Article Source Andy Updegrove’s Blog
August 28, 2009, 6:39 am

Modern society harbors many bad habits. One is its penchant for enthusiastically embracing the benefits of new technologies before considering their less desirable side effects. Whether we look at the development of automobiles (first) and safety features (much later), or industrialization (first) and environmental protection (much, much later), the story is always much the same: we reach for the candy before we grasp the reality of the cavities.

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Article Source Community-cation
August 27, 2009, 6:16 am

One of the more popular sessions at LinuxCon is sure to be the Linux Kernel Roundtable, featuring several notable kernel developers, including Jonathan Corbet and Linus Torvalds. Moderating the Roundtable is James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at Novell, Director of the Linux Foundation and Chair of its Technical Advisory Board. Bottomley is Linux Kernel maintainer of the SCSI subsystem, the Linux Voyager port and the 53c700 driver.

I recently interviewed Bottomley to find out what his goals for the Roundtable are, where he believes the Linux kernel is now, and where it’s going.

Linux.com: You have a lot of responsibilities surrounding the Linux kernel, as a maintainer as well as your activities with the Linux Foundation. How do you prioritize your many efforts?

James Bottomley: Novell gives me 50% of their time to spend on Linux (both community and the Linux Foundation). Obviously there’s more work than will fit into that so it tends to spill over into my free time. I use a very interrupt-driven scheduling model: I prioritise what I have to do; stuff at the top (such as bug fix patches) tends to get the most attention; stuff at the bottom tends to get forgotten about.

Linux.com: What drives you to be a Linux kernel developer?

Bottomley: I think I’ve always been fascinated by systems. I started out life wanting to do chemistry, then switched to physics because I enjoyed the idea of modelling the universe with mathematical systems better than the more recipe driven transformations of chemistry. While doing physics, I got into computational modelling, and from there to actually helping design computers to do the modelling… when I got out of university, Computing seemed to be the thing, and Operating Systems, as closed mathematical models of how a system should work also fascinated me. At that time in the UK, we didn’t have Academic BSD source licences, so Linux was the only system where you could actually see the operating system code, so I naturally gravitated towards it (I actually persuaded the Mathematical Physics department to use it as the basis for buying cheap PCs for computation before I left).

When I moved to NCR in 1997, they had an x86 based SMP computing platform (Voyager) that linux didn’t support, so I interested some of the hardware and OS engineeers in a stealth project to do a Linux port for the 2.4 kernel (strictly in everyone’s spare time). That got me well known in the community, and from there I was picked up by a Linux HA start up to make shared storage HA work, hence my current position as SCSI subsystem maintainer.

Linux.com: When you moderate the kernel panel at LinuxCon, what will be the theme?

Bottomley: The themes will be current controversies and future enhancements, including touching on some of the process and other issues that are going to be brought up at the kernel summit, like are we degrading performance by insufficient consideration and testing of patches, what should we be doing to improve the quality and readability of the code (without churning the entire code base).

Linux.com: What technologies or projects excite you when looking at the future of Linux?

Bottomley: Well, obviously at a maintainer level, the current trend to convergence of network and storage (with technologies like FCoE and SRP) is fun to follow. From a broader technology angle, the convergence of wireless and cellular networks is the most interesting, promising Internet everywhere and the convergence of netbooks, cellphones and PDAs.

Linux.com: What are some of the challenges you believe Linux will need to address in the days ahead?

Bottomley: So there’s two aspects to this: the challenges the kernel itself faces and the challenge that Linux as a whole faces. I think for the former it’s pretty much sustaining our lead as the most agile versatile platform running efficiently on the widest variety of devices (from supercomputers to embedded hardware).

For Linux as a whole, I think the challenge is to bring open source innovation to the end user computing experience, particularly on the desktop. We have some brilliant desktop technologies, but a lot of them are based on existing Windows or Mac stuff. I think the next releases of GNOME and KDE are pushing us much farther along towards the leading edge here, and I’m interested to see what actually emerges as viable technology for the next generation of user interfaces.

Article Source Jim Zemlin’s Blog
August 26, 2009, 11:21 am

Rolex, movies, Gucci, and even Sharpie pens, among other consumer goods, are well known for reaching a level of ubiquity where people start producing fakes or knock-offs. From our industry, even Steve Jobs’ personal brand warranted a knock-off in the form the FakeSteveJobs blog. Linux, too, has reached that level of ubiquity and maturity. We all use Linux every day via our bank ATMs, our cars, our netbooks, the Internet (Google, Facebook and more), and the list goes on.

