Stack

myClin Founder Discusses What's in His Stack

The Man Behind Swiss Federal Mapping Discusses His Stack

Lucas Carlson, Founder of PHP Fog, Discusses What's in His Stack

Standing Cloud's CEO: What in His Stack?

How the Cloud is Changing the Way Developers Work 

Finding the Right Cloud for Your Business

How the Cloud is Driving Application Integration Up the Stack

How the Cloud is Impacting Open VoIP Services

How the Cloud is Changing the Way Database Administrators Work

SugarCRM's Martin Schneider on the Open Cloud

5 Cost-Efficient, Flexible Resources for Cloud Computing

The Ideal Cloud Deployment: A Patchwork Quilt of Tools

 

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Linux Bloat, Linux Lite, and Devuan Update

Wednesday 24th of December 2014 04:28:02 AM

Today in Linux news, Jack Wallen says Linux ain't bloated. For those still wanting something light anyway, Jim Lynch reviews Linux Lite 2.2. The Devuan project has announced some updates and Tom Taulli looks at the pros and cons of Red Hat stock. PCWorld.com looks at North Korea's Red Star OS and TechinAsia.com discusses China's Ubuntu Kylin, which just got an alpha release. Robert Pogson says the year of Linux was "ages ago" and Brian Fagioli said today that "Windows and Linux are the same thing."

Jack Wallen today wrote that Linux isn't bloated despite what people think and write. He says that the system requirements of Linux compared to Windows proves it's not bloated. He said, "To say that Linux is bloated is like saying a LEGO set that comes with a million LEGOs is bloated." Most of us have way more hardware than we need for Linux, according to Wallen. But if you still think it's bloated, he suggests using a lighter desktop, very small distro, or roll your own.

Brian Fagioli today made the bold statement that "Windows and Linux are the same thing." He tries to explain, "They are both a means to run software, called programs. Sure, the types of programs available for each are not identical, but they could be. You see, if developers wanted to, they could write their software for both operating systems." Knowing most readers are calling him crazy he tries more explanation:

I use Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 17.1 a lot nowadays, to do things like write, surf the web, check Twitter and other web-based things. Sometimes I boot into Windows, sometimes Mint, but who cares which? I am just going to Chrome anyway. It's all the same thing.

Fagoili concludes by saying it really depends on who you are and what you do - but for him, Windows and Linux are the same thing.

The freedom loving Veteran Unix Admin collective posted an update yesterday saying, "Devuan has now its own Git repository and does not depends anymore on GitHub." Other infrastructure is coming along, with thanks given to Franco Lanza, and packages are being built sans systemd. A contributor is said to have contributed patches for ConsoleKit2, udisks2, policykit-1, and pcsc-lite as well. See the full newsletter for more.

In other news:

* Red Hat Stock: 3 Pros, 3 Cons

* Meet Red Star OS, the North Korean Linux distro that apes Apple's OS X

* China’s ‘home-made’ operating system isn’t home made at all, but maybe that’s OK

* The Year Of GNU/Linux On The Desktop Was Ages Ago. Now We’re Mopping Up.

* Linux Lite 2.2 Review

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Symantec Brings Security Savvy as OpenStack Gold Member

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014 04:24:13 PM

If you ask many enterprises considering doing an OpenStack deployment why they aren't pulling the trigger, lots of them will cite security concerns as the primary obstruction. As I covered recently, IDG Enterprise came out with results from a new survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers who report that they are very focused on cloud computing, including open cloud platforms such as OpenStack. The survey clearly showed that security and protection from disaster were among IT managers' chief concerns in implementing cloud deployments.

That's why it is notable that longtime security titan Symantec has been introduced as the latest Gold member of The OpenStack Foundation, which the foundation says means it “pledge[s] strategic alignment to the OpenStack mission.”

OpenStack Foundation Gold members provide a significant portion of the funding to achieve the foundation's mission of protecting, empowering and promoting the OpenStack community and software.  They also provide full-time contributions to the project.

Symantec has already been active in the OpenStack community as part of the OpenStack Security Group, and through code contributions to OpenStack Identity Service (Keystone) and Image Service (Glance). Additionally, the company has contributed to documentation in the areas of APIs, training and security, including the Operations Guide used by many operators today. Symantec has also actively shared knowledge in the community, leading sessions at the past three OpenStack Summits and in local meetups. 

And, as I reported previously, Symantec and HP have partnered on a Disaster Recovery as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution based on HP Helion OpenStack, as well as other cloud tools.

“OpenStack is the cornerstone of our internal cloud infrastructure, and is the blueprint for how Symantec is enabling a cultural shift around open-source engineering best practices,” said Stephen McHenry, senior vice president, Cloud Platform Engineering, Symantec. “We are excited to become Gold Members of the OpenStack Foundation and to continue sharing in its development.” 

