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Updated: 2 hours 58 min ago

HP, Wind River and Others Join Paris OpenStack News Cycle

Tuesday 4th of November 2014 03:47:33 PM

As I covered yesterday, this week the OpenStack Summit is taking place in Paris, and there is already a lot of related news flowing out of the event. Internap, which provides Internet infrastructure services, has stated that it is expanding its OpenStack-powered AgileCLOUD public cloud footprint to Amsterdam, and Amysta has announced the release of its billing system for OpenStack, which is essentially a revenue management platform.

Joining the news cycle, Stratus has shown off a software-based solution to bring OpenStack-based workloads to a new level of availability, and HP and Wind River have partnered to create carrier grade HP Helion cloud solutions based on OpenStack.

According to Stratus:

  "Endorsed by key members of the OpenStack ecosystem, Stratus’ approach to enabling enterprise grade OpenStack clouds leverages Software Defined Availability (SDA) to provide a simple way to achieve always-on availability for all apps – whether legacy, cloud native, stateful or stateless – as well as the ability to dynamically adjust availability levels. This is a significant cost and resource advantage for businesses looking to advance their cloud plans."

"Improving reliability for OpenStack clouds is critical to facilitating broader enterprise adoption. To meet this challenge, Stratus has developed an industry exclusive set of Linux and KVM extensions to provide unparalleled availability services for OpenStack workloads."

 Meanwhile, HP is in partnership with Wind River to develop solutions with HP Helion OpenStack technology to enable carrier grade network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities. According to the companies:

"The addition of proven carrier grade technologies from Wind River into HP Helion OpenStack is designed to provide communications service providers (CSPs) with an open source based cloud platform that meets their demanding reliability requirements and accelerates their transition to NFV deployments. Cloud computing is enabling the communications industry's shift towards network and application virtualization, allowing the delivery of new services to their customers more quickly with significantly reduced operating and capital costs. In order to facilitate this shift, CSPs require carrier grade, open standards based NFV solutions that are extremely reliable."

"CSPs want the benefits of cloud computing, while meeting their rigorous reliability, performance and management requirements," said Saar Gillai, senior vice president/COO, HP Cloud & general manager, NFV, HP. "HP and Wind River are collaborating to provide a fully integrated and supported HP Helion cloud solution for carrier grade NFV, enabling CSPs to leverage the agility that the over-the-top providers possess. We will also work together to enhance OpenStack technology to help ensure it evolves to meet carrier grade specifications."

HP and Wind River are wise to focus on OpenStack at the carrier level. As I covered here, Red Hat is partnered with Telefonica and others to focus on the same kinds of goals.  The companies are collaborating to drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications technology into OpenStack.

The OpenStack platform will be influenced by all this focus on NFV and carrier-grade technology. HP and Wind River have committed to making contributions to the OpenStack platform along these lines.

OStatic will follow up with more coverage out of the Paris summit this week.

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Too Many Forks, the Right Distro, and Reason for Fedora

Tuesday 4th of November 2014 04:40:21 AM

Today in Linux news the community tackles the "too many forks" question. Jack Wallen has how to find the right distro for the job and Mayank Sharma updated his "10 best Linux distros" article. Danny Stieben has five reasons to look forward to Fedora 21 and Bryan Lunduke looks at ChromeOS in his latest desktop-a-week review.

Jack Wallen posted an article covering Linux distributions categorized by task. For example, for the "task of everyday usage" or "desktop use" he recommends Ubuntu, Mint, Deepin, Bodhi, and Arch. He then covers Audio/Video production, security testing, developing, servers, and more. Be sure to check that out. In a similar article, Mayank Sharma discusses which distro is "right for you." If that sounds familiar it's because the article was originally published quite a while ago, but it was updated today.

Danny Stieben at www.makeuseof.com yesterday posted "5 Brilliant Reasons To Look Forward To Fedora 21." He cheats really by using "A new Fedora release" as the first one, but his others include the new Fedora.next restructure, improved polish, and COPR repositories. He concluded, "Fedora 21 is quite an exciting release that I’ll continue to follow through the rest of the alpha and beta phases."

"Are there too many forks in Open Source?" asks Katherine Noyes in this week's Linux Blog Safari. That question, or variations of it, comes up from time to time and this time Linux Voice brought it up. Just about everyone Noyes consulted agrees forking is good usually and results in more choice. Some opposition was noted as forking causes duplicated efforts and chaotic results sometimes. 

In other news:

* DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 583, 3 November 2014

* The Linux desktop-a-week review: ChromeOS

* The Dark Descent Of Frictional Games: Part Two

* Ubuntu 14.04 LTS shows its prowess by running 100 apps

* Facts about Tumbleweed and Factory merging

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Entering the Golden Age of Open Source

Tuesday 4th of November 2014 03:34:51 AM

The message is clear, there’s never been a better time to write code for a living. Programmers aren’t just coding applications anymore, they are coding networks, data centers, and continuous integration systems. Infrastructure that used to require an up-front investment of millions is available to start out on for free, with a logical, understandable API to access and consume their resources. And behind it all, open source software is powering the new generation.

Remy DeCausemaker published a partial transcript from two keynotes from the All Things Open conference. The first, by Jeffery Hammond, highlights how open source is enabling innovation in the IT field.

