March 2007


One of my running themes for presentations and customer visits is always the topic of Virtualization, ie: taking the resources of one system and running multiple instances of various operating systems in virtual machines on that system.  I am constantly looking for success stories and documentation that will help techies convince the bosses, bosses convince the board and for our team to keep up with advances on the topic in all areas, not just the customers we have here in the East Region.

I found a great IBM site that has the greatest concentration of System Z success stories I’ve seen so far, broken out into the industry areas and vertical markets.  If you can’t find the numbers you need to make a point on this site, contact us or leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help you evaluate and plan where you can use Virtualization on any platform.

Chalk up another positive review for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.  (Are you noticing a trend yet??  😉  This time, CRN pits 4 of the top Linux desktop contenders against each other in a Bake-off.  You can check out the SLED 10 review here or read the entire article from the beginning here.

Here were the final standings…

  1. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
  2. Xandros 4 Professional
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 5.0
  4. Linspire Five-O

We blogged a few weeks ago (here, here and here) that Dell was taking input from the community and that the number 1 request was support for Linux on their PCs.  Well it appears that we’re getting closer to some kind of annoucement or news from the Dell camp about what that might be exactly…

Check out this blog entry that Dell is going to expand Linux Factory Installed Options, and a more detailed Dell techie blog entry.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my virtual eyes peeled…

The Linux Foundation was created by combining the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG) in early 2007.  The Foundation employs Linus Torvalds (creator of the Linux kernel) and is supported by numerous organizations interested in open source adoption.  This article in InfoWorld tells who the new board members are, including Markus Rex of Novell.

You can also read this Tech World News article which describes each of the board members, or you can simply check out the posting on the Linux Foundation’s website.

If you weren’t at BrainShare, and you’re a fan of those infamous Mac commercials, you’ve got to check out the three Novell takes on those: http://www.novell.com/linux/meetlinux/

In order for your machines to PXE boot into the KIWI Build System you need to create a specially made initrd and Linux kernel. To create these files we will utilize Kiwi in similar fashion to the way we build Kiwi images.

Make sure that you have kiwi-desc-netboot-1.20-21.1.i586.rpm installed. This package can be downloaded from here:

http://software.opensuse.org/download/openSUSE:/Tools/SUSE_Linux_10.1/i586/

Enter:

kiwi -p /usr/share/kiwi/image/netboot-suse-SLE10

 

(‘-p’ tells kiwi to prepare a directory. By default all prepared directories will put in /tmp. Prepared directories will be named kiwi.<random> where <random> is some random string. This is the physical extend.)

 

Now we need to create a binary from the directory we just prepared. We will also use KIWI to do this. Enter:

kiwi -c /tmp/kiwi.<random> -d /tmp

 

(where kiwi.<random> is the name of the directory you just prepared. The -c option tells kiwi to create the logical extend. -d tells kiwi where to put the binary(s) you’re about to create.)

 

This will create 3 files in /tmp that look something like this:

initrd-netboot.i686.gz

initrd-netboot.i686.kernel.2.6-default

initrd-netboot.i686.md5

 

The one ending in .gz is your initrd. move it to /tftboot and rename it to initrd.

The one with kernel in the name is your kernel. Move it to /tftboot and rename it to linux.

 

Get pxelinux.0 from /usr/share/syslinux/pxelinux.0 on a running system and put it in /tftboot.

 

For a number of years Microsoft has been working hard to put Novell’s Groupwise and IBM’s Lotus Domino systems on the back burner, with a certain amount of success.  Now it seems that the main threat to Microsoft’s dominance might be Open Source-based email systems, ie: those that are completely open code and enhanceable by anyone.

Yankee Group has a report coming up in April, “2007 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Survey” which queries nearly 1,000 CXO and IT Manager types shows a coming storm for the Big M.  Over 23% of those surveyed indicated they are going to be migrating from MS Exchange to Open Source and Linux-based solutions.  This will be taking place over the next 12-18 months, and apparently the main reason is that Linux and Open Source packages are less expensive and easier to manage.

Some other interesting numbers stand out from this survey, such as 65% of those surveyed are currently MS Exchange customers, with the other third being fairly evenly split amongst Lotus Domino, Novell Groupwise with a number of smaller players bringing up the rear.  Only 19% of the current MS Exchange customers indicated they would be upgrading to the next version of Exchange within the first 12 months of Exchange 2007’s release.  Apparently it’s becoming clear that Linux and Open Source email solutions have grown up enough to cause those who find Exchange too expensive in cost, management and complexity to look elsewhere.

Anyone among our readership who is considering the switch?  If so, post a comment and start a conversation!

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