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Updated: 6 hours 11 min ago

Inkscape: Go from Beginner to Expert for Free

Friday 28th of November 2014 04:13:35 PM

In the world of open source graphics tools, GIMP gets a great deal of attention, and there are many free online resources available for it, but if you're looking for a free drawing and illustration tool that can compete with Adobe Illustrator and is increasingly used by web designers for effects, logos and still graphics, give Inkscape a try. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and is well-known as a powerful and flexible drawing and vector editing application. In this post, you'll find our newly updated collection of outstanding free resources for getting familiar with Inkscape's capabilities, and they'll help you get going quickly with the application.

Bethany Hiitola is the author of a popular book on Inkscape that is used by many web designers, and she has a very useful tutorial on the progam posted at the Packt site. It covers how vector graphics program works, walks through the many essential tools that Inkscape provides and more. It's a good first start if you're new to the program.

What can I do with Inkscape? Inkscape's site presents many galleries and screenshots showing what kinds of tasks it is good at. Here, you'll find examples of how it is used for web design, creating icons for applications, creating logos, adorning CD booklets, and more. The Inkscape Tutorials blog also has an outstanding collection of videos and posts illustrating what the program is capable of.

 

 

 

Getting up to speed. You can find several types of documentation for Inkscape here, including a free online book with individual chapters posted as links, here. There is also a keyboard and mouse reference here, and an Inkscape User Manual in progress here.

Seeing it in action. As is true for Photoshop and many other graphics tools, YouTube is rich with instructional videos on using Inkscape, including many videos that present the steps for executing targeted tasks. Here is one that shows how to create a slick logo, and here is a whole collection of beginner's videos.

Our recommended guide. While the manuals referenced just above are more exhaustive, FLOSSManuals has by far the most accessible introduction to Inkscape's main features, found here. It begins with an introduction of the application's capabilities and moves on to individual discussions of how all the major tools in Inkscape work. You'll find links to the discussions of the tools running down the left rail of the online guide, and there are annotated screenshots to learn from, like the one seen below. Beginners can also get a lot out of this basic tutorial.

Inkscape is very useful, good for eye-catching graphics, and a lot of fun. If you haven't done so already, give it a try.


 

 

 

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5 Distros, 11 Tools, 800 Games, and 32 Bits

Thursday 27th of November 2014 04:37:51 AM

Today in Linux news, Swapnil Bhartiya features five distributions you might like. OMG!Ubuntu! found eleven utilities to beef up your Ubuntu experience and Steam now has over 800 Linux games. Larry Cafiero says he's "a 32-bit guy in a 64-bit world" and Docker users are urged to upgrade due to new found vulnerability.

Swapnil Bhartiya says with so much choice new Linux explorers might need a bit of guidance. He says Ubuntu should be a new user's first choice because it's "the most user friendly." He follows that with Mint and Kubuntu. openSUSE and Arch round out his selections, but he goes through the pros and cons of each, so check that out.

Speaking of Ubuntu, OMG!Ubuntu! says these eleven utilities will "supercharge your Ubuntu experience." These include tools like Unity Tweak Tool, Caffeine, Disk Space Visualizer, and BleachBit. So don't miss that if you run Ubuntu.

In other Linux related tidbits, Mageia folks reminded users of version 3 end of life, so upgrade that. Larry Cafiero thinks it's a mistake for all distributions to be abandoning their 32-bit architecture support. BoingBoing featured more hacker Barbie cartoons in the Computer Barbie style. Docker urges users to upgrade to version 1.3.2 due to major vulnerability.  Dietrich Schmitz says Fedora is the safest OS in the whole wide World. And Softpedia.com is covering another milestone at Steam, they now offer over 800 Linux games.

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Odoo, Open ERP and CRM, Continues to Build Out its Platform

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 03:34:52 PM

Each year when InfoWorld comes out with its Bossie awards, it honors the best open source applications. This year, one of the honorees was Odoo. As the publication's editors noted: "Formerly OpenERP, this project recently changed its name to Odoo. Newly released, version 8 brings many improvements, including a website builder, e-commerce, online events, Google Calendar sync and alerts, new warehouse management, a new reporting engine, better BI and data analysis, POS (point of sale) hardware integration, a new API, live chat/email marketing, and social media integration. The improvements are ambitious."

Indeed, Odoo deserves more attention from many businesses. Here is how it may work for you.

Odoo bills itself as an open source ERP and CRM platform. You can watch a video of it in action here

The platform is built on Python and web-based, including a PostgreSQL database. It also has a very robust ecosystem of third-party add-ons that you can use to extend the platform. You can add point-of-sale applications, financial applications and much more.

Odoo also has twin free and commercial arms. Two users can use the platform for free and evaluate it. Businesses that want support can opt for a commercial offering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also online training for Odoo available here, as well a complete library of documentation and even instructional YouTube videos.

Odoo was originally known as OpenERP until May of 2014. It was rebranded because version 8 of the software included apps including a website builder, e-commerce applications, and business intelligence modules. Essentially, it expaned beyond ERP and CRM.

