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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


Selected and Edited by Deividson Okopnik

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News in General

lightning boltPower IT Down Day - August 27, 2009

Intel, HP, Citrix and others will join together in encouraging government and industry to reduce energy consumption on the second annual Power IT Down Day, scheduled for August 27. The IT companies will promote Power IT Down Day through a series of activities and educational events. A schedule of those events, along with additional information about Power IT Down Day and green IT, can be found at http://www.hp.com/go/poweritdown.

"We can't just sit back and leave it to the next person in line to fix the planet," said Nigel Ballard, federal marketing manager for Intel. "By turning off our own computers each and every night, we make a positive environmental impact, and we proved that last year. At the end of the day, we're in this together so let's power IT down on August 27 and be part of the solution."

lightning boltUbuntu Remix to power Intel Classmate Netbooks

Canonical reached an agreement with Intel in June to deliver Ubuntu Netbook Remix [UNR] as an operating system for Intel Classmate PCs.

The new Classmate is a netbook specifically designed for the education market, It features a larger screen, more memory and larger SSD or HDD than the original classmate PC. It will also feature a modified version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix for the first time, improving the experience on smaller screens. The Intel-powered convertible Classmate PC features a touch screen, converts from a clamshell to a tablet PC and auto-adjusts between landscape and portrait depending on how the machine is held. Ubuntu UNR will support all these use cases.

Ubuntu Netbook Remix is designed specifically for smaller screens and to integrate with touch screen technologies. It has proven to be popular with consumers on other devices. Ubuntu UNR makes it easy for novice computer users to launch applications and to access the Internet.

lightning boltCitrix Contributes Code for Virtual Network Switch

Citrix made several key virtualization announcements at its annual Synergy Conference in Las Vegas last May. Key among these was the release of its virtual network switch code to open source, as a way of extending its low-cost XenServer infrastructure.

Along with the code donation, Citrix also announced version 5.5 of Xenserver, its free hypervisor. Citrix also revised its virtual desktop and virtual application products and released a new version of its bundled virtualization infrastructure product, Xen Essentials. Finally, Citrix is also offering virtual versions of its NetScaler web accelerator product, the VPX virtual appliance for X86 hardware, allowing lower entry costs for single and clustered NetScalers. These are described in the product section, below.

The virtual switch code reportedly will run on both the Xen and KVM hypervisors. This code can be used by 3rd party network vendors to develop virtual switches for XenServer that can compete with the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch for VMware vSphere 4.0.

A virtual switch would be a good way to get more detailed insight into virtual network traffic or to partition VM traffic and this helps complete needed virtual infrastructure.

lightning boltNew Community Website for Growing XenServer Customer Base

In addition to general availability of the 5.5 product releases, Citrix announced in June the XenServer Central community website, a new resource to help users with their use of the free virtualization platform. The XenServer Central website will feature the latest product information, tips and tricks, access to the Citrix KnowledgeCenter and web-based support forums. Twitter and blog postings will also be integrated.

Offers from Citrix partners for free or discounted licenses for complementary products will also be featured, as well as the latest XenServer content on CitrixTV. XenServer Central went live on June 19 at http://www.citrix.com/xenservercentral.

lightning boltDell and Goodwill Expand Free Computer Recycling Program

Dell and Goodwill Industries International are expanding Reconnect, a free drop-off program for consumers who want to responsibly recycle any brand of unwanted computer equipment, to 451 new donation sites in seven additional states - Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. They are also expanding the program in Wisconsin. Consumers can now drop off computers at more than 1,400 Goodwill Locations in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Goodwill, which is focused on creating job opportunities for individuals with disabilities or others having a hard time finding employment, plans to hire additional staff to oversee the expanded recycling program.

Reconnect offers consumers a free, convenient and responsible way to recycle used computer equipment. Consumers can drop off any brand of used equipment at participating Goodwill donation centers in their area and request a donation receipt for tax purposes. For a list of participating Goodwill locations across the U.S., visit http://www.reconnectpartnership.com.

