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Updated: 6 hours 38 min ago

Hadoop, Trove to Take Center Stage in the OpenStack Arena

Monday 13th of October 2014 02:55:56 PM

Slowly but surely, database-as-a-service functionality has been emerging as an important component of the evolution of the OpenStack cloud computing platform. When the OpenStack Icehouse version arrived in April, the Trove database-as-a-service project was one of the under-the-hood offerings. And now, the OpenStack Juno version is slated to arrive on Oct. 16, featuring a significatnly improved version of Trove.

Meanwhile, Juno which delivers many management and scalability improvements to OpenStack, also has official and unprecedented support for Hadoop on OpenStack.

Many enterprises are seeking to leverage Trove as they put applications in the cloud. However, databases can be resource intensive, and many don't work well in cloud environments, so there is much scrutiny of the development of Trove for high-availability OpenStack deployments.  Users have also focused on ways to use Hadoop for Big Data tasks in OpenStack environments.

The Trove project was initially begun with the name Project Red Dwarf and overseen by Hewlett-Packard and Rackspace. Now, database virtualization vendor Tesora is the big player focused on Trove and is helping to evangelize it for use with OpenStack.

According to eWeek:

"Trove in OpenStack Juno will now also support database clustering for the open-source MongoDB NoSQL database. Sharding is a database technique whereby a large database can be divided up, or 'sharded,' into multiple smaller elements to provide better database performance. Support for the Neutron networking project within OpenStack is also new to Trove in the Juno release cycle."

In an interview with V3, OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce and chief operating officer Mark Collier said that a "new feature in Juno is the data processing service, known as Savanna, which is set to enable users to deploy Hadoop on OpenStack infrastructure to operate big data processing tasks."

I first covered Savannah in this post.  It enables users to easily provision and manage Hadoop clusters on OpenStack. It's backed by Red Hat, Mirantis, and Hortonworks, and creates important bridges between the powerful data crunching capabilities of Hadoop and the cloud flexibility of OpenStack. 

For many enterprises focused on rolling out database and Big Data functionality with OpenStack, Juno promises to be a huge new version of the cloud computing platform. And, it's only days away.

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OpenMandriva & Cylon Reviews, and Netflix Official

Saturday 11th of October 2014 03:26:53 AM

In today's Linux news are reviews of Cylon Linux and OpenMandriva's latest. Folks are all abuzz about a Netflix announcement from Canonical and more drones are discovered running Linux. In addition, we have several software stories to share with names like Marble, Epiphany, and Scribus.

Jack M. Germain recently reviewed Cylon Linux describing it as a "distro preconfigured with lots of tweaks -- kind of a Unity-less Ubuntu with bling." It ships with GNOME 3 and, according to Germain, lots of "glamour." It also includes so much software that Germain says one will probably rarely need the package manager. However,for something with "glamour" Germain spends quite a bit of time talking about why he doesn't like the desktop customizations and says the lack of virtual desktop access is "a deal breaker." He concludes, "If you fancy the solid Ubuntu infrastructure but want something a lot different in user experience, give Cylon Linux a try."

The Hectic Geek reviewed OpenMandriva Lx 2014.1 KDE today curious if its performance had improved since the last release. It shipped with Linux 3.15.10, KDE 4.13.3, and Xorg 1.15.1. He found performance improved ever so slightly in some areas, but was puzzled by excessive disk read/writes. He found 2014.1 to be "pretty stable" but needed a bit more tweaking. In the end Geek concluded, "All in all, it is an improved release."

Two bits of Ubuntu news caught my eye this evening, the first being this piece from Softpedia stating that the US Navy is using Ubuntu to run and control their unmanned water craft drones. They posted a video and said, "It seems that the Office of Naval Research is populated with a bunch of Linux geeks that managed to convince their superiors that Ubuntu and Linux were the way to go." The other has lots of tongues wagging. Canonical today announced that Netflix support on Ubuntu (and thus other distributions as well) is official.

In other news:

* Epiphany Web Review

* What's Happening above Your Head?

* Make a Birthday Card for Mom in Linux With Scribus

* Marble is not just a rock, it’s software, too

* NVIDIA Presents Its Driver Plans To Support Mir/Wayland

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Mozilla Wags Finger at Advertising Community

Friday 10th of October 2014 03:06:34 PM

"Mozilla has a message for the advertising industry: Start respecting the user or face a backlash," reports Advertising Age. The publication also quotes Darren Herman, Mozilla VP content services, as saying: "You see all these things about optimization and data and about real time and all the chatter about brands wanting to own their users and the technology that has helped the process -- but nowhere in these halls, or very little, have we heard anything about putting the user first."

It's interesting to hear Mozilla taking this stance, because, after a series of kerfuffles with the Internet Advertising Bureau, the company is moving ahead with multiple initiatives that will put ads in front of Firefox browser users, including "directory tiles."

It was back in August of 2013  that The Internet Advertising Bureau started firing off screed after screed against Mozilla for its plans to block advertising cookies in the Firefox browser by default. The bureau even took out newspaper ads claiming that Mozilla's claims that it had a right to help users protect their privacy was basically hogwash.