It's worth watching some of the introductory videos and looking through the documentation. Every year, this platform gets a little more robust. 

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New Search Options Coming Soon in Firefox

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 03:07:08 PM

As covered here a few days ago, there is momentous news on the Mozilla front, as the company has moved away from its longstanding deal with Google, which has historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. Instead, Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a "strategic five-year partnership" agreement which will make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox.

As part of its partnership with Yahoo, Mozilla and Yahoo engineers are going to overhaul various aspects of search in the Firefox browser. And now, Mozilla is showing off the upcoming search interface for Firefox, which has an improved search suggestion scheme and a new "array of buttons" below search suggestions in the search box. Here is a look.

According to a Mozilla UX blog post:

 "When typing a search term into the Firefox search box, you will notice two new things: first, we improved the design of search suggestions to make them look a lot more organized. And second: there is an array of buttons below your search suggestions. These buttons allow you to find your search term directly on a specific site quickly and easily."

The screeshot here shows the search suggestions and array of buttons in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the following shot, you can see what kinds of choice Mozilla is going to offer in terms of search engines that users can select as defaults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mozilla's post adds the following:

"But you shouldn’t be limited to any default set we provide. That’s why adding additional search engines is easy. Are you a web developer? Then how about adding MDN and Stack Overflow to your one click searches? Writing a paper and looking up synonyms every day? Add a dictionary site! Just click on the magnifying glass in the search field while on the site and select the search engine you’d like to add."

The new search interface for Firefox looks good and Mozilla does appear to be pursuing a strategy that emphasizes choices for users. You'll see all of this arrive in Firefox very soon.

 

 

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Fedora Good, Bad, & Ugly and Debian's Rise

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 05:59:39 AM

Pádraig Brady today offered up his assessment of Fedora 21 in comparison to Fedora 16 from which he upgraded. Bruce Byfield is back with a look at the "rise of Debian technology" and Softpedia is reporting that CentOS was used to make the black hole in hit movie Interstellar. Gunnar Hellekson refutes the assertions in a recent GCN article declaring Open Source poorly designed and, finally today, Linux powered submersible says polar caps thicker than estimated.

Debian is the basis for 132 other distributions listed on Distrowatch.com, according to Bruce Byfield, more than any other top tier distro. Byfield says Debian has become indispensable because it is perfectly suited for its new role as base for other distributions. He says its 50,000 packages help cement this position. Another factor for Byfield is the Debian project's independence from Free Software Foundation. But ultimately, Byfield thinks it's Debian package management that set it apart from the crowd.

Pádraig Brady just replaced his Fedora 16 system with a new Fedora 21 install and today posted his review. He says the good includes things like better icons, faster package management, "cleaner" bootup, and all around better performance. Some of the bad came in the installer itself, some individual applications, and missing desktop options. He added the default font is very ugly, but see Brady's full post for lots more.

The Westside Story today ran a piece saying a Linux powered submersible recently visited the Antarctic to measure the thickness of the ice shelves. Climate scientists have been estimating the thickness using core drilling and satellite images, but SeaBED has been able to travel to the actual locations and collect more accurate data. Westside quotes the operators saying:

Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice.

Mean drafts range from 1.4 to 5.5 metres, with maxima up to 16 metres.

We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in site assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.

In other news:

* Wormhole in Interstellar Movie Designed with Linux

* Open Source Software is Still Software

* Truly private surfing

* 9 Useful Gnome Shell Extensions for Linux

* Pear OS Linux Concept Revived as Pearl Linux 1.0

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Netflix Open Sources Sophisticated Messaging Tool

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 04:02:20 PM

Open cloud computing platforms are on all kinds of radars these days, including leading open source platforms such as OpenStack, but if you ask many folks which companies have top-notch expertise in the open cloud, you won't often hear Netflix mentioned. The company actually has an admirable history of open sourcing many of its most useful cloud tools and accompanying security tools--and it is a sophisticated user of cloud services.

We've reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting "Monkey" cloud tools as part of its "simian army," and its release of three of its internal tools that help protect the security of its platform. Now, the company has announced the release of Message Security Layer protocol (MSL), billed as ‘A Modern Take on Securing Communication.'

The project is found on github under an Apache 2.0 license, with implementations in Java and JavaScript.  According to the company:

"When we first launched the Netflix streaming service we used a combination of HTTPS and a homegrown security mechanism called NTBA to provide that security. However, over time this combination started exhibiting growing pains. With the advent of HTML5 and the Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions we needed something new that would be compatible with that platform. We took this as an opportunity to address many of the shortcomings of the earlier technology. The Message Security Layer (MSL) was born from these dual concerns."

"MSL is a plug-in architecture which allows for the easy integration of different device and user authentication schemes, session key negotiation schemes, and cryptographic algorithms...A typical MSL message consists of a header and one or more application payload chunks. Each chunk is individually protected which allows the sender and recipient to process application data as it is transmitted. A message stream may remain open indefinitely, allowing large time gaps between chunks if desired."

You can find a very complete technical discussion of how MSL works here.

