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Is Mozilla Behind a New Chromecast Competitor?

Monday 23rd of June 2014 02:57:23 PM

While the details are unclear at this point, it looks like Mozilla may have some role in delivering a competitor to Google's popular Chromecast dongle, based on the Firefox OS platform. Several sites have been reporting that Mozilla has been secretly developing the streaming device in conjunction with a partner. 

A Twitter post by a Mozilla developer evangelist helped fuel the headlines, but Recode and other sites are reporting that Mozilla is adamant that it is not working on the device directly, although a partner could be.

According to some reports, the unconfirmed dongle works similarly to Chromecast, and can also run some apps designed for Google’s Chrome OS-based streaming dongle.

As The Register notes:

"It's not hard to see why Mozilla could at least sanction the effort: the organization’s commitment to an open web makes a device that sends video from either HTML5 pages or phones running Firefox OS to larger displays nice-to-have."

Google's Chromecast, though, feeds users into Google's overall lucrative search/ad ecosystem. Mozilla doesn't have the same incentive if it is involved with producing a Chromecast competitor.

We'll probably hear official news of this dongle shortly. Here's the photo that was tweeted:



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Mageia 4.1 Released, LXLE 14.04 Review, and LibreOffice 4.2.5

Saturday 21st of June 2014 02:36:46 AM

Today was another bountiful day in Linux news. First up, Mageia 4.1 maintenance release was announced. Non-techie Arindam Sen says LXLE 14.04 is the best LXDE distribution he's tested. Jamie Watson looks at Mint 17 KDE and Xfce release candidates. Marcel Gagne says goodbye to openSUSE and LibreOffice 4.2.5 Hits The Marketplace. All this and more in tonight's Linux news review.

Mageia 4.1, a security and bug fix release, was announced earlier today. Rémi Verschelde says if you've been keeping up with the periodic updates, you're already running 4.1. 'Among the updated packages you will find the Linux kernel (version 3.12.21), various drivers for your hardware, and updated software such as Libreoffice and Firefox. Another notable update is the fix for the well-known "Heartbleed" bug of OpenSSL.'

Arindam Sen, aka Non-techie, said today, " LXLE 14.04 is another beautiful release with lots of tweaks in it to ensure it looks attractive, works beautifully and stays more updated than the parent distro Lubuntu 14.04 LTS." He gives a thorough walk-through spiced up with benchmarks and graphs. So, check out more on "the best LXDE distro" out there.

Jamie Watson took a look at the KDE and Xfce release candidate versions of Linux Mint 17. After his tests he concluded, "I have installed these two RC distributions on my Acer Aspire One 725 (KDE) and Acer Aspire V5 (Xfce). Both are UEFI firmware systems, and both installed with absolutely no problems. All hardware was recognised and drivers were configured with no manual intervention." In other Mint news, Dedoimedo.com compares and contrasts the security of Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

In other Linux news, Goodbye OpenSUSE. Hello Fedora., A Linux distribution for science geeks, and Red Hat Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts.

And finally today, LibreOffice 4.2.5, "the fifth minor release of the most feature rich version of the software, ready for enterprise deployments," was released. With help from over 800 contributors, over 150 bugs were squashed. See the full announcement for download links and more.

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LeaseWeb Offers CloudStack-based Flat-Fee Private Cloud Service

Friday 20th of June 2014 02:52:01 PM

While OpenStack tends to draw more buzz among open cloud computing platforms, the Apache Software Foundation has been steadily driving the CloudStack cloud platform forward. There are services taking shape around CloudStack, as evidenced by LeaseWeb's announcement of LeaseWeb Private Cloud.

Based on Apache CloudStack, LeaseWeb Private Cloud is billed as "a plug-and-play private cloud solution where users can create and manage multiple instances alongside their own cloud resources, such as dedicated cores, RAM storage, virtual networks, firewalls, and load balancers."

LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting providers and LeaseWeb Private Cloud is connected to a worldwide network that is purported to have a total capacity of more than 4.0 Tbps. With its new offering, LeaseWeb is focusing on the U.S. market.

“After a comprehensive evaluation and many positive reactions from early customers, we decided to expand our private cloud solution to the U.S. market,” said Robert van der Meulen, Cloud Manager at LeaseWeb. “The combination of our relationship with the Apache CloudStack open source community and the engineering skills of our own cloud specialists have enabled us to offer a private cloud solution that is packed with a huge amount of innovative features. We are particularly pleased about its pricing, with dedicated private cloud resources being offered against public cloud prices.”

LeaseWeb Private Cloud is housed in a Tier 3 data center located in the Washington D.C. area, and LeaseWeb says that clients using its platform won't run into the overbooking problems that exist elsewhere. 

