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Updated: 3 hours 27 min ago

It's Elementary, with Sparks, and Unity

Friday 22nd of August 2014 04:33:14 AM

In today's Linux news Jack Wallen review Elementary OS and says it's not just the poor man's Apple. Jack Germain reviewed SparkyLinux GameOver yesterday and said it's a win-win. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke testdrives Ubuntu's Unity today in the latest entry in his desktop-a-week series. And finally tonight, just what the heck is this Docker thing everybody keeps talking about?

Jack Wallen today reviewed the latest beta of upcoming Elementary Freya. He sounded quite impressed. He said it was "something new and fresh" and "not only easy on the eye, but easy to use." And it's fast, "very fast." The praise continues and Wallen concludes, "I believe [Elementary OS] has the potential to overtake all other Linux distributions as the leader in user-friendliness." See the full review at TechRepublic.com.

In our second review this evening, Jack M. Germain says SparkyLinux GameOver is wonderful for serious and casual gamers. In it users can not only waste a bunch of time but also get some work done, according to Germain. "It provides nearly all of the standard Linux applications out-of-the-box" as well as all kinds of native games, game emulators, Wine and PlayOnLinux, and Steam and Desura. It's based on Debian Jessie, so it has a solid foundation as well. But he found a few things to offset his enthusiasm for it, so see his full review at LinuxInsider.com.

Bryan Lunduke today posted of his "one full week" with Ubuntu Unity. It didn't kill him although Unity was the reason for his Ubuntu exodus a couple years ago. And his first impression this time was "utter annoyance." He says, and I can only quote him here, "Unity is no longer slow as mud and as crash-y as Yogi Bear driving a Vespa after pillaging Dudley Moore's picnic basket. Is it fast? No." He still doesn't like it much, you can tell, but he did say, "To be fair, I actually didn't find anything in Unity that would prevent me from enjoyably using my Linux-powered PC. It worked, and it has been quite reliable. In fact, if Unity were the only Desktop Environment available for Linux... I would use it quite happily. Because, the thing is, it's not bad." But see his full post here at NetworkWorld.com.

In other news:

* Why a Linux-only approach will only get you fired

* What is Docker, Really? Founder Solomon Hykes Explains

* Heartbleed bug linked to US hospital group hack

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Acer Offers New Desktop Chromebox

Thursday 21st of August 2014 03:00:22 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acer, which has been rapidly gaining popularity as a portable computing hardware manufacturer, has been placing some heavy bets on Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform. The company has a fleet of portable computers based on Chrome OS, and is taking Chrome OS to the desktop form factor with a new system.

Acer’s Chromebox CXI system, announced on Thursday, is seen back-mounted in the photo and runs an Intel Celeron 2957U dual-core 1.4GHz processor. It also has a 16GB solid-state drive, and--like other systems based on Chrome OS--offers a fast boot-up time that Acer claims takes only eight seconds.

 The CXI system aimed at small to medium businesses and budget-conscious users who don’t require a mobile platform. However, Acer also plans to target schools, which have been buying portable computers based on Chrome OS at a healthy clip.

According to the CXI announcement:

"Housed in a compact .6 liter (6.51 x 5.12 x 1.3-inches) chassis that stands upright and is VESA mountable, the Acer Chromebox CXI maximizes space, a key consideration for libraries, cube and classroom environments as well as small and medium businesses for task-based user terminals. Two Acer Chromebox models will be available late next month – the CXI-2GKM with 2GB memory for a manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) of $179.99 U.S. and the CXI-4GKM with 4GB memory for a MSRP of $219.99 U.S."

Two Gigabytes of memory is not a whole lot for a desktop computer, but that amount is comparable to what is offered in portable Chromebooks.

The system offers wireless connectivity via 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. It has four USB 3.0 ports, and will be available toward the end of next month.

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VMware's Cloud Hybrid Now Works with Ubuntu Images, OpenStack

Thursday 21st of August 2014 02:42:46 PM

For many IT administrators, the worlds of virtualization and cloud computing have converged. Lots of them want to take advantage ofcloud platforms like OpenStack. However, they  don't want to completely do away with infrastructure like VMware they've already invested in.

Now, Canonical and VMware have sought to address this issue with OpenStack-ready Ubuntu images available on VMware’s enterprise-grade vCloud Hybrid Service. VMware has also rebranded its vCloud Hybrid Service to VMware vCloud Air.

According to VMware: "The integration of Ubuntu (which represents 70 percent of workloads running in public clouds today, and is the most popular OpenStack distro) into VMware’s pre-configured OS templates delivers a secure, versatile cloud operating system in quick-to-deploy virtual machines. In addition, it offers seamless integration with NSX, VMware’s SDN solution, allowing customers to fully utilize the operational and economic benefits of a fully virtualized network."

VMware and Canonical made their announcement in conjunction with VMworld, going on this week.

Through its work with Canonical, VMware can potentially get access to many more customers, because Ubuntu remains the most popular platform to run OpenStack on. And, as noted by Forbes:

"From a commercial perspective it’s also positive, as existing Ubuntu Advantage support services customers can take their instances of Ubuntu into cloud environments from either on-premise systems or other cloud environments without having to purchase additional or new agreements."

