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Alcatel-Lucent's Linux Smart Desktop Phone #interop

By Sean Kerner   |    April 30, 2010

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From the 'Linux Deskphone' files:

LAS VEGAS -- Linux is no stranger to the world of mobile smartphones, but what about deskphones?

Is there such a thing as a 'smart' deskphone?

While I've seen multiple LCD screen enabled desktop phones over the years, Alcatel-Lucent is now developing what it describes as a smart deskphone.

And yes it's powered by Linux.

The device is officially called the IC phone and there is a developer portal now live which give some additional details on SDK and developer potential for the phone.

I got the opportunity to see a quick demo of the new device at Interop this week, while it's not yet publicly available, it's a neat idea. Deskphones aren't exactly the most exciting piece of equipment, but then again, before the iPhone mobile wasn't as exciting either - was it?

Check out the video below for the quick 'verbal' demo I got of the device while at the show.

#Interop SonicWALL Demos SuperMassive Firewall

By Sean Kerner   |    April 28, 2010

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From the 'Bigger than Massive' files:

LAS VEGAS -- What's bigger than massive? If you're SonicWALL it's their SuperMassive firewall.

I met with SonicWALL here at Interop and they've got a good story to tell. With their SuperMassive tech roadmap we're looking at the ability to do next gen firewall operation at up 40 gigabits per second of throughput.

Yes that's a lot.

Is it the fastest firewall on Earth?

Maybe, but that's not an easy question to answer as how services are enabled on a firewall makes a difference.  Though SonicWALL execs told me their box can do it all without a degradation in performance.

#Interop Application Delivery Controller Vendor Rumble

By Sean Kerner   |    April 28, 2010

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From the 'Competitive Differentiation' files:

LAS VEGAS -- Who is the leader in the application delivery controller space? And what's the difference between all the different vendors?

Based on my experience watching a panel of vendors at Interop from Citrix, A10, Cisco, Brocade, Crescendo and F5 - it's not an easy question to answer.

All the vendors tried to bring up things at various points during the panel which may be areas of difference - but time and again after discussion the other vendors would chime in to say they did the same thing.

In a show of unmatched bravado - Kenneth Salchow senior technical marketing manager at F5 claimed that F5's difference is that they are market leader. He added that fundamentally it's all about ensuring that applications are delivered properly.

#Interop 40 Gig Ethernet Makes an Extreme Debut

By Sean Kerner   |    April 28, 2010

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From the 'Things Powered by Linux' files:

LAS VEGAS -- I come to Interop to see new stuff that doesn't exist in other places and that's just what I found today.

Extreme Networks is showing a 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switching setup. Yes that's a big deal seeing at 40 GbE is not yet a full standard (though it will be soon).

The solution Extreme is showing used the VIM3-40G4X that can add up to 4x 40 GbE connections to an Extreme 8800 switch. I've never seen a 40 GbE implementation before, so this is a first for me and something that no other vendors seem to be talking about. There has been focus on the 100 GbE standard but that's not really intended for inside the datacenter is it?

The fastest Ethernet connection in datacenters today is 10 GbE which will also help 40 GbE adoption as some of the same infrastructure will apply.

But don't run out to try and buy 40 GbE today, the 40 GbE solution isn't quite ready for prime time yet - as standards aren't yet quite done -- but the demo does work.

In addition to the hardware, the solution leverages new improvements in the Extreme XOS operating system that powers Extreme's gear. And yeah Extreme XOS has some Linux goodness at it's core.

#Interop Qwest Rocks with Johnny Lee Ross

By Sean Kerner   |    April 27, 2010

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From the 'Conference Floor Metal' files:

LAS VEGAS -- What does heavy metal rock and networking carrier Qwest have in common?

I don't know -- but Qwest is trying hard at Interop to make the connection with their show character Johnny Lee Ross. That's the dude with the long hair and the guitar in the middle of the picture.

Ross is 'rocking' Interop or so Qwest would have show attendees believe. Yeaah a network can rock - I suppose.

No it's not the strangest thing I've seen, but it's a stretch.

Photo credit: Sean M Kerner

#Interop Boxing and Wireless Access Points

By Sean Kerner   |    April 27, 2010

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From the 'Strange Things from the Show Floor' files:

LAS VEGAS -- When you come to an networking show you don't expect a boxing match to break-out do you?

Well that is unless you're at Interop, where for the second year in a row wireless networking vendor Xirrus setup a real boxing ring - and had real fighters.

Yes it caught my attention (again). It's a neat 'gimmick' but it works from a marketing point of view. From a tech perspective, they try to get across their message about wireless access points vs. a wireless array - though I'm not sure how successful they are.

Personally I still think their is room for both wireless deployment approaches, but I'm not about to jump into the ring to prove my point.