Conferences and Events

Cisco Live/Networkers 2009
June 28 - July 2, San Francisco, CA
Kernel Conference Australia
July 15 - 17, Brisbane
OSCON 2009
July 20 - 24, San Jose, CA
July 21 - 23, Hilton, Chicago, IL
Open Source Cloud Computing Forum
July 22, online
Black Hat USA 2009
July 25 - 30, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
OpenSource World [formerly LinuxWorld]
August 10 - 13, San Francisco, CA
USENIX Security Symposium
August 10 - 14, Montreal, QC, Canada

Join us at the 18th USENIX Security Symposium, August 10 - 14, 2009, in Montreal, Canada.

USENIX Security '09 will help you stay ahead of the game by offering innovative research in a 5-day program that includes in-depth tutorials by experts such as Patrick McDaniel, Frank Adelstein, and Phil Cox; a comprehensive technical program, including a keynote address by Rich Cannings and David Bort of the Google Android Project; invited talks, including the "Top Ten Web Hacking Techniques of 2008: 'What's possible, not probable,' " by Jeremiah Grossman, WhiteHat Security; a refereed papers track, including 26 papers presenting the best new research; Work-in-Progress reports; and a Poster session. Learn the latest in security research, including memory safety, RFID, network security, attacks on privacy, and more.


Register by July 20 and save! Additional discounts available!

PLUG HackFest: Puppet Theatre
August 15, Foundation for Blind Children - 1224 E. Northern, Phoenix, AZ

August's Phoenix Linux User Group HackFest Lab will center around puppet. We will have a one-ish hour of presentation, a puppet test lab including a fully fleshed out securely setup system. We will take some fest time to show how easy it is to pull strings, maintain configurations and standards in any network comprising two or more systems. We might even turn the tables and attempt "evil" puppetry.

Please see the LinuxGazette's July "Linux Layer 8 Security" article for the lab presentation materials. Bring your recipes to wow us, since all PLUG events are full duplex, allowing for individual expansion and enrichment as we follow our critical thought, rarely constrained by anything but time. "Don't learn to hack; hack to learn".

Everything starts at around 10:00 and should break down around 13:00!

Arizona PLUG

VMworld 2009
August 31 - September 3, San Francisco, CA
Digital ID World 2009
September 14 - 16, Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
SecureComm 2009
September 14 - 18, Athens, Greece
1st Annual LinuxCon
September 21 - 23, Portland, OR
SOURCE Barcelona 2009
September 21 - 22, Museu Nacional D'art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain http://www.sourceconference.com/index.php/source-barcelona-2009.
2nd Annual Linux Plumbers Conference
September 23 - 25, Portland, OR
European Semantic Technology Conference
September 30 - October 2, Vienna, Austria

Distro News

lightning boltNew Features listed for Forthcoming Ubuntu 9.10

The next version of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system is already taking shape and will have among its planned enhancements:

  • Faster Boot times. The target is a boot in under 10 seconds;
  • Better audio and video support, including PulseAudio;
  • New NVIDIA drivers add VDPAU and CUDA support for better quality and speed;
  • New kernel: Linux Kernel 2.6.31 will be used, which includes support for kernel-mode configuration of memory and graphics;
  • Gnome 2.28, with preview testing of Gnome 3;
  • Ext4 support will be the default for new installs of 9.10;
  • Grub 2.0.

Here is a link to a YouTube demo of the Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha [running in a Parallels VM]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urITb_SBLjI

lightning boltA naming contest for Ubuntu 10.04 and the South African Linux community

A fun little competition may interest the South African Linux community. It surrounds the codename of Ubuntu 10.04. There are some great prizes to be won. Details can be found at: http://www.bravium.co.za/win

lightning boltFedora 11: Many Virtualization Enhancements

The Fedora project released the next version of the popular Linux operating system in June. The new Fedora 11 release, known as "Leonidas", showcases recent enhancements to virtualization technology including management, performance and security.

Among the new virtualization features in Fedora 11, one is a redesign of 'virt-manager', an end-to-end desktop UI for managing virtual machines. The 'virt-manager' feature manages virtual machines no matter what type of virtualization technology they are using. New features within "virt-manager" include:

  • a new VM creation wizard;
  • improved support for host-to-host migration of VMs;
  • an interface for physical device assignment for existing VMs, easing allocation of physical resources tied to VMs;
  • an upgraded statistics display that shows fine grained disk and network I/O stats;
  • improved VNC authentication to connect to VMs, which allow clients to securely connect to remote VMs.