Open source is so ubiquitous. Anyone want to go talk to a purchasing officer when they want to spin up another node? That is driving the adoption systemically. We’re seeing the evolution of DevOps, and open source is a driving force for modern application development.

I can attest to the frustration of dealing with vendors. Open source, when used correctly, can free your developers from the bonds of licensing. Proprieatary vendors, especially those who perform arbitrary “audits” of their customers, are alienating the source of their income. Their increasingly hostile behavior is driving organizations building next-generation applications towards open source software.

1 in 5 developers have not used open source software. Even the folks using Microsoft and Oracle are using open source software in some way.

Proprietary software vendors are loosing ground, fast.

We are in a generational tech shift. Modern tech is different than client/server applications. We gotta understand how to use this tech, and elastic architectures that allow us to innovate cheaply. The cheapness of open source is a perfect fit for modern platforms. 4 out of 5 use open source, and it works.

Between the centralization of infrastructure in the cloud, a standard, robust, programmable API, and the proliferation of high quality open source server-side software, new ideas can be tried, iterated on, and pushed to production faster than ever.

With that being said, here’s hoping that the new consumers of open source software also turn out to be good citizens and members of the open source community and contribute code back to the public. It’s one thing to talk about how fantastic open source is because it’s all free, it’s another thing entirely to release your own code as open source.

We are at the dawn of the golden age of open source, and for those that get it, the next few years are going to be very, very good.

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Announcements Flow as the OpenStack Summit Begins in Paris

Monday 3rd of November 2014 04:14:42 PM

This week the OpenStack Summit is taking place in Paris, and there is already related news flowing out of the OpenStack ecosystem. Among other announcements, Internap, which provides Internet infrastructure services, has stated that it is expanding its "OpenStack-powered AgileCLOUD footprint to Amsterdam, providing a highly flexible and cost-efficient public cloud platform to meet the performance and scalability demands of customers in Europe and around the world."

And, Amysta has announced the release of its billing system for OpenStack, which is essentially a revenue management platform. It allows Cloud Service Providers (CSP) to provide their customers with self-enrollment, billing and payment services.

According to Internap:

"Internap is also delivering enhanced choice and flexibility for its public cloud customers with the addition of powerful OpenStack management capabilities via an integrated Horizon dashboard. Horizon is the official OpenStack management dashboard, delivering a web-based user interface to OpenStack services. One of only a handful of OpenStack cloud providers to expose the native Horizon console, Internap now offers customers direct access to advanced OpenStack management functions – allowing customers to use an open and standardized interface they are already familiar with and gain access to the latest features from the open source community."

"We use OpenStack's Horizon dashboard to manage our extensive public cloud footprint with Internap. It gives us the ability to access the latest OpenStack services and manage and automate our cloud resources, along with an extensible framework to easily plug in third-party tools," said Rock Rockenhaus, cloud infrastructure architect at CheapCaribbean.com "By integrating the Horizon dashboard, Internap has eliminated the complexity that customers running their own instance of Horizon need to contend with, such as setting up and maintaining API servers and installing the latest software – delivering the management benefits straight to customers' fingertips and freeing them up to focus on their business."

Amysta's Pierre Vacherand noted the following regarding its OpenStack billing platform: "Hundreds of the world's largest brands rely on OpenStack to run their businesses every day, Amysta will help them to get more visibility on their Cloud usage and reduce their costs."

There are many more OpenStack announcements coming out of the summit in Paris. According to Thierry Carrez, an OpenStack Release Manager:

"OpenStack is at a crossroads. There is plenty of past to reflect on, and plenty of future to discuss. There are a number of processes and structures we need to evolve. There are a number of changes we need to adapt to. I expect this week to be critical in shaping our future successes."

OStatic will keep up with the panels and announcements at OpenStack Paris and report further this week.

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How Will Google Respond as Android's Market Share Peaks?

Monday 3rd of November 2014 04:01:21 PM

According to Strategy Analytics' most recent market share data, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Android mobile platform commanded a whopping 84 percent of global mobile platform market share in Q3 of 2014. The funny thing is, most analysts are taking note of the fact that it actually commanded 85 percent in Q2. In fact, some smart observers are wondering if Android may have finally topped out.

For the quarter that ended in September, Apple held 12 percent market share, while Windows Phone and BlackBerry commanded 3 percent and 1 percent.

But lots of analysts are beginning to wonder where Android can go. One postive answer may be that while its share of the mobile market can't go much higher, the market itself can. As The Wall Street Journal notes:

"Even if Android’s market share doesn’t go any higher, there is still good news for Google. For starters, the market overall is still growing. Strategy Analytics forecasts 12% growth in smartphone shipments in 2015."

"Google also appears to be turning the tide on the growth of so-called Android forks—versions of the mobile operating software that are developed independently and don’t come with Google’s lucrative mobile apps. As a percentage of total Android shipments, forks made up 37% in the third quarter, down slightly from 39% in the second quarter."

Without a doubt, Android has been a barnstorming success for Google. It has steered countless users toward Google's lucrative search/ad ecosystem, and it has ushered in success for other companies, especially Samsung.

