Enterprise Unix Roundup: In Search of Tux Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted May 26, 2005

Main     In Other News     Recent Updates     Tips of the Trade

In Other News

» Friends of the Open Source community come in all sizes. Yesterday at the LinuxWorld Summit, one came in the shape of a handheld device from Finnish mobile giant Nokia.

The $350 Nokia 770 Internet Tablet offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, boasts an 800x480 zooming display, and — most interesting to us — is based on Linux.

Speaking to conference attendees, Nokia's Ari Jaaksi, answered the "Why open source?" question in a way sure to satisfy both Nokia brass and the Linux community.

"Nokia is a product company," Jaaksi said, "[it's] not that we wanted to implement something with Linux." The 770 is more PC than phone (VoIP capabilities are only promised), which is why Linux made sense. "We are talking about a computer and taking advantage of what's happening in the IT world. We wanted to avoid the fragmented and still maturing embedded Linux world."

But Jaaksi said Linux was the best way to achieve its design goals of providing a high quality Internet experience, connectivity, and openness to developers.

Nokia also announced the maemo development platform to create applications for the 770 (and other devices in the future).

"What we have done will be contributed to the open source community. We are hoping developers with take it and improve it," Jaaski said.

The significance of moving away from its well-known Symbian operating system to the GPL'd architecture is not lost on Jaaski and Nokia. "We now share the cost and the results with the Open Source community." It's an important to give as well as take, he said. If you don't give back, "nobody wants to play with you."

Anticipating intellectual property questions, Jaaksi said Nokia will allow all of its patents to be used in the future development of the Linux kernel. "We will not use patents against the Linux kernel. We invite others to do the same."

» The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) announced a few layoffs this week. In addition to providing high-end hardware for Linux coders and generating specifications for HPC and carrier-grade Linux implementations, OSDL employs Linus Torvalds, who escaped the axe. Phew.

» Novell's still waiting around for its Linux investments to pay off. Its quarterly earnings, released on Wednesday, indicate NetWare sales are declining more quickly than the company intended. Linux sales, driven by its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, are slow: 19,000 units. In all, sagging Netware and slow SUSE sales exacted $16 million in losses for first-quarter 2005. The company's stock took a 7.5 percent hit on the news, down 44 percent from its 52-week high.

» Covalent released version 3.0 of Enterprise Ready Server (ERS), its Web infrastructure stack that includes Apache and the Tomcat app server.

Recent Updates

  • POP3 server qpopper has been found to contain two vulnerabilities that could allow arbitrary files to be created as the root user or create world-readable/world-writeable files. Patches are in from Debian and Gentoo.

  • Mail server Communigate Pro was upgraded to version 4.3.2. Several minor bugfixes are included in the new version.

  • On the heels of the release of OS X ("Tiger") 10.4.1, Apple released yet another update to its server OS. The release includes patches to OpenServe, Apple File Server, mail services, and the Software Update Server.

  • OpenSSH 4.1 has been released. The new version is primarily a collection of bugfixes. At press time, the mirrors hadn't caught up to the release announcement.

Tips of the Trade

If you're looking for a sophisticated network and system monitor with excellent customizable alerting, reporting, graphing, and mapping, look no farther than ZABBIX. ZABBIX rivals expensive commercial offerings for features, but is licensed under the GPL and free of cost.

ZABBIX uses both passive and active monitoring, and supports monitoring devices via SNMP. Data is stored in a database backend, either MySQL or PostgreSQL. It comes with a well-organized Web-based administration interface that requires Apache and PHP. It uses the Web interface well — the default network map provides an instant snapshot of network health, and graphs enable a quick zoom-in on trouble spots. Maps and graphs are completely customizable.

ZABBIX' greatest strength is its alerting capabilities. Alerts can be sent via e-mail, pager, or to any SMS-capable phone or fax machine. It even supports sending alerts to WinPopUps. Alert triggers can be as sensitive as necessary, and can be configured on any monitoring function. Because ZABBIX can monitor so many different services and system functions, you can set it to alert you before a problem becomes a show-stopping crisis. ZABBIX can also monitor disk space, CPU temperature, bandwidth usage, server load, server availability, and server response times.

ZABBIX is similar to Nagios, but is simpler to use and has a Web-based interface, which Nagio lacks. Visit zabbix.com for downloads and howtos.

Carla Schroder writes the Tips of the Trade section of Enterprise Unix Roundup. She also appears on Enterprise Networking Planet and Linux Planet, covering Linux from the desktop to the server room, and is the author of the Linux Cookbook.

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