"With MSL we have eliminated many of the problems we faced with HTTPS and platform integration," the company reports. "Its flexible and extensible design means it will be able to adapt as Netflix expands and as the cryptographic landscape changes. We are already using MSL on many different platforms including our HTML5 player, game consoles, and upcoming CE devices."

Netflix previously released Janitor Monkey and Chaos Monkey, which are cloud tools. You can peruse Netflix's overall open source software resource center on GitHub.  The company is steadily releasing proven tools that can be quite useful for administrators. Netflix has also said that it has more tools to be open sourced soon. 

 

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Fair Warning: Chrome Team Starts Final Countdown for NPAPI Extensions

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 03:48:04 PM

As we've reported several times, Google is introducing big changes in its Chrome browser, especially when it comes to how the browser handles extensions. If you've regularly used either or both of the most popular open source Internet browsers--Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox--then you're probably familiar with the performance and security problems that some extensions for them can cause.

In late 2013, Google decreed that the longstanding Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI), which extensions have worked with for many years, is the source of many of the problems. And, Google decreed that extensions in the Chrome Web Store would be phasing out NPAPI support.  Now, Google has delivered an update on its plan to remove NPAPI from Chrome, and the hope is that the move will improve the browser’s speed and stability, and limit complexity in its code base.

Google plans to block all plugins by default in January 2015, remove support entirely in September of 2015.

According to the company:

"Currently Chrome supports NPAPI plugins, but they are blocked by default unless the user chooses to allow them for specific sites (via the page action UI). A small number of the most popular plugins are whitelisted and allowed by default. In January 2015 we will remove the whitelist, meaning all plugins will be blocked by default."

"In April 2015 NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome and we will unpublish extensions requiring NPAPI plugins from the Chrome Web Store. Although plugin vendors are working hard to move to alternate technologies, a small number of users still rely on plugins that haven’t completed the transition yet...n September 2015 we will remove the override and NPAPI support will be permanently removed from Chrome. Installed extensions that require NPAPI plugins will no longer be able to load those plugins."

Of course, if you're worried that you won't be able to use your favorite extensions, Google has been vocal about these moves since 2013. Many extension developers are delivering new solutions and workarounds.

The bottom line is that Google continues to move significant parts of the Chrome ecosystem toward the Chrome Web Store, where it can exert control. These moves are going to make some extension developers unhappy, but will probably result in better raw browser performance over time. 

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Mint's the Best, Less Malware, and Debian vs Ubuntu

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 05:11:30 AM

The Register's Scott Gilbertson today said that Linux Mint 17.1 was the best distribution "hands down." Elsewhere, Bruce Byfield compares and contrasts Debian and Ubuntu to see which is right for you and Lucian Constantin reports on a new vulnerability found in less programs. There were several reviews in the feeds and Katherine Noyes tallies FOSS Thanksgivings. Linux.com has Linux gift ideas and Serdar Yegulalp summarizes rebootless kernel patching.

Scott Gilbertson today said, "Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they're focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint." Gilbertson said Cinnamon is quickly becoming the best desktop available in Linux and new version 2.4 brings more polish, performance, and refinement. Gilbertson said the MATE desktop is no longer an afterthought and with Compiz now available it's easy to "trick out." He looked at the other updates as well and concluded, "Having tested the latest releases of most major Linux distros in the past two months - Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Elementary and Mint, I can say confidently that Mint 17.1 with Cinnamon 2.4 is hands down the best of the bunch."

In other reviews, Jesse Smith had mixed impressions of Scientific Linux 7.0 but believes "the strengths of Scientific exist in its predictability and longevity." LinuxBSDos.com recently reviewed PC-BSD 10.1 and said, "PC-BSD obviously brings a lot to the table, but KDE is the best desktop for experiencing all the awesome features that PC-BSD 10.1 has to offer." Dedoimedo.com said of Netrunner Rolling 2014.09, "The installer, plus desktop effects and screenshots, plus the broken package manager, plus half a dozen other woes, and the subpar Flash performance, all of them contribute to the negative feeling about 2014.09." And finally, Linuxed reviewed Ubuntu Mate 14.10 saying, "Overall I am very happy with the performance of the distro. Ubuntu Mate 14.10 is definitely recommended from my side with a score of 9.4/10."

Bruce Byfield said deciding between Ubuntu and Debian depends on the chooser. "Although Ubuntu is derived from Debian, their differences are marked. From installation and desktop to package management and community, what everybody thinks they know about the two may be wrong." He runs down the supported architectures, installer considerations, desktop and software differences as well as administration and package management procedures before getting into the communities. In the end, much like many articles like this, you the reader must ultimately decide, although Byfield added you couldn't go wrong with either.