“Major IT players continue to step up with substantial, strategic support for the OpenStack project,” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director, OpenStack Foundation. “Symantec offers our project a depth of security expertise that is especially valuable to the growing list of global enterprises who are using OpenStack in production to drive innovation through software development.”

The Gold Members of the OpenStack Foundation are Aptira, CCAT, Cisco, Dell, DreamHost, EMC, Ericsson, Hitachi, Huawei, Juniper, Mirantis, Nebula, NEC, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing, and Yahoo!

 

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Tor Project Leaders Warn of Possibly Imminent Network Attack

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014 04:10:20 PM

In the world of online anonymity, the Tor network is a silent king. Millions of users depend on Tor to keep their tracks untraceable online, and not just individual users. Banks and other institutions leverage the Tor network as a security layer. In the U.S. last year, when NSA snooping was in the news, usage of the Tor network doubled within a matter of days.

Now, though, leaders of the Tor project said the network may have to contend with attempts to incapacitate it over the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers. And, befitting an online anonymity network, Tor project leaders are not naming who the culprit is.

 "Arma" is an online handle often used by Tor project leader Roger Dingledine. In an online post, Arma writes:

"The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities. (Directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network.) We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use."

"We hope that this attack doesn't occur; Tor is used by many good people. If the network is affected, we will immediately inform users via this blog and our Twitter feed @TorProject, along with more information if we become aware of any related risks to Tor users."

Arma's post also makes clear that Tor's reach extends beyond just individual users:

"The Tor network provides a safe haven from surveillance, censorship, and computer network exploitation for millions of people who live in repressive regimes, including human rights activists in countries such as Iran, Syria, and Russia. Tor is also used by banks, diplomatic officials, members of law enforcement, bloggers, and many others. Attempts to disable the Tor network would interfere with all of these users, not just ones disliked by the attacker."

Interestingly, one respondent to the Arma post has served up this concept, which may very well be only speculation (and Arma clarifies that he doesn't know the commenter):

"Yes, my inside sources have informed me that the FBI is planning to take down parts of the Tor network as part of the investigation into the source of the Sony hack by North Korean sympathizers."

This will be a drama to watch over the next few days, which are holidays for many people. The Tor blog will keep everyone apprised of any attack, if one arrives.

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Mageia Beta Delayed, Christmas Quiz, and 7 Best Alternatives

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014 03:56:32 AM

Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced another delay in version 5 Beta 2. The Linux Voice is running a Linux quiz for Christmas and Gary Newell offers up his list of the seven best alternative Linux distributions of the year. The Register says 2015 will be the year of Linux - on mobile. Three reviews need to be highlighted and, finally today, Matt Hartley says everyone should switch to Ubuntu MATE.

Mageia developers are still struggling with UEFI integration and installer bugs, so they've decided to go on vacation delaying the beta yet again. In a post today, Claire Robinson said, "We still have some work left to complete to release a proper beta 2 that would drive us through to the final release." Managers have penciled in January 6, 2015 for release of the beta and, hopefully, then will know more on when to expect the final.

The Linux Voice is running a Christmas Linux quiz and this one is not for the lightweight. One question asks how many lines of code were in Linux 0.01 and another who signed off on the largest number of kernel patches in 2013. The questions don't get much easier after that, which include those on desktops, hardware, Raspberry Pi, Bash, and more. Go and test your Linux chops.

The Everyday Linux User Gary Newell today posted his favorite seven alternative Linux distributions for 2014. Alternatives are those other than mainstream such as Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Arch, Mint, Mageia, and Gentoo. His picks include Puppy Linux, SparkyLinux, and Simplicity, but see his full post for all the winners.

In other Linux news:

* Trying on Fedora 21

* CentOS 7: The perfect gift for the Linux do-it-yourselfer

* Why You Should Switch to Ubuntu MATE Edition

* Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Review

* YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

* The 5 Biggest Linux Stories of 2014

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Databricks Delivers Online Courses Focused on Apache Spark

Monday 22nd of December 2014 03:58:57 PM

Databricks, a company founded by the creators of the popular open-source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, is a firm that you may not have heard much from in 2014, but you will throughout 2015. The company has healthy venture funding of $47 million, and  Andreesen Horowitz is one of the investors, with Ben Horowitz on board.

Folks in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source processing engine for Hadoop data built for speed and advanced analytics. It was developed in 2009 in UC Berkeley’s AMPLab, and open sourced in 2010. Now, Databricks has announced the launch of two massive open online courses (MOOCs) focused on distributed analytics using Spark. The courses will be made available in Spring 2015 via BerkeleyX, in collaboration with the MOOC provider and online learning platform, edX.

