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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


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News in General

lightning bolt Xandros Buys Rival Linspire

At the end of June, Xandros acquired Linspire as a wholly-owned subsidiary that it intends to manage as a separate division. Financial information was not disclosed, even to Linspire's shareholders. (The Board of Directors was fired last year by former CEO and current Board chairperson Michael Robertson.) Other details on the acquisition are available as an FAQ on the Linspire Web site: http://www.linspire.com/lindows_news_pressreleases.php

Xandros expressed a commitment to maintain the open source "Freespire" project, which is a free and redistributable version of Linspire. Also, Linspire CEO Larry Kettler and other Linspire managers will be joining the Xandros management team.

Major motives for the deal were providing Xandros with Linspire's advanced CNR technologies and Linux expertise. It also enlarges the Xandros customer base and support network. CNR is an automated update technology and software delivery service that has helped popularize Linspire (formerly called "Lindows") with former Windows users. Xandros expects to incorporate CNR by the end of July.

"Products like the ASUS Eee PC have demonstrated the huge potential market for Linux-based OEM netbook solutions, and CNR will help Xandros make these platforms easy to enhance and maintain, while providing on-demand delivery of a growing number of Linux applications, utilities, games, and content", said Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO. "Linspire's CNR technologies will speed up Xandros's expansion into the applications space."

Former Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony has used his blog to discuss potentially sordid aspects of the transaction, including charges that Board Chairperson Michael Robertson may be trying to convert Linspire assets to cash for personal use and also may be involved in rumored Microsoft negotiations with AOL and Xandros. See: http://kevincarmony.blogspot.com/2008/06/xandros-acquires-linspire-assets-in.html

lightning bolt Red Hat Voted "Greenest" Operating System

A recent Network World comparison examined power consumption to determine who had the "greener" operating system: Windows, Red Hat, and openSUSE. Network World ran multiple power consumption tests using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 SP1, and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition on servers from Dell, IBM, and HP. Red Hat Enterprise Linux ranked at the top in keeping power draw in check, pulling about 12 percent less power than did Windows 2008 on identical hardware. This reduced power draw was evident across testing in both performance and power saving modes, and included all server models used in the testing.

From the summary at http://www.linuxworld.com/research/2008/060908-green-windows-linux.html:

"We ran multiple power consumption tests... on four popular 1U server machines, one each from Dell and IBM and two from HP. The results showed that while Windows Server 2008 drew slightly less power in a few test cases when it had its maximum power saving settings turned on, it was RHEL that did the best job of keeping the power draw in check across the board." The tests also showed that firmware updates and new drivers were needed to take full advantage of newer chip-based power optimizations such as CPU throttling.

Red Hat noted its involvement in projects focused on saving power. Example of these efforts include http://www.LessWatts.org, an Intel-sponsored project bringing together developers, users, and sysadmins all in the effort to create a community around saving power on Linux. One part of the LessWatts program is PowerTOP, a Linux tool that helps identify programs that are power-hungry while a system is idle. PowerTOP technology is also being applied to the kernel itself, where there is ongoing auditing work to find pollers. The end result is a more efficient kernel.

Another area of development concerns support for CPU clock frequency scaling. Clock scaling allows us to change the clock speed of a running CPU on the fly. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 has support for Intel's Dynamic Acceleration Technology, which provides power saving by quiescing idle CPU cores, and also offers performance gains by potentially overclocking busy cores within safe thermal levels. Red Hat worked close with AMD to prove support for PowerNow! - a technology for power management. The new tickless kernel provided in Fedora 9 is likely to move to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the future. This allows the kernel to properly idle itself. Today, the kernel tick-rate is 1000/second, so it is hard to quiesce it. The tickless kernel sets the system into a low-power state based on knowledge of future timer-based events. Long, multi-second idle periods are possible.

lightning bolt Kernel 2.6.26 Released with New Virtualization Support, KDB

The new kernel, version 2.6.26, was released in mid-July, and adds support for read-only bind mounts, x86 Page Attribute Tables, PCI Express ASPM (Active State Power Management), ports of KVM to IA64, S390 and PPC, other KVM improvements including basic paravirtualization support, preliminary support of the future 802.11s wireless mesh standard, a new built-in memory tester, and a kernel debugger.

