Red Hat Skips Linux Desktop – As It Is Not A Money Maker

Posted on in Categories Business, Linux desktop, News, RedHat/Fedora Linux last updated April 17, 2008

Red Hat has no plans to create a traditional Linux desktop software for the end user market, but will continue to place its bets on a desktop for commercial markets as it is not making money from them. From the press release:

An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative. Of course, a growing number of technically savvy users and companies have discovered that today’s Linux desktop is indeed a practical alternative. Nevertheless, building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled or are run as charities. But there’s good news too. Technical developments that have become available over the past year or two are accelerating the spread of the Linux Desktop.

Now I’m just wondering where this leaves Fedora Desktop in the long term? Ubuntu Linux seems to doing well and it is going to lead Linux Desktop market along with other distros. Linux is also getting installed on mobile and many tiny devices.

Red Hat Asks Court To Limit Patents On Software

Posted on in Categories GNU/Open source, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux last updated April 8, 2008

Red hat’s Open Source Assurance program is already used to safeguard customers developing and deploying open source solutions. Red hat now asking court to limit patents on software:

Open source software is one of the most dynamic, innovative sectors of the U.S. economy, but the U.S. patent system is a costly hindrance to open source innovation. We believe that although the patent system was created to foster innovation, it’s simply not an engine for innovation for open source. Software patents were barely recognized when open source began, and so the hope of obtaining a patent did not motivate the first developers. Those pioneers were generally opposed to software patents. The open, collaborative activity at the heart of open source is at odds with the patent system, which excludes the public from making, using or selling a patented invention. Open source developers seek to contribute code to the community – not to exclude others from using the code.

There is also Open Invention Network (OIN) backed by IBN, Red Hat, Novell, Sony and others. OIN is a company that acquires patents and offers them royalty free “to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications”. On a related note, Microsoft has claimed that free software such as OpenOffice.org and the Linux kernel violate 235 Microsoft patents and said that it will seek license fees.

=> Read more : Red Hat Asks Federal Court To Limit Patents On Software

Microsoft Patent Claims Pose No Immediate Risk for Linux Users

Posted on in Categories GNU/Open source, Linux, News, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Windows last updated October 12, 2007

Recently I wrote post about Microsoft FUD and risk for Linux user, especially Redhat Linux users. I received couple of emails. One of them pointed out me Gartner research report entitled “Microsoft Patent Claims Pose No Immediate Risk for Users“:

Microsoft claims that a variety of open-source software projects violate its software patents. A general trend toward more aggressive patent licensing tactics is on the horizon. Gartner believes that Microsoft will not seek to litigate patent claims against users. Instead, we think the company will attempt to pressure technology providers to come to the table and negotiate an equitable licensing or royalty arrangement in instances where Microsoft can prove its claims of infringement.

IT providers have amassed software patent portfolios for many years. Patent agreements among vendors are commonplace among virtually all large technology vendors. The practice is well-established as the equivalent of a legal détente among vendors that rely on defensive patents to protect their own business strategies. Vendors can and often do use patents in an offensive strategy to create control points of technology and revenue opportunities as well.

Microsoft appears to be attempting to receive a return on its investments in R&D by creating revenue opportunities from, or cross-licensing deals with, OSS technology providers through its technology patent portfolio. It believes that companies receiving revenue from OSS that is, in part, based on Microsoft’s innovations (in instances where this can be proven) should be subject to the same market dynamics that drive any other commercial technology strategies.

Microsoft thinks it can best deal with the issue of open-source patent infringement by creating partnerships (such as the agreement it entered into with Novell). However, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has strenuously objected to these efforts and has attempted to foreclose on future agreements with its proposed addition to the GNU General Public License v.3.

We believe Microsoft’s public announcement of these patent infringement allegations is an attempt to increase pressure on technology providers to accept patent agreements with Microsoft. The company has had some limited success in building such agreements with Novell and a number of other providers (most recently Samsung).

Gartner finds it interesting that Microsoft has chosen to make the patent information public. Vendors typically go out of their way to avoid public disclosure of patent agreements; moreover, companies typically attempt to avoid lawsuits insofar as they potentially threaten the patent portfolios they maintain. Proving patent viability in court is much more difficult and expensive than simply creating a royalty agreement. Such an effort would place further pressure on Microsoft to explicitly list the infringing patents, which it has declared to Gartner that it will do privately with the technology providers — not with individual developers or corporate users.

We believe Microsoft is strengthening its patent portfolio to rectify what it perceives to be exploitation of its intellectual property (IP) by technology providers that generate substantial revenue from OSS, including Linux. We do not believe Microsoft intends to pursue end-user IT organizations. Instead, we believe it will use the fear of legal compliance to pressure IT providers to enter into individual IP agreements. If suppliers balk or challenge Microsoft, this could escalate into a broader conflict as large-scale commercial open-source vendors (such as HP, IBM and Sun) are pulled into the conflict when their customers and partners turn to them for protection and support.

=> Download PDF report here [ gartner.com – 117KB ]

Linux success story – Using Linux at Work

Posted on in Categories Beyond nixCraft, Linux desktop, Linux distribution, News last updated November 11, 2006

Yet another Linux success story, from the article:

I am by no stretch of the imagination a Linux expert, but my overall experience has been excellent and I shall continue to use Fedora for my day to day work. My productivity has not been affected at all, and anyone who wants to try something different, or take a cheaper OS route, should consider a look at Linux – it’s really not that scary.

