Enterprise Unix Roundup: Red Hat Awakens Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Aug 12, 2005

Main     In Other News     Recent Updates     Tips of the Trade

In Other News

» It was also a busy week for Novell. In addition to going public with its plans for Open SUSE (which we touched on last week and plan to revisit some time soon) the distro vendor announced a number of partnerships to grow its presence in the enterprise Linux space.

Market Start is part of Novell's effort to push Linux and open source applications by supporting the project or a specific vendor's efforts to market and sell their software. Novell signed six new partnerships under Market Start, with: Astaro, GroundWork, InsynQ, Lumen Software, Pentaho, and SugarCRM. Novell also expanded its agreement with professional open source vendor MySQL AB, which hosts the MySQL open source database. Going forward, Novell will directly resell MySQL support services.

Novell is also laying claim to being the leader in the China Linux market. According to data from IDC's China Linux Market Analysis, 1H2005, Novell leads the Chinese Linux industry in revenue with a 32.9 percent market share and in units shipped with a 30 percent share.

However, an IDC report released in April, "China Linux 2005-2009 Forecast and Analysis," awarded the top spot to Turbolinux, which had a 62 percent market share based on server revenue in 2004. The report also named Red Flag Linux leader based on client operating environments.

» The OSDL announced the creation of a new patent commons project in the hopes of freeing developers from worrying about whether their efforts violate patent holder IP rights, the group's CEO said Tuesday. Initially, the project will consist of a library (which will house indemnification plans from Novell, HP, and JBoss) and database to aggregate the patent pledges made by companies in the past. Future plans include encouraging developers and providing them the resources to patent their ideas.

» VMware gave a nod to open source this week when it went public with the fact that it is working with a number of companies, including AMD, Cisco, Computer Associates, Dell, IBM, Intel, Novell and Red Hat, to advance open virtualization standards. VMware plans to provide its partners access to its ESX Server source code and interfaces under the VMware Community Source program.

The vendor also inked a deal with Sun Microsystems, whereby Sun will resell VMware ESX Server, VMware GSX Server, and VMware Workstation to customers that purchase Sun Fire x64 servers or workstations from Sun, with the option of adding the virtualization software to their systems.

» In a move that's sure to woo droves of Linux users to the OpenServer community, SCO CEO Darl McBride issued the proclamation, "Long Live UNIX: An Open Letter from Darl McBride, President and CEO, The SCO Group" to coincide with this week's SCO Forum. A smart move, as we suspect the letter got more press than the conference.

» Opsware bolstered its Server Automation Suite with the release shell technology that makes it possible to for administrators to seamlessly navigate between Linux, Unix, and Windows systems via their shell of choice. The main piece of the tool sits at the virtual file system level of any server on the network, while an agent sits on every server on the network, Opsware CTO, Tim Howes, told ServerWatch. It will be included in the next SAS upgrade and part of the product going forward.

Recent Updates

  • Mail server SurgeMail was updated to version 3.5b2. The new version includes several bugfixes.

  • The Sun Java Application Server was updated to version 8.1 2005Q2 UR2. The changelog lists a number of enhancements to the interface, and the addition of command line tools.

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was updated to version 9.3. The changelog lists several bugfixes.

  • A number of distributors have announced updates to software that deals with PDF documents, including the CUPS printing system and common PDF viewer applications. Ubuntu has patched kpdf and xpdf; Red Hat has patched xpdf and kdegraphics as well as CUPS; the GNOME Project has made a general announcement of problems with gpdf and tells users "Don't open untrusted PDF documents"; and the KDE Project has issued a similar advisory. In all cases, the vulnerability can be used to create a denial of service attack. It looks like some common code shared among a number of PDF-related software is involved, so look for more advisories as the distributors sort it out.

Tips of the Trade

Dig deep enough an a Free or Open Source utility is out there for just about any task. What about monitoring the configurations of network devices like routers, switches, and MUXes? What happens if you have a major outage, or one of your co-workers goes nuts and overhauls everything the wrong way? Sure, you can restore everything the hard way, one by one.

Or, you can use RANCID, the Really Awesome New Cisco confIg Differ, to record network device configurations, keep a history of changes, and alert you to changes.

RANCID is used to monitor Cisco routers, Juniper routers, Catalyst switches, Foundry switches, Redback NASs, ADC EZT3 MUXes, MRTd, Alteon switches, HP Procurve switches and a host of others. It logs each device into a router table file, then e-mails differences to whomever is chosen to receive them. RANCID uses a Concurrent Versioning System (CVS) backend for tracking changes efficiently. This also lets you roll back to earlier configurations by retrieving them from CVS. It's not an automatic process; you have to fetch and restore the files manually. But the upshot is you get a copy of every configuration file at every step in its lifetime.

A nice bonus is RANCID includes a looking-glass, or routing table mirror for exploring your network and monitoring changes in real time. (See caida.org for more information about looking-glasses.)

RANCID runs on Linux, Unix, the BSDs, Solaris, and other Unix-like systems. You can build it from sources, and Debian users will find it the Net section of the non-Free archives. (The license is actually quite liberal, but Debian puts it in the non-Free archives because it restricts commercial usage.) Visit RANCID for downloads and more information.

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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