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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


Selected and Edited by Deividson Okopnik

Please submit your News Bytes items in plain text; other formats may be rejected without reading. [You have been warned!] A one- or two-paragraph summary plus a URL has a much higher chance of being published than an entire press release. Submit items to bytes@linuxgazette.net. Deividson can also be reached via twitter.

News in General

lightning boltLinux.com Launches New Jobs Board

The Linux Foundation has created a new Linux Jobs Board at Linux.com: http://jobs.linux.com/. The new Linux.com Jobs Board can provide employers and job seekers with an online forum to find the best and brightest Linux talent or the ideal job opportunity.

The JobThread Network, an online recruitment platform, reports that the demand for Linux-related jobs has grown 80 percent since 2005, showing that Linux represents the fastest growing job category in the IT industry.

"Linux's increasing use across industries is building high demand for Linux jobs despite national unemployment stats," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. "Linux.com reaches millions of Linux professionals from all over the world. By providing a Jobs Board feature on the popular community site, we can bring together employers, recruiters, and job seekers to lay the intellectual foundation for tomorrow's IT industry."

Employers interested in posting a job opening have two options; they can post their openings on Linux.com and reach millions of Linux-focused professionals, or they can use the JobThread Network on Linux.com to reach an extended audience that includes 50 niche publishing sites with a combined 9.8 million visitors every month. For more information and to submit a job posting, please visit: http://jobs.linux.com/post/.

Job seekers can include their LinkedIn details on their Linux.com profiles, including their resumes. They can also subscribe to the Linux.com Jobs Board RSS feed, receive alerts by e-mail, and follow opportunities about Linux-related jobs on Twitter at www.twitter.com/linuxdotcom.

Linux.com hosts a collaboration forum for Linux users and developers to connect with each other. Information on how Linux is being used, such as in embedded systems, can also be found on the site. To join the Linux.com community, which currently has more than 11,000 registered members, go to: http://www.linux.com/community/register/.

lightning boltGoogle moves to ext4

Search and software giant Google is now in the process of upgrading its storage infrastructure from the ext2 filesystem to ext4.

In a recent e-mail post, Google engineer Michael Rubin explained that "...the metadata arrangement on a stale file system was leading to what we call 'read inflation'. This is where we end up doing many seeks to read one block of data."

Rubin also noted that "...For our workloads, we saw ext4 and xfs as 'close enough' in performance in the areas we cared about. The fact that we had a much smoother upgrade path with ext4 clinched the deal. The only upgrade option we have is online. ext4 is already moving the bottleneck away from the storage stack...."

In a related move, Ted Ts'o has joined Google, after concluding his term as CTO of the Linux Foundation. Ts'o participated in creating the ext4 filesystem.

lightning boltFirefox Grows 40% in 2009, 3.5 now most Popular

Usage data gathered by Statcounter.com at the end of December showed Mozilla's Firefox 3.5 finally surpassed both IE 7 and IE 8 to become the world's most popular Web-browsing software. Holiday sales brought IE 8 within a hair of overtaking Firefox, but the latter still was ahead in mid-January. See the graph for all browsers, here: http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-ww-weekly-200827-201002/.

However, combined usage of both IE 7 and IE 8 was almost 42% vs. 30.5% for both the 3.0 and 3.5 versions of Firefox.

According to the Metrics group at Mozilla, the worldwide growth rate for Firefox adoption was 40% for 2009. The number of active daily users was up an additional 22.8 million for 2009, higher than the 16.4 million users added in 2008.

This increase occurred despite delaying the release of Firefox 3.6 until late January. This next version of the open source browser from the Mozilla Foundation will feature improvements in stability, security, and customization, and will also offer features for location-aware browsing.

A release candidate for 3.6 was available in mid-January. The next milestone release, version 4.0, has been pushed back until the end of 2010. It will feature separate processes for each tab, like Google Chrome, and a major UI update.

According to StatCounter, this was Firefox's market share as of Dec '09:
29% Africa
26% Asia
41% Europe
31% North America
32% South America


lightning boltEuropean Commission Approves Oracle's Acquisition of Sun

On January 21, Oracle Corporation received regulatory approval from the European Commission for its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Oracle expects approval from China and Russia to follow, and expects its Sun transaction to close quickly.