Pic: Xirrus ring at Interop (credit: Sean M Kerner)

#interop Clean Air, Microwaves and Borderless Networks

By Sean Kerner   |    April 27, 2010

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From the 'Strange Things Seen in a Keynote' files:

LAS VEGAS -- I've seen some strange things used in demos for presentation. Today at Interop I saw another strange thing - a microwave.

It was brought on stage by Cisco as part of their keynote demonstration for their new Clean Air wireless technology. The idea is that microwaves and other devices like wireless phones and bluetooth devices can interfere with WiFi spectrum.
Chris Kozup (pic above) was Cisco's demo person and he responded to some dry humor from Brett D. Galloway senior vice president, Wireless, Security, and Routing Technology Group
Cisco who was the main Keynoter. Galloway was delivering Cisco's message about Borderless Networks.

Galloway asked Kozup about whether they could make popcorn on stage.

And yes I laughed.

Firefox 3.6.4 Lorentz Hits Beta - Out-of-Process is Here!

By Sean Kerner   |    April 20, 2010

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From the 'Agile Development' files:

Mozilla developers are now out with a new beta release of Firefox 3.6.4.

As opposed to Firefox 3.6.2 and Firefox 3.6.3 (there was no 3.6.1 release), the main focus for the 3.6.4 release isn't about a security fix.

Both 3.6.2 and 3.6.3 were primarily bug and security updates. With 3.6.4 Mozilla is making it's first point release under the Lorentz model which will deliver incremental new features onto the current 3.6.x branch without breaking backwards compatibility (for addons).

That said, 3.6.4 is all about stability in my view as the key new feature is something that will deliver a better crash-resistant browser.

"This version of Firefox will offer uninterrupted browsing for Windows
and Linux users when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple
Quicktime, or Microsoft Silverlight plugins," Mozilla's director of Firefox Mike Beltzner wrote. "If a crash in one of these
plugins happens, Firefox will continue to run and users will be able to
submit a crash report before reloading the page to try again."

I've been running the earlier Lorentz release and in my experience it has made Firefox a better browser - hands down. Yes this is something that Chrome already has, but so what? Now Firefox will have it too and that's a good thing for the 300 million plus users that rely on it for their web browsing.

Debian Elects a New Leader

By Sean Kerner   |    April 19, 2010

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From the 'Open Source Software Democracy' files:

There is such a thing as democracy in software - all you need to to is look at the Debian GNU/Linux project. Unlike other Linux distributions like say Ubuntu which is run by a 'dictator for life' and isn't a democracy, Debian's Project Leader (DPL) is an elected position.

Stefano Zacchiroli was elected as the DPL late last week. Zacchiroli succeeds Steve McIntyre who has has held the DPL position since 2008 but decided not to run again this year.

"I believe that one of the most important goals of the DPL is to be a facilitator," Zacchiroli wrote in his first DPL bits mailing list posting. "Where there are rough edges that block people out of the job they want to do, the DPL should elide them. Personally, even though I'm aware of *some* blockers, I can't possibly know *all* of them (and, due to Murphy law, I'm surely not aware of your specific itch)."

I couldn't agree more that communication is always the key to great leadership. In the case of Debian which is such a large effort that communication is critical to ensuring that releases occur and that the project moves forward.

Debian is now at a critical juncture as the next major distribution update codenamed 'Squeeze' is due for release. Debian doesn't have an 'official' release manager for Squeeze but I suspect that the new DPL will be instrumental in ensuring that Squeeze makes it out the door with the quality level that Debian delivers with every release.

If Opera Mini is on the iPhone, Why Not Firefox?

By Sean Kerner   |    April 14, 2010

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From the 'Apples to Oranges' files:

Opera made some news yesterday with the announcement that their Opera Mini browser had been approved by Apple for inclusion in the iPhone AppStore.

I've asked Mozilla in the past if they had plans to develop Firefox Mobile (aka Fennec) for the iPhone and I've been told that it wasn't going to happen as it went against Apple's rules. Which is why at first I thought the Opera Mini news was a bit surprising. As it turns out though, according to Mozilla at least, Opera Mini isn't exactly a browser in the same sense that Firefox is.

"I believe that the difference is that Opera Mini interprets all of the JS on the server side, not
on the client, thus not running afoul of the SDK terms of use which
prohibits interpreters," Mozilla's Director of Firefox Mike Beltzner wrote in a mailing list posting.

Back in January, I spoke with Jay Sullivan,
vice president of mobile at Mozilla specifically about the iPhone and he seemed pretty clear that Firefox Mobile wouldn't be headed to that platform.

