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Timely FOSS Training and Tutorial Resources for Year's End

Tuesday 16th of December 2014 04:07:05 PM

It's that time of year, when many bloggers and authors round up their favorite open source tutotials and educational resources. has a nice roundup of tutorials that showed up this year, including a tutorial in which Jiri Folta explains how to use an instance of ownCloud to integrate Dropbox or Google Drive with the GNOME desktop.

One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It's an ongoing and ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software.  It has some notable new tutorials out, and in this post you'll also find some of our best liked tutorials overall.

Melange is a very interesting software platform that is used to manage Google Summer of Code. FLOSS Manuals has a complete tutorial for it here, and what is notable about it is that it can be adjusted to manage projects, competitions and more.

Meanwhile, you can find a fabulous tutorial for live blogging in real time here.  Live Blog was created primarily for journalists but can be used by anyone as an open source web tool to report live breaking news from anywhere, working only in a web browser.

For the video-focused crowed, FLOSS Manuals also has an interesting guide to independent video hosting.  The guide can give guidance to those who want to reduce their reliance on services like YouTube and Vimeo.

As notes:

"One of the hottest technologies right now is OpenStack, a set of software tools for building and managing cloud computing platforms. OpenStack is very flexible, as's Jason Baker explains. In this tutorial, Baker takes you through getting WordPress 4.0 up and running on an instance of OpenStack."

"A technology that's closely tied to OpenStack is Docker. Chances are you've heard more than a little about Docker. You might even be eager to get working with it. To ease yourself into it, you'll want to dive in with this tutorial on getting started with Docker by Vincent Batts."

 Here are some more tutorials that are worth your time:

Plumi. Plumi is a free Content Management System (CMS) designed for video-sharing, based on Plone and produced by EngageMedia. Plumi enables you to create your own video sharing site; by installing Plumi on your web server your can use a wide array of functionality to facilitate video distribution and community creation. Features include video podcasting, server-side flash/ogg transcoding and embedded playback, open content licensing, a sophisticated publishing workflow and large file uploading via FTP. You can find a compete manual on FLOSS Manuals, here.

Freedom Fone. Freedom Fone is a communications tool with origins in Zimbabwe. “While the Internet in Zimbabwe has become more accessible, it is still available only to a minority, urban-based audience,” say Freedom Fone community members. “Mobile phone usage on the other hand has grown exponentially with over 50% of the population - including many who live out in remote rural areas - currently subscribed to mobile networks.” Freedom Fone allows anyone with a phone to access or contribute information on a specific issue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A manual makes clear how it can be of use to small- and medium-sized businesses.

GIMP for Graphics. If you work with graphics, or if you want to start doing so, you may already use GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications, or you have it on your radar. GIMP is so powerful that it can be daunting for new users, and FLOSS Manuals has an excellent getting started guide available for it, here. Once you've mastered your GIMP basics, you can find even more guidance in the free online guide in Grokking the GIMP.

Firefox in a Nutshell.  Floss Manuals' Firefox in a Nutshell guide is available now, and is a comprehensive guide to the one of the most popular open browsers. It covers installation, of course, but delves into intelligent use of tabs and dedicates solid coverage to installing extensions--one of the big advantages Firefox offers. 
For example, the guide has a straightforward discussion of how to use FireFTP, an extension for Firefox that makes it easy to send and receive very large files.  If you use another browser and have wanted to dablle in Firefox, this guide is worth getting and totally free.

Etherpad.  Etherpad is a real-time collaborative editor for Linux that can be used for taking minutes during online or offline meetings, recording real-time or asynchronous text-based planning of projects, and more. It's popular as a quick-in, quick-out way to record thoughts. You can get FLOSS Manuals' free guide to it now. Etherpad is basically a rewrite of a different but similar application called "EtherPad," with the newer version being more compact. The FLOSS Manuals guide covers how to create pads, how to chat about pads with other users, and delves into other collaboration features. Especially if you work with others on brainstorming, this little application is worth checking out.

Want more free guides to cool applications from FLOSS Manuals? Here are some others worth looking into:

Jubler. Do you create and work with video files, perhaps using tools such as VLC Media Player?  If so, you may be interested in Jubler, a FOSS tool for creating and translating subtitles that you can use with Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. (It uses MPlayer for playback.) FLOSS Manuals has a visual guide to getting started with Jubler, available here

BlueGriffon.  OStatic has covered tools for web developers and editors a number of times. Powered by Gecko, the rendering engine Mozilla used in Firefox for years, BlueGriffon is an open source, cross-platform web editor with outstanding WYSIWYG interface options. You can use it on Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. Because it's based on Gecko, BlueGriffon is especially good for building pages that will look great in Firefox. Check out FLOSS Manuals' visual tour of BlueGriffon, here.

Chromium. You may very well use Chromium as your browser, and if you do you're in luck. One of the newest guides on FLOSS Manuals is a complete guide to Chromium--the open source core of Google's Chrome browser. The guide walks through the differences between Chromium and Chrome, provides installation guidelines for all major operating systems, and much more.




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Cloud Foundry Foundation: A Smart Move for VMware

Tuesday 16th of December 2014 03:52:47 PM

In a move that parallels some smart moves made by Red Hat in the cloud computing space, VMware has launched an independent foundation supporting its Cloud Foundry platform. The Cloud Foundry Foundation is focused on VMware's own Platform-as-a-Service offering of the same name, but will concentrate on fostering an ecosystem surrounding Cloud Foundry. In this game, as Red Hat has shown with its efforts surrounding OpenStack, partnerships will be everything.

