Red Hat OpenShift FINALLY Goes Open Source with OriginBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 30, 2012
From the 'Open Source PaaS' files:
Ever since Red Hat first announced their OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service project, I have asked Red Hat when it would be fully open source. This morning I got an email from Red Hat telling me that the day has finally come, almost a year after OpenShift itself first debuted.
To be fair, OpenShift didn't start out as a Red Hat effort, it was started off as a proprietary effort by a company called Makara that Red Hat acquired. Taking proprietary code and making it open source is no easy task, though it is one that Red Hat has done before with former Netscape directory technology among other efforts.
With OpenShift the open source project will be operated and known as OpenShift Origin and in a shift (pun intended) from many of Red Hat's other open source efforts, the project will be hosted on Github.The overall goal for Red Hat is to grow an active community of contributions that go beyond Red Hat.
It's an idea that VMware, with their Cloud Foundry effort have been pushing for a year as well. Yet as opposed to Open Shift, CloudFoundry was an open source project from day one. Yes it is a bit ironic.
In many respects Open Shift is an excellent platform already and the Origin effort could make it even better. In other respects, Red Hat is already lagging behind the large vendor ecosystem that VMware's Cloud Foundry has built, so Origin really does have its work cut out for it. It will also be interesting to see how OpenShift Origin works and integrates with Red Hat's OpenStack efforts and how and were they might all integrate with CloudForms (their IaaS effort).
My Favorite Firefox 12 Feature? View SourceBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 25, 2012
From the 'Little Things that Matter' files:
The new Firefox 12 release is generating headlines for being the first have silent updates. As a Linux user though, that doesn't interest me much, since Yum-Update and Apt-get are my installation/update methods of choice.
What does interest me personally about Firefox 12 is View Source. More specifically, the new numbered view source feature.
That's right. After a 15 years+ of struggling to correlate view source/browser code with site development, we can now finally see what line we're on -- without the need to copy/paste into another tool.
Sure, it's a simple thing, but it's something that I've wanted for a long time. Modern websites have lots of code and being able to talk to someone about something on a specific line is a fantastic thing to have.
Now why did this take so long to land in the open source Firefox browser? It's a question I asked Mozilla and this is what they told me:
"Recent re-writes and re-architecting made adding line numbers easier than it would have been in the past," Kevin Dangoor, Product Manager, Developer Experience at Mozilla said.
I for one, am thankful for the addition. When combined with the other awesome developer tools now in Firefox, this is truly the icing on the cake.
Ubuntu Linux Seeing HUGE Demand for OpenStackBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 24, 2012
From the 'OpenStack Reality Check' files:
Despite claims from VMware that OpenStack is currently immature, vendors including Canonical (lead sponsor of Ubuntu Linux) are seeing significant demand.
Canonical is particularly well positioned for OpenStack deployments since they've been the base/reference implementation for the open source cloud platform for at least a year at this point. That gives Ubuntu a nice head start on every other Linux vendor (all of whom, now support OpenStack).
"We see huge interest in OpenStack right now, both from cloud providers and from private enterprises," Chris Kenyon, VP of Sales and Business Development at Canonical, told me. "We're dealing with many enterprise customers who are bringing up OpenStack clouds now and they are assessing how they migrate existing workload across to it."
Big names are also backing Ubuntu's OpenStack efforts too. HP is basing its' OpenStack cloud on Ubuntu as is AT&T and Ericsson.
While some see OpenStack as a future opportunity, for Canonical the opportunity is significantly more immediate.
"There is lots of real interest in OpenStack now," Kenyon stressed.
Open Source WordPress Updated for Media Upload VulnsBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 24, 2012
From the 'Responsible Disclosure' files:
Users of the open source WordPress blogging system (and there are millions of us), should have seen an alert in their dashboard to update in recent days. WordPress 3.3.2 came out late Friday and is primarily a security update for media, upload, cross site scripting and privilege escalation bugs.
There are updates for Plupload, SWFUpload and SWFObject, which are all third party libraries used by WordPress for media uploading and handling.
Core WordPress updates include a pair of what I personally consider to be, really nasty cross site scripting (XSS) flaws. One of them affected redirects after posting comments the other for clickable URLs.
