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Blog post # 1,000

By Sean Kerner   |    June 30, 2010

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From the 'Are We There Yet?' files:

Drum roll please...

This post is my 1,000th blog post at Netstat-vat for InternetNews.com. That sure seems like a lot of posts to me and a mountain of work, but it's all been good fun and very rewarding personally and professionally.

This blog has been home to posts on Linux, open source, security and networking as well as a few other IT topics. Even though I'm now at the 1,000 post milestone, please don't call be a blogger. I'm a technology journalist (@TechJournalist on Twitter) and the blog is a complement my regular work.

In my non-blog articles that I write for InternetNews.com (and appear across the Internet.com network), I take an objective look at technology news and trends. In this blog, I look at some of the 'smaller' stories, but more importantly, I usually also inject my opinion here too.

That's where this blog really works -  with the opinion part - both mine - and equally important - the opinions of all of you that read this blog. While this is the 1,000th post for this blog, the 1,000th comment was logged a long time ago. It is the comments that I get from the readers of this blog that I especially value. Sure I get flamed my fair share, but I also get more than my fair share of insightful comments too.

So thanks to you the readers of this blog for your support across the first 1,000 posts, and a special thanks to the Internet.com network and its management for their continuing encouragement and backing.

Red Hat names new Fedora Project Leader

By Sean Kerner   |    June 29, 2010

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From the 'Cya Paul!' files:

I'm a huge fan of the work and the leadership that current Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields has done since 2008. Frields has always been one of the most articulate, honest and insightful Linux community leaders that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

As the saying goes though, all good things must come to an end and so does Frields' time as Fedora Project Leader. Starting in July, Jared Smith will become the new Fedora Project Leader. I personally don't know Smith, though according to Red Hat's announcement on Smith's appointment, he's been an active contributor since 2007. Smith's interest is in VoIP and he previously worked at Digium, the lead commercial sponsor behind the open source Asterisk project.

The process of how Fedora's leadership is chosen is different than other distributions. It's not a totally democratic process like the one that Debian has. On the other hand it's not totally autocratic like Ubuntu. In a mailing list posting announcing the transition, Frields explained the process.

"One of the hallmarks of Fedora leadership is that it's open to change," Frields wrote. "The FPL is not a semi-benevolent dictator for life, but rather a position to which new people can regularly bring their passion for making Fedora better...The FPL job is a salaried position at Red Hat, and the Fedora Board members as well as many other stakeholders have been informed and involved with the process of selecting a new FPL." 

I wish the best of luck to the new leader and of course the best of success to Frields as he moves on within Fedora and Red Hat. As is the case with Frields Fedora Project Leader predecessor Max Spevack, I'd expect to continue to see Frields as an active member of the Fedora community.

Alcatel-Lucent grabs API mashup site

By Sean Kerner   |    June 29, 2010

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From the 'Networking is about more than just hardware' files:

Global networking vendor Alcatel-Lucent is best known to me (and many others) as a hardware vendor for communications and networking equipment.

Networks however are really just a means to an end though aren't they? That's a fact that Alcatel-Lucent realizes and they've now acquired the ProgrammableWeb.com site to help them expand their software vision.

On a personal level, I've been a fan (and user) of ProgrammableWeb for years. It is a showcase of web mashups and provides insight into how others are leveraging APIs from different sources to create new types of sites and services.

The plan for Alcatel-Lucent is to leverage the information and resources of ProgrammableWeb to help build more mind share with developers as well as being a knowledge base and a resource.

"If you look at any organization that launches an API, you quickly
realize
that the one thing the most successful APIs have in common is a vibrant
developer ecosystem," said Laura Merling, vice president of
Alcatel-Lucent's
global developer strategy in a statement. "Our goal is to protect the uniqueness and
independence of ProgrammableWeb as an API repository and developer
resource,
while adding beneficial technologies and service provider relationships
to the
mix for everyone's benefit."

It makes a whole lot of sense to me. Cisco CEO John Chambers often repeats the phrase, 'The Network is the Platform' -- which I believe to be true. With API's, the platform actually becomes useful as a way for not just connecting endpoints, but different content repositories and data in a way that end-users will (hopefully) benefit from.

Red Hat Linux and its close relationship with Microsoft?

By Sean Kerner   |    June 24, 2010

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From the 'Business Partners' files:

Microsoft and Red Hat, Linux and Windows aren't supposed to get along right?