The Cloud Foundry Foundation is a nonprofit entity and will be managed as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project governed by a team of open source experts from founding Platinum Members EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP and VMware. In the world of tech, those are some pretty big names.

If you've watched Red Hat pursue partnerships surrounding OpenStack and support the OpenStack Foundation, you've seen how that ecosystem-focused strategy has paid off for the company. It has reported a string of positive financial results, and executives have attributed that to the growing cloud business.

As Dana Blankenhorn notes on Seeking Alpha:

"By supporting the OpenStack foundation, originally backed by Rackspace, with talent, Red Hat made itself an indispensable partner to companies seeking to build their own clouds, with a top-line growth rate that would be the envy of an and steady profits exceeding 10% of revenue."

Cloud Foundry has the potential to be a big success for VMware in terms of pursuing open goals. Historically, the company has focused heavily on proprietary technology but that must change.

Just as Red Hat has built a good business model around providing paid support for open source software, partnerships can help Cloud Foundry beome a PaaS standard, and VMware could build a solid business around supporting it, along with training.

The Cloud Foundry Foundation is also implementing a new approach to open source development called Dojo. This offers developers a unique “fast track” for commit rights, which often take more than a year to gain in a major project. A certification program will also be introduced in the new year to ensure consistency and compatibility across Cloud Foundry-branded products and services.

You can find out about recent developer and technical contributions to Cloud Foundry here, including work surrounding Docker and containers. 

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2015 Predictions and Coming Attractions

Tuesday 16th of December 2014 04:56:01 AM

As 2014 draws to a close a few folks are looking ahead to 2015. Jack Wallen pens his predictions for Linux next year. Phoronix has gathered a few Fedora 22 tidbits and OMG!Ubuntu! has some for Ubuntu 15.04. reviews Kali Linux and the Hecktic Geek tests Fedora 21. And finally today, Dedoimedo picks his top Xfce distro of the year.

There really was a lot of news out today but let's start with Jall Wallen's 2015 Linux predictions. He doesn't really make any big bold prognostications but says, "I believe that the year 2015 will remain quite stagnant for Linux on the desktop." This is because Ubuntu will be keeping its focus on their smartphone system. He adds that Chrome/Android hybrids Evolve OS and Quantum OS could be the future for Linux replacing our outdated desktops like "Cinnamon, Mate, XFCE, LXCE."

Fedoras 21 and 22 continue in the news. Pierre-Yves Chibon today blogged about some of the traffic seen from the release of Fedora 21. On Fedora 21, today the Hectic Geek said it was well worth the wait and that the GNOME desktop was wonderful. Although he found a few issues, he concluded that folks should give it a try. Additionally, the Linux Action Show spoke with Fedora developers about Fedora 21 and stuff yesterday as well.

Since our initial coverage last week, Phoronix has posted of some feature proposals in the works. Michael Larabel wrote that some new features may include UEFI Secure Boot Blacklist Updates and a pre-upgrade assistant (to assist in upgrading).

OMG!Ubuntu!'s Joey-Elijah Sneddon wrote that Ubuntu 15.04 will upgrade to GTK 3.14 bringing "the latest and greatest." He says that's not only good news to developers but also users because their apps will be pretty again. Several favorites can ship with their most recent interface updates or get some. Basically, all GNOME apps in Unity on Ubuntu 15.04 should be prettier he said. In related news, Danny Stieben today looked at how far Ubuntu has come in 10 years.

The Linux Mint project today announced that some of their servers are seeing heavy traffic and will probably experience significant delays. They are urging users to switch mirrors in their Software Sources until the crisis is resolved. In other Mint news, those of us waiting for the updated images or system updates for our KDE versions will probably have to keep waiting into the new year because of the holidays and persistent bugs.

In other Linux news:

* Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 - a desktop Debian distribution (in this week's DWW)

* Kali Linux review

* Best Xfce distro of 2014

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Google's Software Removal Tool Keeps Chrome Humming Properly

Monday 15th of December 2014 04:42:05 PM

One of the ways in which Google has been preserving the purity of its Chrome browser is to carefully police what kinds of extensions will work with it. In late 2013, Google decreed that the longstanding Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI), which extensions have worked with for many years, is the source of many problems. Google has also delivered an update on its plan to remove NPAPI from Chrome.

But there are also a lot of sketchy applications out there, and they can cause performance problems with Chrome as well. With that in mind, Google is out with the free, beta version of its  Software Removal Tool, which works on Windows at the moment. According to Google, it will “scan and remove software” that may cause problems with the Chrome browser. You just download and install it, and then you can launch it to perform scans on an ongoing basis.

Not only does the tool catch sketchy applications, but it detects homepage takeover tools and other borderline malware offerings that float around online.

One thing to beware of if you use the tool is that it can make it slightly too easy to reset all Chrome settings back to the default state. 

In addition to the Software Removal tool, Google plans to block all NPAPI plugins by default in January 2015, and remove support entirely in September of 2015.

According to the company:

"Currently Chrome supports NPAPI plugins, but they are blocked by default unless the user chooses to allow them for specific sites (via the page action UI). A small number of the most popular plugins are whitelisted and allowed by default. In January 2015 we will remove the whitelist, meaning all plugins will be blocked by default."