Why I consider XSS to be so dangerous in the WordPress context is that so far as I know, no client-side anti-virus/security software can block an XSS attack. Sure, end-point security can block the payload, but XSS is a server side issue which means that a properly crafted attack can do a whole lot of harm.
While the 3.3.x release branch is getting patched for security, developers are pushing forward on the next generation of WordPress with the version 3.4 Beta 3 release. The big highlight of the 3.4 release is a new theme customizer, which could well revolutionize how WordPress theming is managed.
Will Fedora End Linux Distro Naming?By Sean Michael Kerner | April 20, 2012
From the 'What's In an Name' files:
Linux distro names started to get 'weird' when Ubuntu arrived on the scenes with Weirdly Wacky African-inspired Animal names. Other distros, notably Fedora have taken a more democratic approach where community members vote on the release name, but that could soon change. "
"This cycle, the Board is also asking contributors to let us know if we should continue to have release names for future Fedora releases," Fedora developer Toshio Kuratomi wrote.
The vote on whether or not to keep the release name is up at : https://admin.fedoraproject.org/voting/about/poll-rel-names?_csrf_token=928860207074e832cfa15954a898f863025d2d53
The poll on the merits of Fedora keeping a naming structure comes as the community is about to vote on some of the silliest names yet. The upcoming Fedora 17 release is called the Beefy Miracle and Fedora 18 will need to be a name that is somehow related.
Fedora community members now get to vote on the following names:
- Ketchy Ketchup
- Pop Soda
- Spherical Cow
- Tandoori Chicken
Yeaah, I know. It will be interesting to see how the naming poll works and whether or not Fedora distro releases will simply become numbered (yet nameless) releases.
Fedora 17 Beta Advances the Linux DesktopBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 18, 2012
From the 'Linux Desktop Miracle' files:
Fedora 17 is a Beefy Miracle – full of server focused enhancements, like a complete OpenStack. It's also one fine desktop Linux release.
Headlining the release is GNOME 3.4, which could well be the first 'usable' GNOME 3.x/Shell desktop . The desktop isn't just about GNOME though, the Beefy Miracle has lots more desktop condiments to flavor this meaty release.
Among the other desktop innovations in Fedora 17 is the Font Configuration Tool, which enables a per language customization of fonts.
"The user requirements of desktop fonts are diverse, no single configuration can satisfy all user requirements," Fedora's feature wiki states.
Another interesting desktop feature is the English Typing Booster. This is a predictive input technology. Yeaah, I know, these kind of things always have 'interesting' errors but it is a step forward for productivity and efficiency on the Linux desktop.
"Fedora will get a new input method for English language, which will enhance the text creation process, and end users will be able to type more accurately and faster with this input method," Fedora's feature wiki states. " English typing booster offers features such as, prediction of words (auto-completion), suggestions of words if the user misspells: suggestions are by frequency of use. This feature will give Fedora users a interesting, more modern input experience. "
Going a step further beyond the traditional desktop, are the beginning of true multi-touch support in Fedora 17. This is still somewhat preliminary, but it is the underlying plumbing that could one day fully enable Fedora for touch on say a mobile device (or a hybrid Ultrabook).
No, Fedora isn't embracing a HUD model, like the one that Ubuntu will have. Fedora 17 will not be a revolutionary Linux desktop, but it is one that is very functional that I suspect a lot of Linux users, new and old will really enjoy.
OpenStack Wins the Open Source CloudBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 13, 2012
From the 'Linux Vendors Choose Cloud Victor' files:
Over the last two weeks there has been a whole lot of news about 'open' clouds. From my perspective though there is now one clear winner – OpenStack.
As opposed to say Eucalyptus or CloudStack, OpenStack has one key item that those other two 'open' cloud efforts do not – THE SUPPORT OF EVERY MAJOR LINUX DISTRIBUTION.
With OpenStack's big announcement this week, Canonical, SUSE and Red Hat are all now aligned on the same open source cloud effort. That doesn't mean that Eucalyptus is dead or that CloudStack won't have users. It means strategically the enterprise Linux community is saying that OpenStack is the platform they are investing in and will be offering to their commercial customers.
It didn't start out this way of course.