In other news:

* Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS

* Four ways Linux is headed for no-downtime kernel patching

* Top 10 Linux Holiday Gifts for 2014 (Slideshow)

* System76 Sable Touch: The state of touch support in Linux

* 'Less' means more to malware authors targeting Linux users

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Surveys Show Continuing Interest in the Cloud, Confidence in Open Source

Monday 24th of November 2014 04:14:39 PM

The end of the year usually ushers in a few compelling surveys in the open source arena, and a few interesting findings on cloud computing and IT trends are arriving now. Zimbra, which specializes in collaboration software, has announced the results of the Ponemon Institute’s “The Open Source Collaboration Study: Viewpoints on Security and Privacy in the U.S. and EMEA” report. The study surveyed 1,398 IT and IT security practitioners to learn about their companies’ involvement in the use of open source messaging and collaboration solutions, and their views on security and privacy.

Meanwhile, IDG Enterprise is out with results from a survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers, and they show that cloud adoption of all kinds continues apace.

According to the Ponemon Institute survey, over 70 percent of software engineers and administrators believe open source and open core software, respectively, are more reliable than proprietary alternatives. "This new research shows that cost savings are no longer the hallmark of open source in the minds of IT professionals, with the ability to lower costs ranking below quality in importance," the survey results report.

 The study also found that IT professionals are dissatisfied with their current collaboration and messaging platforms, the majority of which are proprietary software solutions. And, 55 percent of U.S. respondents and 52 percent of EMEA respondents said their organizations will be replacing their messaging and collaboration solutions within two years.

Among key findings in the survey:

 - Seventy-four percent of U.S. IT professionals agree that commercial open source software offers better continuity and control.

- Sixty-six percent of IT practitioners in the U.S. agree that commercial open source software means fewer bugs, and 63 percent believe it will boost quality compared to proprietary software.

- The ability to lower costs is no longer the main point of differentiation for open source software, according to IT professionals in the U.S. and EMEA; business continuity, control and quality rank above cost concerns, but all outperform proprietary software in the minds of IT professionals.

“There is significant opportunity for open source to play a central role in the future of security and privacy across the U.S. and EMEA,” said Rob Howard, Zimbra chief technology officer, in a statement. “And, the research supports a trend that we see in our own business; open source provides far more benefit than cost savings alone. It delivers on quality and control, and it empowers IT to make an impact on more than just the bottom line.”

The IDG Enterprise survey found that T managers are still surveying the lay of the land and planning cloud deployments. Overall, 56 percent of companies are still in the process of identifying IT operations that they want to migrate to the cloud, according to the findings. But more companies are done with the process now -- 38 percent compared to 33 percent last year.

The results also showed:

"More than two-thirds (69%) of companies have already made cloud investments. The rest plan to do so within the next three years. Companies appear to be moving steadily: Respondents anticipate their cloud usage will expand, on average, by 38% in the next 18 months. At the end of 2015, companies expect to be operating an average of 53% of their IT environments in the cloud."

You dan find an extended discussion of the IDG Enterprise results here, including a link for downloading a full report from IDG.

 

 

 

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Jolla Tablet Runs Android Apps, Gathers Crowdfunds

Monday 24th of November 2014 04:00:19 PM

A Finnish mobile technology startup company with an open source operating system called Sailfish OS has gathered more than $1.1 million in crowdsourced funding in an Indiegogo campaign.

The company, called Jolla, is working on an alternative iPad-style tablet and the interesting thing about its Sailfish OS is that it can run Android apps in addition to apps created specifically for Sailfish.

The Jolla tablet runs Sailfish 2.0 and is already sold in a couple of countries. According to Jolla, multitasking is one of the advantages of its device:

"Multitasking on Sailfish OS shows all your running apps conveniently in one single view. At a glance, you’ll see everything that’s going on, as well as easily switch between apps. You can also control Sailfish OS apps directly from the multitasking view – for example, change your music or play and pause your video stream without opening the app in full."

"Sailfish OS works with your natural hand movements via gestures, which makes using the tablet super-fast. You don’t have to push tiny buttons or search your way back home – everything is always under your thumb."

"Besides running its own native apps, Sailfish OS has the capability to run Android apps. You can continue using your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as downloading all the latest ones via the Jolla Store and other Android app marketplaces. If an app doesn’t exist, you can always make it."

Jolla started its funding campaign on November 19, and it runs through December 9th. Contributors to the funding pool will have the option to purchase a Jolla tablet for $209--lower than the expected $249 retail price.

You can find some intriguing photos and animations of the Jolla tablet in action here

 

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Wake Up Lil SUSE, Minty Goodness, and Caine Mutiny

Saturday 22nd of November 2014 04:55:17 AM

Today in Linux news Simon Phipps discusses what the merger completion means for SUSE and Dedoimedo.com reviews openSUSE 13.2. Linux Mint 17.1 update was released a couple of days ago and Chris Hoffman and Craciun Dan cover what's new. Matt Weinberger has a layman's guide to Docker "without getting lost in the weeds, and without breaking out the diagrams" and Jamie Watson reviews Caine Linux.

The Micro Focus and Attachmate merger was finalized yesterday and Simon Phipps asked, "Will this latest move help or hurt the venerable Linux distributor?" He examines a bit of SUSE's history of struggles and recent achievements, but seems to worry a bit of the proprietary past of Micro Focus. Phipps said, "Micro Focus seems to have no significant open source products in its existing portfolio, so understanding the community-based dynamic of Suse's business may be new territory." But he concluded that the cloud just might offer up new opportunities.

