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The Benefit of Open Source IT
Updated: 3 hours 13 min ago

Headless Installation of Raspbian OS

Sunday 19th of November 2017 08:07:15 PM

How to install Raspbian OS on Raspberry Pi without using monitor and keyboard.

I am using Raspberry Pi 3 for a musical light set-up for Christmas. The device is meant to be used in headless mode. However, you do need keyboard, mouse and an HDMI monitor to install and configure an operating system on the Pi.

Can’t I install OS in headless mode so that I don’t have to unplug these devices from my main system so RPi 3 can borrow them for installation.

Yes, we can.

tl;dr: Flash RaspbianOS and `touch ssh` on the root of 'boot' partition of your SDCard.

— Omer Akram (@om26er) November 19, 2017

#1 Download Raspbian OS from the official Raspberry Pi page.

# 2 Download Etcher from the official page and install the application.

# 3 Plug in the mirco SD to your PC. Open Etcher app and browse the downloaded image of Raspbian

In the second step, select the microSD card. Please be extra careful to select the correct USB device. Then hit the ‘Flash’ button and it will start copying files to the micro SD card.

Enable SSH for headless configuration

Your OS is ready but for security reasons Raspbian disables ‘ssh’ by default. We need to enable it. But how can you enable it without booting into the system? There is a neat work-around. All you need to do is place an empty file called ‘ssh’ in the root directory of your newly installed Raspbian OS and it will enable SSH.

Open the root directory of the newly install Raspbian OS on your micro SD card and create an empty file named ‘ssh’, don’t give it any extension. You can easily create a file from the file manager of Windows 10 and desktop Linux, but Finder of macOS is not capable of doing so. That’s where I resorted to using the terminal.

Open the Terminal app and change directory into the micro SD card:

cd /Volumes/path_of_micro_sd_card/

Then create an empty ssh file

touch ssh

Before we unplug the micro SD card, make sure that ssh file is present:

Remove the card from your PC, plug it into a Raspberry Pi, power the pi with 5v USB cable.

In order to ssh into your Pi, you need to know the IP address of the Pi. Either you find it out from your router settings or you can use Pi Finder app to do so. Download the Pi Finder client from the developer and open it. Run the app and it will find the IP address of your Raspberry Pi.

Once you have the IP address, open terminal (now Windows 10 also has support for Linux bash) and ssh into your pi


When asked, provide it with the password for pi


Now you are sshed into pi. The first thing you need to do is run the rasp-config file to configure your system

sudo raspi-config

I am assuming you know how to proceed from there.

Enjoy your pi.


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Sage Sharp talks about increasing diversity in open source

Saturday 18th of November 2017 02:42:54 AM

The Southern California Linux Expo 14x (SCaLE 14x) concluded on January 24 with a keynote from open source developer Sage Sharp (formerly Sarah Sharp), who made waves in October, 2015 with a blog post explaining why they stepped down as a Linux kernel developer. Here are some highlights from their presentation.

Sharp opened their talk by giving a nod to SCaLE for being one of the most diverse Linux and open source conferences. Sharp then called on white males in the audience to repeat after them: “Increasing diversity in open source is my responsibility.”

Sharp explained it is their responsibility because often in the tech world minorities have to shoulder the unpaid emotional work of increasing diversity. “We have to look at our privileges that shows bias. Each of us have identities and skills that society values and some of us have identities that society discriminates against. Recognizing that we have privilege helps us seek out diverse voices,”Sharp said.

Sharp also talked about the popular notion of meritocracy in the open source world. They pointed at a study by MIT that showed that companies that were described as meritocratic had more bias towards men when it comes to salary versus those who were not described as meritocratic.Sharp said that the reason could be that “when an organization describes as meritocratic we make excuses for why there is disparity.”

Sharp urged the audience to reconsider their privilege and unconscious bias and figure out how to increase diversity and bring equality.

Sharp then talked about time. Geeks, for example, need to go into ‘deep hack’mode: when you sit down on your computer for the world to melt away around you and you are absorbed in your work, doing whatever you love doing. And you need uninterrupted time to work. But for a lot of people uninterrupted time is a precious commodity, particularly people who are caretakers looking after children or elderly relatives. A majority of women from different cultural backgrounds work as caretakers because they can’t afford full time care for their children.

Sharp said that in open source project we assume people will invest all of their time into the project, but even if these women want to contribute they can’t give their full time as it’s not a luxury they can afford. So open source projects should consider that and try to be inclusive of such people. Events and conferences can offer childcare so women can come, drop their kids and attend the conference. Linux Foundation, for example, has started offering child care at their LinuxCon event.