Then Mozilla came out with a surprise announcement that it would put "directory tiles" in front of Firefox users, which sounded a lot like ads. According to the announcement of the tile scheme:

"Directory Tiles will instead suggest pre-packaged content for first-time users.   Some of these tile placements will be from the Mozilla ecosystem, some will be popular websites in a given geographic location, and some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla’s pursuit of our mission.  The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy."

Any form of advertising in the Firefox browser, of course, could reap big revenues for Mozilla, since the browser has millions of users. And, in November of this year, Mozilla's agreement with Google to subsidize its business in return for search placement comes up for renegotiation. That is no small matter, because more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues come from Google. 

It sounds like Mozilla will implement its own advertising efforts with opt-in and opt-out features, which it is calling on the ad industry to do as well. The Ad Age story goes into some depth about changes that Mozilla wants to see in the ad community. 

Mozilla was adamant last year that it would block third-party cookie collection unless users opted in, and let's hope the company sticks to that plan.

In a famous screed from the Internet Advertising Bureau found here, the following appeared:

"Unfortunately, a review of Mozilla’s latest scheme for blocking third party cookies shows it to be worse than its earlier proposals. While Mozilla executives say they are taking in criticism from multiple stakeholders, the company’s own statements and explanations indicate that Mozilla is making extreme value judgments with extraordinary impact on the digital supply chain, securing for itself a significant gatekeeper position in which it and its handpicked minions will be able to determine which voices gain distribution and which do not on the Internet."

 

 

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Oracle Hires Google and Snapchat Veteran to Run its Cloud Biz

Friday 10th of October 2014 02:44:51 PM

In September, Oracle made it crystal clear that it, like HP and other tech titans, wants to hitch its cart to the cloud computing train. Oracle is focused on OpenStack, and made its Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Linux distribution generally available as September ended. Based on the OpenStack Icehouse release, it allows users to control Oracle Linux and Oracle VM through OpenStack, and can support any guest operating system (OS) that is supported with Oracle VM, including Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, Microsoft Windows,and other Linux distributions.

Now, advancing its focus on cloud computing, Google has hired Google and Snapchat veteran Peter S. Magnusson to run its cloud computing operations. Magnusson was VP of Engineering at Snapchat and was a director of engineering at Google.

Magnusson will oversee an increasingly diversified set of cloud computing initiatives at Oracle. Oracle is deepening its partnership with Canonical surrounding OpenStack. For example, users who install Oracle Linux as a guest OS on Canonical's Ubuntu OpenStack distribution will qualify for OS support from Oracle. Likewise, Canonical will support Ubuntu as a guest OS on Oracle OpenStack.

It's also worth noting that Oracle guru and former CEO Larry Ellison has moved into the CTO role at the company, so Magnusson will work side-by-side with Ellison on the technology components of Oracle's cloud computing efforts.

 Magnusson has a blog, and in one post he wrote that Google App Engine, which he worked on, offered “arguably the first, largest, and most influential Platform as a Service (PaaS) approach to cloud computing.”

Look for Magnusson to play an increasingly influential role at Oracle, and in the OpenStack community.

the

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The CoreOS Threat, Real Adobe Issue, and openSUSE 13.2 RC1

Friday 10th of October 2014 03:43:17 AM

Today's Linux feeds brought news of the release of openSUSE 13.2 RC1 and Jiri Eischmann discusses GNOME and Wayland in Fedora 21. Matt Asay says CoreOS is an "existential threat to Linux vendors" and Jack Wallen says Linux users do have reason to be concerned over Adobe's dropping Linux support. The Linux Voice says "you might be using the wrong Linux distribution" and Linus doesn't have the time or any interest in Lennart Poettering's problems.

Our top story today is the release of openSUSE 13.2 RC1. Kostas Koudaras made the announcement today on https://news.opensuse.org saying that lots of bugs were squashed thanks to the 10,000 downloads of the beta. He said don't worry about getting bored with release candidate because there's plenty of bugs left to find and developers are especially interested in folks' GNOME experience. This is your last chance to test your favorite software and submit those bug reports before final release. openSUSE 13.2 is due to go Gold later this month and openSUSE 13.2 is scheduled for release on November 4, 2014.

Matt Asay today wrote, "CoreOS threatens to displace incumbent Linux distributions with a minimalist approach that seeks to emulate how Google and other Web companies manage distributed systems." He says CoreOS is changing "the very definition" of Linux distributions making it "an existential threat to Red Hat, Canonical, and Suse." Asay figures those Linux companies will probably have to change their business models and procedures to stay competitive because they've yet to "deliver a first-class, modern developer experience." Red Hat is already responding with Project Atomic says Asay, so be sure to read that full story.

Jack Wallen said today that although most of us were yawning at or ignoring the news of Adobe's recent move to pull support of their PDF reader for Linux, there is reason for concern. He said a lot of government and business offices still use "Adobe with embedded forms that can't be used with those default Linux PDF viewers" and that will "force" the cause (and use) of Open Source "back to square one." He points out the serious nature of the issue by saying, "When people can't use official government documents on their chosen platform, things will come unravelled very quickly. Something must be done." Yikes, I'm not yawning now.

In other news:

* No interest in Poettering's problems, says Torvalds

* Best Distro for You in 2014

* GNOME on Wayland in Fedora 21 & Btrfs might be default in Fedora 23

* What's Driving Open Source 2.0?