A little closer to home, Dedoimedo.com said he lost interest in openSUSE around version 12, so he tested 13.2 to see if he could get his Geeko-passion back. He said the installer is "by far the safest and most intelligent around, with the best suggested partitioning scheme, but my recommendation is to make this smart wizard even smarter." He liked the package management saying it was "fast and true" if a bit "enterprisy." The application stack was "okay" and for multimedia "the initial system update took care of that." Dedoimedo said of resources, "openSUSE 13.2 did not drink too much digital juice." Despite his saying that "openSUSE is a top performer once again," it wasn't all rosy.

Chris Hoffman begins his look at Mint by saying, "Mint isn't chasing touch interfaces, rethinking the way we use the desktop, or enacting any other grand experiment. It's just a polished, modern Linux desktop system — and that's why people love it." He said that Compiz now works well and is easy to set up in Mint 17.1 MATE, "Desktop cubes, wobbly windows, and more — it's all back." Cinnamon 2.4 offers a "smoother experience" and the update manager is much improved this release according to Hoffman who concluded, "Overall, this is exactly the kind of release I—and many other Linux users—like to see." In related news, Tuxarena.com has a look at 15 applications that shipped with Mint 17.1.

In other news:

* Hands on with Caine Linux: Pentesting and UEFI compatible

* Contain yourself: The layman's guide to Docker

* FLOSS Works – Now It Has Salesmen (LibreOffice)

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Mozilla's Revenue Growth Slows Down Amid Changes at the Organization

Friday 21st of November 2014 03:58:32 PM

As I noted here yesterday, Mozilla is going through a huge sea change. It has historically gotten more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google, to the tune of $300 million recently, in exchange for search placement in the Firefox browser.  That has completely changed, and now Mozilla has struck a similar five-year deal with Yahoo.

The nonprofit organization has also disclosed its latest financial details in a tax filing published this week, which show that its revenues increased by only 1 percent to $314 million from 2012 to 2013.

That represents by far the smallest growth in revenues for Mozilla in recent years.

"The State of Mozilla" report also notes that Mozilla grew investments in its products by 40 percent. That caused cash flows from operations to be cut nearly in half from $70.3 million in 2012 to $36.9 million in 2013.

As we've reported, the company is shifting heavily toward a focus on its Firefox OS mobile platform, which is requiring investments and personnel shifts.

Yahoo will also help overhaul search in Firefox. "Our new search strategy doubles down on our commitment to make Firefox a browser for everyone," said CEO Chris Beard in a post this week. "We believe it will empower more people, in more places with more choice and opportunity to innovate and ultimately put even more people in control over their lives online."

 The Firefox browser just turned 10, but it is no longer the center of Mozilla's universe. The organization will become much more dependent on Yahoo with its new deal in place, and will focus more on mobile platform growth.

"We will now focus on expanding our work with motivated partners to explore innovative new search interfaces, content experiences, and privacy enhancements across desktop and mobile," said Beard.

You can find out more about Mozilla's financial report in its downloadable disclosure here

 

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OpenStack Survey Shows Admins Are Moving to Actual Deployments

Friday 21st of November 2014 03:45:16 PM

In preparation for the recently held OpenStack Summit in Paris, the OpenStack Foundation conducted one of its regular surveys of operators and application developers, who were asked to provide feedback on their experiences. These surveys have traditionally yielded a lot of good information, not just about OpenStack usage but what kinds of tools are being used in conjunction with the cloud computing platform.

The results from the latest survey are interesting, and were also overseen by an external, independent research firm, Moor Insights & Strategy, to help analyze and report the data. Here are the details.

The latest version of the survey included any surveys that were created or updated between 20 February 2014 through to 9 October 2014.

One clear finding was that the number of OpenStack clouds in active use is greater than what was seen in recent surveys, as users and administrators move from evaluation stage to actual deployment. About 66 percent of OpenStack deployments were being used by organizations in IT, with telecommunications and academic deployments comprising approximately a tenth of the remainder, and all others representing around 15 percent.

The big four business drivers for using OpenStack are “Ability to Innovate, Open Technology, Cost Savings and Avoiding Vendor Lock-In.” The most significant change was that “Ability to Innovate” jumped from the sixth most often cited business driver to the first.

In the May 2014 survey 14 percent of production deployments were running the most current release, while in this latest survey 30 percent of production deployments are running the latest release. Sixty seven percent of production deployments are running either Havana or Icehouse (the latest two stable releases at the time this survey was conducted).

Production deployments of proven and established services (Nova, Swift, Keystone, Glance, Horizon) have grown significantly since the last survey results. Many people are starting pre-production testing of the new components (Ironic, Trove, Heat).

KVM is still the most widely used hypervisor used with OpenStack across all deployments. Ceph is the most popular Block Storage driver followed by the default LVM. For development tools, Puppet remains the most widely used across all deployments, but Ansible moved past Chef as the second most popular tool for production deployments. Ubuntu continues to be the platform that most OpenStack deployments are built on, but CentOS is on the rise. Many OpenStack deployments are definitely built on Linux.

