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Updated: 3 hours 34 min ago

Why Open Source May Drive the Apple Watch to Success

Friday 10th of April 2015 02:51:23 PM

The first Apple Watches arrived in stores today--sort of. For two weeks, you can visit an Apple Store to look at the watches or -- if you have an appointment -- try them on for 15 minutes. Although you can preorder the watch now, they don't actually go on sale until April 24. According to reports, there were small crowds lined up for a look at Apple Stores early today, to "fondle" Apple's latest creation.

While the Apple Watch may or may not be a hit, and it is already criticized by some for being an expensive piece of proprietary technology, open source may actually pave the way for its success. Here's why.

Apple is pushing forward with an open source strategy for getting the community to collaborate on health-focused applications and tools, dubbed ResearchKit

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

"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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Evolution of Solus and Fedora 22 Delayed

Friday 10th of April 2015 02:56:44 AM

Last week the former Evolve OS project announced they needed a new name. Suggestions came in and a decision was made. Now under a new name, the project tries to carry on with its original mission. In other news, Fedora 22 Beta was delayed causing a ripple effect throughout the remaining cycle and Red Hat announced their partners of the year.

The former Evolve OS project recently asked users to help rename their project and distribution and many suggestions they got. A new name was quickly chosen and since then the team has been working on a new site as well as moving and renaming their codebase and repositories. According to the minutes of a recent team meeting one of the first orders of business is to retain ownership of the domain "out of spite." That address now redirects traffic to the new site, which isn't open for business just yet.

The plan as of now is to release a public beta of new Solus OS on May 14 followed by two release candidates on June 18 and July 2. The final is scheduled for July 16. On the menu are UEFI support, an installer overhaul to bring more features, update to GNOME 3.16, a system restore, and new artwork.

The Fedora 22 beta went into freeze more than a week ago, but alas, today it was decided to slip the release schedule by one week due to blocker bugs. During the review bugs in Firefox, Xorg ATI drivers, GTK3, and rpm-ostree didn't block the release but issues in rolekit and cloud-init did. Issues in rolekit cause a failure in setting the owner password when creating database servers and another in cloud-init prevents cloud installs from rebooting. It will be decided next Thursday if the beta can be released on the new schedule. The official Fedora release schedule isn't updated as of yet, but it looks like the final will be delayed until approximately May 26.

Red Hat, Inc. today announced the winners of their annual partner awards. Winners are selected for their contributions to Open Source software in both "commercial and public sector channels." Their 2014 Partner of the Year was IBM Global Technology Services, who "experienced the greatest growth and had the most significant impact on Red Hat’s business." Ingram Micro, CDW, and Rackspace were among the other winners. In other Red Hat news, The Var Guy covered the first day of the Partner Conference yesterday and ARN talked to training manager Colin McCabe about implementing Open Source solutions.


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Dell and Red Hat's Latest OpenStack Alliance To Open More Enterprise Doors

Thursday 9th of April 2015 03:21:50 PM

Dell and Red Hat have announced an enhanced edition of the Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution, a co-engineered, enterprise-grade private-cloud solution based on OpenStack. We've covered the OpenStack-focused alliance between the two powerful companies before, and the announcement is one of several from Red Hat this week. Working with Red Hat, Dell is effectively becoming an OEM for Red Hat's software solutions.

The latest upgraded solution addresses enterprise customer demand for more flexible, elastic and agile IT services, according to the companies.

According to the companies:

"Designed to help customers build OpenStack-powered, highly-scalable clouds, the updated solution is co-engineered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Dell PowerEdge R630 and R730xd high-density rack servers, part of Dell’s 13th generation PowerEdge portfolio. With its hyper-dense memory, storage flexibility and compact footprint, the PowerEdge R630 maximizes datacenter efficiency for OpenStack cloud deployments. The PowerEdge R730xd delivers an optimized balance of storage utilization and performance making it ideal for hosting massively scalable Red Hat Ceph storage."

