OSS News


I’m happy to announce that the OPS East Blog is now the OPS Americas Blog. We’ve moved everything over to:

OPSAMERICAS.COM

We will maintain this site as a historical archive.  This will be the last post on this site.

The blogging team has grown by almost double, so look forward to seeing some very interesting and exciting new areas of articles and howtos on the new blog.

Blog Stats for opseast

In the last year, since January 3rd or so, we have amassed the following stats:

  • Total Views: 81,757
  • Best Day Ever: 3,065
  • Posts: 399
  • Comments: 206
  • Categories: 42

Thanks for a great run for this particular incarnation of the blog, we’re raring to go over at the Americas blog, so come see what’s happening.

Thanks everyone,

RossB

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SUSE Linux Enterprise is designed for the enterprise. Part of what it means to be “Enterprise-ready” is to have “rock solid” components in the distribution which have been fully tested and can be supported. Unstable and unsupportable components/packages just won’t do. BUT… Every now and then, it’s necessary to run “the latest” version of a component of the distribution. Perhaps you have a new application which requires the latest java, or a new development library, etc. So you don’t want to have to wait until that “latest version” of the package gets fully tested and “officially supported”. You’ve got to have that new version now!

You could go to the source and compile your own package for SUSE Linux Enterprise – and while not difficult, it is still kind of a pain – and certainly a turn-off for many a new Linux user. A much better option is to simply visit the openSUSE Build Service and see if your desired package is already being built for SUSE Linux Enterprise. You’ll find builds for SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, -plus- several other Linux distributions as well… Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, … So save some time, and check to see if the package you need has already been built by looking here.

Want more info on the openSUSE Build Service, check out this good overview article and this blog entry. and of course the project site which includes other great info.

We mentioned this in an earlier blog entry, but here’s the official press release:

BEIJING— 06 Nov 2007—  Novell and Dell™ today announced an expansion of Linux offerings with the addition of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 installed on Dell OptiPlex™ 330 and 755 commercial desktop PCs in China. The systems will be available later this year.

This development is part of Dell’s efforts to give customers more choices and to help meet increasing demand for Linux that provides security, dependability and lower TCO. The OptiPlex desktop PCs with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 come with 60 days of telephone software technical support from Novell and a year of hardware support from Dell.

More choice for customers.  It’s a good thing for the industry, and hopefully Dell will become more and more comfortable with a Linux pre-load offering of SLED as a result.  Translation… I’m eager to have them offer something similar in the US too.

MacGyver knew his stuff when it came to building a flame thrower out of popsicle sticks, chewing gum, dental floss and a styrofoam cup — plus he always had that cool Swiss Army knife. But I bet even he wouldn’t have been able to use eight PlayStation 3’s, Linux and some technical hacker-know-how to do some scientific supercomputing. But someone’s done it!

This interesting blog article from ZDnet talks about how a researcher from University of Massachusetts built a very low cost “supercomputer” capable of about 200 GFlops all running on PS3’s. While the Linux distro used wasn’t SUSE Linux Enterprise (it was Yellow Dog Linux)… and while there are several other considerations which keep the PS3 from being the scientific computing platform of choice, it’s definitely another fine example of how flexible Linux can be compared to other OS’s.

So, if you’re looking for an excuse to get approval for a purchase order of equipment for your gaming– er, “supercomputing lab”… look no further.

Will Virtualization Doom Server Sales?

From the article:

The promise behind virtualization has long been that one well-equipped server could do the work of several. So what happens once customers begin following that idea — and buying fewer servers?

That scenario is cause for concern, according to industry analyst Infiniti Research. This week, the firm published a study indicating that server sales will trail off in coming years, and even decline, as virtualization reduces the need for physical hardware.

The company’s TechNavio online research unit released the findings to coincide with the upcoming Storage Expo conference in London next week.

The study suggests that sales will slow to two percent in 2008 — representing a marked decline from the 5.9 percent annual growth rates that fellow market researcher IDC saw in 2006, and the 8.9 percent from a recent Gartner study.

Read the rest of the article.