For storage, Ceph, LVM, and GlusterFS comprised the top three choices among survey respondents.

Correlated well with the most popular programming language (Python), the most popular toolkit to use when building OpenStack apps is the OpenStack Python Clients. There is also a wide variety of client libraries in use.

Do you want the complete results? You can find them here, including graphics and charts showing all the specific data.

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Free as in Beer, SUSE News, and 7 Years Uptime

Friday 21st of November 2014 05:25:05 AM

Today in Linux news Jack Germain reviewed Makulu Cinnamon Debian and said it can give Linux Mint Cinnamon some competition. Bruce Byfield said free as in beer has slowed the adoption of Open Source software. The SUSE parent company Attachmate and Micro Focus merger is now complete and Sam Varghese has several interviews from SUSECon today. Neil McGovern will probably get take-down notices for his adaption of Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer and Alexys Jacob ruined a seven year uptime.

Bret Fitzgerald today posted of the completion of the Micro Focus and Attachmate merger announced last September. Spokesmen from both entities have reassured customers and users that the operating systems will not be abandoned. In related news, Sam Varghese today filled several posts speaking with SUSECon attendees. Dominique Leuenberger is a newer contributor who maintains the numerous GNOME packages for openSUSE, "something that consumes all of his working hours." Varghese also spoke with Vojtěch Pavlík, SUSE "kernel guru." He leads a team of 50 developers who work on "the kernel, toolchain, compiler and now Samba." He throws in this story of an "attendee's tale" too.

Bruce Byfield today said, 'From the beginning, free pricing has affected how outsiders regarded free software. "You get what you pay for," outsiders often say.' While acknowledging that being free of cost has helped proliferate the usage of free as in speech software, he thinks it has simultaneously has hurt its expansion into high-tech industries - losing out to proprietary alternatives. Byfield said Microsoft is adapting to free software and the cloud, but Linux almost missed the boat on the cloud. He concluded, "While free prices may not be a defining point of free software, they have affected its fortunes over the years more than most advocates imagine."

Seven years is a long time if you've been suffering bad luck or have suddenly developed an "itch." It's even longer for a computer to stay up and running these days. So it's with a tug of sadness that I report Alexys Jacob's blog post today saying he's just taken down his old server that had 2717 days uptime. This server, named ns2, ran Gentoo Linux for those seven (and nearly a half) years. If you have a longer uptime, post the output in the comments below.

In other news:

* Barbie the Debian Developer, (another one)

* Kubuntu 14.10 review

* Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux

* Six Clicks: The six fastest computers in the world (run Linux)

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Surprise! Mozilla Switches Out its Deal with Google for One with Yahoo

Thursday 20th of November 2014 04:06:19 PM

This month may very well prove to be the most momentous one in the history of Mozilla. Only a few days ago, I put up a post noting that Mozilla was up for renewal negotiations for its deal with Google, which has historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. In return, for lots of money, Google got primary search placement in the Firefox browser over the years. 

Now, though, the news has arrived that Google has taken its ball and gone home, while Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a "strategic five-year partnership" agreement which will make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox. This is evidence of how far Google has come with its own Chrome browser, and how it doesn't have the same need for the eyeballs and on-ramps that Firefox provides. 

Yahoo will introduce an enhanced search experience for U.S. Firefox users which is scheduled to launch in December.  Both Yahoo and Mozilla engineers are working on its implementation.

As Mozilla CEO Chris Beard notes:

"Today we are announcing a change to our strategy for Firefox search partnerships.  We are ending our practice of having a single global default search provider. We are adopting a more local and flexible approach to increase choice and innovation on the Web, with new and expanded search partnerships by country."

Without a doubt, though, Yahoo will be the Big Kahuna in search placement for Firefox.

Recently, Firefox has been either holding steady market share in the browser market or losing share, while Google's Chrome browser has steadily gained share. In all likelihood, Google didn't feel the need to keep shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars a year for placement in Firefox.

And, of course, Mozilla is ever more focused on its Firefox OS mobile platform, so change is in the air for it, as well.

 

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Symantec and HP Partner on Disaster Recovery for HP Helion OpenStack

Thursday 20th of November 2014 03:51:02 PM

As I covered yesterday, IDG Enterprise is 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 same survey, though, showed that security and protection from disaster were among their chief concerns in implementing cloud deployments.

We're likely to see more security and disaster recovery solutions for OpenStack arrive, and Symantec and HP have just announced a notable one. The new Disaster Recovery as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution is based on HP Helion OpenStack, and purportedly "will help enterprise and SMB customers to minimize recovery times, data loss, and associated downtime costs."

According to the announcement:

"The increased variance of enterprise data storage environments has created a need for a disaster recovery solution that works across multiple computing environments, including on-premises, public cloud and managed cloud. The HP/Symantec DRaaS solution will leverage HP's enterprise cloud as the disaster recovery in order to deliver cost savings, automation and self-service user experience. The service will help customers achieve system and application recovery SLAs and meets industry standards for security."

