Article Source Zemlin’s Blog
April 20, 2009, 11:04 am

It’s no surprise that the executive director of the Linux Foundation would see good news for Linux in the unexpected announcement this morning of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, but I do feel it necessary to shed some light on how it may or may not affect Linux.

– Oracle is strategically aligned with Linux: Oracle is a Linux distributor, and all its products are developed and run on Linux. As Edward Screven, chief architect of Oracle, said in a keynote at our Collaboration Summit two weeks ago, “entering the Linux market was the right choice for Oracle.‚Äù They are also a major user: Oracle’s entire enterprise runs on Linux, and they are major contributors to the Linux kernel among other Linux projects.

– While Oracle specifically is calling out the software assets and upside in this deal, specially the acquisition of Java and Solaris, this does not mean they will lessen their support for Linux. In fact Oracle‚Äôs support for Linux is so crucial to the company, they felt it useful to say in the official press release that they will continue to be “committed as ever to Linux.”

РOracle is first and foremost an applications and business software vendor, meaning they need to support the OS that the customer wishes to deploy their software on. Solaris has traditionally been a very popular OS choice for the Oracle DB. This acquisition makes a lot of sense for Oracle to fine tune Solaris for their products, but it certainly will not lessen the support or investment Oracle has in Linux. This isn’t a zero sum game. Much like IBM or HP who continue to build out their Linux businesses while sustaining their Unix investments, it’s about granting customers choice and making sure your software is optimized to run on the OS of their choice. In fact, Sun has an existing Linux business that has been growing in recent years.

– Oracle is a key supporter of open standards such as ODF and we believe this only strengthens that stance. This acquisition could prove fruitful for Open Office and ODF support in the enterprise. Both Oracle and Sun’s commitments to open standards based products and services that enable customer choice and effective integration amongst the variety of technology it takes to run a business is a win for technology consumers.

Both Sun and Oracle are members of the Linux Foundation, with Oracle a prominent supporter of the Foundation with its platinum membership. We look forward to working with the combined company to further the growth of open source, open standards, and Linux.

Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
April 6, 2009, 4:27 pm

The journey that begin during last football season with the realization that Microsoft paid Jerry Seinfeld $10 million for his appearance in their ads is almost over. The judging for the We’re Linux video contest has been completed and I’m pleased to announce the finalists.

These videos reflect the best of what was truly a global community effort with videos being submitted from Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and South America.

The response exceeded all of our expectations: frankly I was worried we’d get 20 entries, but we ended up getting over 90. We would like to thank all of the community members who took the time to submit videos. Many were smart, many were funny, all were creative.

We would also like to thank the judges, who had the difficult task of selecting the best video out of so many fantastic submissions: Matt Asay, CNET blogger and executive at Alfresco, Inc.; Larry Augustin, venture capitalist and former chairman of VA Software, and Linux Foundation board member; Jono Bacon, Ubuntu community manager; Joe Brockmeier, openSUSE community manager; Melinda Mettler, director, School of Advertising at the Academy of Art University; and Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media, Inc. They were luckily helped by community voting, who helped narrow down the finalists for them.

The winning video and two runners up will be announced on April 8, 2009, at the annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco.

The winner of the “We’re Linux” contest will receive a free trip to Tokyo, Japan to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium, which will be co-located with the Linux Kernel Summit, in October 2009.

The five finalists are:

The Future is Open

The Origin…

Linux AD – What does it mean to be free?

Challenges At The Office

Linux pub (one video without subtitles, one with)

Keep an eye out on our site and on Twitter for the final winner to be announced Wednesday evening Pacific time.

Article Source Zemlin’s Blog
March 31, 2009, 9:55 am

In the last several days Microsoft has shown that despite claims of acquiring a newly found respect for open principles and technology, developers should be cautious in believing promises made by this “new” Microsoft. When it counts, it appears that Microsoft still actively seeks to undermine those technologies or standards that are truly open, especially when those technologies pose a significant threat to their business.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced with a formal press release a settlement of a nuisance patent case filed against a smaller company. Despite Microsoft’s protestations to the contrary, the press release makes it clear that the motivation behind this case was the fear, uncertainty and doubt Microsoft hoped the suit would create around the use of Linux. Linux is, not coincidentally, one of Microsoft’s strongest threats in the server, embedded and desktop computing arenas as evidenced in recent remarks make by its CEO Steve Ballmer.