Android only began to gain momentum in 2009, and there were early questions about whether it would ever become a viable mobile platform. But it's fair to ask questions about how much attention Google will continue to pay to it if its market share has permanently peaked. 

Remember that Google does not have a business model built on making money selling Android. Rather, it depends on Android steering users toward its tools and properties. Even that is under scrutiny. For example, European regulators are looking at whether Android unfairly keeps users from using non-Google tools and applications.

In all likelihood, the mobile market itself will continue to grow for several years, but it is worth asking what Google's strategy will be now that there is little incremental market share for Android to continue to grab.

 

 

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Systemd is Back, Microsoft Hearts Linux, and Qubes OS

Saturday 1st of November 2014 03:34:45 AM

News seemed a bit slow on this All Hallows Eve, but there was still plenty to highlight. Folks are questioning Microsoft's recent claims to "love Linux." Systemd is back in the headlines with a primer from Chris Hoffman, a Fedora Rawhide systemd warning is in effect, and someone Ask Slashdot if readers could say anything nice about systemd. Jack M. Germain reviews Qubes OS and Larry Cafiero brings "The Wide World of Canonical."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was recently quoted as saying he (and by extension, Microsoft) loves Linux for cloud stuff and part of their cloud effort is running on Linux. Well, that was yesterday. Today folks are asking if they heard correctly. Our own Sam Dean asks if their love extends beyond the cloud stuff - probably not. Simon Phipps today said, "The evidence suggests Microsoft "loves" Linux the same way abusive partners "love" their spouses -- a deep need in one area of the relationship that changes nothing elsewhere." Besides, didn't we hear all this changing of heart stuff before?

Larry Cafiero today posted a humorous look at some of Canonicals claims and numbers. Many of us have heard and questioned the "25 million users in 240 countries" claim, but Cafiero tackles it head on today by saying numbers "may not be Canonical's strongest suit." Cafiero points out there aren't 240 established countries in the world. He concludes, "I'm going to give Canonical the benefit of the doubt and just chalk it up to a simple error, rather than just another case in a long line of misinformation."

Several systemd items appeared in the news this evening. First up, Chris Hoffman has an introduction to this controversial software. He gives a nice little summary with graphics making it (and the controversy) easier to understand.  Then after weighing some of the pros and cons Hoffman concludes, "If Linus Torvalds doesn’t have any big issues with the design of systemd, perhaps it’s not all bad."

This might be too late for Rawhide users but Adam Williamson and Kevin Fenzi have both warned of a "nasty little bug" in the new systemd 217. Williamson said, "It’s probably not a good idea to try and upgrade to Fedora 21 with fedup right now. Don’t do it. Really, don’t." Fenzi said it's been fixed upstream and packages should be available tomorrow. Williamson added it should all be ironed out by Beta Tuesday.  (See comment below for correction).

And finally, Slashdot user samzenpus asked, "Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?" The very first comment is titled, "What Does Systemd Mean to Me?"

In other news:

* Security-Minded Qubes OS Will Satisfy Your Yen for Xen

* Desktop Linux users beware: the boss thinks you need to be managed

* Free-software pioneer says it's all about liberty

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PLUMgrid Delivers Suite of Tools for OpenStack Clouds

Friday 31st of October 2014 03:04:33 PM

This week, PLUMgrid, which specializes in virtual network infrastructure for OpenStack cloud deployments, announced the availability of its Open Networking Suite (ONS) version 2.0 with expanded support for OpenStack distributions and network functions. The company claims that "PLUMgrid ONS for OpenStack is the industry’s first software-only virtual networking suite that provides terabits of scale out performance, production-grade resiliency, and secure multi-tenancy for businesses to build agile cloud networks."

There are more and more dashboards and suites of tools arriving for OpenStack, and some of them will become standardized. According to Awais Nemat, co-founder and CEO, PLUMgrid:

"OpenStack clouds need robust, scalable, and secure networking technologies that are simple to deploy and operate with key distros in the industry. With ONS 2.0, we are partnering with OpenStack distro leaders and providing a comprehensive set of software based networking capabilities for OpenStack users, without any hardware. Additionally, we now give our customers a dramatically simplified deployment experience, one that supports their choice of distro with the advanced container and security features they need.”

PLUMgrid has partnered with leading OpenStack distributions to focus on  compatibility.

In collaboration with Red Hat, PLUMgrid is announcing support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 (RHEL-OSP 5) with ONS 2.0. The support ensures compatibility for customers who leverage functions provided by RHEL-OSP5 and ONS 2.0. In addition to Red Hat, PLUMgrid is partnering with Piston, Mirantis, Canonical and Oracle to support ONS for OpenStack cloud implementations.

So what does the suite of tools offer? It includes a Life Cycle Manager, which purportedly streamlines ONS software installation to rapidly deploy OpenStack cloud networks. Embedded in the Life Cycle Manager is an installer that automatically detects the OpenStack distribution and selects the appropriate ONS software packages to deploy. "The smart installer dramatically reduces the installation effort and time, allowing users to focus on building advanced cloud applications," PLUMgrid claims.

ONS 2.0 also has a portfolio of virtual network functions including routing, switching with Private VLAN, security policies, NAT, and DHCP.