"In April 2015 NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome and we will unpublish extensions requiring NPAPI plugins from the Chrome Web Store. Although plugin vendors are working hard to move to alternate technologies, a small number of users still rely on plugins that haven’t completed the transition yet...n September 2015 we will remove the override and NPAPI support will be permanently removed from Chrome. Installed extensions that require NPAPI plugins will no longer be able to load those plugins."


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Wipro, SUSE Work Together on OpenStack Cloud Tools, Services

Monday 15th of December 2014 04:30:29 PM

Wipro Ltd. has announced that it has jointly developed with SUSE an OpenStack cloud solution based on Wipro's own open source cloud tools and SUSE Cloud, SUSE’s enterprise OpenStack cloud platform which is integrated with a cloud management layer, stitching private and public cloud layers together. Here are more details.

Wipro has devised an end-to-end OpenStack Cloud Reference Architecture, which is focused on hybrid clouds.  It is designed to leverage standard hypervisors and storage solutions with Software Defined Network solutions in the architecture as well.

According to Wipro:

"Wipro and SUSE’s joint OpenStack cloud solution has the ability to allow unified Application Programming Interfaces (API) across private and public Clouds and can be tailored for private cloud implementation as it adds elasticity and agility to the existing IT infrastructure. This next-gen Hybrid cloud solution stack supports compute-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service and network function-as-a-service."

According to Anuj Bhalla, Wipro's Vice President and Global Business Head, System Integration and Maintenance Services, Wipro Ltd.: “We have been working with SUSE to create a cloud business continuity system in order to ensure higher availability of services, using the OpenStack cloud platform. Together, with SUSE Cloud and our industry leading Open source practice, our aim is to create a suite of flexible open source cloud solutions that will transform the customer’s business in a tangible and rapid way. Through this joint approach, we are confident of creating a pool of Hybrid Cloud trained resources and are investing in joint engineering efforts to enhance the existing OpenStack cloud solution.”

Wipro and SUSE’s joint hybrid Cloud solution also supports on-the-move auto scaling of provisioned virtual machines and has the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another leveraging. The solution also brings budget and billing controls into a self-service portal, aimed at enterprises.

As we've reported, SUSE has been steadily building out its cloud tools, focused on OpenStack.  For more information on SUSE Cloud, visit  It is an open source, enterprise cloud computing platform, but comes at a fee with its fulll set of services and pricing found here


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LibreOffice 4.2.8 and Other Must-have Apps

Saturday 13th of December 2014 04:13:15 AM

The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.8, the final update to the 4.2 branch. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols brags on his favorite Linux applications and Chema Martin says "Fedora 21 absolutely rocks." And finally today, Chris Hoffman said "2014 shattered the myth of Linux impenetrability."

No doubt it's been a rough year for those patching for security flaws and Chris Hoffman said it "proved that Linux lovers still need to pay at least some attention to their system's protection." After reviewing this week's Linux Turla, Hoffman then discusses some of's issues. After throwing in Shellshock for good measure, he reminds us to patch our systems and concludes, "Be humble when talking about Linux's security or you may find yourself with egg on your face."

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said today, "With the right applications, a Linux desktop is every bit as good as either of the two mainstream desktop operating systems." He also threw in, "In addition, I don't need to worry about anti-virus software since, despite all the FUD, there still hasn't been a successful desktop Linux virus." His favorite apps include Chrome web browser, GIMP, and LibreOffice.

Speaking of LibreOffice, version 4.2.8 was released today to address a few bugs. The announcement said this was definitely the last release for this long stable branch. Most of the fixes were for Calc and include a sorting bug, cell dragging bug, and highlight/painting bug. Others are the fix for importing/exporting filter bug and a Writer crash. If your or yours are still using the 4.2 branch of LibreOffice, upgrading is encouraged.


* Fedora 21... just WOW!!

* Release of KDE Frameworks 5.5.0

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How to Easily Get Very In-Demand OpenStack Cloud Skills

Friday 12th of December 2014 03:52:34 PM

How in demand are cloud computing skills in the job market? Consider these notes from Forbes, based on a report from WANTED Analytics: "There are 3.9 million jobs in the U.S. affiliated with cloud computing today with 384,478 in IT alone. The median salary for IT professionals with cloud computing experience is $90,950 and the median salary for positions that pay over $100,000 a year is $116,950."

The report also notes that IBM, Oracle and Amazon have the greatest number of cloud computing positions open. We've noted before that people with OpenStack skills, in particular, are doing well in the job market. Here are some details on training and certification programs for OpenStack that can make a difference for job seekers.

 "OpenStack talent is a rarified discipline," Josh McKenty, who helped develop the platform, has told CRN, adding, "to be good with OpenStack, you need to be a systems engineer, a great programmer but also really comfortable working with hardware."  The good news is that there are more ways to sharpen OpenStack skills, and gain valuable certification.

The OpenStack Foundation launched a Training Marketplace designed to make it easier to discover training courses offered by providers in the OpenStack community.  “The goal of the Foundation is to eliminate barriers to OpenStack adoption, create more OpenStack experts and ensure that OpenStack has a positive impact on the careers of our community members,” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, in a statement. “We want to grow the community, accelerate the availability of training programs worldwide and help close the OpenStack job gap."  

The Linux Foundation, Mirantis, Morphlabs, Piston, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE and SwiftStack are just some of the companies to have courses available in the OpenStack Foundation Training Marketplace.

Mirantis has steadily announced interesting training programs.  The company has also announced that hundreds of organizations around the world have turned to the Mirantis Training and Certification program for OpenStack to train and certify their IT staff as OpenStack cloud operators on multiple platforms.  