* Meizu MX4 Pro Spotted With Ubuntu in the Wild

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Open Speech Tools Are Available and Gaining in Sophistication

Thursday 9th of October 2014 03:09:10 PM

Today, with our ubiquitous mobile devices, many of us are used to talking to our gadgets to search for answers, get directions and more. This trend will only ramp up as smartwatches designed to respond to voice commands proliferate.

Not everyone knows, though, that there are some very notable open source projects focused on speech and speech recognition. These may play a bigger role in technology development as the age of reliable speech recognition is upon us. Here are a few open source speech projects to know about.

Wired U.K. has just done an interesting report on JuliusJS -- an open source tool that lets software developers build voice-controlled applications for web browsers. Its developers want to usher in a whole new class of Siri-like apps for the desktop. According to Wired's report:

"JuliusJS [has] a code library that runs inside the browser, and because it uses common web standards, it can do its thing on practically any machine. Using the library, developers could build tools for navigating from website to website, add voice controls into games, or do things no one has thought of yet."

One of the most robust open source speech recognition solutions comes from Carnegie Mellon University. It's called Sphinx, and we covered it here. You can use Sphinx for straight speech recognition, or integrate it with applications. To find out more about Sphinx, check out its hosted pages.

And, of course, we've been covering the advancement of voice and speech recognition features in browsers such as Google Chrome.  The latest versions of Android include responsiveness to voice commands, and there is one other interesting thing to take note of about Google in this area: Google recently hired futurist and tech pundit Ray Kurzweil, who is one of the world's leading experts on speech recognition and the pattern recognition science behind it. Kurzweil also specializes in text-to-speech technology, and has brought products to market based on it.

For simple commands, speech recognition science is now good enough to use, after years of being undependable.  Look for open source tools to help contribute to the advancement of these technologies.

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OpenStack Interoperability Testing, Certification Gain Significance

Thursday 9th of October 2014 02:56:21 PM

Although it is only four years old, the OpenStack cloud computing project is already having a profound impact on the plumbing and architecture of many data centers. Yesterday, I reported on how Network functions virtualization (NFV) is becoming synonymous with OpenStack, and how NFV and OpenStack could effectively rip out the proprietary infrastructure found in network deployments at many organizations.

To do that, though, IT administrators have to gain confidence in the interoperability of tools and applications that they depend on with open infrastructure platforms like NFV and OpenStack. That's where interoperability testing and certification comes in, and the OpenStack Foundation and Canonical are ramping up their efforts in this area.

Today, Big Switch Networks announced that it is the first networking vendor to be recognized with the OpenStack Foundation's OpenStack Compatible mark. The OpenStack Compatible mark is given to vendors that interoperate with recent releases of the OpenStack software stack and can demonstrate compatibility and an ongoing commitment to interoperability. Big Switch Networks collaborated with Mirantis to secure the OpenStack Compatible mark and is now the only vendor recognized as OpenStack Compatible for a data center networking fabric optimized for both Neutron and Nova networking environments. Its drivers are featured on the OpenStack Marketplace and Driverlog websites.

The OpenStack Foundation is going to play a bigger and bigger role in certifying networking and data center technologies as interoperable with OpenStack, but it is not the only organization doing so. Canonical announced the opening of the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL) late last year, and it features some really heavy-hitting tech partners including Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Inktank/Ceph, Intel, Juniper and VMware. The lab is focusing on integration testing and more, and one reason it is notable is that many OpenStack deployments are built on Ubuntu as a base platform.

Many of the companies partnered with Canonical on the ab are also big contributors to OpenStack, and many have their own deployments based on the platform. OpenStack is still a young project, but ensuring its interoperability and compatibility with popular tools, hypervisors and platforms is essential. As IT departments test the OpenStack waters this year, lab tested results could play a key role in their decision making.  

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Linux 3.17, ROSA R4 Released, and the Kano Computer

Thursday 9th of October 2014 03:25:14 AM

Today in Linux news, it seems a lot of folks are talking about Linux kernel 3.17, so let's take a look. In other news, ROSA Fresh R4 was announced. The Daily Maverick covered Mark Shuttleworth's victory over an aggressive tax code and Science 2.0 shows users all about a new little Linux computer as much fun for grown-ups as it is for kids.

Linux 3.17 was released October 5, 2014 and folks have been writing about it all week. Katherine Noyes said "it's packed with improvements" in her discussion of five exciting features. PCWorld's Chris Hoffman says the Xbox One controller support is its best feature in his rundown. Jon Masters' kernel column also covered Linux 3.17 focusing primarily on preparations for "kdbus." And finally, Zack Brown takes a look at what's new in kernel development.

Steve Schuler today posted a step-by-step review of the new Kano computer kit. Kano is a little Raspberry Pi computer that kids and adults can assemble and program with no instructions and in very little time. Schuler said Kano founders wanted a "next generation" computer as simple (and fun) to assemble as Legos. It's just cute as all get-out. Once it's all put together, you boot up a Linux variation called Kanux that walks new users through setting it up and getting into the GUI. Schuler says, "The Kano OS turns learning how to program into a game." He even hacked it at the end, so don't miss that.