The European Commission had been under pressure from some of the founders of MySQL to separate it from the Sun acquisition on competitive grounds. However, Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL, and others had argued that the famed open source database was already on a dual commercial and open source development model, and that the large community around it could resist any efforts by Oracle to stunt its development.

The Commission found that concerns about MySQL were not as serious as was first voiced. "The investigation showed that although MySQL and Oracle compete in certain parts of the database market, they are not close competitors in others, such as the high-end segment", the Commission said in its announcement. It also concluded that PostgreSQL could become an open-source alternative to MySQL, if that should prove necessary, and was already competing with Oracle's database. The Commission also said that it was now "...satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned."

Oracle hosted a live event for customers, partners, press, and analysts on January 27, 2010, at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, along with executives from Oracle and Sun, outlined the strategy for the combined companies, product roadmaps, and the benefits from having all components - hardware, operating system, database, middleware, and applications - engineered to work together. The event was broadcast globally, and an archive should be available at http://www.oracle.com/sun/.

Conferences and Events

MacWorld 2010
February 9 - 13, San Francisco, CA - Priority Code - MW4743
Open Source Cloud Computing Forum
February 10, hosted online by Red Hat
Southern California Linux Expo (ScaLE 8x)
February 19 - 21, LAX Airport Westin, Los Angeles, CA

The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) returns for its third year to the Westin LAX Hotel. Celebrating its eighth year, SCALE's success owes, in part, to its unique format of a main weekend conference with Friday specialty tracks.

This year's main weekend conference consists of five tracks: beginner, developer, and three general interest tracks. Topics span all interest levels, with topics such as a review of desktop operating systems, in-depth programming and scripting with open source languages, and a discussion of the current state of open source. In addition, there will be over 80 booths hosted by commercial and non-commercial open source enthusiasts.

The Friday specialty tracks consist of Women In Open Source ("WIOS"), and Open Source Software In Education ("OSSIE").

USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST '10)
February 23-26, San Jose, CA

Join us in San Jose, CA, February 23-26, 2010, for USENIX FAST '10.

At FAST '10, explore new directions in the design, implementation, evaluation, and deployment of storage systems. Learn from leaders in the storage industry, beginning Tuesday, February 23, with ground- breaking file and storage tutorials by industry leaders such as Brent Welch, Marc Unangst, Michael Condict, and more. This year's innovative 3-day technical program includes 21 technical papers, as well as two keynote addresses, Work-in-Progress Reports (WiPs), and a Poster Session. Don't miss this unique opportunity to meet with premier storage system researchers and industry practitioners from around the globe.

Register by February 8 and save! Additional discounts are available!

FAST '10
ESDC 2010 - Enterprise Software Development Conference
March 1 - 3, San Mateo Marriott, San Mateo, CA
RSA 2010 Security Conference
March 1 - 5, San Francisco, CA
BIZcon Europe 2010
March 4-5, The Westin Dragonara Resort, St'Julians, Malta, Europe

Are you sold on using Open Source but find management holds you back because they don’t understand it? We come up against this all the time so we’ve organized a conference for senior execs to help explain the benefits of Open Source, to be held in the 1st week of March.

We have speakers from vendors and SIs as well as the community to help get the message across. If nothing else it could be a welcome escape from the cold, we’re hosting it in sunny Malta :)

Go to http://www.ricston.com/bizcon-europe-2010-harnessing-open-source/ for more info and help us show management how Open Source can be a great asset to them as well as us. And thanks for helping us out!

Enterprise Data World Conference
March 14 - 18, Hilton Hotel, San Francisco, CA
Cloud Connect 2010
March 15 - 18, Santa Clara, CA
Texas Linux Fest
April 10, Austin, TX
MySQL Conference & Expo 2010
April 12 - 15, Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA
4th Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit
co-located with the Linux Forum Embedded Linux Conference
April 14 - 16, Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, CA (by invitation).
eComm - The Emerging Communications Conference
April 19 - 21, Airport Marriott, San Francisco, CA
STAREAST 2010 - Software Testing Analysis & Review
April 25 - 30, 2010, Orlando, FL
Usenix LEET '10, IPTPS '10
April 27 - 28, San Jose, CA
USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation (USENIX NSDI '10)
April 28-30, San Jose, CA

Join us in San Jose, CA, April 28-30, 2010, for USENIX NSDI '10.