Meanwhile, Rackspace has an entire curriculum of courses built around OpenStack.  The company has been conducting on-demand e-learning training courses and offers a number of new classroom courses.

Silicon Angle has produced an extremely exhaustive roundup of online and offline resources for learning OpenStack skills. It includes discussion of OpenStack bootcamps from MorphLabs and Mirantis, Red Hat OpenStack training, Piston training, and more. 

The OpenStack Foundation has put some numbers on the expected growth for OpenStack-related jobs and added more about its Training Marketplace:

"OpenStack expertise continues to pay off, with OpenStack jobs consistently paying higher wages and employers doubling the number of job postings over the past year. The ecosystem has quickly responded to help developers and operators gain these valuable skills....Future demand for OpenStack skills is only expected to grow, with the BSA Global Cloud Scorecard predicting that 14 million cloud jobs will be created by 2015."

And, don't forget that you can obtain valuable certification for OpenStack skills from some of the organizations mentioned in this post. Red Hat, for example, has announced its Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Infrastructure-as-a-Service and expanded training in support of its OpenStack technology. You can find out more about it in this post.



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Dell Adds Midokura Open Network Virtualization Option for OpenStack

Friday 12th of December 2014 03:40:29 PM

Dell Computer is deepening its focus on the open cloud and OpenStack in particular. The company announced an expansion of its Open Networking initiative to include Midokura, a company focused on network virtualization, to complement Dell’s networking and server infrastructure. Their agreement includes a joint go-to-market program, validated reference architecture and global reseller agreement.

Midokura’s Enterprise MidoNet software will reside on Dell infrastructure, delivering a network virtualization overlay for OpenStack. The idea is to help enterprise customers and service providers create agile cloud networking infrastructures based on OpenStack.

Dell’s networking switches and x86 servers already form the foundation of many modern data centers.  Meanwhile, MidoNet is a software-based, distributed network virtualization system that can enable enterprises to build, run and manage virtual networks.

Midokura Enterprise MidoNet is on the Dell Software and Peripherals list and Dell’s Download store, available today. 

“Midokura, like Dell, is committed to expanding the Open Networking initiative to meet the needs of today’s modern enterprises and help deliver an open foundation for compute, storage and networking infrastructure,” said Dan Mihai Dumitriu, CEO and co-founder, Midokura, in a statement. “We’ve already successfully teamed up with Dell to bridge virtual and physical networks and we look forward to deepening our collaboration to create an open, converged infrastructure for enterprises to support clouds that are easy to scale and operate.” 

Dell and Red Hat announced last year that Dell would effectively become an OEM for Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, and has been selling systems running that platform. In recent times, Dell has been trying to shift its business model from low-margin PCs to higher margin service provision and cloud strategies. 

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Red Hat 7.1 Beta, Malware History, and Bug Reports

Friday 12th of December 2014 04:35:48 AM

In the Linux feeds this evening was the announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta. In other news, Jon Gold takes us down Linux malware memory lane and Derrik Diener looks at some terminal emulators - one that was new to me. Elsewhere Bruce Byfield discusses why he don't file bug reports and Jack Germain says 4MLinux is so lightweight it's anemic.

Our top story today is the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, "which delivers a number of enhancements and improvements to the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, with an emphasis on ease-of-use, improved manageability, security, and performance." The announcement further states that support for POWER8 has been added this release as well as " one-time password (OTP) authentication via LDAP and Kerberos." Thin provisioning has been added to LVM and Ceph support was added to userspace and kernel. Some hardware should see improved performance and newly added kpatch allows patching the kernel without a reboot. This release also introduces Trusted Network Connect, Berkeley Packet Filter, and Intel QuickAssist Technology. Unfortunately, only customers and subscribers can test drive this beta.

It may be hard to believe but there has been malware for Linux since nearly its beginnings. These earlier efforts had very little success but today Jon Gold takes us on a little trip down Linux malware memory lane. Staog in 1996 and Bliss in 1997 predate me, but I remember the Ramen worm in 2001. It's an interesting look back so check that out.

Derrik Diener at today briefed Linux users on their terminal emulator choices in Linux. Several popular commandline interfaces were highlighted including the Termite. Diener says it's a minimal emulator that "sports a lot of modern features (color schemes, transparency, fonts, etc). Termite is a great option for those looking to go lightweight."  Be sure to see that full article.

In other news:

* An Everyday Linux User Review Of Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0 CE

* 4MLinux Is So Lightweight It's Anemic

* Why I rarely file bug reports

* Linux leader: Dependency on a platform is good for the platform

* Gentoo Monthly Newsletter: November 2014

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Why Mozilla Had to Swap its Google Deal for One with Yahoo

Thursday 11th of December 2014 03:58:59 PM

Earlier this month, many observers were flummoxed to see that Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a "strategic five-year partnership" agreement which will make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox. Mozilla was up for renewal negotiations for its deal with Google, which has historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. In return, for lots of money, Google got primary search placement in the Firefox browser over the years.

Now, there are reports that Mozilla and Google may be headed for contentious competition. If you think about the directions the companies are taking, it looks like they will be competing very directly on several fronts, and couldn't possibly have continued a relationship where Google subsidizes Mozilla. 

According to The Verge:

"Google's making a browser too, and it may not want to support Chrome's competitors forever...While Google swallows up everything in its vicinity — laptops, DNS servers, fiber networks — Yahoo's ambitions are a lot less dangerous for a humble browser like Firefox."