To learn more about VMware vCloud Air visit: vcloud.vmware.com. - See more at: http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed/VMware-Introduces-the-VMware-vCloud-Air-Network/1872190#sthash.HX5vgKtS.dpuf

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Munich Reversal Turnaround, Linus on the Desktop, and Red Hat Time Protocol

Thursday 21st of August 2014 02:52:09 AM

Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case. In other news, Linus Torvalds today said he still wants the desktop. There are lots of other LinuxCon links and a few gaming posts to highlight. And finally today, Red Hat's Eric Dube explains RHEL 7's new time protocol.

Munich's Linux reversal, widely reported Monday, may have been a jump-of-the-gun reaction to the new mayor's data request. According to Nick Heath at TechRepublic.com, Munich city council spokesman Stefan Hauf said newly elected mayor "asked the administration to gather the facts so we can decide and make a proposal for the city council how to proceed in future." He said the report is to include many areas of IT and not "solely focused around the question of whether to drop Linux and move back to Windows." So, I guess stay tuned.

LinuxCon has been in many of today's headlines but my favorite is Linus Torvalds said, "I still want the desktop." Sean Michael Kerner covered it in his LinuxCon brief today, as well as being listed among the favorites in Top 10 Quotes from the Linux Kernel Developer Panel. He quoted as saying it's not a kernel problem, "It's a whole infrastructure problem. I think we'll get there one day." Be sure to catch this video by Libby Clark asking trivia questions of attendees and developers.

Eric Dube is continuing the Red Hat series on "What's New?" in Red Hat Enterprise 7 with his Precision Time Synchronization & Network Latency. In it Dube says time synchronization is more critical than most of realize and that nanosecond accuracy is critical in today's "high-speed, low-latency applications." That's why Red Hat ditched NTP for Chrony. Chrony is more accurate and responds faster to system clock changes than NTP did. He also go on to explain that PTP was also included because some hardware out there supports that and it too is better than NTP. See his full article for the rest on that.

In gaming news:

* Sanctum 2 Released for Mac and Linux

* Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Now Visible in the Steam for Linux Database

* From Windows to Linux, Part 3: Games

In other news:

* KDE Applications 4.14 Released

* Free Official Ubuntu Books for Local Teams

* Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 Test 1 Is an Interesting Debian and GNOME 3.12 Combination

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Raspberry Pi Devices Spread in Schools, Help Teach Programming

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 03:01:54 PM

According to a new DigiTimes report, sales of credit-card sized Raspberry Pi devices, which run Linux, remain very strong. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that 3.5 million units have sold worldwide, with demand from China and Taiwan staying strong. The devices are helping to teach children basic programming skills and are arriving in educational systems all around the world.

As BusinessWeek reports:

"The [Raspberry Pi] website walks users through the construction of such items as an “Infrared Bird Box” or a “Hamster Party Cam.” Upton estimates that the user base is split about evenly among the three groups—students, pros, and hobbyists...Upton, the founder and chief executive of the 10-employee foundation in Cambridge, England, says he grew convinced that more kids needed introductory programming lessons (or, in some cases, remedial ones) while he was running the computer science department at St. John’s College at Cambridge."

Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hosted its first ever Young Rewired State centre and took part in a Festival of Code. According to the Foundation:

"The aim of Festival of Code is to inspire and support young coders in creating something new – the only specification is that it must include an open data set."

 

"From Monday to Thursday the teams worked on their own projects, Ace Your Place and Moodzi, with mentors and members of the Raspberry Pi team. We even had Twilio and Code on the Road pop by."

 

Previously, in a very promising step for the Raspberry Pi movement, Google pledged to give U.K. schools Raspberry Pis and pledged to train teachers in how to pass Linux skills onto students.

In the past, when schools have been seeded with new breeds of computers, the problem of training teaches has risen to the top. To really get Raspberry Pi devices entrenched in schools and get students going with them, organizations like the Pi Foundation and Google need to focus on teacher training.

You can expect to see the Raspberry Pi in many more schools over the next several years. 

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Tesora Delivers Certification Program for OpenStack Cloud Database

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 02:47:35 PM

As the OpenStack cloud computing arena grows, a whole ecosystem of tools and front-ends are growing in popularity as well. And, one of the most notable tools in the ecosystem is the database-as-a-service offering focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove

Tesora recently announced that it has open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine, and now it is offering the Tesora OpenStack Trove Database Certification Program, which provides "assurance that the most widely used databases can be deployed with Trove into the most popular OpenStack environments via the Tesora DBaaS Platform."

According to Tesora's announcement:

"The Certification Program eliminates the headache of enterprises having to test integration on their own while reducing implementation time and saving money."

"Initially, certification and support includes the following databases: MongoDB, MySQL Community Edition, Percona Server, MariaDB, Redis and Cassandra, with work on Oracle, SQL Server and PostgreSQL underway. In addition to database certification, the program also ensures that the Trove-based Tesora DBaaS Platform installs, configures and operates properly with popular OpenStack distributions. At the outset, Tesora is certifying OpenStack releases from Red Hat, Canonical and from the OpenStack Foundation."

"With the rapid adoption of OpenStack and  establishment of Trove as the database as a service (DBaaS) component of  OpenStack, enterprises want to know their chosen database will work as  expected with the cloud platform," said Ken Rugg, CEO and founder of  Tesora, in a statement. "We're looking to accelerate the development of a broad ecosystem around OpenStack and database technologies."