At NSDI '10, meet with leading researchers to explore the design principles of large-scale networked and distributed systems. This year's 3-day technical program includes 29 technical papers with topics including cloud services, Web browsers and servers, datacenter and wireless networks, malware, and more. NSDI '10 will also feature a poster session showcasing early research in progress. Don't miss this unique opportunity to meet with premier researchers in the computer networking, distributed systems, and operating systems communities.

Register by April 5 and save! Additional discounts are available!

NSDI '10
Citrix Synergy-SF
May 12 - 14, San Francisco, CA
Semantic Technology Conference
June 21 - 25, Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, CA
O'Reilly Velocity Conference
June 22 - 24, Santa Clara, CA
LinuxCon 2010
August 10 - 12, Renaissance Waterfront, Boston, MA
USENIX Security '10
August 11 - 13, Washington, DC
2nd Japan Linux Symposium
September 27 - 29, Roppongi Academy Hills, Tokyo, Japan
Linux Kernel Summit
November 1 - 2, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Cambridge, MA

Distro News

lightning boltSimplyMEPIS 8.0.15 Update and 8.5 beta4 Released

MEPIS LLC has released SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15, an update to the community edition of MEPIS 8.0. The ISO files for 32- and 64-bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.15-rel_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.15-rel_64.iso.

SimplyMEPIS 8.0 uses a Debian Lenny Stable foundation, enhanced with a long-term support kernel, key package updates, and the MEPIS Assistant applications to create an up-to-date, ready to use system providing a KDE 3.5 desktop.

This release includes recent Debian Lenny security updates as well as MEPIS updates that are compatible between MEPIS versions 8.0 and 8.5. The MEPIS updates include kernel, openoffice.org 3.1.1-12, firefox 3.5.6-1, flashplugin-nonfree 2.8, and bind9 9.6.1P2-1.

Warren Woodford announced that SimplyMEPIS 8.4.96, the beta4 of MEPIS 8.5, is available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The Mepis 8.5 beta includes a Debian 2.6.32 kernel.

Warren said, "Even though the past two weeks were a holiday time, we have been busy. In this beta, I did a lot work on the look and feel of the KDE4 desktop."

The ISO files for 32- and 64-bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.96-b4_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.96-b4_64.iso respectively. Deltas, requested by the community, are also available.

ISO images of MEPIS community releases are published to the 'released' sub-directory at the MEPIS Subscriber's Site, and at MEPIS public mirrors. Find downloads at http://www.mepis.org/.

Software and Product News

lightning boltSun Microsystems Unveils Open Source Cloud Security Tools

As part of its strategy to help customers build public and private clouds that are open and interoperable, Sun Microsystems, Inc. is offering open source cloud security capabilities and support for the latest Security Guidance from the Cloud Security Alliance. For more information on Sun's Cloud Security initiatives, visit http://www.sun.com/cloud/security/.

Leveraging the security capabilities of Sun's Solaris Operating Systems, including Solaris ZFS and Solaris Containers, the security tools help to secure data in transit, at rest, in use in the cloud, and work with cloud offerings from leading vendors including Amazon and Eucalyptus.

Along with introducing new security tools in December, Sun also announced support for the Cloud Security Alliance's "Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing - Version 2.1." Sun privacy and security experts have been instrumental in the industry-wide effort to develop the security guidance, and have been active participants in the Cloud Security Alliance since its inception. The new framework provides more concise and actionable guidance for secure adoption of cloud computing, and encompasses knowledge gained from real world deployments. For more information, visit http://www.cloudsecurityalliance.org/guidance/.

Sun also published a new white paper, "Building Customer Trust in Cloud Computing with Transparent Security," that provides an overview of the ways in which intelligent disclosure of security design, practices, and procedures can help improve customer confidence while protecting critical security features and data, improving overall governance. To download the paper, visit http://www.sun.com/offers/details/sun_transparency.xml.