Indeed, going forward, Mozilla may be able to keep its browser more open and flexible without ties to Google. Furthermore, Android has become a huge force for Google, and Mozilla is positioning its entire company around its Firefox OS mobile platform, which is already competing with Android. 

And, it's impossible to ignore how directly Google's Chrome browser now competes with Firefox. It has, in fact, been growing its market share while Firefox's is falling. 

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer has mentioned future product integrations in the works between Yahoo and Mozilla. Given the engineering muscle at Yahoo, that bodes well for Mozilla, and Yahoo doesn't compete in the browser business, so it can offer its full volume of engineering talent to the Firefox team. Why wouldn't Yahoo want Firefox to be a best-of-breed browser if it is the default search engine in Mozilla's browser?

Now that Mozilla and Yahoo have made their announcement, it's easier to understand why Mozilla and Google had to cut ties. The move represents perhaps the biggest shift in Mozilla's business basics in its history, but will probably end up being a good move.

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Joyent Offers Linux Branded Zones, Extends Docker Engine as Container Service

Thursday 11th of December 2014 03:46:58 PM

Joyent, Inc., which has billed itself in several different ways over the years is now billing itself as "the container infrastructure company." The company is actually making a lot of smart moves. In November I reported on how Joyent has announced that it is open sourcing its core technology. Joyent's platform can compete with OpenStack and other cloud offerings, and facilitates efficienet use of container technologies like Docker.

This week, the company has announced two new open source initiatives and the general availability of a container service in the Joyent Public Cloud to accelerate the adoption of application containers in the enterprise. Here are more details.

Docker application containers are grabbing headlines everywhere and overhauling how data centers operate. Joyent maintains, though, that there remain limitations in the areas of security, virtual networking and persistence that present challenges for enterprises looking to deploy Docker in support of production applications. The open source initiatives Joyent is announcing, Linux Branded Zones (LXz) and the extension of Docker Engine to SmartDataCenter, are targeted to "deliver proven, multi-tenant security and bare metal performance to Linux applications running in Docker application containers."

"Our objective is to accelerate the adoption of Docker in production environments and we are committed to making Joyent the best place to run Docker-based applications in production -- whether in the Joyent Public Cloud or Joyent private cloud software, SmartDataCenter," said Scott Hammond, CEO, Joyent, in a statement. "Our latest announcement, including the Joyent Container Service, LXz and Docker Engine for SmartDataCenter, are significant steps forward in accomplishing that goal."

  Many major public and private cloud providers advise enterprises to  run Docker containers on top of legacy hardware hypervisors because of security concerns related to the default Linux infrastructure containers. Joyent maintains that with LXz, you can run Linux applications, including those running in Docker Containers, natively on secure OS virtualization without an intervening hardware hypervisor layer.

"Running Docker containers on legacy hardware hypervisor hosts, like VMware or Amazon EC2, means you give up the workload density and performance benefits associated with infrastructure containers," said Bill Fine, VP Products, Joyent. "LXz and Docker Engine for SmartDataCenter provide an infrastructure container runtime environment capable of delivering secure, bare metal performance to Docker-based applications in a multi-tenant environment." 

Joyent Public Cloud users can now leverage the Joyent Container Service to provision and manage Docker hosts and containers in the Joyent Public Cloud. Features of the Joyent Container Service include a security gateway, private registries and integrated logging and monitoring of Docker containers and hosts.

Last month, Joyent open sourced its core technologies, SmartDataCenter and Manta Object Storage Service. Joyent also recently announced $15M in financing from Intel Capital, Orascom TMT Investments, El Dorado Ventures, EPIC Ventures, LGI Ventures and others.  

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Linux Ruled 2014, Codenames, and Steam Linux Sales

Thursday 11th of December 2014 04:27:26 AM

There were lots of interesting tidbits in today's Linux feeds. Silviu Stahie wonders if Linux's advancements in 2014 were enough to finally declare it the "year of Linux." Elsewhere, Larry Cafiero laments Fedora's decision to forgo codenames and Kevin Fenzi explains what happened to Fedora servers yesterday after release. Jack M. Germain reviews How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know and GOL explains how Steam computes Linux sales.

Today in Linux news Silviu Stahie from today wrote that Linux made a lot of progress in 2014, but was it enough to declare it the year of Linux on the desktop? That phrase has been used so many times by now that it's lost its effectiveness. But what is the criteria and who decides the winner? Nevertheless, Stahie says that with all the big companies using Linux and all the games being ported, that "yes" we can say 2014 was the year of Linux on the desktop. He concludes, "The Linux desktop totally ruled in 2014."

Steam publishes their user stats monthly and GamingOnLinux explained today how games get counted as Linux or Windows sales. First, it depends on the platform used when purchase made; but then after seven days the platform that saw the most play gets the call. They quote Ryan Icculus Gordon saying that install and play it on Linux for a week so they'll count it as a Linux sale.

Larry Cafiero says he misses the codenames Fedora community used to vote on for their releases. They recently quit doing that because of the disruption the process created. Codenames were internal nicknames developers used to refer to releases to distinguish between them easier. Regular users liked them as well just for fun, but with Ubuntu it became something that was included every mention. Cafiero also talks a bit about how other distributions use codenames, so check that out.

