NewsBytes

by Howard Dyckoff and Deividson Okopnik

News Bytes

Contents:

Please submit your News Bytes items in plain text, as a one- or two-paragraph summary plus a URL; we do not publish entire press releases. Submit items to bytes@linuxgazette.net. Deividson can also be reached via twitter.


News in General

lightning boltApacheCon 2011: Open Source Enterprise Solutions, Cloud Computing

28 June 2011 FOREST HILL, MD The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced “Open Source Enterprise Solutions, Cloud Computing, and Community Leadership” as the theme for ApacheCon North America.

ApacheCon is the ASF’s official conference, trainings, and expo, created to explore key issues in using and developing Open Source solutions “The Apache Way”. This year’s event takes place 7-11 November 2011 at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, Canada, with early registration incentives available through 2 September 2011.

Apache products power more than 225 million Websites (over half the Internet) and countless mission-critical applications worldwide, from financial services to publishing to radioastronomy to social networking to biomedicine research datastores to mobile medial applications. More than a dozen Apache projects form the foundation of today’s Cloud computing, and five of the top ten Open Source downloads are Apache projects.

lightning boltOracle to Make Hudson an Eclipse Foundation Project

Proposal Designed to Improve Insight, Predictability and Openness of Hudson Project.

Demonstrating its commitment to the developer and open source communities, Oracle has submitted a proposal to the Eclipse Foundation to create a Hudson project in Eclipse and contribute the Hudson core code to that project.

As part of the process, Oracle will transfer the Hudson trademark and the Hudson-ci.org domain name to the Eclipse Foundation.

Hudson is a industry-leading open source “continuous integration” (CI) server that increases productivity by coordinating and monitoring executions of repeated jobs, making it easier for developers to integrate changes to the project and for users to obtain a fresh build.

“Continuous Integration, and Hudson in particular, have become a key pillar of the modern Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) stack,” said Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop and founder of Eclipse Mylyn.

Under the new proposal, Oracle will be the project lead with Sonatype, Tasktop, and VMware as initial contributors. Other companies are also listed as project supporters. To help ensure that the proposal is in the best interests of the developer and open source communities, Oracle will solicit feedback from the Hudson community to make sure those opinions are heard before any proposal is finalized.

“This is the best possible outcome for the Hudson community – it gives the project a new path forward that benefits the entire Hudson ecosystem, especially its users. We applaud Oracle for moving Hudson to the Eclipse Foundation,” said Jason van Zyl, founder and CTO of Sonatype.

“By establishing a Hudson project at Eclipse and contributing the code and trademarks to the project, we believe that Oracle is acting in the best interest of Hudson and the community,” said Rod Johnson, senior vice president, Application Platform Strategy, VMware. “It’s important that the Java community has an open source CI solution with a broad-based set of committers.”

For more information, go to Hudson CI website.

lightning boltLexisNexis Announces Open Source Big Data Platform

LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced in June that it will offer its data intensive supercomputing platform under a dual license, open source model, as HPCC Systems. Designed to solve big data problems, the platform is built on top of high performance computing technology and has been proven with customers for the past decade. The same week, LexisNexis also announced it was joining the Linux Foundation. HPCC Systems provides a high performance computing cluster (HPCC) technology with a single architecture and a consistent data centric programming language. HPCC Systems is an alternative to Hadoop.

“We believe that HPCC Systems will take big data computing to the next level,” said James M. Peck, chief executive officer, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “We’ve been doing this quietly for years for our customers with great success. We are now excited to present it to the community to spur greater adoption. We look forward to leveraging the innovation of the open source community to further the development of the platform,” said Mr. Peck.

To manage, sort, link, and analyze billions of records within seconds, LexisNexis developed a data intensive supercomputer that has been proven for the past ten years with customers who need to process large volumes of data. Customers such as leading banks, insurance companies, utilities, law enforcement and federal government leverage the HPCC platform technology through various LexisNexis® products and services. The HPCC platform specializes in the analysis of structured and unstructured data for enterprise class organizations.

