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By Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Howard Dyckoff, and Deividson Luiz Okopnik

News Bytes

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thunderboltNews in General

MySQL announces 5.1 GA, future 6.0 dual version

MySQL 5.1 was at version 5.1.24 before the GA announcement - in part because the company and community wanted to release a better and more stable product than the 5.0 release 2 years earlier. A near-final release candidate of the GPL software is available for download now at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/.

MySQL 5.1 supports five forms of horizontal data partitioning: range, hash, key, list, and composite (sub-partitioning). By partitioning table and index data, faster query response times can be achieved as only the relevant partitions of data need to be scanned, instead of the entire table or index. It also features a new Event Scheduler for common recurring SQL-based tasks to execute on the database server instead of using external cron jobs.

Discussions at Slashdot and elsewhere speculated that MySQL was moving in a proprietary direction, based on mention of 'commercial extensions' planned for 6.0 that would only be available to subscribers to the enterprise edition of MySQL 6; however, Marten Mickos, formerly the CEO and spokesperson for the recently acquired MySQL Corporation, now SVP for Database Group at Sun Microsystems, clarified the thinking at MySQL in an email to Linux Gazette:

First and foremost, version 6.0 will be a great and fully functional free and open source software product, available for anyone to download, use, modify and redistribute. It is always our goal to expand the (non-paying) user base of MySQL. There exist today a number of ways to take backups of MySQL databases, but in 6.0 we will have a built-in and more advanced functionality for it. We are ourselves developing such add-ons, and we plan to deliver them to subscription customers only. Examples of such add-ons are encryption and compression of the backup. Users of MySQL 6.0 can manage very well without those add-ons. They can also build add-ons themselves, commission others to build add-ons, or buy add-ons from MySQL's partners and probably also competitors. And customers can buy the subscription from MySQL/Sun and thereby gain access to the add-ons we are producing. Also, let me note that this model is part of our MySQL Enterprise subscription offering. Since 3 years we have a similar model for the MySQL Monitor, which is an add-on tool that we ship to subscription customers only. The decision on this was made long before we were acquired by Sun (so it is entirely incorrect to think that Sun is behind this).

The list of new features in MySQL 6.0: http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/6.0/en/mysql-nutshell.html

For downloads and more information on MySQL 5.1, please visit http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/.


Interop Las Vegas - 2008
April 27 - May 2, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

JavaOne 2008
May 6 - 9, San Francisco, CA

IWW2008 Internet Identity Workshop
May 12 - 14, Mountain View, CA http://iiw.idcommons.net/index.php/Iiw2008a

ChicagoCon 2008 Spring (ChiCon 2008s) - Ethical Hacking Conference
May 12 - 18, MicroTrain Center, Lombard, IL

May 13 - 15, Chicago, IL
Free Expo Pass Code: EM1

Forrester's IT Forum 2008
May 20 - 23, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

Data Governance 2008
June 2 - 5, Hotel Kabuki, San Franciso, CA

DC PHP Conference & Expo 2008
June 2 - 4, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Gartner IT Security Summit
June 2 - 4, Washington DC

Symantec Vision 2008
June 9 - 12, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

Red Hat Summit 2008
June 18 - 20, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

Gilbane Content Management Conference SF
June 18 - 28, San Franciso, CA

The 2008 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX '08)
June 22 - 27, Boston, MA
Register by June 6 and save up to $300!

Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World 2008
July 21 - 24, Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL

The 17th USENIX Security Symposium
July 28 - August 1, San Jose, CA
Join top security researchers and practitioners in San Jose, CA, for a 5-day program that includes in-depth tutorials by experts such as Simson Garfinkel, Bruce Potter, and Radu Sion; a comprehensive technical program including a keynote address by Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State; invited talks including "Hackernomics," by Hugh Thompson; the refereed papers track including 27 papers presenting the best new research; Work-in-Progress reports; and a poster session. Learn the latest in security research including voting and trusted systems, privacy, botnet detection, and more.
USENIX Security '08
Register by July 14 and save up to $250!

Linuxworld Conference
August 4 - 7, San Francisco, CA

thunderboltDistro News

openSUSE 11.0 Beta 1 Announced

The openSUSE team announced the first Beta release of openSUSE 11.0. According to banner ads associated with the release, the target for final release is near the end of May.

openSUSE 11.0 beta 1 includes changes and new features including:

To help test KDE and GNOME in openSUSE 11.0, see the wiki for info on reporting bugs.

Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) LTS Desktop and Server Editions Released

As scheduled, Ubuntu 8.04 (code named "Hardy Heron") was released on 22.04. This is a very special and long-awaited release; Hardy Heron is the newest LTS (Long Term Support) version of the distribution. It comes in two versions - Desktop, supported till 2011, and Server, supported till 2013. That means this distribution will have updates and security fixes for quite a long time, a great feature for both home and business use.

With this release, Canonical tries to focus even more on the home and office uses of GNU/Linux, bundling together several of the best open source alternatives to the most common commercial software.

This release includes several updates, including Firefox 3.0, clock and calendar integration, better and easier multimedia capabilities, YouTube/MythTV integration in the default movie player, automatic camera, phone, PSP, and other device recognition - all to make things easy to the less-experienced Linux user, but without losing any of the security options that Linux has always had.

Final Considerations: Loads of updates, some new features, combined with all the features Ubuntu already had (like Printing, Windows Compatibility, Automatic Updates), along with the Long Term Support makes this release a very special one, worthy of checking out.

Home Page: http://www.ubuntu.com/
Downloads: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
Free CD: http://shipit.ubuntu.com/ (even the worldwide shipping is free!).


Open Office 2.4 released, 3.0 on the way

OpenOffice 2.4 has finally been released. It includes new features, enhancements, and bug fixes to all its core components. OpenOffice 2.4 is available for immediate download from http://download.openoffice.org .

New features:

The next major release - 3.0 - is planned for the autumn of 2008. That major release will offer support for the unique file formats of MS-Office 2007 and will have official support for Mac. Multiple Page Views has been implemented in the 3.0 beta, which will allow pages side-by-side instead all pages stacked top-to-bottom. The "View Layout" control in 3.0 switches between single page, several pages side by side, and book layout views.


Kickfire Appliance Accelerates MySQL

At the MySQL User Conference in April, Kickfire announced the first high-performance database appliance for the expanding MySQL market. Kickfire had been in stealth mode prior to the event.

Separately, Kickfire and Sun Microsystems announced record-breaking TPC-H price/performance benchmark results that demonstrate the performance efficiency and price/performance leadership of Kickfire's design. Some SQL queries run at 100x the speed it would on a dedicated server.

Based on a patented SQL chip that packs the power of tens of CPUs into an exceptionally small, low-power form factor, Kickfire appliances avoid the server build out, power, and space costs of today's data warehouse and database offerings. Kickfire's query performance enables organizations to use MySQL for demanding business intelligence, reporting, and analysis applications rather than non-open source alternatives. Kickfire appliances scale from gigabytes to terabytes and are based on commodity hardware and Linux. They leverage existing storage as well as the openness of MySQL and its entire ecosystem to ensure compatibility and rapid deployment.

The appliance uses MySQL running on a standard x86 Linux server but processes SQL on a dedicated chip. Customers have the option to connect their own storage devices.

"Kickfire's Database Appliance delivers query performance of half a room of hardware in a double-height pizza box with the power requirement of a microwave oven," said Raj Cherabuddi, CEO and co-Founder, Kickfire. "No longer do MySQL database customers need to migrate away from the world's leading open source database to scale up to higher performance as data volumes grow."

Kickfire also announced partnerships with five leading vendors in the open source world to provide joint customers the ability to deploy business intelligence solutions that leverage its high-performance MySQL database appliance. Working with JasperSoft, Pentaho, Sun Microsystems, Talend, and Zmanda, Kickfire customers can deploy high-performance, end-to-end business intelligence solutions with online backup based on MySQL.

The Kickfire Database Appliance is in beta testing. For more information, please visit http://www.kickfire.com.

Defensics Test Platform Fuzzes Network Equipment

In April, Codenomicon released DEFENSICS 3.0, the third generation of its security and quality testing platform that allows network product and service manufacturers and vendors to identify and fix flaws before their offerings reach the market. Defensics 3.0 is a series of test modules that apply model-based fuzzing and penetration techniques to network and communications protocols and allows user-supplied testing as well.

