...making Linux just a little more fun!


By Howard Dyckoff

News in General

SCO files Chapter 11

Just before their September 17th day in court with Novell, SCO filed for protection with the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The case numbers are 07-11337 and 07-11338, for The SCO Group and SCO Operations, Inc.

A few days later, Novell filed its own motions to limit the bankruptcy law protections and continue with the damages part of the landmark case. The SCO actions occurred after the judge had ruled against most of SCO's pretrial motions and granted Novell's motion for a judicial trial rather than a jury trial. Novell had dropped any claim for punitive damages, paving the way to drop a jury trial. According to Groklaw [http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070907215715563], this last trial was to determine what SCO owed because Novell retained an equity interest in royalties from the System V Unix licenses.

SCO filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. This effectively stops the on-going legal proceedings and allows SCO to reorganize and restructure its debt as it continues its operations.

SCO also received a notice from the NASDAQ Stock Market indicating that its securities will be delisted from NASDAQ on September 27, 2007.

Intel Launches 'LessWatts.org' Open Source Project for Linux Systems Power Savings

At its DEVELOPER FORUM (IDF) in San Francisco, Intel launched an open source community project designed to increase energy efficiency spanning servers in data centers to personal mobile devices. The new LessWatts.org initiative brings together the community of Linux developers, OSVs and end users to facilitate technology development, deployment and tuning and sharing of information around Linux power management.

For large data centers, server power consumption imposes limits on a center's growth and has significant financial and environmental costs. In addition to the large data center customers, mobile users are also constrained by power consumption limits as battery space is continually squeezed with the overall reduction in size of mobile devices. In both the server and the mobile markets, Linux operating systems continue to grow in relevance and market segment share.

"We created LessWatts.org to accelerate technology development and simplify information sharing for effective power management across a broad spectrum of devices and industry segments that are utilizing Linux," said Intel's Renee James. "A focused initiative that aggregates the disparate efforts into a holistic system and builds on our existing efforts with the industry in the Climate Savers Computing Initiative will serve as a strong catalyst to get energy-efficient solutions into the market segment faster, thereby benefiting the customers who purchase Intel-based products."

The LessWatts.org initiative encompasses several key projects including Linux kernel enhancements (such as the "tickless idle" feature that takes better advantage of power saving hardware technologies), the PowerTOP tool that helps tune Linux applications to be power aware and the Linux Battery Life Toolkit to measure and instrument the impact of Linux code changes on power savings. Additionally, LessWatts.org provides Linux support for hardware power saving features being implemented in current and upcoming Intel platforms.

Tips on the site include:
-- Enable the power aware SMP scheduler [ http://www.lesswatts.org/tips/cpu.php#smpsched ]
-- Use SATA link power management [ http://www.lesswatts.org/tips/disks.php#alpm ]

At the launch, representative from Oracle, Novell, and Red Hat expressed support for the project and efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of computing.

"Novell is working hard to be eco-friendly and customer-friendly at the same time by providing better power management technologies as part of SuSE* Linux Enterprise," said Jeff Jaffe, Novell executive vice president and chief technology officer. "We are committed to helping drive the technology forward as part of LessWatts.org and providing value to our customers by incorporating that technology into upcoming SuSE Linux Enterprise releases."

With the the tools and tips on the Less Watts website, an enterprise could save 10 watts of power on dual processor servers. More information is available at http://www.lesswatts.org.

LG spoke with Arjan Van de Ven, who was demoing the LessWatt.org web site at the IDF showcase. Arjan works in Portland, Or., at Intel's Open Source Tech Center, which is part of thier Software Solutions Group. "In the communijty, individual and small project efforts have been under way for some time and some developments, like PowerTOP resulted from these. But we wanted to have a system-wide perspective on power consumption. It was the next logical step for us." Arjan said that he and his coworkers wanted to draw on both the developer community and users at large to focus on power and utilization issues in an end-to-end way and the wiki style of the project should accomplish that. He noted that user imput had improved PowerTop and other tools. "The next thinkg we want to do is perform a gap analysis to see where we need to address new effort. This is about really impacting power use, not just tech for tech's sake."

VMWorld shows off 32 MB Hypervisor

VMWorld, the user conference for VMware, occurred in mid-September and attendees were surprized and delighted by a preview of VMware ESX 3i. This announcement followed a long period of rumors concerning a VMware lite product. ESX 3i is a tiny but fully functional version of ESX 3 that stripped out its 2 GB service console -- based on a hardened version of RHEL 3 -- and leaving only the petite 32 MB core ESX kernel. That's small enough to fit on an ancient digital camera SD memory card and Dell was demonstrating a concept server that used just such an SD card to boot ESX on bare metal.

After the keynote announcement, IBM and HP also showed ESX 3.1 server implementations. All are planned for release by year-end or early 2008.