HPCC Systems will initially release a virtual machine for the community to test, in addition to documentation and training. Full binaries will be released in several weeks and the source code will be released in a few more weeks after the binaries. HPCC Systems will have two offerings: the Community Edition which includes free platform software with community support, and the Enterprise Edition, which includes platform software with enterprise class support. Enterprise Edition customers will also have the option to acquire advanced modules and features.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions will not release its data sources, data products, the unique data linking technology, or any of the linking applications that are built into its products. These assets will remain proprietary and will not be released as open source.

HPCC Systems can process, analyze, and find links and associations in high volumes of complex data significantly faster and more accurately than current technology systems. The platform scales linearly from tens to thousands of nodes handling petabytes of data and supporting millions of transactions per minute. HPCC Systems is comprised of a single architecture, a consistent data-centric programming language, and two processing platforms: the Thor Data Refinery Cluster and the Roxie Rapid Data Delivery Cluster.

The core of the technology platform is the Enterprise Control Language (ECL), which is a declarative, data-centric programming language optimized for large-scale data management and query processing. The expressiveness of the language enables data analysts and developers to define “what” they want to do with their data instead of giving the system step-by-step instructions. As a result, developers can express complex queries and transformations with less programming time and fewer lines of code than other conventional programming languages. ECL specifications will be released under a Creative Commons license.

The Thor Data Refinery Cluster is responsible for ingesting vast amounts of data, transforming, linking and indexing that data, with parallel processing power spread across the nodes. The Roxie Rapid Data Delivery Cluster provides scalable, high-performance online query processing and data warehouse capabilities.

For more information, visit HPCCSystems.

lightning boltGartner and Forbes Find Expectations of IT’s Strategic Contribution Will Double for 2012

More boards of directors are expecting high to extremely high strategic contributions from IT in In the midst of tough economic times, according to a Gartner-Forbes 2011 U.S. Board of Directors Survey. The expectations of “high” to “extremely high” strategic contributions of IT climbed from 32 percent of survey respondents for 2010 to 66 percent for 2012.

From October to December, Gartner and Forbes surveyed 96 company directors. The Gartner Forbes 2011 U.S. Board of Directors Survey was designed to gain insight from a group that has low visibility to IT and business leaders, yet is ultimately held accountable for the performance of the corporation. The survey examined the key business issues and priorities of a sample of directors from companies with revenues over $1 billion, their view of what is ahead for their businesses, and their expectations for IT’s strategic contribution to the business.

“The pursuit of higher impact for IT in an environment of budget constraint is one that insists on rewriting the rules for how IT acts,” said Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “…[This is] where the IT organization takes a leadership position to rewrite the rules of competition for the industry. To meet the expectations that have risen will require rethinking about how IT operates,” Mr. Lopez said.

While 73 percent of board directors surveyed believe that the economic situation is tough and will remain so for the foreseeable future, 51 percent said they are still focused on growing revenue. The tension between these two views means that CIOs will need to plan for the systems that will be required for growth but build in flexibility should circumstances change amid high levels of uncertainty.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Executive Advisory: Gartner Forbes 2011 U.S. Board of Directors Survey: IT Expectations Rise Dramatically for 2012.” The report is available on Gartner’s website.

lightning boltThe Linux Foundation Announces LinuxCon Program

The Linux Foundation has published the complete LinuxCon program and schedule and has announced that Linux creator Linus Torvalds will participate in an interview-style keynote with Greg Kroah-Hartman. The conference takes place August 17-19, 2011 in Vancouver, B.C. Also included is the co-located MeeGo Mini-Summit which will address MeeGo netbook and tablet applications and device development.

The LinuxCon event will host the formal 20th Anniversary of Linux celebration, which includes the LinuxCon Gala taking place the evening of August 17 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. It will also host a “20 Years of Linux” panel that will include Linux and open source luminaries Jon “maddog” Hall, FOSS veteran and advocate, and Eben Moglen, Software Freedom Law Center founder. The Linux Foundation’s Executive Director Jim Zemlin will moderate the exclusive panel.