Yes!  NetWare can be virtualized using Xen on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1.  It’s part of the feature set of Open Enterprise Server 2 — more info:  product home page, audio podcast, Novell CTO blog, press release, workgroup blog

A couple of related news articles

One great thing about the way that OES 2 was designed is that it is simply an add-on to SLES 10.  That means, all the hardware that is officially certified for SLES 10, is now officially certified to run virtualized NetWare (OES 2).  Get a list of the certified hardware on the Novell site here, and don’t forget to check your favorite hardware vendor’s own website for the latest info.

Starting off our new series called Vendor Spotlight is a company that I think is doing some very cool things, ThinFusion Inc. The interview was conducted by phone and included Brandon and Rick Vancleeve

What is ThinFusion?

ThinFusion is the combination of a Linux OS platform running in a thin client environment, while providing access to the majority of Windows-based applications. ThinFusion uses either a thin client OS local, paired to a session on a ThinFusion server, or alternatively allows the use of cross-platform client software to provide secure and very speedy access to the ThinFusion Server session literally from anywhere.

ThinFusion provides a single access point to all the Linux and Windows applications that a user needs. The administrative interface allows for simple drag and drop granting and revoking, in realtime, of access to applications on a group or individual level.

What applications can I run on ThinFusion?

This part is easy…
Since it accesses a Windows Terminal Server for Windows apps you can go to Microsoft’s site and find every supported program out there. You don’t have to go through a giant bug list of “quirks” when running Windows apps in a Linux shell. If it runs in a Terminal Server environment, it runs on ThinFusion.

On the Linux side, since you are in essence just accessing a Linux Desktop you can run all your Linux applications.

Who is ThinFusion Inc?

ThinFusion Inc, is a small company in the Mountains of Montana that have developed ThinFusion to meet the needs of K-12 Schools, Higher Ed, and Small to Medium Businesses. ThinFusion mission statement: Access your classroom from anyplace anytime.

What is a typical customer for ThinFusion?

The typical customer would be a school or business that has a need to control access to applications, reduce administrative and technical support costs and increase the quality of service for its users while maintaining the necessary security and controls.

What is a sample use case of ThinFusion?

A school district with a Laptop lab is an excellent use case for ThinFusion. Typically in this environment the Laptops would be running Windows with most applications installed locally. Often the students are issued the laptops and are responsible for physical security and transport, often including off school property and for all purposes becoming the students main machine for home and school. Such an environment has multiple risks and costs associated with it, including re-imaging regularly due to misconfigurations, virus and spy-ware issues and either malicious or inadvertent deletions and changes to the software.

Particularly if the laptops are issued and kept by the students does the risk of virus infection or inadvertent misconfiguration crop up, the possibility of infection and transport of the viruses and spyware becomes a virtual certainty, with some school environments literally being taken down for periods of time from such infections.

ThinFusion in this environment would remove most or all of the issues discussed. Two choices are possible:

1. Install a very slim Desktop Linux with NX Client software on the student laptop, all application access requires dialup or better Internet access to the ThinFusion Server, thus all applications are run in a very secure and less virus-prone environment.
2. Install Windows or keep the current Desktop OS, adding lockdown software and the NX Client software, requiring dialup or better Internet acccess to the ThinFusion Server etc.

Both of the above examples allow students and staff to securely access their school network just as if they were sitting at a desk in class, from anywhere/anytime. It extends the learning environment beyond the walls of the school, and it allows for collaboration beyond the bus bell. This is the mode that we see businesses transitioning to at record pace, as we see more and more workers using home offices and accessing data through secure remote scenarios.

This environment is effective for students and teachers, with teachers mostly falling into the category of # 2, they having the most need to run 3rd party applications that are typically Windows-based.

What are the support options?

A ThinFusion subscription comes with a full support, training and installation package. Higher levels of support packages are available.

What should you not use ThinFusion for?

ThinFusion is not a great solution for high end multimedia, neither for creation nor viewing. A class of 50 users running a very graphically oriented courseware would be fairly choppy.

How do I learn more about ThinFusion?
Please visit their website (www.thinfusion.com), to experience demonstrations, tutorials, case studies and more. You can also reach them by phone at 1-800-432-0346.

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If you can think of an example of a vendor that is going something you can really appreciate and is good for the community, put a comment in or email me: rbrunson[at]novell.com

Enjoy,

RossB

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