The two five-week courses are designed to augment Databricks' efforts to grow the Spark community. They provide students with hands-on experience with Spark's analytics and real-time capabilities to deliver insights into data. The launch of these courses comes on the heels of a series of Apache Spark training offerings from Databricks, including the Spark Certification Program for System Integrators and the Spark Certification Program for Developers.

"Spark is the most active open source project in the Big Data ecosystem, and continues to be deployed by enterprises across multiple verticals due to its speed and efficiency, ease of use, and single unified system for the complete data analytics pipelines," said Matei Zaharia, co-founder and CTO at Databricks. "As we continue to foster and grow the Spark community to meet that demand, we are excited to launch these two MOOCs, making hands-on, practical courses available to a community that will advance Spark's adoption with greater ease."

Both courses will use the Python interface to Spark, making them widely accessible to data scientists and developers. The courses include:

  • Introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark - Students will learn how to apply data science techniques using parallel programming in Spark to explore big (and small) data. The course will identify the most common responsibilities of data scientists and teach students how to use Spark to deliver against these expectations.

    When: February 23 - March 27, 2015
    Professor: Anthony D. Joseph, Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley and Technical Advisor at Databricks

  • Scalable Machine Learning - The course will present the underlying statistical and algorithmic principles required to develop scalable machine learning pipelines and provide hands-on experience using Apache Spark. Students will use Spark to implement scalable algorithms for fundamental statistical models while tackling key real-world problems from various domains.

    When: April 14 - May 18, 2015
    Professor: Ameet Talwalkar, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UCLA and Technical Advisor at Databricks

Both courses are available to the public for free and are now open for enrollment on the edX website. edX Verified Certificates are also available for a fee. For more information, visit: https://www.edx.org/

Cloudera is also rallying behind Spark. The company has also announced Apache Spark training "to prepare developers and software engineers to build complete, unified applications that combine batch, streaming, and interactive analytics."

Spark's ability to work with unstructured data is particularly notable. Many enterprises haven't been able to fully structure their data sources and need tools flexible enough to work with unstructured archives.

"Broadly embraced by the open source community, Big Data vendors, and data-intensive enterprises for its stream processing capabilities and its support for complex, iterative algorithms, Spark offers performance gains that enable applications to run on the data in a Hadoop cluster at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional MapReduce programs," Cloudera claims.

Spotify leverages Spark, as do a number of enterprises. In 2015, Spark promises to become very big news on the Big Data front, and Databricks and Cloudera are likely to be among the top players focused on equipping enterprises with the knowledge and tools to leverage the platform.

 

 

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VMware Raises its Ante in the OpenStack Race, with Mirantis

Monday 22nd of December 2014 03:40:29 PM

Marking the clearest evidence yet that OpenStack player Mirantis is working more closely with VMware on open cloud initiatives, the companies have published a Mirantis OpenStack reference architecture for VMware vCenter Server and VMware NSX. Now available for download, Mirantis OpenStack allows customers to deploy and control workloads that run on VMware vSphere in their VMware vCenter Server clusters within Mirantis OpenStack.

Along with its Cloud Foundry efforts and associated foundation, VMware's latest news shows that it is moving away from its proprietary-only roots and embracing openness.

"Mirantis OpenStack is the most robust OpenStack distribution on the market, and is used by some of the top brands in the world, including Symantec, Ericsson, and Expedia," said Boris Renski, Mirantis CMO, in a statement. "Implementing OpenStack on VMware infrastructure gives customers the agility and scalability of OpenStack, combined with VMware's best of breed components across compute, networking, management and storage."

"Many enterprises are evolving their infrastructure towards a cloud model supported by a software-defined data center approach, and VMware is committed to enabling choice as part of this journey," added Dan Wendlandt, director of product management at VMware. "Collaboration with Mirantis on this reference architecture will provide our mutual customers with greater confidence in deploying Mirantis OpenStack with enterprise-grade VMware infrastructure."

Mirantis has Red Hat-like model for providing 24-hour support for its OpenStack customers.

To download the Mirantis and VMware reference architecture, visit: https://www.mirantis.com/partners/mirantis-technology-partners/mirantis-partners-vmware/

VMware recently launched an independent foundation supporting its Cloud Foundry platform. The Cloud Foundry Foundation is focused on VMware's own Platform-as-a-Service offering of the same name, but will concentrate on fostering an ecosystem surrounding Cloud Foundry. In that game, as Red Hat has shown with its efforts surrounding OpenStack, partnerships will be everything.  Clearly, VMware is cozying up to Mirantis as a partner in the OpenStack race.