Sharp also pointed out that when we go out to hire people we look at their GitHub page, how many commits they have made. But caregivers can’t have that much commitment as they don’t have the luxury of time. Sharp said that next time when you go through resumes don’t set aside the ones you know are minorities and may not have a GitHub account.

There are many companies that are adopting non traditional ways to get people in tech. PayPal, for example, offers Recharge program where they have job offerings for women who have taken a break to take care of family; such programs help them in getting back. There is also a pilot program at Etsy where they are offering coaching, mentoring to new moms so that they can talk about how to juggle their time commitments.

Sharp pointed at another notable problem in the US: access to computers. They said that according to the US Census there is a racial disparity in which households own a computer. Sharp said that African-American and Latino households are less likely to own a computer and even if they do they are not the most powerful computers. Then consider who in the family gets to use it, and in what order of priority.

Access to internet is also a challenge in many emerging economies like India where wired broadband is rare and a majority of people are using mobile Internet where they have to pay for every bit they use.

Open source projects can take these points into consideration to be inclusive of such people. We can create sandboxed servers so people with less powerful computers can test and compile their code on the server. Sharp pointed out that Canonical’s Launchpad bug tracking system takes 10 clicks to file a report. It will be too expensive for an Indian contributor using the mobile broadband to file a bug report.

Sharp said that open source project should consider how they can reduce the development footprint for the users who are on unreliable internet access. Sharp urged that if your project has documentation, please ship with your documentation so that user doesn’t have to go to the internet to access the documentation.

Sharp also talked about bringing new people into open source because a majority of open source projects, like Linux kernel, have an aging developer base. This is a point that was once mentioned during LinuxCon Europe, and it’s serious. “In the open source world we tend to let long standing contributors shoulder a lot of burdens and responsibilities. And as a result they get burned out. We should be focusing on growing new leaders and new contributors to our community,”Sharp said.

In order to create successors, next leaders of your project, you should document how you do releases and other stuff so it’s easy for other people to take over. If you don’t do that the chances are that your project will die as there won’t be the next leader.

In the end Sharp shared their own story of how their dad got them into computers, how their husband assisted them as an ally and how other men such as Andrew Greenberg and Bart Massey brought them to the open source world. Their point was: everyone of us can play a role in increasing diversity in the open source world.

Sharp finished their talk with these words: “Improving diversity in open source community is your responsibility, don’t be a bystander.”

Their talk ended with a standing ovation.

Sharp deserved it.

Ed note: Sarah legally changed their name to Sage in 2017. Originally published in

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CNCF orchestrates standardization around Kubernetes

Thursday 16th of November 2017 07:20:10 PM

Irrespective of what you think about the Linux Foundation, one of the greatest contributions of the organization has been as a catalyst in the standardization of open source technologies, without the bureaucracy of standardization bodies.

The foundation, through its Collaborative Projects, is doing it at code, developer and stakeholder level. While OCI (Open Container Initiative) standardized container runtime and image format, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is now standardizing Kubernetes.

Isn’t Kubernetes open source? Why do we need standardization?

First things first. Kubernetes is a fully open source project created by Google, which was donated to CNCF as an anchor project. It’s an upstream project, so why do they have to worry about standardization? It’s the same code across the board and most Kubernetes consumers/contributors like CoreOS and Docker stick to the upstream version either way.

The fact is, Kubernetes is spreading like wildfire. Everyone is using it, including Docker, Cloud Foundry, Microsoft, AWS, Alibaba, Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical, Mirantis… the list goes on.

Among these players, there are many who don’t consume the upstream project. There are many players that offer Kubernetes distributions with their own patches and tweaks. Most customers consume these Kubernetes distributions.

As these companies take the upstream and ‘polish’ it, there is an increasing risk of different kubernetes instances becoming incompatible with each other. That creates a serious problem of fragmentation and interoperability. It creates the risk of vendor lock-in.

However, that can’t happen. Not under the watch of CNCF. The foundation has launched a certificate program to ensure portability and interoperability across the Kubernetes ecosystem.

“The new Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program gives enterprise organizations the confidence that workloads that run on any Certified Kubernetes Distribution or Platform will work correctly on any other version,” said Dan Kohn, Executive Director, Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

What weight does this certification program really carries?

According to CNCF, a Certified Kubernetes product guarantees that the complete Kubernetes API functions as specified, so users can rely on a seamless, stable experience.

32 major and smaller companies have already committed to the certification program. Some of the big companies include Alibaba, Google, Microsoft, CoreOS, Docker, Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical and many more.

