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By Howard Dyckoff

News in General

SCO may return from the Dead

Like a graveyard scene from an old B-movie, SCO is again rising as one of the UnDead.

A new cash infusion from a new set of partners will keep SCO from becoming moribund. The funds, up to $100 million, are coming from New York-based Stephen Norris Capital Partners and an undisclosed Middle Eastern investor. This gives SCO additional funds for the upcoming trial date but at the cost of privatizing the company and its assets. This is a better attempt at reorganization than the previous York Group proposal, which was deficient on legal grounds. It also ejects the former CEO Darl McBride, with a tidy sum and liability protection. Some comments on Slashdot and elsewhere have suggested the arrangement may help hide any past links to Microsoft, assuming there were any.

According to a February 15 posting on Groklaw, the new deal may better provide for the "...avoidance of any antitrust worries Microsoft might conceivably face from airing of linen." The Groklaw posting adds the following concerns about the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):

"Suitably insured, assuming they can find an insurance company stupid enough to take on these liabilities, the company will go private and then give its full and aggressive attention to raping and pillaging the FOSS community some more with SCO's bogo lawsuits against Linux. Well, that's how I read it. It is, of course, at least in part also a shot across the bow of IBM. Still not interested in settling, the MOU fairly screams?"

But SCO doesn't actually have a $100M "War chest" from its new partners. It's really a $5 million dollar deal with a $95 million line-of-credit, subject to due diligence and discovery by the lenders. And the 'credit' comes at a high interest rate.

Jim Zemlin, the president of the Linux Foundation, puts down the financial threat more succinctly:

"The terms of the proposal are publicly available with the court, and what they show is that SCO would receive only $5 million dollars in cash - the rest could only be drawn down at an exorbitant rate of more than 17%. Not a very efficient cost of capital..."

And if Novell and IBM prevail in court, SCO will owe a lot more than that.

See Groklaw on the MOU: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080215072706542
Also see: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8UQEJBO1.htm

HP Promotes Open Source Software Governance

In an announcement regarding FOSSology and FOSSBazaar, HP will help companies address the legal, financial and security risks faced when adopting free and open source software (FOSS). To help enterprise customers mitigate these kinds of risks and realize the full business benefits of free and open source software, HP has introduced FOSSology and FOSSBazaar - the industry's first open source initiatives dedicated to these goals.

FOSSology is based on the tools HP uses to effectively manage its own use of free and open source software. It is designed to help users address deployment issues such as the acquisition, tracking and licensing of FOSS. This toolset is free and downloadable from FOSSology.org for immediate use under the General Public License (GPL) version two.

FOSSBazaar makes HP's expertise freely available to the software community as part of a collaborative effort with industry-leading software vendors and the Linux Foundation. Coverity, DLA Piper, Google, Novell, Olliance Group, OpenLogic and SourceForge have joined HP to offer online resources, educational documentation and community interaction to address FOSS business issues and promote best FOSS governance practices.

INTEL Spearheads Fibre Channel over Ethernet

Intel has released a developer software initiator kit to create Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) solutions for the Linux. FCoE is a specification proposed by Cisco that will allow Fibre Channel SAN traffic to run over Ethernet. Consolidating LAN and SAN traffic onto a single fabric can simplify network infrastructure and reduce data center costs.

As part of the package, Intel has included a target simulator, so Linux developers can test and modify the FCoE software stack. Open-FCoE.org is open to all FCoE developers for source code download, code contribution and feedback. (Click here to see a diagram.)

Layers above FC-2 remain unchanged so the same FC fabric and traffic management are used to link existing SAN switches.

Intel is leading the Ethernet Enhancements efforts in the IEEE Intel to create a lossless Ethernet fabric. Intel expects that FCoE will be quickly become an industry standard for network storage.

Jordan Plawner, Intel Storage Product Planner, told the Linux Gazette: "We are taking Fibre Channel and putting it on top of an Ethernet transport so the server and target only see Fibre Channel. Our approach is very evolutionary, not revolutionary, and makes for a nice deployment."

All major Linux distros have iSCSI initiators. Intel wants all OS's in the future to ship with a stack that supports both iSCSI and FCoE.

"Server virtualization, database growth and compliance requirements have created a greater need for network storage," said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manger of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. "FCoE makes it easier and less expensive to connect servers to the SAN. ... We expect the Open Source community to use this initiator stack to create reliable, standards-based FCoE solutions for their customers."

The FCoE software package is now available for download at http://www.Open-FCoE.org and can be modified according to the terms of the GPLv2 license. The FCoE specification is expected to be completed in 2008.


Software Development West 2008
March 3 - 7, Santa Clara, CA

O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2008
March 3 - 6, Marriott Marina, San Diego, CA

Sun Tech Days
March 4 - 6, Sydney, Australia

CeBIT 2008
March 4 - 9, Hannover, Germany

DISKCON Asia Pacific
March 5 - 7, Orchid Country Club, Singapore
Contact: pslim@idema.org

Data Protection Summit
March 16-21, Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT

Novell BrainShare 2008
March 16 - 21, Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT
(Early-bird discount price deadline: February 15, 2008)

EclipseCon 2008
March 17 - 20, Santa Clara, CA
($1295 until Feb 14, higher at the door; 15% discount for alumni and Eclipse members)