As Matt Asay notes, VMware has radically changed its stance toward the open cloud:

"If any one vendor served as the proprietary bogeyman to motivate the creation of an open source private cloud stack, it’s VMware. For more than a decade, the virtualization giant owned the core infrastructure of Global 2000 data centers, only to have the industry fight back in 2010 with the non-profit OpenStack Foundation. As the industry rallied around open-source OpenStack, proprietary VMware looked to be reeling."

 

 

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Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha, Tanglu 2 Review, and More Red Hat

Saturday 20th of December 2014 04:11:12 AM

Just when you thought you couldn't get anymore Red Hat news, it once again was the talk of the techtown. An interest blog post from Hanno Böck today says quit using NTP if you care about security. Jack M. Germain discusses the work of Open Invention Network and Jamie Watson reviews Debian-derivative Tanglu 2. Dedoimedio.com shares their best distro of 2014 and Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 was released.

Red Hat continued to dominate the headlines today after yesterday's encouraging financial report. Red Hat stock hit a 52-week high today of $70.11 and is currently trading after hours at $68.09. TheStreet has compiled a list of the latest ratings from analysts all approaching or hitting the $80 price target. Investors.com has a few more in the same neighborhood.

CNBC asked CEO Jim Whitehurst does Red Hat being Open Source make it more vulnerable to cyberattacks (as opposed to proprietary I suppose). Whitehurst answered, "I think open source itself is proving to be very safe. The simple analogy here is; are you safer in a crowded shopping mall or down a dark alley? Having the wisdom of the crowd is actually a powerful thing." Elsewhere, ComputerWeekly.com is running a piece on Red Hat's new Sky News gig and long-time Red Hat and Fedora developer Dave Jones is "moving on."

Larry Cafiero offered up his Linux predictions for 2015 today, but it sounded more like he was thinking April Fool's Day. One prediction has the Guardians Opposing systemD cracking into and blackmailing the studio responsible for "The Lennart Poettering Story." Another has Linux Mint going upscales and rebranding itself as "Linux Merlot," but then non-drinkers will get mad and fork it into "Linux Thin Mint." Perhaps the best one has Sugar on a Stick expanding into new areas like "Sugar on Whole Wheat with a side of chips." There's lots more, so be sure to check that out.

Dedoimedio.com said Ubuntu 14.04 was the best distro of the year and Fedora 20 came in fifth. Jamie Watson blogged today Tanglu 2.0 doesn't play well with UEFI but otherwise is an interesting alternative Debian Testing derivative. The Register covered the latest court decision in SCO versus IBM that arrived Monday.

In other news:

* Don't update NTP – stop using it

* The Open Invention Network Defending the Free Linux World

* Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 Releases Now Ready for Download

* The Document Foundation Announces LibreOffice 4.3.5

* Jim Zemlin: 2014 The Open Source Tipping Point

* Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

* Free software GNU/Linux laptop in development

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Google Open Sources "Cloud Dataflow" SDK, Built to Trump MapReduce

Friday 19th of December 2014 03:56:15 PM

All the way back in June, at Google I/O, Google pronounced that the venerable MapReduce data crunching scheme was "tired" and launched a service dubbed Cloud Dataflow that analyzes pipelines with "arbitrarily large datasets." Dataflow was a much talked about star in a set of cloud services discussed at Google I/O and Google officials even confirmed that Dataflow had replaced MapReduce at Google. MapReduce, of course, is built for processing and generating large data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm on clusters.

Now, in an effort to spur use of and development of Dataflow, Google has released a software-development kit (SDK) in Java for using Cloud Dataflow under an open-source license.

According to the announcement of the SDK:

"Today, we are announcing availability of the Cloud Dataflow SDK as open-source. This will make it easier for developers to integrate with our managed service while also forming the basis for porting Cloud Dataflow to other languages and execution environments. We’ve learned a lot about how to turn data into intelligence as the original FlumeJava programming models (basis for Cloud Dataflow) have continued to evolve internally at Google."

"Interested in adding to the Cloud Dataflow conversation? You can:Apply for access to Cloud Dataflow's managed service, Learn more through the documentation, and take part in the conversation at StackOverflow [tag: google-cloud-dataflow]"

"As Storm, Spark, and the greater Hadoop family continue to mature - developers are challenged with bifurcated programming models. We hope to relieve developer fatigue and enable choice in deployment platforms by supporting execution and service portability...We are currently building a Python 3 version of the SDK, to give developers even more choice and to make dataflow accessible to more applications."

 

As VentureBeat notes:

"The open-source move could result in more developers coming around to the approach Google has thrown its weight behind: setting up pipelines to process data as it comes in, instead of or in addition to doing batch processing jobs that take a while. What’s more, the open-sourcing strategy could increase the usage of Cloud Dataflow on the Google Cloud Platform, which competes with other big and growing public clouds, like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure."