 Trove is starting to get a lot of notice, and Tesora's announcement took place at  OpenStack Trove Day, a gathering that the company hosted in Boston.

"Tesora's DBaaS platform and certification program provides MongoDB customers with the assurance of a compatible integration," said Vijay Vijayasankar, vice president of global channels and business development at MongoDB. "The knowledge that our database will work as intended, on the OpenStack distribution of their choice, is important when building out a DBaaS strategy."

         

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Tesora Delivers Certification Program for OpenStack Cloud Storage

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 02:47:35 PM

As the OpenStack cloud computing arena grows, a whole ecosystem of tools and front-ends are growing in popularity as well. And, one of the most notable tools in the ecosystem is the database-as-a-service offering focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove

Tesora recently announced that it has open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine, and now it is offering the Tesora OpenStack Trove Database Certification Program, which provides "assurance that the most widely used databases can be deployed with Trove into the most popular OpenStack environments via the Tesora DBaaS Platform."

According to Tesora's announcement:

"The Certification Program eliminates the headache of enterprises having to test integration on their own while reducing implementation time and saving money."

"Initially, certification and support includes the following databases: MongoDB, MySQL Community Edition, Percona Server, MariaDB, Redis and Cassandra, with work on Oracle, SQL Server and PostgreSQL underway. In addition to database certification, the program also ensures that the Trove-based Tesora DBaaS Platform installs, configures and operates properly with popular OpenStack distributions. At the outset, Tesora is certifying OpenStack releases from Red Hat, Canonical and from the OpenStack Foundation."

"With the rapid adoption of OpenStack and  establishment of Trove as the database as a service (DBaaS) component of  OpenStack, enterprises want to know their chosen database will work as  expected with the cloud platform," said Ken Rugg, CEO and founder of  Tesora, in a statement. "We're looking to accelerate the development of a broad ecosystem around OpenStack and database technologies."

 Trove is starting to get a lot of notice, and Tesora's announcement took place at  OpenStack Trove Day, a gathering that the company hosted in Boston.

"Tesora's DBaaS platform and certification program provides MongoDB customers with the assurance of a compatible integration," said Vijay Vijayasankar, vice president of global channels and business development at MongoDB. "The knowledge that our database will work as intended, on the OpenStack distribution of their choice, is important when building out a DBaaS strategy."

         

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Desktop Obsessions, Steam Sacrifices, and LibreOffice Review

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 03:17:19 AM

We've been reading a lot about the desktop lately and we're not stopping tonight. We have three stories tonight on the desktop. In other news, the kernel repositories beef-up security and Alienware says Steam Machine users will "sacrifice content for the sake of Linux." The new Linux version of Opera is making progress and CNet has a review of LibreOffice 4.3. This and more in tonight's Linux news.

Everybody is obsessed with the desktop lately, including myself. Hank Feinberg ponders the graphical interface at FossForce.com today. He said the idea of "ease of use, speed, capacity, functions, longer battery life, smaller size and portability" goes back to Vern's writings. He makes other interesting points and concludes, 'We are now in a new era where as long as "stuff happens" users don’t care if it is Windows, Apple or Linux.'

Bruce Byfield today rounded-up the most popular Linux desktops and summarized each one's basics, saying, "Desktop environments for Linux are not released ready-made. Behind each is a set of assumptions about what a desktop should be, and how users should interact with them. Increasingly, too, each environment has a history -- some of which are many years old." He looks at Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, and others. In related news, Aaron Seigo today focused on laptops in his KDE Plasma desktop discussions.

In software news, Matt Hartley yesterday looked at the top Linux productivity applications. He touches on names like Project Hamster, Nitro Tasks, Viber and others that help him be "a more productive person." Konstantin Ryabitsev is reporting (and explaining) at Linux.com that Linux Kernel Git Repositories Add 2-Factor Authentication. Opera 25 for Linux is making progress reports Softpedia.com and CNET.com's Nate Ralph puts LibreOffice 4.3 to the test.

In gaming news today:

* Alienware: Steam Machine owners will "sacrifice content" for the sake of Linux

* Gunpoint Stealth Puzzle Game Has Entered Linux Beta

* Dead Island For Linux Appears Imminent

* Wasteland 2 Gets An Official Release Date

* The Witcher 3 For Linux Remains Officially Unconfirmed

In other news:

* Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 379

* The Linux Setup - Alex J. Reissig, Writer

* Does government finally grok open source?

* A Linux Trojan gets ported to Windows

* A week of gnome 3 from a Xfce using sysadmin

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Startup Platform 9 Focuses on Cloud Management Based on OpenStack

Tuesday 19th of August 2014 02:57:44 PM

There is quite a buzz surrounding Platform 9, which came out of stealth mode a few days ago with $4.5 million in venture funding, and interesting plans aimed at the private cloud market. Platform 9's technology platform is based on OpenStack, and the company is run by a group of VMware veterans.

The company claims that its "SaaS platform transforms an organization's existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud within minutes."

Platform 9 also claims it can significantly reduce the operational complexity for IT in deploying a private cloud and offers unified management of Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere. Platform9 is currently in beta tests with a dozen mid-to-large sized organizations.