LeaseWeb plans to roll-out its flat fee private cloud technology to other locations worldwide throughout 2014, with the goal of full global coverage by the end of this year. You can find more details, and other offerings such as bare metal servers from LeaseWeb, here. Pricing can be obtained here


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With OnMetal, Rackspace Enters Bare-Metal OpenStack Hosting Race

Friday 20th of June 2014 02:34:51 PM

Just last week, Mirantis and IBM's SoftLayer group announced a new bare-metal-as-a-service hosting plan called Mirantis OpenStack Express. On the heels of that, Rackspace has announced a similar offering, OnMetal, a single-tenant infrastructure-as-a-service platform that integrates with the full range of APIs available in the OpenStack arena.

Rackspace is pitching the new offering as a solid way to ensure that cloud applications can scale, among other things.

“The rising complexity of the multi-tenant cloud affects applications in a variety of ways,” said Taylor Rhodes, president of Rackspace, in a statement. “Virtualization and sharing a physical machine are fantastic tools for specific workloads at certain scale; however, we’ve learned that the one-size-fits-all approach to multi-tenancy just doesn’t work once you become successful, so we created OnMetal to simplify scaling for customers to stay fast and lean with a laser-sharp focus on building out their product.”

OnMetal Cloud Servers are built with Open Compute Project-specified hardware and run OpenStack. The servers come in three different sets of specifications, each custom-designed and built for workloads commonly associated with large web scale applications:

Compute-optimized configuration – 20 threads and 32GB RAM; can be used to power large-scale web servers, application servers, queue processors and load balancers.

Memory-optimized configuration – 24 threads and 512GB RAM; can be used to power caches, search indexes and in-memory analytics.

I/O-optimized configuration – 40 threads, 128GB RAM, 3.2TB PCIe flash drive that can be used to power large NoSQL data stores, traditional SQL databases and OLTP applications.

Rackspace continues to emphasize its support plans for OpenStack deployments. By default, every OnMetal Cloud Servers customer gets access to specialists at Rackspace to optimize their application architecture, assist with code debugging and monitor their infrastructure, according to the company.

OnMetal Cloud Servers are available for testing under limited availability and expected to enter general availability in the Rackspace Northern Virginia data center in July. The technology platform will arrive in Rackspace’s international data centers in 2015. To learn more, you can visit www.rackspace.com/onmetal.

Meanwhile, Mirantis OpenStack Express is already being used by a number of big enterprises, including Alcatel-Lucent, General Electric, Liberty Mutual, McAfee, Symantec, and Sprint. It has a pay-per-use cost structure, and puts Mirantis deeper into the OpenStack service provider face.  There is much more about it in this post.



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Happy 30th X, Debian Reinstates GLIBC, and Linux Poetry

Friday 20th of June 2014 03:56:17 AM

It was an exciting day here in Linuxville. First up, big Happy Birthday to X as X.Org celebrates the window system's 30th birthday. A big shocker out of the Debian camp has users scratching heads and chins. Libby Clark reports on a kernel hacker who converts Linux to poetry. Those are just a few of the interesting stories today in Linux news.

The X Window System is 30 years old today. This is older than

  • * Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows
  • * POSIX, C89, C99, C++, Java
  • * the World Wide Web
  • * the GPL and the FSF

Up until very recently, if you were running a GUI on Linux you were running X. It went from running "on the CPU of a VAX VS100 to one that runs the GUI on today's laptops with 3D rendering capabilities." Thanks to everyone involved.

Phoronix.com is one covering Debian developer Aurelien Jarmo's announcement that they are switching back to GLIBC after five years of using EGLIBC. He says as of today "the glibc package has been uploaded to experimental and sits in the NEW queue." He adds that the reasons they abandoned GLIBC for EGLIBC have been resolved and now EGLIBC seems to be a dead project while GLIBC lives.

Speaking of Debian, the project announced the other day that their Long Term Support infrastructure for Debian 6 is now open and running through February 2016. They also put out the call for organizations and companies to help man the LTS team.

Morgan Phillips is probably one of the most unique software developers out there. Phillips used poetry as a learning and remembering tool as she matriculated and now uses that same technique to master the art of kernel developing. She says inspiration is everywhere and she could write thousands of poems just on one function alone. Check out her most interesting story on LinuxFoundation.org.

Jack M. Germain says the "LXQt Desktop Could Be a Real Beaut." He's been watching LXQt for a while and today he said it's really beginning to take shape. He said it's "smooth and satisfying." Check out his coverage today at LinuxInsider.com.

MaximumPC remembered Valve Source engine's 10th birthday this month. They picked out their top 10 choices in Source source games. Several of them work on Linux, so see their slideshow for that.

The Free Software Foundation today published an article on the dangers of Intel's ATM technology in their i5 and i7 chipsets. It might be too late for me, but check it out if you're in the market for a new computer.

In other news:

* Freshmeat now Frozen
* Microsoft rewards Linux users with new version of Skype
* Oldest Maintained Linux Kernel,, Gets an Update and Prepares for EOL

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As Amazon Enters the Phone Game, It's All About the (Android) Apps

Thursday 19th of June 2014 03:11:22 PM

There is much hubbub around Amazon's Fire Phone this week. The newly announced smartphone is Amazon's first foray into smartphones, and the press is heralding many of the innovative new hardware-driven features in the phone, some of which will make reading and consuming content very easy.