Since 2001, the Codenomicon Defensics test platform has been applying fuzzing techniques to provide preemptive security testing for network equipment. Defensics is a Java-based software package that runs on any standard computing platform with JVM support. This includes COTS x86 hardware, MACs, Sparc systems and Power architecture servers. This can provide a significant cost advantage over dedicated applilances. Pentitum class hardware with 1 GB of RAM is suffient for running the software in a small environment with a few targets.

The new version has support for several new and exiting protocols and digital media formats such as WiMAX, STUN, TURN, vCal, iCal, vCard, OCSP, SOAP, XMPP, and many others. The previous version of defensics already had 140 communications protocols included. It can test wireless devices, consumer electronics and Web services.

Ari Takanen, founder and CTO of Codenomicon, told Linux Gazette that his company is providing several open source projects with full access to its testing solutions, through Codenomicon's CROSS program, to find and fix a large number of critical flaws very rapidly. This differs from the traditional FOSS model of users and security researchers reporting bugs one by one. In the first phase of the CROSS initiative, Codenomicon has targeted 15-20 open source projects to work with. After evaluating the program, Codenomicon hopes to open it to more open source projects. Takanen told Linux Gazette that a large number of vulnerabilities had been detected and the results could not be publicly released until these had been addressed by the participating projects.

A DEFENSICS 3.0 overview and a new features list are available at http://www.codenomicon.com/d3/

Here is an MP3 interview from 2007 with Rick Lohorn, CISO at DataLine and Codenomicon's Senior Security Analsyt, Heikki Kortti: http://www.codenomicon.com/resources/webcasts/radio_071005.mp3

InnoDB Plugin 1.0 for MySQL 5.1 Announced

At the April MySQL User Conference, InnoDB announced the initial availability of the early adopter release of the InnoDB Plugin. Testers can now download an early adopter release of the upgraded version. The update supports several new features for improved performance, reliability, ease of use and flexibility. See here for a description of the new features for MySQL 5.1. Documentation for the plugin is available here.

The early adopter release is available in source and binary (for most platforms) and is licensed under GPLv2. Users can dynamically install it within MySQL 5.1 on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems (and soon on Windows) without compiling from source or relinking MySQL. (For now, Windows users must re-build from source.)

Databases created with the built-in InnoDB in MySQL are compatible with the InnoDB Plugin, and support is available via the new InnoDB Forums.

Avnet announces launch of Complete MicroBlaze Processor Linux Design Solution

Avnet announced the launch of a Complete MicroBlaze Processor Linux Design Solution, including:

The stand-alone Linux for MicroBlaze Processor DVD is based on both PetaLogix Petalinux and LynuxWork's BlueCAT Linux distribution and tool chains. The DVD demonstrates how to port Linux into a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) design using the 32-bit Xilinx MicroBlaze processor. It also highlights the benefits and tradeoffs when using the new Memory Management Unit (MMU) in the MicroBlaze processor. The new MMU enables designers to use commercial-grade operating systems when implementing their embedded designs with Xilinx FPGAs.

The MicroBlaze Processor Linux Starter Kit includes the Linux for MicroBlaze Processor DVD, the Xilinx(r) Embedded Development Kit - Spartan(tm)-3A DSP MicroBlaze Processor Edition, and attendance at an Avnet Linux for MicroBlaze Processor Workshop, providing a complete platform for running embedded Linux on a MicroBlaze processor implemented in a Spartan-3A DSP FPGA.

Avnet has also launched the Linux for MicroBlaze Processor Workshop -- part of the Avnet SpeedWay Design Workshop Series. The workshop offers support for embedded developers through a full day hands-on session that provides practical knowledge on utilizing Xilinx tools and Internet Protocol (IP) to create a MicroBlaze processor (based Linux system within an FPGA). The course is aimed at software and hardware designers considering an operating system for their next embedded processor based application.

The Linux for MicroBlaze DVD and starter kit are available through Avnet in the Americas, Japan and selected countries in Europe and Asia. For more information and to purchase, please visit: www.em.avnet.com/linuxmb

Macraigor Systems, Eclipse Foundation Member, Provides Eclipse Integration for GNU Embedded Development and Debugging Toolset on Linux Hosts

Macraigor Systems announced the immediate availability of a free Eclipse-compliant embedded debugging solution with sample Eclipse projects that run on many standard evaluation boards for hosting on the Linux platform. This provides embedded systems engineers with an integrated platform for developing and debugging embedded systems using the Eclipse platform.