Among many session highlights for this year’s LinuxCon North America program will be “How to Set a Broken ARM,” presented by Grant Likely from Secret Lab, who will explore the current state of ARM and the Linux development community;

Early bird registration ends July 8, 2011. For more information and to register, please visit the LinuxCon Website.

lightning boltOPEN VIRTUALIZATION ALLIANCE Created at OSBC

In a session at the close of the annual Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), a group of virtualization vendors other than VMware formed a consortium to complement and promote the existing open source communities managing the development of the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)hypervisor and associated management capabilities.

The consortium will promote examples of customer successes, encourage interoperability and accelerate the expansion of the ecosystem of third party solutions around KVM, providing businesses and government improved choice for in-house virtualization.

The Open Virtualization Alliance will provide education, best practices and technical advice to help businesses understand and evaluate the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor.

In June, Nimbula joined with OVA founding companies BMC, Eucalyptus, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, and SUSE. KVM is built into current versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Nimbula Director will support Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2.

The Open Virtualization Alliance’s goals are to:

  • Increase overall awareness and understanding of KVM;
  • Foster the adoption of KVM as an open virtualization alternative to proprietary solutions;
  • Accelerate the emergence of an ecosystem of third-party solutions around KVM;
  • Encourage interoperability, promote best practices, and highlight examples of customer successes.

As a core component in the Linux kernel, KVM leverages hardware virtualization support built into Intel and AMD processors, providing a robust environment for hosting Linux and Windows virtual machines. KVM naturally leverages the rapid innovation of the Linux kernel (to virtualize both Linux and Windows guests), automatically benefiting from scheduler, memory management, power management, device driver and other features being produced by the thousands of developers in the Linux community.

Members of the Open Virtualization Alliance have a common interest in supporting open virtualization, and are involved in the development, distribution, support or use of KVM or offerings which use it. By providing an open virtualization alternative, they are offering their clients choice in virtualization products for their business needs.

“Eucalyptus Systems has a clear focus on enterprise cloud computing, so we are thrilled to be an early member of the Open Virtualization Alliance to advance enterprise-ready open virtualization solutions,” said Rich Wolski, Eucalyptus Systems CTO. “With Eucalyptus, users can transform their hypervisor environments into a powerful private cloud, and there are already thousands of KVM-based Eucalyptus private cloud installations..”

“No matter what virtualization solution is chosen by our customers, the Intel strategy remains the same – to help ensure their choice runs best on Intel architecture,” said Doug Fisher, vice president, Software and Services Group, and general manager, Systems Software Division at Intel. “KVM offers an open source alternative for virtualization that takes immediate advantage of the Linux device driver work Intel does, which helps KVM track the rapid improvements we make in our products.”

“When one company dominates an industry, innovation suffers, and customers pay the price,” said Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager, Cloud Business at Red Hat. “Red Hat and the open source community are breaking the stranglehold of closed virtualization, enabling better performance, scalability, security — and better economics. We’re pleased to see momentum continue to build, changing the virtualization market just as we did with closed operating systems and enterprise middleware.”

For more information, visit the Open Virtualization Alliance website.


 

Conferences and Events

 

Cisco Live, U.S.
July 10 – 14, 2011
http://www.ciscolive.com/us/.
Cloud Identity Summit
July 18-21, Keystone, Colo.
http://www.cloudidentitysummit.com/index.cfm.
20th USENIX Security Symposium
August 10-12, 2011, San Francisco, CA
http://www.usenix.org/sec11/.
LinuxCon North America 2011
August 17 – 19, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, Canada
http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon.
NoSQL NOW!
August 23-25, Jose, California
http://nosql2011.wilshireconferences.com/.
VMworld 2011
August 29-September 1st, Venetian, Las Vegas, NV
http://www.vmworld.com/index.jspa.
Storage Decisions New York
September 19, New York, NY
Semantic Technology Conference – LONDON
September 26-27, Hotel Russell, London
http://semtechuk2011.semanticweb.com/index.cfm.

