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News Bytes

By Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff

News Bytes


Selected and Edited by Deividson Okopnik

Please submit your News Bytes items in plain text; other formats may be rejected without reading. [You have been warned!] A one- or two-paragraph summary plus a URL has a much higher chance of being published than an entire press release. Submit items to bytes@linuxgazette.net. Deividson can also be reached via twitter.

News in General

lightning boltRackspace and NASA Open Source Cloud Platform

In July, Rackspace Hosting announced the launch of OpenStack, an open-source cloud platform designed to foster the emergence of technology standards and cloud interoperability. Rackspace is donating the code that powers its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public-cloud offerings to the OpenStack project.

The project will also incorporate technology that powers the NASA Nebula Cloud Platform.

Rackspace and NASA plan to actively collaborate on joint technology development and leverage the efforts of open-source software developers worldwide.

"We are founding the OpenStack initiative to help drive industry standards, prevent vendor lock-in and generally increase the velocity of innovation in cloud technologies," said Lew Moorman, President, Cloud and CSO at Rackspace. "We are proud to have NASA's support in this effort. Its Nebula Cloud Platform is a tremendous boost to the OpenStack community. We expect ongoing collaboration with NASA and the rest of the community to drive more-rapid cloud adoption and innovation, in the private and public spheres."

A fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files is now at OpenStack.org. The next component planned for release is a scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers technology. It is expected to be available later this year. Using these components, organizations would be able to turn physical hardware into scalable and extensible cloud environments using the same code currently in production serving tens of thousands of customers and large government projects.

lightning boltMarvell Open-sources Easy Plug Computer Installer

Marvell announced the availability of the open source Easy Plug-Computer Installer (EPI) to simplify Plug Computing software deployment. EPI is a wizard-based installation tool for Marvell's Plug Computer design, providing Plug Computer developers with a faster way to build their low-power Plug Computing solutions. Plug Computers are headless servers with open source HW and SW specifications. Some of the common parts are used in mobile phones and run at very low power.

The award-winning Plug Computer design makes always on, green computing readily available for developers and end-users. Plug Computers feature a 2 GHz Marvell ARMADA 300 processor, and optional built-in hard-disk drive and embedded Marvell Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. The enclosure can be just a few cubic inches with an ethernet port and a USB port. Additional peripherals such as Direct Attached Storage (DAS) can be connected using the USB 2.0 port. Multiple standard Linux 2.6 kernel distributions are supported on the Plug Computer development platform. The enclosure plugs directly into a standard wall socket and draws less than one tenth of the power of a typical PC being used as a home server. For more information, please visit http://www.plugcomputer.org.

Bob Salem, director of marketing at Marvell, told Linux Gazette that "... its a bit tedious to reprogram the plug. Our new EP installer makes this simpler and faster. There is no jtag, no set up. EPI allows our partners to remotely upgrade their hardware in the field."

"Marvell wants to encourage more developers to explore Plug Computing and the high performance, eco-friendly open source computing platform,"said Viren Shah, Senior Director of Marketing Embedded Systems at Marvell's Enterprise Business Unit.

Examples of Plug Computers currently available for purchase at $89-$99 are Cloud Engines' PogoPlug, Axentra's HipServ for PlugTop Computing, and the TonidoPlug low-power, personal server and NAS device which uses embedded Ubuntu 9.04 Linux.

EPI can be used to install Linux distributions, file systems, file system images or single applications. The application provides USB key and HTTP-based list retrieval, further expanding the ways in which developers can access and update Plug Computers. Developers also will have access to step-by-step instructions for successful deployment, along with access to new developments put forth by the Plug Computing community. The EPI is compatible with Fedora 11, Ubuntu 9.04, Windows XP SP2/3, and Mac OSX (Leopard).

The Easy Plug-Computer Installer and Marvell Plug Computers were on display at the OSCON 2010 tradeshow in Portland, Oregon in July. EPI and supporting information is currently available for download at http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/.

Marvell will host first meeting of the new devleoper community at the Plugin Developer Day at their Santa Clara headquarters on Aug 18.

lightning boltMeeGo Platform Chosen by the GENIVI Alliance

The Linux Foundation announced that GENIVI, an auto-alliance driving the adoption of In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI), will adopt MeeGo as the standard for IVI in vehicles manufactured by car companies like BMW and General Motors. It had voiced support for MeeGo before but is now officially using it for its next IVI reference release (called Apollo).