You can visit www.plumgrid.com for more on the suite, and there is a FAQ document found here

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Does Microsoft's New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?

Friday 31st of October 2014 02:44:28 PM

In a recent post, I tackled the question of whether Microsoft has finally, truly warmed up to Linux and open source. After all, new CEO Satya Nadella (shown here) is definitely pushing that notion with his comments on how he "loves Linux" and he even reportedly claims that 20 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based. His stance is a far cry from the stance of former CEO Steve Ballmer, who famously called open source a cancer (and never apologized for the comment).

Simon Phipps, who is one of the world's leading experts on all things open source, has examined Microsoft's purported change of heart in a new column for InfoWorld.  And, on a timely note, Phipps even reminds us of "The Halloween Documents"--a series of confidential Microsoft memoranda on potential strategies relating to open source and Linux that got leaked in 1998.

It's worth remembering The Halloween Documents and the far reaching impact that the leaking of them had. As just one example of their influence, one of the memos was reportedly sent to the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz, and the memo characterized Linux as a giant threat to Microsoft's operating system dominance. Maritz, of course, went on to run VMware for several years, so Microsoft's historical opposition to open source likely didn't stay confined to its own walls.

 Phipps notes that while the Azure cloud division at Microsoft does now appear to be playing nicely with open source, that's not necessarily true throughout the company:

"The best way to gain insight is to observe Microsoft's behavior outside the business units dedicated to exploiting open source. After all, the Azure-related units are bound to play nice because their success depends on it. The rest of the company will reflect its real culture and beliefs without lipstick."

He also points out the following: "While Microsoft doesn't appear to have crowed much about its victims since Hoeft & Wessel two years ago, its strategy of shaking down Android users with broad threats seems to be continuing unchanged."

These are good points, especially if you understand the heterogenous nature of today's cloud environments and server rooms at enterprises. IT managers don't want to be boxed in to using, say, just Windows Server. Specifically, many of them want to run Linux alongside Windows Server, and that means that the Linux kernel and Windows Server need to be able to play together nicely. They also want to be able to run multiple operating systems in the cloud, so Microsoft's Azure cloud supports CentOS, CoreOS, Oracle Linux, Suse, and Ubuntu.

But the cloud computing division doesn't define Microsoft. The company needs to change its stance on open source from the top down, and while Satya Nadella appears to have respect for open source, his vision statement never mentions open source or Linux, which Phipps says is "slightly strange considering their centrality to his future, but a good sign in as much as nothing bad is said."

In a response to my recent post asking whether Microsoft's stance has truly changed, one reader sent the following succinct response: "Yeah, no. This is the 'embrace' stage of Microsoft's classic strategy." That, too, could be true.

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Boycott Linux, Fedora Beta a Go, and Drupal Yikes

Friday 31st of October 2014 03:48:40 AM

The top story tonight is a highly critical flaw in Drupal 7 that may have allowed a lot of compromised websites. At tonight's Go/No-Go meeting, Fedora 21 Beta was approved for next week. The folks at ROSA have released an LXDE version and LibreOffices 4.3.3 and 4.2.7 were released. Red Hat Software Collections 1.2 was released and Jack Wallen looks at the "science behind Ubuntu Unity's popularity."

Many websites today picked up on a "highly critical" public service announcement from the Drupal Security Team. The Register is calling it a "Drupalocalypse." An SQL injection flaw was announced October 15 and within hours crackers were doing their worst. The announcement from Drupal today said if you didn't patch your Drupal 7 website by October 15 11:00 PM UTC, then you should consider it compromised. See the announcement for instructions how to fix it now.

ROSA's default desktop offering is a highly customized KDE that a number of reviewers don't appreciate. Well, grab your boot straps because the ROSA project today announced an LXDE version. They say this unexpected move is due to many requests from the community for a lighter weight option. ROSA R4 LXDE needs 256 MB RAM, six gigabyte partition, and a Pentium IV/Celeron class processor.

Softpedia.com is reporting on a new boycott initiative, this time against our beloved Linux kernel. The philosophical "Rundown" sounds familiar: against Unix philosophy, device tree is a forced dependency, and the kernel is single point of failure. It suggests using Minix instead. Softpedia.com said, "This will not have any visible or real impact on the Linux kernel. The project is too big and too important."

In other news:

* The Document Foundation Announces LibreOffice 4.3.3 and LibreOffice 4.2.7

* The science behind the ebb and flow of Ubuntu Unity's popularity

* Fedora 21 Beta status is Go, release on November 4

* Red Hat Software Collections 1.2 Now Generally Available

* Linux Kernel Finally Being Optimized For SSHDs

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Canonical's OpenStack Offerings to Change the Company's Direction

Thursday 30th of October 2014 03:05:12 PM

Canonical is drawing a lot of attention after unveiling its own Ubuntu OpenStack distribution, and part of the reason is that Ubuntu is already the most popular platform of all for building OpenStack deployments on. That fact was reported in the OpenStack Foundation's survey findings and has been bolstered elsewhere.

As I noted all the way back in May, Canonical is increasingly going to be competing with players like Red Hat and Mirantis in the OpenStack arena.  The Canonical Distribution for Ubuntu OpenStack is billed as offering "the widest range of commercially supported vendor options for storage, software-defined networking and hypervisor from Canonical and its OpenStack partners."

