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The 11th Release of OpenStack, Kilo, Debuts

Thursday 30th of April 2015 02:56:51 PM

The 11th release of OpenStack is available for download today, and the event is being billed as "a turning point" for the open source project with contributions from nearly 1,500 developers and 169 organizations worldwide. Indeed, it's only been a few short years since there was early media coverage of the cloud computing platform.

The new Kilo version of the platform offers greater stability and can scale more easily. It also features the full release of the bare metal service Ironic, for provisioning workloads that require direct access to hardware.

The Kilo release takes place at a time when production deployments compose half of OpenStack deployments, and network functions virtualization (NFV) is the fastest-growing use case for OpenStack cloud software. Production deployments continue to grow, with companies like eBay operating OpenStack at large scale.


As developer productivity becomes a competitive necessity for every company, cloud technology is quickly evolving to enable that transformation. Companies want to build on a solid cloud infrastructure foundation that scales while providing the opportunity to embrace emerging technologies. OpenStack Kilo is billed as purpose-built for this “software-defined economy,” where agile cloud resources support app developers and software innovation further up the stack.

“OpenStack continues to grow, and features like federated identity and bare metal provisioning support make the platform more compelling for enterprise IT leadership and application developers who want a stable, open source alternative to proprietary options,” said Al Sadowski, research director, 451 Research.

Nova Compute, in Kilo, is worth taking note of. Kilo offers new API versioning management with v2.1 and microversions to provide strongly validated API definitions. This is supposed to make it easier to write long-lived applications against compute functionality. Major operational improvements include live upgrades when a database schema change is required, in addition to better support for changing the resources of a running VM.

Identity federation enhancements also work across public and private clouds to support hybrid workloads in multi-cloud environments. 

Ubuntu 15.04 and several other offerings are already showing up with Kilo integrated,  and we'll be hearing much more about the new release of the platform.


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Microsoft Offers Tools for Porting iOS and Android Apps to Windows

Thursday 30th of April 2015 02:46:24 PM

Surely you've seen the news stories floating around about how has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to Linux and open source. It's all thanks to new CEO Satya Nadella (shown), who has let everyone know that he "loves Linux" and claims that 20 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based. This comes after former CEO Steve Ballmer famously once called open source "a cancer."

Now, in a move that may have a huge impact on Microsoft's thus far middling mobile computing business, the company has announced new features in Windows 10 and unveiled a set of software development kits (SDKs) to help developers easily bring their apps for iOS and Android to Windows 10. This could have a mighty impact on the app ecosystem for Windows phones.

“Microsoft has bold ambitions for platforms that empower developers across Windows, Azure and Office,” said Satya Nadella, at the company's Build conference. “Together, we will create more personal and more intelligent experiences that empower billions of people to achieve more.”

Microsoft showed several new features in Windows 10, from new capabilities to scale applications across devices to new ways for developers to build code for the OS. The company claims it will have 1 billion active Windows 10 devices by 2018.

Microsoft  further detailed ways in which developers can create a single app that scales across all Windows 10 devices, automatically adapting to different screen sizes. With the Universal Windows Platform, developers can purportedly tailor their apps to the unique capabilities of each device, integrate Cortana and Xbox Live into their apps, and publish their apps into the Windows Store. Also as part of the Universal Windows Platform, the company shared how apps can scale using Continuum for phones, enabling people to use their phones like PCs for productivity or entertainment.

Developers will apparently begins with an existing code base for an Android or iOS app, and integrate that with the Universal Windows Platform capability, then distribute the new app through the Windows Store. Windows phone users will likely have a lot more apps to choose from soon.


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Apache Parquet Now a Top-Level Project, with Hadoop Appeal

Wednesday 29th of April 2015 03:03:32 PM

Never underestimate how much the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is doing to drive the Hadoop community forward. This week, I reported on how it and the Open Data Platform partners are really driving standardization forward on the Hadoop scene.

Now, an open source project called Apache Parquet, which provides columnar storage in Hadoop, has been promoted to a top-level Apache Software Foundation (ASF)-sponsored project, a clear sign that it will find its way to entrenchment in many Hadoop deployments.

The ASF has remained focused on pushing common standards on the Big Data scene, and common standards for Hadoop and related tools.

"The incubation process at Apache has been fantastic and really the last step of making Parquet a community driven standard fully integrated within the greater Hadoop ecosystem," said Julien Le Dem, Vice President of Apache Parquet.

Apache Parquet is an open source columnar storage format for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem, built to work across programming languages and much more...with these details available:

- processing frameworks (MapReduce, Apache Spark, Scalding, Cascading, Crunch, Kite)

- data models (Apache Avro, Apache Thrift, Protocol Buffers, POJOs)

- query engines (Apache Hive, Impala, HAWQ, Apache Drill, Apache Tajo, Apache Pig, Presto, Apache Spark SQL)

"At Twitter, Parquet has helped us scale our big data usage by in some cases reducing storage requirements by one third on large datasets as well as scan and deserialization time. This translated into hardware savings as well as reduced latency for accessing the data. Furthermore, Parquet being integrated with so many tools creates opportunities and flexibility regarding query engines," said Chris Aniszczyk, Head of Open Source at Twitter. "Finally, it's just fantastic to see it graduate to a top-level project and we look forward to further collaborating with the Apache Parquet community to continually improve performance."

"Parquet's integration with other object models, like Avro and Thrift, has been a key feature for our customers," said Ryan Blue, Software Engineer at Cloudera. "They can take advantage of columnar storage without changing the classes they already use in their production applications."

