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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 boltGoogle Gives Web $120 Million Gift

At its third Google I/O developer conference, Google announced that it was releasing the VP8 video codec as free open-source software. The VP8 video codec was originally developed by On2, a company that Google acquired in 2009, and is valued at $120 million.

Google has joined with a broad array of companies (Mozilla, Brightcove, Skype, Opera and others) and web community members to support WebM, an open web media format project, which will use VP8. Several partners expressed strong support for the codec, which will be royalty free, including Mozilla's VP of engineering Mike Shaver.

WebM provides an open and standard video codec which can compete with the H.264 proprietary codec that Apple and Microsoft are supporting. H.264 is not currently open-source and patent licensing and/or royalties may be required.

The WebM open web media format is comprised of:
* VP8, a high-quality video codec;
* Vorbis, an already open source and broadly implemented audio codec;
* a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container.

According to Google, VP8 results in more efficient bandwidth usage (lower costs for publishers) and high-quality video for end users. A developer preview is available at http://www.webmproject.org. See the WebM FAQ at: http://www.webmproject.org/about/faq/1999.

In other conference announcements, Google released its Wave wiki application to the public (anyone can now sign up) and also announced a business version of its App Engine Platform-as-a-Service. New App Engine capabilities include managing all the apps in an organization from one place, simple pricing based on users and applications, premium developer support, a 99.9% uptime service level agreement, and coming later this year, access to premium features like cloud-based SQL and SSL. The SpringSource Tool Suite and Google Web Toolkit are being integrated to support Java apps on the business App Engine.

More information about Google I/O 2010 is available at http://code.google.com/events/io/.

lightning boltCitrix XenClient Delivers Isolated Virtual Desktops "To Go"

At its Synergy 2010 conference on virtualization and cloud computing, Citrix Systems announced the first public release of Citrix XenClient, a new client-side virtualization solution. Developed in collaboration with Intel, it allows centrally managed virtual desktops to run directly on corporate laptops and PCs, even when they are disconnected from the network.

A major milestone in the industry, XenClient provides high levels of performance, security, and isolation through its bare metal architecture and integration with Intel vPro hardware virtualization technologies. XenClient Express, a free trial and evaluation kit that lets IT professionals begin experiencing the benefits of desktop virtualization for their mobile users, is available for immediate download.

This development comes at a time when parts of the Open Source community are edging away from XEN as a hypervisor as KVM gains support. Integration of the Xen Dom0 code with the Linux kernel has fallen behind schedule while Citrix has been offering more enterprise class products and support under the XenServer banner and has been tweaking up its broad partner infrastructure.

Extending virtual desktops to mobile laptop users requires a portable local VM-based desktop solution that delivers the benefits of centralized management and security while fulfilling the great user experience, mobility and flexibility that users expect from a laptop device. This approach also allows customers to run more than one virtual desktop on the same laptop - ideal for companies that want to maintain a secure corporate desktop for each user, while still giving employees the freedom to run their own personal desktop and applications on the same device. Current client-side technologies that run virtual desktops on top of an existing operating system have not been able to match these requirements. XenClient, a bare metal hypervisor which is built on the same virtualization technology as Citrix XenServer, can offer the control and security that IT demands.

Citrix XenClient was demonstrated in the opening day keynote with Citrix CEO Mark Templeton as well as in the hands-on learning labs and show floor at Citrix Synergy 2010 in May.

Note that XenClient needs an Intel i5 or i7 chip, not a Core Duo or an i3; it requires the new vPRO implementation. However, Citrix execs hint that other chip architectures will be added slowly, perhaps in 2011.

