Friday 29

How it’s done

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: — zundel @ am

Making it Virtually Easy to Deploy on Day One by John Goulah

Oh hell yes.

Some people just set it up better than others.

Thursday 25

Linux at 20

Filed under: Open source — Tags: — zundel @ am

Linux turns 20

IBM decided in 1999 that Linux was its friend. It correctly deduced that Linux would help it sell more hardware and services.

A good read

The quiet colossus:
The Linux kernel processes almost everything you touch.

Linux vulnerabilty

Filed under: Open source, Security — Tags: , — zundel @ am

Much in the news lately about a vulnerability in recent Linux kernels.

If you use a kernel before 2.6.39 you have no problem.
Stable distributions like Debian 6 and Ubuntu 10 have no problem.

Patches released and in the process of release for newer versions.

The kernel gets careful development, but still people do make errors.

Yet another argument for using stable distributions.

Friday 12

Linux distros compared

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , , , , , — zundel @ pm

Enterprise Open Source Directory – Operating Systems
GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline


One of the few really long established Linux distributions, well known for stability and its curated repository of thousands of software packages, it has formed the basis of more Linux distributions than any other.
Capable of a stable configuration that updates and remains stable. Also easy to selectively use newer packages.
Used by many large institutions, with an extensive community of users and developers, well documented, with support readily available.
With a broad developer base and not dependent on any corporate sponsor or owner, change of ownership cannot occur nor vendor lock-in.


Based on Debian, Ubuntu refreshes it repositories from Debian every six months.
Ubuntu has done a great deal to popularize Linux. And has made some excellent server versions, especially the 10.04 long term support release. But recent focus on consumer appeal and a proprietary interface raise doubts about business suitability and support. The next long term support release coming April 2012 will answer some questions.


Not quite as long established as Debian, but the oldest commercial distribution.
The free community distribution openSUSE strikes a nice balance, not cutting edge like Red Hat’s Fedora, but instead stable yet current, with readily available support.
SUSE and openSUSE have the most extensive graphical administration tools.

Red Hat

Well known with a large installed base and good stability, but subscription fees make it expensive.


Red Hat’s free community distribution used for testing and experimenting. Not as unstable as it once was, but still not recommended for enterprise work.


A free clone of Red Hat.
With version 6 Red Hat changed the packaging of their source code which delayed the release of CentOS 6 by most of a year. Though it has a large installed base, the small number of developers raises doubts about its ability to keep current with Red Hat source and suitability for long-term deployment.

Friday 5

Linux up, Oracle down

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , , , — zundel @ am

Analysis from the 451 Group predicts the continued growth of Linux and decline of Oracle.

2012 to be year of Linux domination

Our analysis with survey data from 451 Research division TheInfoPro shows server spending for databases and data warehousing favoring Red Hat with Linux over Oracle with either Linux or Solaris. Out of more than 165 server professionals interviewed by TIP, 67% are planning to spend more with Red Hat on database/data-warehousing, and only 6% plan to spend less. The positive figures for Red Hat mirror negative spending intentions for Oracle, with 55% planning to spend less and only 9% planning to spend more.

55% planning to spend less with Oracle.

Linux Will Eat Oracle’s Lunch in 2012, Says Analyst

So Oracle may have more than just a bad quarter.

Oracle’s Bad Quarter: IT Spending Sign, Or Fusion Confusion?

Oracle is not the canary, nor a more up to date indicator species. Its dna is older than that. It’s the dinosaur.

Oracle support portal update could cause chaos, worry users

As customers learn the perils of vendor lock-in, the uncertainty of support, and the potential for independence, Oracle will decline.

Businesses gain experience and confidence with Linux and open source software and look less for expensive hand-holding. The stability and maturity of Linux and the many open source enterprise software packages (such as ERP and CRM systems) allow businesses to assemble their own systems. This is especially appealing to small and medium size business that cannot justify software fees.

Licensing, subscriptions, and service agreements work well for large institutions and unfamiliar technology. But with enterprise class hardware and virtual servers readily available, and rock solid and well maintained Linux and enterprise software available for download, businesses move away from constant fees to use software.