"When the new DRaaS product is made generally available in late 2015, co-delivery will be provided from both partners with client onboarding supported by joint teams. As part of the partnership, Symantec provides the DRaaS software solution, while HP provides the end-to-end service based on the underlying disaster recovery facilities, infrastructure, and operations team. The new DRaaS solution will run on an HP Helion OpenStack-based cloud environment and will support replication, recovery and automated failover/failback of client IT whether it's traditional IT on-premises, managed cloud, private cloud or public cloud."

 "Partnering Symantec's industry leading business continuity software with HP's world class enterprise services will create a unique disaster recovery solution that will have a positive impact when any disruptive events occur," said Doug Matthews, vice president, Information Availability, Symantec. "This collaboration will help our customers to protect their workloads no matter if they run on traditional IT or are hosted within HP Helion OpenStack-based cloud environments. This new DRaaS solution focuses on business continuity, failover and failback and will monitor the most widely used applications and databases in the market."

It's notable that this disaster recovery solution won't be available until late next year--evidence of the fact that offering high availability and lockdown security on emerging cloud platforms like OpenStack is not an easy proposition. 

However, HP and Symantec could have a very strong co-marketing and branding position to offer. Both companies have much experience supporting enterprises, focusing on security and identifying common platform security problems.  

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Another Debite Quits, Scientific Linux Flop, Mageia 3 EOL

Thursday 20th of November 2014 04:41:48 AM

Another day brings another Debian resignation. In other news, Mageia 3 is reaching its end-of-life and The Var Guy has some highlights from SUSECon. Dedoimedo.com says Scientific Linux 7 is "poorly executed" and Mozilla says losing Google partnership promotes choice and innovation. And Softpedia.com said today that Ubuntu's Unity is starting to look like a desktop.

The top story tonight is the resignation of Ian Jackson from the Debian Technical Committee following last night's GR vote. Ian Jackson is a longtime developer best known for dpkg and dgit and once served as Debian Project Leader. Jackson said in his resignation note to the Debian committee mailing list that he is "clearly too controversial a figure at this point" to continue on the committee. Jackson filed the general resolution voted upon last night and with its defeat, Jackson said, "I should step aside to try to reduce the extent to which conversations about the project's governance are personalised. And, speaking personally, I am exhausted." He does plan to continue maintenance of his packages and other software. Calls for nominations to the technical committee have been proposed and nominees may be known by the next meeting December 4.

Scientific Linux is a distribution designed to adapt to scientific computing tasks and software. They say their primary users are "within the High Energy and High Intensity Physics community." Dedoimedo.com said today it is "poorly executed." He began by saying, "The visual appeal of Scientific Linux 7 with the Gnome desktop is average. It neglects real functionality, and it hides away critical components from the users." He wasn't happy with GNOME, multimedia support, the "stupid" installation, the lack of applications, or performance in Scientific. In fact he even questioned the very point of its existence. He concluded, "Scientific Linux 7 is a flop."

Mozilla's Chris Beard today blogged that the 10-year partnership with Google is now history and announced, "We are ending our practice of having a single global default search provider." Yahoo Search will be the new default search engine in Firefox in the U.S. "Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia will continue to be built-in as alternate search options." Beard added that Yahoo will support Do Not Track in Firefox.

In other news:

* Mageia 3 End-of-life November 26

* Purism Librem 15 Linux laptop blends high-end hardware with totally free software

* Unity 8 Is Starting to Look More like a Desktop for Ubuntu

* Linux Outlaws Ride Into the Sunset

* SUSECon 2014: Day One Highlights, SUSE Brings Live Patching and Ceph Storage to Its Enterprise Linux, and Lock-in a danger to open source, says SUSE official

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Google's Kubernetes Project May Have One Giant Beneficiary: Google

Wednesday 19th of November 2014 04:03:39 PM

Recently, I covered the news that Google has released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, which harnesses computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

News also recently emerged that some very big contributors are committed to the Kubernetes project, including IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere, and SaltStack. They are working in tandem on open source tools and container technologies that can run on multiple computers and networks. And, we're also seeing that Google may have plans to integrate Kubernetes much more deeply with its own cloud platform.

 

According to The Register:

"Kubernetes is a tool Google developed and used to make containerisation more useful by making it possible to manage containerised applications. As explained by Craig McLuckie, Google's point man for all things cloud, Docker is very good at helping developers to create apps running in containers. Kubernetes tries to take things further by getting code in containers to work together to deliver an application, and to help manage those containers and their joint and interlinked operations once an app goes into production."

"Google Cloud Platform also supports Kubernetes. But as Google developed Kubernetes out of code it needed for its own operations, it's in a position to make the software work especially well on its own cloud."

Google officials also told The Register that Kubernetes would lead to "differentiated experiences" on Google's own cloud platform.

Let's face it, the history of open source is rife with examples of companies that contribute open source code reaping the biggest benefits from the contribution. 