 

 

More reaction to systemd developer Lennart Poettering's scathing post on the reactions to the wide-adoption of his code. Sam Varghese, not one to mince words, said Poettering is a "cry-baby" who never heard the saying "people in glass houses should not throw stones." He finished off his cliché-fest by saying if Poettering can't stand the heat he should get out of the kitchen.

Katherine Noyes gathered more quotes from the community today as well. Carla Schroder told her, "I don't blame him for being upset, because he has been the target of some seriously twisted and vicious attacks." Michael Meeks said Poettering is "an amazingly talented guy, doing a really good job of pulling Linux into a sensible, maintainable shape -- so I'm rooting for him." Jay Lyman from 451 Research said Linus et al. were bullies running off talented programmers and another said all this is just "human nature."

In other news:

* Mark Shuttleworth, The State and Ubuntu 2.0

* Fiction Computers: The Good, The Bad, And The Evil

* The ROSA Desktop Fresh R4 is finally out

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COWL, a New Web Privacy Tool, to Arrive for Chrome and Firefox

Wednesday 8th of October 2014 03:05:58 PM

A group of researchers is making news for building a new web privacy system for the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers that more efficiently handles JavaScript code among other tasks. In a paper introduced this week in conjunction with the Proceedings of the 11th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, the researchers reported that 59 per cent of the biggest one million websites, and 77 per cent of the top 10,000 websites,  incorporate jQuery, a tool that has been preyed on by hackers.

The researchers' new tool is dubbed COWL, and it will be available as a free download starting October 15. 

Confinement with Origin Web Labels (COWL) works with the Firefox and Chrome browsers and aims to prevent websites from leaking sensitive information. The team behind COWL includes researchers from University College London, Stanford Engineering, Google, Chalmers and Mozilla Research.

Co-author Professor Brad Karp (UCL Computer Science), said: "COWL achieves both privacy for the user and flexibility for the web application developer. Achieving both these aims, which are often in opposition in many system designs, is one of the central challenges in computer systems security research."

"The new system provides a property known as 'confinement' which has been known since the 1970s, but proven difficult to achieve in practical systems like web browsers. COWL confines JavaScript programs that run within the browser, such as in separate tabs. If a JavaScript program embedded within one web site reads information provided by another web site – legitimately or otherwise – COWL permits the data to be shared, but thereafter restricts the application receiving the information from communicating it to unauthorised parties. As a result, the site that shares data maintains control over it, even after sharing the information within the browser."

We'll follow up on COWL and how it works as it becomes available. Many browser users will want to get it, and there are reports that it will soon work with the Safari browser as well.

 

 

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A Big Community Mobilizes Around NFV and OpenStack

Wednesday 8th of October 2014 02:54:42 PM

As September ended, the Linux Foundation announced the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Project, a group comprised primarily of telecom operators working across open source projects and vendors to implement Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) within their organizations. News has also steadily arrived from Red Hat about its work to drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications technology into OpenStack.

Very quickly, Network functions virtualization NFV is becoming synonymous with OpenStack, and organizations deploying OpenStack will want to become familiar with it.

Telecom companies have traditionally had a lot of proprietary tools in the middle and at the basis of their technology stacks. NFV is an effort to combat that, and to help the parallel trends of virtualization and cloud computing stay as open as possible.

After the OpenStack Summit in May, an NFV community team formed to accelerate development around NFV-specific features.  Red Hat has collaborated with eNovance, a leader in the open source cloud computing market, to drive NFV and telecommunications features into OpenStack.

As Opensource.com notes, NFV is an effort to rethink the architecture of data centers:

"This is the telco industry re-imaging their data centers as elastic infrastructure clouds running their 'network functions' as virtualized, horizontally scalable applications on these clouds...These huge telcos want to rebuild their entire data centers with OpenStack and open source? Yes."

Indeed, as NFV and OpenStack progress in development, a larger and larger open community is rallying behind them, and that community is getting boosts from big players like Telefonica and Red Hat.  Could NFV and OpenStack effectively rip out the proprietary infrastructure found in network deployments at many organizations? They could.

As the OpenStack Foundation notes:

"The open, modular and interoperable framework of the OpenStack project simplifies software. This flexibility is apparent in the OpenStack Networking component that features drivers and plug-ins from numerous leading telco vendors. Working through a project like OpenStack Networking, users do not have to worry about altering their APIs or modifying code if they decide to switch the underlying implementation technology. Much of the early interest surrounding NFV also led to updates in the OpenStack Compute component to meet the demanding requirements of the world’s leading operators."

We'll continue watching NFV and the OPNFV project. The OpenStack Foundation will also be hosting panels on NFV in Paris November 3 – 7.

 

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Poettering Fallout, GamingOnLinux Shake-up, and Replacing Xfce

Wednesday 8th of October 2014 03:44:41 AM

There was so much news today I hardly know where to start. All the reactions to Poettering's Google+ post probably dominated the headlines today, followed closely by the resignation of GamingOnLinux as Editor in Chief. In other news, Bryan Lunduke shares his thoughts on Cinnamon and Matt Hartley says it's time to replace Xfce. There are a couple of KDE tidbits as well as news that another German city is ditching Windows for Linux.