Debian Linux with stability rivaling Red Hat and much easier maintenance will grow in use, as will open source enterprise software such as Adempiere, OpenERP, Project Open, vTiger, CiviCRM, RT, Ants, and OrangeHRM.

Debian passes CentOS as most popular Linux for web servers

Fundamental Oracle flaw revealed
This is complicated but crucially important if you use Oracle databases.
New patches came out today (2012-01-17) but no patches exist for older versions.
This can be a time bomb for large installations and a security risk for all.

Thursday 285

Ubuntu 11.10

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm


Put this on a Zenbook,
and put it next to a MacBook Air.

The Unity interface has matured to elegance and simplicity.

RIP Dennis Ritchie

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , , — zundel @ pm

We owe Dennis Ritchie hugely.
You can read this.
I can write it.

He built the foundations.
And very beautiful and capable foundations.

Other things have been tried but basically we still use Unix and C.
He built those things. And he built them extremely well.

I’ve used some version of Unix since 1979.
Now various distributions of Linux.
I still smile every time I drop to the command line and tinker with the innards.
The elegance, power, and flexibility still please me immensely.
Good tools make a joy of work.
These are the best tools.

Thank you.

Dennis M. Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie obituary

DMR, 1941—2011

Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I’ve seen or am likely to see in my lifetime.

It is impossible — absolutely impossible — to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I’ve been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years.

Wednesday 60

Not Windows

Filed under: Computers, Open source, Security — Tags: — zundel @ am

I have heard from clients complaints about the frustration on web discussions of Linux.

I have read the discussions on occasion and have seen the frustration.

I think I recognize it.

Many on the discussions seem to look for a recipe to follow to fix some problem. And then presumably run this script on their machine. This approach comes from Windows. Near random hacking on Windows stems from the opacity of the system. And causes all sorts of problems.

Wednesday 53

Virtual private server setup

LVS official logo

A good article, that misses a most crucial point.

First and foremost, I strongly recommend doing test builds of virtual servers on your own hardware.

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 2: Getting started

Because of how virtualized host servers are set up, adding more memory or hard disk storage often comes at what seems like a ridiculously high price.

The promised flexibility of virtual servers doesn’t always work out. Crossing the equivalent of a bracket costs. So have some idea of the range of your needs before starting.

Sunday 50

Spinning pot calling kettle black

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ am

The single most consequential thing Novell has ever done to make itself look bad:
Solaris Alternatives.

No one likes what Ellison and Oracle have done in their takeover of Sun.

Oracle has already lost Open Office. It has become Libre Office

No one knows which operating system Oracle will go with: the Linux they ripped off from Red Hat, or Sun’s Solaris. They advertise both on their website.

Saturday 49

Open source becomes the standard

Filed under: Open source — Tags: — zundel @ pm

More than half of IT organizations deploy open-source software

Based on a survey of 547 IT organizations from 11 countries, research-firm Gartner has found that more than one-half of IT organizations use open-source software, or “OSS”, with commercial software usage dropping.

This is big news and represents a significant trend. Five years ago less than 10% of IT organizations used open-source software, with the number rising to 30% three-and-a-half years ago. Significantly, Gartner noted a proportional drop in commercial software usage.

“Gaining a competitive advantage has emerged as a significant reason for adopting an OSS solution, suggesting that users are beginning to look at OSS differently [….]

Friday 48

Virtual Servers

Only a few reasons remain for running your own server:

  • You have one and haven’t yet gotten around to transitioning
  • You think doing your own maintenance will cost less
  • You need really high performance and tuned hardware

Otherwise, you should consider a virtual server.

The end of a faithful server

The ABCs of virtual private servers, Part 1: Why go virtual?

The above article provides a useful chart of VPS providers.

At least consider using virtual servers on your own hardware.
It doesn’t have the advantage of a service’s redundant hardware, but you gain the easy backup and redeployment of virtual servers, and it makes a good transition path to full VPS.
LXC is the lightest and most efficient technique for isolating and managing processes.
KVM is the most efficient method for running virtual machines.
(Avoid VMware: they have an installed base but are no longer competitive.)

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