Oracle Loses Java Creator James Gosling

By Sean Kerner   |    April 12, 2010

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From the 'Don't Want to Work for Oracle' files:

You can now add James Gosling the founder of the Java language to the long list of former Sun employees that have left Oracle.

While Java is certainly a bigger project at Oracle/Sun than just Gosling, in my personal opinion the loss of Gosling is very large loss to Oracle's leadership of Java. Gosling is the voice of Java in many ways and is likely the most respected voice in the entire Java community. While the JCP (Java Community Process) technically is the body that helps to guide Java development, it was (and is) Gosling's voice that has always stood out from the crowd.

As to why Gosling is leaving Oracle, the father of Java has not provided a whole lot of details.

"Yes, indeed, the rumors are true: I resigned from Oracle a week ago
(April 2nd). I apologize to everyone in St Petersburg who came to
TechDays on Thursday expecting to hear from me," Gosling wrote in a blog post. "I really hated not being
there. As to why I left, it's difficult to answer: just about
anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more
harm than good
. The hardest part is no longer being with all the
great people I've had the privilege to work with over the years. I don't
know what I'm going to do next, other than take some time off before I
start job hunting."

Pligg 1.0.4 Gets Plugged

By Sean Kerner   |    April 09, 2010

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From the 'Digg This' files:

Pligg, which is an open source project that develops a Digg-line social networking and voting system, is out this week with its new 1.0.4 release.

It's the first big update to Pligg since 1.0.3 came out in December.  The new 1.0.4 release includes a long list of new features, though what I noticed is a number of interesting security updates.

There is now login brute force protection - which could potentially help against a Pligg user account from being compromised. There is also an Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS) fix in Pligg's search function as well.

One thing that many socially-oriented sites are at risk from is spammers (then again who isn't at risk from spam). Spammers can attempt to submit their own spam stories or comments to a Pligg powered site, but in the 1.0.4 version, developers made improvements in spam protection.

There are a pair of key items that really stood out to me on the spam protection front. One is a fix to remove
spam stories from top users data. That's right a spammer might have been able to get listed a top users by being a spammer (D-oh!). The other notable fix is that stories marked as Spam can now only be seen by admins.

Those might seem like simple (and yeaah obvious) changes, but in my view they'll make a big difference to Pligg administrators.

Mandriva Linux Names New CEO

By Sean Kerner   |    April 08, 2010

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From the 'Revolving Door' files:

Mandriva Linux announced a new CEO today. Arnaud Laprevote succeeds Stanislas Bois in the top spot at the European Linux vendor.

Laprevote will also act as the Chief Technical Officer and Director of Research and Development at Mandriva. While I wish Laprevote the best of success in his new role, he's got a tough job as previous CEOs (and a few CTOs) might be able to confirm.

In my opinion, Mandriva hasn't had the same sort of public face since a previous CEO unceremoniously fired Gael Duval, the creator of Mandrake/Mandriva in 2006. Mandriva continues to put out high quality releases - most recently Mandriva 2010 - but they just don't get the interest (in North America at least) that they once had.

I remember well when Mandrake was available on store shelves and could be seen on many notebooks at open source conferences -- that's not case anymore.

Recapturing mindshare in an era where Ubuntu's fearless leader makes bold predictions and Red Hat's enterprise Linux generates over a half billion dollars a year in revenue is no easy task.

Linux Certification Expands with LPI and CompTIA

By Sean Kerner   |    April 07, 2010

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From the 'Certify Your Linux Skills' files:

The Linux skills certification landscape is getting a little easier thanks to a new partnership between CompTIA and the Linux
Professional Institute (LPI). It's a move that will help to further consolidate the fragmented Linux skills certification market.

The LPI offers a number of Linux certification programs that I've written about over the years. What is now happening with CompTIA, which has its own Linux certification called Linux+, is CompTIA is integrating with LPI's LPIC-1 certification(Linux Professional Institute Certification).

So if you're taking a certification exam from CompTIA for Linux+ you'll get an LPIC-1 certification as well as the Linux+.

"With this new initiative we join a widely
recognized non-profit association of the leading vendors in the IT

industry," Jim
Lacey,
president and CEO of LPI said in a statement. "For CompTIA's candidates, they will have access to LPI's

higher level programs and certifications in Linux."

Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 Trails RHEL 5.5

By Sean Kerner   |    April 06, 2010

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From the 'After You' files:

Oracle is now out with Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 (OEL)- a week after its base, Red Hat's Enterprise Linux 5.5 (RHEL) was released.

That's pretty quick and in my view, one of the quickest turnarounds yet from Oracle with their version of RHEL.  Oracle has been releasing its own version of Linux with OEL, based on RHEL since 2006 and they've been updating OEL as Red Hat updates RHEL.