Reusable programming patterns have become key to developers. According to Google, the Cloud Dataflow SDK introduces a unified model for batch and stream data processing. It pursues temporal based aggregations providing a rich set of windowing primitives allowing the same computations to be used with batch or stream based data sources.

You can find out much more about the new SDK here.

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Snappy Ubuntu Core Arrives for Amazon Web Services

Friday 19th of December 2014 03:38:33 PM

It looks like the Ubuntu team made a very good decision in creating the new, stripped down and fast performing “snappy” version of Ubuntu Core. This minimalist take on Ubuntu is targeted at those doing cloud deployments, and is already integrated with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and Google Cloud. Snappy is optimized for Docker deployments and platform-as-a-service environments, as I covered here.

The team at Canonical has even called Snappy the “biggest revolution in Ubuntu since we launched our mobile initiative.” Now, The Ubuntu team has announced that snappy Ubuntu Core is available on the 800-pound gorilla on the cloud: Amazon Web Services (AWS). It's apparently designed for extremely fast deployment on Amazon EC2.

You can watch a video about Snappy Core here, and according to Canonical:

"Ubuntu Core is the new 'snappy' rendition of the popular cloud OS, with a very lean and secure base image that features transactional updates for both system and applications. Snappy Ubuntu is perfect for container-oriented deployments using technologies like Docker. Customers can try a beta version of snappy Ubuntu Core today on Amazon EC2 by launching an instance of Ubuntu Core. Here are the instructions."

Robbie Williamson, VP Cloud Engineering at Canonical said: “The snappy Ubuntu Core approach is faster, more reliable, and provides stronger security guarantees for apps and users. We’re excited to make Ubuntu Core with snappy packages available on Amazon EC2 and Amazon EC2 Container Service.  Ubuntu Core on Amazon EC2 Container Service is a fast way to dive into containers on Ubuntu at scale.”

The beta of Ubuntu Core will run throughout the current Ubuntu development cycle.

According to another missive from Canonical:

"Ubuntu Core is a new rendition of Ubuntu for the cloud with transactional updates. Ubuntu Core is a minimal server image with the same libraries as today’s Ubuntu, but applications are provided through a simpler mechanism. The snappy approach is faster, more reliable, and lets us provide stronger security guarantees for apps and users — that’s why we call them 'snappy' applications."

"Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core itself can be upgraded atomically and rolled back if needed — a bulletproof approach to systems management that is perfect for container deployments. It’s called transactional or image-based systems management, and we’re delighted to make it available on every Ubuntu certified cloud."

And, as Computerworld noted:

"The Google Compute Engine (GCE) joins Microsoft Azure in supporting the fresh distribution [of Snappy]...Google has been an ardent supporter of Docker and container-based virtualization itself...In June, the company released as open source its software for managing containers, called Kubernetes. The design of Ubuntu Core is similar to another Linux distribution, CoreOS, first released a year ago."

 Indeed, we've covered Kubernetes and Google's focus on it in depth. Some very big contributors are committed to the Kubernetes project, including IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere, and SaltStack.

The Snappy Core version of Ubuntu is especially designed to make common tasks easy for cloud administrators. It's a lock to gain a lot of users on AWS, the Azure platform and Google's cloud platform. Also, more than 50 percent of OpenStack deployments are built on Ubuntu, and lots of these deployments will build on Snappy Core.

 

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Red Hat, Red Hat, and More Red Hat

Friday 19th of December 2014 04:18:01 AM

No doubt Red Hat dominated the headlines today with their 3Q financial report and subsequent quotes. They're also having to say goodbye to CFO Charlie Peters as their stock jumped 10 percent in after hours trading following the report. In other Red Hat news, a security bulletin from the Open Source software company said that latest security scare "Grinch" isn't a bug, it's a feature.

The top story today must be the Red Hat third quarter financial report that shows Red Hat continues its winning streak. The news was carried by just about every outlet I monitor. Their report today said that total revenue for the year is up 15% as was the subscription revenue, beating Wall Street estimates and their own internals. Shares of Red Hat stock jumped 10% at the news in after hours trading and is currently holding fairly steady.

With the good comes the bad as 10-year veteran Red Hat Chief Financial Officer Charlie Peters announces his retirement Wednesday on the same earnings call. He's planning on spending more time with six grandchildren when his retirement takes effect sometime in the next year. He was quoted as saying he'd stay around as long as it's needed to find his replacement.

In other news, Red Hat today addressed the latest security scare first reported Monday saying the utilities that allow the wheel group sudo root access is a feature not a security bug and protected by basic safeguards. "Red Hat does not consider this to be a security issue or even a bug. This is the expected behavior of the PackageKit console client."

