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Top 5 Open Source Linux Server Provisioning Software

Server provisioning is nothing but load the Linux or UNIX like operating systems automatically with actual operating systems, device drivers, data, and make a server ready for network operation without any user input. Typically you select a server from a pool of available servers, load the operating systems (such as RHEL, Fedora, FreeBSD, Debian), and finally customize storage, network (IP, gateway, bounding etc), drivers, applications, users etc. Using the following tools you can perform automated unattended operating system installation, configuration, set virtual machines and much more. These software can be used to install a lot (say thousands) of Linux and UNIX systems at the same time.
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Ksplice: Upgrade / Patch Your Linux Kernel Without Reboots

Generally, all Linux distributions needs a scheduled reboot once to stay up to date with important kernel security updates. RHN (or other distro vendors) provides Linux kernel security updates. You can apply kernel updates using yum command or apt-get command line options. After each upgrade you need to reboot the server. Ksplice service allows you to skip reboot step and apply hotfixes to kernel without rebooting the server. In this post I will cover a quick installation of Ksplice for RHEL 5.x and try to find out if service is worth every penny.
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Linux Desktop Compared – 7 Distribution Shootout

Informationweek tested openSUSE, Ubuntu 8.4, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva Linux One, Fedora, SimplyMEPIS, and CentOS 5.1. All performed well, and each had at least one truly outstanding feature. From the article:

In the last couple of years, desktop-friendly Linux distributions have taken enormous leaps -- they're easier to install, better maintained, and more powerful than ever before. There's also that many more of them -- which means that many more possibilities to sift through.

In this roundup I've looked at seven Linux distributions, all mainly aimed at desktop users. Some ought to be household names; some are less widely sung but still worth looking at. All are meant to be top-of-the-line, "throw-and-go" distros for general use, so I paid careful attention to how they behaved on a fairly broad range of hardware -- how display, networking, or other default configurations were set to behave both out of the box and after an update (if one was available).

Related: Which Linux Desktop Distribution is the best for me?

Open Source Java – OpenJDK Added To Fedora and Ubuntu Linux

Canonical Ltd. and Red Hat, Inc. today announced the inclusion of OpenJDK-based implementations in Fedora 9 and Ubuntu 8.04 Long Term Support (LTS) Server and Desktop editions, furthering the promise of Sun's open source Java technology initiative.

In addition, the NetBeans 6.0 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) () is being delivered as part of the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS release and Canonical has certified Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition on several Sun x86 systems.

Sun Press Release : Open Source Java Technology Debuts In GNU/Linux Distributions

Ubuntu Linux Usability Testing with Girlfriend

Finally someone is doing Ubuntu Linux usability testing with a girlfriend. The new user was given a couple of common tasks over a default installation of Ubuntu. I hope, the Linux distributions can learn a lot from this article and improve Linux user experience on a desktop computer. From the post:

Erin's knowledge of computers is limited to word processors, spreadsheets, Photoshop and a reasonable amount of browsing on the Web. Fairly standard stuff for a university philosophy student. All I did to the system (before leaving Erin at the log-in screen) was to install it and create a user account for her. She had no problems logging in, and loved the stylised heron background. Then I gave her one by one the tasks I'd set her. I didn’t give her any help at all.

=> The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment (via slashdot)

Ksplice: Patch The Linux Kernel Without Rebooting System

You may be aware that after kernel upgrade and kernel security patching you need to reboot Linux box. Now, there is a new patch called - Ksplice. It provides rebootless Linux kernel security update. It is available under GPL 2 and has been tested on Linux kernel versions from 2.6.8 to the recently released 2.6.25 and on several Linux distributions including Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Gentoo Linux.

Ksplice allows system administrators to apply security patches to the Linux kernel without having to reboot. Ksplice takes as input a source code change in unified diff format and the kernel source code to be patched, and it applies the patch to the corresponding running kernel. The running kernel does not need to have been prepared in advance in any way.

To be fully automatic, Ksplice's design is limited to patches that do not introduce semantic changes to data structures, but most Linux kernel security patches don't make these kinds of changes. An evaluation against Linux kernel security patches from May 2005 to December 2007 finds that Ksplice can automatically apply 84% of the 50 significant kernel vulnerabilities from this interval.

Ksplice has been implemented for Linux on the x86-32 and x86-64 architectures.

=> Ksplice: Rebootless Linux kernel security updates (via zdnet)

Sun Looks To Open Source The Rest of Java

Sun is planning to remove the last reaming restrictions on Java to make it completely open source.

By freeing these up, Java can be fully open-source and thus be packaged more easily with Linux distributions. In conjunction with this activity, Sun is talking with Linux distributors, including OpenSuse, Ubuntu and Fedora to have them offer an updated version of OpenJDK, which constitutes the open-source Java platform. Sun plans to offer the updated OpenJDK soon and clear the last few encumbrances later.

=> Sun looks to free up the rest of Java