Thus, the Linus Torvalds knock-offs have naturally come forth.

For the next few weeks, four FakeLinusTorvalds (#flt1, #flt2, #flt3 and #lft4) will be tweeting from our Identi.ca (linuxfoundation) and Twitter feeds (www.twitter.com/linuxfoundation), posing as the real Linus. I expect some of them to be dangerously outrageous, while others will just be downright funny. And, the real Linus has given them his blessing. No infringements here, folks!

Two weeks before LinuxCon, we’ll invite you to vote for your favorite FLT. By voting, you can win free admission to the event and be present for the official unveiling of the four FLTs. We’ll reveal their identities and present the favorite with the “Silver Penguin” directly after the Linux Kernel Roundtable featuring the real Linus.

If you’ve seen me present recently, you know that I like to show IBM’s notable Linux commercial with the genius kid who gets advice about the world from people across industries and cultures. Then, I like to speculate about where that kid is today and I slap up a snapshot of Eminem.

Taking from this theme, we’ve put this kid back to work (in the form of Eminem) with a rap parody to kick things off: “Will the Real Linus Torvalds please stand up?”

Take a look and you can start guessing the real identities of these four fakes. I suspect a few identities to be scooped before we get to Portland. I challenge you to be the spoiler!

The deadline is fast approaching for open source developers to participate in Open Source Software Challenge 2009 contest, hosted by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of South Korea.

Until August 30, students and any other developer who wants to participate, can register for the Challenge, which is aimed at giving international competitors a chance to contribute to projects from around the world, fostering information exchange and the growth of a network of worldwide open source developers.

The theme of the contest is freestyle software development, so a wide variety of international developers can participate. Completed projects should be based on open source platforms, and be licensed with an open source license. After the Aug. 30 deadline, developers will have until October 23, 2009 to submit their work.

While the contest is hosted by the MKE, it is organized by the Korea Software Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA, a Linux Foundation member), the Korea Open Source Software Association (KOSSA), and the Korea OSS Promotion Forum (KOPF). The event is sponsored by several other organizations, including Samsung, Black Duck, and the Linux Foundation.

International participants can enter any sort of open source projects, as can Korean domestic developers. However, the Challenge has assigned categories for domestic developers as well. The additional of the “freestyle” category for domestic and international developers is new to the Challenge this year.

The contest is not without prizes. The Grand Prize for free and assigned categories in the Domestic Division is 5 million KRW, approximately US$3800. The same cash award will be available to the winner of the International Division of the contest as well. All International Division prize winners will receive flight and hotel accomodations for one person from each prize-winning team to attend the awards ceremony on November 5, 2009, at a to-be-announced venue.

Grand prize winners will be eligible to attend the Northeast Asia OSS Promotion Forum in 2010.

For more information, or to register for the contest, visit the Challenge web site.

Article Source Andy Updegrove’s Blog
August 21, 2009, 8:43 am

Mea Culpa. I am uncharacteristically late in commenting on the XML Wars of August, 2009, which have already received so much attention in the press and in the blogs of the technology world.  The wars to which I refer, of course, broke out with the announcement early in the month that Microsoft had been granted an XML-related patent.  The opening of that front gave rise to contentions that patenting anything to do with XML was, in effect, an anti-community effort to carve a piece out of a public commons and claim it as one’s own.

The second front opened when a small Canadian company, named i4i, won a stunning and unexpected remedy (note that I specifically said “remedy” and not “victory,” on which more below) in an ongoing case before a judge in Texas, a jurisdiction beloved of patent owners for its staunch, Red State dedication to protecting property rights – including those of the intangible, intellectual kind.

So if this is war, why have I been so derelict in offering my comments, as quite a few people have emailed me to tell me they are waiting to hear?¬† Here’s why.

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Article Source Andy Updegrove’s Blog
August 20, 2009, 8:56 am

Cybersecurity is an increasingly frequent topic in the news, and this week brought word of the indictment of someone who must be the leading contender for the title, Master Cybercriminal of All Time (Payment Card Fraud Division): Albert Gonzalez. More recent press reports point to additional conspirators who Gonzalez’s attorney contends were there real masterminds.

