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April 23, 2010

» 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 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.


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.


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.


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 20, 2009

» Blogrotate #7: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Is it Friday already? Where has the week gone? Whatever, we’ve got lots of good news tidbits for you this week, including several follow-ups to previous stories. Enough jaw-jacking, let’s get to the news.

Operating Systems

This week we got an early alpha of Google Chrome OS, which is slated for full release sometime in Q4 of 2010. ZDNet blogs and Ars technica have three good first looks at Chrome. First up is Adrian Kingsley-Hughes article Chrome OS – The good, the bad and the ugly, and how it fits in with Windows, Mac and Linux.

For a more security related view, Ryan Naraine has an early look into Chrome OS security with Inside the Google Chrome OS security model.

Lastly, Jon Stokes at Ars Technica has his own first look with screenshots in Chrome OS: Internet failing at PC > PC failing at Internet.

There’s a new Fedora in town. The popular Linux desktop put out by Red Hat released its newest version. Bill has gone crazy for Fedora articles today, so here’s a point form list of what he found.

Have you ever wondered just how much you can take out of Windows and still have a usable system? The Minwin project set out to find that out for you. Warren Rumak discusses Minwin and what it’s all about in Inside “MinWin”: the Windows 7 kernel slims down.

Data Centers

Scuttlemonkey at SlashDot posted a question about how to evaluate a datacenter. This question has elicited a flurry of discussion on the topic with some good (and bad) stories, but buried inside are many good thoughts on criteria that would be useful in any evaluation. Read more in “How Do You Evaluate a Data Center?“.

Data Center Knowledge has an interesting article by Kevin Normandeau. It’s all about how a greener datacenter can pay off in the long run. “…Amazon, Toyota, and Nike, have realized that focusing on limiting energy calories in the datacenter and elsewhere pays profitability dividends on the financial side” says the article, which draws on a whitepaper from IDC on the subject.

Also at Data Center Knowledge, Rick Miller has a note about Rackspace expanding its headquarters with a new 120,000 square foot expansion. See Rackspace Expands Its Headquarters for more, and a video tour of one of their offices.


Cnet news has an article about the recently released Square Trade survey of laptop reliability. Square Trade is a warranty provider who offer coverage for many brands of laptops so they should know. See Who makes the most reliable laptops for some excerpts from the report, and the full report can be found in PDF format from the Square Trade website.


A follow up from last week regarding the Microsoft “sudo” patent. According to Ryan Paul this patent does not cover sudo at all. Read more about it in Microsoft’s pseudo sudo patent doesn’t really cover sudo.

A follow up to a post from a couple of weeks ago—there is now an exploit for the mentioned SSL/TLS attack vector. Dan Goodin at The Register has more in his article Researcher busts into Twitter via SSL reneg hole. More technical details on the exploit can be found in Understanding the TLS Renegotiation Attack.


A follow up to last week’s article, Microsoft confirms the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool contained GPLv2 code and has indicated that they will provide the source/binaries for the tool under the GPL. Peter Galli from Microsoft’s Open Source division has more in Update on the Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool.


The UN-backed Internet Governance Forum was on last week in Egypt. One of the hot topics was ownership of the DNS root domain, which is currently controlled by the US. This made sense when the internet was only in the US universities, but with the global nature of the ‘Net, there is no good reason for a single country to have control of something that controls the basic functionality of the internet. Janna Quitney Anderson has more in IGF attendees: America, surrender the root zone file!


A follow-up review on VMWare Fusion 3, running Windows 7 in OSX. Dave Girard has put Fusion through its paces; read about his results in Running Windows 7 under OS X: Ars reviews VMware Fusion 3.

That’ll do it for this week’s edition. As always feel free to add your own news or perspective in the comments. See y’all next week!