"At Netflix, Parquet is the primary storage format for data warehousing. More than 7 petabytes of our 10+ Petabyte warehouse is Parquet formatted data that we query across a wide range of tools including Apache Hive, Apache Pig, Apache Spark, PigPen, Presto, and native MapReduce. The performance benefit of columnar projection and statistics is a game changer for our big data platform," said Daniel Weeks, Software Engineer at Netflix. "We look forward to working with the Apache community to advance the state of big data storage with Parquet and are excited to see the project graduate to full Apache status."

Apache Parquet will be demonstrated at the Hadoop Summit, going on June 9 to 11, in San Jose, California. The Apache Parquet community offers more info at

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The Public Cloud No Longer Makes Sense for All Players

Wednesday 29th of April 2015 02:52:58 PM

Companies with household names ranging from HP to IBM have jumped rapidly on the cloud computing bandwagon, but they're not all necessarily focused on public cloud services. In fact, some companies are sending very mixed signals about the public cloud.

Case in point: Bill Hilf, HP's SVP of cloud product management said to The New York Times that "it makes no sense for us to go head-to-head" with companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in the battle to sell on-demand computing to businesses. Meanwhile, InformationWeek notes that HP just came out with a statement to ComputerWeekly singing a different tune. "HP is not leaving the public cloud market," HP officials reportedly said. All of this is more evidence that we are seeing consolidation in the cloud computing market, and organizations must consider carefully where they are going to place their long-term bets.

HP recently reported middling revenues, and remains very committed to OpenStack, but not necessarily to the public cloud, where 800-pound gorillas like Amazon dominate. Just recently, Amazon and other cloud titans reported their cloud numbers.

The Amazon cloud is a $4.6 billion business. Amazon reported that the sales at AWS were $1.566 billion in the first quarter, up from $1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Measured by revenue it is king of the hill in cloud computing. 

Microsoft said last week that its commercial cloud business is on a $6.3 billion run rate, but you have to take that with a grain of salt because the company lumps Azure revenues, money made by Office 365 and other metrics all together.  Still, it is pretty clear that just a few entrenched players dominate the public cloud space.

For companies like HP--or Red Hat and Mirantis, for that matter--private clouds may be more promising and fertile territory to mine. 

According to RightScale's State of the Cloud Survey for 2015 (where the graphic seen above comes from), hybrid clouds are also all the rage:

 "Hybrid cloud is the preferred strategy: 93 percent of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service; 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy (up from 74 percent in 2014)."

"Public clouds are used by more organizations while private clouds run more workloads: 88 percent of organizations use public cloud compared with 63 percent that use private cloud; 13 percent of enterprises run more than 1,000 VMs in public cloud, while 22 percent of organizations run more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud."

 With so many players focused on the cloud, we are likely to see more consolidation going on, and companies large and small will have to pick an area of focus.

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Bodhi to Fork Enlightenment to Produce "Moksha"

Wednesday 29th of April 2015 01:30:02 AM

Bodhi founder and lead developer Jeff Hoogland today blogged that Enlightenment just isn't what it was back in the E17 days. So much so that Hoogland almost quit the distro business altogether. However, after his return, Hoogland decided the best way to handle Enlightenment was to fork it.

Jeff Hoogland today said that the Enlightenment desktop has changed a lot over the years. Its last couple of releases seemed to break things that users liked and introduced other bugs. He tried to work with the upstream project, but most of the developers had already moved to E20 and didn't worry too much about fixing bugs in E19, according to Hoogland. In discussions with the community, Hoogland found he wasn't the only one who felt E19 brought many regressions. He wondered what to do.

Then it hit him, "fork it."

Hoogland today said that his new desktop would be forked from Enlightenment 17 and called Moksha (pronounced "mohk-shuh"). He said:

We will start by integrating all of the Bodhi changes we have simply been patching into the source code over the years and fixing the few issues the desktop has. Once this is done we will begin back porting a few of the more useful features E18 and E19 introduced to the Enlightenment desktop and finally, we will introduce a few new things we think will improve the end user experience.

Since version 3, announced in February, uses E19 the Bodhi team hopes to release 3.1.0 in August which will use the new E17 Moksha fork. Users who wish to use E19 will still be able to install it from Bodhi repositories. So for now, Hoogland is again putting out the call for developers who would like to help fork E17.

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Apple Ties Siri's Future to Apache Mesos

Tuesday 28th of April 2015 03:07:28 PM

Recently, we've been covering Apache Mesos, along with Mesosphere, a company doing some interesting things surrounding Mesos and offering a data center operating system. Mesos is an open source project that abstracts CPU, memory, storage, and other compute resources away from machines (physical or virtual), enabling fault-tolerant and elastic distributed systems to be built and run effectively.

Now, providing further evidence of how flexible Mesos can be, Apple announced during a meetup this week at its Cupertino, California, headquarters that its ever popular Siri application is being powered by Apache Mesos.

As Derrick Harris writes on Mesosphere's site:

"If Apple trusts Mesos to underpin Siri — a complex application that handles Apple-only-knows-how-many voice queries per day from hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users — that says a lot about how mature Mesos is and how ready it is to make a big impact in companies of all stripes...But there’s a bigger picture, too. Companies want what was promised from cloud computing but there hasn’t yet been a great way to get those things at scale in the cloud or in your own datacenter. With Mesos, the world has an open source platform that truly delivers on promises of scalability, elasticity and shared resource pools."

And 9 to 5 Mac adds the following about what Apple engineers had to say:

"The engineers said that Siri comprises around 100 services on a Mesos cluster spanning many thousands of nodes. Siri’s move to Mesos...represents the company’s first move away from traditional infrastructure for the intelligent assistant service, they said....Twitter’s Chris Aniszczyk tweeted a series of photos from the event, including a somewhat blurry one showing a simplified overview of Apple’s Mesos cluster architecture."