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When Linux.com first launched, we knew that as feature-packed as the site was, there were some additional features we wanted to add to the site when the time came to make Linux.com even better.

That time has come.

As you can see from the front page, the most dramatic visual change has taken place there, with the addition of eight new modules that allow users to get a quick look at what’s going on “inside” the site at any given time. These include:

  • Latest Tutorials. We have a lot of tutorial material on the site, with more coming in all of the time. Our Linux Tutorials, Linux Training, and New Users Guides section are updated quite frequently with really helpful articles. Now readers will be able to see the latest tutorials at a glance.
  • Latest Answers. Our Answers section is an underrated feature of Linux.com; here registered users have the opportunity to ask questions and exchange knowledge on common and not-so-common Linux challenges. Asking a question gives you guru points on Linux.com, and answering others’ questions will grant you even more points. See the latest questions that you might answer here.
  • New Directory Listing. The Linux Download Directory is updated daily with user-contributed listings for distributions, applications, hardware, and books. See the latest contribution in this module.
  • Upcoming Event. Interested in what’s happening in the conference world? The latest in worldwide Linux, free, and open source events is listed in this section.
  • Recent Directory Activity. If a Directory listing has been updated or reviewed, you’ll see what listing was changed and be able to see the most current information.
  • Latest Video. The most recent video hosted on Linux.com is displayed. Play it here now, or follow the link to the video’s page to play it in a larger format.
  • Popular Community Blogs. This module lists the Community Blogs posted by our users that have the highest number of page views.
  • Latest Distro Blogs. Team members from Fedora, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, and more contribute regularly to Linux.com. Get the inside story on your favorite distro.

These changes to the site are designed to keep you informed about more of the site’s new content than ever before. And while they are very useful, another big change has been implemented on Linux.com that’s a little less visible but still as dramatic.

From day one, our mission has been to make Linux.com “By the Community, For the Community.” And we meant it. Through our Forums, Answers, Community Blogs, and Linux Download Directory, not to mention all of the other Community tools and applications, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute to and customize Linux.com.

But there has been something missing: the ability to directly contribute articles to Linux.com for publication outside the Community Blogs. Until now, we have asked for contributions to come directly to me for publication, and we’ve gotten some great content. Now, though, Linux.com will get more.

Registered users can now click the Submit an Article link (login required) on their profile home page and use the simple WYSIWYG editor to write an article or tutorial for Linux.com. It’s just that easy: after you have entered the title and body of the article, click Save and the editorial staff will be notified of the article’s submission. After review and editing, we will post the article in the appropriate section of Linux.com.

Some hints to make submittals more efficient:

  • Use the HTML Editor tool to enter HTML-formatted content. The simpler the HTML, the better.
  • If you have images, link them from a source site, such as your own site or a third-part imaging site such as Flickr.

While we will try to publish all articles submitted, there will be some articles that simply won’t be ready to publish. For more information and guidelines, visit our Editorial Policy page.

The best part of this new Linux.com tool is the opportunity to earn a lot of Guru Points in our Become the Ultimate Linux Guru program, where the top 50 annual Linux gurus on Linux.com will be included in an annual report from the Linux Foundation. The top five contributors to Linux.com annually will receive invitations to the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and have a seat at the annual Linux.com planning meeting as community representatives. The top Linux.com user will be recognized each year as the “Ultimate Linux Guru” and be given a fully loaded “dream” Linux notebook, personally autographed by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, as recognition of his or her guru status.

How much is a lot? How about 20 points? That’s the amount users will recieve whenever any of their articles are published on Linux.com. While being a part of the community is important, guru status comes more from sharing expertise. This addition to the guru points scale demonstrates that emphasis.

This is one of the main goals of Linux.com: the sharing of knowledge about the Linux operating system. Our new features will now enable you to see and add to that knowledge even more effectively.

Article Source Jim Zemlin’s Blog
August 13, 2009, 5:06 pm

People often say things like this as a badge of honor. Some of us even keep event badges hung from our office doors as a tally of the events we’ve attended.

With LinuxCon just six short weeks away, I’ve been thinking about how folks will look back on this conference. I don’t think badges from LinuxCon will represent an event attended but rather an event experienced. This is Linux event that returns us to our roots in which developers can collaborate real-time on technology challenges, while business executives can simultaneously work together and with developers to better understand the opportunities ahead.

