Enterprise Unix Roundup: Larry Wants Some Linux Page 2
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» While all of the will-they/won't-they hoopla was going on between Oracle and Novell, another business-technology skirmish was happening almost unnoticed by the enterprise community. Curiously, Oracle was involved in this matter, too.
Last year, Oracle decided it would be a good idea to purchase the Finnish company Innobase Oy, which makes, among other things, the main storage engine, InnoDB, used by the very popular MySQL database. At the time, many in the community speculated that this was either a precursor for Oracle to buy MySQL outright or control the open-source company's destiny through InnoDB. Apparently, MySQL wasn't an acquisition target, and MySQL had no truck with being under Oracle's technical shadow because this week it announced its own partnership with Solid Information Technology, which has its own open source storage engine.
This may not, at the surface, seem like a big deal. What's the impact of switching storage engines? For MySQL, plenty. As we wrote on the first page of this week's Roundup, there is plenty of reason to think that Oracle is the 800-lb. gorilla throwing its weight around the enterprise space. It would be in any company's best interest to get the heck out of Oracle's way right now, as Larry Ellison goes through whatever phase he's in. We're happy about the move from the simple standpoint of market diversity. It's nice to have more than one viable database player on the block.
» A little backstory on Asianux, the Linux consortium referenced in Main. This week, three East Asian companies announced a joint venture to create a new enterprise-level Linux distro.
You read that right. Asianux. The same Asianux that Oracle has a stake in. And, in case you're wondering why this sounds familiar, it's because Asianux was originally announced in 2004 by the same companies: China's Red Flag Software Co., Japan's Miracle Linux Corp, South Korea's Haansoft Inc. And in the two years of intervening time, Asianux has managed to get releases out to Asianux 2.0. So why the big announcement, again? As near as we can tell, while Asianux has been technically developed since 2004, the marketing and sales channels had not been formalized between the companies in the joint venture. Now, it seems, the relationships have been agreed on. So, with 2.0 product in hand, Asianux is ready to play in the enterprise leagues. Hopefully it won't suffer the same fate as UnitedLinux. Or UserLinux.
» According to Kaspersky Labs, there are an estimated 500 Linux viruses, none of them in the wild. If that sounds like a lot, remember that there are tens of thousands of Windows viruses out there, and many of them are in the wild. This week it was announced that a new cross-platform proof of concept virus that could potentially infect Windows and Linux machines was created. Naturally, we were skeptical. Others were, too. In fact, after some testing of the virus, it was discovered that it wouldn't even work on later versions of Linux, due to a bug in the Linux kernel itself.
So, thanks to a proof-of-concept virus, kernel uber-guru Linus Torvalds was able to find said bug and fix it. Does this mean Linus paved the way for this virus to work? Hardly. There are so many things a Linux user would have to do wrong to let this virus actually run loose on his systems, he'd have a better chance of winning the lottery. But we did enjoy the irony of how yet another attempt by the anti-virus companies to demonstrate Linux's alleged vulnerabilities actually ended up improving the operating system. Better luck next time, guys.
» Also in the realm of the slightly silly, open source guru Bruce Perens has launched a campaign to help right a serious injustice in the world of Web servers: domain parking abuse. A couple of weeks ago, domain provider GoDaddy announced it would be shifting all of its parked domains from Apache to IIS servers. Predictably, this changed the balance of power on the Web server numbers: by a percentage point or two.
Perens, who has accused Microsoft of paying GoDaddy to shift the parked domains to Window-based servers, has started OpenSourceParking.com, where domain registrars and owners can park their own unused domains on shiny Linux/Apache boxes, thus countering the evil threat posed on the Web surveys of the world.
While we are loathe to recommend to anyone to use IIS, we have to wonder if this is really a cause worth fighting for. Domain parking is not something that ranks high on the list of inequities, especially when Apache is still averaging in the high 60s, percentage-wise, on the Web server surveys.
Elsewhere in the Corral
Recent relevant articles about enterprise Unix
- If your laptop computer is a complement to your desktop machine, you're probably well aware of the need to synchronize data between the two. This article from LinuxPlanet will show you two ways to accomplish this on GNU/Linux-based machines.
- Users aren't always the most cooperative when it comes to your carefully designed Web proxies. Here's how to give Squid's tentacles a firmer grip.
Tips of the Trade
One of the most fun and useful aspects of Linux is it supports more hardware platforms than any other operating system. IA32, IA64, Sparc, PPC, Alpha, ARM, HPPA, MIPS, and gosh knows how many more. This gives the hardworking system or networking administrator unparalleled flexibility. You may repurpose or cannibalize old hardware, or spec out new hardware exactly as you like.
This holds true at both ends of the scale, both large and small. Today, we'll take a look at the tiny end of things. Here, we have single-board computers, Mini-ITX, and Small Form Factor. Here a few examples to look. While these have my personal stamp of approval, we're not recommending them over other devices because there are so many good ones. This is just to give you an idea of the possibilities.
This makes a dandy router, firewall, or wireless access point. It has two 10/100 Ethernet ports, 64 Mbyte SDRAM, and is powered by a 133Mhz 486 processor. Data storage is handled by attaching a CompactFLASH card to the onboard Type I/II socket. The two mini-PCI type III sockets and two PC-Card/Cardbus slots mean many expansion and customization possibilities. These little boards are tough, quiet, and low-power.
is very popular and has inspired an amazing amount of creating case modding. These are more powerful and typically include onboard multimedia and use laptop hard drives, which makes them suitable for thin clients, basic PCs, multimedia controllers, and more powerful firewall/gateway devices.
"Small Form Factor" is a catch-all term that usually refers to a stylish cube, like the popular Shuttle systems. These hold beefier power supplies and CPUs, like dual-core Athlon 64, so you can do some serious work with them while looking elegant.
You have a huge range of choices in vendors and hardware options, so it pays to shop around. Combine these with Linux, and you can to build and customize devices exactly to your specifications, and possibly save some money as well. So the next time your friendly "network appliance" salesman pays you a visit, you can tell him you don't need his closed, proprietary, inflexible box with its bale of expensive software licenses because you already have everything you need.
Carla Schroder writes the Tips of the Trade section of Enterprise Unix Roundup. She also appears on Enterprise Networking Planet and VoIP Planet. She is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the upcoming "Linux Networking Cookbook."
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