And finally today, Barrons.com spoke with Jim Whitehurst after the earnings calls about Red Hat's success and their plans for maintaining their world dominance. Whitehurst said, "Open source has truly gone mainstream. We are at a point now where no one will get fired for using open source. In fact, some people might be worried they’d get fired if they don’t use it. It’s that shift in perception that open source is where innovation is happening."

In related news, The Register said in a review Linux fans will love Fedora 21 if they can get it installed.

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On Heels of IPO, Hortonworks Expands Certification Program

Thursday 18th of December 2014 04:07:38 PM

Last week was a momentous one for Hortonworks, which focuses on the Hadoop Big Data platform. The company had a successful IPO, driving home how focused many enterprises are on yielding more useful insights from their troves of data than standard data mining tools can provide.

Forrester Research wrote last month that Hadoop is now "a must have for large organizations." And, indeed, large companies ranging from Yahoo to eBay make extensive use of the platform. Now, Hortonworks has extended its technology partner program with the addition of three new certifications it offers.

The new enterprise components of the certification program, called HDP Operations Ready, HDP Security Ready and HDP Governance Ready, are targeted to enable organizations to adopt a modern data architecture with the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), supported by key enterprise Hadoop capabilities required of an enterprise data platform.

According to Hortonworks, key aspects of the new certification program components, relative to the HDP platform, include:

 HDP Operations Ready: Delivers assurance to manage and run applications on HDP from an operational perspective.  Specifically, integrates with Apache Ambari, using Ambari as a client to an enterprise management system, integrating Ambari-managed Hadoop components via Ambari Stacks, or providing tailored user tools with Ambari Views.

HDP Security Ready: Delivers tested and validated integration with security-related components of the platform.  Beyond the ability to work in a Kerberos-enabled cluster, it is also designed to work with the Apache Knox gateway and Apache Ranger for comprehensive security integration and centralized management.

HDP Governance Ready: Provides assurance that data is integrated into the platform via automated and managed data pipelines as described and facilitated by the Apache Falcon data workflow engine.

"By offering one of the most comprehensive certification programs in the market, our technology partners are better enabled to help drive the modernization of enterprise data architectures," said Tim Hall, vice president of product management at Hortonworks, in a statement. "Our program gives vendors extremely valuable guidance and integration tools for the ecosystem and allows customers to be assured of an ecosystem that integrates well."

"Selecting certified technologies is important to us because it ensures interoperability with next-gen data architectures," added Mike Peterson, vice president, Platforms and Data Architecture at Neustar. "We support the Hortonworks Certified Technology Program and are pleased that key enterprise requirements we look for such as operations, security and governance have been added to the program." 

Hortonworks claims that hundreds of vendors are now involved with its certification program. The company also offers extensive training on Hadoop-centric topics, as we covered here

 In enterprises as well as small businesses, the Big Data trend--sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information--is on the rise. Hadoop has become an open source star in this arena, and Dice.com and other employment-focused agencies report that there is strong demand for people with skills using Hadoop.

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Nebula Builds on Cosmos for Enterprise OpenStack Deployments

Thursday 18th of December 2014 03:51:01 PM

Nebula, which bills itself as an enterprise private cloud company and is focused on OpenStack, is not exactly just another player in the OpenStack ecosystem. The company is funded by noted backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Comcast Ventures, but even more notably, the company was founded by Chris Kemp, who helped launch OpenStack back when he was NASA's CTO.

as founded by Chris Kemp, who helped get OpenStack started while he was NASA's CTO. - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/cloud/nebula-expands-cosmos-for-enterprise-openstack-deployments.html#sthash.wVEMBad6.dpuf

 The company has just announced new new additions to Nebula Cosmos, which is enterprise software that focuses on fast deployment, management, and monitoring of OpenStack private clouds.

According to the company:

"Currently, enterprises are experiencing a tectonic shift in cloud computing where they are moving the majority of their cloud investments from infrastructure towards applications. Enterprises want the cost benefits of public cloud offerings, but the control and scalability of a private cloud. For enterprises to achieve 'Google cost' without 'Google scale,' optimized software is key. By decoupling cost from scale, enterprises can focus on application innovation versus infrastructure integration of IT resources."

"Now that OpenStack has established itself and is showing signs of readiness for enterprise production use, the long wait as enterprises and service providers move from the sidelines into true implementations can take place in earnest," wrote James Staten, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Inc., in a November 2014 blog post titled, As OpenStack Stabilizes Big Questions Remain for the Foundation.

At the end of last year, we predicted that there would be a major shift in many enterprises from evaluating OpenStack to deploying it, and that is now taking place. 