The company's advisors and investors include Advisors include Meraki Founder Hans Robertson, Former VMware Exec Bogomil Balkansky and Caroline McCrory.

Platform 9's strategy is to ease the complexity that IT administrators face as they roll out private clouds in tandem with virtualization and cloud-based applications. 

"We founded Platform9 because as early engineers at VMware, we observed how customers were struggling to achieve AWS-like efficiency with increasingly archaic management software," said Sirish Raghuram, co-founder and CEO of Platform9, in a statement. "We believe that just like SaaS revolutionized the world of enterprise applications, it can do the same for enterprise datacenters. You can think of us as the Salesforce.com of private cloud management. Our customers come to our web site, sign up and transform their existing infrastructure into a private cloud within minutes. From there on, they can focus on using their infrastructure rather than babysitting the management software."

Platform 9's technology is 100 percent API-compatible with OpenStack, and "lets administrators mix and match Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere seamlessly, enabling them to choose the best virtualization or container technologies for their applications." Platform9 dashboards are designed to let administrators focus on a single view for managing applications and cloud tools.

For now, Platform 9's founders are referring to their technology as a proprietary fork of OpenStack, rather than a pure OpenStack distribution. The company will show its product in its booth #324 at VMware's upcoming VMworld Conference, taking place the week of August 25th in San Francisco.

 

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Is the Firefox-based Chromecast Competitor to Be Called Matchstick?

Tuesday 19th of August 2014 02:42:15 PM

Google has made quite a splash with its Chromecast dongle, which performs many of the tasks that set-top boxes do, but Chromecast may be headed for some competition. Android Police has reported that Firefox for Android has gained support in nightly builds for Chromecast, and GigaOM reports that Mozilla is continuing to work on a Chromecast competitor possibly called Matchstick.

The details were unclear back in late June, but it looked like Mozilla may have been playing some role in delivering a competitor to Google's popular Chromecast dongle, with Mozilla's based on the Firefox OS platform. The rumors abated shortly after they arose, but some people missed the fact that Mozilla confirmed the news in a recent blog post, noting the following: "Mozilla is working with Panasonic to develop next generation SmartTVs running Firefox OS, and Abitcool will launch an HDMI streaming device later this year that allows the user to fling content from compatible mobile or Web apps to an HDTV."

Now, GigaOM reports:

"Meanwhile, there seems to be some development around the Firefox-OS powered Chromecast competitor that we first wrote about in June. The streaming stick, which is being manufactured by a new hardware startup called Abitcool with help from Mozilla, doesn’t actually have an official name yet. But on Monday, the Abitcool.com website began to mention something called “Matchstick,” which may well be the branding for the streaming stick."

It will be interesting to see Mozilla--already used to competing with Google in the browser market--competing with Google's Chromecast. If you haven't used these devices, they actually are quite useful, and the more you use your phone for interacting with content and information, the more useful they are.

As for Firefox for Android gaining support for Chromecast, it looks like users will be able to cast svideos straight from their browsers to Chromecast streaming sticks.

We're likely to hear more from Mozilla about the new dongle shortly. Here's the photo that has been heavily tweeted:

 

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Debian Turns 21, KDE Plasma 5 Review, & Munich Reversal

Tuesday 19th of August 2014 03:42:17 AM

It looks like the big story today, picked up by many news carriers, is Munich's decision/pondering a return to Windows. Also tonight, Debian celebrates 21 years and a Linux Migrant looks at new Pisi Linux 1. SymphonyOS is back from the grave and appropriately calling itself "Phoenix". OMG!Ubuntu! says Ubuntu is the "Superman" of Linux distros and a review of Plasma 5 tops the KDE news. All this and so much more in tonight's Linux news recap.

There was so much news today it's difficult to pick just a few to highlight. For example, SymphonyOS was once a daring and inventive distribution trying to redesign the desktop before GNOME and KDE thought of it. But alas, our young hero seemed to disappear into Linux oblivion, until today when I saw that SymphonyOS 14.1 is available. Apparently, Ryan Quinn has been working on resurrecting his baby for a while and quietly released version 14.0 back in January, five years since its last. The new incarnation is referred to as codename "Phoenix." Now days SymphonyOS is based on Ubuntu 14.x and uses Quinn's own, completely redesigned and rewritten, Mezzo desktop. It's still beta quality, but give it looksee.

 

 

The news on everyone's lips today seemed to be the revelation that the first city to move to Linux from Windows is now considering moving back. Geek.com summarizes the reasons as, "Employees haven’t been too thrilled with the change, and there have also been difficulties finding Linux-compatible software titles that meet Munich’s needs." Some even questioned the financial savings. There are more details here in this article saying, "It may have saved Munich €10 million in software licensing fees, but now city officials there are saying it hasn't been worth more than a decade of IT headaches."

In happier news, Debian celebrates 21 years of Linuxing. Anna Guerrero Lopez and Valessio Brito reminded the community Saturday of this momentous occasion. Tecmint.com takes a look back at Debian's first 21 years and a bit at the future. So be sure to catch that.