“Docker Enterprise Edition (Docker EE) offers an unmodified version of Kubernetes with the added value of the Docker platform including security, management, a familiar developer workflow and tooling, broad ecosystem compatibility and an adherence to industry standards,” said Banjot Chanana, Head of Product Management for Docker.

Development of the certification program involved close collaboration between CNCF and the rest of the Kubernetes community, especially the Testing and Architecture Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

The Kubernetes Architecture SIG is the final arbiter of the definition of API conformance for the program. The program also includes strong guarantees that commercial providers of Kubernetes will continue to release new versions to ensure that customers can take advantage of the rapid pace of ongoing development. Kubernetes is one of the highest velocity software projects in the history of open source.

“The interoperability that this program ensures is essential to Kubernetes meeting its promise of offering a single open source software stack supported by many vendors that can deploy on any public, private or hybrid cloud,” said Kohn.

Certified Kubernetes implementations are permitted to use the new Certified Kubernetes logo and also are allowed to use the Kubernetes mark in combination with their product name (e.g., XYZ Kubernetes Service).

CNCF is inviting vendors to run the conformance test suite and submit conformance testing results for review and certification by the CNCF. End users should make sure their vendor partners certify their Kubernetes product and can confirm that certification using the same open source test suite.

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Solomon Hykes switches containers, becomes Chief Architect of Docker

Tuesday 14th of November 2017 01:13:51 PM

“I think of myself more as an enabler; more of a coach than a player. It’s pretty fun, actually.” – Solomon Hykes

Solomon Hykes, the founder of Docker has stepped up from the position of CTO and taken a new position of Chief Architect and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors.

It’s more of a strategic position, than operations. Hykes have been working on being one step removed from the technology side of Docker and is contributing indirectly. In my interactions with Hykes, I see him as a visionary and an entrepreneur who looks at the larger picture and tackles bigger challenges that Docker customers face. In a previous interview, Hykes told me, “I think of myself more as an enabler; more of a coach than a player. It’s pretty fun, actually.”

He is now officially a coach.

Docker went through some reshuffling earlier this year when Ben Golub, the then CEO of Docker was replaced by Steve Singh, the former CEO of Concur Technologies Inc.

Docker now has another industry veteran on its board of directors. Kodak CEO, Jeff Clarke, has joined the company’s board of directors.

All these changes are happening as containers are becoming the cornerstone of modern IT infrastructure, and Docker needs to tread carefully as the landscape is changing really fast.

The post Solomon Hykes switches containers, becomes Chief Architect of Docker appeared first on The BenefIT.

Reasons to buy iPhone X

Sunday 12th of November 2017 07:28:41 PM

Smartphones are part of corporate culture, you can’t work without a smartphone. Any professional, especially those who work in IT, can’t live without a smartphone. Calendar, emails and Hangouts/Skype are my life life. I can’t work without them. I am quite certain, that’s the case with you, too!

I am not going to debate which is the better platform – Android or iOS – because I use both to ensure that I am not vendor locked into any of the two ecosystems. In this video I talk about those who are at the fence, contemplating whether to upgrade to iPhone X or buy iPhone 8 Plus.

This is not your typical YouTube review, where you look at specs. I have spent more than a week with the iPhone X and at least a month with the iPhone 8 Plus, before giving my verdict.

The post Reasons to buy iPhone X appeared first on The BenefIT.

How to run Windows apps on Chromebook

Sunday 12th of November 2017 06:16:52 AM

If you still rely on certain Windows applications, you don’t have to keep that Windows laptop around.

As a Chromebook user, you know Windows apps don’t run on ChromeOS; it’s a different platform. In most cases, you don’t need any Windows specific apps, but if there are some corner cases, now you can run some Windows applications on Chromebook.

CodeWeaver is bringing its flagship app CrossOver to ChromeOS. Who is CodeWeaver? It’s the corporate sponsor of fully open source application Wine, which allows users to run select Windows applications on Linux and macOS. CrossOver is based on Wine, with additional patches, features, support and ease of use.

CodeWeaver has been working on a beta of CrossOver for Chrome OS. It has become possible thanks to Android subsystem of Chrome OS, that allows users to run Android applications on Chrome OS.

“With the announcement of support of Android in Chrome OS, suddenly things made a lot more sense,” said Jeremy White, Founder and CEO of CodeWeaver.