The Macraigor Eclipse + GNU Tools Suite (http://www.macraigor.com/Eclipse/) is an implementation that packages Eclipse 3.2.1, several of the open source GNU tools and utilities, and a program called OCDRemote, which provides an interface between Eclipse, the GDB debugger and a Macraigor On-Chip Debug device. The GNU tools provided by Macraigor Systems include binutils, gcc, gdb and gdbtui.

Truviso Contributes PostgreSQL Enhancements to Open Source Community

As part of its commitment to the open source community, Truviso, a leading provider of next-generation business intelligence solutions, announced that it has completed an enhancement to the PostgreSQL open source database system that further extends its suitability for streaming data analysis. Truviso also announced it will contribute this enhancement to the PostgreSQL community, reinforcing the company's foundational tenet of building upon and sharing mutually beneficial improvements to open source code with the PostgreSQL community.


Vyatta Community Edition 4 Scales from Branch Office to Data Center

Vyatta, a leader in Linux-based networking, announced Vyatta Community Edition 4 (VC4), the latest release of its reliable, commercially-supported open-source network operating system. VC4 delivers significant scalability improvements and expanded application support to the pre-existing router/firewall/VPN feature set.

VC4 now scales from DSL to 10 Gigabit Ethernet environments, providing enterprises and service providers with high-performance networks a robust, open alternative to expensive proprietary systems.


VIA Announces Strategic Open Source Driver Development Initiative

VIA will provide a vehicle for improved collaboration with the Open Source community with opening of the official VIA Linux Website. VIA Linux Portal will offer drivers, technical documentation and source code for popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.

As the first step in this initiative, VIA opened its official VIA Linux website in April. The site will initially host drivers, technical documentation, source code, and information regarding the VIA CN700, CX700/M, CN896, and the new VIA VX800 chipsets.

The VIA Linux Portal currently offers graphics drivers for the VIA CN896 digital media IGP chipset for the new Ubuntu 8.04 LTS distribution. Documentation and source code for these drivers will be released over the coming weeks, with official forums and bug tracking scheduled for implementation later this year. The VIA Linux Portal will also adhere to a regular release schedule that is aligned with kernel changes and the release of major Linux distributions.

Over the following months, VIA will work with the community to enable 2D, 3D and video playback acceleration to ensure the best possible Open Source experience on VIA Processor Platforms.

"We welcome the steps being taken by VIA to improve its support to the Open Source community," said Chris Kenyon, Director of Business Development at Canonical. "We look forward to working with VIA to ensure these drivers get built into Ubuntu by default and that Ubuntu developers and users enjoy a great experience when using VIA platforms."

"VIA is excited to be taking a more active role within the open source ecosystem," said Richard Brown, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Opening the VIA Linux Portal is an important step in our long term open source initiative and offering support for Ubuntu, one of the most widely known of the Linux distributions, is an ideal place to start."

The beta version of the VIA Linux Portal is located at http://linux.via.com.tw and currently offers driver files for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Service Pack 1 for the VIA CN896 chipset with two south bridge options.

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

Kat Tanaka Okopnik

Bio picture

Kat likes to tell people she's one of the youngest people to have learned to program using punchcards on a mainframe (back in '83); but the truth is that since then, despite many hours in front of various computer screens, she's a computer user rather than a computer programmer.

Her transition away from other OSes started with the design of a massively multilingual wedding invitation.

When away from the keyboard, her hands have been found wielding of knitting needles, various pens, henna, red-hot welding tools, upholsterer's shears, and a pneumatic scaler. More often these days, she's occupied with managing her latest project.

Howard Dyckoff

Bio picture

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

Deividson Luiz Okopnik


Deividson was born in União da Vitória, PR, Brazil, on 14/04/1984. He became interested in computing when he was still a kid, and started to code when he was 12 years old. He is a graduate in Information Systems and is finishing his specialization in Networks and Web Development. He codes in several languages, including C/C++/C#, PHP, Visual Basic, Object Pascal and others.

Deividson works in Porto União's Town Hall as a Computer Technician, and specializes in Web and Desktop system development, and Database/Network Maintenance.

Copyright © 2008, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Howard Dyckoff, and Deividson Luiz Okopnik. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 150 of Linux Gazette, May 2008