Nebula is an integrated system that "enables enterprises to deploy a private cloud infrastructure without utilizing extensive on-site IT resources, by seamlessly integrating with existing enterprise architecture and workflow," according to the company. The heart of the solution is the Nebula Cloud Controller and Cosmos, a curated OpenStack-based system used to orchestrate compute, storage, and network services.

"Our mission is to create a turnkey IT solution that transforms enterprises from a high cost legacy environment to a strategic private cloud environmentat all levels of scale," said Tina Nolte, vice president of products at Nebula, in a statement. "To do this we've built a product that allows for rapid deployment of OpenStack and seamless integration with existing identity, storage, and network configurations. With the latest release of Cosmos, we're empowering enterprise customers to leverage OpenStack private clouds and utilize existing enterprise workflows and architectures without added resources and cost." 

You can find out more about Nebula and its new offerings here

 

 

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Red Hot Red Hat, Mageia Gives Back, and Linux Awards

Thursday 18th of December 2014 04:21:13 AM

Today in Linux news, the Mint project announced the release candidate for 17.1 KDE. In other news the Mageia project donates 250€ to GCompris and TheStreet says Red Hat stock is poised to become "red hot" in 2015. LinuxQuestions.org announced their 2014 Members Choice Awards today and Bruce Byfield has some tips for KDE users.

Clement Lefebvre today announced the release of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” KDE RC. Mint 17.1 will feature KDE 4.14 and several component and system improvements. The team also released the RC for their Xfce version as well. No clues were given as to when the finals might be ready.

The Mageia team today posted of their Christmas gift to GCompris of 250€. They said they've grown enough that they're able to give back some. "GCompris is a software suite of educational activities for children from 2 to 10. Many children first see Linux through GCompris." Mageia is hoping to start a yearly tradition with this small step this holiday season. The guys chose GCompris themselves this year but next year will be asking users which projects they think are worthy.

Every year Linuxquestions.org holds their annual Members Choice Awards. Today Jeremy Garcia announced this year's commencement. Among the 32 categories are Desktop Distribution of the Year, Office Suite of the Year, and Desktop Environment of the Year. Members must be logged in to play.

In other news:

* How Red Hat Is on the Path to Become Red Hot in 2015 -- and Beyond

* Enhancing Your Work Habits with KDE

* SuperX 3.0 Beta Released

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In the Market for a Holiday Chromebook? Here's What to Know

Wednesday 17th of December 2014 04:53:46 PM

Are you in the market for a Chromebook this holiday season? A lot of holiday shoppers are, as Google's Chrome OS has moved from a slightly questionable cloud-centric platform to one that can be taken seriously. As a matter of fact, Chromebooks were among the top sellers among low-cost laptops last holiday season.

Consumer Reports is out with a new evalutation of the best low-cost laptops and gives the nod to some Chromebooks. Meanwhile, some applications you may have thought you'd never use on Chrome OS are going to be available. Here are details.

The $175 Acer CB3-111-C8UB Chromebook is rated as a Consumer Reports Best Buy. It's very light and Acer claims it gets over 10 hours of battery life, although you'll get less if you stream video and audio extensively. Certainly, the price is right for the Acer, and Acer has experience producing Chromebooks, too.

The the Acer C720-3871 is actually Consumer Reports favorite Chromebook, though, and it sells for $350, although you can get it cheaper online. It has state-of-the-art processing power and a bit more muscle than the lower end Acer.

Meanwhile, Photoshop--an applications you may have thought would never run on cloud-focused Chrome OS--is going to be available for Chromebooks. Google and Adobe have announced that Adobe's entire Creative Cloud software suite, including Photoshop, will soon be available for Chromebooks. And, Google and Adobe are showing their Streaming Photoshop project, and making it available in the educational market. 

How will the streaming version work? It is designed to run straight from the cloud to a Chromebook. It updates itself and will be fully integrated with Google Drive, so there will be no need to download and re-upload files. You just save your art directly from Photoshop to the cloud. For IT administrators, it will ease some headaches. For example, installation won't be required.

If you haven't looked into Chromebooks, or if you previously wrote them off due to the immaturity of Chrome OS, look again. Many holiday gift receivers would be happy to get a Chromebook, and they are much more flexible now than before. And, Google is even offering incentives with Chromebooks, including, in many cases, free storage in the cloud and other perks.

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Snappy Ubuntu Arrives for Google Cloud, Optimizes Docker Use

Wednesday 17th of December 2014 04:40:08 PM

As we've reported before, more than half of OpenStack deployments are being built on Ubuntu, according to the OpenStack Foundation, which backs the claim up with survey results. Ubuntu's popularity with the cloud crowd is not lost on Canonical, which recently launched a new “snappy” version of Ubuntu Core. This minimalist take on Ubuntu can especially serve Docker deployments and platform-as-a-service environments.