The OpenStack Foundation has reported that its survey results show OpenStack deployments being built on Ubuntu more than half of the time. Canonical is wise to build on that success with its own distribution, but questions still loom about whether the company has the experience supporting enterprise users to craft a well-rounded OpenStack business.

The company does have some advantages. As The VAR Guy notes

"The company is emphasizing the automation and simplified deployment features of its OpenStack distribution, which are the fruit of its investment in homegrown cloud orchestration and management tools, such as Juju, which it has been developing for years, and the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab, another longstanding initiative."

"Packaging [offerings] together allows the company to make its integrated OpenStack offering official, while also, perhaps, playing a more direct role in deciding just how organizations deploy OpenStack on Ubuntu."

Canonical has already added private cloud hosting to its business model. Through a private cloud offering called BootStack, for $15 per day per host, "Ubuntu offers all the software infrastructure, tools, and services you need to have your own cloud at your fingertips."

That offering includes 24/7 support from OpenStack experts. Additionally, Canonical is offering Ubuntu OpenStack training through a program called Jumpstart.

Clearly, Mark Shuttleworth and the gang foresee big growth for open cloud computing. With its OpenStack distribution, training and services, Canonical's line of products has never been so diversified. Let's see if the company can keep all of the balls in the air as enterprises turn to it to build out their cloud infrastructure.

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DreamHost Takes its OpenStack IaaS Platform Out of Beta Tests

Thursday 30th of October 2014 02:51:04 PM

DreamHost has now taken its DreamCompute infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) OpenStack cloud platorm out of private beta testing. The company, with a platform that comes from the creators of Ceph, is set to compete with Amazon and other players in the cloud game.

"DreamCompute is a perfect solution for software developers looking to create development and test environments, full production deployments, and everything in-between," according to the company.

"Users can create unmanaged virtual servers on-demand with DreamCompute. All virtual servers benefit from full tenant isolation, support for IPv4 and IPv6, and users are given full administrator privileges," the announcement adds. "Each DreamCompute tenant receives a virtual OSI Layer 2 switch and is completely isolated at L2 from every other DreamCompute user."

DreamCompute was shown a couple of years ago at OpenStack Summit, where it was positioned as easily scalable and affordable. The beta testing of the platform has taken some time, but many observers will be interested in DreamCompute's focus on working with the open Ceph storage framework. 

As noted by the company:

"User data is stored in a redundant Ceph cluster to deliver excellent performance, reliability, and scalability. OS images are also stored on Ceph and leverage copy-on-write technology for lightning fast boot times. Virtual machines on DreamCompute can be created and operational in as little as 40 seconds."

"We believe your cloud infrastructure shouldn't exist in a 'black box,'" said DreamCompute project lead, Justin Lund, "particularly in the world of open source. We made a conscious decision to provide users access to the OpenStack Compute, Networking, Image Service, Identity, and Block Storage APIs so that developers can use existing deployment tools to get their apps out there. We've gone to great lengths to document the very architecture of DreamCompute to be as transparent as possible with our users. We believe that when the cloud is open, everybody wins."

You can find out more about the DreamCompute nfrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) OpenStack cloud platorm at www.DreamHost.com

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A Good Puppy, Urban Legends, and Kubuntu Plasma 5

Thursday 30th of October 2014 03:58:43 AM

While perusing the nightly newsfeeds the release of Puppy Linux 6.0 was mentioned. Jonathan Riddell said the next release of Kubuntu will feature Plasma 5 and Chris Hoffman is reporting Unity 8 will allow more privacy. And finally tonight, Bruce Byfield has seven reasons LibreOffice is better than OpenOffice.

Puppy Linux used to be quite popular, but these days it doesn't grab the number of headlines it once did. However, the release of 6.0 did garner a few like this one by Brian Fagioli that commands, "Fetch it now." Fagioli says Puppy is good for those wishing to "revive an old computer" and the security conscious. He didn't really go into the technical specifications, but he states it's a version based on "Trusty Tahr binary packages" dubbed "Tahrpup."

PCWorld's Chris Hoffman is reporting that Ubuntu's Unity 8 will remove the Amazon spyware that has privacy advocates up in arms, but says it still doesn't feel like a victory. As he put it, "If Unity 8 makes it into Ubuntu 16.04, the problem will have existed for four years before being (inadvertently?) solved by a rewrite and design change of the desktop environment." Hoffman then added, "It’s definitely an improvement, but not because Canonical necessarily listened to the outcry." In (loosely) related news, Jonathan Riddell posted that Kubuntu 15.04 will feature Plasma 5 if all goes well.

Bryan Lunduke is back with another one of his quirky posts, this time about Linux urban legends for the Halloween season. Remember when former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's declared "Linux is communism" and "Linux is a cancer?" He touches on a couple others as well, so be sure to catch that. In related news, Why Microsoft now loves Linux.