Today's top story has to be the reaction to systemd creator Lennart Poettering's Google+ post in which he said, "The Open Source community is quite a sick place to be in." He said that because of all the hate directed personally at him since the wide-spread adoption of his SysVinit replacement systemd. He claims to actually have received death threats. Reactions ranged from opinions to advice. Michael Hall, Canonical Community Coordinator, said the community is wonderful, he's wonderful, and all of us are wonderful before heading into his advice for getting along in the world. Basically he said treat others as you would like to be treated, not the way they treat you.

Bruce Byfield added his thoughts saying, "Poettering is perfectly right -- an abusive element does exist within free software." He says he's suffered at the hands of those nameless faceless elements including "sexual innuendo to threats of assault and death." However, Byfield reminds readers that:

The complaints coming from Poettering amount to a new definition of chutzpah. Poettering, you may remember, is fond of sweeping critiques of huge bases of code, and of releasing half-finished replacements like PulseAudio, systemd, and Avahi that are radical departures from what they replace. He is a person as much known for expecting other people to tidy up after him as for his innovations. For many people, this high-handed behavior makes Poettering an example of the same abusive behavior that he denounces -- and his critique more than slightly problematic.

Byfield said there's a difference between "non-productive negativity" and a "lack of civility," although both need "to be dealt with." KDE's Aaron Seigo agrees with Byfield in that Poettering himself has exhibited the very behaviors he's condemning now, however, no one should be threatened or even spoken to "verbally horrible." He then discusses the various "paths" in which "communities" do or try to operate and the downsides to each. Seigo says the only "healthy path" is one where the focus is solely on "technology creation."

In another case of incivility in the neighborhood has forced GamingOnLinux's founder, owner, and editor-in-chief to resign. He says he'll still administer the site behind the scenes, but won't be posting anymore. GamingOnLinux started out rather small, but it quickly became the go-to site for cool Linux gaming news and reviews. It sounds like jealously had a lot to do with the abuse hurled at Liam Dawe, owner GamingOnLinux, but his exit post said the cast and crew of LinuxGameCast began leaving some of the ugliest comments ever read in the history of the Internet on his site. I suppose he felt resigning was his only recourse. However, GamingOnLinux will continue as a "community-oriented website" to which folks from the community can contribute content to help keep it going. The Linux community lost a valuable resource in Dawe.

In other news:

* The Linux Desktop-a-week review: Cinnamon

* Time to Replace Xfce?

* KDE’s Plasma used in Hobbit movies

* Third Release of KDE Frameworks Brings a Multitude of Fixes

* German City Gummersbach Drops Windows XP and Gets SUSE with a MATE Desktop

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Consolidation and Breakups May Loom in the OpenStack Arena

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 03:00:43 PM

Are there now too many OpenStack distributions and services to be sustainable? Only a few months ago, analysts at Forrester Research were saying that the clock was ticking on delivery of viable OpenStack services, and Citrix officials have repeatedly made the point that there is much more press and hubbub surround the open cloud computing platform than there are deployments.

Big players like HP and Oracle are squaring off with smaller companies like Red Hat, Rackspace and Mirantis. Meanwhile, there are some reports that existing deals surrounding OpenStack services won't last. Among these reports, Forbes notes that a divorce between Mirantis and Red Hat could be imminent.

According to Forbes, citing a GigaOM report:

"A case in point is the Series A funding round of OpenStack vendor Mirantis. That deal saw Red Hat participate in the funding, only a few months before they acquired Mirantis competitor eNovance. Now it would seem that things are growing uncomfortable. GigaOm reported, citing unnamed sources, that Mirantis wants to extricate itself from the deal."

 In October 2013, five months after the Red Hat investment, Mirantis unveiled its own enteprise OpenStack distribution, and support services.

Whatever the facts in that relationship are, there are now so many distributions of OpenStack and so many surrounding support plans that some businesses could become confused. It's inevitable that we'll see some shakeout.

As IT World has reported:

"Enterprises like competition for services. They’d rather pit vendors against each other since that drives prices down and innovation up. But we’ve all seen what happens when a hot new market segment emerge. Startups and established companies flock to it, followed by a shake out after which only the strong survive."

 To win business in a market that revolves around an open source platform like OpenStack, service providers will need to differentiate their support offerings and much more.

Some of the more experienced players are offering useful extensions for OpenStack deployments, such as RackSpace's OpenCenter, which serves as a useful, graphical dashboard for managing cloud services. 

But there are generally a lot of players offering very similar services. In the end, this will cause support to be the big differentiator. That could favor companies like Red Hat that have made a business out of emphasizing support.

It seems almost guaranteed, though, that in a few short years we'll see fewer than half the number of OpenStack service providers as there are now. Meanwhile, existing agreements surrounding OpenStack may not be built to last.

 

 

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Mozilla to Deliver Stable 64-Bit Firefox for Windows

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 02:47:37 PM

Mozilla is working on a 64-bit stable version of Firefox for the Windows operating system, according to product manager Javaun Moradi. In an online post laying out plans, Moradi noted that the company has been working on the 64-bit version for Windows for some time. (It's worth noting that Mozilla has had 64-bit versions for the Mac and Linux for some time.)

Google Chrome and Internet Explorer already offer 64-bit editions that have better performance than their 32-bit versions. A faster version of Firefox for Windows will be welcomed by many users.