Sun announced availability for several open source Cloud Security tools including:

  • OpenSolaris VPC Gateway: The OpenSolaris VPC Gateway software enables customers to quickly create a redundant, secure communications channel to an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud without the need for proprietary networking equipment. To download the OpenSolaris VPC Gateway tool, visit http://kenai.com/projects/osolvpc/pages/Home/;
  • Immutable Service Containers (ISC): Incorporating many of the security features of the OpenSolaris operating system, including Solaris ZFS, Solaris Containers, and Solaris IP Filter and Auditing, the ISC architecture leverages service compartmentalization and improved integration techniques to create virtual machines with significantly improved security protection and monitoring capabilities. To download the ISC software or pre-built images, visit http://kenai.com/projects/isc/pages/OpenSolaris/;
  • Security Enhanced Virtual Machine Images (VMIs): Using many of the techniques developed for the Immutable Service Container project, Sun created several security-enhanced VMIs for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). These virtual machines leverage industry accepted recommended practices including non-executable stacks, encrypted swap and auditing enabled by default. Beyond simple OpenSolaris images, Sun has also published integrated software stacks such as Solaris AMP and Drupal built on these security-enhanced images. To download the VMIs, visit http://www.sun.com/cloud/security/;
  • Cloud Safety Box: Simplifies managing encrypted content in the Cloud. Using a simple Amazon S3-like interface, the Cloud Safety Box automates the compression, encryption, and splitting of content being stored in the cloud on any supported operating system, including Solaris, OpenSolaris, Linux, and Mac OS X.

To download the Cloud Safety Box, visit http://kenai.com/projects/s3-crypto/pages/Home/.

For more information on Sun's cloud technologies and Sun Open Cloud APIs, visit http://www.sun.com/cloud/.

lightning boltCanonical Announces Bazaar Commercial Services

Companies and open source projects interested in using Canonical's popular version control system now have access to a suite of commercial services - Consultancy & Conversion, Training, and Support - allowing them to migrate, deploy, and manage Bazaar.

Used by Ubuntu and other open source and commercial projects, Bazaar (bzr) is a version control system (VCS) that supports distributed development environments. Many existing version control systems use a centralised model, a particular challenge to globally distributed 'chase the sun' development teams. Although bzr itself is open source, there is no requirement for commercial projects to make their code publicly available.

Sun Microsystems migrated the code for its MySQL database software a year ago, using bzr conversion and support services. "We wanted to use a tool which suited our distributed contributor model for MySQL, but we needed the reassurance of access to the Bazaar development team through our transition and use of the VCS," said Jeffrey Pugh, vice president of MySQL Engineering, Sun Microsystems. "We have found bzr works really well for our model, and that the bzr support team and developers have been responsive to our requirements."

"The increasingly distributed nature of software development has allowed Bazaar to grow in popularity," said Martin Pool, project manager at Canonical. "Our Consultancy & Conversion, Training, and Support services give new and existing customers piece of mind when setting up such a vital piece of infrastructure."

Canonical is now offering comprehensive training in Bazaar to get staff up-to-speed quickly and transfer best practice knowledge. Both the content and delivery are tailored to meet the needs of individual teams and development environments, so developers can get the most out of the training sessions.

Visit the project site here: http://bazaar.canonical.com/en/, or Canonical's Bazaar page here: http://www.canonical.com/projects/bazaar/.

lightning boltCanonical offers support program for Lotus Symphony

At IBM Lotusphere in January, Canonical announced a dedicated support program for Lotus Symphony, the no-charge office productivity component of the IBM Client for Smart Work (ICSW) on Ubuntu. This support is made available to customers by Canonical through the IBM and Canonical partner network.

The IBM Client for Smart Work helps organisations save up to 50 percent per seat on software costs versus a Microsoft-based desktop, in addition to avoiding requisite hardware upgrades. The package allows companies to use their existing PCs, lower-cost netbooks, and thin clients.

The open standards-based core solution comprises of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition and Lotus Symphony, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, fully supported by Canonical at US $5.50 per user, per month based on 1000 seat deployment. Optional solution components include desktop virtualisation and recovery options using VERDE from Virtual Bridges, and a variety of Lotus collaboration capabilities with choice of delivery model: on site, on the cloud, or using an appliance.

"The economic case for Ubuntu and the IBM Client for Smart Work is unarguable," says Shiv Kumar, EVP of Sales at ZSL, one of the first IBM and Canonical partners to make this solution available. "The addition of support from Canonical at super-competitive pricing means companies have the reassurance of world class support through the entire stack."

IBM Client for Smart Work for Ubuntu core solution is available (unsupported) at no charge from http://www.ubuntu.com/partners/icsw.

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 © 2010, 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 171 of Linux Gazette, February 2010