Enterprise Unix Roundup: Apple's Hysteria Induction Field Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Jun 9, 2005


Main     In Other News     Recent Updates     Tips of the Trade

In Other News

» As planned, albeit still somewhat surprisingly, Debian GNU/Linux 3.1, code-named Sarge, went gold early this week. Three years of development sowed support for 11 chip architectures, a new installer and a host of features. Three years may not have been long enough, however, as within 24 hours a bug was found. Incorrect release files on the images will prevent security updates from being received by default. Details on how to correct the error have been posted to the Debian announcement list, and the bug has been corrected in the downloadable version. Corrected CDs and DVDs have yet to be cut, however. Special thanks to Debian Planet for posting the direct link to the announcement list.

» Rumor has it that Novell may be seeking to remedy second-quarter losses with some thinning of the troops in Europe. Linux Today reports that the company may be planning significant staff cutbacks, likely in its European offices. Non-SUSE divisions in Europe have been asked to cut back, as well. As of press time, Novell would not comment on the matter.

» Red Hat wrapped up last week's user conference in New Orleans by "freeing" its Fedora community Linux project. Going forward, the Fedora Foundation will manage the Fedora Project, including all copyright ownership of contributed code and development work. Red Hat plans to continue offering "substantial" engineering and financial support to the project. So much for the happy-feely Fedora-feeding-the-enterprise-version model.

»Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz has been prolific in his blogging this week. On Sunday, he oh-so helpfully suggested Steve Jobs consider adopting Solaris 10 as the OS of choice for next generation Macs. Then, on Monday, he explained in great detail why the StorageTek acquisition was a brilliant move for Sun. The president doth protest too much, we think.

» But fear not, Sun has at least one loyal follower. Seeking, "a messaging system of biblical proportions," the Vatican picked the system's vendor to build such an infrastructure, having migrated its servers from HP-UX during the stepped-up activity that occurred following John Paul II's death and the subsequent election of Benedict XVI. The Holy See purchased a collection of UltraSPARC-based servers running the Solaris, some storage, and Sun's Messaging and Directory Servers.

Recent Updates

  • Less than a month after rolling out versions 3.9 and 3.9.1, CrushFTP Server has been updated to version 3.9.2. The new release "Fixed timer for update check to be every week instead of every 10 minutes." Your network admin will thank you.

  • Caching proxy server Squid was updated to version 2.5.STABLE10. The update consists of various bug fixes and minor enhancements.

  • Apple released Security Update 2005-006, which fixes a number of vulnerabilities, including some found in its VPN, launchd, PHP, and NFS services.

  • A local denial of service vulnerability in the Linux kernel affecting several releases has been identified and patched by a few distributions, including Ubuntu (patching kernel 2.6.8.1), Red Hat (patching kernel 2.6.9), and SUSE (patching kernel 2.6.11.4). Security firm Secunia rates the flaw "less critical."

  • Sun has a patch for a privilege escalation bug in Solaris 10's C libraries. The company says Solaris 7, 8, and 9 are unaffected by the bug.

Tips of the Trade

Running virtual machines with a virtual machine monitor like Xen is one way to breathe new life into an old mainframe or mini, or to get your money's worth out of any powerful but under-utilized PC. Each virtual machine can run a separate, independent guest operating system, which effectively isolates each operating system and allows the admin to do all sorts of interesting jobs, such as:

  • Cross-platform software development and testing
  • Hosting services (e.g., Web, mail, and FTP) with users safely being given root accounts
  • Setting up computer labs or classrooms on thin clients
  • Testing networking
  • Hardware consolidation by putting several physical servers onto a single powerful machine

As hardware power continues to outstrip software demands, products like this are extremely useful. Power consumption is lower, you don't need as much physical space, and administration is simplified. No doubt, virtualization will improve and expand until even desktop PCs use it routinely.

VMWare and User-Mode Linux (UML) are the most popular virtual machine programs. VMWare lets you run Windows on Linux and consolidate many operating systems on a single machine; UML is only for running multiple Linux instances. Currently, Xen supports only Linux and NetBSD, so it's not a VMWare replacement — yet. It runs on x86 architectures using a P6 processor or better. Plans are in the works to support Windows and more hardware platforms.

Xen is free of cost and is licensed under the GPL. Commercial support is available from Xensource.

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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