Key Facts and Highlights:

  • XenClient Bare Metal Hypervisor - Based on Citrix XenServer technology, and leveraging Intel virtualization technology, XenClient enables each virtual machine to run side-by-side directly on the hardware, rather than hosted within the installed operating system. IT can deliver secure, locked down corporate environments while giving users the flexibility to install personal applications in a separate virtual machine without compromising the security of either desktop.
  • Receiver for XenClient - Citrix Receiver for XenClient is a lightweight client that lets users create and manage their own local virtual desktops, or access centrally managed corporate virtual desktops.
  • Synchronizer for XenClient - Laptops with XenClient can connect to Synchronizer to download centrally-managed virtual desktops. Synchronizer enables user data to be backed up automatically through a secure connection over the internet. With Synchronizer, IT can define security policies for managed laptops, disable lost or stolen XenClient laptops and restore a user's virtual desktop on any XenClient based laptop.
  • Availability - XenClient Express, which includes the XenClient bare metal hypervisor, Citrix Receiver for XenClient and Synchronizer for XenClient, is freely available for public download. XenClient express is intended for organizations to trial small deployments within their organization at no charge. XenClient is expected to become generally available with the next release of Citrix XenDesktop later in 2010.

lightning boltThe Linux Foundation Announces LinuxCon Program and Schedule

The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced the keynote speakers and the full conference schedule for this year's LinuxCon taking place in Boston August 10-12. Hot topics - ranging from KVM to Linux's success on the desktop to MySQL and MariaDB - are among more than 60 sessions focused on operations, development and business.

Mini-summits will take place during the two days prior to LinuxCon and include a recently added Cloud Summit. For more details on the mini-summits, please visit: .

The LinuxCon schedule includes in-depth technical content for developers and operations personnel, as well as business and legal insight from the industry's leaders. LinuxCon sold out when it premiered in Portland, Oregon, in 2009.

The final LinuxCon program includes sessions that address enterprise computing as well as controversial topics, including:

* MySQL author Monty Widenius on why he forked with MariaDB. * Canonical executive Matt Asay speculating on where the Linux desktop is succeeding;
* Microsoft's Hank Janssen discussing the physics behind the Hyper-V drivers for Linux;
* Red Hat's Matthew Garrett sharing lessons learned from recent Andorid/Kernel community discussions.

New keynote additions include:

  • Intel & Nokia in a joint keynote titled, "Freedom to Innovate: Can MeeGo's Openness Change the Mobile Industry?";
  • Oracle's Wim Coekaerts, Senior Vice President, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, will take a technical look at Linux at Oracle;
  • Novell's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Open Platform Solutions, Markus Rex, will speak about the changing nature of IT workloads on Linux;
  • President of Qualcomm's Innovation Center (QuIC) Rob Chandhok, will talk about the challenges in open source and mobile today in his keynote.

These keynotes are in addition to the ones announced earlier this month, which include the Linux Kernel Roundtable keynote, Virgin America's CIO Ravi Simhambhatla, the Software Freedom Law Center's Eben Moglen, the GNOME Foundation's Stormy Peters, and Forrester's Jeffrey Hammond. For more info, see: .

Additional highlights includes 60 sessions dispersed across the operations, development and business tracks, including:

  • How We Made Ubuntu Boot Faster;
  • KVM: The Latest from the Core Development Team;
  • One Billion Files: Scalability Limits in Linux File Systems.

LinuxCon will also feature half-day, in-depth tutorials that include How to Work with the Linux Development Community, Building Linux Device Drivers and Using Git, among others.

For more detail on the program and speakers, please visit: .

To register, please visit: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/component/registrationpro/?func=details&did=27.

Conferences and Events

Agile Development Practices West
June 6-11, 2010, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Internet Week New York
June 7-14, 2010, New York, New York
Southeast LinuxFest
June 11-13, 2010, Spartanburg, SC
Über Conf 2010
June 14-17, Denver, CO
Enterprise 2.0 Boston
June 15-17, Westin Waterfront, Boston, MA
BriForum 2010
June 15-17, Hilton Hotel, Chicago, IL
June 19, 2010, Rochester, NY
OpsCamp IT Operations Unconference
19th June, 2010, Atlanta, GA, USA
26th June, 2010, Seattle, WA, USA
Semantic Technology Conference
June 21-25, Hilton Union Sq., San Francisco, CA
O'Reilly Velocity Conference
June 22-24, 2010, Santa Clara, CA
USENIX Federated Conferences Week USENIX ATC, WebApps, FAST-OS, HotCloud, HotStorage '10
June 22-25, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston, MA
DevOps Day USA 2010
June 25, Mountain View, CA
CiscoLive! 2010
June 27-July 1, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV
SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Summit
July 8-9 2010, Washington DC
July 24-30, 2010, The Hague, Netherlands.
Black Hat USA
July 24-27, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nev.
First Splunk Worldwide Users' Conference
August 9-11, 2010, San Francisco, CA
LinuxCon 2010
August 10-12, 2010, Renaissance Waterfront, Boston, MA
USENIX Security '10
August 11-13, Washington, DC
VM World 2010
August 30-Sep 2, San Francisco, CA