Although Linux has supported bind mounts, a sort of directory symlink that allows sharing the contents of a directory in two different paths, since kernel 2.4, a bind mount could not be made read-only. That changes with 2.6.25, with a more selective application of r/o properties for improved security.

Also included are several file system updates, including IPv6 support for NFS server export caches. IPv6 support also extends to TCP SYN cookies.

Kernel 2.6.25 has improved USB and Infiniband support. This release adds support for the OLPC XO hardware. This includes the ability to emulate the PCI BARs in the kernel. This also adds functionality for running EC commands and a CONFIG_OLPC. A number of OLPC drivers depend upon CONFIG_OLPC. A forward-looking addition is the increase of maximum physical memory size in 64-bit kernels from 40 to 44 bits, in preparation for future chips that support larger physical memory sizes.

Conferences and Events

Liferay Meetup 2008
August 1, Los Angeles, CA
LinuxWorld Conference
August 4 - 7, San Francisco, California
Agile Conference 2008
August 4 - 8, Toronto, Canada
Splunk Live Developer Camp - Free
August 4, South Beach Harbor Center, San Francisco, CA
Splunk Live Southwest Tour 2008 - Free
August 12 - Scottsdale, AZ
August 13 - San Diego, CA
August 14 - Los Angeles, CA
Office 2.0 Conference 2008
September 3 - 5, St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco
JSFOne Conference / Rich Web Experience - East
September 4 - 6, Vienna, VA
Gartner Business Process Management Summit 2008
September 10 - 12, Washington, D.C.
Summit on Virtualization and Security
September 14, Marriott Hotel, San Francisco, CA
IT Security World 2008
September 15 - 17, Marriott Hotel, San Francisco, CA - Optional Workshops: September 13, 14, 17 & 18
VMworld 2008
September 16 - 18, Las Vegas, NV
Open Source in Mobile (OSiM) World
September 17 - 18, Hotel Palace, Berlin, Germany
Oracle Develop and OpenWorld 2008
September 21 - 25, San Francisco, CA
Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators
September 23, New York City
Semantic Web Strategies Fall 2008
October 5 - 7, Marriott Hotel, San Jose, CA
Mobile Content Strategies 2008
October 6 - 7, Marriott Hotel, San Jose, CA
LinkedData Planet Fall 2008
October 16 - 17, Hyatt, Santa Clara, CA
EclipseWorld 2008
October 28 - 30, Reston, VA
OpenOffice.org Conference - OOoCon 2008
November 5 - 7, Beijing, China
Agile Development Practices 2008
November 10 - 13, Orlando, FL
ISPcon Fall 2008
November 11 - 13, San Jose, CA
DeepSec In-Depth Security Conference 2008
November 11 - 14, Vienna, Austria

DeepSec IDSC is an annual European two-day in-depth conference on computer, network, and application security. In addition to the conference with thirty-two sessions, seven two-day intense security training courses will be held before the main conference. The conference program includes code auditing, SWF malware, Web and desktop security, timing attacks, cracking of embedded devices, LDAP injection, predictable RNGs and the aftermath of the OpenSSL package patch, in-depth analysis of the Storm botnet, VLAN layer 2 attacks, digital forensics, Web 2.0 security/attacks, VoIP, protocol and traffic analysis, security training for software developers, authentication, malware de-obfuscation, in-depth lockpicking, and much more.

Distro News

lightning boltopenSUSE 11.0 goes GA

The openSUSE Project announced the release of openSUSE 11.0 in June. The 11.0 release of openSUSE includes more than 200 new features specific to openSUSE, a redesigned installer that makes openSUSE easier to install, faster package management thanks to major updates in the ZYpp stack, and KDE 4, GNOME 2.22, Compiz Fusion for 3D effects, and much more. Users have the choice of GNOME 2.22, KDE 4, KDE 3.5, and Xfce. GNOME users will find a lot to like in openSUSE 11.0. openSUSE's GNOME is very close to upstream GNOME.

GNOME 2.22 in openSUSE 11.0 includes the GNOME Virtual File System (GVFS), with support for networked file systems, PulseAudio, improvements in Evolution, and Tomboy. openSUSE 11.0 includes a stable release of KDE 4.0. This release includes represents the next generation of KDE and includes a new desktop shell, called Plasma, a new look and feel (called Oxygen), and many interface and usability improvements.