Recently, Google engineeers discussed the benefits of 64-bit browsing in an online post:

"64-bit Chrome offers many benefits for speed, stability and security. Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks. For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance. Stability measurements from people opted into our Canary, Dev and Beta 64-bit channels confirm that 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as 32-bit engines when handling typical web content. Finally, on 64-bit, our defense in depth security mitigations such as Partition Alloc are able to far more effectively defend against vulnerabilities that rely on controlling the memory layout of objects." 

As I covered recently, Google Chrome has moved past Firefox to firmly take second place in desktop browser market share, according to web traffic stats from Net Applications. Chrome's browser in July surpassed the 20 percent share mark for the first time, according to Net Applications.

Mozilla has been steadily shifting its company focus toward the Firefox OS mobile platform, but Firefox remains one of the world's most popular applications.

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Bitter Poettering, LibreOffice at 4, and Linux Tidbits

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 03:30:12 AM

The systemd fallout is getting to creator Lennart Poettering, who is sounding quite disillusioned. Sean Michael Kerner scored an interview with The Document Foundation's Italo Vignoli on the future of LibreOffice. Jesse Smith reviewed PC-BSD 10.0.3 in today's Distrowatch Weekly and Paul Venezia imagines Linux servers as "transient processes and services." And finally today, we have several Linux distribution tidbits to report.

systemd has been my favorite punching-bag-de-jour lately, but I just didn't like the technology much. However, according to systemd creator and Red Hat employee Lennart Poettering, his life has become very difficult lately including feeling threatened for his work on the controversial Open Source Software. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols today quoted Poettering's Google+ post saying:

I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple 'petitions' on petition web sites, asking me to stop working (google for it). Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a 'song' on YouTube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks.

Vaughan-Nichols said Poettering blames Torvalds (and friends) for setting a bad example with his harsh tone, rude responses, and expletives; to which Vaughan-Nichols disagrees. He said, "You can dislike Torvalds and his methods, but, like it or not, under Torvalds' sometimes rude direction, Linux has become perhaps the most important operating system in the world today."

The Document Foundation celebrated four years last week and eWeek's Sean Michael Kerner spoke to founding member Italo Vignoli about "how the open-source LibreOffice Suite has evolved over the last four years" and where it may be heading in the future. In the video interview Vignoli tells Kerner, "We have been able to grow the community in areas where the community was not growing before. The objective is not to eradicate Microsoft Office from companies. The concept of migration is about giving an alternative to companies."

Today's newfeeds contained several tidbits about popular Linux distributions. Phoronix.com is reporting that Fedora 21 may not have delta RPMs due to lack of support in the new package management system. Softpedia.com says Debian 8.0 Beta 2 is available and features GNOME as the default desktop again. "Linux Mint developers are pulling all the stops for their 17.1 update and they have already made a ton of modifications," reported Softpedia.com earlier today.  DarkDuck.com says their latest poll indicates less than half of users are looking forward to Ubuntu 14.10 and Neil Rickert has posted an early screenshot of upcoming openSUSE 13.2. 

In other news:

* First impressions of PC-BSD 10.0.3

* Windows 10 is swimming with Linux features

* How thin? Imagine the Linux server as a process

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GNOME 3.14 Gives a Well-Known Interface a New Lease on Life

Monday 6th of October 2014 03:13:07 PM

Recently, the GNOME Project announced the release of GNOME 3.14. Since it's arrival it has drawn some attention for its enhanced application development platform and some compelling new features. Some people in the open source community view GNOME as a project that lost its way, but the new version is actually being heralded as a big comeback for a project that has made the Linux desktop friendlier to use for many users.

The new version is even being welcomed back as the default desktop in some popular versions of Linux. For example, it will be the default desktop on Debian, replacing Xfce. And GNOME 3’s classic desktop is the default on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

The notes on the release of version 3.14 illustrate how much work is going on surrounding GNOME.  According to the announcement:

"Major new features include automatic handling for captive portals, network-aware sharing, Google photos support, and touchscreen gestures. Developers can look forward to a new live inspector for GTK+ applications, enhanced CSS capabilties, major progress on Wayland adoption, and a significant update for GNOME’s Human Interface Guidelines."

Product managers have weighed in on the new release. Scott Reeves, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Manager, said, in a statement: “The GNOME 3 desktop provides a stable, feature rich experience for individual end users and for professional environments as well. GNOME 3 has reached a point of integration and polish to the extent that we will ship GNOME 3 as the desktop for our enterprise customers. We are invested in and contributing to the GNOME project and look forward to the additional functionality and improvements in GNOME 3.14 and beyond. We intend to continue including GNOME 3 in subsequent releases of our SUSE Linux Enterprise product.”

Jordi Mallach, on the Debian team, said, in a statement: "The Debian GNOME packagers are very happy to see another GNOME release which brings even more polish and new features to the already very reliable 3.x foundation. We’ve done our best to make sure Debian ‘jessie’ will ship with GNOME 3.14, as the improvements over previous releases will really make a difference for our next stable release."

We covered some of the controversy surrounding the original release of version 3. PC World has noted that some some influential folks were disappointed with that release:

"In 2011, Linus Torvalds himself said of GNOME 3, 'The developers have apparently decided that it's 'too complicated’ to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do."