Red Hat wasn't aligned with OpenStack in 2010 and Canonical still supported only Eucalyptus then too. What has happened is the open source model has spoken. Developers have come to the Bazaar to build OpenStack and the Linux vendors aren't about to be stuck in cathedrals when it comes to the cloud.
OpenStack has done something very unique in that regard. The community around it (thanks in part to the helping hand of Rackspace) has built a platform that isn't specific to any one vendor's interest or product roadmap. It's a platform that much like Linux itself, is a collection of the wants and needs of all of its respective contributors.
It's somewhat ironic that this same week that OpenStack hit this massive milestone, that VMware's CTO, Steve Herrod declared that he wants' VMware's CloudFoundry to ,'..be the Linux of the cloud."
Steve – I hate to break it to you, but the Linux vendors have spoken and OpenStack is the Linux of the cloud.
Instagram's $Billion Sale Powered by Ubuntu LinuxBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 10, 2012
From the 'Open Source Runs the World' files:
The inter-tubes were buzzing yesterday with the news of the blockbuster $1 billion sale of Instagram to Facebook.
This is a company that is barely a year old and yet they achieved so much in so very little time.
While there are a number of components that contribute to Instagram's success, it's important to realize that Linux is one of them. While the front-end of Instagram is an iOS (and now Android) client there is also a back-end.
Instagram's back-end is powered by Ubuntu 11.04 running on EC2. That's right, though Canonical itself is not a billion dollar company, but it is the core foundation of a company that is. Amazon of course provides a quick way for companies to have scalable infrastructure and with Ubuntu, Instagram's engineers found the OS base that worked for them to build massive success.
Sure there are other open source components at play too, including Apache Solr, PostgreSQL, Redis and Django among others (four months ago, Instagram engineers posted some great detail on their setup).
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that open source is at the core of the app revolution, even when the end-users are on the closed system that is iOS. The use of Ubuntu in particular (as opposed to say Red Hat), is proof positive that Canonical's EC2 approach works and I suspect there will be many more such success stories in the future that will be told.
Linux 2.4 Hits the End of the LineBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 09, 2012
From the 'All Good Things...' files:
The first Linux 2.4 kernel was released in January of 2001. Today after eleven years of service, it looks like the end of the 2.4 kernel is finally here.
The 2.4 kernel has been in maintenance only mode for most of the last six years since the 2.6 kernel was first released. There has long been a subset of vendors (many on the embedded side) that still relied 2.4, but that's no longer the case.
Linux 2.4 maintainer Willy Tarreau today announced that there would be no more 2.4 kernel releases. The news shouldn't come as a surprise either, since Tarreau warned of this day over a year ago.
"15 months ago I announced that if no more critical fix was to be merged by one year, 2.4 would be EOLed after a year (around december 2011)," Tarreau wrote. "The break-in of last year made things a bit difficult for some users but nothing really important for 2.4 users was merged since, so the EOL had no reason to be delayed."
As is often the case in open source, I suspect this isn't quite the last we've heard of Linux 2.4. I suspect that this final EOL message will wake up some developer or vendor that suddenly realizes they still need the old kernel.
That said after 11 years of life, six of which were as a standby for Linux 2.6, the time has come for the 2.4 kernel. Enterprise operating systems have 10 years life spans so 11 years is reasonable for them. On the embedded side, I suspect that there will be some 2.4 devices that survive in the wild for a while longer yet.
Red Hat Contributes More to OpenStack than Canonical UbuntuBy Sean Michael Kerner | April 09, 2012
From the 'Culture of Contribution' files:
Last year, Canonical the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu, made a big deal about switching their Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) technology to an OpenStack base. The OpenStack open source cloud community also based their reference architecture on Ubuntu.
With that amount of 'tight' public integration you would think that Canonical/Ubuntu would be a major contributor to OpenStack. You would also think that Red Hat, which has its own cloud efforts would be no where to be found on the list of OpenStack contributors.
As it turns out, a new analysis of code contributions for the OpenStack ESSEX release shows that Red Hat developers contributed more code than Canonical developers. According to an analysis by OpenStack contributor Marck McLaughlin, Red Hat changeset contributions represented 7.9 percent of the Essex changes. Canonical in contrast came in at only 2.6 percent. Red Hat is actually the third biggest contributor after Rackspace (55.2 percent) and Nebula (10.0 percent). In terms of total lines changed, Red Hat came in at 5.4 percent while Canonical came in at 0.6 percent.