In other news:

* LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice: Why LibreOffice Wins

Why OpenOffice is Better Than LibreOffice: Recognition

* Matthew Miller: Let’s talk about Fedora Project objectives

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YouTube's WatchMe for Android Brings Live Event Streams to Android Apps

Wednesday 29th of October 2014 03:06:36 PM

YouTube has been in the news recently based on reports that it plans to launch paid subscription services, but there is another bit of interesting news about the popular video hosting and streaming company: It has launched an open source project called YouTube WatchMe for Android, available on GitHub, that offers an app designed to facilitate YouTube Live Streaming Events on Android devices.

Basically, this project means that developers can integrate live streaming events into their apps, which is pretty cool and could lead to some compelling new types of apps.  

As 9 to 5 Google notes:

"Developers looking to add extra media capabilities to their software can head over to GitHub to pull down some of the necessary tools to get started. YouTube WatchMe uses the YouTube Data API v3, YouTube Live Streaming API, Google Play Services and Plus API. So you can pretty much tailor it to fit your app’s needs. However, as a small caveat, Google notes that the app is still experimental, so there’s likely to be some growing pains along the way."

There is also a blog post up from YouTube with more information, which adds:

"With the new YouTube WatchMe for Android project, you can easily integrate YouTube Live Streaming into your Android app. YouTube WatchMe brings your app the same live broadcasting capabilities that you've seen in great apps like Live on YouTube – by Xperia and Re – by HTC."

 We expect some cool live event streaming appls for phones and tablets to come of this project. Stay tuned.

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The W3C Pronounces the HTML5 Standard Finalized

Wednesday 29th of October 2014 02:51:04 PM

Web and mobile developers have been leveraging the power of the HTML5 standard for several years now, but it's still a milestone that the World Wide Web Consortium has delivered a finalized, published specification for it. In the final version, new features are introduced to help Web application authors, and "new elements are introduced based on research into prevailing authoring practices," according to the W3C.

HTML 5 was eight years in the making, and while many people think of it as a way to deliver multimedia content and application functionality without depending on proprietary browser plug-ins, it actually serves many more purposes.

Among the many purposes that the web standard serves, it is even driving efforts to innovate with HTML5 televisions.  And scalable vector graphics and mathematical annotations depend on HTML5.

As Computerworld notes:

"The W3C hopes the specification will be a cornerstone for future work in what it calls the Open Web Platform, an even richer set of standards for building cross-platform vendor neutral online applications."

"Moving froward, the W3C is developing specifications for real-time communications, electronic payments and application development. It is also creating a set of safeguards for privacy and security."

Market research shows that nearly half of developers for mobile devices work with HTML5, and Mozilla is just one open source player that was early to embrace the standard. Among other things, Mozilla fought against proprietary DRM technologies being built into HTML5.

While HTML5 has been around, the arrival of a finalized specification opens the door for many organizations that won't work with pre-release standards to begin leveraging its power.

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Makulu for Work and Play, Wget Vulnerability, and Systemd Updates

Wednesday 29th of October 2014 04:05:37 AM

Today in the Linux newsfeeds is Sean Michael Kerner's coverage of a newly reported Wget Symlink Vulnerability. MakuluLinux 1.0 Cinnamon was released today and two community reviews give users a nice introduction. The Systemd debate continues and The Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu OpenStack was announced. And finally today, Bryan Lunduke shares "what it's like living on a Chromebook."

Another day, another flaw is reported, this time in GNU Wget downloading tool. CVE-2014-4877 was published October 27, 2014 but the Wget project was informed in September. The flaw is fixed and upstream packages updated, distributions will be sending out their fixes in the coming days. Kerner quotes the researcher who discovered the flaw saying, "Random bug found by accident, but the implication is that the FTP server can overwrite your entire filesystem."

MakuluLinux 1.0 "Cinnamon" was released earlier today and already two outlets have taken it for a spin. Jamie Watson says you can use Makulu for "serious work" while Craciun Dan says it's a "great choice for gamers." Watson says the installer is improving with more choices and both spoke of the advanced Refracta installer having a "corresponding increase in complexity" and being "not fit for beginners." Watson comments a bit more on the install, boot, and default desktop and Craciun Dan looks at the applications, repositories, and control center.

The Systemd debate hasn't gone away and, in fact, Paul Venezia stoked the embers a bit yesterday when addressing "the two factions tugging at modern-day Linux." He says the uselessd Website has it a bit wrong when they identify the two sides as those modern desktop users and those using "niche" distributions like Slackware or Gentoo. I have to agree with Venezia there, but he says the two sides are actually "desktop users with desktop mindsets and desktop experiences" and server admins. He thinks forking Debian would make sense, but most around the community don't according to Katherine Noyes in today's Linux Blog Safari. In related news, Phoronix today covered the release of Systemd 217.

In other news:

* Ubuntu at 10: All that way for this?

* Synaptic Vs. Update Manager in Linux Mint

* What it's like living on a Chromebook

* Introducing the Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu OpenStack

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Organizations are Rallying Behind an Open Source Internet of Things

Tuesday 28th of October 2014 03:08:54 PM

If you've been reading about the Internet of Things (IoT) market, you may be noticing that it is picking up steam with powerful partnerships and big name companies launching initiatives. Red Hat put up an extensive post recently illustrating that it is very focused on the concept of networking objects of all types, and we've covered the backing that organizations ranging from The Linux Foundation to Microsoft are putting behind the IoT market.