But they do, and apparently Microsoft and Red Hat are now getting along very well too.

During a Q&A session during Red Hat's Analyst Day this week, Red Hat revealed that its relationship with Microsoft isn't as stormy as it once was.

"That relationship with Microsoft, believe it or not, is pretty strong. It was pushed by our customer base," Paul Cormier executive vice president and president, products and technologies at Red Hat said during the meeting. "Our customer base came to us and say 'look we have two operating systems running the datacenter, RHEL and Windows and you guys need to work together'  so we got together."


Mozilla Bespin 0.8 minizes online IDE

By Sean Kerner   |    June 22, 2010

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From the 'Good Things Come in Small Packages' files:

Among the most interesting Mozilla Labs projects that I track (and use) is the Bespin embedded/online web development project.

Remember the old Netscape Composer app that used to be part of the big Netscape Suite ? -- take that, make it modern, more powerful, browser-based and smaller and then you get the idea of where Bespin is headed.

With the 0.8 release, Mozilla's developers are making the app even smaller than it was before. The 0.8 release is only about 300k, yeah that's small.

Smaller doesn't mean fewer features though, the new milestone release includes a theming capability. According to the Bespin 0.8 release notes, "themes can style both the
editor text and the user interface elements."

Mozilla tracking a week in the life of a Firefox browser

By Sean Kerner   |    June 14, 2010

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From the 'Mozilla Test Pilot' files:

How many add-ons do you have in Firefox? How much time did you spend in Firefox last week?

If you have opted into the Mozilla Labs Test Pilot add-on survey system -- now you know, and so does Mozilla.

Test Pilot is a survey system from Mozilla Labs that can track and enable any number of different things. They're now tracking  "A Week in the Life of a Browser' effort which will track how users actually have used Firefox over the course of a week.

Remember of course that this is all opt-in and Mozilla is anonymizing the data at their end so that it's not personally identifiable.

It's a really interesting set of data that could shed led on how Firefox is actually used by the millions that rely on Firefox.

In my own personal case, the Test Pilot 'A Week in the Life of a Browser' study showed me things that I didn't know about my own browsing habits.

Is SCO finally dead? Maybe, maybe not.

By Sean Kerner   |    June 11, 2010

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From the 'Living Dead' files:

Is the SCO case really over?

Groklaw seems to think so..but with all due respect to Pam Jones, this isnt the first time they've declared SCO dead and the case over.

SCO has lost at least three major judgments in as many years and yet here we are in 2010 still talking about them. The company is bankrupt and yet still there they are, like the terminator you can keep blowing up SCO, but it keeps coming back. With the most recent decision in March, many of us thought that was the final straw.

Personally, I won't think that the SCO affair is over yet. I've seen this before, SCO loses a case and the tech media declare them dead.

So when will I personally consider SCO to done?

Well, if within the next three months there are no more appeals or motions, .I might be ready to actually believe that its all over.

Then again, with Novell on the auction block..this might all begin again if Novell's new ownership -- whomever that might be -- takes a different view than Novell's current ownership.

Liferay open source portal gets some Sun

By Sean Kerner   |    June 10, 2010

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From the 'Sun burnt' files:

Among the many projects that Sun Microsystems started that have been left in the dust by new owner Oracle, is a portal system built on the open source Liferay project.

Former Sun/Oracle exec Paul Hinz  is now at Liferay and is helping the commercial company push forward both the open source project as well as its enterprise offshoots. This week Liferay announced a series of new initiatives including a collaboration platform called Liferay Live and a new enterprise social collaboration offering called Social Office Enterprise Edition.

Both products leverage the existing Liferay Portal 5.2.3 technology that the open source community has benefited from already.

What interests me is the new Liferay Alloy UI which was built in collaboration with Yahoo's YUI project. What Alloy UI provides is a way for developers to leverage  widgets to develop portals or even standalone web apps.

It's a neat idea that could benefit other developments efforts too. When I asked Hinz about AlloyUI as an open source effort, he noted that it could be picked up by other projects too.

Sabayon Linux 5.3 adds Anaconda

By Sean Kerner   |    June 08, 2010

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From the 'Red Hat Linux Tech' files:

A new version of Sabayon Linux is out this week and for new users, I think it offers a good entry point into the world of Gentoo (and Sabayon of course).  Sabayon is a Gentoo Linux based distribution providing a slick user interface and the latest open source applications.