On Google's Cloud Platform Blog, more information has appeared about the company's own implementations of Kubernetes:

"Last Tuesday, we announced the availability of the Google Container Engine Alpha, our new service offering based on Kubernetes, the open source project we announced in June. One of the advantages of using Kubernetes and Docker containers as the underpinnings of Google Container Engine is the level of portability they offer our customers, as both are designed to run in multiple clouds."

"Kubernetes and Container Engine were designed from the ground up to meet the needs of those looking to benefit from application mobility...We have relied on CoreOS technologies in Kubernetes for some time, such as using etcd for distributed state management. Looking forward, they are working to deliver new technology to achieve high levels of portability for Kubernetes and have also started developing new capabilities for the platform, most prominently Flannel."

Kubernetes is going to benefit from many big partners collaborating on it, but Google may benefit most from the collaboration, as container-based technology continues to emerge as one of the biggest open source stories of this year. 

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Enterprise Survey Shows Much Continuing Interest in the Cloud

Wednesday 19th of November 2014 03:49:28 PM

As we approach the end of 2014, one of the biggest open source stories of the year has to be the rise of open platforms for cloud computing. OpenStack, in particular, grabs most of the headlines in this area, but CloudStack and other platforms are seeing much adoption as well.

IDG Enterprise is out with results from a new survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers, and they show that cloud adoption of all kinds continues apace.

One finding in the survey was that IT managers are still surveying the lay of the land and planning cloud deployments. Overall, 56 percent of companies are still in the process of identifying IT operations that they want to migrate to the cloud, according to the findings. But more companies are done with the process now -- 38 percent compared to 33 percent last year.

The results also showed:

"More than two-thirds (69%) of companies have already made cloud investments. The rest plan to do so within the next three years. Companies appear to be moving steadily: Respondents anticipate their cloud usage will expand, on average, by 38% in the next 18 months. At the end of 2015, companies expect to be operating an average of 53% of their IT environments in the cloud."

Red Hat and other companies have been adamant that hybrid clouds are the wave of the future, and IT managers in IDG Enterprise's survey showed allegiance to public, private and hybrid clouds. "On average, cloud deployments are split almost evenly between public (15%) and private (19%) implementations," the report notes. "Although companies intend to adopt public cloud at a somewhat faster pace than private cloud, private cloud models will continue to have the edge."

Among concerns about cloud deployments that respondents cited, security and integration concerns cropped up. That bodes will for efforts like Canonical's OpenStack Interoperability Lab, which can certify compatibility and ease of integration for technologies that orbit around OpenStack.

You can get a downloadable version of IDG Enteprise's findings here

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systemd to Stay, FreeBSD Millionaires, and Fedora Love Letter

Wednesday 19th of November 2014 04:58:27 AM

Today was another busy day in Linuxville. The results of the Debian general resolution on decoupling systemd are in and Phoronix.com is reporting that FreeBSD just received a million dollar donation. Joe Casad says TOR isn't as anonymous as users think and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols comments on the latest Top500 supercomputer list. Ubuntu 15.04 gets a projected release date and Sam Varghese interviews new SUSE owner head. Danny Stieben explains the differences between Unix and Linux and Jamie Watson test drives KaOS Linux.

Our top story today is the results of the GR vote on systemd in Debian. It appears that, by a complex matrix, that no change in current policy is coming. If I read everything correctly, it seems systemd is here to stay. The results were posted a few hours ago and community reaction is still to come, but Jon Gold reported last night that three other developers left last weekend. Besides the Tollef Fog Heen resignation, Gold says, "Joey Hess and Colin Watson stepped down on Nov. 8 and Russ Allbery resigned Sunday evening" from Debian’s technical committee. Fog Heen included the "poisonous" Debian well last night, referring to the decision-making process, and Gold is citing similar reasons for the other three departures.

A few months ago SUSE was bought by Micro Focus and community contacts had to reassure users that openSUSE would see no changes. Sam Varghese spoke with Micro Focus head honcho Kevin Loosemore at SUSECon about the future of SUSE. Varghese quotes Loosemore saying, "SUSE will stay in Nuremberg, NetIQ in Houston, and Novell in Utah." Loosemore also reassured Varghese that none of the "existing products" from Attachmate or SUSE would be dropped but adapted instead.

In a variety of Linux tidbits today, Jamie Watson says he likes KaOS Linux because it's "a nice alternative 'lean' Linux distribution." A tentative release schedule for Ubuntu 15.04 projects the final beta on March 26 and gold on April 23, 2015. The Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin blogged today that 300,000 folks signed up for their free Intro to Linux course. Over at ZDNet.com, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said Linux still pwns supercomputing. And finally, Dietrich Schmitz thinks Fedora 21 Workstations is "Linux done right."

In related news, Charles Profitt reviewed Kali Linux Network Scanning Cookbook and FreeBSD gets a big old donation reports Phoronix.com. Danny Stieben explained the "crucial differences" between Unix and Linux today and Joe Casad spoke a bit about a new study on the effectiveness of using the TOR anonymous network. Hint:  81% can be identified by certain entities at will.

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