Now, in a smart move, Google has adopted the Snappy core for use with Google Cloud. It's a streamlined version of the Canonical Ubuntu Linux distribution tuned  to run Docker and other containers along with Google Cloud. It provides the essential components for running Linux task in the cloud, but removes some of the bulk of the full version of Ubuntu.

According to Canonical:

"Ubuntu Core is a new rendition of Ubuntu for the cloud with transactional updates. Ubuntu Core is a minimal server image with the same libraries as today’s Ubuntu, but applications are provided through a simpler mechanism. The snappy approach is faster, more reliable, and lets us provide stronger security guarantees for apps and users — that’s why we call them 'snappy' applications."

"Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core itself can be upgraded atomically and rolled back if needed — a bulletproof approach to systems management that is perfect for container deployments. It’s called transactional or image-based systems management, and we’re delighted to make it available on every Ubuntu certified cloud."

The team at Canonical is even going so far as to call Snappy the “biggest revolution in Ubuntu since we launched our mobile initiative.”

As Computerworld notes:

"The Google Compute Engine (GCE) joins Microsoft Azure in supporting the fresh distribution [of Snappy]...Google has been an ardent supporter of Docker and container-based virtualization itself...In June, the company released as open source its software for managing containers, called Kubernetes. The design of Ubuntu Core is similar to another Linux distribution, CoreOS, first released a year ago."

 Indeed, we've covered Kubernetes and Google's focus on it in depth. Some very big contributors are committed to the Kubernetes project, including IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere, and SaltStack.

The Snappy version of Ubuntu is especially designed to make common tasks easy for cloud administrators. It's a shoe-in to gain a lot of users on both the Azure platform and Google's cloud platform.

 

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Reviewing 2014, Penguin Porn, and Dropping Distros

Wednesday 17th of December 2014 04:25:38 AM

Today in Linux news are several reviews of the events of 2014. Elsewhere Linux.conf.au lost its hashtag to an adult entertainment awards and another Linux security flaw is making the news rounds. KDE 3-clone Trinity desktop saw a new release and Bruce Byfield asks why the number of Linux distributions are declining.

The most interesting story today comes from Bruce Byfield saying, "The number of Linux distributions is declining. However, exactly why the decline is taking place and how much it matters remains unclear." He takes a stab at explaining it though beginning with the decline in Linux usage as a hobby. Less folks are downloading, installing, and hacking (probably lost to the smartphone craze). Most of those that do are aging and just don't have the time to hack due to work and family. Byfield also thinks that because most distros are so similar to each other these days perhaps folks are sticking to the most popular and independents are losing heart. Byfield isn't sure this trend is anything to worry about but suggests keeping an eye on it.

More folks are looking back at the year that was beginning with opensource.com's top 10 Open Source projects. Docker tops the list because everyone has been talking of it, it even made mention in one of mine once. Of course OpenStack made the cut too as well as OwnCloud and Hadoop. Even CMS favorite Drupal earned a mention.

ComputerWorld.com is running a "year in quotes" and two touch our community. They quote Jim Zemlin from the Linux Foundation on the success of Linux saying, "It is a frothy, hot market." IDG writer Nancy Weil also included "Theo de Raadt, founder of the OpenBSD project, on the waning enthusiasm for critical open-source projects in the aftermath of the Heartbleed flaw."

Linux Voice is asking what were visitors' top highlight of the year and most naturally said the launch of Linux Voice. Behind that were the systemd issue with resulting Debian fork, the commenter's favorite app or distro release, and Heartbleed.

Not Linux related, but Google said their top searches in 2014 included Robin Williams and associated topics like "depression," The World Cup, and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols looks at the declining use of the GPL in 2014 and Zacks.com asks if Red Hat can keep up their winning steak through 2015.

Another day, another security scare, this time it's the Grinch that tried to steal our Linux Christmas. Several outlets are carrying the news that Linux servers are yet again in peril and are urging admins who are dumb enough to allow sudo on their critical servers to eradicate it.

In other news:

* Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

* Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.0 Released!

* 6 Ideal Last Minute Linux Xmas Gift Ideas

* Fedora 21 Review

* FBI Used the Web’s Favorite Hacking Tool to Unmask Tor Users

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Linux Mint Debian Might Not Adopt Systemd

The Linux Mint team has ended 2014 in force with a great Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" release, for both the MATE and Cinnamon desktop, but it looks like the Debian edition is also going to be interesting. Read more

Latest SteamOS Update Brings New NVIDIA and AMD Drivers

SteamOS, a Linux distribution based on Debian and developed by Valve that aims to provide the best gaming experience, has been updated by its makers and a new Beta version has been released. Read more