Linux and Technology blog

December 4, 2006

skydome pics for XGL + Compiz

Filed under: Linux, SuSE, Uncategorized — rakeshvk @ 6:38 pm

Download them from moosy’s flicker. click here

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openSUSE 10.2 Is Done!

Filed under: Linux, Software, SuSE — rakeshvk @ 6:26 pm

Great News … Andreas Jaeger sent an email to the openSUSE mailing list last night to announce that the new version of openSUSE Linux, that is, version 10.2 has gone gold and is ready for release.

Our build folks have created the first set of ISO images and will continue to create all of them — and the complete ftp distribution — early next week. We’ll start syncing soon the images to the ftp mirrors so that they have all files on thursday, 7th December, for the announcement.

CD production is starting now and I hope to see some shiny green openSUSE 10.2 boxes on the shelves before Christmas.

Waiting to get my hands on latest and greatest distro )

Checkout the announcement on Suse Mailing list openSUSE 10.2 is done!

November 8, 2006

Microsoft & Novell Enter Linux Partnership

Filed under: Linux, News, SuSE — rakeshvk @ 4:56 pm

Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. on 2nd of Oct announced a set of broad business and technical collaboration agreements to build, market and support a series of new solutions to make Novell and Microsoft® products work better together. The two companies also announced an agreement to provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products. These agreements will be in place until at least 2012. Under this new model, customers will realize unprecedented choice and flexibility through improved interoperability and manageability between Windows® and Linux.“They said it couldn’t be done. This is a new model and a true evolution of our relationship that we think customers will immediately find compelling because it delivers practical value by bringing two of their most important platform investments closer together,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “We’re excited to work with Novell, whose strengths include its heritage as a mixed-source company. Resolving our patent issues enables a combined focus on virtualization and Web services management to create new opportunities for our companies and our customers.”

Under the agreement, Novell is establishing clear leadership among Linux platform and open source software providers on interoperability for mixed-source environments. As a result, Microsoft will officially recommend SUSE Linux Enterprise for customers who want Windows and Linux solutions. Additionally, Microsoft will distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support, so that customers can benefit from the use of an interoperable version of Linux with patent coverage as well as the collaborative work between the two companies.

“Too often technology companies ask their customers to adapt to them. Today we are adapting to our customers,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell. “Microsoft and Novell are enabling customers to take advantage of each other’s products where it makes sense in their enterprise infrastructure. We jointly believe that our business and patent agreements make it possible to offer the highest level of interoperability with the assurance that both our companies stand behind these solutions.”

Time to go and bet on Microsoft and Novell stocks ) Think it is too early to come up with any objective analysis. Guess time will tell. Being frank, I don’t have time to read all this.Related:

Joint letter to the Open Source Community

From Novell and Microsoft

Over the past six years, we’ve seen the effect that the open source community has had on Microsoft. They’ve shared some source code, driven community projects like IronPython and WiX, and they continue to work with a number of open source software companies like JBoss, SugarCRM, XenSource, and Zend.

However, today’s news is a big step forward for the Linux market. Today, for the first time, Microsoft is collaborating directly with a Linux and Open Source software vendor. With this news, Microsoft is saying that Linux is an important part of the IT infrastructure.

More importantly, Microsoft announced today that it will not assert its patents against individual, non-commercial developers. Novell has secured an irrevocable promise from Microsoft to allow individual and non-commercial contributors the freedom to continue open source development, free from any concern of Microsoft patent lawsuits. That’s right, Microsoft wants you to keep hacking.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Because they recognize that customers today are deploying mixed source solutions – Windows and Linux – and they want these solutions to work well together. This will help Microsoft by making it easier for Linux customers to deploy Windows in their Linux environments. Microsoft is committing significant resources to promote joint Windows-Linux solutions. This is all about co-existence and giving customers greater choice.