However, Amazon's Fire phone strategy is going to raise questions about whether Amazon should have embrraced Android and its app ecosystem more fully. Here's why.

The $200 price tag on Fire phones seems pretty high, but it will make sense for people who consume a lot of the content that Amazon provides and shop on Amazon.

What will the experience of using Fire phones be like? If you've used the Kindle Fire tablet, it will be somewhat familiar because these tablets run Fire OS, a custom build of Android from Amazon. However, ExtremeTech makes some good points about Amazon's actual stance toward Android and the apps available for Android devices:

"One aspect of Android you won’t find on the Fire Phone is the part everyone associates with Android — there are no Google apps or services. Amazon is forking Android for each of its devices, usually grabbing one of the newer versions of Google’s software from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) when the time comes to develop. The open source build of Android comes with none of Google’s framework built-in because those parts are proprietary."

In short, users of Fire phones are going to get Amazon's tools and services as opposed to Google's. True, Amazon has its own Silk browser, a proven cloud solution and lots of other good tools it can offer up on these phones. 

But there is no evidence that developers will necessarily take existing Android apps and customize them for Amazon's Appstore. Amazon might create incentives for them to do so, but the Amazon Appstore is nowhere near as rich as the app ecosystem for true Android devices. 

This is the same issue I've discussed in talking about Firefox OS phones. It's all about the apps. If Amazon's Fire phones are to be a resounding success, they are going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users. And Amazon is entering this fray as a late player.

Developers are interested in creating apps for platforms where they can make money. In the short run, Amazon may be well advised to simply offer cash incentives to Android app developers who can take their apps to Amazon's Appstore. Look for that, or other similar incentives, to follow the announcement of the Fire phones.

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Hear Ye! Major Newspapers Team with Mozilla on Digital Comments Platform

Thursday 19th of June 2014 02:49:30 PM

Thanks to a $3.89 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a  Miami-based philanthropic group that focuses on media and the arts, Mozilla is embarking on a project that will help connect some of the world's top journalists with readers, viewers and content consumers. 

The Washington Post, the New York Times and Mozilla "will team up to create digital tools that will make it easier for readers to post comments and photos on news sites and to interact with journalists and each other," according to announcement from The Washington Post.

No doubt, Mozilla will focus on open tools in this effort, and the tools could end up influencing sites around the web that deliver content. According to The Washington Post:

"The most ambitious aim of the project is to create a feature that would efficiently highlight the most relevant and pertinent reader comments on an article, perhaps through word-recognition software. Another feature would categorize and rank commenters according to their previous postings."

"As described by its developers, the as-yet-unnamed system aims to standardize the many different 'community engagement' systems that Web sites now use to collect and publish outside contributions, especially reader comments and photos."

"The Post and the Times not only hope to incorporate the system on their Web sites but intend to share them with other publishers and bloggers, much like the WordPress publishing tools that enable anyone to create their own Web site, said Marc Lavallee, editor of interactive news technology at the Times and another steering-committee member."

The New York Times has done its own coverage of the new project:

"Digital news organizations have long used reader-powered publishing platforms as a way to generate free content as well as to help increase the time that their audience spends on their websites. Some newspapers and magazines have been slow to develop these platforms because they worry about quality control. The New York Times, for example, screens every reader comment for tone and language before publishing....But as it has become clear that readers spend additional time on websites where they can actively participate, more publications are embracing platforms...The Times, which will commit up to six employees to the project, said that it had considered buying available software but that it had concluded along with The Post that it would be easier to customize a platform built in-house."

 It's good to see some of the biggest news organizations waking up to the new ways that people want to interact digitally with the content that they consume. The partners say that this project will take up to two years to complete.

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Red Hat Q1 Report, GNOME 3.14 Sneak Peek, and Why Open Source

Thursday 19th of June 2014 03:11:39 AM

In Linux news today, Red Hat released their first quarter financial results today and the markets reacted in kind. WorldofGNOME.org gives users a peek and poke at GNOME 3.14. Newbie Tony Ireland shares his story and Michael Hall shares why he uses Open Source.

Red Hat, Inc. today released their first quarter financial results this afternoon saying their total revenue is up 17% over last year same time, subscription income is up 18%, and operating capital is up 16%. While the full report isn't all rosy, shares of Red Hat gained 5% in after hours trading.

The woGue blog today posted a quick look at upcoming GNOME Shell 3.14. In fact, they begin by telling Ubuntu users how they too can install it. They offer screenshots and a screencast as well as a few thoughts, so check that out.

At Linux.com yesterday, newcomer Tony Ireland shared his "journey from Windows" to Linux Mint 17. He had issues with several other distributions, but he stuck with it and finally found "joy" with Mint. He advises, "If you work through the issues you will find as I have a Linux system that works on par with if not better than windows and is far more enjoyable."