In other news:

* How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic's Mainstay

* Fedora Infrastructure release day retrospective

* Xubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn - Quite brilliant

* My Favorite Linux Applications and Desktops

* Gentoo mailing lists down

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Ubuntu Team Launches Snappy Ubuntu Core for Container, Cloud Deployments

Wednesday 10th of December 2014 04:15:57 PM

Among Linux distributions, Ubuntu has a fairly sterling reputation as a proven operating system that developers can build around. Just witness the fact that more than half of OpenStack deployments are being built on Ubuntu, according to the OpenStack Foundation.  Google's Chrome OS is also built around many core operating system technologies from the Canonical team.

Years ago, the Canonical team launched a stripped down version of the Ubuntu core aimed at embedded systems. And now, with container farms as the targets, the Ubuntu team is out with a new “snappy” version of Ubuntu Core. This minimalist take on Ubuntu can also serve Docker deployments and platform-as-a-service environments.

According to Canonical:

"Ubuntu Core is a new rendition of Ubuntu for the cloud with transactional updates. Ubuntu Core is a minimal server image with the same libraries as today’s Ubuntu, but applications are provided through a simpler mechanism. The snappy approach is faster, more reliable, and lets us provide stronger security guarantees for apps and users — that’s why we call them 'snappy' applications."

"Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core itself can be upgraded atomically and rolled back if needed — a bulletproof approach to systems management that is perfect for container deployments. It’s called transactional or image-based systems management, and we’re delighted to make it available on every Ubuntu certified cloud."

The team at Canonical is even going so far as to call Snappy the “biggest revolution in Ubuntu since we launched our mobile initiative.” You can try the snappy Ubuntu Core alpha today, first on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Linux users can also try the snappy Ubuntu Core locally with KVM.

The fact that the Ubuntu team has been working with Microsoft first on incorporating snappy into the Microsoft Azure cloud platform speaks volumes about how Canonical and Microsoft are moving closer together.

"Microsoft loves Linux, and we’re excited to be the first cloud provider to offer a new rendition of one of the most popular Linux platforms in the rapidly growing Azure cloud," said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft. "By delivering the new cloud-optimised Ubuntu Core image on Azure, we’re extending our first-class support for Linux and enabling freedom of choice so developers everywhere can innovate even faster.”

Look for snappy to show up on other cloud platforms as well, further entrenching Ubuntu technology in the cloud landscape.

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Unlock It! Powerful FIDO Alliance Seeks Authentication Without Passwords

Wednesday 10th of December 2014 04:00:31 PM

Are you sick of managing countless passwords online? If so, a proposed open specification for online authentication from the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance may come to the rescue. The FIDO Alliance is a consortium of powerful industry players who have concocted ways other than passwords for authentication to take place online. The consortium's members include Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Bank of America and MasterCard.

Here are more details on the new proposed specification.

Following two years of work, the FIDO Alliance members have officially delivered version 1.0 specifications this week. You can download them here

There is also a  specifications overview which makes clear how the proposed authentication works.

As IDG News Service notes:

"The two specifications describe procedures that systems can use to verify a person's identity. For instance, biometric sensors such as fingerprint readers could identify a user's identity. A portable hardware token, which can be carried about, could also be used to authenticate individuals. Now that it has finished the core specifications, the FIDO Alliance is working on a set of extensions that will incorporate additional forms of access security, such as establishing identities using Near Field Communications and Bluetooth wireless communications."

The core technology behind the proposals is not really new. For example, many enterprise workers are familiar with carrying RSA hardware tokens that generate numerical sequences that are differerent every time they are used and can provide authentication.

The companies in the FIDO Alliance are powerful enough to make their proposed specifications standard throughout the industry, and many media outlets are reporting that we'll see devices incorporating FIDO authentication showing up early next year. Stay tuned.

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Fedora 21 Released, Work on 22 Already Begun

Wednesday 10th of December 2014 04:52:43 AM

The top story today is the release of Fedora 21. Jamie Watson said it was worth the year-long development wait and it was so anticipated that Fedora infrastructure suffered a major service disruption. Servers were reported down today at 4:41 PM but all systems were a GO by 7:21 this evening. Adam Williamson also posted about the beginnings of work on version 22, so no rest for the weary.

Red Hat and Fedora today announced the release of Fedora 21, the first release separated into three variations: Fedora 21 Cloud, Fedora 21 Server, and Fedora 21 Workstation. Highlights of the workstation edition include steamlined system install, improved software installation, experimental Wayland support, and new DevAssistant for software developers. Download your copy for fresh installs at and see the wiki for upgrading and FedUp directions. The errata and documentation might be worth a look too.

Jamie Watson tested various versions of this release and said, "All of these will boot on either MBR (Legacy) or UEFI systems, and on UEFI they will boot with Secure Boot enabled or disabled, or of course with Legacy Boot enabled." He liked the installer that "very carefully and very clearly" walks the user through setup. He goes into a bit of detail of each desktop and concludes:

Five (and a half) different desktops, on five different laptops. No problems installing on any of them. Different applications and utilities on each one, and to a large degree different focus and purpose for each one. But with excellent repositories and good package management utilities, any one of them could be further configured and customized to fit whatever needs and preferences you might have. It has been worth the wait.

To Adam Williamson this is all "old hat, now." He and his "are already moving on to Fedora 22 planning – and, yes, testing." These preliminary steps include preparing wikis, nightly build and report pages, and plans to monitor the Tick-tock cadence discussion. Fedora 22 might see an alpha around March 10, 2015 and perhaps a beta on April 14. Fedora 22 Final is penciled in for May 19, 2015.