Arstchnica.com reviews KDE's Plasma 5 desktop recently released. They say of it, "KDE's Plasma 5 release lacks the attention-grabbing, paradigm-shifting changes that keep Unity and GNOME in the spotlight. Instead, the KDE project has been focused on improving its core desktop experience. Plasma 5 is not perfect by any means, but, unlike Unity and GNOME, it's easy to change the things you don't like." After a thorough review Scott Gilbertson concludes, "If you've tried KDE in the past and found it too "heavy," you might want to give Plasma 5 a fresh look."

Speaking of KDE, Aaron Seigo is continuing to define what a desktop means to KDE, its developers and users. In today's post, Seigo said KDE hasn't abandoned the desktop but instead have "expanded" the definition. Saturday he said Plasma isn't seeking "convergence" as some others are. With Plasma they're trying to make KDE customizable at the frameworks level for use on any of the popular device types. Also, Konqueror is looking for a maintainer!

In other news:

* DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 572, 18 August 2014

* The Justice League of Linux: If Distros Were Superheroes Ubuntu Would Be Superman

* Having Fun with Pisi Linux 1.0

* Ubuntu MATE to Become an Official Ubuntu Flavor Soon

* Systemd: Harbinger of the Linux apocalypse

* Younger generation driving Linux take-up, says Canadian vendor

* This week in Open Source games

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Mesosphere and Google Team Up on Containers and Clusters

Monday 18th of August 2014 03:18:23 PM

Recently, I covered the news that Google had released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, used to harness computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

Now, Google and startup Mesosphere have announced the integration of Google's Kubernetes container cluster manager into the Mesosphere platform to streamline the deployment of Docker workloads. It's part of a far reaching partnership to ease deployment of applications in the cloud.

Mesosphere co-founder and CEO Florian Leibert said in a blog post that Mesosphere focuses on enabling users to manage their datacenters or clouds as if they were one large machine:

"Mesosphere creates a single, highly-elastic pool of resources from which all applications can draw, creating sophisticated clusters out of raw compute nodes (whether physical machines or virtual machines). These Mesosphere clusters are highly available and support scheduling of diverse workloads on the same cluster, such as those from Marathon, Chronos, Hadoop, and Spark. Mesosphere is based on the open source Apache Mesos distributed systems kernel used by customers like Twitter, Airbnb, and Hubspot to power internet scale applications. Mesosphere makes it possible to develop and deploy applications faster with less friction, operate them at massive scale with lower overhead, and enjoy higher levels of resiliency and resource efficiency with no code changes."

"We’re collaborating with Google to bring together Mesosphere, Kubernetes and Google Cloud Platform to make it even easier for our customers to run applications and containers at scale. Today, we are excited to announce that we’re bringing Mesosphere to the Google Cloud Platform with a web app that enables customers to deploy Mesosphere clusters in minutes. In addition, we are also incorporating Kubernetes into Mesos to manage the deployment of Docker workloads. Together, we provide customers with a commercial-grade, highly-available and production-ready compute fabric."

Mesosphere for Google Cloud Platform is available here. With it, developers can create a Mesosphere cluster on Cloud Platform using either standard or custom configurations. "The app automatically installs and configures everything you need to run a Mesosphere cluster, including the Mesos kernel, Zookeeper and Marathon, as well as OpenVPN so you can log into your cluster," the announcement notes.

Eventually, this functionality will be incorporated directly into the Google Cloud Platform dashboard via the click-to-deploy feature. 

What are the costs involved in running Mesosphere for Google Cloud Platform? There is no cost beyond the charges for running configured instances on an existing Google Cloud Platform account. To get started with Mesosphere's tools, you can login with your Google credentials and launch a Mesos cluster.

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Cisco and Canonical Focus on Hadoop as a Cloud Service

Monday 18th of August 2014 02:54:25 PM

Enterprises and smaller businesses alike are now working with Big Data--sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information. Many of them are also leveraging the open source Hadoop platform, and we've been covering the growing usage of Hadoop as a service in the cloud.

Now, Cisco has announced that it has issued a CVD (Cisco Validated Design) architecture for Hadoop as a service on Ubuntu OpenStack. Working together, Cisco and Canonical will provide enterprises with thorough documentation for configuring Hadoop and other Big Data tools on Ubuntu.

Cisco is actually working more closely with Canonical in a number of ways. The company is a partner in Canonical's OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL), which helps organizations gain access to tested cloud solutions. 

According to Cisco:

"Hadoop has become a strategic data platform embraced by mainstream enterprises as it offers a path for businesses to unlock value in big data while maximizing existing investments...Hadoop as a Service is new to the industry but is gaining traction in many Service Providers and IT Organizations. This CVD focuses on setting up OpenStack on Ubuntu to deploy and manage Hadoop as a Service on Cisco UCS Common Platform Architecture version 2 (CPA v2)."

Hadoop-as-a-Service, which basically refers to running Hadoop data crunches in the cloud, is a market projected to grow to $16.1 billion by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research. One advantage to leveraging Hadoop in the cloud is that organizations can use it on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

You can find out much more about Cisco's plans for Hadoop as a Service here, including its work with both Canonical and Hortonworks.

 

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OpenMandriva Review, Mageia Release, and Another UT Video

Saturday 16th of August 2014 03:11:57 AM

Today in Linux news Mageia 5 Alpha 2 was released "for the brave." Jack Germain has a review of OpenMandriva Lx 2014. Sanctum 2 is out for Linux and GamingOnLinux posted new Unreal Tournament footage. And finally today, Dedoimedo.com has a review of PC-BSD's new desktop Lumina.