And finally today, Michael Hall shares his reason for using Open Source software. He did what many say but few do: if something doesn't work, you can make it work. He had a weird piece of unsupported hardware that worked in neither Windows nor Linux. However, unlike in Windows, he was able to hack the drivers and get them to work in Linux because they were Open Source.

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Google and Facebook Open Source Important Tools

Wednesday 18th of June 2014 03:04:26 PM

Over the years, Google has been one of the largest contributors to the open source community, handing many of its projects over for community development. Just this month, both Google and Facebook have made some significant new contributions of projects. Google has released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, which harnesses computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments.

Last week, Facebook open sourced Haxl, a library that eases access to remote data. Haxl can automatically batch multiple requests to the same data source, request data from multiple data sources concurrently, and cache previous requests. Having all this handled behind the scenes means that data-fetching code can be much cleaner and clearer than it would otherwise be if it had to worry about optimizing data-fetching.

Wired and Silicon Angle have covered the open sourcing of Kubernetes. Silicon Angle notes:

"According to Wired, Google kept Borg’s source code a secret for years because it considered the technology to be a competitive advantage. However, Google’s entry into the public cloud market demands that it cultivate software that works well with its own Compute Engine. Kubernetes can reportedly be used not only to run applications across very large server farms but also to incorporate cloud services as well."

Indeed, Cade Metz, writing for Wired, says: "[Kubernetes] is a way of more easily and more efficiently running online software across a vast array of machines. In today’s world, that’s a vital thing."

You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

Jon Purdy, one of the engineers behind Facebook's Haxl, has an online discussion up about the tool. He writes:

"The basic idea here is that you can write naïve data fetching code that looks horrifically inefficient—queries in loops, no explicit deduplication—which gets turned magically into efficient concurrent fetching under the hood."

Haxl has been fully released, and you can find the source code on GitHub

It's good to see Google and Facebook contributing meaningful projects to the open source community, and both companies may benefit from community development of their contributions. 



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Red Hat to Acquire eNovance, Focus Together on OpenStack

Wednesday 18th of June 2014 02:44:39 PM

In conjunction with the recent OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, Red Hat had confirmed many new OpenStack-centric initiatives, one of which was that the company is collaborating with eNovance, a leader in the open source cloud computing market, tto drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications features into OpenStack. Now, Red Hat has announced that it will acquire eNovance for about  70 million euros, or $95 million, in cash and stock.

eNovance is an important player on the OpenStack scene, and is especially known for its work with telecommunications companies.  eNovance helps service providers and large-scale private enterprises build and deploy cloud infrastructures quickly and cost effectively, and will create new lines of business for Red Hat.

As noted by IDC analysts Laura DuBois and Ashish Nadkarni in their recent recap of the spring 2014 OpenStack Summit, "Integrators such as eNovance will continue to assist cloud service providers and enterprises in building large OpenStack clouds. ... The future for OpenStack is looking very bright."

eNovance is one of the top 10 contributors to the upstream OpenStack project, and is the only European Gold Member company of the OpenStack Foundation. The company has more than 150 global customers, including Alcatel-Lucent, AXA, Cisco, Cloudwatt, and Ericsson. The company has offices in Paris; Montreal; and Bangalore, India.

Red Hat and eNovance first partnered in 2013 to deliver OpenStack implementation and integration services to joint customers, based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.  At OpenStack Summit in May, the two companies announced an expanded collaboration to drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications innovations into OpenStack, aimed at delivering the industry’s most complete, carrier-grade telecommunications offering based on Linux, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), and OpenStack.

Raphaël Ferreira, co-founder & chief executive officer, eNovance, said in a statement:

“eNovance, like Red Hat, understands the transformative power OpenStack can have on the enterprise market when it is both deployed and integrated in the right fashion. We are excited to become part of Red Hat, a company that not only offers one of the best-in-class OpenStack distributions on the market today, but also which shares our common belief that OpenStack is best deployed and integrated in a continuous and seamless manner."


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Fedora 21 NOT Delayed, What Linux Needs, and Civ IV

Wednesday 18th of June 2014 03:32:31 AM

Today in Linux news, Fedora 21 is not delayed says Matthew Miller, newly appointed project lead. Bruce Byfield thinks he knows the seven things the Linux desktops needs to be nearly perfect. Jamie Watson says KaOS is solid and focused. Richard Hughes gives his thoughts on replacing Yum with DNF in Fedora 22. And finally, OMG!Ubuntu! is speculating that Civilization IV is probably heading towards Linux.

Last week we reported that Michael Larabel of Phoronix.com thought Fedora 21 may be delayed due to a bug called a "release blocker" by developer Stephen Gallagher. Well, today newly promoted Matthew Miller wrote without any equivocation that "Fedora 21 is not delayed." He then wrote they are "not currently planning" a delay beyond the scheduled October 14 release date.