 

Distro News

lightning boltFedora 15 Released with Gnome 3, Btrfs

In late May, the Fedora Project released Fedora 15, the ‘first’ stable distro to come with Gnome 3 as its default desktop environment.

Fedora is a bleeding edge GNU/Linux-based distribution which comes with the latest software packages for enthusiasts and dare-devils to try. However, Fedora can also be used by average users interested in learning more aboutGNU/Linux systems.

Fedora 15l gives users a distro which allows them to explore Gnome 3 with the stability that a Fedora distro offers. Fedora 15 is also introducing Btrfs as a menu item in the installer (only for non-live images – live images support just Ext4) and does not require passing a special option to the installer as in the previous releases. Btrfs availability has moved up a notch as a incremental step towards the goal of Btrfs as the default filesystem in the next release of Fedora.

BoxGrinder is an included set of tools for making appliances, typically used in virtualized environments, or for use in a cloud environment. It grinds out a preconfigured disk image, including the operating system and required software ready for deployment and can deliver the appliance to a targeted location. BoxGrinder originated in the JBoss Community and marks the first time a JBoss Community project has been included in Fedora.

Fedora 15 comes with Indic typing booster, a predictive input method for the ibus platform. It suggests complete words based on partial input, and users can simply select a word from the suggestion list and improve their typing speed and accuracy.

Live images in this release use XZ compression instead of gzip as in older releases, making them smaller (about 10%) to download or providing more space for applications.

Fedora 15 includes a redesigned version of powertop and newer versions of tuned and pm-utils for better power management. The tuned package contains a daemon that tunes system settings dynamically to balance between power consumption and performance. It also performs various kernel tunings according to a selected profile.

For more information on Fedora 15, to download the distribution or to join this community effort, visit the Fedora Project website..

lightning boltVinux 3.2 for Visually Impaired Users

Vinux 3.2 is now available. Based on Ubuntu 11.04. this is a cutting edge release featuring the latest versions of Orca (3.1.2-xdesktop) and Speech-Dispatcher (0.8~2784+13~maverick1) from daily builds.

Vinux iwas originally a remastered version of the popular Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. It is now based on Ubuntu 11.04.

By default Vinux provides three screen-readers, two full-screen magnifiers, global font-size and colour changing facilities as well as support for USB Braille displays. Booting the live CD, users will be greeted by the Orca reader/magnifier which enables the graphical Gnome desktop using keybindings, as well as providing full screen magnification if required. For those who prefer a simple text based console, there is the Speakup screen-reader. A second full-screen magnifier is provided by the Compiz Window Manager, which uses 3D technology to allow you to magnify and navigate the whole screen using the mouse, or move a resizable virtual magnifying glass around the screen. The Gnome Desktop Manager itself provides global key bindings to change the font size and/or the colour scheme on the fly. Finally, Brltty provides Grade 1/2 Braille output via the Orca screen-reader. By default all of the screen-readers use the same Espeak Speech Synthesizer via Speech-Dispatcher which provides a seamless experience for the user when switching from one screen-reader to another!

This version is available as CD and DVD in both 32 and 64 bit editions. The DVD version provides the same software as the CD but with the addition of libreoffice and some non-free multimedia codecs etc. The default desktop is Classic Gnome 2.x but Unity is available from the GDM login screen if your video card supports 3D.

The 3.2 release includes the Pico TTS voices in addition to Espeak, the Epiphany Internet Browser and built-in keybindings to quickly organise multiple windows with x-tile. It also features new packages including Orca-Teacher, Talking Clock and CDBurn. Version also plays a system bell when the isolinux boot screen appears allowing users to select different boot options including an experimental ‘toram’ mode. There is also a Vinux 3.2 PLUS edition which features extra packages for partially-sighted users.

There are now more text tools on the CD edition including: sox gpm screen, splitvt, figlet, cmatrix, txt2html, html2text, pdf2svg, pstotext, units mc, trash-cli, vrms, dict, sc, htop, linuxinfo, w3m, elinks-lite, urlview, finch, axel, calcurse, tdl.