lightning boltCOSCUP/GNOME.Asia 2010 now calling for papers

COSCUP is the largest open source conference in Taiwan, and GNOME.Asia Summit is Asia’s GNOME user and developer conference. The joint conference will be held in Taipei on August 14 and 15. With a tagline of "Open Web and Mobile Technologies", it emphasizes the exciting development in these two areas as well as the GNOME desktop environment, and leverages the world-leading hardware industry in Taiwan. The program committee invites open source enthusiasts all around the world to submit papers via http://coscup.org/2010/en/programs. For more details on this joint conference, please visit the websites at http://coscup.org/ and http://gnome.asia/.

Distro News

lightning boltFedora 13 released with 3D Graphics Drivers

The Fedora Linux distribution is now at version 13, codenamed Goddard. It brings important platform enhancements and several new desktop applications plus new open source graphics drivers.

Fedora 12 included experimental 3D support for newer ATI cards in the free and open source Radeon driver, and now experimental 3D support has been extended in Fedora 13 to the Nouveau driver for a range of NVIDIA video cards. Simply install the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package to take advantage of this new feature. Support for 3D acceleration using the radeon driver is no longer considered experimental with version 13.

Fedora 13 ships with GNOME 2.30, the latest stable version of the GNOME desktop environment. The new version of GNOME adds a few noteworthy improvements, such as support for a split-pane view in the Nautilus file manager and support for Facebook chat in the Empathy instant messaging client.

Simple Scan is the default scanning utility for Fedora 13. Simple Scan is an easy-to-use application, designed to let users connect their scanner and import the image or document in an appropriate format.

The user interface of Anaconda, the Fedora installer, has changed to handle storage devices and partitioning in an easy and streamlined manner, with helpful hints in the right places for newbies and experienced users.

The user account tool has been completely redesigned, and the accountsdialog and accountsservice test packages are available to make it easy to configure personal information, make a personal profile picture or icon, generate a strong passphrase, and set up login options for your Fedora system.

PolicyKitOne replaces the old deprecated PolicyKit and gives KDE users a better experience of their applications and desktop in general. The Fedora 12 KDE Desktop Edition used Gnome Authentication Agent. PolicyKitOne makes it possible to utilize the native KDE authentication agent, KAuth in Fedora 13.

Fedora continues its leadership in virtualization technologies with improvements to KVM such as Stable PCI Addresses and Virt Shared Network Interface technologies. Having stable PCI addresses will enable virtual guests to retain PCI addresses' space on a host machine. The shared network interface technology enables virtual machines to use the same physical network interface cards (NICs) as the host operating system. Fedora 13 also enhances performance of virtualization via VHostNet acceleration of KVM networking.

Fedora now offers the latest version 4 NFS protocol for better performance, and, in conjunction with recent kernel modifications, includes IPv6 support for NFS as well. Also new, NetworkManager adds mobile broadband enhancements to show signal strength; support for old-style dial-up networking (DUN) over Bluetooth; and command line support in addition to the improved graphical user interface. Python 3 with enhanced Python gdb debugging support is also included.

Fedora spins are alternate version of Fedora tailored for various types of users via hand-picked application set or customizations. Fedora 13 includes four completely new spins in addition to the several already available, including Fedora Security Lab, Design Suite, Sugar on a Stick, and Moblin spin.

Download versions of Fedora 13 from: http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora.

lightning boltLucid Puppy 5.0 out of the kennel

A major new version of Puppy Linux, Puppy 5.0, was released in May.