AjaxWorld East 2008
March 19 - 20, New York, NY

March 25 - 26, Santa Clara, CA

MDM Summit 2008
March 30 - April 1, San Francisco, CA

MuleCon 2008
April 1 - 2, San Francisco, CA

Sun Tech Days
April 4 - 6, St. Petersburg, Russia

RSA Conference 2008
April 7 - 11, San Francisco, CA
(save up to $700 before January 11, 2008)

2008 Scrum Gathering
April 14 - 16, Chicago, IL

MySQL Conference and Expo
April 14 - 17, Santa Clara, CA

Web 2.0 Expo
April 22 - 25, San Francisco, CA

Interop Las Vegas - 2008
April 27 - May 2, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

JavaOne 2008
May 6 - 9, San Francisco, CA

May 13 - 15, Chicago, IL
Free Expo Pass Code: EM1

Forrester's IT Forum 2008
May 20 - 23, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

DC PHP Conference & Expo 2008
June 2 - 4, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Symantec Vision 2008
June 9 - 12, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

Red Hat Summit 2008
June 18 - 20, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World 2008
July 21 - 24, Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL

Linuxworld Conference
August 4 - 7, San Francisco, CA


PostgreSQL 8.3 released

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group has released version 8.3 which includes a number of new and improved features that will enhance PostgreSQL for application designers, database admins, and users with more than 280 patches created by PostgreSQL contributors from 18 countries.

There is also SSPI GSSAPI support.

For more information and case studies, please visit the 'On the Record' blog at http://blogs.sun.com/ontherecord/entry/hot_off_the_presses_postgresql

Firefox 3 Beta 3 available for download

Firefox 3 Beta 3 is available for download. This is the eleventh developer milestone, which focused on testing the core functionality and the many new features and changes to the platform scheduled for Firefox 3. Ongoing planning for Firefox 3 can be followed at the Firefox 3 Planning Center, as well as at http://mozilla.dev.planning and on irc.mozilla.org in #granparadiso.

New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include:

(You can find out more about all of these features in the "What's New" section of the release notes.)

Mozilla Messaging also launched

Mozilla Messaging is a new mail-focused subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. The initial focus for Mozilla Messaging is the development of Thunderbird 3 which will deliver significant improvements, including integrated calendaring, better search and enhancements to the overall user experience. Thunderbird is a free, open source email application that is used by millions of people around the world and is built using the same open source development model as Firefox.

For more information about the Mozilla Messaging launch, see the press release.


Sun to Acquire VirtualBox Developer innotek

Sun Microsystems has announced that it will purchase innotek, the provider of the open source virtualization software called VirtualBox. By enabling developers to more efficiently build, test, and run applications on multiple platforms, VirtualBox will extend the Sun xVM platform onto the desktop and strengthen Sun's leadership in the virtualization market.

With over four million downloads since January 2007, innotek's open source VirtualBox product has been established as a leading developer desktop virtualization platform. VirtualBox enables desktop or laptop PCs running the Windows, Linux, Mac, or Solaris operating systems to run multiple operating systems side-by-side, switching between them with just a click of the mouse.

"VirtualBox provides Sun with the perfect complement to our recently announced Sun xVM Server product," said Rich Green, executive vice president, Sun Software. "Where Sun xVM Server is designed to enable dynamic IT at the heart of the datacenter, VirtualBox is ideal for any laptop or desktop environment and will align perfectly with Sun's other developer focused assets such as GlassFish, OpenSolaris, OpenJDK and soon MySQL as well as a wide range of community open source projects, enabling developers to quickly develop, test, and deploy the next generation of applications."

VirtualBox is open source, and can be freely downloaded without the hassle of payment or frustrating license keys at http://virtualbox.org or http://openxvm.org. The download is less than 20 megabytes and is easily installed on any modern x86 architecture laptop or desktop system running Windows, Linux, Mac, or Solaris operating systems. Supported guest operating systems include all versions of Windows from 3.1 to Vista, Linux 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6 kernels, Solaris x86, OS/2, Netware, and DOS.

The Sun xVM family of products integrates virtualization and management to help customers better manage both physical and virtualized assets across heterogeneous environments. Previously announced products in the Sun xVM line include Sun xVM Server and Sun xVM OpsCenter. Sun xVM Server is a datacenter grade, bare-metal virtualization engine that can consolidate Windows, Linux and Solaris operating system instances. Sun xVM Ops Center is a unified management infrastructure for both physical and virtual assets in the datacenter. More information about Sun xVM solutions can be found at http://www.sun.com/xvm.

VMware Adds Virtualization Offerings with Acquisition of Thinstall, Foedus

VMware will acquire Thinstall, an application virtualization software company in San Francisco. VMware is acquiring Thinstall to expand its desktop virtualization capabilities to better provision, deploy, and update desktop environments.

Thinstall decouples applications from underlying operating systems, improving isolation and portability for applications across desktop environments. Thinstall's agentless approach to application virtualization requires no pre-installed software on physical or virtual PCs and no new deployment infrastructure or management tools. Thinstall's architecture integrates into existing application management systems to deliver virtualized applications across a variety of operating system versions and enables applications to move with users as needed. Thinstall significantly decreases the time to value of a software application and reduces the overhead of costly integrations. For more information about Thinstall please visit http://www.vmware.com/go/Thinstall.

VMware also will acquire services-related assets from Foedus. VMware intends to leverage Foedus' application and desktop virtualization services expertise to help VMware partners.

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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 © 2008, 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 148 of Linux Gazette, March 2008