But the settlement of this suit only proves two things. First, the software patent system in the US needs reform. The need for reform stems from why common functionality like this (which is neither innovative nor novel) was granted a patent in the first place.

Second, it proves that, even apart from this larger issue, this case is a non-event. The technology at the heart of this settlement is the FAT filesystem. As acknowledged by Microsoft in the press release, this file system is easily replaced with multiple technology alternatives. The Linux Foundation is here to assist interested parties in the technical coordination of removing the FAT filesystem from products that make use of it today.

There is another silver lining here. We read the outcome of this case as a testament to the power of a concerted and well-coordinated effort by the Linux industry and organizations such as the Open Invention Network, the SFLC and the Linux Foundation. This was not merely a typical David vs. Goliath story. This time David aligned itself with the multiple slingshots of the Linux community. Microsoft relented as soon as TomTom showed they were aligned with that community and ready to fight. The system is working.

There is one other fact clear from this case. Microsoft does not appear to be a leopard capable of changing its spots. Maybe it’s time developers go on a diet from Microsoft and get the FAT out of their products.

Article Source Zemlin’s Blog
March 27, 2009, 2:35 pm

The Wall St. Journal reported today that, “For months, Microsoft has jabbed at Apple with an, at times, baffling advertising campaign for Windows PCs. Now Microsoft may finally land a solid blow against its rival [with its new campaign].”

According to the article:

“For the commercials, Microsoft‚Äôs advertising agency, Crispin Porter + Boguksy, recruited prospective computer shoppers in the Los Angeles area through Craigslist and other sites, with a tantalizing offer to give them between $700 and $2,000 to purchase a new PC. According to Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows consumer product marketing at Microsoft, the agency told recruits it was a market research firm and didn‚Äôt mention it was working with Microsoft. The recruits were told they could keep whatever money they didn‚Äôt spend on a PC so they had incentives to look for good values.”

The ad goes on to feature Lauren “at a Best Buy, ogling a bounty of Windows PCs, where she‚Äôs able to purchase a H-P Pavilion notebook with a 17-inch screen for $699.99, before sales tax. Brooks says that, off camera, Lauren spent about $900 total after also buying a printer. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm a PC, and I got just what I wanted,‚Äù Lauren says at the end of the ad.”

If Lauren had been really smart she would have taken the money, purchased a Dell Mini 9 running Ubuntu for $249.00 ($8.00 shipping to California and no taxes) and then went over to Bestbuy for a 42″ flat screen TV to give her that “big screen” she wanted.

Too bad when Lauren gets home she will discover she has to trudge back to Bestbuy to pick up a copy of Microsoft Office for at least $149.00 if she wants to create documents on that PC which would have broken her $1000 budget. But we already knew that the first cigarette is always free when it comes to Windows.

The Linux Foundation will be showing our Linux commercials at our Collaboration Summit in less than two weeks. Maybe we should come up with a last minute entry featuring some happy Linux shoppers keeping almost all their cash.

Article Source Brian Proffitt’s Blog
March 27, 2009, 8:42 am

I was wandering through the mall the other day with my youngest, while her older tween sister was off with a friend in a nearby store, shopping.

Going to the mall is a painful process for me because I am an Indiana native with a Y chromosome, and we don’t cotton to retail excursions. Get in, find what you need, get out–guerilla-style shopping is our method.

read more

Article Source Brian Proffitt’s Blog
March 20, 2009, 6:17 am

It’s been said quite often that the Linux Foundation is going to make the creation of the new site as collaborative a process as possible. That means, as I have said quite often, working with the community directly on the IdeaForge site and tapping into the expertise of folks in the Linux and open source spheres who have the knowledge and skills we need.

read more

Article Source Linux Weather Forecast Blog
March 19, 2009, 9:33 am

Sharp-eyed observers may have noticed a slightly unusual patch which was merged into the mainline kernel on March 17. It’s a new mascot for the kernel; among other things, this image is shown at boot time for a number of configurations. For many a year, the mascot has been Tux the penguin. For 2.6.29, though, Tux will be taking a break while “Tuz” steps in.

Tuz is most emphatically not a penguin. Those who look closely will see that the kernel’s stand-in mascot is, instead, a Tasmanian devil wearing a penguin mask. Tuz began his career as the mascot for the 2009 edition of the conference, held in Hobart, Tasmania. So why is Tuz moving on to the mainline kernel?