Mesosphere, too, is doing very interesting things surrounding Mesos. You can find out much more about that work, and Mesos, in our recent interview with Mesosphere's Ben Hindman.

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Citrix Delivers Linux Virtual Desktop Offering

Tuesday 28th of April 2015 02:55:46 PM

Citrix is out with some interesting moves in the Linux virtual desktop arena. The company has a new kit called the “Linux Virtual Desktop Tech Preview” which is available here for  XenApp or XenDesktop customers with active Subscription Advantage accounts. Citrix Partners can get it as well.

Last August, Citrix announced the Tech Preview of Linux Virtual Desktop. The newly available Tech Preview supports ‘Hosted Shared Linux Desktops,' which may offer advantages when it comes to backend infrastructure. Here are details.

According to Citrix:

"The supported Linux distributions are 64-bit ‘Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6’ (RHEL) Workstation and Server edition and ‘SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server 11 Service Pack 3.’

You can now add Linux Virtual Desktop in your XenApp/XenDesktop 7.5 or 7.6 test environment containing existing components such as StoreFront, Broker, Studio and Director. Once the Linux machine has been joined to the domain using standard Active Directory (AD) binding tools like Winbind and Quest you just need to install the RPM package and setup the Desktop Catalog and Desktop Groups as you would with a pure Windows environment.

Linux Virtual Desktop works with all the supported Hypervisors for XenDesktop—XenServer, Hyper-V, or vSphere. In fact Citrix has recently released XenServer 6.5, which adds support for RHEL and SLES templates for Linux.

You can now use applications like Libreoffice, Firefox, Eclipse, OpenOffice, Gimp etc. inside the Linux Virtual Desktop along side the Microsoft Windows applications all delivered using Citrix Receiver on your device.

For many enterprises that want to allow users to leverage multiple operating systems and virtual instances of Linux, this offering could make a difference. We've written before about the increasing popularity of using multiple operating systems in tandem. 

Individuals and organizations are already running heterogenous computing environments where multiple operating systems work alongside each other through virtualization. This allows access to a much wider universe of applications, and applications are, in the end, what make a difference for users. Any commercial operating system provider who ignores the trend toward virtualization is playing with fire, and Citrix is wise to begin expanding its foothold in the virtualized Linux space.


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Debian 8 and Mageia 5 RC Released Over the Weekend

Tuesday 28th of April 2015 03:47:33 AM

What an exciting weekend that just passed. First up, the long-awaited Debian GNU/Linux 8.0 "Jessie" was released in live and traditional installation media. Elsewhere, Mageia 5 Release Candidate was released with UEFI support and other installation improvements. In addition, LibreOffice 4.3.7 was released Saturday as well.

Debian 8.0 is here after nearly two years of work. Debian is one of the oldest distributions and is the basis for many other distros as well. Debian 8 brings systemd, improved UEFI support, and updated supporting services. Included are Linux 3.16.7, Xorg 1.16.4, and GCC 4.9.2. GNOME 3.14 (default), KDE 4.11.13, and Xfce 4.10 are among the desktops and LibreOffice 4.3.3, Iceweasel 31.6.0esr, and GIMP 2.8.14 are some of the applications. New live and installation media are available in CD and DVD as well as USB stick support in about a dozen architectures including pre-built OpenStack images. The live images come in your choice of KDE, Cinnamon, GNOME, LXDE, MATE, and Xfce desktops. Debian 8 "Jessie" will be supported for five years thanks to the Debian Long Term Support team.


Debian 8 KDE Live


Following the announcement, Niels Thykier posted a couple tidbits to the developers' mailing list. He said that the first point release should be out in about a month to correct any bugs cropping up. The next major release of Debian will be codenamed Stretch, the purple rubber stretchy octopus in Toy Story 3. Release parties have begun all over the world, but some aren't scheduled until tonight and the coming days, so check for your locale. The most interesting party was probably Microsoft's celebration of Debian 8 at LinuxFest NorthWest this weekend. In related news, First Jessie based Debian Edu beta released.


Mageia 5 RC KDE Welcome


Rémi Verschelde announced the release of Mageia 5 RC yesterday saying, "All things come to those who wait." This RC was hard-fought but the announcement said that Mageia 5 now supports UEFI "for real." Besides that, the installer has been under major construction and things like "RAID support, GRUB 2 integration, graphical issues linked to GTK+ 3 evolutions, more logging and debugging features" have been greatly improved. Check the Errata for known issues and workarounds before downloading and testing.


Mageia 5 Welcome Popular Application Installation


The Document Foundation announced the release of LibreOffice 4.3.7, "the suggested version of the software for large deployments in the enterprise and for conservative users." This release brings over 100 bug and security fixes. Download your fresh copy from

Some other interesting things to read today include:

* First impressions of Ubuntu 15.04

* Redesign of

* My Ubuntu Phone is here!

* Linux Freedom vs. Convenience

* A Fedora 22 beta walk-through

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Apple's Open Health Push Intensifies with IBM Watson Partnership

Monday 27th of April 2015 03:04:25 PM

The first Apple Watches are arriving on some wrists and drawing reviews around the web. In a recent post, I called out the fact that open source health initiatives and apps surrounding the watch may drive its ultimate success. Apple is pushing forward with an open source strategy for getting the community to collaborate on health-focused applications and tools, dubbed ResearchKit

What some people are missing in all of this is that Apple has formed a meaningful partnership with IBM around these health and watch initiatives. IBM has announced a new cognitive computing platform called Watson Health Cloud that includes Apple as a partner. Together, the companies may ultimately be able to make a watch on your wrist monitor all your health metrics, or even detect diseases, including cancer. 