MeeGo is an open source platform hosted by the Linux Foundation that brings together Intel and Nokia's previous mobile projects for computing devices such as smartphones, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and IVI systems. MeeGo's platform contains a Linux base, middleware, and an interface layer that powers these rich applications.

IVI is a rapidly evolving field that encompasses the digital applications that can be used by all occupants of a vehicle, including navigation, entertainment, location-based services, and connectivity to devices, car networks and broadband networks. MeeGo will provide the base for the upcoming GENIVI Apollo release that will be used by members to reduce time to market and the cost of IVI development.

"We selected MeeGo as the open source basis for our platform because it is technically innovative and can provide the cross architecture build support we require for our references," said Graham Smethurst, President of GENIVI. "Working with MeeGo we expect to establish a solution that effectively merges IVI needs with those of the other MeeGo target device categories."

GENIVI is a nonprofit industry alliance with founding members BMW Group, Wind River, Intel, GM, PSA, Delphi, Magneti-Marelli, and Visteon.

An initial release of the MeeGo platform is available now from http://www.meego.com/downloads. The MeeGo project encourages all automakers or industry groups to participate in the MeeGo project or make use of its software to power their own distributions.

lightning boltOpenDocument 1.2 available for review for 60 days

The complete draft of version 1.2 of the OpenDocument (ODF) standard was made publicly available in early July. Developers, potential users and others are invited to submit their comments on the draft before the 6th of September. Before the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, the members of the OASIS working group lead by Rob Weir, followed by the entire OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) membership, will vote then on whether to adopt the draft as an official OASIS standard.

If approved, the standard will then be presented to the ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) to be ratified as the current version of the ISO 26300 standard. OASIS is in charge of maintaining this standard, which will promote the exchange of documents between different office suites.

Version 1.2 of the ODF has been particularly improved in terms of mathematical formulae. According to a blog post by Rob Weir, the use of OpenFormula is not just designed to be used as a part of ODF, but also as a stand-alone syntax for other applications such as a separate equation parser.

Microsoft in particular had repeatedly criticised the previously only rudimentary definition of mathematical formulae in ODF spreadsheets as an interoperability flaw of the OpenDocument standard. The competing OOXML standard, driven by MS, describes every mathematical function that may appear as part of a formula in an Excel spreadsheet cell in great detail - which is one of the reasons why the Microsoft standard in turn has been heavily criticised for its more than 6,000 printed pages. The ODF 1.2 specification including OpenFormula comprises 1,100 pages.

Conferences and Events

DebConf 10
August 1-7, New York, New York
First Splunk Worldwide Users' Conference
August 9-11, 2010, San Francisco, CA
LinuxCon 2010
August 10-12, Boston

LinuxCon is the industry's premiere Linux conference that provides an unmatched collaboration and education space for all matters Linux. LinuxCon brings together the best and brightest that the Linux community has to offer,including core developers, administrators, end users, business executives and operations experts - the best technical talent and the decision makers and industry experts who are involved in the Linux community. Registration and information: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon

Please register at the link below using this 20% discount code: LCB_LG10

19th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX SEC '10)
August 11–13 Washington DC

Join us at the 19th USENIX Security Symposium, August 11–13, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

Whether you're a researcher, a system administrator, or a policy wonk, come to USENIX Security '10 to find out how changes in computer security are going to affect you. The 3-day program includes an innovative technical program, starting with a keynote address by Roger G. Johnston of the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory; invited talks, including "Toward an Open and Secure Platform for Using the Web," by Will Drewry, Google; a refereed papers track, including 30 papers presenting the newest advances; and a Poster session displaying the latest preliminary research. Gain valuable knowledge on a variety of subject areas, including detection of network attacks, privacy, Internet security, Web security, and more.