Puppy 5.0, code named "Lupu" and also referred to as "Lucid Puppy" is built from Ubuntu Lucid Lynx binary packages. It is typically Puppy, lean and fast, friendly and fun, with some new features. Puppy 5.0 features Quickpet, with many Linux productivity and entertainment programs, configured and tested, available with one-click. Puppy 5 also introduces choice in browsers: pick one or all and choose the default.

Lupu boots directly to the desktop and has tools to personalize Puppy. Language and Locale are easy to set. Kauler's Simple Network Setup is another of those easy config tools. Updating to keep up with bugfixes is another one-click wonder. Previous Puppies were all prepared primarily by Kauler but Puppy 5.0 was a product of the Puppy community with Mick Amadio, chief developer, and Larry Short, coordinator.

The official announcement and release notes: http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/puppylinux/puppy-5.0/release-500.htm.

The list of packages: http://www.diddywahdiddy.net/Puppy500/LP5-Release/Lucid_Pup_Packages.

Software and Product News

lightning boltOracle Launches Sun Netra 6000 for Telcos

Adding to Sun's original carrier-grade servers, Oracle has announced the Sun Netra 6000 for the communications industry. The introduction of the Netra 6000 extends Oracle's portfolio for the communications industry from carrier-grade servers, storage and IT infrastructure, to mission-critical business and operations support systems and service delivery platforms.

Leveraging the same advanced features of Oracle's Sun Blade 6000 modular system, including advanced blade networking, simplified management and high reliability, the Sun Netra 6000 adds carrier-grade qualities such as Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) certification and extended lifecycle support. NEBS certification helps reduce cost and risk and improve time to market for customers, and is required for telecommunications central office deployments.

The Sun Netra 6000 offers communication service providers (CSPs) and network equipment providers (NEPs) with a highly-available and cost-efficient blade system designed for applications like media services delivery and Operations and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS).

The Sun Netra 6000 modular system includes the Sun Netra 6000 AC chassis and the Sun Netra T6340 with UltraSPARC T2+ processors running the Solaris operating system. The system can handle demanding workloads, including multi-threaded Web applications and advanced IP-based telco Web services. Additionally, it delivers the highest memory capacity in the industry for blade servers of up to 256 GB.

The Sun Netra 6000 is a modular blade system delivering CSPs and NEPs high reliability with hot-swappable and hot-pluggable server blades, blade network, and I/O modules. With on-chip, wire speed cryptographic support, security comes standard, enabling secure connections for online transactions and communication.

lightning boltOpera 10.53 for Linux Now in Beta

The Opera 10.53 beta for Linux and FreeBSD is now available for download. In this beta release, Opera has designed a faster, more feature-rich browser that is tailored for the Linux-platform.

"Linux has always been a priority at Opera, as many people within our own walls are devoted users," said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder, Opera Software. "It was important for us in this release to make alterations to our terms of usage, in order to make Opera even easier to distribute on Linux."

The new Carakan JavaScript engine and Vega graphics library make Opera 10.5x more than 8 times faster than Opera 10.10 on tests like Sunspider.

Private browsing offers windows and tabs that eliminate their browsing history when closed, ensuring your privacy.

Zooming in and out of Web pages is easier with a new zoom slider and view controls accessible from the status bar. Widgets are now installed as normal applications on your computer and can work separately from the browser.

The user interface for Linux has been reworked, and the new "O" menu allows access to all features previously available in the menu bar. The menu bar can be easily reinstated. No more Qt dependence. Opera's user interface now integrates with either GNOME/GTK or KDE libraries, depending on the users' installation.

Better integration with KDE and Gnome desktops and full support for skinning gives Opera 10.53 for Linux a seamless integration on a wide variety of different Linux distributions.

New End User License agreement for Opera 10.53 beta for Linux: Opera 10.53 beta is now available for inclusion in software distribution repositories for wide distribution on Linux and FreeBSD operating systems. Additionally, all browsers (Desktop, Mini and Mobile) can be installed in organizations. For example a systems administrator at a school can install Opera on all the school's PCs.

Download Opera for Linux and FreeBSD at http://www.opera.com/browser/next/.


Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

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 175 of Linux Gazette, June 2010