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Guido van Rossum (creator of Python) Blog

A few weeks ago Linus Torvalds started his blog. Now, Guido van Rossum started to write a diary (blog). He is best known as the author of the Python programming language. In the Python community, Van Rossum is known as a 'Benevolent Dictator for Life' (BDFL), meaning that he continues to oversee the Python development process, making decisions where necessary. He is currently employed by Google, where he spends half his time working on Python development. You can read his blog here online including some hot tips about Python 3.0 :)

Google Releases Android Mobile Platform As Open Source Project


Android is now open source software and available for download from official website. It is a software platform and operating system for mobile devices. It is based upon Linux kernel and developed by Google and Open Handset Alliance. Today, Google made exciting announcement - they have now released the source code for Android. There's a huge amount of code and content there, so head over to official website to grab all the details.

From the project site:

Android is the first free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform. Android offers a full stack: an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. It also contains a rich set of APIs that allows third-party developers to develop great applications.

=> Android is now Open Source

The Google Way: Saving Electricity For Data Center

Learn from Google how to save electricity while serving millions of request across a globe. Google come up with 5-step approach to build efficient data centers. From the page:

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Hundreds of millions of users access our services through the web, and supporting this traffic requires lots of computers. We strive to offer great internet services while taking our energy use very seriously. That's why, almost a decade ago, we started our efforts to make our computing infrastructure as sustainable as possible. Today we are operating what we believe to be the world's most efficient data centers.

As a result, the energy used per Google search is minimal. In the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than we will use to answer your query.

=> Commitment to Sustainable Computing

Download Google Chrome Browser for Linux / Mac OS X

There is no native Linux and Mac versions of Chromium available but codeweavers released version for Mac OS X and Linux. From the project page:

Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. The Chromium codebase is the basis for Google’s Chrome browser.

This is just a proof of concept and you should wait for native version. This good if you would like to test new browser.

Download Google Chrome for Linux / Mac OS X

Linux: Install Urchin 6 Web Analytics Software

Web analytics is the study of online behaviour in order to improve it. There are two categories; off-site and on-site web analytics. Google's Urchin 6 can be installed under Linux kernel 2.6 or 2.4 for Apache web log analysis. Urchin 6 is just like Google Analytics the most widely used hosted web analytics system. It is targeted at ecommerce or enterprise users:

Urchin Software from Google analyzes traffic for one or more websites and provides easy-to-understand reports on your visitors - where they come from, how they use your site, what converts them into customers, and much more. If you have content behind a security firewall or on an intranet or internal network that prevents you from using the Google Analytics service, Urchin Software from Google is for you.

In this small tutorial you will learn about installing Urchin 6 Web Analytics under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x.

Step #1: Download Urchin 6

Visit offical site to grab latest Urchin 6 for Linux kernel 2.6. You can also use wget command as follows:
$ cd /tmp
$ wget http://dl.google.com/urchin/current_urchin6_linux2.6_kernel.zip

Step #2: Create MySQL database to store urchin data

First, connect to mysql server, enter:
$ mysql -h server-ip -u root -p
$ mysql -u root -p
Once connected type the following two command to create urchin database:
mysql> create database urchin character set utf8;
Create urchin user and grant all permissions:
mysql> GRANT ALL ON urchin.* to 'urchin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'mySecreteUrchinPassword';
mysql> quit;

Step #3: Install Urchin

Untar urchin software:
$ unzip current_urchin6_linux2.6_kernel.zip
$ mkdir urchin
$ tar -zxvf urchin6402_linux2.6_kernel.tar.gz -C urchin

Install urchin software, enter:
$ cd urchin
$ ./install.sh

Follow on screen instructions, at the end you should see information as follows:

Installation Directory: /usr/local/urchin
Webserver Port: 9999
Webserver User: nobody
Webserver Group: nobody
SQL Server Type: mysql
SQL Server:
SQL Port: 3306
SQL Database: urchin
SQL User: urchin
SQL Password: (set but not displayed)
Initialize configuration database during install: Yes
Automatic monthly geodata updates: Yes
Start Webserver and Scheduler: Yes
Please select continue or exit [Default: 1]
   1. Continue
   2. Exit
Installing Urchin
Configuring Urchin to use existing SQL server
-- Initializing SQL database for Urchin
-- Configuring SQL parameters in urchin.conf
Creating webserver configuration
Setting file ownership and permission
Starting the Urchin webserver and scheduler daemon
Urchin webserver started on port 9999
Urchin SLAVE scheduler started
Urchin MASTER scheduler started
-- Installation Complete
The Urchin administrative interface should be ready to use at
To start or stop the Urchin webserver or scheduler, run 'urchinctl start'
or 'urchinctl stop' from the installation bin directory.
The administrative interface default username is admin and the password
is urchin.  A wizard will direct you through the process of licensing
the product and changing the default password.  We strongly recommend
that you change the default value to something more secure.

Configure Urchin

You need to open default port using iptables. A sample rule, adjust it according to your setup:
/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -i ${PUB_IF} -p tcp --destination-port 9999 -j ACCEPT
Next, type the following url to start the Urchin administrative interface:

Fig.01: Urchin 6 Login Screen

Fig.01: Urchin 6 Login Screen

The default username is admin and the password is urchin. A wizard will direct you through the process of licensing the product and changing the default password. You must obtained license from Urchin software authorized consultants.

Comparison: Linux Disk Scheduler

I've already written about changing the I/O scheduler for hard disk under Linux and avoiding sudden outburst of disk I/O using ionice utility. I/O schedulers can have many purposes such as:
Minimize time wasted by hard disk seeks.
Prioritize a certain processes' I/O requests.
Give a share of the disk bandwidth to each running process etc

Google has sponsored Gelato@UNSW to take a close look at the disk schedulers in Linux, particularly when combined with RAID. They have now published their findings:

We benchmarked the four standard Linux disk schedulers using several different tools (see our wiki for full details) and lots of different workloads, on single SCSI and SATA disks, and on hardware and software RAID arrays from two to eight spindles (hardware raid) and up to twenty spindles (software raid), trying RAID levels 0 through 6.

We had to fix some of the benchmarking tools (the fixes are now upstream), and we developed a new one: a Markov Chain based replay tool, which allows a workload to be characterised and then a similar workload generated.

=> Selected comparisons of throughput and latency with the different Linux schedulers (via Google open source blog)

Download of The Day: WordPress 2.6

Wordpress Logo

WordPress 2.6 has been released and available for download almost a month ahead schedule. New
features in wordpress 2.6:

=> Wiki-like tracking of edits
=> Post from wherever you are on the web
=> Turbo-speed your blogging - Gears is an open source browser extension project started by Google that developers like us can use to give you features we wouldn’t normally be able to.
=> SSL login support
=> Theme Previews: See it before your audience does and much more

Download WordPress 2.6

=> Visit official download page.

Related: Upgrade wordpress quickly in 3 easy steps from UNIX shell prompt