In other news:

* Linux Mint 17.1 review—less change is good change

* The Linux Setup - Jack Germain, Journalist

* Best Linux desktop of 2014: Linux Mint 17.1

* Best KDE distro of 2014

* Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Mate Review

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Mesosphere Grabs $36M in Funding for Data Center OS Built on Apache Mesos

Tuesday 9th of December 2014 04:13:43 PM

Mesosphere, the company offering a data center operating system (DCOS) built on the open source Apache Mesos project, has announced a new round of $36M in Series B funding along with the early release of its data center OS. New investor Khosla Ventures led the round, with additional investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Fuel Capital, SV Angel and others.

The B round brings Mesosphere's total funding to approximately $50 million and the company says it plans to accelerate investment in global growth. According to the company: "With a DCOS, developers and operators no longer need to focus on individual virtual or physical machines but can easily build and deploy applications and services that span entire datacenters. This DCOS approach to programmable datacenters -- managing datacenters and clouds at web scale -- has helped drive the success of Internet giants like Google and Twitter, as well as the hypergrowth of young companies like Airbnb and Hubspot."

"The industry needs a new type of operating system to optimize and automate the complex landscape inherent to the agile IT era: a growing fleet of distributed web, mobile, analytic server applications, operated as application-centric abstractions on commodity server and storage pools in dedicated datacenters and public clouds," said Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, in a statement. "In this environment, existing virtualization or orchestration software are insufficient to deliver on the end goals: abstract complexity, optimize utilization, and simplify or eliminate human intervention in the face of dynamic failures, demand surges, constant provisioning and upgrades. Mesosphere has assembled a world-class team to deliver this software foundation that makes it as easy to run massive distributed server applications as it is to run an app on your smartphone or PC."

"Today's applications and services have outgrown single servers," added Florian Leibert, CEO and co-founder of Mesosphere. "The datacenter needs an operating system. The Mesosphere DCOS automates common operations and makes your entire datacenter programmable. We want to give developers the power of the underlying resources without forcing them to worry about the complexity of managing hundreds or even thousands of machines. We are making modern, distributed systems as easy to build and operate as if they were running on a single machine." 

According to released details on the data center operating system:

 Mesosphere's DCOS, built on Apache Mesos, provides developers an API to automate allocation and deallocation of datacenter resources to run today's most popular distributed applications, like Apache Spark, Apache Cassandra and Google's Kubernetes (all natively supported by Mesosphere DCOS). A software development kit (SDK) aids quickly building applications that scale with built-in high availability and fault tolerance. The Mesosphere DCOS supports Linux applications and runs with Amazon AWS, Google GCE, Digital Ocean, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, VMware vCloud Air. The Mesosphere DCOS also runs on-premise on bare metal or on top of a virtualized private cloud, such as with VMware or OpenStack.

In June 2014, Mesosphere closed $10.5M in series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with additional investors Data Collective and Fuel Capital. In August, the company launched Mesosphere for Google Cloud Platform, bringing the power of Mesosphere and Google Kubernetes to the cloud.

Kubernetes and Apache Spark are both taking on enormous importance in data centers and in the cloud. If you haven't read up on these tools, we've covered them on OStatic here and here

You can find out much more bout Mesosphere's DCOS here

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Google Launches Android Studio 1.0, Offers Migration Path from Eclipse

Tuesday 9th of December 2014 03:59:21 PM

At the 2013 Google I/O conference, the company announced Android Studio, and characterized it as a new development environment that would make it much easier for Android developers to build apps. Today, Google has announced the official version of  Android Studio 1.0. It's available now for download as a stable release on the Android Developer site. Here are more details on how this will provide big benefits for developers.

Similar to the various types of Chrome release channels, Android Studio will  receive ongoing updates on four different release channels: Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Canary builds are at the bleeding edge of development, while the stable release is fully tested. The range of release channels is designed to let developers choose how quickly they want to get the latest features for Android Studio.

Some of the significant features of Android Studio are found here, and you can also check out the Android Studio page for a full feature overview:

First-run setup wizard — The getting started experience now installs the right Android SDK, sets up your development environment settings, and creates an optimized emulator for testing your app. Plus, we include a set of code templates to help you get started.

Sample Importing & templates — Android Studio includes wizards that enable you to start with new project templates or import Google code samples.

Code Editing — Android Studio takes advantage of all the intelligent code editing capabilities of IntelliJ IDEA such as advanced code completion, refactoring, and code analysis.

Internationalization string editing — Manage string translations of your app in Android Studio.

User interface design — Edit and preview your Android Layouts across multiple screen sizes, languages, and even API versions.

Memory monitor — View the memory usage of your app over time to help find ways to improve the performance of your app. 

 According to the announcement of Android Studio 1.0:

 Android Studio even enables an easy way to add Google Cloud Backends & Endpoints to your app, as well as Google Cloud Messaging (find out more). If you are an Eclipse user, check out our migration steps or you can just import your projects right into Android Studio with the import wizard. We have also released version 1.0 of the Gradle plugin with a file format that is now stable. The communication between Android Studio and the Gradle plugin is now stable, so updating one will not require updating the other. Check the technical release notes for additional tips for updating your previous Android Studio projects.

This new release looks like very good news for Android developers, in a mobile ecosystem where some app developers feel that Apple takes better care of them.