The collaboration has multiple pieces:

  • Patent coverage
    • The concern over potential patent infringements makes some people nervous about the deployment of open source technologies.
    • To do this, Novell and Microsoft are providing covenants to each other’s customers, therefore releasing each company from the other’s patent portfolio.
    • What it really means is that customers deploying technologies from Novell and Microsoft no longer have to fear about possible lawsuits or potential patent infringement from either company.
  • Virtualization
    • Microsoft and Novell will collaborate in enhancing and developing the functionality required to efficiently virtualize Windows on Linux and Linux on Windows.
    • Both will now be first class citizens in data centers, addressing the needs of mixed environments. They will both enjoy optimized, supported and tuned device drivers to maximize their potential.
  • Virtualization Management
    • As a plus, the companies will work together to implement the necessary standards to manage data centers that run mixed environments (WS-Management).
    • Novell will develop tools to manage virtualized Windows machines, and Microsoft will develop tools to manage virtualized Linux systems.
  • Office Open XML
    • Novell engineers have been working for the last year together with Microsoft engineers through the ECMA TC45 working group in producing a complete specification that would allow for interoperability across office suites.
    • Novell will develop the code necessary to bring support for Office Open XML into OpenOffice, and we will contribute that support back to the OpenOffice.org organization. We will also distribute the Office Open XML plug-in in our own edition of OpenOffice. In addition, we will participate in the Open XML Translator open source project.
  • Collaboration Framework
    • One of the most important components of the collaboration agreement today is that we have setup a framework between Novell and Microsoft to discuss future collaborations.
    • Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new era, and should not be considered a limitation. With the collaboration framework in place, we will periodically evaluate areas where we can work together improving the interoperability of our products.
  • Mono, OpenOffice and Samba
    • Under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server.
    • All of these technologies will be improved upon during the 5 years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings.
    • The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.
    • Novell customers can use these technologies, secure in the knowledge that Microsoft and Novell are working together to offer the best possible joint solution.

This is a watershed moment for Linux. It fundamentally changes the rules of the game. We’re really excited about this deal, and we hope you are too.

Why I’m sticking with Novell’s Linux desktop and Turning SLED into Practical User Desktop

Filed under: Linux, SuSE — rakeshvk @ 4:50 pm

Why I’m sticking with Novell’s Linux desktop

Someone just asked me whether, now that Novell’s become buddies with Microsoft, I’ll be turning away from Novell/SUSE as one of my favorite Linux distributions. My answer is no. I’m sticking with SUSE Linux on both my desktops and servers. Here’s why.

First, like many of you, I do think that Novell’s deal with Microsoft is a mistake. While in the short run, I think the deal will be good for Novell. It will, after all, get its Linuxes into shops that would otherwise turn up their noses at anything without Windows in the title. In the long run, I can’t think of a single software company that has ever done well in an alliance with Microsoft. Can you?

Story

Turning SLED into Practical User Desktop

The so-called “Vista Killer” may not be ready for prime time — but your customers may want it anyway. Here’s how to be prepared.

SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop version 10 (SLED10 for short) is sufficiently well known that any system builder who sells Linux boxes can be expected to know about it. In fact, SLED10 is so well known, clients who specifically want Linux computers are likely to ask for it by name. In my recent tests, I found SLED10 to be more reliable, stable and secure than I expected. But buying into the hype of SLED10 being a “Vista killer”—at least in its current stage of development—is wishing thinking. Why? Well, for starters, the distro has several usability issues. Also, availability outside of the usual office productivity software and programmer-oriented applications is problematic. For these reasons, SLED10, in my opinion, is not worth even its $50 price tag.

But what if your clients demand it all the same? In this recipe, I’ll show you how to turn SLED10 into a usable desktop.

Read the complete story

October 7, 2006

SUSE 10.2 Ditching ReiserFS as its’ default FS?

Filed under: SuSE — rakeshvk @ 2:26 pm

A letter by Jeff Mahoney from SUSE Labs

Hi all –

We’ve been using ReiserFS as our default installation file system for
the last 6-7 years now, and it’s served us well in that time.
Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with it, some purely
technical, some more related to maintenance. I’ll outline a few of the
larger issues and offer my solution as a conclusion.