When asked if devices like the Apple Watch could eventually work with other devices and technologies to provide cancer detection, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he absolutely believes in that concept. A division of Google, Calico, is working on similar types of goals.

According to AppleInsider:

"Built around Watson technology, IBM's new service pulls in and analyzes massive amounts of real-time data provided by personal electronic devices, such as fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors...Apple recently rolled out in ResearchKit as a way to tap into the 700 million-strong iPhone install base for medical research purposes. With Watson Health Cloud, data from HealthKit and ResearchKit can be anonymized, shared and combined dynamically with existing healthcare data sets that were previously difficult to access."

 Apple’s press release provided an overview of ResearchKit, and most importantly, it makes the point that hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world can make a difference:

"Apple today announced ResearchKit, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone® apps. World-class research institutions have already developed apps with ResearchKit for studies on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

…"With hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world, we saw an opportunity for Apple to have an even greater impact by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “ResearchKit gives the scientific community access to a diverse, global population and more ways to collect data than ever before.”

 Effectively, Apple wants the huge community of users already committed to its devices to help power the next generation of healthcare apps. The new Apple Watch could play a key role in that effort, capturing real-time health information that can be aggregated into large, powerful data sets.

We don't now yet if users will take to the idea, and Samsung has a similar effort with its Samsung Digital Health Initiative, based on open software architecture. he initiative has several arms, but one primary area of focus will be on delivering very smart wearable devices that go well beyond the capabilities of wearable health devices such as Fitbit. In fact, Samsung officials are touting wearable devices that monitor blood pressure, deliver electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, and more.

We covered the Samsung program in this post.

There are already dongles for iPhones that can help iPhones collect and deliver the results of simple blood tests, such as glucose tests. What if an inexpensive device on your wrist could track your blood pressure, take daily electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, monitor your glucose and other track other simple blood tests, monitor your physical activity, sleep, annual physical dats and more? 

That's where both Apple and Samsung are heading with watches and wearables, and they are leveraging open source community efforts to head in the direction of grassroots health applications. It may create the tipping point that makes smarwatches really smart.


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For the Open Data Platform, Opposition is Taking Shape

Monday 27th of April 2015 02:49:47 PM

Recently there has been a lot of coverage of Big Data leaders converging around the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, which we covered here. The ODP is rapidly gaining members, and its founding members are GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Teradata, Splunk, Verizon and VMware.

Among other things, the ODP is focused on pushing common standards on the Big Data scene, and common standards for Hadoop and related tools. But not everybody is joining up. There are some dissenters, and there are even some verbal stones being thrown.

Hadoop player Hortonworks is one of the ODP founding members, and ZDNet recently ran an interesting interview with Hortonworks president Herb Cunitz, in which he said players in the Big Data space are going to have to pick an alliance to favor going forward. He is quoted as follows:

 "[Vendors can either] work with what we're driving around Hortonworks Data Platform and the Open Data Platform and the alliance; or they can say, 'Hey, I don't want to align with anybody. I'm just going to take whatever comes out of Apache Software Foundation', and then they're beholden to package it, support it, distribute it themselves."

 Indeed, there are stories appearing about an Apache versus ODP face-off. According to Datanami:

 "When the Open Data Platform launched in February, it effectively split the Hadoop community down the middle, with Hortonworks, Pivotal, and IBM throwing in with the ODP, and MapR and Cloudera keeping their chips on the Apache Software Foundation...There is a definite disagreement in the Hadoop community about how the platform should evolve from this point forward. Those who’ve joined the ODP say there’s a need for a second governing body to set a common standard for Hadoop that enterprises and third-party software vendors can stake their claims on. Those who have rejected the ODP say there is no need for a second body, that the ASF already handles that job."

Likewise, The Register reports:

"Hadoop disty MapR has kicked the Open Data Platform into touch, saying it only benefits competitor Hortonworks and provides a way for Pivotal to get out of a hole...Cloudera, one of the three leading Hadoop distributors, refused to join, with its Chief Strategy Officer Mike Olson blogging: 'Pivotal and Hortonworks claim that the ODP is driven by an industry-wide longing for standardisation in the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. I don’t believe them.”

 Mike Olson added, in his post: "I have an engineer’s disdain for industry consortia in general, and for vendor-driven consortia in particular. Far too often, these organizations aim not at promoting, but rather at slowing, innovation in the technology industry."

I have an engineer’s disdain for industry consortia in general, and for vendor-driven consortia in particular. Far too often, these organizations aim not at promoting, but rather at slowing, innovation in the technology industry. - See more at:

That is a big deal indeed on the Hadoop scene, where we have seen a lot of fragmentation and lack of standardization. The Apache Software Foundation has fought the chaos in some good ways, but it's hard to argue with the momentum that the Open Data Platform has. By year's end, we'll probably have a better picture of how standards are going to be set on the Big Data and Hadoop scenes.


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OpenMandriva 3 Alpha, Debian LTS Recruitment, & Gentoo Git

Saturday 25th of April 2015 03:19:36 AM

The OpenMandriva Community today announced OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha. Version 3 will bring some exciting new features including hints of Plasma 5. The Debian Project today asked for help with Debian LTS for Wheezy and Jessie. The Gentoo Project today announced Git changes and blogger Fitzcarraldo shared his experiences installing Gentoo on his new laptop. And for something a bit different, Martin Grässlin today posted from Plasma running under Wayland.

OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha was announced today with requests for testers saying, "Together, we can make OpenMandriva Lx a great project." Among the changes is a new "sequential number scheme," but the packages will still show 2015.0. Version 3 will bring UEFI support, a new installer, new login screen, and the inclusion of Steam. The team is planning to include KDE Framework and Plasma 5 as soon as a QT5.5 bug is resolved. They are also working on Wayland support as well as alternative desktops Hawaii and Papyros. Other changes include using KDE Control Module for Grub, deprecating drakfirewall for FirewallD, and changing the old menu launcher to Homerun Launcher. Download your copy from or see the announcement for Torrents. Be sure to check the Errata for crucial notes.


OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha


The Debian Project today posted a plea for new LTS support team members. The post said the sub-project is a success, but more help is needed what with Wheezy and Jessie soon to be added. As it is now only a couple of architectures are supported and many popular packages are not. They need developers and funding. So, if you'd like to help or know of someone who might, see the full post for contact information. In other Debian news, Richard Hartmann posted his Jessie bug report today reporting 40 unaddressed packages, but confident of tomorrow's release.

The Gentoo guys today posted that the Git changes they've been discussing are in effect. "The old overlays hostnames ( and have now been disabled, as well as non-SSH traffic to" They are separating authenticated from anonymous pulls onto different servers for security and performance. See that full announcement if this applies to you. In other Gentoo news, blogger Fitzcarraldo was determined to have the source-based distribution on his new Clevo W230SS laptop. Deity bless him.

Martin Grässlin, KDE developer extraordinaire, today said he's just turned the desktop "world upside down." He said he was posting from Plasma running under Wayland. The KDE project is working toward full Wayland support due to limitations in Xorg. It's only Kwin and a rootless XWayland for now, but Grässlin said, "This marks an important step in the process of getting Plasma and KWin ready for Wayland. It means I write a blog post without fear of session crashes every few seconds." He later mentioned that NVIDIA reiterated their future support, bringing a wave of relief to your Humble. In what may be the theme of tonight's report, Grässlin too appealed to his readers for support. He said, "This is a wonderful time to start working on KWin. There are lots of small tasks to work on."

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Proprietary Cloud Revenues Show the True Value of Open Platforms

Friday 24th of April 2015 03:11:29 PM

How much does the rise of open source cloud computing mean to enterprises? This week, both Microsoft and Amazon reported quarterly earnings, and they put some numbers on the answer to that question. In particular, Amazon revealed how much money Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes, which it was very secretive about before. Here are some of the numbers for top proprietary cloud platforms, and they put in perspective what kind of economic value there is as open cloud platforms gain adoption.

The Amazon cloud is a $4.6 billion business. Amazon reported that the sales at AWS were $1.566 billion in the first quarter, up from $1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Measured by revenue it is king of the hill in cloud computing. As Re/Code notes:

"More than a million customers fire up machines in Amazon’s data centers every day, replacing servers they might otherwise have to buy. Some are used for basic data storage, some are used for more complex applications."

Amazon's cloud business is so big, in fact, that some are speculating that the company might spin it off. That is a distinct possibility.

Microsoft said this week that its commercial cloud business is on a $6.3 billion run rate, but you have to take that with a grain of salt because the company lumps Azure revenues, money made by Office 365 and other metrics all together. As Mary Jo Foley writes:

"Microsoft does not break out its public-cloud, or even its combined public/private-cloud revenues...Microsoft infrastructure software that customers use in their own datacenters to create hybrid or private clouds -- again, products like Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, etc. -- also is not counted in Microsoft's cloud revenues."

 The fact is, Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in cloud computing.

Still, the numbers reported this week illustrate that enterprises are spending a lot of money in the cloud, and they show how much of a difference free and open source platforms can make.


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Citrix Sponsors OpenStack Foundation Following CloudStack Speculation

Friday 24th of April 2015 02:49:06 PM

In case you were wondering about Citrix's commitment to CloudStack and CloudPlatform as OpenStack continues to gain momentum, here's a bit of news: Citrix has has become a Corporate Sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation."By joining the foundation’s community of contributors, Citrix demonstrates its continued commitment towards driving interoperability among standards-based cloud platforms and meeting the increasing demand for choice and flexibility in private, public and hybrid cloud solutions," claims the company. 

The announcement also adds that "Citrix continues to support other industry standardization and open-source initiatives including the Apache Software Foundation and Linux Foundation and will continue to invest in cloud infrastructure platforms including Apache CloudStack and CloudPlatform."

So should Citrix's move be interpreted as taking its ball and going home, given that it concentrated on its own cloud tools as OpenStack gained momentum? Not so much. 

After all, Citrix's NetScaler and Xen Server have worked within the OpenStack ecosystem for a long time, and interoperability with OpenStack should be a goal at Citrix no matter what kinds of cloud bets the company makes.

Boris Renski, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder at Mirantis said: “Citrix’s membership is a testament to the growth and maturity of the OpenStack community. We plan to build upon our existing relationship with Citrix to support customers looking to deploy Mirantis OpenStack with NetScaler and XenServer.” 

Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director at the OpenStack Foundation added:

“Diversity and choice are two powerful drivers behind both the success of OpenStack and the growing list of companies who have chosen OpenStack as their infrastructure platform. We’re glad to see Citrix become a Corporate Sponsor, and we look forward to the contributions they can bring to the community as it continues driving cloud infrastructure innovation and software maturity.”

 Mark Hinkle, a senior director at Citrix had this to say a few months ago when questions arose about the company's commitment to CloudStack and CloudPlatform:

"Even though we support and sponsor a great deal of development in Apache CloudStack we participate in a much larger cloud community...Unfortunately some of the pundits in our industry are speculating as part of a recent  reorganization at Citrix (and the departure of some of our former colleagues to pursue other opportunities) that this is a sign that we are abandoning our commitment to Apache CloudStack and the project would die. That’s probably because they don’t exactly understand how the Apache Software Foundation(ASF) works and how Citrix supports them."