The company has been working on Android for the last four years, to bring Windows applications to Android powered devices. However, they realized that you can’t really get the desktop experience on Android phones. “Your fingers can’t operate the menus.   The screen isn’t big enough, and you don’t really want to compose a document with an onscreen keyboard.  It didn’t help that Intel effectively exited the phone and tablet space, and we really need to run on an x86 compatible processor in order to provide a good experience,” said White.

But when Google announced support for Android apps on ChromeOS, CodeWeavers say an opportunity to add another platform to their product. “A Chromebook has a big enough screen.  And a keyboard and a mouse.  And often, an Intel processor.  What’s more, it’s really handy to have Quicken or Wizard 101 or your favorite Windows application right there,” said White.

So how to get started? Just download CrossOver from the PlayStore on your Chromebook and check out the list of available Windows applications. Microsoft Word is certainly one of the most looked after application, and now you can run it on your Chromebook.

Go ahead, try it out and let me know what you think about it.

The post How to run Windows apps on Chromebook appeared first on The BenefIT.

Chinese WeChat is powered by OpenStack

Wednesday 8th of November 2017 01:42:39 AM

WeChat maker Tencent wins the OpenStack Superuser Award and joins the OpenStack Foundation as a Gold Member.

“We have maxed out the OpenStack Foundation memberships, but Tencent brings in a unique use case that will benefit the OpenStack community” – Alan Clark, Chairman of the OpenStack Foundation.

Despite critics claiming otherwise, OpenStack is growing at an incredible rate. At the OpenStack Summit in Sydney Australia, we see a vibrant and growing community that’s consuming OpenStack in so many different ways that it amazes any industry observer. It’s being used all the way from the smaller project to the massive WeChat platform that serves billions of users.

At the first day of the summit Tencent team (the parent company of WeChat) delivered a keynote speech in which they talked about how they are consuming OpenStack to cut cost and scale their infrastructure. Their work around OpenStack bagged them this summit’s Superuser Award.

Some of the key factors that contributed to Tencent’s success with OpenStack include:

• Cuts server costs by 30 percent and O&M costs by 55 percent, saving the company more than RMB100 million each year.

• Shortens resource delivery from two weeks to 0.5 hours

• Optimizes global resource scheduling; for example, the deployment duration of the global mail system has been cut from 10 days to 1 day.

• Supports the development teams of the services that generate tens of billions of revenues for Tencent annually.

Commenting on the work that TenCent has done, Mark Collier, CTO of the OpenStack Foundation said, “This is an amazing story. There are more than 900 million users on WeChat and it’s light years ahead of other chat platforms in other countries. And it runs on OpenStack.”

Tencent has also been accepted as a Gold Member of the OpenStack Foundation. Gold members contribute .025% of their annual revenue to the OpenStack Foundation which is capped at $200,000.  This contribution funds the development of the platform.

“Tencent is committed to the cloud computing market, and OpenStack is an integral component of our strategy to build a complete hybrid cloud service ecosystem for the global market,” said Bowyer Liu, Tencent’s chief architect of TStack Cloud. “Tencent hopes to grow with OpenStack, make valuable contributions to the community, and bring prosperity to the OpenStack ecosystem.”

The foundation now has 8 platinum and 24 Gold members. According to Clark, fiscally, the foundation is in a very healthy state and it will be investing in new areas to help users.

Tencent has been using OpenStack for its TStack private cloud platform since 2013. TStack was created by the company to provide services for internal internal IT and testing environments for the company’s services such as QQ, WeChat and Game.

Today, TStack is also the cloud computing platform Tencent uses to achieve its “internet plus” strategy of providing complete hybrid cloud services for government and enterprises in China.

Currently, TStack is deployed on more than 6,000 nodes in 14 clusters across seven data centers in multiple provinces in China, supporting the Sichuan, Guangdong, Xiamen and Yunnan government clouds.  TStack has been running in production for four years with availability over 99.99 percent and today serves more than 100 million users.

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Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 announced at OpenStack Summit.

Monday 6th of November 2017 10:53:43 AM

At the OpenStack Summit (Sydney), Red Hat announced Red Hat Ceph Storage 3. It’s a major upgrade to the company’s scalable, software-defined object storage platform. This release introduces support for block storage via iSCSI and file storage via CephFS.

With these additions, Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 widens the scope of unified storage in OpenStack and heterogeneous environments, substantially broadening the use cases for the storage platform built for petabyte scale deployments.

“Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 represents a key milestone for OpenStack, VMware, and Windows communities in need of a unified storage solution. With this release, Red Hat lays the groundwork for all software-based storage services to be delivered as containers in the future while helping customers increase agility and shrink deployment costs,” said Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager, Storage, Red Hat.