SEC '10
Plug In! Developer Camp
August 18th, Marvell campus, Santa Clara, CA
PHPSC Conf 2010
August 27-28, Joinvile, Santa Catarina, Brazil
VM World 2010
August 30 - September 2, San Francisco, CA
LinuxCon Brazil
August 31 - September 1, 2010, São Paulo, Brazil
OOoCon 2010
August 31 - September 3, Budapest, Hungary
Ohio Linuxfest 2010
September 10-12, Ohio
Intel Developer Forum - IDF 2010
September 13-15, Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA
Oracle Openworld 2010
September 19-23, San Francisco, CA
Brocade Conference 2010
September 20-22, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV
StarWest 2010
September 26 - October 1st, San Diego, CA
LinuxCon Japan 2010
September 27-29, Roppongi Academy, Tokyo, Japan
Mobilize! 2010
September 30, Mission Bay Center, San Francisco, CA
17th Annual Tcl/Tk Conference (Tcl'2010)
October 11-15, Hilton Suites, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill
Linux Kernel Summit
November 1-2, 2010. Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
LISA '10 - Large Installation System Administration Conference
November 7-12, San Jose, CA
ARM Technology Conference
November 9-11, Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA

Distro News

lightning boltRed Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 Integrates Server and Desktop

From the RED HAT SUMMIT & JBOSS WORLD in June, Red Hat announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2. In addition to providing the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, the 2.2 update includes new scalability capabilities, migration tools and features to expand the performance and security of the solution.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.1, which introduced Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers, was released in November 2009. Designed as a foundation for the virtualization of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows, with Microsoft SVVP certification, as well as for cloud computing environments, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization has gained momentum with customers, including Fujitsu, IBM and NTT Communications, for their cloud deployments.

"As enterprises look to move beyond initial server consolidation to a more pervasive datacenter-wide virtualization strategy, they are looking to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to provide leading scalability and economics," said Navin Thadani, senior director, Virtualization Business at Red Hat. "Already experiencing traction with server and cloud deployments, the solution expands its reach today with the delivery of our desktop virtualization management capabilities to help more customers to break down the barriers to virtualization adoption."

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, introduced in today's 2.2 update, allows customers to deploy Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD) configurations, also known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), bringing scalable, centralized provisioning and management of their desktop systems. It provides a web-based connection broker that allows end users to access their hosted virtual desktops, coupled with the open source SPICE remote rendering technology, which offers a rich multimedia experience, including multiple monitors, HD-quality video and bi-directional audio/video for video conferences. Other features, such as templating, thin provisioning and desktop pooling, are also included. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop.

With the 2.2 release, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization also features industry-leading scalability, supporting guests with up to 16 virtual CPUs and 256 gigabytes of memory per virtual machine. The release additionally provides new virtual machine conversion capabilities through a V2V tool designed to automate the conversion of VMware or Xen virtual machines for use within Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. To further simplify moving virtual machine images between environments, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 also includes the ability to import and export virtual machine images and templates with the Open Virtualization Format (OVF).

"With today's announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2, customers can utilize the Cisco Unified Computing System and the Virtual Interface Card to drive virtualization efficiency through Cisco's extended memory and I/O virtualization technology," said Ed Bugnion, vice president and chief technology officer for Cisco's Server Access & Virtualization Business Unit. "We look forward to continued collaboration with Red Hat to offer our customers more choices, allowing them to take advantage of virtualization in their datacenter infrastructures."

"This release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is a major milestone toward establishing KVM as a world-class open source hypervisor," said Bob Sutor, vice-president of Linux and Open Source at IBM.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 is globally available today. To learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, visit http://www.redhat.com/rhev.

lightning boltopenSUSE 11.3 is Out

The openSUSE Project has announced the release of the openSUSE 11.3, with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. openSUSE 11.3 has new features and updates including SpiderOak to sync files across the Internet for free, Rosegarden for free editing audio files, improved indexing with Tracker, and updates to Mozilla Firefox, and Thunderbird.

Among these new features, openSUSE also provides support for netbooks and the Btrfs file system. Users can expect to see improved hardware support with the 2.6.34 Linux kernel and updated graphics drivers. And there is support for the next generation of interactive touchscreens like the HP TouchSmart.

openSUSE continues to deliver the popular KDE, GNOME and Xfce desktop environments, and now also provides the lightweight LXDE desktop environment. GNOME uses the 2.30.1 version and a preview of the upcoming GNOME 3.0. Or choose to use KDE SC 4.4.4.

The openSUSE community also announced the availability of openSUSE Edu: Linux for Education (or Li-f-e). Li-f-e is built on openSUSE 11.3 but also provides education and development resources for parents, students, teachers as well as IT admins running labs at educational institutions. It comes bundled educational software covering subjects such as IT, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, electronics, etc.