"You can’t equate Citrix and Apache CloudStack. Even though many companies employ developers there is no company that can buy influence. A company can’t leave the project only individuals can choose to participate or not.  It’s unique compared to many other similar organizations so it’s no wonder they are confused. The fact of the matter is that Citrix will continue to support Apache CloudStack and will continue to collaborate with a growing community of developers and users." 



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Ubuntu 15.04 Released, Debian 8.0 Coming

Friday 24th of April 2015 03:08:21 AM

The big story today, almost seemed like the only story today, was the release of Ubuntu 15.04. In the early announcement "a converged future" was touted as the 15.04 Desktop, Kylin, Snappy Core, and the Phone was introduced. Today José Antonio Rey said, "15.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution." In other news, Debian 8 is on track for its April 25 release date.

Rey continued to say that this release brings a switch from Upstart to systemd, a change back to local menus, and a new plum wallpaper. Otherwise, it's basically updates. This is exactly what desktop users have been told to expect all along as Canonical concentrates more on its commercial ventures. One might wonder why Canonical even bothers with a desktop version at all anymore, but Christine Hall said today it's because, "It separates Ubuntu from the crowd in the server market. It allows it to offer workstations with a quality, easy to use and learn interface that can be tightly integrated with its server offerings."

Of the server, today's announcement said:

Ubuntu Server 15.04 includes the Kilo release of OpenStack, alongside deployment and management tools that save devops teams time when deploying distributed applications – whether on private clouds, public clouds, x86 or ARM servers, or on developer laptops. Several key server technologies, from MAAS to Ceph, have been updated to new upstream versions with a variety of new features.

The first review is already in at PC Pro. After taking a closer look under the hood reviewer Darien Graham-Smith concluded:

If you're looking for a free, friendly and powerful OS for desktops and servers, Ubuntu is still an easy Linux distribution to recommend. But even for established Ubuntu users this update is neither practically nor emotionally compelling. If Canonical seriously wants Ubuntu to make more of a mainstream impact, Ubuntu 15.04 – a barely necessary update rolled out to serve a timetable rather than a strategy – is precisely the sort of thing it needs to stop releasing.


Ubuntu 15.04 Desktop


In other news, Steve McIntyre today posted that Debian 8 Jessie is on track for their Saturday release. McIntyre wrote the installer is almost ready and will be "better in a number of ways than what we've had before." This includes "big EFI enhancements." In addition, new architectures were highlighted, specifically for "arm64 and ppc64el." Most significantly, he concluded, "We're planning to release Jessie as Debian 8 this coming Saturday (25th April)." Checking the latest bug count numbers reveals 38 still unaddressed, up a few from last we looked.


* Interview: Matt Lee from The List powered by Creative Commons

* Build Your Own Ubuntu

* Is OpenOffice Dying?

* OS X vs Windows vs Linux: This Flow Chart Helps

* Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is Available Now

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Box Offers Developer Edition for Rolling Your Own Enterprise Apps

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 03:13:04 PM

This week, the Box Dev conference is going on, where more than 1,500 developers have converged to talk about Box and its ecosystem of tools, which are becoming increasingly popular as cloud solutions in enterprises. If you've used Box, you know that it is an easy way to share collaborative documents, photos and more, but you may not realize that people are building applications for the platform, too.

To serve that goal, Bos has announced Box Developer Edition, which provides a lot of tools and also can give you an independent, developer-owned Box instance — with full Box enterprise functionality — dedicated to your app.

Box Developer Edition serves these goals as well:

- Delivers a new user and authentication model that makes it incredibly easy to create new Box users for your application. You own the users, the content, and the authentication and can bring a seamless user experience tailored to your customers.

- All of Box's critical enterprise-grade functionality that more than half the Fortune 500 already trust and that you need to build (and sell) transformative software for businesses.

Box Developer Edition is in closed beta starting today. If you would like access, you can email

 According to a post about the offering:

"We've spent ten years building the robust technologies needed to meet the requirements of enterprise customers, going light years beyond commodity cloud storage offerings. We know first hand that without these capabilities in place, it's very difficult to sell to the enterprise. We’ve built full text search, content encryption, advanced permissions, secure collaboration, and compliance — all the capabilities that you as a developer would have to build yourself when working with commodity cloud storage. This means you can get to market faster with the security and scale the enterprise demands."

"Content is central to almost every enterprise app, which means you can build powerful and highly-collaborative applications for almost every industry. Box Developer Edition gives you an incredible new engine for channeling innovation and getting apps to market that are enterprise-ready on day one."

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Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is Available Now

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 03:02:13 PM

Red Hat has announced its Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1, the company’s selection of some of the latest open source C and C++ compilers and complementary development tools. Available through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Program and related subscriptions, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is targeted at application development for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but is also potentially useful for all kinds of developers and administrators depending on Red Hat's cloud tools.

New to Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 are:

GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 4.9.2, the latest stable upstream version of GCC, which provides numerous improvements and bug fixes

Eclipse 4.4.2 with support for Java 8 and updated versions of Eclipse CDT (8.6), Eclipse Linux Tools (3.2), Eclipse Mylyn (3.14.2), and Eclipse EGit/JGit (3.6.1)

 Additional updated packages, including GDB 7.8.2, elfutils 0.161, memstomp 0.1.5, SystemTap 2.6, Valgrind 3.10.1, Dyninst 8.2.1, and ltrace 0.7.91. As with all versions

As with all versions of Red Hat Developer Toolset, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is targeted at the creation of applications compatible with both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 across physical, virtual and cloud environments, including OpenShift, Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering. These tools are not delivered on a lifecycle synchronized with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, though, so that the toolset can maintain flexibility.