Speaking of Fedora and Matthew Miller, it seems Miller started a bit of discussion last week when he asked if Yum should be replaced by DNF in next year's Fedora 22. Well, a big thread grew and today Richard Hughes blogged his thoughts. Some suggested renaming DNF to Yum so that users might not be so confused, but others think this is not a good idea. Put Hughsie in that latter column. He said it would send the wrong message and diminish DNF. Others cite nostalgia while others point out that DNF was supposed to be temporary in name and command to prevent conflicts with Yum. Opinions are piling up, and we'll keep you updated.

Bruce Byfield at Datamation.com today shared his list of "7 improvements that would benefit the Linux desktop." One of his petpeeves seems to be menus. He neither likes those tablet interface menus like in GNOME and Unity nor the more traditional as in KDE, LXDE, or Xfce. Another missing element for Byfield is a "reasonably priced software for editing videos." He also speaks of Icon Fences and color-coded title bars, so see that full post for more.

OMG!Ubuntu! is saying that Sid Meier's Civilization IV may also be heading to Linux desktops soon. There are no guarantees, but some hints are emerging. They say, "An entry for Civilization IV that lists Linux as a 'supported system' recently appeared in the Steam database."

And finally today, KaOS Linux: Hands-on with this solid and focused distribution, A free photo editor worth trying: Getting started with GIMP, and The Linux Setup - Tom Callaway, Red Hat.

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How to Optimize Your Chromebook for Use Offline

Tuesday 17th of June 2014 02:21:25 PM

While Google has steadily touted Chrome OS as a cloud-centric operating system, the platform's ability to work with offline apps is steadily growing, and that is making Chromebooks much more flexible systems than they were before. On the Chrome Web Store, you can find many apps that work offline, including QuickNote for note taking, Videostream for Chromecast, and more. Google has even recently given Chromebook users a way to watch Google Play Movies and TV offline.

In this post, you'll find good resources for arming yourself with the best offline apps for Chrome OS.

In  a recent post from Google, the company announced the offline movie and TV watching functions: "The new Google Play Movies & TV Chrome app makes your favorite movies and TV shows on your Chromebook available any time, anywhere - even without a WiFI connection. http://goo.gl/L8VUzf In addition to offline mode on Chrome OS, it also brings Info Cards and an improved Chromecast and local playback experience to anyone watching movies through the Chrome browser."

Of course one of the best ways to find offline apps that will be right for you is to browse the Chrome Web Store's offline app section, found here.  There are apps for creating high-end charts, learning piano, editing video, and much more.

Computerworld has a useful slideshow of 15 top apps for Chrome OS that work offline, available here.  Among the apps, Business Process Simulator analyzes and optimizes how processes work, and Gliffy Diagrams lets you produce some remarkable diagrams and flowcharts.

ZDNet has a similar collection of useful offline tools.

Google has also been building offline features directly into Chrome OS, and into tools that orbit Chrome OS in the cloud. The company has added automatic offline Drive document syncing in Chrome and Google Keep for online or offline notetaking. And, Google has provided Gmail and Google Calendar offline features for several years.


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RapidMiner Acquires Radoop to Build Out Big Data Analytics

Tuesday 17th of June 2014 01:52:00 PM

The Hadoop Summit, sponsored by Yahoo and Hortonworks, went on recently in San Jose, California, and it showcased the fact that while enterprise adoption of the Hadoop Big Data crunching platform is moving briskly, there are needs for tools that work alongside Hadoop. For example, Microsoft officials delivered a keynote on "Transforming data into action using Hadoop, Excel, and the Cloud," which focused on the cloud as a complement for Hadoop, and Excel as a powerful front end for it.

As another example of a powerful front end for Hadoop, RapidMiner offers a Hadoop-based advanced data analytics suite. And, the company has just announced that it has acquired Radoop, which makes tools that can "[provide] key extensions for editing and running ETL, data analytics and machine learning processes in a Hadoop environment."

Radoop is established in the Hadoop community, as RapidMiner's announcement notes:

"In addition to easily integrating with any Hadoop cluster, the acquisition of Radoop further strengthens RapidMiner’s role in the Hadoop ecosystem by bringing key partnerships with Cloudera and Hortonworks, two of the most popular Hadoop platforms, as well adding 20 new client companies, including Schneider Electric, Prezi, Ustream and Fractal Analytics. Radoop 2.0, released in April 2014, includes more than 50 Hadoop operators, support for YARN (the new resource management layer for Hadoop 2.0), the latest Cloudera, Hortonworks and DataStax distributions, and integration with Hadoop technologies, including MapReduce, Hive, Impala, Mahout and Pig."

Clearly, instant access to a constellation of complementary technologies and partners had to do with this acquisition.