The next release will be openSUSE 11.4 in March, 2011.

lightning boltIBM Announces Open Beta Program AIX 7

IBM has announced an open beta program for AIX 7, the company's open standards-based UNIX operating system. AIX 7 builds on the capabilities of previous releases of AIX and can use the energy management capabilities of the new POWER7 servers.

AIX 7 provides full binary compatibility for programs created on earlier versions of AIX including AIX 6, AIX 5, and 32-bit programs created on even earlier versions of AIX. This means that clients can protect previous investments in Power Systems by moving existing applications up to AIX 7 without having to recompile them. AIX 7 will also be supported on systems based on earlier generations of processors including POWER6, POWER5, and POWER4.

Many clients running prior generations of POWER hardware would like to consolidate on newer, more efficient POWER7 servers, but simply do not have the administrative resources to upgrade a large number of servers. AIX 7 introduces new technology to help simplify consolidation of these older workloads onto new systems. Clients can back up an existing AIX 5.2 environment and restore it inside of a Workload Partition on AIX 7, which can allow them to quickly take advantage of the advances in POWER technology.

Some of the key features of AIX 7 include:

* New support for very large workloads with up to 256 cores/1024 threads in a single AIX logical partition - four times greater than that of AIX 6;
* Built-in clustering to simplify configuration and management of multiple AIX systems for high availability;
* Simplified AIX configuration management for pools of AIX systems.

"The planned release of AIX 7 underscores the IBM commitment to continued UNIX innovation. ...Building on the success of AIX 6's open beta that helped hundreds of ISV's deliver certified applications at general availability, our AIX 7 open beta will help deliver smarter applications as well." said Jeff Howard, director of marketing for IBM Power Systems.

The beta program is open to all, and is designed to provide clients and independent software vendors (ISVs) with early access to the AIX 7 operating system. Clients and other interested parties can participate in the beta by visiting ibm.com/aix and following the links to the open beta Web page at http://www14.software.ibm.com/iwm/web/cc/earlyprograms/websphere/aix7ob/. The beta code is packaged as a DVD ISO image that beta participants can burn to physical media.

lightning boltPC-BSD 8.1 Released

The PC-BSD Team has released PC-BSD 8.1 (Hubble Edition) with KDE 4.4.5 Version 8.1 contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog at http://www.pcbsd.org/content/view/163/content/view/170/11/.

Some of the notable changes are:
* KDE 4.4.5;
* Numerous fixes to the installation backend;
* Support for creating dedicated disk GPT partitioning;
* Improved ZFS support;
* Bugfixes to desktop tools / utilities.

Version 8.1 of PC-BSD is available for download from http://www.gotbsd.net.

Software and Product News

lightning boltMozilla releases first Firefox 4 beta

The Mozilla development team has released the first beta for version 4.0 of the Firefox web browser. Changes include better HTML 5 support and UI improvements.

According to Firefox development director Mike Beltzner, this beta is aimed at providing "an early look at what's planned" for the browser update. Firefox 4 will be the next major release of Mozilla's popular open source browser and will include a number of improvements, updates and new features.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 is based on version 2.0 of the Gecko rendering platform - the Firefox 3.6 branch uses Gecko 1.9.2 - and features a new Add-ons Manager and extension management API, and a number of Windows only changes, such as a new default 'tabs on top' layout for Windows systems. Mac OS X and Linux systems will receive the new tabs on top layout in a future update "when the theme has been modified to support the change". Other Windows improvements include a new Firefox Button on Vista and Windows 7 systems, replacing the menu bar, and an experimental Direct2D rendering back end - currently disabled by default.

Other changes include API improvements for JS-ctypes, a new HTML5 parser, more responsive page rendering, support for additional HTML5 form controls and partial support for CSS Transitions. User interface (UI) updates include a new default Bookmarks Button that replaces the Bookmarks Toolbar and a new single button for stop and reload. Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM / VP8 video format and full support for WebGL - a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 with industry support from Google, Mozilla and Opera - (currently disabled by default) have also been added.