KControl has been replaced with Systemsettings, which makes system configuration much easier. KDE's window manager, KWin, now supports 3-D desktop effects. KDE 4.0 doesn't include KDEPIM applications, so the openSUSE team has included beta versions of the KDEPIM suite (KMail, KOrganizer, Akregator, etc.) from the KDE 4.1 branch that's in development and scheduled to be released in July and for online update. (KDE 3.5 is still available on the openSUSE DVD for KDE users who aren't quite ready to make the leap to KDE 4.)

Applications also include Firefox 3 and OpenOffice.org 2.4. Get openSUSE here: http://software.opensuse.org/

lightning boltGentoo 2008.0 Released

The Gentoo 2008.0 final release, code-named "It's got what plants crave," contains numerous new features including an updated installer, improved hardware support, a complete rework of profiles, and a move to Xfce instead of GNOME. LiveDVDs are not available for x86 or AMD64, although they may become available in the future.

Additional details include:

Improved hardware support: includes moving to the 2.6.24 kernel and many new drivers for hardware released since the 2007.0 release.

Xfce instead of GNOME on the LiveCD: To save space, the LiveCDs switched to the smaller Xfce environment. This means that a binary installation using the LiveCD will install Xfce, but GNOME or KDE can be built from source.

Updated packages: Highlights of the 2008.0 release include Portage, a 2.6.24 kernel, Xfce 4.4.2, gcc 4.1.2, and glibc 2.6.1.

Get Gentoo at: http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/where.xml

lightning boltElyssa Mint, Xfce Community Edition RC1 BETA 025 Released

This is the first BETA release of the Xfce Community Edition for Linux Mint 5, codename Elyssa, based on Daryna and compatible with Ubuntu Hardy and its repositories.

MintUpdate was refactored and its memory usage was drastically reduced. On some systems, the amount of RAM used by mintUpdate after a few days went from 100MB to 6MB. Mozilla also greatly improved the memory usage in Firefox between version 2 and 3.

Elyssa comes with kernel version 2.6.24, which features a brand new scheduler called CFS (Completely Fair Scheduler). The kernel scheduler is responsible for the CPU time allocated to each process. With CFS, the rules have changed. Without proper benchmarks, it's hard to actually tell the consequences of this change, but the difference in behavior is quite noticeable from a user's point of view. Some tasks seem slower, but overall the system feels much snappier.

Linux Mint 5 Elyssa is supported by CNR.com, which features commercial services and applications that are not available via the traditional channels. The Software Portal feature introduced in Linux Mint 4.0 Daryna is receiving more focus, as it represents the easiest way to install applications. About 10 times more applications will be made available for Linux Mint 5 Elyssa.

Download Linux Mint from this URL: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

Software and Product News

lightning boltMindTouch Deki Wiki releases OSSw Enterprise Collaboration Platform

MindTouch announced in July the newest version of its open source collaboration and collective intelligence platform. MindTouch Deki (formerly Deki Wiki) "Kilen Woods" now delivers new workflow capabilities and new enterprise adapters to help information workers, IT professionals, developers, and others connect disparate enterprise systems and data sources.

At the Web 2.0 conference in April, MindTouch showcased the social networking version of Deki Wiki - a free, open source wiki that offers complete APIs for developers. MindTouch enabled users to hook in legacy applications and social Web 2.0 applications for mashups, while enabling IT governance across it all. Deki Wiki is built entirely on a RESTful architecture, and engineered for concurrent processing.

Although there have been recent point releases updating the platform unveiled at OSCon 2007, according to Aaron Fulkerson, co-founder and CEO of MindTouch, this is an enterprise class release and a new platform for Deki Wiki. "MindTouch Deki has evolved into a powerful platform that is the connective tissue for integrating disparate enterprise systems, Web services, and Web 2.0 applications, and enables real-time collaboration... and application integration."

Fulkerson also told Linux Gazette, "MindTouch Deki Enterprise offers adapters to widely-used IT and developer systems behind the firewall and in the cloud, which allows for IT governance no matter where your data lives. MindTouch Deki Enterprise is the only wiki-based platform that offers this level of sophistication and flexibility."