I expect LinuxCon to turn the page for industry conferences – moving away from “show-n-tell” formats of the past, and towards real technical and business collaboration. I also expect it to represent a time of amazing growth and maturity of Linux and open source software.

IDC reported earlier this year that Linux will see growth during the recession while other OSes struggle. It also reported earlier this summer that open source software will grow much faster than was originally forecast in 2008.

This growth is fuelling new demand for forums today in which ecosystem stakeholders can accelerate specific initiatives with face-to-face collaboration, not with marketing gimmicks or product demonstrations. Let’s face it: traditional “expos” just won’t cut it anymore Рand honestly, they never were a good fit for the culture inherent in the Linux and open source communities.

Since we announced the creation of LinuxCon last fall, we’ve gathered together the best and brightest folks in our industry and from among the community to join us in Portland next month. And, by co-locating with the annual Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), a star-studded pool of community rock stars will come together in one place.

The LinuxCon advisory board, which also consists of a who’s who of technical talent and business innovation, has helped direct a stellar program that includes, among many other sessions:

Bob Sutor on Clouds, Mainframes and Desktops
Dirk Hohndel will tell us why Mobile Linux Matters
Matt Asay on the true cost of Linux and open source
James Bottomley on how to contribute to the kernel
Chris Wright on improving virtualization density with KVM:

No Linux conference would be complete without daytime and evening debauchery, so here are a few of the “don’t miss” events:

Bowling for PenguinsHelp save endangered penguins in Antarctica while “flaming” your competition on the bowling alley. Build your team now.

Evening Reception
On Wednesday, join us on the waterfront at McCormick & Schmick’s for an evening reception co-hosted by the Linux Foundation and Linux Plumbers Conference and sponsored by Intel.

24/7 Hacker Lounge. Enjoy a tasty beverage while hanging out all day and all night, if you like.

Wellness Lounge. Sometimes you need some downtime at a conference. Kick off the shoes and do some yoga or get a massage.

So, it’s time to “get your penguin on.” Customize your conference agenda, assemble your bowling team and follow us on Twitter for a variety of promotions to save you money and give you access at the event.

You can be one of the folks to say “I was at the first LinuxCon.”

OpenSource World got started today, and Oracle was one of the first companies to use the revamped event as a platform to announce some interesting news: a bigger push into software appliances with the launch of their new Oracle VM Template Builder.

The Template Builder is just what it sounds like: a tool that enables users to build template images for the Oracle VM server. It’s a graphical utility that utilizes Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) Just Enough OS (JeOS) scripting to let users configure the optimal virtual software appliance for any application that runs on OEL.

Oracle’s moves in the virtual appliance world should come as no big surprise. Novell’s SUSE Appliance Program announced last month was just the first move among what is sure to be a drive towards more software appliance services. Nor is Oracle any stranger to the virtual market–their Oracle VM and other virtual products have been around for some time.

What makes this announcement a bit different is the way in which Oracle is approaching virtualization. Until recently, Oracle’s virtualization strategy seemed mainly focused on server consolidation and energy savings benefits. Now, it seems, the strategy has been widened to include other benefits of virtual software.

This was the main point I got when I spoke with Monica Kumar, Sr. Director of Open Source Product Marketing at Oracle. She strongly emphasized these expanded benefits in our conversation, which expands the scope of Oracle’s virtualization plans.

“It’s not just about server consolidation,” Kumar said. “Now end users can deploy and provision their software faster and more efficiently.”

This additional strategy makes sense, given that the real target customer for this announcement is independent software vendors (ISVs). By pushing the lower development and deployment costs of using the Template Builder to build an end-to-end virtual software stack, Oracle wants to get in front of the ISV marketplace.

To that end, Kumar also emphasized that Oracle offers total support for Oracle and non-Oracle applications deployed on Oracle VM–meaning anyone who deploys a software appliance would not only beneift from the tool, but also get Oracle’s support infrastructure too.

Oracle’s chipping in some software appliance templates of its own too, including Oracle‚Äôs Siebel CRM, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Middleware, and others.

And Oracle’s committment to their virtual product line was also enhanced by another announcement, the extension of the Oracle Validated Configurations (VC) program to include Oracle VM server virtualization software. That’s the program that “offers pre-tested, validated architectures, with documented best practices for software, hardware, storage, and network components, to help improve the performance, scalability, and reliability of solutions, with faster, lower-cost implementations,” according to the press release.