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New Linux Trojan Found, Part of Turla

Tuesday 9th of December 2014 04:28:44 AM

The top story today is the discovery of a new Linux trojan that experts say could have been in place for years. Kaspersky Lab is saying this newly discovered Linux malware is part of the Turla campaign indicating that the culprits aren't limiting themselves to Windows. And that's not all that's unusual about this code.

Security experts Kurt Baumgartner and Costin Raiu today posted that a "previously unknown piece" of the Turla puzzle was discovered that is quite unusual. It's "the first Turla sample targeting the Linux operating system" found. Baugartner and Raiu said:

The Linux Turla module is a C/C++ executable statically linked against multiple libraries, greatly increasing its file size. It was stripped of symbol information, more likely intended to increase analysis effort than to decrease file size. Its functionality includes hidden network communications, arbitrary remote command execution, and remote management. Much of its code is based on public sources.

The experts write that the code, which doesn't require root privileges, stays hidden until it receives a "magic number." Then it jumps into action opening a socket and backdoor to listen for commands. "Perhaps the most interesting part here is the unusual command and control mechanism based on TCP/UDP packets." While this code is now known, there have been no reports of it in the wild as of yet.

Baugartner and Raiu added an update this evening saying they've discovered a second Linux module "representing a different malware generation than the previously known samples."

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Leverage Strong Development Tools from Your Browser

Monday 8th of December 2014 04:29:18 PM

There continues to be very strong demand for web and application development skills in the job market, and there is especially demand for people familiar with open development tools. One of the biggest trends going among developers is leveraging browser extensions focused on developers. 

This is nothing new, of course. Many people are very familiar with using tools like Firebug, which is a development extension for Firefox. In this post, you'll find some of the best browser-based development tools, and you can get them for free.

Of course, one of the most beloved tools for web developers is the Firebug extension for Firefox. If you're deep into development for the web, you probably already use it. With Firebug, experimenting with CSS changes no longer requires that you reload a page dozens of times; using Firebug, you can dynamically edit an HTML element's styling, looking at the effects as you change each variable value. Firebug's JavaScript console also makes it easy to work with JavaScript interactively.

Dragonfly is an open source (under a BSD license) suite of tools for developers from the folks who make the Opera browser. Dragonfly is built to support remote debugging on many types of machines and devices and has a lot of useful tools. We covered it in its alpha version here, and it's made much progress since then.

It's also worth getting to know the add-on marketplace for Chrome. Network World has done a nice collection of developer extensions for Chrome, and notes the following about a couple of extensions you may want to investigate:

"CSSViewer by M.ed is a CSS property viewer. It provides a floating panel that reports on the identity of the section that the mouse is over along with its font, text, color, background, box, positioning, and effects attributes. When you don’t want to fire up developer tools, CSSViewer provided the basic CSS information you need quickly."

"Window Resizer from Ionut Botizan. I have no idea who Ionut Botizan might be but not only is his name outstanding so is his add-on. This add-on lets you resize your browser window on the fly and is, at least in my work, incredibly useful. Clicking on the icon in the menu bar produces a dropdown menu of window sizes which you can customize and you can even export Window Resizer settings so you can configure another machine similarly."

Meanwhile, although it is not browser-based Kompozer, is a huge favorite with developers who are into CSS (cascading style sheets). Kompozer's rendering engine uses Gecko, the same layout engine in Mozilla's Firefox. It stands out for its very easy-to-use CSS editor, and strong WYSIWYG features. You also don't have to be very experienced with HTML or other web development langauges to use Kompozer. Windows, Mac and Linux users can get going with it.

 Want even more open development tools? See our extensive collection of them found in this post

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Cloudera and Others Rally Behind Hadoop Challenger Spark

Monday 8th of December 2014 04:10:37 PM

Folks in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. We've covered Spark before, and some reports are characterizing it as a tool that could supplant Hadoop in many enterprises.

According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. When crunching large data sets, those are big performance differences. 

Among vendors who have recently been making moves surrounding Spark, Cloudera made a number of notable announcements. The company, focused on Hadoop, announced Apache Spark training "to prepare developers and software engineers to build complete, unified applications that combine batch, streaming, and interactive analytics."

As IDG News Service reports:

"Spark is an engine for analyzing data stored across a cluster of computers. Like Hadoop, Spark can be used to examine data sets that are too large to fit into a traditional data warehouse or a relational database. Also like Hadoop, Spark can work on unstructured data, such as event logs, that hasn't been formatted into database tables. Spark, however, goes beyond what Hadoop can easily do, in that it can analyze streaming data as it is coming off the wire."

Spark's ability to work with unstructured data is particularly notable. Many enterprises haven't been able to fully structure their data sources and need tools flexible enough to work with unstructured archives.

"Broadly embraced by the open source community, Big Data vendors, and data-intensive enterprises for its stream processing capabilities and its support for complex, iterative algorithms, Spark offers performance gains that enable applications to run on the data in a Hadoop cluster at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional MapReduce programs," Cloudera claims.

Spotify leverages Spark, as do a number of enterprises. 

You can find out more about Spark here. We also covered Cloudera's work with Intel and partners to deliver Hadoop appliances leveraging Apache Spark here.  In an announcement, Cloudera, Dell and Intel said they are launching a dedicated Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise, to be known as Dell Engineered Systems for Cloudera Enterprise. It's basically an integrated appliance solution that can make advanced Hadoop-driven analytics easy to implement in data centers, but powerful via Spark integration. 

Spark is shaping up as one of the bigger open source stories for 2015.

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