“The combination of RapidMiner and Radoop uniquely positions us to take advantage of the synergies that exist between advanced analytics and Hadoop,” said Ingo Mierswa, co-founder and CEO of RapidMiner, in a statement. “With 38,000 production deployments and 250,000 active users, RapidMiner’s advanced analytics platform has seen phenomenal adoption across an ever-growing number of organizations. With the addition of Radoop, business and IT organizations can now fully leverage the world’s most comprehensive predictive analytics suite in a platform that costs far less than proprietary technologies, delivers greater functionality, and is easier to deploy and manage.”

“As advanced analytics becomes one of the most prolific use cases on Hadoop, the entire Radoop team is excited to join RapidMiner’s global organization to expand its lead into the broader Hadoop ecosystem,” said Zoltán Prekopcsák, CEO of Radoop, in a statement. “We are now perfectly positioned to accelerate the deployment and expansion of Radoop’s big data technology through RapidMiner’s access to key markets all over the world including the United States, Europe and Asia.”

Many front ends and complementary technologies for working with Hadoop are arriving. Talend Open Studio for Big Data is one, and there are some interesting Excel tools for working with Hadoop as well. Talend Open Studio is bundled with Hortonworks' Hadoop suite.

RapidMiner is growing quickly on the Big Data scene. The company was positioned by Gartner in the Leaders quadrant of the first “Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms,” published on February 19.



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More on Mint, Email Clients, and Weather Apps

Tuesday 17th of June 2014 03:03:54 AM

Today in Linux news are more reviews and announcements for Linux Mint. Charles-H. Schulz ponders the email client. Jun Auza looks at weather applications and Katherine Noyes asks if Linux lacks that one killer app.

Linux Mint grabbed several headlines today starting with Jesse Smith's initial thoughts in today's Distrowatch Weekly. He concludes, 'I hesitate to use terms such as "just works" or "flawless", but Linux Mint 17 is probably as close to "just works" as a desktop distribution can get.'

Dedoimedo.com also reviews Mint 17 Cinnamon under NVIDIA today. He said the installation went "without a hitch," the tools are great, and he especially loved the desktop. He concludes, "Qiana works beautifully. It is a highly pleasing product visually, it is fast and robust, it comes with a rich arsenal of programs. What's not to love?"

In other Mint news, Linux Mint 17 Xfce RC has been released. This follows last Thursday's announcement that Linux Mint 17 KDE RC was released. Mint 17 KDE RC ships with Linux 3.13, GCC 4.8.2, X.Org X Server 1.15.1, and KDE 4.13.0. Firefox 30 and LibreOffice are among the software. These release candidates are nearing release quality and we can probably expect announcements any time.

Charles H. Schulz, probably best known for his work with Open/LibreOffice and Mandriva, yesterday looked at the few email client choices Linux users actually have. Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution, and Claws are among the topics, so see his full post for a run down of these and more.

Junauza.com today posted of the best weather applications for Linux. I'm always on the lookout for weather apps and applets and today Jun Auza looked at a GNOME weather extention, Ubuntu Weather Indicator, and Stormcloud among others. I've been using this Yahoo! weather applet recently and like it quite a bit.

Katherine Noyes today asked, "Does Linux Lack a Killer App?" She found that opinions varied and one prevailing thought emerged, it depends on the person answering. Go see what Noyes found on her latest Linux Blog Safari.

In other news:

* Debian 6 debuts its long term support period
* Alienware says Steam Machines will spur "20, 30-fold" growth in Linux gaming
* Antergos 2014.05.26 review
* Linux Deepin 2014 Release Candidate Looking Good
* Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 372

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Is the $25 Firefox OS Phone Going To Be Transformative?

Monday 16th of June 2014 03:02:02 PM

Mozilla has been making much noise about the Firefox OS mobile platform, and new $25 phones that it wants to bring to emerging markets. The company plans to deliver a $25 smartphone by the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. Now, TIME is pronouncing the move "a brilliant game-changer," but let's remember that mobile phones are all about the apps, and even Mozilla officials have stopped short of calling Firefox OS phones "smartphones" in the sense that they run the robust apps that iOS and Android phones do.

Android and iOS smartphones have the best apps available for them precisely because they dominate the market and attract developers. In the final quarter of 2013, Android OS had 78% of smartphone users, Apple’s iOS had 18% and Windows Phone and other platforms grabbed the remaining share.

TIME reports:

"So if people who already have a smartphone won’t switch to Firefox OS, how could Mozilla possibly get a bigger slice of the mobile OS pie? Simple: Create new smartphone owners. The $25 Mozilla smartphone—packed with Firefox OS, of course—will be sold in emerging markets like India and Indonesia."

While it's true that there are many people in these markets who haven't been able to afford a mobile phone yet, there isn't yet a completely robust app ecosystem for Firefox OS, and Mozilla must offer more incentives for app developers. 

According to the Journal's report:

"To tap the next billion first-time smartphone users, Mozilla is collaborating with Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum Communications Inc. to unveil a low-cost chipset that enables smartphones to be priced at $25 this year...While Mozilla has relied on carriers to sell Firefox-powered smartphones in emerging markets in last 12 months, the software company plans to expand its partners to include electronics retailers and local handset brands such as Micromax Informatics in India."

