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April 23, 2010

Pythian
pythian
» Blogrotate #24: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of Blogrotate. Though I have been contributing to Blogrotate since its inception, this is the first time I have had the honour of posting it myself. Go me!

Operating Systems

Red Hat has announced the availability of a public beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL 6). There are a number of changes, for which Dave Courbanou at The VAR Guy does a pretty good job of providing an overview. Of note are that Red Hat has completed its migration from Xen to KVM as the supported virtualization technology (which began with RHEL 5.4), and that ext4 is now the default filesystem.

There have been a couple of tidbits of news in the Ubuntu world. The first being a bug with memory leakage in X.org affecting beta 2 of Ubuntu 10.04. The discussion on Slashdot became a debate on the merits of time vs scope-based release schedules. Per the bug report, a fix has since been committed, which is good because — and this leads into the second bit of news — Ubuntu has announced the availability of the release candidate for 10.04. Things are moving fast as we approach its release next Thursday.

And for something that’s not release announcement related, M. Tim Jones has an interesting article over at IBM’s developerWorks about Kernel Shared Memory in the Linux 2.6.32 kernel. Without going into a lot of detail (I’ll let him do that), it’s basically the implementation of a daemon to handle de-duplication of memory pages. This has obvious implications in a virtualization environment as there is the potential to run more virtual machines on a host without increasing the memory footprint.

Security

The big news on this front was that McAfee pushed out a virus definition update that falsely identified svchost.exe as a threat, resulting in Windows automatically rebooting. Peter Bright from Ars Technica has some good coverage of this, and linked to McAfee’s official solution. Meanwhile, Dave Courbanou over at The VAR Guy has a follow up on the situation with some additional detail, and Barry McPherson from McAfee has posted an official response stating that a ’small percentage’ of enterprise accounts were affected. And finally, Ben Grubb of ZDNet Australia reports that Coles had 10 percent of its point-of-sales terminals affected and shut down stores in WA and South Australia as a result.

Software

Oracle has decided to charge for an ODF plugin for MS Office which allows users to import/export documents in Open Document Format. Matt Asay, COO at Canonical, provides some commentary on this stating that “$9,000 is the new ‘free’ for Oracle“.

Jono Bacon, Canonical’s Community Manager, wrote that Canonical has made the single sign-on component of Launchpad available as open source under the AGPL3 license. There is some coverage from The H on this as well. Launchpad itself was released under the AGPL3 license about a year ago.

Hardware

On a final (interesting) note, ‘Cyber Cynic’ Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that HP and Likewise to release Linux-based storage line about HP and Likewise partnering on a line of StorageWorks products that will make use of the Likewise CIFS stack to support Active Directory authentication.

Well, that’s all I have time for this week. Will Brad be back at the helm next week, or will I continue my reign? You’ll just have to wait and see…

November 6, 2009

Pythian
pythian
» Blogrotate #5: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Hi all, and welcome back to blogrotate. It’s been a busy week here at Pythian which reduced the amount of time I had for cruising the news, so this weeks edition will be a short one. Here’s a few of the stories that tweaked our interest this week.

Operating Systems


The Machine SID Duplication Myth
is an article on the Microsoft Technet blog by Mark Russinovich. It goes through an in depth explanation of what SID’s are used for, and notes that Sysinternals has officially retired the NewSID utility as of Nov 03, 2009. This is of particular interest to anyone who created desktops and laptops via saved images as NewSID was a staple utility after the machine was imaged to ensure it did not conflict with other machines on the network.

Michael Larabel published some CentOS 5.4 vs. OpenSuSE 11.2 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 Benchmarks on the Phoronix site. I was suprised to see that CentOS beat the others on the majority of tests run, at least in part due to issues with the ext4 filesystem that both SuSE and Ubuntu use as their defaults.

Over at the Computerworld blog, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes about 5 Reasons why Ubuntu 9.10 is better than Windows 7. I agree with most of what he says, but generally Linux is still not an easy conversion for a die hard Windows user. It sure did spark a huge amount of debate in the commentary.

Mandriva Linux 2010 is out. Check out the release information and feature set at the Mandriva blog site. I’ll have a closer look at this if I ever get the time.

Hardware

In the world of hard drives the trend has always been to bump up the amount of bits the drive can hold to combat the constant increase in data size. Another way of dealing with this could be deduplication of data which should reduce the amount of storage required for the same information. Could a hard drive dedupe data has more on this subject.

Security

Ryan Paul writes HTTPS, SSL attack vector discovered; fix is on the way. This vulnerability was discovered by Marsh Ray and Steve Dispensa from security company PhoneFactor but not publicized pending a fix. There is a temporary workaround from the OpenSSL team, hopefully it’ll be resolved quickly.

Not long after Windows 7 was released, John Leydon at The Register writes that Naked Win 7 still vulnerable to most viruses. He’s reporting on testing done by the Sophos security firm which showed that 7 out of 10 of the malware tested still managed to run in the default configuration. So even if you upgraded to Windows 7 you still need to run that anti virus.

Even Linux is not safe from security threats (nothing ever is IMHO). Bug in latest Linux gives untrusted users root access by Dan Goodin gives you the details. Patches for RedHat linux are already out, keep your system up to date to make sure you get the patch as soon as it’s available.

Virtualization

Red Hat takes on VMware with server virtualization solution by Ryan Paul discusses RedHat’s newest foray into the virtualization market with their solution called Enterprise Virtualization for Servers. This solution uses RedHat’s recently acquired KVM and is prominent in the recent RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.4 release.

So as not to be left out, Cisco, EMC, and VMware join hands and plunge into cloud with their new joint venture called Acadia. You can also read more about this in Cisco, EMC, VMware & Intel Form Acadia.

In the “I totally called it” department

I mentioned in a recent version of this blog that Microsoft was backing a Family Guy episode. I said at the time that I did not see how they could funny it up, apparently Microsoft could not see it either. Joe Fay gives us the skinny in Microsoft drops Family Guy like a hot deaf guy joke. Apparently the humour was not in keeping with the clean, family friendly image that Microsoft wants to convey. Seriously? I suggest someone at Microsoft watch any of the Seth McFarlane shows before signing on with him. I am guessing it was not a matter of foul language however, expletives are an occupational hazard when using Windows.

Til next time, keep your cache full and your swap empty.
Brad