VMware has provided most of the conference keynotes and presentations - slides and audio - on links from here:

BEA announces "Genesis" - Web 2.0 tools for the Enterprise - and Virtual WebLogic

Playing a new card in its SOA strategy at its annual BEAWorld conference, BEA Systems CEO Alfred Chuang introduced Project Genesis, their next-generation business application platform that can "mash up" a Web 2.0 gumbo of open-source technologies, service-oriented architecture (SOA), social-computing features and add a dash of business process management.

CEO Chuang told BEAWorld attendees that the software paradigm is changing and the "era of innovation with packaged enterprise applications is over." Application customization still takes too long, he added, because customers today need to adjust their IT systems in real time to meet changing business conditions

BEA's Project Genesis will try to radically simplify how businesses deliver at new or revised applications. With Genesis, both business users as well as IT staff will be able to quickly assemble and deploy dynamic business applications for competitive advantage. Genesis extends the BEA AquaLogic product family with tools for a simplified approach for assembling and modifying business applications.

CEO Chung told analysts that BEA is moving to support SAAS (software as a service) both within and outside the enterprise. "User-driven applications will be everywhere. Genesis realigns the entire application landscape. It will include user-based pricing and monitoring built into the architecture to make it truly deployable. It's architected to last."

Chung told LG that many of the components in Genesis will be derived from Open Source projects and that BEA will also contribute some of its Genesis IP to the software community as the project develops. This is a significant strategic shift for BEA and represents an attempt to supports businesses of all sizes.

Also at BEAWorld, BEA announced WebLogic Server 10.3, the next release of their leading Java application server. New features include support for Java SE 6, SAML 2 and Spring 2.1 which will provide better performance and control, improved security and OSS enhancements. BEA WebLogic Server 10.3 should be available in Q1 2008.

Attendees previewed early lab test results by BEA and Intel on the WebLogic discrete virtual appliance, called LiquidVM. The technology behind it runs Java about two times more efficiently than using the normal OS-based software stack on VMware Infrastructure. Because LiquidVM is a JVM that runs directly on top of the VMware ESX Server hypervisor platform, without a traditional OS, it can manage memory resources for Java applications much more efficiently. This can increase hardware utilization and reduce TCO. This approach to Java virtualization is unique in the industry.

Icahn boosts BEA stake, calls for sale of company

Right after BEAWorld SF and its announcement of new directions for BEA, billionaire investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in BEA to 8.5 percent and then urged the company's board to put BEA up for sale. "It is becoming increasingly difficult for a stand-alone technology company to prosper, especially in light of the very strong competitors in the area", Icahn said in his filing. Icahn may also seek to have BEA hold a shareholder meeting, since the last one was in 2006.

Icahn said a larger software maker would be able to give BEA's WebLogic products to its sales force to sell, increasing the product's exposure while reducing its overhead.

BEA shares rose to $13.25, in Nasdaq trade, on the news. The stock has fallen about 12 percent over the past year, while IBM and Oracle shares had double digit gains.

Motley Fool postings on BEA note it's less than stellar financial performance in the past year. BEA has been transitioning to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) software with mixed results. But at BEAWorld several sessions highlighted a deepening primary partnership with Accenture on SOA for government agencies and fortune 100 companies, resulting in an SOA best-practices web site for Accenture and other primary partners. Perhaps BEA is finally ready to reap some rewards from its investments in technology and in consulting services.

On Sept. 20th, Icahn raised his stake in BEA to 9.9 percent, or a total of 38.7 million shares.


Intel adds to its Roadmap with 45 nm, 32 nm chips and USB 3.0

Intel added details to its chip road map with plans for new CPUs after its first 45 nm 'Penryn' chip. The details were in an avalanche of announcements during its Developer Forum (IDF) in September.

First up was 'Nehalem', demonstrated on-stage by Intel's Paul Otellini. Nehalem is an entirely new scalable processor with 731 million transistors, simultaneous multithreading, and a multi-level cache architecture. Nehalem is anticipated to provide three times the peak memory bandwidth of current competing processors. It features the new 'QuickPath' memory interconnect for a high speed system data path to Nehalem's processor cores. This is similar to features currently in AMD's Opteron family of multicore processors.

Nehalem is on track for production in the second half of 2008.

Otellini said that Intel plans to offer greener line of 25-watt mobile dual-core Penryn processors for thinner and lighter laptop PCs. With low power chipsets, the 25W Penryn processor will be the next generation Centrino technology, codenamed 'Montevina' for mid-2008.

Otellini wowed the IDF attendees by showing off the first test wafers for 32 nm chips. Intel has reached a milestone in the next-generation of 32nm static random access memory (SRAM) chips with more than 1.9 billion transistors each. Intel is on track to ramp to 32nm technology in 2009.

Intel and key partners formed the USB 3.0 Promoter Group to develop a super-speed personal USB interconnect that is expected to be over 10 times the speed of today's connection. USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0, and the specification is expected to be complete in the first half of 2008. As an example, a 27GB HD-DVD could be downloaded 70 seconds using USB 3.0.