That hurt.

Still, with some very influential Linux distros welcoming GNOME as the default interface, the project appears to have a new lease on life. That's good to see.

For more on GNOME 3.14, see Susan's post

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Samsung's Android-Centric Payments to Microsoft are Bigger Than You Think

Monday 6th of October 2014 02:57:31 PM

Android's march to the top of the mobile platform market share heap has been nothing short of spectacular. It's one of the most successful open source stories ever. However, not everyone understands exactly how the market for Android and devices running it works.

As a case in point, would you ever guess that huge payments to Microsoft play a role in keeping Android popular? According to a court filing that was just made public, Samsung has been paying Microsoft $1 billion per year in royalty payments to use its technology in Samsung's Android mobile devcices.

The court filing is public because it is part of a lawsuit that Microsoft brought against Samsung earlier this year. Samsung had signed a 2011 agreement agreeing to pay royalties to Microsoft for seven years for the use of its patented technologies.

The $1 billion figure in payments is calculated using Samsung's number of Android devices sold and the prices it charged for the devices. Microsoft and Samsung have steadily disagreed on what payments Samsung needs to make, and when.

Android is the most popular smartphone platform at this point, but this court filing shows that big money and patents have steadily played a role in how the Android ecosystem moves forward.  

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Samsung's Andorid-Centric Payments to Microsoft are Bigger Than You Think

Monday 6th of October 2014 02:57:31 PM

Android's march to the top of the mobile platform market share heap has been nothing short of spectacular. It's one of the most successful open source stories ever. However, not everyone understands exactly how the market for Android and devices running it works.

As a case in point, would you ever guess that huge payments to Microsoft play a role in keeping Android popular? According to a court filing that was just made public, Samsung has been paying Microsoft $1 billion per year in royalty payments to use its technology in Samsung's Android mobile devcices.

The court filing is public because it is part of a lawsuit that Microsoft brought against Samsung earlier this year. Samsung had signed a 2011 agreement agreeing to pay royalties to Microsoft for seven years for the use of its patented technologies.

The $1 billion figure in payments is calculated using Samsung's number of Android devices sold and the prices it charged for the devices. Microsoft and Samsung have steadily disagreed on what payments Samsung needs to make, and when.

Android is the most popular smartphone platform at this point, but this court filing shows that big money and patents have steadily played a role in how the Android ecosystem moves forward.  

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GNOME 3.14 and Elementary OS Turning Heads, Bash Bashed

Saturday 4th of October 2014 03:49:58 AM

The release of GNOME 3.14 on September 24 has earned good marks and Elementary OS is still getting positive reviews. Gearhead Mark Gibbs introduces users to Debian GNU/Linux. We have Scott Dowdle and Christian Schaller on Fedora 21 Alpha and Phoronix is reporting Rahul Sundaram suggests using Dash instead of Bash. We have more on Shellshock and its fallout as well as some gaming news from GamingOnLinux.com. And finally today is an opinion on Mark Shuttleworth's September 30, 2014 post.

Several articles on the release of GNOME 3.14 have popped up in the last few days. First up is a slideshow from eWeek.com saying the emphasis with GNOME 3.14 was "on the refinement of features and function." It came with "28,859 changes" and eWeek demonstrates some of them.

PCWorld.com's Chris Hoffman said yesterday that GNOME 3.14 "is a release full of polish." After running down some of the improvements and new applications, Hoffman said, "If you haven’t tried it in a while, GNOME 3 has improved. Performance is now good." Then he concluded with, "GNOME is getting better and better."

But if hand-ons from the community is more your thing, then Erick Pérez Castellanos gives his thoughts saying, "I’m most happy with the improvements this cycle brought." He speaks a bit about the improvements to GNOME Shell before getting into the developer improvements. He says thanks to the updated GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, the whole interface including the applications are more uniform and consistent.

Relatedly, Christian Schaller talks about the progress of Fedora 21 Workstation, Wayland, and GNOME 3.14. He said a lot of work into GNOME 3.14 and its applications to make it meet Fedora Workstation standards (through the updated Human Interface Guidelines). Schaller highlights several key areas beyond GNOME 3.14, such as the new DNF, so check that out.

Scott Dowdle posted a few thoughts today on his experiences running Fedora 21 Alpha. He installed it on a few machines and said, "Fedora 21 pre-beta actually seems quite stable." After speaking a bit on the details, Dowdle concluded, "Overall everything I've tried works fine. I do really appreciate all of the work the Fedora developers put into each release." In related news, Phoronix.com is reporting that it has been suggested that Dash replace Bash in upcoming Fedora 22 due to security concerns.

Speaking of Bash security, Shellshock continued to receive evocative headlines the last few days. One exclaimed, "Nearly 1 Billion Attacks Targeting Shellshock Vulnerability." Others reported similar number of attacks and some used it as another opportunity to bash Open Source software. Fortunately, Matt Asay answers the nay-sayers saying that Linus' "Many Eyes" Law is every bit as valid now as it ever was and explains why.