It turns out that Tasmanian devils are currently endangered by an especially nasty form of communicable cancer. The lca2009 organizers decided to dedicate the event’s traditional charity auction to the cause of helping research into this disease. This auction surpassed everybody’s expectations, raising some AU$40,000 for the campaign to save the devil.
In the process, it also treated attendees to the sight of Linus Torvalds shaving Bdale Garbee’s beard.

After returning home, Linus decided to help raise awareness of the Tasmanian devil’s plight by bringing in Tuz for a kernel cycle.

There are a lot of reasons why developers create open source software. Beyond the fact that it’s simply fun, many of us are motivated by a desire to make the world a better place. The strong support in the development community for causes like the Tasmanian devil shows that this desire to improve the world goes beyond the creation of great, free software. It’s something we can all be proud of.

(See the “Save the Tasmanian Devil” site for more information on this effort and how to help).

Article Source Linus Torvalds’s Blog
March 18, 2009, 11:13 am

So 2.6.29 isn’t quite out yet, but I’ve merged the new Tuz logo, so now my laptop boots up with two of these guys showing. See an earlier post about the plush version of this that I got while in Hobart for LCA 2009.

Also see the Save The Tasmanian Devil site for details about the devils plight.

All told, I think the kernel came out looking better than Bdale.

Article Source Linus Torvalds’s Blog
March 18, 2009, 10:50 am

I wrote a couple of months ago how the Intel SSD’s were the only ones on the market that seemed to be worth buying – all the cheaper ones were unusable due to having horrible random write performance, which is something you notice really quickly in real life as nasty pauses.

Sadly, almost none of the reviews seemed to ever catch on to that, as they were all looking at the (totally irrelevant) throughput numbers that basically don’t matter in any real-life situation. Everybody just quoted the nice big marketing numbers, because finding the numbers that matter more to actual human perception (notably: average and maximum latency) was so much harder, and most disk benchmarks are crap and don’t even give those numbers.

Which is why I was so happy to see this review at AnandTech. Half the numbers quoted are still the worthless ones (I guess you can’t avoid quoting the industry standard benchmarks, even when they are horribly bad), but much of the actual discussion is about how unusable a drive is when it has maximum latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds.

Looks like people are catching on. And as the reviewers are catching on, so are the manufacturers. I still see too many reviews that gush over throughput numbers, but here’s one that got it right, and apparently got a manufacturer to actually understand. Good job.

(And I still love my Intel SSD’s , but Anand is certainly correct in pointing out that they aren’t cheap. And it looks like “cheap” will no longer necessarily mean “sucks so bad that they are unusable” in the upcoming drives. Hallelujah)

Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
March 17, 2009, 11:57 am

A few weeks ago, I wrote about highlighted speakers from the Collaboration Summit. While that post was packed full of good speakers, I wanted to highlight some others I’m just as excited to see. My aim for CollabSummit has always been to show the true breadth of Linux luminaries, spanning the corporate, community and users world. I think this year we’ve captured a good mix. The full agenda can be found here.

  • Gnome Foundation Stormy Peters will be speaking twice, one on marketing for community projects and another on the Gnome project itself.
  • Many events claim to have rock star developers as speakers. We actually have a rock star. Jono Bacon, Ubuntu community manager and heavy metal singer will be talking about building community. (Hopefully he‚Äôll give us a sneak peak into his new book, The Art of Community, that he‚Äôs currently working on for O‚ÄôReilly.)
  • Linux kernel maintainer Greg KH will talk about the Linux driver program. He‚Äôs also offered to write a driver for a company in attendance. Any takers?
  • Michael Cote, analyst at RedMonk, will discuss Cloud Computing in our session on New Technologies and their affect on the platform.¬† The RedMonk guys are the best so I‚Äôm very pleased Michael can join us.
  • On the legal side, Linux Foundation legal counsel Karen Copenhaver will lead a session that features¬† Lessons Learned from ath5k: Copyright Stewardship in the Linux Codebase: Karen Sandler & Bradley M. Kuhn, Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC)
  • On the Green Linux front, I‚Äôm excited to learn more about: Saving Large Amounts of Energy With Network Connectivity Proxying: Bruce Nordman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Unfortunately I won’t be able to sit in on everything. We’ll just have to ask people I miss to present at Linuxcon. :-)