Conferences and Events

Main conference: http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale6x/documents/scale6x-cfp.pdf
Women in Open Source mini-conference: http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale6x/documents/scale6x-wios-cfp.pdf
Open Source in Education mini-conference: http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale6x/documents/scale6x-education-cfp.pdf


October 1 - 5, Las Vegas, NV

BEAWorld 2007 Barcelona
October 2 - 4, Palau de Congressos de Catalunya

BI, Warehousing, and Analytics (BIWA) Summit
October 2-3, 2007 Oracle Corp, Reston, VA [ $200 for both days]

Zend/PHP Conference & Expo 2007
October 8 - 11, San Francisco, California

Designing and Building Business Ontologies
October 9 - 12; San Francisco, California

Ethernet Expo 2007
October 15 - 17, Hilton New York, New York

October 16 - 18, San Jose, CA

Interop New York
October 22 - 26

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo
October 24 - 25, London, UK


CSI 2007
November 3 - 9, Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Washington, D.C.

Interop Berlin
November 6 - 8, Berlin, Germany

Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco
November 11 - 15, San Francisco, CA

Supercomputing 2007
November 9 - 16, Tampa, FL

Certicom ECC Conference 2007
November 13-15, Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto
[focused on the use of Suite B crypto algorithms in the enterprise]

Gartner Identity & Access Management Summit
14-16 November 2007, Los Angeles, CA

Gartner - 26th Annual Data Center Conference
November 27-30, Las Vegas, NV


Agile Development Practices Conference
December 3-6, Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando, FL

LPI Offers Discounted Certification Exams at Ohio LinuxFest 2007

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world's premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), will offer discounted LPIC-1, LPIC-2 and the Ubuntu Certified Professional exams to attendees of the Ohio LinuxFest 2007 (Columbus, Ohio) on Sunday, September 30, 2007.

Exam labs will be at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on September 30th at the Drury Inn & Suites Columbus Convention Center (88 East Nationwide Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio) in the lobby ballroom. "All Conference Pass" attendees of the Ohio Linux Fest will be able to take any exam for $85 each. Other discounts are available for free registered attendees and those not participating in the Ohio LinuxFest--please see details on discounts and other information on the exam labs at http://www.ohiolinux.org/lpi.html. All exam candidates are asked to obtain an LPI ID at http://www.lpi.org/en/lpi/english/certification/register_now and bring valid photo identification and their LPI-ID number to the exam labs. Payment for exams can be made by cash or cheque.

During the Ohio LinuxFest, Don Corbet (long time LPI volunter and LPI Advisory Council member) will provide LPIC-1 exam cram sessions to prepare for this exam lab. Exam Cram sessions will be from 9 - 12 noon (LPI Exam 101) and again from 1 - 5 p.m. (LPI Exam 102), at the Greater Columbus Convention Center C-Pods. These exam cram sessions are part of the Ohio LinuxFest University program. For more information on the Ohio LinuxFest University program please see:http://www.ohiolinux.org/olfu.html Linux professionals, exam candidates, and IT trainers are also invited to visit LPI representatives at booth #27 during the Ohio LinuxFest.

For those interested in attending Ohio LinuxFest please know that the the "All Conference Pass" registration has been extended to September 23rd. Free conference passes are also available for a limited number of events. For more information please see http://www.ohiolinux.org/register.html


Release Candidate for openSUSE 10.3 available

The openSUSE development team has announced the availability of a release candidate for openSUSE 10.3, the last development build before the stable release on October 4th. This release is stable, and suitable for testing by any user. Technical changes include libzypp 3.24; VirtualBox 1.5; OpenOffice.org 2.3RC3 and countless bug fixes. Note that this release does not include the final packages of GNOME 2.20, which will be added later.


SWsoft unveils the beta version of Virtuozzo 4.0

SWsoft Virtuozzo differs from traditional hardware virtualization solutions in dynamically partitioning a single Windows or Linux operating system instance into scalable virtual environments or "containers". Virtuozzo can enable dozens to hundreds of containers to immediately leverage real hardware, resulting in better datacenter efficiency.

Virtuozzo 4.0's improved OS virtualization technology addresses many of the common performance, density, usability and infrastructure compatibility issues that plague traditional hardware virtualization solutions via a number of improvements and new features, including:

Serguei Beloussov, CEO of SWsoft, said, "With new enterprise-class capabilities such as clustering and real-time backups along with a host of new management and automation features, Virtuozzo is now the most effective path to a streamlined, automated datacenter."

Virtuozzo 4.0 will be available for public beta testing by the end of September, with general availability expected later this year. To sign up for the beta program, users can go to www.swsoft.com/virtuozzo4/beta. A free, fully functional trial of Virtuozzo for Windows and Virtuozzo for Linux is available at http://www.swsoft.com/virtuozzo/trial.

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

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.

Copyright © 2007, 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 143 of Linux Gazette, October 2007