Learn more about this new tool at http://virt-manager.et.redhat.com/.

Also in Fedora's latest release is a sneak peak at some functional improvements to the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) that can set the performance bar higher for virtualized environments.

And the new integration of SELinux with the virtualization stack via sVirt provides enhanced security. Virtual machines now run effectively isolated from the host and one another, making it harder for security flaws to be exploited in the hypervisor by malicious guests.

Fedora 11 includes the MinGW Windows cross compiler, which allows Linux-based developers to cross-compile software for a Windows target. Other new features in Fedora 11 include better support for fingerprint readers and the inclusion of the ext4 file system.

To check out KVM, sVirt, Virt Manager and other new technologies included in Fedora 11, download Fedora 11 at http://get.fedoraproject.org.

The Fedora Project showed its release schedule for Fedora 12, which does not show the customary public alpha release. This will leave testers just two public development builds to try. The first beta is planed for late August, while the second one is expected in early October. The final release of Fedora 12 is currently scheduled for November 3rd, 2009. For further information, check the Fedora 12 release schedule at: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/12/Schedule.

Software and Product News

lightning boltOpera 10 beta: new features, new speed

Opera has released the first beta of Opera 10, which sports new features, a new look and feel, and enhanced speed and performance. Opera 10 is completely free for Linux, Mac and Windows users from http://www.opera.com/next/.

Using state-of-the-art compression technology, Opera Turbo delivers 3x to 4x the speed on slower connections and can offer broadband-like speeds on dial-up. Opera 10 is also much faster on resource intensive pages such as Gmail and Facebook and is more than 40% faster than Opera 9.6.

Web developers can enjoy Web Fonts support, RGBA/HSLA color and new SVG improvementsalong with the new features in Opera Dragonfly, Opera's on-board Web development tools. Opera Dragonfly alpha 3 now allows editing of the DOM and inspection HTTP headers in more than 36 languages.

Another updated feature is the tab bar, updated from the original design, and is now resizeable, but with a twist. Pull down the tab bar (or double-click the handle) to reveal full thumbnails of all open tabs.

lightning boltOracle 11g Sets New Price/Performance Record with TPC-C Benchmark

Oracle and HP have set a new world record for Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition One running on Oracle Enterprise Linux. With this result, Oracle now holds the top five record benchmark positions in the Top Ten TPC-C price/performance category.

The winning HW/SW combination - including Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Enterprise Linux and the HP ProLiant ML350 G6 Server - was posted in late May.

The result was 232,002 transactions per minute with a price/performance of $.54USD/tpmC, using Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition One with Oracle Enterprise Linux running on an HP ProLiant ML350 G6 server with a single-socket Intel Xeon E5520 quad-core processor and HP Smart Array P411 controller. This package delivered the best price-per-transaction-per-minute ever achieved with the TPC-C benchmark, in addition to delivering the fastest result for a one socket system.

TPC-C is an OLTP (online transaction processing) benchmark developed by the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC). The TPC-C benchmark defines a rigorous standard for calculating performance and price/performance measured by transactions per minute (tpmC) and $/tpmC, respectively. More information is available at http://www.tpc.org/.

To see the Top Ten TPC-C benchmarks by Price, go here: http://www.tpc.org/tpcc/results/tpcc_price_perf_results.asp

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

Deividson Luiz Okopnik


Deividson was born in União da Vitória, PR, Brazil, on 14/04/1984. He became interested in computing when he was still a kid, and started to code when he was 12 years old. He is a graduate in Information Systems and is finishing his specialization in Networks and Web Development. He codes in several languages, including C/C++/C#, PHP, Visual Basic, Object Pascal and others.

Deividson works in Porto União's Town Hall as a Computer Technician, and specializes in Web and Desktop system development, and Database/Network Maintenance.

Howard Dyckoff

Bio picture

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

Copyright © 2009, Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 164 of Linux Gazette, July 2009