Vinux can be downloaded here.

lightning boltNew Version of Just Enough OS released in June

The newest version of Just Enough OS is JeOSS-U-LTS-8.04.3 and is available from JeOSS website.

The JeOS (Just enough OS) concept was introduced in 2007 with Ubuntu JeOS 7.10, then in 2008 as a variant of Ubuntu’s LTS (Long Term Support) Server v8.04. At that time JeOS was a small version of Ubuntu’s server OS, including a virtual kernel tuned for virtual appliances.

The current Jeoss is a very compact size for a real server kernel re-targeted for supporting and being directly-installable even on legacy, limited resource, and embedded x86 (32bits) platforms.

Jeoss in a Nutshell:

  • x86 (32bit) i586 (not PAE required) Low Latency Server kernel;
  • Simple and direct installation even on Headless and/or DVD/CD drive-less platforms;
  • Direct installation on Flash devices (Pen Drive, Compact Flash, SD, HDSD, etc);
  • Full PXE Network install support;
  • Full Serial & SSH Console install support;
  • No Internet connection required during install.;
  • Full Install ISO image 136Mb;
  • 128MB required RAM.


Software and Product News

lightning boltGoogle Launches All Web ChromeBooks

During May’s Google IO developer conference, the first netbooks using the Linux-based ChromeOS were announced from Acer and Samsung. This was a public follow up from the very public beta of ChromeOS netbooks kicked off in December. One of the morning keynotes was dedicated to describing the new netbooks and their features. In June, the ChromeBooks finally shipped and were available for purchase from Amazon and Best Buy. Amazon actually sold out of Samsung Chromebooks in the first week.

Linux Gazette’s correspondent Howard Dyckoff received a beta unit and describes the Chromebook universe in a main article in thie issue of Linux Gazette.

lightning boltProtecode Announces Real-time Open Source License Management

Protecode, a provider of open source license management tools, is now offering its Developer Assistant to the developer community worldwide, supporting all operating systems and software development tools. Previously only available for the Eclipse Integrated Development Platform (IDE), this solution operates unobtrusively in the background and requires no training for developers.

Developer Assistant is a real-time analysis solution that manages licensing and copyright obligations at the earliest point in a software development lifecycle. Operating at the developer workstation, it uses the code analysis services of Protecode’s Enterprise Server and compares the code structure of a file to signatures of millions of files stored in Protecode Global IP Signatures (GIPS). There, it identifies the licensing and copyright obligations of the file and provides instant feedback to the developer as the code is put together or brought in from the Internet, an external storage device or a corporate repository.

“Detecting open source licenses as soon as the code is brought in or put together reduces cost and time associated with fixing related problems later down the road. Developer Assistant is the only solution currently on the market to detect open source and other third party code in real-time,” says Kamal Hassin, Vice President of Product Management, Protecode.

Running in the background of a developer station with other components of Protecode’s System 4 solution, the Developer Assistant manages external content based on corporate license policies. Developers are immediately notified if a software file contains unacceptable open source or other third party content; developers can fix the problem on the spot, choose to ignore the warning (knowing that the violations are also caught by other System 4 components), or attach a comment to the violating software file. System 4 stores and manages all comments against the files and projects, maintaining a record of the events.

Protecode showcased its Developer Assistant at the Open Source Business Conference in May in San Francisco. To view a demo video of Protecode’s Developer Assistant visit Protecode’s website.

About Howard Dyckoff

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks. Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

About Deividson Okopnik

Deividson was born in União da Vitória, PR, Brazil, on 14/04/1984. He became interested in computing when he was still a kid, and started to code when he was 12 years old. He is a graduate in Information Systems and is finishing his specialization in Networks and Web Development. He codes in several languages, including C/C++/C#, PHP, Visual Basic, Object Pascal and others. Deividson works in Porto União's Town Hall as a Computer Technician, and specializes in Web and Desktop system development, and Database/Network Maintenance.
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