Originally introduced in Firefox 3.6.4, version 4.0 includes enhanced crash protection technology from the Mozilla Lorentz Project. This is aimed at bringing full process isolation to Firefox, separating web pages and plug-ins from the main browser by running them in their own processes. Crash protection is now supported on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and currently protects the browser against crashes in the Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Silverlight plug-ins.

Beltzner notes that the developers plan to release a new beta version "every two to three weeks". A first release candidate (RC) for Firefox 4 is currentlyscheduled to arrive in October of this year. A final release date, however, has yet to be confirmed.

Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The latest stable release of Firefox is version 3.6.6 from the end of June.

Firefox binaries are released under the Mozilla Firefox End-User Software License Agreement and the source code is released under disjunctive tri-licensing that includes the Mozilla Public Licence, GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1.

lightning boltApache Announces Tomcat Version 7.0

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced Version 7.0 release of Apache Tomcat, the award winning Open Source Java Application Web server. One of the ASF's earliest projects, the Tomcat code base was first donated to the ASF in 1999; the first Apache release, v.3.0, was made later that year. Apache Tomcat 7 is the project's first major release since 2006, fully implementing the Java Servlet 3.0, JavaServer Pages (JSP) 2.2, and Expression Language (EL) 2.2 specifications for easier Web framework integration.

Tomcat 7 provides out-of-the-box support for development features that would otherwise be coded manually. Apache Tomcat is shepherded by dozens of volunteers who contribute updates to its code base; its day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases, are overseen by a Project Management Committee.

With more than 10 million downloads to date, Apache Tomcat powers a broad range of mission-critical Websites and applications across multiple industries and use cases, from Fortune 500 conglomerates to service providers to eCommerce systems.

"I am delighted to see this first release of Apache Tomcat 7. Tomcat has always been the most popular deployment platform for Spring-based applications and this new release adds some great production technology," says Rod Johnson, general manager of the SpringSource division of VMware. "Tomcat's small footprint and reliable execution make it the ideal choice for the runtime component of SpringSource's tc Server. These features are also proving particularly important as organizations move their workloads to the cloud."

Developers using Tomcat 7 will also benefit from improved memory leak detection and prevention and support for 'aliasing' directories into an application's URL space. All known bugs reported in previous versions of Tomcat have been fixed in v.7.0.

Tomcat versions 5.5.x and 6.0.x will continue to be supported, however, bug fixes or updates to possible security vulnerabilities in earlier versions may be slightly delayed.

Tomcat 7 is released under the Apache Software License v2.0. Downloads, documentation, and related resources are available at http://tomcat.apache.org/.

lightning boltSuricata: Free intrusion detection & prevention engine

The Open Information Security Foundation(OISF) has released version 1.0 of its open source intrusion detection and prevention engine - Suricata. Unlike Snort, another popular open source network intrusion prevention and detection system, Suricata runs multi-threaded and offers a number of advanced configuration options.

This first stable release includes a number of improvements and new features over the previous development releases, such as support for DCERPC (Distributed Computing Environment / Remote Procedure Calls) over UDP and the tag keyword. Additionally, CUDA (for Compute Unified Device Architecture) issues were fixed and it's performance was improved.

The OISF is funded by several US agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security's Directorate for Science and Technology HOST program (Homeland Open Security Technology) and various members of the OISF Consortium, including a number of specialist IT security companies.

Suricata 1.0 source is available to download from the foundation's web site and is licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2). The sourc courd can be used for Linux/FreeBSD/UNIX, Mac, and Windows platvorms.

For more info see: http://www.openinfosecfoundation.org/.

lightning boltApache Announces Cayenne Version 3.0

Version 3.0 release of Apache Cayenne, an easy-to-use, Open Source Java framework for object relational mapping (ORM) and persistence services and caching, was released in July.

In development for nearly 10 years, and an Apache Top-Level Project since 2006, Apache Cayenne is designed for high-demand applications and Websites accessed by millions of users each day. Cayenne is used by the Law Library of Congress, the world's largest publicly-available legal index.

The Apache Cayenne Project Management Committee has released a new Technical Fact Sheet detailing the state of Cayenne, including dozens of technical features, release highlights, and the Project's future direction. The Cayenne v.3.0 Technical Fact Sheet is available at https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/entry/apache_cayenne_v_3_0.


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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.

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.

Copyright © 2010, Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff. 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 177 of Linux Gazette, August 2010