Anne Nicolas today announced another step towards Mageia 5 with Alpha 2. She said this release is significant because most package are updated to their latest stable branches and will likely reflect fairly closely to what may end up in the final version. These include "kernel 3.15.6, X.Org 1.16 and Mesa 10.2.5." Some early accepted features include Btfrs as default, change KDE DM to anything else, and "use phonon-vlc as the default Phonon backend in KDE instead of phonon-gstreamer." KDE 5 is being worked on, but KDE 4.13.95 shipped with the alpha and 4.13.97 is going into Cauldron tonight. Other changes include GNOME 3.13.4, LibreOffice 4.3, and razorqt is deprecated for LXQT. Check the errata and download your copy at mageia.org.

Jack Germain today posted a review of OpenMandriva Lx 2014 saying "OpenMandriva's implementation of KDE was much different than I had expected." But other than a few rough edges, Germain says it's a "solid and reliable choice for user-friendly computing." He was impressed by the attention to detail but thinks the software installer gives a "poor impression." See the full review at LinuxInsider.com.

Dedoimedo.com today posted his thoughts on PC-BSD's new desktop Lumina. He says of it, "there's little to differentiate this desktop from many other lightweight offerings." Lightweight and minimal are what he found with "elements that do not align visually in any way." The menu is the traditional type but has very few live links in it. He says this desktop, like many of its competitors, "suffer from the same incoherent design." Later he said of the bunch, "simply ugly and not inviting and even feel technologically inferior." He concluded, "I'm skeptical about Lumina. I want to see it flourish, but I'm not optimistic."

In other news:

* Four great technological advances

* Sanctum 2 now available on Mac and Linux (PR)

* Check Out 20 Minutes Of Footage From The New Unreal Tournament

* The Command Line Murders: No, it’s not an application

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Linux Satisfaction, Beginners' Guide, and Download Managers

Friday 15th of August 2014 06:11:16 PM

Today Recently in Linux news, Jack Wallen asks, "Will Linux ever be able to give consumers what they want?" Mark Gibbs relates his experience installing Ubuntu on an older netbook. Linux.com has a complete beginner's guide to Linux and Rob Zwetsloot looks at four popular download managers. And finally, Reiser4 has made a comeback and systemd is wreaking havoc again for some.

"Jack Wallen offers up the novel idea that giving the consumers what they want might well be the key to boundless success." Wallen says in most industries if you don't give the customer what they want they'll go away. He thinks Linux should be the same. Of course, this would be easier if everybody just wanted what he does. Unfortunately, Wallen has to contend with developers' needs and wants as well as all those other pesky Linux users wanting Linux just the way they want it. He makes legitimate points about some developers and the wild direction they take us Linux riders sometimes, but what the smartphone and cloud crowd want is not necessarily what will send Linux through the roof. Sure there are plenty of Chromebook fans, but that's not everybody. Does he want all distributions to be half proprietary and geared towards the folks who think Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are the Internet?

In what (OMG! - it's him again) Jack Wallen calls "The Complete Beginner's Guide to Linux," new users can get an overview of what the world of Linux encompasses. While he mentions other distributions, his complete guide shows how to install Ubuntu and install software on Ubuntu. Thank goodness this really isn't the complete Linux repertoire and, perhaps, explains why his other article rubbed against my grain too.

Rob Zwetsloot has four downloaders that can "improve and better manage your web downloads for mirroring, mass grabs or just better control over your files." These include uGet, KGet, and two others you just might want to try. But he has his favorite and I'm not going to provide spoilers.

In other news:

* Installing Ubuntu on an old netbook with hair tearing and profanity

* On LKML: an open letter to the Linux World (about systemd)

* Pisi Linux 1.0 now available

* Aaron Seigo: what is "the desktop"?

* Debian Project News - August 14th, 2014

* Reiser4 Now Available for the 3.15 kernel, so what?

 

* My apologies for the late posting - something I ate didn't agree with me last night.

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Deciding on the Right Cloud for Your Organization

Friday 15th of August 2014 03:04:30 PM

The OpenStack cloud computing platform will usher in a lot of enterprise spending over the next few years, according to 451 Research's recent Open Stack Pulse 2014 report. The report notes that much of the spending (roughly 70 per cent) will be centered on public cloud providers like Rackspace and HP, but quite a bit will come from private clouds being deployed.

In fact, a separate report from 451 Research notes that "internal  private cloud is the preferred execution venue for many enterprise  workload types currently, with control/management issues, data  sensitivity/IP risk, security and compliance/governance being among the  most frequently cited reasons." Here are some of the issues involved in deciding on whether a public cloud service or a private cloud will serve an organization best.

"External  ublic cloud offerings are primarily considered when there is limited  data sensitivity or IP risk, with cost and functionality/ease of use  frequently cited as reasons for adoption," notes the 451 report, which adds:

"Hybrid  cloud deployments are primarily a future choice for most respondents,  with cost being an additional reason for extending beyond internal  private cloud implementations."