Like all other Red Hat products, Ceph Storage 3 is also based on the community version of the open source Ceph Luminous project. In 2014, Red Hat acquired Inktank, the company behind Ceph storage. In 2015 Red Hat created a Ceph Community Advisory Board to ensure that Ceph becomes a fully community driven project to enjoy wider adoption and contribution. The advisory board includes members from Red Hat competitors like Canonical and SUSE.

Red Hat said in a press release that Ceph Storage 3 also aims to significantly improve the user experience by helping administrators proactively monitor and troubleshoot distributed storage clusters via a graphical view of usage data for the cluster as a whole, or its individual components.

Ceph 3 comes with a new web-based interface, which includes more than a dozen dashboards, is based on the upstream Ceph Metrics project. This release also adds several other usability enhancements and layers of automation, such as dynamic bucket sharding, designed to help simplify maintenance and lower operational costs.

Some of the major highlights of Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 include:

  •   Enables a large variety of storage needs in OpenStack, helping enterprises fully exploit the scale of the platform for cloud infrastructure deployments without incurring costs of discrete storage systems that need to be procured and managed separately. The introduction of CephFS, a POSIX-compatible, scale-out file system complements the existing block and object storage support provided by Red Hat Ceph Storage for OpenStack. Customers will be able to incorporate storage more effectively with OpenStack for private cloud deployments across a number of use cases including web-scale cloud, Network Functions Virtualization infrastructure (NFVi), and development/compute clouds.
  •   Eases migration from legacy storage platforms through newly added support for the iSCSI interface for wider platform support and increased breadth of use cases, including backup and recovery. This is particularly beneficial to heterogeneous storage environments such as VMware and Windows that lack a native Ceph driver. The iSCSI gateway enables enterprises to use a cost-effective, highly scalable, and integrated block storage platform that can provide the advanced storage features of a traditional Storage Area Network (SAN), while keeping applications in their compute environments.
  •   Deploys enterprise storage in Linux containers for simplified operations and a smaller hardware footprint. Containerized storage daemons enable users to run Red Hat Ceph Storage on fewer servers by co-locating services that previously required dedicated hardware, while avoiding the risk of resource conflicts. Preliminary tests based on a standard Red Hat Ceph Storage cluster configuration showed lowered hardware expenditure by at least 24 percent. This is particularly relevant to telco customers, such as those implementing NFVi, who struggle with hardware and space constraints.

Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 is expected to be generally available in November 2017.

The post Red Hat Ceph Storage 3 announced at OpenStack Summit. appeared first on The BenefIT.

Who is writing Linux?

Friday 3rd of November 2017 12:02:41 AM


Linux kernel is the world’s largest shared technology that’s being created by thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies. Any guesses about how many individuals and companies are involved with the development of Linux?

Since the last report, which was released last year, more than 4,300 developers from more than 500 companies have contributed to the kernel.

We often hear that the kernel community is growing old and not many new people are joining. That seems to be wrong. Within the last year, out of these 4,300 contributors, around 1,670 were first timers. Contrary to popular belief, new people continue to contribute to the kernel.

Ever since Linux moved to Git, the version control system written by Linus Torvalds, more than 15,600 developers from more than 1,400 companies have contributed to the Linux kernel. We now know because Git makes it possible to track contributions.

Out of these 1400 companies, the top 10 commercial contributors include Red Hat, SUSE, Samsung, Google, Intel, Linaro, AMD, Renesas and Mellanox (not in any specific order).

Over the last few years, the number of unpaid developers has been decreasing, whereas the number of paid contributors is growing. What could explain that? Report after report shows that there is a huge gap between supply and demand of Linux skills. Due to the shortage of Linux talent, people get absorbed into companies very quickly. Those unpaid developers become paid developers. That said, there was a minor increase in the number of unpaid developers this year. In comparison to last year’s 7.7% contribution by unpaid developers, this year’s report listed 8.2% unpaid contributions. That’s significantly down from the 11.8% from 2014.

While the balance between unpaid and paid developers seem to be stabilizing, the overall number of developers and companies contributing to the kernel continues to grow.

What’s most incredible is that according to the report, the average number of changes accepted into the kernel per hour is 8.5, a significant increase from 7.8 changes per hour in the last report, which translates to 204 changes daily and over 1,400 weekly. The report noted that the 4.9 and 4.12 development cycles featured the highest patch rates ever seen in the history of the kernel project.

This year’s paper covers work completed through Linux kernel 4.13, with an emphasis on releases 4.8 to 4.13. The last report was released in August 2016 and focused on 3.19 to 4.7.


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