How would you like to run several operating systems at once on the same physical hardware with virtually no performance overhead - and for free? That's the promise and the purpose of Xen, a relatively new open source project that turns one piece of hardware into many, virtually. If you're looking to cut costs or maximize usage or both, follow the path to Xen.
Whatever the size of your project, the chore of managing issues - bugs, feature requests, even programming assignments - can be aided by a good issue tracking system (ITS). One of the newest tracking systems is Scarab. Easy-to-install, easy-to-use, and built to be customized, Scarab may give scaly, old Bugzilla the boot.
Last month, I expressed boredom with the personal computer. Beyond gigahertz, gigabytes, and wireless, I complained, personal computers sold today look and feel a lot like those sold ten years ago. Of course, that's not entirely true.
It's a coincidence that last month's "On the Docket" discussed the dangers of software patents just as a troubling headline appeared: according to an exhaustive study by the Public Patent Foundation (http://www.pubpat.org), the Linux kernel infringes 283 patents. Although that news seems dire, having this information in hand is a good thing for at least two reasons.
I've started to have a sort of love-hate relationship with Fedora. On the one hand, I like the fact that the Fedora Project keeps their distribution constantly up-to-date, making all of the latest and greatest advancements in KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice.org, and so on available to me. On the other hand, Fedora can sometimes be as stable as Anne Heche strung out on peyote.
Last month's "Tech Support" showed how to monitor resource utilization with Cacti. This month, let's use vmstat to track down any bottlenecks that Cacti might have found. Part of the procps package (which contains many other useful utilities such as ps, top, w, and kill), vmstat reports statistical information about process status, memory consumption, paging activity, block I/O operations, interrupts, context switches, and processor usage. vmstat is available from http://procps.sourceforge.net and is licensed under the GPL. While you can download and install the latest version of procps, it's a standard set of utilities found in almost every Linux install.
A year ago, the November 2003 "Power Tools" column (available online at http://www.linux-mag.com/2003-11/power_01.html) looked into some lesser-known tools for editing text: the line editors ex and ed, and the stream editor sed. This month, let's dig deeper and see some uses for the almost-unknown utility dd -- which has many more uses than just reading data from magnetic tapes (one of its most common uses in years past). On the way, we'll touch upon the better-known editing utilities head and tail, the "octal dump" utility od, the /dev/random device, and more.
This month and next, we'll look at the most significant addition to MySQL 4.1: native clustering. This month, let's start with an overview of the new clustering technology, see how it's been integrated into MySQL, and understand the benefits it provides. Next month, we'll cover the steps necessary to get a cluster up and running.
Backing up data isn't exactly exciting, but like washing laundry, everyone needs to do it. On Linux, you can back up your files using an almost-bewildering array of choices, from self-composed shell scripts, to expensive software packages. But how about a simple, open source, easy-to-use, set-up-and-fuggedaboutit tool?Konserve is a small backup utility that lives in the KDE 3.x system tray, and it makes backups so easy, so automatic, that you'll probably forget all about it... until you desperately need that file you accidentally deleted.
Managing packages can be a tricky undertaking, even with package tools like the RPM Package Manager (RPM), the package management tool used by Conectiva, Fedora, Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, Yellow Dog, and many other distributions. With RPM, you may try to install a package, only to find that it depends on others you don't have. Or, you might discover that your packages are several versions out of date and then have to track down and install potentially dozens of updates to fix security and other problems with the old packages.
Believe it or not, IT departments shudder at the words "Let's deploy Exchange." Although Microsoft's email server is virtually ubiquitous, that doesn't mean it's popular with those that have to manage it. So before your boss writes a hefty check for Exchange and sentences you to countless hours of hard labor, speak up and suggest one of the many open source substitutes that are just as robust as Exchange -- and are free!The Horde Project is one of those alternatives. It's constantly refined, is widely deployed within small organizations and Fortune 500 companies alike, and has an active support network via mailing lists and support archives.
In the previous three articles, I introduced my templating system of choice, the Template Toolkit (TT). Since those articles were intended as overviews, I didn't have much space to go into meaty examples. So, in this article, I'll look at how I'm using TT every day to help me manage the Stonehenge Consulting web site (http://www.stonehenge.com).
Last month, I talked a bit about mod_perl, and how I used it extensively on my web server. But I was reminded by a few of my reviewers that I've yet to provide a good overview of mod_perl in any of my columns! Time to fix that.
One of the classic indicators of the maturity of any software platform is the existence of enterprise-caliber administrative software. Companies such as Tivoli, now an IBM subsidiary, Computer Associates, and many others have made this space their bread and butter. Xandros, purveyors of fine Xandros Linux distributions for home and business use, recently introduced their Xandros Desktop Management Server (xDMS) software to fill exactly this need for Xandros Linux users and administrators.
The race is on at sqlite.org where they conduct a series of speed tests for Linux databses using SQLite 2.7.6, PostgreSQL 7.1.3, and MySQL 3.23.41. SQLite finish[es] first, MySQL is the runner up, with PostgreSQL trailing the pack.
Cafe au Lait reports that "Sun has unilaterally revoked the FreeBSD Foundation's Java license, and now can't seem to be bothered to negotiate a new license with them."
Attorney Paul Arne writes the Open Source Law Blog, designed to make visitors aware of developments in the law and business of open source software. Arne is a rare bird: an attorney who can actually string together a few sentences that don't induce sound sleep in the reader. In fact, Arne has taken some issues regarding the GPL, copyright, and software patents, and made these sometimes complex topics engaging, fun, and easier to understand, all while bringing out important nuances.
Norway's Opera Software has released the beta for its next-generation Web browser to Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD.
The embedded-systems specialist Wind River has published the embedded Linux distribution Wind River Platform for Network Equipment, which among other areas of application is designed for use in telephone exchanges or with network equipment. It implements the Carrier-Grade-Linux specifications of the OSDL and is based on a Linux Kernel of the 2.6 series. Whilst taking the Enterprise Linux of Wind-River's partner Red Hat as its foundation the development platform comes with the Eclipse-based Wind-River IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
You might think of Gentoo as a bleeding-edge distribution for development workstations, but the simple packaging system can make it a good choice for any production system that needs to stay up to date.