Akamai has a good, basic primer on things to consider when looking into public or private clouds, and it notes this:

"Both public and private clouds have management implications. However, by choosing a public cloud solution, an organization can offload much of the management responsibility to its cloud vendor. In a private cloud scenario, there is significant demand on resources to specify, purchase, house, update, maintain, and safeguard the physical infrastructure. Financially, deploying a private cloud can also create a large initial capital expense, with subsequent investment required as new equipment and capacity is added."

"In a public cloud scenario, capital expense is virtually eliminated; the financial burden is shifted to a fee-for-service, often based on utilization and data volume. Maintaining and securing public cloud infrastructure is the responsibility of the vendor, enabling the customer organization to streamline IT operations and minimize time and money spent on system upkeep."

 For many organizations, deciding on a public or private cloud will come down to whether a pay-as-you-go cost structure is preferable to one that includes substantial up-front costs.

OStatic has done a series of interviews with movers and shakers on the cloud computing scene, and these interviews can provide much more insight into open source cloud platforms, public, private and hybrid clouds. A good sample of the interviews, and related posts from OStatic, can be found here:

Eucalyptus' CEO Cozies Up to OpenStack

Citrix: On Clouds and IAAS

SUSE's Latest OpenStack Distribution

CloudSwitch's Founder on What's in His Cloud Stack

On Hybrid Clouds and Support

CloudBees' Founder Discusses What's in His Stack

myClin Founder Discusses What's in His Stack

The Man Behind Swiss Federal Mapping Discusses His Stack

Lucas Carlson, Founder of PHP Fog, Discusses What's in His Stack

Standing Cloud's CEO: What in His Stack?

 OStatic has also collected many good guest posts on cloud computing from people in the open source community, with good examples found here:

How the Cloud is Changing the Way Developers Work 

Finding the Right Cloud for Your Business

How the Cloud is Driving Application Integration Up the Stack

How the Cloud is Impacting Open VoIP Services

External public cloud offerings are primarily considered when there is limited data sensitivity or IP risk, with cost and functionality/ease of use frequently cited as reasons for adoption. - See more at: http://theinfopro.blogs.451research.com/index.php/2014/03/the-road-to-hybrid-cloud-is-private/#sthash.sfRSrvc3.dpuf

 

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Running Hadoop as a Cloud Service is on the Rise

Friday 15th of August 2014 02:42:23 PM

For a while there, working with Big Data--sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information--meant leveraging the open source Hadoop platform in on-premise fashion. Typically, enterprises deployed Hadoop in-house as a platform tool.

However, Hadoop-as-a-service, which basically refers to running Hadoop data crunches in the cloud, is a market projected to grow to $16.1 billion by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research. There are also many tools orbiting the Hadoop-as-a-service ecosystem that are worth taking note of.

According to Allied Market Research:

"Hadoop-as-a-Service (HaaS/HDaaS), is a novel term that defines virtual storage and analysis of data on the cloud. Also termed as “hadoop in the cloud,” HaaS has emerged as a replacement to On-premises hadoop. It comprises of data storage in the cloud and its analysis through hadoop without the need to install any infrastructure in the premises. HaaS market has witnessed a tremendous growth in 2013 and has doubled from the market size in 2012. HaaS market is evolving and current users include SaaS providers, social media companies, and gaming companies. The technology is yet to enter into the mainstream commercial market. However, it is expected to witness a tremendous growth in the next 7 years, expanding its horizon into the end user industries of conventional Hadoop."

"Amazon Web Services (AWS) holds lion’s share in the market, holding nearly 90% of the global market. Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) is the HaaS service by AWS. It provides a Hadoop based platform for data analysis with S3 as the storage system and EC2 as the compute system. Microsoft HDInsight, Cloudera CDH3, IBM Infoshpere BigInsights, EMC GreenPlum HD and Windows Azure HDInsight Service are the primary HaaS services by global IT giants. Altiscale is another player in the market with a comparatively minimal share in the market; however, holds potential to compete with the existing companies. Altiscale and Quobole are the two managed or Pure Play HaaS providers. Contrary to AWS, they provide complete running and management of the Hadoop jobs."

The Altiscale Data Cloud bills itself as a cloud service "purpose-built to run Hadoop," and its services include monitoring and managing Hadoop for enterprises. 

Of course, one thing feeding this trend is already seen with many cloud services: the service presents a pay-as-you-go model for enterprises, which can add up to lots of cost savings. 

You can read more about Hadoop-as-a-service here.  Because of the complexity and costs involved in running Hadoop on-premise, this is likely to be a fast-growing corner of the Big Data market.

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Calling All Teachers! Google Classroom Arrives as a Preview

Thursday 14th of August 2014 03:04:16 PM

First shown in May, Google Classroom is becoming available in a free preview version for teachers to leverage. The imaginative tool integrates Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail and helps teachers assign and manage work online. It also facilitates efficient communication between teachers and students, no matter where students are. Teachers can create folders and documents for each student, and take advantage of the cloud.

A blog post from Classroom's product manager notes:

"Starting today, teachers and professors can apply for a preview of Classroom. Based on the requests we receive, we’ll be inviting a limited number of educators to try Classroom in about a month. By September, Classroom will be available to any school using Google Apps for Education. Since we want to make sure Classroom plays well with others, if you’re a developer or partner, sign up to learn more about integrating with Classroom."