It does sound like these low cost phones are really going to arrive, but Mozilla has to find a way to make app delivery and development profitable, and that will be a challenge. 

Higher cost Firefox OS phones have been selling in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Greece.  They have even sold in limited quantities on eBay in other regions, illustrating that there are interested users around the world.



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Red Hat Positions its Enterprise Virtualization Platform as an OpenStack Bridge

Monday 16th of June 2014 02:46:51 PM

Red Hat is out with its new Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization platform version 3.4, which arrives just after the new version of its Enterprise Linux offering. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.4 is being positioned as a bridge to the OpenStack cloud, among other things. The latest RHEV version offers new "guest support for [RHEL] as well as advanced OpenStack support across compute, storage and networking."

According to Red Hat:

"Virtualization can vastly improve efficiency, free up resources, and cut costs. But you don't want to sacrifice performance, security, and existing investments. As you plan for your cloud deployment process, it's important to build common services that use your virtualization investment and the cloud, while avoiding vendor lock-in."

"What if you could virtualize both your servers and desktops, manage them from 1 simple interface, and prepare for the cloud on your terms—without compromise?"

In a new interview with Forbes, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst pointed to paradigm shifts coming about due to the open cloud and virtualization. "Traditional virtualization platforms like VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V are legacy infrastructure designed for yesterday’s client-server software, not the sort of distributed, rapidly relocatable, elastically scalable applications that define the era of big data, SaaS and social software," noted Forbes.

Red Hat is also touting the performance of RHEV. "Compared to bare metal, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization can perform as well or better, offering robust Microsoft Exchange performance and high I/O throughput in Oracle database workloads," the company claims.

RHEV offers support for up to 160 logical CPUs and up to 2TB of memory per virtual machine. You can download a datasheet, a features guide, and a server consolidation whitepaper. Red Hat also claims that enterprise users can save 50 to 75 percent with RHEV compared to proprietary virtualization platforms.

Red Hat has done well getting its corporate clients to renew subscriptions for its Linux support offerings, but growth has slowed at the company and cloud computing is all the rage now, with OpenStack and open virtualization rapidly gaining momentum.


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Pinguy OS Gives Good GNOME, Is Unity Bad, and Lotsa Coming Games

Saturday 14th of June 2014 02:58:12 AM

There were some nice items in the feeds on this unluckiest day of the month. Jack Germain says Pinguy OS is about as good GNOME as you can get. Andrew Powell asks Is Ubuntu's Unity Really All That Bad Nowadays? And GamingOnLinux.com says Linux is "heating up" over at Steam. These stories and more on this Friday the 13th.

Over at LinuxInsider.com today, Jack M. Germain said the tweaking done in Pinguy OS makes for "a more pleasant experience than it otherwise would be in Gnome 3." He says it is "tricked it out suitably with a Docky bar combination. The quick launch bar at the bottom of the screen and a hidden Places bar on the left edge make up for the loss of icon launchers from the desktop itself, thanks to Gnome." It doesn't come with a lot of different software choices, but most tasks are covered by at least one application. Germain said Pinguy OS may look too basic, but he found it "much easier to use than other desktop environments" and "much less frustrating to set up."

Andrew Powell at The Linux Rain is saying he used to hate Ubuntu's Unity, but has had a change of heart recently and is wondering if others experienced this. He says, "Since Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Unity finally showed it had matured and become much more cohesive. I believe Unity as it stands today is a much, much improved desktop interface and if you give it a chance you may find it to be quite a pleasure to work within."

GamingOnLinux.com today reported on a bunch of new indie games "greenlighted" for release on Steam. They list 30 games and link to the full list. As I perused the choices on Steam last night the role playing retro Tex Murphy series, an exploration adventure mystery called Gone Home, and the terrified toddler horror adventure spoke of earlier caught my eye. The number of games on Steam has been reported to be over 500.

Speaking of games, Techgage.com compares the Linux version to the Windows version of Sid Meier’s Civilization V while reviewing the game today. While the antialiasing option is missing from the Linux version, the Linux version renders richer colors and and more realistic objects although the reviewer prefers the Windows look of some. He concludes though, "I bet you wouldn’t have imagined that the Linux version actually looks better in some cases, would you? I sure didn’t expect it."

In other news today:

* How to Rescue a Non-booting GRUB 2 on Linux
* CentOS 7 Now Under Public QA
* Silicon Valley embraces open source as a moneymaker
* The People Who Support Linux: Engineer Thanks Father for His Linux Career
* LXQt: A Lightweight Linux Desktop Environment Built With KDE Technologies
* Gentoo Linux Step by Step Installation Guide with Screenshots – Part 1, Part 2

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Tesora Has Open Sourced Its OpenStack Cloud Database Software

Friday 13th of June 2014 01:50:37 PM

As we've been covering recently, Icehouse, the next major release of the OpenStack cloud platform, is picking up steam. One notable thing about Icehouse is that it has introduced a new database-as-a-service feature, focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove.