The upgraded solution provides customers the following key benefits, according to Red Hat and Dell:

Increased density – optimized configurations minimize the data center footprint for OpenStack admin and infrastructure nodes, and feature a 20 percent VM density increase and over a 30 percent storage capacity increase within the same size footprint

Accelerated performance – fine-tuned configurations of Dell PowerEdge R730xd servers with solid state drives accelerate the performance of Ceph data processing, and with a choice of hard drives and memory configurations, customers can optimize Ceph storage to their application needs

Added security and stability – Hardened from the OpenStack “Juno” release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6 adds the security and stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Highly resilient 10GbE network designs with multiple layers of redundancy provide continuous fault tolerant operation. Additionally, extended lifecycle support includes options for up to three years of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform “production phase” support and updates.

 “Enterprise customers are requiring robust and rapidly scalable cloud infrastructures that deliver business results,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Dell Engineered Solutions and Cloud. “Dell and Red Hat continue to jointly deliver cost effective, open source-based cloud computing solutions that provide greater agility to our customers, and this newest version of the Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution leverages best of breed technology from both companies to do so.”

Dell and Red Hat have actually partnered for more than 15 years, and Dell was the first company to OEM Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform in 2013. As OpenStack deployments proliferate, support is going to be the key differentiator between the many companies providing OpenStack distributions and services. Red Hat is legendary for its support surrounding Linux and middleware, and Dell is no stranger to supporting enterprises.

To learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6, you can visit

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Linux Foundation Takes Web Security and Encryption Platform Under its Wing

Thursday 9th of April 2015 03:09:46 PM

The Linux Foundation has its sights set on putting reliable open source technology at the center of the web security and encryption scenes. The nonprofit organization announced that it will host the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) and its Let's Encrypt open certificate authority platform. It is a free, automated and open security certificate authority that is billed as "for the public's benefit." Let's Encrypt allows website owners to obtain security certificates within minutes, purportedly enabling a safer web experience for all.

Akamai, Cisco Systems, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and other organizations are backing the effort. 

As The VAR Guy notes:

"The Internet Security Research Group has operated independently since its founding in 2014, with Josh Aas of Mozilla serving as its executive director, and representatives of several other major open source organizations on its board. The Linux Foundation's agreement to take over hosting the project will give the initiative a new credential within the open source community, however."

Indeed, The Linux Foundation also has a proven track record in driving open source technology forward and fostering its acceptance.

"While the web has been a part of our lives for decades now, the data shared across networks is still at risk," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "By hosting this important encryption project in a neutral forum we can accelerate the work towards a free, automated and easy security certification process that benefits millions of people around the world."

"Encryption should be the default for the web," said Josh Aas, executive director, ISRG. "The web is a complicated place these days; it's difficult for consumers to be in control of their data. The only reliable strategy for making sure that everyone's private data and information is protected while in transit over the web is to encrypt everything. Let's Encrypt simplifies this."

Last year, The Linux Foundation delivered its launch of the Core Infrastructure Initiative. It was designed to bolster the security of OpenSSL, the open source Web encryption platform that was exploited to unleash the infamous Heartbleed bug. It's good to see that the foundation remains committed to open source security solutions.

To learn more about Let's Encrypt and get involved, you can visit:


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PLUMgrid Delivers ONS 3.0 Suite for Driving OpenStack Clouds

Wednesday 8th of April 2015 03:14:47 PM

PLUMgrid, which focuses on virtual network infrastructure for OpenStack  cloud deployments, has announced the latest SDN software PLUMgrid Open Networking Suite 3.0 for OpenStack with new operational tools, features for dynamic routing, and expanded service insertion for third party virtual, physical and container based appliances. Based on OpenStack Juno, PLUMgrid ONS 3.0 is Red Hat certified with RHEL OSP 6.

The announcement is being made as the Red Hat Partner Conference opens in Orlando, Florida. PLUMgrid is a solutions sponsor of the event and doing demos of its new offering.

PLUMgrid Toolbox is a suite of seven monitoring and troubleshooting tools and offers enhanced visibility into virtual network functions, network health of virtual machines, Virtual Domains, and more. Designed for operations and IT staff, Toolbox also focuses on security, reliability and control of the OpenStack network infrastructure.