Should anyone really be surprised?
Canonical also does not show up in the list of top Linux kernel contributors either. While as a company Canonical and its charismatic leadership continue to proclaim how they are moving the open source community forward, the numbers tell of a different story. The numbers show that Canonical's culture of contribution is not in the same league as Red Hat's.
Red Hat has contribution as a core part of its DNA. They have an upstream first mantra that is reflected throughout all their efforts and they not only believe in the open source model, they practice it with every project they touch.
Remember of course that Red Hat's efforts and contributions for Essex are all coming without Red Hat providing enterprise support (like Canonical) for an OpenStack release. That said, Fedora 17 will have OpenStack in it and I strongly suspect that it's just the beginning of much bigger things to come.
Will Google Glasses will be the Greatest Linux Device Ever?By Sean Michael Kerner | April 06, 2012
From the 'When Humans Dream of Electric Sheep' files:
Thanks to Google Android, more people then ever use Linux today. If and when Google's Project Glass becomes a mass market reality, humanity itself could end up becoming a Linux end-point.
Google Glass is Google's effort at wearable technology, a display that projects contextual information and communication information onto glass that you wear (like a pair of regular glasses kinda/sorta). Little is known at this point about the actual hardware/software technology and to be honest at first, I thought this was an April 1st joke -- but it's not.
Google Glass in a real sense could be the future of humanity and Linux.
I'm assuming here that Linux is at the core, since Linux is at the core of Android and ChromeOS. As an embedded technology it serves to reason that Google will once again leverage Linux here. I would assume that Google Glass will be a thin Linux OS implementation since the storage capacity is likely very limited. This is a device that will be highly integrated with the cloud to deliver content and context. Google's infrastructure of course, relies on Linux.
All that's really needed is a thin kernel that can boot and connect to the network, not all that dis-similiar to ChromeOS, but significantly thiner due to size/processing/storage. Connectivity, 4G/Wi-Fi/GPS and basic audio/video capabilities, round out the thin kernel's core requirements.
Instead of a touch screen, it's a 'talk' screen that is voice activated - where the human is the controller.
If Google Glass does in fact turn out to be Linux at the core, I'd expect that Google will be figuring out some new power management, connectivity and other options that could improve embedded Linux on the whole for everyone. Or not, after all the back/forth over Android in the Linux kernel, it's not clear what the broader Linux benefit may or may not be.
Still, it's exciting to think of the possibilities.
The State of Linux Wireless. Is it better yet?By Sean Michael Kerner | April 05, 2012
From the 'Wireless Linux' files.
For a number of years, many Linux users (myself included) struggled with Wireless on Linux. Simply put, Linux distros didn't always correctly recognize or work with the Wireless hardware on the user's laptop. That has changed in recent years.
Speaking on a panel at the Linux Collaboration Summit this week, Linux Wireless maintainer John Linville said that wireless on Linux has matured.
"We used to have nothing but reverse engineered drivers where it was a miracle that they worked at all," Linville said.
What is happening now is Broadcom and Qualcom/Atheros now work with the Linux kernel community providing a better set of drivers and technologies for wireless on Linux.
There are still some challenges including the ability to properly detect interference with DFS military or radar signals.
"Things are better, but there is still more work to be done," Linville said. "We've got the nice juicy center largely covered and we have to spread out to the corners now to flesh things out."
When Will Android be a First Class Linux Citizen?By Sean Michael Kerner | April 04, 2012
From the 'Open Source Cousins' files:
Android is now back in the Linux kernel as of the recent 3.3 release. That doesn't mean that Android however is a first class Linux citizen, according to developers speaking at the Linux Collaboration Summit this week.
While Android can boot with a Linux 3.3 kernel, it's not power optimized and not production grade. As to why Android isn't a first class citizen, it's not a Linux issues as much as it is a Google issue.
"The big problem with Android becoming a first class citizen is that it requires changes on the Android userspace side, in order to meet our standards of our API interfaces," Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman said.
He added that the kernel developers don't control the Android userspace that's something that Google does and they are the only ones that can check in those changes.
That said, Kroah-Hartman noted that Android partners including Samsung and Sony are working on the problem and a resolution is in sight.