Jim Totton, Red Hat's vice president and general manager, Platforms Business Unit, said:

"Across the open hybrid cloud, developers seek to leverage the latest and greatest development tools, but must balance this with the business’s requirements for stable and reliable applications and systems. Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 helps bridge these needs, delivering developer innovation while retaining a stable foundation for the creation and support of mission-critical applications, helping to bring forth the next-generation of enterprise applications.”


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OStatic's Latest Interviews: Cloud and Big Data Thought Leaders

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 03:00:10 PM

In the open source arena, there are some very impactful contributions to major technology shifts going on right now. In particular, cloud computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things are creating large shakeups, and the pace of development has quickened significantly recently. At OStatic, we've been conducting an ongoing series of interviews with influencers focused on these key technology areas.

In this post, you'll find our latest updated collection of interviews with some really interesting and influential people, including pointers to some previously done interviews that you may find interesting.

Our latest series of interviews with project leaders working on the cloud, Big Data, and the Internet of Things has included talks with Rich Wolski who founded the Eucalyptus cloud project, Ben Hindman from Mesosphere, Tomer Shiran of the Apache Drill project, Philip DesAutels who oversees the AllSeen Alliance, CEO of StackStorm Evan Powell, Tomer Shiran on MapR and Hadoop, the University of Washington team behind Grappa for data analytics, and co-founder of Mirantis Boris Renski. Here are the details.

The Grappa Team. One of the most interesting new tools in data analytics is the open source Grappa project, which scales data-intensive applications on commodity clusters and offers a new type of abstraction that can beat classic distributed shared memory (DSM) systems. In fact, Rich Wolski, founder of the Eucalyptus cloud project, enthusiastically pointed to Grappa as a very interesting project in our recent interview with him. We caught up with some of the leaders behind Grappa, who are based at the University of Washington, for an interview found here


StackStorm and DevOps. "There are countless projects [focused on] specific functions, such as event management or aspects of monitoring or remote change management and configuration management," notes StackStorm CEO Evan Powell. "Tying these together is done by hand, with scripts, and the more you have tied together the more fragile your environment becomes." In an interview with OStatic, Powell discusses StackStorm's approach to easing DevOps woes and more. He also notes the company's ongoing work on the OpenStack Mistral workflow as a service project.

Philip DesAutels.  At the recent CES show, a number of Internet of Things products were shown. The AllSeen Alliance is focused on an open source software framework to advance IoT, and Philip DesAutels oversees the Alliance.

Get his thoughts on the dramatic future of IoT here.


Rich Wolski. All the way back in 2008, OStatic broke the story of an open source cloud software project at UC Santa Barbara called Eucalytpus. Rich Wolski was the man behind it, and it, of course, drove Eucalyptus Systems forward.  We caught up with Rich for a follow-up talk now that he is back teaching at UCSB. You can find his thoughts here.

Ben Hindman. Mesosphere is a company doing some highly interesting work focused on a "datacenter operating system."  The work is focused on the Apache Mesos software project, and Ben Hindman from Mesosphere spent some time with us to discuss what Mesosphere is working on.

Find the interview with Hindman here.





 Boris Renski.  In the cloud computing game, Mirantis has built a fantastic reputation focusing on OpenStack. Boris Renski is one of the co-founders of Mirantis and has a lot of great perspective on the rise of the open cloud. Find our interview with him here.

Tomer Shiran.  OStatic also caught up with Tomer Shiran, a member of the Apache Drill Project Management Committee, to get his thoughts on how Drill is making a mark as the world's first distributed, schema-free SQL engine.

Find the interview here, and we did another interview with Tomer about his work with MapR and Hadoop in the Big Data space, here.





In addition to these interviews, you may find our "What's In Your Stack?" interview series, conducted previously, of interest. It includes talks with many notable cloud influencers. The interviews are found here:

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?


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Satya Nadella's Version of Cloud Services Gets Ever More Competitive

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 02:47:48 PM

Just in case you haven't looked in on the company recently, Microsoft is dramatically reshaping its approach to the cloud as well as Windows fees, subscriptions and licensing. It's all being driven by new CEO Satya Nadella (shown here), who rose to the top position at the Redmond giant following a long stint being in charge of Microsoft's cloud computing arm.

While open source cloud computing platforms are spreading out, and open source productivity applications suites such as LibreOffice are gaining more users, Microsoft has steadily kept its Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), including Windows, priced at around $10 per user. And now, Microsoft is launching new initiatives focused on its Office 365 cloud service that will purportedly give customers more control over their data and more visibility into the ways it's being accessed.

Nadella knows that he needs to connect Microsoft's big installed base of Windows and Office users to his vision of the company's cloud computing future.  A new post from the Office 365 team confirms that security, privacy and compliance are among ways that the company wants to differentiate its Office and cloud efforts:

"A new capability, Customer Lockbox for Office 365, provides unprecedented customer control over content residing in Office 365, so customers can be assured that their content will not be accessed by Microsoft employees without their explicit approval....In the next few months, we will add...content level encryption for email in Office 365. Implementing this feature will increase the separation of server administration from the data stored in Office 365, resulting in an added layer of security..."

 All of this, of course, addresses issues that some IT administrators have with going with open source alternatives to Microsofts' tools and cloud platform. Many of those administrators cite security as a major concern in the cloud.

At very low prices, many enterprises will opt for Windows and Microsoft's cloud strictly for compatibility reasons. It's becoming more and more clear that we aren't witnessing the old Microsoft anymore, and, in the cloud, open source platforms like OpenStack are going to have to stay as secure and as affordable to implement as what Microsoft is serving up for very low fees.