The good news is that as the Internet of Things takes shape, its backbone is likely to be based on open source. 

As the Red Hat post notes, the Internet of Things has implications going far beyond just networking flower pots and devices at home:

"The truth is that the full range of possibilities created by the IoT continues to grow and is now being realized by enterprises across the world. The impact of these technologies are fundamentally revolutionizing the way enterprises do business and are allowing for advancements in productivity which compare with the advent of computing itself. Just imagine the transformation taking place on railways across the country. Where once a conductor manually applied the brakes when he saw a locomotive that was a little too close, rail companies are now operating with centralized systems that know the exact locations and actions of every locomotive in their network. Train speed is automatically adjusted to not only avoid collisions, but to optimize fuel consumption and improve overall efficiency, with the potential to drive an estimated $200m in profit for each 1 mph increase in average fleet speed."

In addition to Red Hat's efforts, The Linux Foundation's Allseen Alliance initiative is billed as "the broadest cross-industry consortium to date to advance adoption and innovation in the 'Internet of Everything' in homes and industry."

Premier level members of the alliance include Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK. Community members include Canary, Cisco, D-Link, doubleTwist, Fon, Harman, HTC, Letv, LIFX, Lite-on, Moxtreme, Musaic, Sears Brand Management Corporation, Sproutling, The Sprosty Network, Weaved and Wilocity. The alliance also includes Microsoft, AT&T Digital Life, Affinegy, GOWEX, iControl Networks, Kii, Muzzley, Patavina Technologies, 2lemetry, Tuxera and Vestel Group, among others.

The Allseen Alliance already has several cool initiatives, including an effort to make lights smarter.

It's worth keeping in mind that the success of The Internet of Things depends on cross-industry collaboration from a wide range of partners, but it also depends on open source, as Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin has written:

"Open source is the ideal, neutral staging area for collaboration that can provide the interoperability layer needed to make the Internet of Everything a reality. When everyone jointly develops and uses the same freely available code, companies can develop innovative services on top of it and get them to market faster. This is why the majority of the consumer electronics industry, the high-performance computer industry, the world’s stock exchanges, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and every Android device rely on the Linux kernel.  Why would all them to try and produce non-differentiating infrastructure software that requires a development pace of 10,000 lines of code a day?"

 

 Gartner predicts that the Internet of Everything or the Internet of Things -- automatic communication and connectivity between a wide range of everyday devices, objects and applications – will infuse $1.9 trillion into the global economy by 2020. That's a tech revolution on par with some of the mobile market drivers of the past several years, and a trend worth watching.

You can keep up with the Allseen Alliance's blog here

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IBM Expands Global Cloud Footprint and Focus on OpenStack

Tuesday 28th of October 2014 02:55:12 PM

Despite a recent poor quarterly results report, IBM appears to be applying even more focus to its cloud services business. The company has announced an expansion of its global cloud network with a new cloud center in Mumbai, India and a new suite of cloud services for OpenStack. And these are just the latest components of IBM's $1.2 billion investment in cloud centers in every major market worldwide.

IBM is introducing IBM Cloud OpenStack Services via the IBM Cloud marketplace. According to the company, "this will enable greater interoperability between existing IT systems and off-premise cloud workloads and provides clients with the means to more easily deploy an OpenStack cloud." 

IBM, along with big players like HP and Oracle and smaller ones like Mirantis and Red Hat, wants a piece of the growing OpenStack cloud market. The IBM Cloud marketplace includes IBM services and services from hundreds of business partners. Through it, businesses can launch a private cloud based on OpenStack and SoftLayer bare metal services, or mix and match other types of cloud deployments. 

IBM is also serving up some customer success stories, one of which surrounds a company called Kona:

"Kona chose IBM Cloud over AWS, Microsoft and Rackspace -- and has deployed a new cloud-based application development service on cloud infrastructure from SoftLayer, an IBM company to help it build dynamic mobile applications that link its customers' back end systems of record with mobile systems of engagement and help them expand globally."

The real differentiator in IBM's strategy, though, is that it is spending money on cloud centers worldwide that will help support 24/7 availability for OpenStack-based and other types of cloud deployments. About the new Mumbai-based center, IBM's announcement notes:

"Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the new, 31,000 square foot Mumbai facility offers an array of solutions including proven cloud resiliency services. These services guarantee customers up times of 99.99 percent across any IT environment, including traditional IT, public, private, or hybrid cloud deployments. In the event of an outage, the center's support team can recover data in minutes to ensure that is has little to no impact on business operations while going virtually unseen by customers."

Time will tell if this strategy pays off for IBM, but judging from its recent results, the company needs to shift away from mainframes and other stagnant parts of its business, and identify growth markets to be in. OpenStack may choose to be a wise choice on that front.

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Ubuntu Reviews, SUSE News, and Red Hat Origins

Tuesday 28th of October 2014 03:44:13 AM

Our top story on this October 27, 2014 is the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. There are a couple of interesting user reviews of recently released Ubuntu 14.10 and Bodhi Linux lives with the release of 3.0 RC2. "Bob Young talks about the origins of Red Hat" and, finally, "The Document Foundation joins the Open Source Business Alliance."