Over the years, Oracle has told me, that OEL isn't a fork of RHEL, but it is Oracle's effort to provide support for Oracle customers.

"A lot of people think Oracle is doing Enterprise Linux as just
basically a rip off of Red Hat, but that's not what this is about," Wim
Coekaerts, director of Linux engineering at Oracle," told me last year.

With an OEL 5.5 release out so fast after RHEL 5.5, Oracle is keeping pace and benefiting from the new virtualization and hardware support improvements that RHEL 5.5 offers.

OEL isn't the only RHEL variant out there, the community-led CentOS distribution is a popular choice as well, though it lags Oracle in terms of keeping up with Red Hat. CentOS (as of this posting) has not yet release their version 5.5 yet.

Mozilla Test Pilot Tests 1.0

By Sean Kerner   |    April 06, 2010

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From the 'Testing Tests' files:

Mozilla's Test Pilot initiative is moving out of its testing phase - for the application.

Test Pilot started in January of 2009 as a Firefox add-on that enabled Mozilla to poll users about various issues with surveys. The effort was expanded in August and now is growing again with its 1.0 alpha release.

"This Test Pilot 1.0a version includes a number of bug fixes and
improvements to the user interface," Mozilla developer Jinghua Zhang blogged. "In particular, it's now easier to
manage the studies you have participated in as well to access the
knowledge we have learned from all Test Pilot studies."

Those studies have grown from about 5,000 participant per study to 9,000 per study according to Zhang.

Some of the results of Test Pilot studies ended up in a recent omnibus developer trends report from Mozilla.

Understanding what users want and need is critical to the success of any software application. Having a solid base of 9,000 users that are able to participant in surveys is a tremendous assets for Mozilla and one that should hopefully mean better browsers in the future for us all.

Songbird Ditches Linux. So What?

By Sean Kerner   |    April 05, 2010

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From the 'Cross-Platform Development' files:

A year and a half ago, I was among those that celebrated the release of Songbird 1.0 -- a Mozilla based open source music challenger to iTunes.

Unfortunately for me -- and other Linux users, the Songbird effort is now not nearly as interesting, as developers have chosen to stop supporting Linux. It's a decision that in my personal view, shows the limited view that some take toward cross-platform development and why it is still sometimes a challenge to build for Linux.

"After careful consideration, we've come to the painful conclusion that
we should discontinue support for the Linux version of Songbird,"  Georges Auberger wrote on the Songbird blog."Some of
you may wonder how a company with deep roots in Open Source could drop
Linux and we want you to know it isn't without heartache."

Auberger goes on to noted that there will be a community version of Songbird for Linux but it will be unsupported, untested and may not get all the same feature as Windows and Mac - so yeah basically a dead duck.

Ubuntu 10.10: The Maverick Meerkat Announced

By Sean Kerner   |    April 02, 2010

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From the 'Where Does He Get Those Names?' files:

What follows a Lucid Lynx? Why none other than a Maverick Meerkat. Well at least it does for Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu founder and self-appointed-dictator-for-life Mark Shuttleworth announced today that the Ubuntu 10.10 release would be codenamed the Maverick Meerkat.

Now if he had announced this yesterday some might have thought it was an April Fools joke - but then again after Gutsby Gibbon, Hoary Hedgehog, Jaunty Jackalope and Intrepid Ibex what Ubuntu codename isn't a bit 'weird' to say the least?

"Meerkats are, of course, light, fast and social - everything we want in a
Perfect 10," Shuttleworth blogged. "We're booting really fast these days, but the final push
remains."

The Meerkat release will be an interesting one in that it will follow the upcoming Lucid Lynx LTS (Long Term Support) release which is coming out at the end of the month. With an LTS release, Ubuntu is aiming to provide stability as opposed to radical change. That's not the case with a regular release which has a shorter shelf-life.

Debian Squeeze Linux - Where Is It?

By Sean Kerner   |    April 01, 2010

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From the 'Three-Eyed Alien' files:

The next major release of Debian GNU/Linux is taking shape - albeit without the explicit direction of a Release Manager and with some significant hurdles to overcome.

Squeeze (named after the three-eyed aliens in Toy Story) will be the first major Debian release since Lenny came out in February of 2009. Unlike other distros like OpenSUSE, Fedora or Ubuntu, the Debian release process has never seemed particularly structured in terms of a fixed timeline for targeting releases.

In fact, I think (and wrote the same back in 2005) that it is Debian's difficulty with putting out releases that led to the rise of Ubuntu in the first place. The Squeeze release also looks like it will have its share of challenges before it is generally available.

"The situation of the release is not as good as we had hoped, but it looks like we can do the release in a few months if we all work together," Debian developer Adam Barratt wrote in a mailing list posting.