In related news, today Sam Varghese took a look at how long it took Apple to patch their Bash implementation, nearly a week! Many Linux distributions had a patch the very day of the announcement and most had both fixes by the next day. Varghese said, "Even when Apple came up with its delayed patches, it showed nothing but contempt for its users. The patches were not available via the Software Update mechanism that is present on OS X; no, they had to be downloaded separately." Yikes, I'm glad I run Linux.

In other Linux news:

* Better Know an OS: Debian GNU/Linux

* Elementary OS 'Freya' Is Worth the Wait

* elementary OS: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

* Netrunner 2014.09.1 "Rolling" Review

* Shuttleworth Pronouncements, Proclamations, Palaver and Privacy Integration

In gaming new:

* Steam Now Has Over 700 Linux Games, What A Milestone!

* Survival Game Rust Now Using The Experimental Branch By Default

* An Everyday Linux User Review Of Play Linux

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Master the Cloud with Free OpenStack Training Tools

Friday 3rd of October 2014 03:12:49 PM

Step back and think about it, and It's hard to believe that the OpenStack cloud computing story isn't even five years old yet. Back in 2010, Rackspace and NASA announced an effort to create a sophisticated open source cloud computing infrastructure that could compete with proprietary offerings. Since then, OpenStack has won over countless tech titans that are backing it, and has its own foundation.

But many organizations are struggling with launching and maintaining OpenStack deployments. If you're looking for free resources and tutorials for mastering OpenStack, this post will provide many good choices.

First, you may want to take a look at what the Data Center Knowledge site offers. It has surprisingly easy to follow and rich video demos and explanations of the OpenStack platform. If you're totally new to the OpenStack cloud platform, look into Data Center Knowledge's OpenStack 101 video, which comes originally from Rackspace and NASA.  As the site notes: "Rackspace, one of the original founders of the OpenStack project along with NASA, published this video that gives quick primer on OpenStack, what it is and who uses it. This 6-minute video, which is part of an ongoing series on OpenStack, introduces the cloud OS and dives into it from a high level to give you the basic understanding of this disruptive technology."

Among other OpenStack-focused videos and posts worth taking a look at, Data Center Knowledge offers:

Closer Look: Piston Cloud Computing

 Closer Look: OpenStack OS for Clouds

Video: Demo of PentOS Open Stack Cloud

Video: OpenStack and its Open Source Cloud

Dope’n'Stack – We’re Gonna Rock Your Cloud

For even more, look into the video archive, and the Data Center Videos channel on YouTube.

We have also covered The OpenStack Foundation's launch of a Training Marketplace designed to make it easier to discover training courses offered by providers in the OpenStack community. And, the foundation has made available a series of free, online training guides for OpenStack, which you can find here. There are training guides for OpenStack Associates, Operators, Developers and Architects. 

In addition, here on OStatic, we've collected much of our own OpenStack and cloud computing coverage, including many interviews, in this post. 

And, Opensource.com has some excellent coverage of OpenStack tutorials, found here and here.  As the site notes:

"In September, we gave tips for running OpenStack on FreeBSD, testing out OpenStack's newest incubated project, building an elastic Wordpress installation, and more."

"In June, we linked to guides for getting OpenStack play well with firewalld and NetworkManager, using Test Kitchen with Puppet on an OpenStack deployment, Kerberos, Docker containers, and getting started with OpenStack on Solaris."

"In May, we highlighted several excellent beginners' guides, tips on managing floating IPs, security and server hardening guides, an introduction to multi-node installation, and an overview of what is new in the most recent release of OpenStack Heat."

Finally, it is worth remembering that the official documentation for OpenStack is a valuable resource, too.

OStatic will continue to update coverage of free online training resources for OpenStack, and also look into our coverage of OpenStack training and certification coursework and classes

 

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Firefox OS-based Chromecast Competitor Will Attract Business Users

Friday 3rd of October 2014 02:48:52 PM

Google has has achieved more success than many people thought it would with its Chromecast dongle, which performs many of the tasks that set-top boxes do, but the Chromecast dongle is headed for some competition. And, given the historical competition between the Chrome and Firefox browsers, it's fitting that the dongle that is poised to compete with Chromecast is based on the Firefox OS.

Matchstick, a Silicon Valley startup, is planning to release an HDMI dongle that will compete with Google's Chromecast but runs the Firefox OS and costs $25 instead of $35. What many people don't realize about Matchstick yet is that it will not only let you do things like instantly take video content from your phone to large screen displays, but it will perform useful business tasks. For example, it will let you instantly put business presentations, documents and media found on your phone on a big screen display in a conference room.

At many businesses, large screen displays are common in meeting rooms, and, of course, almost no business users are without mobile phones. Matchstick is not only cheaper than Chromecast, but it will let you put content, documents and apps on a big screen whether you have an iOS device or an Android device. 

The Matchstick team has even coined a unique term to describe how instantly its dongle routes content from a phone to a big display: "Flinging." You don't send your content to the display--you fling it.

Matchstick will reportedly be manufacturing its dongle in volume in 30 to 60 days. I reported on rumors of it months ago, and Mozilla confirmed the news in a blog post, noting the following: "Mozilla is working with Panasonic to develop next generation SmartTVs running Firefox OS, and an HDMI streaming device later this year [will allow] the user to fling content from compatible mobile or Web apps to an HDTV."

All of this provides a good example of how Mozilla's work on Firefox OS is taking the company in new directions.

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