MindTouch Deki "Kilen Woods" addresses the needs of enterprise customers by providing a wiki collaboration interface with a dozen enterprise adapters to corporate systems and new Web services like SugarCRM, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and WordPress, or apps like MySQL, VisiFire, PrinceXML, ThinkFree Office, and more.

Besides these adapters, users have extensions to over 100 Web services to create workflows, mashups, dynamic reports, and dashboards. This allows for a collaborative macro-view of multiple systems in a common wiki-like interface. "Previously we didn't have these workflow capabilities," Fulkerson told Linux Gazette, "that has been under development for most of this year..."

MindTouch Deki enables businesses to connect and mashup application and data silos that exist across an enterprise and effectively fills the collaboration gap across systems. For example, MT Deki can take content from a database server and mash it up with other services, such as Google Earth or Google maps, LinkedIn, or CRM systems.

Site administrators simply need to register selected external applications, and business users can immediately create mashups, dynamic reports, and dashboards that can be shared. For example, with the desktop connector, users can simply drag and drop an entire directory to MindTouch Deki, and the hierarchy will be automatically created as wiki pages. Users can also publish an entire e-mail thread, complete with all attachments, to MT Deki in a single click.

MindTouch Deki "Kilen Woods" was showcased at OSCON in July and is available for download. Desktop videos of MT Deki in operation can be seen at http://wiki.mindtouch.com/Press_Room/Press_Releases/2008-07-23

lightning boltWINE 1.1.1 Released with Photoshop Improvements

WINE 1.1.1 was released in mid-July. This was the first development version since the release of WINE 1.0.

WINE 1.1.1 features installer fixes for Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Microsoft Office 2007.

Get the source at: http://source.winehq.org/

lightning boltGenuitec announces the general availability of Pulse 2.2

Genuitec, a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation, announced general availability of Pulse 2.2, a free way to obtain, manage, and configure Eclipse Ganymede and its plugins. Pulse 2.2 will support full Ganymede tool stacks.

Users are able to choose if they want to use the latest Eclipse Ganymede release, stay on the Eclipse Europa stack, or utilize both versions in separate tools configurations with Pulse. With this flexibility, users will not hinder current preferences, projects, or environments, as well as providing a great way to test new Ganymede features.

In addition to Ganymede support, Pulse 2.2 offers an expanded catalog with hundreds of plugins to chose from. Unlike many distribution products, Pulse 2.2 is multiple open source-license compliant.

Download Ganymede today at http://www.poweredbypulse.com/eclipse_packages.php. Pulse 2.2 Community Edition is a free service and is available at http://www.poweredbypulse.com.

lightning boltSkyway Builder CE now GA

Skyway Software announces the release and general availability of Skyway Builder Community Edition (CE), the open-source version of our model-centric tool for developing, testing, and deploying Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and Web services. The GA version of Skyway Builder CE is available for immediate download.

Highlights of Skyway Builder CE include: -- Free and open-source (GPL v3) -- Integrated into Eclipse -- Full Web Application Modeling -- Extensible models -- Build your own building blocks (custom steps) -- Seamless integration of custom Java code and models -- Runtime using Spring Framework

lightning boltNew Canoo UltraLightClient for Faster Web Application Development

Canoo announced in June the new release of its UltraLightClient (ULC), a library to build rich Web interfaces for business applications. Previously announced at JavaOne 2008, Canoo ULC simplifies the development and deployment of Web applications. Canoo has recorded a screencast showing how to develop a sample Web application using this new release.

New features in ULC 08: - easy project setup using a wizard for Eclipse - generates an end-to-end application skeleton from a predefined data structure - high-level component to simplify the development of forms - improved data types - sortable ULC tables by default - data binding

A new developer guide describes how to be productive from day one. The release notes list the changes added to the current product version.

The Canoo development library includes user-interface elements such as tabbed window panes, sortable tables, or drag and drop interactions and keyboard shortcuts.

The final version of UltraLightClient 08 is available for download at the Canoo product Web site. A license costs 1299 Euro per developer, and includes free runtime distribution for any number of servers. A free evaluation license may be obtained for 30 days. Contact Canoo for further details on pricing and licensing.

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 © 2008, 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 153 of Linux Gazette, August 2008