ReiserFS has serious scalability problems. David Chinner’s talk at OLS
really underscored the problem well for a single, large, high bandwidth
file system. While I realize that XFS-style scalability isn’t a real
goal for most users, ans isn’t a target workload for reiserfs, the
scalability problems are real. ReiserFS uses the BKL for synchronization
everywhere, and since it’s system-global lock, the problem doesn’t go
away when you split the file system into smaller ones. Lock contention
alone is one problem, but it’s made worse by cache bouncing between processors on larger systems.

ReiserFS has serious performance problems with extended attributes and
ACLs. (Yes, this one is my own fault, see numerous flamewars on lkml and
reiserfs-list for my opinion on this.) xattrs are backed by normal files
rooted in a hidden directory structure. This is bad for performance and
in rare cases is deadlock prone due to lock inversions between pdflush
and the xattr code. The quota code gets around this, but the fix would
result in huge amounts of wasted space with ReiserFS. With increasing
deployment of SLES as samba servers, and perhaps NFSv4 servers, the use
of extended attributes will only increase.

ReiserFS has a small and shrinking development community. Right now, the
only developers really working with ReiserFS are Chris Mason, Jan Kara
(internally), a rotating member of Hans Reiser’s team, and myself. All
of us have projects we’re very much more interested in than working with
ReiserFS. While Jan and I will be continuing to support ReiserFS for
SUSE, Hans is increasingly (hard to believe) pushing people to use
reiser4. Chris has moved on to Oracle and has expressed his opinions on
leaving ReiserFS behind.

ReiserFS v3 is a dead end. Hans has been pushing reiser4 for years now
and declared Reiser3 in maintenance mode. Any changes that aren’t bug
fixes are met with violent resistance. Reiser4 is not an incremental
update and requires a reformat, which is unreasonable for most people.
Reiser3 lacks a number of features that other file systems either have
or are adding soon, such as extents and growth beyond current limits.
Since it’s in maintenance mode, that’s unlikely to change. I view
reiser4 as an interesting research file system, but that’s about as far
as it goes. I’ve been unimpressed with its stability so far. I don’t
know how advanced the recovery tools are yet, but I suspect that the
complexity of the format and the ability to essentially define the
format on-the-fly with plugins will make a useful fsck extremely difficult.

The solution for replacing an aging file system isn’t to switch to a
brand new unproven file system, but rather a proven one with a clear
upgrade path. That file system is ext3.

Ext3’s performance in some situations may not be on par with Reiser3,
but it scales better and Andi mentioned the other day that there is
quite a bit of research going into improving the locking and general
performance of ext3 going on right now, and since reiser3 is stagnant, I
don’t doubt they’ll pass them soon.

Ext3 has a much larger development community out there. Most other
distributions use ext3 as their default file system, so bugs that don’t
end up getting reported to us and are fixed by other developers, we get
for free – most Reiser3 fixes originate from Chris or I.

Ext3 has a clear upgrade path. There is quite a bit of interest in the
community in improving ext3, and ext4 is already under development. Like
the upgrade path from ext2 to ext3, the path to ext4 is clearly defined.
Existing file systems can be updated easily, and new files will be able
to take advantage of the new features. Features already written and
queued up include extents, a 64-bit journal, and 64-bit file sizes.

Most of the institutional knowledge of reiserfs is bouncing around in my
head. Jan has been getting his hands dirty a little bit, but beyond
that, finding additional developers with reiserfs experience will be
extremely difficult and I’d call training additional developers a wasted
effort. Since reiserfs is in maintenance mode, the effort needed to
continue to support it in future releases should be shrinking.

To be clear, my long term goal is to use OCFS2 (or another CFS if one
shows a clear adoption advantage) for the root file system. This would
enable single-instance clustering at both the physical and the virtual
distribution level and get us ease of management and flexibility in HA
deployments. Realistically, though, desktop users are likely to continue
to use ext[34] for the foreseeable future. Until we have OCFS2 (and the
rest of the distribution) ready for such a deployment described above on
larger servers, ext3 would be a suitable choice across the board.

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