The inclusion of Oracle VM products in the VC program means that virtual end-users will get the same support and implementation benefits as those users deploying software stacks on physical hardware. This equalization brings some strong choices to potential Oracle customers, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses.

Bdale-before.jpgAs LinuxCon moves closer, we’ve been talking to the keynote speakers for the event, to get a sense of what their message to attendees will be and to give attendees a better sense of where the message is coming from. Next up in our series of interviews is Bdale Garbee, Chief Technologist for Open Source and Linux at Hewlett-Packard. Garbee is a steady fixture in the Linux community, known for his work at HP as well as Debian Project Leader. His keynote “The Freedom to Collaborate,” will delve into innovation from open source and how to keep that innovation alive.

Linux.com: Can you give us the quick run down on your job with HP and some of your community responsibilities?

Bdale Garbee: I serve as Chief Technologist for Open Source and Linux at HP. What that means is that since 2001 I’ve helped to establish HP’s technology and business strategies around Linux, advocated for greater engagement in open source across all of HP’s many business units, mentored internal teams on how to participate as good citizens in open source development communities, and helping to establish and maintain HP’s open source governance processes. Today I serve as one of the most visible points of interconnection between HP and various open source communities. I also represent HP on the boards of both the Linux Foundation and the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum.

But many in the Linux world may recognize me better as one of the longest-serving contributors to the Debian project. I’ve done a lot of things for Debian over the years, including serving for a year as the elected Debian Project Leader. I currently chair the Debian Technical Committee, and continue to personally maintain a number of packages that are essential to the system.

I am also President of Software in the Public Interest, which is the non-profit umbrella organization started many years ago to give Debian a legal and financial existence in the United States, which now also provides such services to a number of interesting projects like PostgreSQL, freedesktop.org, Gallery, and the Open Voting Foundation.

Linux.com: What’s HP’s overall philosophy regarding Linux and open source?

Bdale Garbee: I think we could distill HP’s overall philosophy regarding Linux and open source down to three words: choice, integration, and confidence. We understand that customers deserve to have a meaningful set of choices, whether we’re talking about hardware architectures, operating systems, application stacks, or the relationship they want to have with their technology providers. For open source choices to be meaningful, customers expect HP to have made the right investments and participated in the development community in ways that lead to high quality, well integrated solutions that directly address their needs. I think we mostly get that right, as evidenced for example by our position as the undisputed world leader in sales of Linux servers for more than a decade. All of that means that customers can confidently deploy HP solutions including Linux and other open source components to address the IT challenges posed by their ever-changing business needs.

Linux.com: Given the current economic climate, do you anticipate HP’s approach to Linux remaining constant?

Bdale Garbee: Yes, at a strategic level I don’t see any changes in our approach. But at a tactical level, HP programs and employees related to Linux and other open source software have certainly been affected alongside everything else by the current economic climate.

Linux.com: When you keynote at LinuxCon, what will be the theme of your talk?

Bdale Garbee: Rockets, of course! 😉

Actually, I want to talk about the roles that freedom and collaboration play in support of innovation. One of the things I always look for when evaluating new open source projects is who gets to participate, and when. It’s very clear to me that “being open source” is necessary but not sufficient, yet I don’t think this gets enough attention in the flurry of excitement around each new announcement in our industry.

Linux.com: What technologies or projects excite you when looking at the future of Linux?

Bdale Garbee: Most of my enthusiasm right now is around embedded and mobile uses of Linux. Linux now runs on a significant fraction of all of the servers in the world, and interest in Linux on the desktop continues to grow, but new device and service categories are emerging where we don’t necessarily carry the baggage of prior experience and expectations. It’s a huge win when users can have great experiences without having to think about the underlying technology. The opportunity to create compelling products that embody new ways of using technology to communicate and collaborate, all built around Linux, is pretty exciting!

Linux.com: What are some of the challenges you believe Linux will need to address in the days ahead?

Bdale Garbee: The biggest challenge for Linux itself may be just that it works so well in so many places that it’s becoming easier to take it for granted and let most of our attention be drawn elsewhere. But Linux itself, the kernel and common core of software packages around it that are at the heart of every distribution, are critical components that we can’t afford to let get lost in the swirl of announcements about new technologies above and around us.