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 was announced today saying it "significantly improves system uptime, operational efficiency and innovation; new SUSE Customer Center simplifies customer interaction." Ken Hess spoke with SUSE execs and has a nice write-up of features and Joab Jackson looks at the system snapshot and rollback feature as well as other interesting tidbits. Katherine Noyes highlights cloud, container, and cloning aspects.

Ubuntu and 14.10 continue to be popular topics around Linuxville today. Some sites are still covering the release and recent anniversary but users are moving on to the results. Linuxed said Ubuntu 14.10 doesn't have much new for the ordinary desktop user and it's too similar to 14.04. Hectic Geek said, "In terms of performance, Ubuntu 14.10 is slightly degraded (except for the power consumption) compared to 14.04 LTS, but is still a stable release." In related news, OMG!Ubuntu! has the results of their user survey and the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 389 was posted today.

Co-founder Bob Young spoke at the All Things Open conference of the early days at Red Hat. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said today if not for Bob Young, Red Hat "might have just been another long forgotten Linux company." Young remembers being told that Solaris was better than Linux, but only Linux let you customize the system to suite your own needs. So that's when he and Marc Ewing decided to start Red Hat and use that fact as their selling point. See the full story for lots more.

In other news:

* Bodhi Linux 3.0 Legacy RC2 Release

* The Document Foundation Joins The Open Source Business Alliance

* Debian Project News - October 27th

* DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 582, 27 October 2014

* Windows 10 will come with a command line package manager, much to the lament of Linux users

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Mozilla Positions Firefox OS as a Competitor to Raspbian for Raspberry Pi

Monday 27th of October 2014 03:09:25 PM

The Mozilla Foundation held its much anticipated festival in England this past weekend, and one of the projects shown off by developers is a port of Firefox OS working with he Raspberry Pi. The diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi devices (shown here), priced at $25 and $35, have quickly won over hackers and hobbyists who are taking Linux in new directions, including even supercomputing.

Now, Mozilla appears to belive its Firefox OS mobile platform can engage developers working on robotics and other applications for Raspberry Pi boards.

Mozilla's wiki lays out four goals for Fxos on Raspberry Pi:

- Be at parity with Raspbian/RPi as a hobbyist environment. Users will be able to read from sensors and control motors, LEDs, solenoids, slave boards, etc. A modified Fx OS for Raspberry Pi will be able to fly a drone;

- Be competitive with other media player OSes available for Rpi;

- Be competitive with other IDEs for FxOS on Raspberry Pi targeted at beginning programmers, like IDLE and Scratch;

- Enable programmers (via DOM/CSS) to develop robotics etc. by building a declarative model of a reactive system. With one type of output device, the actual electronics could be interfaced with. With another type of output device, the model could be simulated on a client computer.

Mozilla also plans to ensure “the custom PiFxOS media player UI will be competitive with other media player OSes available for Rpi” and will deliver robotics development tools.

You can already run Firefox OS as a virtual machine inside the Raspbian OS, as noted here.

You can also check this page for information on running Firefox OS and the Raspberry Pi in tandem. 

Mozilla could be the perfect partner to take the Raspberry Pi to the next level in its evolution. Like the folks who invented the Pi, Mozilla has a good track record at working with open source platforms and projects. It will be interesting to see what it can do with the Pi.

 

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OpenStack Venture Funding Marches On as SwiftStack Secures $16M

Monday 27th of October 2014 02:55:48 PM

If you observe the old adage "follow the money" right now, it seems that you'll be led straight to OpenStack. Today, there is yet more news about venture funding for an OpenStack-focused startup. SwiftStack, which specializes in software-defined storage based on the OpenStack cloud platform, announced that it closed $16 million in funding to scale its efforts to enable storage scalability for the enterprise.

The Series B round was led by OpenView Venture Partners as well as existing investors Mayfield Fund, Storm Ventures and UMC Capital. SwiftStack has now raised a total of $23.6 million.

The news from SwiftStack, of course, comes on the heels of Mirantis' announcement that it has nailed down a massive $100 million Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners. The financing is being billed as the largest Series B open source investment in history. Mirantis specializes in OpenStack services, training and support.

According to SwiftStack's announcement:

"As enterprises brace themselves for the exponential explosion of unstructured data volumes, they are demanding the flexibility and cost advantages that come from open source software and commodity hardware. The object storage market has grown considerably over the last couple years and is forecasted, according to Gartner, to grow at a CAGR of 20% from 2012 through 2016, reaching $456 million by 2016. SwiftStack's software-defined object storage platform, built on the OpenStack Swift object storage engine, and proven track record is positioned to take it on."

"There's been a sea change in the adoption of enterprise storage solutions, and object storage is a front-seat technology poised to be general purpose storage likely to supplant today's use of expensive SAN and NAS devices," said Joe Arnold, CEO of SwiftStack, in a statement. "Our disruptive technology and engagement model will leapfrog traditional enterprise storage software vendors in the race to deliver the storage scalability customers want, the way they want to buy it. With this new infusion of resources we'll be able to significantly scale on our vision to give customers an affordable, scalable, manageable and simple storage solution."

SwiftStack's  technology is used by a number of global companies, including eBay, HP, Time Warner Cable and Pac-12 Networks. 

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