Gentoo Linux is a really solid source based Linux distribution that has been around for over 10 years, but it has always been a bit difficult to install (though it has gotten better in recent years thanks to a Gentoo installer). Sabayon itself seems to be all about making Gentoo more accessible, so it makes sense that the new release has a new installer. Though the new installer isn't born from the Gentoo Linux project, it's from Red Hat.

Sabayon Linux 5.3 is now using the Anaconda Linux installer, which is used in Fedora and has been a part of Red Hat Linux distributions for as long as I can remember. In my opinion, Anaconda is one of the reasons that helped make Red Hat popular in the late 90's. The modern Anaconda has continued to  improve and it makes for an easy yet powerful, installation experience.

It's great to see open source at work isn't it?

Is Torvalds reducing bloat in Linux 2.6.35 ?

By Sean Kerner   |    June 07, 2010

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From the 'Too Big To Fail' files:

Linus Torvalds has commented in the past that he thought that the Linux kernel was too bloated. To date though, not much (if anything) has been done to combat Linux bloat, but that might just be changing with the upcoming Linux 2.6.35 release.

On Saturday Torvalds posted the Linux 2.6.35 rc2 release and in his release announcement he makes specific mention of the size.

"I'm slightly unhappy with its size - admittedly it's not nearly as big as
rc2 was the last release cycle, but that was an unusually big -rc2," Torvalds wrote. "And I
really hoped for a calmer release cycle this time.

In fact, for once I'm going to enforce -rc3 being sane, because the
upcoming week is the last week of school for my kids. And when the kids
get out of school, I'm going be offline for a while. And as a result, I
_really_ don't want to pull anything even half-way scary in the next week
for -rc3."

So yes, in a (small) way Torvalds is taking aim at the expanding size of the Linux kernel, but it's not because of some larger goal of reducing size -- but rather the practical realities of life.

Is HTML5 broken?

By Sean Kerner   |    June 04, 2010

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From the 'Standardized Silos' files:

There is alot of talk from browser vendors about HTML5 as being the greatest thing for web standards - replacing Flash for video - and generally making the Web a more open and standards based place.

I'm not entirely sure that's true (yet). HTML5 isn't a standard, it's still a work in progress. Different browser vendors each implement the HTML5 work-in-progress standard a bit differently too.

Take for example Apple. Today Apple posted an HTML5 demo page showcasing all the great things that HTML5 can do. The problem is that to view the page you need to be running Safari. While I understand that the latest Safari supports many HTML5 standards, both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox also support HTML5 as well.

So to extend the argument further, if HTML5 is truly about creating an open web standard for all, shouldn't an HTML5 demo page highlight standard features that work across all HTML5 compliant browsers?

WordPress 3 RC shows open source polish

By Sean Kerner   |    June 03, 2010

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From the 'Open Source Blogging Goodness' files:

WordPress is one of the great open source success stories with both its software and the WordPress.com site itself. Google ranks WordPress.com the 12th most visited site on Earth with 120 million unique visitors.

WordPress version 3 is now in the final phases of development with a release candidate now out for early testers on self-hosted WordPress installations. Those that use Wordpress.com however don't have to wait. WordPress is leveraging it's massive 120 million unique visitor base to actually help test the latest version of WordPress 3.

That's open source at its finest. An open source blogging software platform, developed in the open and tested by millions upon millions of users.

Unlike say Google's Blogger platform which isn't an open source project, WordPress has both the freely available software and its own site for hosting WordPress blogs. If Google is wondering why Blogger isn't as popular as WordPress, I'd venture the explanation that going open source is the answer.

So what's new in WordPress 3?

Goodbye Mozilla Weave. Hello Firefox Sync 1.3

By Sean Kerner   |    June 01, 2010

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From the 'Weaving the Web' files:

Mozilla Weave is no more -- at least in name.

Firefox Sync 1.3 is now available, marking the official shift in name from Mozilla Weave, which had been the name of the application since it was created in 2007.

Weave started out as a Mozilla add-on for Firefox that was intended to provide a Mozilla services backend. The initial target of that services backend was data synchronization and now with the 1.3 release, synchronization or Sync is the name of the app as well.

I personally like the name Weave and I liked that broader Mozilla services approach that the Weave project first promised. That said, from a practical usage point of view, I have relied on Weave as part of my daily workflow for over a year at this point. I move between machines (and operating systems) often and regularly over the course of a day and Weave is the tool that stitches my browsing activities together.

So what's new in Firefox Sync 1.3?