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Fedora 22 Beta Arrives with Plasma 5 & GNOME 3.16

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 03:36:19 AM

Red Hat and The Fedora Project Team today announced the release of Fedora 22 Beta, the last developmental release before Final. The default Workstation ships with GNOME 3.16 but spins are available with KDE Plasma 5, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Sugar in 32-bit and 64-bit. There are even spins for gaming, robotics, security, media creation, ARM, Docker, and more not counting the Server and Cloud images. If you can't find a Fedora to fit, then you don't need Linux.

Fedora 22 Beta replaces Yum with DNF that will provide higher performance and better dependency management. dnf-yum redirects users from Yum to DNF and classic Yum has been renamed to yum-deprecated. The Cloud image includes "the latest versions of rpm-ostree and rpm-ostree-toolbox, the latter of which can be used to generate Atomic hosts," Vagrant support, and Atomic command. The Server features a Database Server Role "that provides a stable D-Bus interface to manage the deployment of server roles" and an updated Cockpit management. The Workstation is enhanced by:

* GNOME now provides better notifications to users about system events
* Login screen now uses Wayland
* Automatic Bug Reporting Tool improvements
* The libinput library is now used for both X11 and Wayland for consistent input device handling


Fedora 22 Beta Games Spin featuring Xfce and dozens of games


The announcement is urging users to test and report those bugs. Downloads are available in Cloud prerelease, Fedora 22 Beta Server, and the GNOME Workstation or choose one or more from the many spins. The Common Bugs page hasn't been updated for the Beta as of yet, but if you're having issues check back to see if it's a known bug. The Final is scheduled for release on May 26.


Fedora 22 Beta KDE Plasma 5 Spin


In related news, Red Hat today said that their container solutions are much better than VMware's because it takes more than the underlying operating system. As Paul Cormier said recently, "Containers are not all the same, what's inside counts; you still need a solid platform upon which Linux containers can run." Matt Hicks concluded the post by saying, "Red Hat is proud of the work we've done on this front to date, and look forward continuing our work to lead the enterprise container revolution."

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Ubuntu 15.04: OpenStack Advancements with Kilo and Snappy Core

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 03:10:54 PM

Ubuntu 15.04 for cloud and servers will be available for download from Canonical on Thursday, 23 April. For cloud users, this release delivers the new, Snappy Ubuntu Core for transactional systems, such as cloud container hosts, smart devices, and a new container-based hypervisor, LXD, which Canonical says sets a new benchmark for density and performance. With updated developer tools and the latest frameworks, languages, databases and packages, this is a significant release for Ubuntu professionals and developers.

We covered the Snappy core here, and what this minimalist take on Ubuntu can do for Docker deployments and platform-as-a-service environments. Amazon, Microsoft and others are all working with the Snappy core. 

LXD, the next-generation hypervisor for containers, is now available in Ubuntu 15.04. LXD provides the full experience of virtual machines, the security of a hypervisor, and bare-metal performance and density, according to Canonical.

“LXD eliminates the very high virtualisation penalty of traditional hypervisors, making Linux-on-Linux workloads much faster and much more dense,” said Mark Shuttleworth.

“Containers are the new frontier in virtualisation and cloud. We are delighted to lead with LXD and the integration of containers into OpenStack.”

 Early adopters include institutions with many Linux virtual machines running common code such as Tomcat applications under low load. LXD offers much higher density than KVM in these situations as the underlying hypervisor can consolidate common processes more efficiently, Canonical claims.

In addition, workloads which are traditionally run on bare metal, such as Hadoop, perform at native speeds under LXD without the 15-20% overhead of KVM, the company says.

“LXD support in OpenStack means big data specialists can now use OpenStack APIs for provisioning, and get bare metal performance for their analytics,” said Mark Baker, product manager for OpenStack in Ubuntu.

LXD is aimed at providing a full “virtual machine” experience inside which administrators can run tools like Docker.

“LXD and Docker work together. LXD provides a full system container, like a virtual machine, and Docker provides the application container for processes,” said Baker.

 ‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core is the new, transactional version of Ubuntu designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices. It contains all the code and updates of Ubuntu, but is packaged with the new ‘snappy’ system, enabling guaranteed updates with rollback for both the OS and applications installed on it.

“Snappy Ubuntu Core offers everything developers love about Ubuntu together with transactional updates,” says Dustin Kirkland, product manager for Ubuntu Server at Canonical. “Snap packages deliver apps securely to devices and cloud hosts, with isolation of application data and the guarantee that an update can be rolled back.”

This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), and is available on major public clouds and for ARM and x86 devices on a range of popular boards for IoT.

Notably, Canonical claims that 64 percent of production OpenStack users are building on top of Ubuntu. According to the company:

"Telecommunication leaders such as AT&T, NTT and Deutsche Telekom, large enterprises including Time Warner and SKY, and service providers such as NEC and Yahoo! Japan have adopted Ubuntu OpenStack as their preferred platform for cloud. Canonical’s professional services teams work with them to achieve the highest levels of scalability and efficiency from OpenStack."

"Ubuntu will be the world's first OpenStack distribution to make the newest ‘Kilo’ release available to users, a significant step forward in scalability for virtual networks on OpenStack."

"In Kilo, Neutron is updated to include Distributed Virtual Routing (DVR) to enable Neutron to scale more efficiently, and a preview of “DNS as a service” from the new ‘Designate’ component."

"Cloud federation also takes a big step forward in Kilo with Ubuntu OpenStack now able to share identity across cloud regions. This enables enterprises with multiple OpenStack implementations to manage identity much more efficiently, and simplifies the path to hybrid cloud computing with OpenStack on-premise and public OpenStack clouds. Canonical is committed to cloud federation both with other Ubuntu OpenStack clouds, and with the distributions of other companies."


Ubuntu Server 15.04 is available for download at from 23 April 2015.




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