According to Pere Monclus, CTO and Co-Founder, PLUMgrid: "Operational tools are crucial to customers who are deploying OpenStack clouds. To help customers monitor and troubleshoot virtual networks, PLUMgrid is delivering a suite of new tools that provide functions such as tracing, reporting, and alerting.  With PLUMgrid ONS 3.0, our customers will provision services faster, simplify operations, and improve high availability between virtual and physical networks." 

ONS 3.0 introduces a dynamic router virtual network function (VNF), which supports dynamic routing protocols allowing the network to learn and distribute IP routes. The router VNF supports a portfolio of routing protocols including RIP, OSPF and BGP. The dynamic router VNF can peer with and learn from other routers in the network, ostensibly simplifying provisioning of tenants.

We've covered previous versions of PLUMgrid's OpenStack tools, and particularly its notable security tools, here

Further information and registration for educational webinars on ONS 3.0 can be found at


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NASA, IBM Ask the World to Hack Space

Wednesday 8th of April 2015 03:00:28 PM

This weekend, NASA is hooking up with IBM's BlueMix cloud platform in an unprecedented development effort. More than 10,000 developers, scientists, entrepreneurs and students in 62 countries will work in tandem on a code-a-thon aimed at building technology for space exploration. Here are more details.

Dubbed the NASA SpaceApp Challenge, the code-a-thon lasts two days and has arms focused on robotics, outer space exploration and more. 

You can watch astronauts and scientists from NASA discuss the significance of the challeng in videos here. 

"IBM is supporting the NASA Space App Challenge because we saw a great opportunity to contribute to an important cause," says Sandy Carter, general manager of IBM's Cloud Ecosystem and Developers.

"Not only are we helping participants build applications that will be used to improve space exploration and life on earth - two initiatives that impact all of humanity - but we're also helping them build their skills for cloud development while helping to cultivate an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields."

IBM's BlueMix cloud platform will effectively function as glue and platform linking participants in the challenge from around the globe. 

According to NASA:

"The International Space Apps Challenge is an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space. This year we have over 25 challenges in four areas: Earth, Outer Space, Humans and Robotics. NASA is leading this global collaboration along with a number of government collaborators and over 100 local organizing teams across the globe."

"The idea of a Challenge is so compelling because it acknowledges the fact that the world is facing serious challenges - and that we all have to work together to approach them. While there local hosts may offer prizes and the global award includes an opportunity to attend a NASA launch, the main challenge we focus on is enabling 48 hours of highly engaged collaboration- and discovering what we can create when that happens."

 You can find out more about participation at the Challenge site.


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2015 Red Hat Summit Announced

Wednesday 8th of April 2015 03:24:09 AM

Red Hat, Inc. today announced this year's Red Hat Summit. A good time will be had by all for the Early Bird discounted price of $1295. Keynotes, presentations, labs, and panel discussions are among the scheduled events. There's something for everyone with the added attractions of offsite parties, receptions, happy hours, and pub crawls.

The Red Hat Summit 2015 was announced today for June 23 - June 26 in Boston. "Red Hat Summit has become a must-attend event, with customers, partners, and open source industry leaders from around the world coming together for a high-energy week of innovation, education, and collaboration." Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst and Paul Cormier are among the keynote speakers with more to be announced.

Besides the speeches, 170 1-hour breakout sessions are planned. Breakout sessions are presentations by industry experts on topical issues. Some speakers include Thomas Cameron, John Shakshober, and Matt Hicks. A Partner Pavillion will be open showcasing many of Red Hat's partners and their wares. Labs will let attendees test out Red Hat's latest tech. For those wanting still more add-ons include in-depth training courses with expert instructors and certification exams in Red Hat OpenStack. Developers can attend DevNation for "a week of keynotes, technical sessions, BoFs, evening programming events, and more" with folks from some of the top tech companies around.

For the rest of us, lots of announcements and quotes will flow from Red Hat Summit 2015 hinting where "the future of enterprise technology, including cloud computing, Internet of Things, Linux containers, big data, mobile, and beyond" may be headed. It will surely be an exciing week for Open Source.

In other Linux news:

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