I’ve been programming since a young age, and Linux has always seemed like a natural progression, especially as my development environment is PHP/MySQL/Apache. A while ago, this was all done on a Red Hat installed system, using the “Plesk” web interface. Although I spent quite a few hours at the console sorting out problems, Plesk hid the real nitty gritty from me and I was often just following “How Tos” in order to get things fixed. In saying that, I did manage to write a wrapper script that fixed a compatibility between MailMan and Plesk, so I wasn’t doing too badly. However, I would hardly say I felt confident in Linux, and using it for my day to day work seemed strangely frightening.

Read more, Using Linux at Work…

Force iptables to log messages to a different log file

Posted on in Categories Iptables, Linux, Monitoring, Security last updated October 3, 2006

According to man page:
Iptables is used to set up, maintain, and inspect the tables of IP packet filter rules in the Linux kernel. Several different tables may be defined. Each table contains a number of built-in chains and may also contain user defined chains.

By default, Iptables log message to a /var/log/messages file. However you can change this location. I will show you how to create a new logfile called /var/log/iptables.log. Changing or using a new file allows you to create better statistics and/or allows you to analyze the attacks.

Iptables default log file

For example, if you type the following command, it will display current iptables log from /var/log/messages file:
# tail -f /var/log/messages
Output:

Oct  4 00:44:28 debian gconfd (vivek-4435): Resolved address "xml:readonly:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults" to a read-only configuration source at position 2
Oct  4 01:14:19 debian kernel: IN=ra0 OUT= MAC=00:17:9a:0a:f6:44:00:08:5c:00:00:01:08:00 SRC=200.142.84.36 DST=192.168.1.2 LEN=60 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=51 ID=18374 DF PROTO=TCP SPT=46040 DPT=22 WINDOW=5840 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0
Oct  4 00:13:55 debian kernel: IN=ra0 OUT= MAC=ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:00:18:de:55:0a:56:08:00 SRC=192.168.1.30 DST=192.168.1.255LEN=78 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=128 ID=13461 PROTO=UDP SPT=137 DPT=137 LEN=58

Procedure to log the iptables messages to a different log file

Open your /etc/syslog.conf file:
# vi /etc/syslog.conf
Append following line
kern.warning /var/log/iptables.log
Save and close the file.

Restart the syslogd (Debian / Ubuntu Linux):# /etc/init.d/sysklogd restartOn the other hand, use following command to restart syslogd under Red Hat/Cent OS/Fedora Core Linux:# /etc/init.d/syslog restart

Now make sure you pass the log-level 4 option with log-prefix to iptables. For example:
# DROP everything and Log it
iptables -A INPUT -j LOG --log-level 4
iptables -A INPUT -j DROP

For example, drop and log all connections from IP address 64.55.11.2 to your /var/log/iptables.log file:
iptables -A INPUT -s 64.55.11.2 -m limit --limit 5/m --limit-burst 7 -j LOG --log-prefix '** HACKERS **'--log-level 4
iptables -A INPUT -s 64.55.11.2 -j DROP

Where,

  • –log-level 4: Level of logging. The level # 4 is for warning.
  • –log-prefix ‘*** TEXT ***’: Prefix log messages with the specified prefix (TEXT); up to 29 letters long, and useful for distinguishing messages in the logs.

You can now see all iptables message logged to /var/log/iptables.log file:
# tail -f /var/log/iptables.log

Updated for accuracy.

List of open source cluster management systems

Posted on in Categories Beyond nixCraft last updated September 21, 2006

M. Shuaib Khan has published a list of open-source cluster management systems.

Personally, I had used openMosix and Red Hat Cluster software (which is also based upon open source software funded by Red Hat).

From the article: In computing world, the term “cluster” refers to a group of independent computers combined through software and networking, which is often used to run highly compute-intensive jobs. With a cluster, you can build a high-speed supercomputer out of hundreds or even thousands of relatively low-speed systems. Cluster management software offers an easy-to-use interface for managing clusters, and automates the process of queuing jobs, matching the requirements of a job and the resources available to the cluster, and migrating jobs across the cluster:

=> openMosix
=> Kerrighed
=> OpenSSI
=> Gluster
=> BOINC

Read this article it offers feature, cons and pros of each solution.

Google internal and Linux

Posted on in Categories Linux, News last updated August 7, 2006

As many of you may already know, Google uses a version of Red Hat to power their servers, running on old kernels.

Check out Toby DiPasquale’s Google internal talk (slides). To be frank I am only aware of 2 or 4 way standard cluster system. But this is a massive parallel system build by Google for performance.

Interesting and massive stuff used by Google and powered by penguin 🙂 (via Lyz Krumbach blog)

Moving /home Data From Old System To a New Linux System

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux last updated May 1, 2006

Recently a friend of mine, brought a new Laptop. He installed Red Hat Enterrpise Linux workstation 4.0. However, after installation he realized that he lost all his Mozilla thunderbird emails and Firefox bookmarks, chat client logs and other files.

I told him just copy all old files from /home/$you to a new system /home/$you directory. He was trying some age-old tutorial from net, which explains how to copy files using tar and restore it back to new system. During this procedure, he was messing up with file system permission.