Trove is starting to get a lot of notice, and Tesora is among the companies with a stake in Trove's success. The company is focused on Database-as-a-Service technology, and it announced this week that the source code of its previously proprietary database virtualization engine is now freely available. You can click here to download the Tesora Database Virtualization Engine

The Community Edition of Tesora's offering will be available for free. An Enterprise Edition will offer 24/7 support, a web-based user interface and installable packaging for Ubuntu, Linux and Red Hat.

Among other things, Tesora's virtualization engine can speed up mobile apps that rely on database lookups. The company claims that it has been shown to provide an 80-fold capacity increase in performance of mobile applications and a dramatic reduction in costs.

“Now that our database virtualization engine is open source, any organization can take advantage of our scale-out technology simply by downloading the code and trying it themselves,” said Ken Rugg, CEO and Founder of Tesora, in a statement. “We think this is the right strategy to foster innovation in the MySQL community and around OpenStack and Trove. We’ve learned over the past couple of years that developers much prefer open source technology and we are excited to be able to release the code.”

Offering a free community version of a product and a fee-based enterprise version has become a proven model in the open source arena. The free availability of the Tesora Database Virtualization Engine will broaden the audience for the technology. 

You can find out more about the virtualization engine here, including input from Tesora's partners. 

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Outlook Web App Arrives, Native for Android

Friday 13th of June 2014 01:37:52 PM

While Android has been a barnstorming success as an open mobile platform, it has still largely been a consumer phenomenon. There are still enterprise IT departments that won't sanction Android devices for employee use, due to purported security concerns, and, in some cases concerns about compatibility with Microsoft's application and messaging platforms.

Now, though, an Outlook Web App (OWA) is going live as a native Android app, which could shut down some of the Android compatibility issues. At the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in March, officials announced that the company would be bringing a native OWA mobile app to Android phones. The pre-release of this app is now available in the Google Play store.

According to a blog post from the Microsoft Office team:

"During this pre-release, we’ll be gathering feedback, fixing bugs and making sure the app is ready for prime time! The app distribution will be limited to a few devices to begin with. We’ll be adding new device support regularly so if your device isn’t supported right now, check back often. Also, let us know which devices we should add next by voting here.  Learn more of the background behind OWA for Android on this week’s Garage Series."

Microsoft claims that everything you can do on OWA for iPhone can be done on OWA for Android. A navigation screen provides access to Outlook, Calendar, and People, and will be familiar to people who have used Outlook. Also, with OWA for Android, if you’ve enabled the app to sync your contacts to your device, you can update those contacts directly from the device’s address book and OWA will make sure the changes get synched with your Office 365 mailbox.

I've been covering how Microsoft is warming up to Android, and how its acquisition of Nokia, which offers Android phones, puts it direcly in the Android business. Letting Android users take advantage of Outlook is a key step in getting enterprises to warm up to Android devices.

Here is a look at OWA for Android's Calendar view, which shoudl be very recognizable if you've used Outlook:



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Continuous Integration, The Linux Machine, and Factory Restore

Friday 13th of June 2014 03:36:08 AM

There were lots of interesting Linux tidbits in the news today. First up, Antonio Terceiro introduces Debian's new Continuous Integration project, which tests for broken packages, functions, and such. HP announces "The Machine" that runs Linux. How would you like a system restore disk for your Linux? And finally, systemd 214 and Mint 17 KDE RC were released.

Antonio Terceiro today introduced the Debian Continuous Integration project saying, "Debian is a big system. The unstable suite contains 21306 source packages, and 42867 binary packages. There is an unthinkable number of inter-package dependencies. A new version of any of these packages can potentially break some functionality" or package. The Debian Continuous Integration project will run tests four times a day to catch any broken packages or backwards compatibility and alert developers. The system has actually been in use since January and Terceiro says the number of passing packages has gone up from 50 to 75%, but see his full post for more specifics.

The Business Insider today reported on HP's new "The Machine." The Machine is a super "data center computer" with a new type of non-volatile memory that uses relatively little power. Of particular interest is the operating system slated to run it; or rather the operating system on which it will be based. HP is planning to develop a new Open Source system based on Linux (and another on Android).

Jigish Gohil over at the openSUSE lizard ranch today posted of Recovery-kit that allows for the creation of a factory restore disk of your Linux system. They wanted it for easy administration of remote machines, but it's available for anyone. Gohil links to openSUSE packages and the source, so see his post for more.

And finally today, Sam Varghese wonders if Red Hat 7.0: too many changes at one go?, Linux Mint 17 KDE RC is released, and Systemd 214 arrives with new goodies. For the security minded Life after TrueCrypt and Linux Malware And Antivirus may be of interest.

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