"As a former high school math teacher, I know all too well that teachers spend a ton of valuable time doing things other than teaching—waking up early to grade quizzes, collecting and returning piles of paper assignments, and battling copy machine paper jams. But with today’s technology it doesn’t have to be this way. Many teachers and professors have found ways to use technology to be better educators and avoid busy work. We spent the past year working closely with many educators to understand the systems they use to simplify their workloads, so they can get back to doing what they love—teaching."

Classroom is, of course, a free and open platform that will improve over time, and Google has the opportunity to add many of its open source tools to the Classroom ecosystem. 

According to one teacher who has tried the preview and responded to Google's blog post: "I've been lucky enough to receive a preview, and so far, I really like what I see (in about three hours of play time)."

Many technology tools for teachers to take advantage of are going completely open source. For example, the popular edX platform has done so.  EdX is a non-profit online learning organization with many global institutions under the xConsortium participating, and it has been a leader in the free online education arena for several years. As of last year, the organization has released the code for its learning platform under an open source license.

Hopefully, Classroom will become an expanding, open platform that teachers around the world can leverage. More information on the preview version is available here

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SUSE's Latest OpenStack Icehouse Distribution Joins a Crowded Field

Thursday 14th of August 2014 02:48:37 PM

While we're eventually going to see a lot of consolidation on the OpenStack scene, for now, the number of competitors remains large. Witness SUSE's newest OpenStack distribution, SUSE Cloud 4, which is out now and targeted at building Infrastructure-as-a-Service private clouds.

SUSE Cloud 4 is based on the latest OpenStack release (Icehouse) and features full support for the Ceph distributed storage system. "SUSE Cloud is the first enterprise distribution with automated high availability configuration and deployment of the OpenStack cloud services," claims the announcement.

Laura DuBois, program vice president for storage at IDC, said, in a statement: 

"Software-defined storage is an increasingly important component of Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds. Ceph and OpenStack are highly complementary solutions that are increasingly valued by enterprises seeking to deliver a more flexible and responsive infrastructure to deliver business goals. By integrating the installation of Ceph with SUSE Cloud, SUSE has simplified the deployment process, making it faster for enterprises to scale their storage as part of an OpenStack cloud."

Many enterprises are focused on cloud computing and virtualization, and SUSE Cloud supports a multi-hypervisor cloud environment that gives enterprises increased choice and interoperability in their cloud designs. Supported hypervisors include KVM, Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere. More information on this is available here.

In addition, according to the announcement:

"SUSE Cloud now includes advanced VMware capabilities for image management and support for VMware Virtual SAN, in addition to previous support for VMware vSphere compute nodes, VMware NSX network virtualization and the vSphere driver for block storage, automation and availability features to ease enterprise adoption of OpenStack and help organizations maximize current IT investments."

Of course, SUSE, along with other OpenStack players, will have to compete in terms of supplying top-notch support to enterprises, many of which are struggling with the complexity of OpenStack. 

Finally, Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, took note of SUSE's technology integration strategy:

"The OpenStack  project is seeing increasingly wide adoption by enterprises. We've heard  from enterprise users that high availability, integration with their  preferred tools and platforms, and access to the latest upstream  innovation is important, and that's exactly the market SUSE is reaching  for with Ceph integration and HA tools."

 

 

 

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Fedora 21 Delayed, New User Questions, and Variety

Thursday 14th of August 2014 03:33:13 AM

Today in Linux news, Fedora 21 has been delayed by another week. Jos Poortvliet says users should be testing, not developers. OMG!Ubuntu! answers the four most often searched Ubuntu questions, Pisi Linux 1.0 is almost ready, and Nenad Latinović suggests a wallpaper changer. Finally today, more exciting gaming titles are coming to Linux.

Fedora 21 is delayed again, this time for another week because of a bug in GCC 4.9. The schedule had slipped by three weeks last month because some features weren't going to be ready. The alpha that had been rescheduled for August 26 is now down for September 2 and the beta release has been moved from September 30 to October 7. Fedora 21 is now planned for release on November 11. Fedora 21 looks on track for featuring GNOME 3.14, KDE 4.14, and Linux 3.16.

Technologytell.com says Blinding Dark is coming to Linux and, while claiming to be different, very much in the tradition of most horror games of late. However, the trailer looks quite intriguing; it has the one thing Frictional Games lack - weapons! See that and a bit of an overview from Kirk Hiner.

In other gaming news, Alexander Sliwinski is reporting that Darksiders and Darksiders 2 is coming to Linux, but Red Faction: Guerrilla 2 has been put on hold. GamingOnLinux today said DayZ is probably heading to Linux users as well.

Nenad Latinović says he has to have a wallpaper changer but it's been a pain lately in GNOME. Some friends suggested he try Variety, already available in Ubuntu repositories. But alas, poor Latinović uses openSUSE. So, he had another friend make packages. About Variety Latinović says, "Along with the obvious function, which is changing wallpapers, it’s how it changes them, what really matters. You can add a local pictures folder, or, if you don’t feel like it, you can let Variety download wallpapers directly from the internet from different sources (flickr, wallbase etc.)."

In other Linux news:

* Why developers should not be testing

* It’s Official, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) Will Be Based On Debian Stable

* Pisi Linux 1.0 in Final Testing

* Answers to The 4 Questions New Users Ask Most about Ubuntu

* Red Hat CEO stands to gain $13M - if stock soars 50%

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