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02.06.14

Poll: Only 39% Trust Red Hat Over Back Doors

Posted in Red Hat, Security at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat poll

Summary: News about Red Hat, including renewed suspicions that the company is too close to the NSA, not merely a business partner

wE BEGAN writing about Red Hat and NSA as its major client only a few months ago [1,2], mainly because we had found a claim by Red Hat staff that patches from the NSA were being passed to Torvalds via Red Hat. We later had that confirmed by Red Hat staff. This definitely does not inspire confidence because we already know that the NSA wanted to put back doors in Linux.

The latest such post about Red Hat and the NSA comes from FOSS Force, where Christine concludes: “If Red Hat isn’t working hand-in-hand with the NSA in its efforts to spy on us, then this poll obviously represents a public relations problem for the Raleigh, North Carolina based company. Although it’s doubtful that many, if any, of those taking this poll are Red Hat customers, we can only assume that results such as we’re seeing here indicate a potential problem of perception even outside the free software community. It wouldn’t bode well for Red Hat if these sentiments were to spread to include it’s user base.”

Christine is being very kind to Red Hat. She may be right, but many of her readers seem to agree that Red Hat could have been used by the NSA for back doors. Less than 40% trust Red Hat.

In other news about Red Hat (more positive news), here are the latest press releases, which barely received any press coverage:

News about Red Hat also still revolves around CentOS (the CentOS news is old, but it’s still abound [1]), OpenStack [2,3,4], or ‘cloud’, which usually means surveillance-friendly setups, sometimes with CIA in the loop [5]. Virtualisation too is in Red Hat’s pitch [6,7,8], not to mention Red Hat staff [9]. There seems to be a recruitment drive in Red Hat’s OpenSource.com, with emphasis on women this month [10-17]. Only one other site [18] seems to have dedicated an article to women in FOSS/software in the same period of time. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just an observation.

The bottom line is this: we need clarifications from Red Hat where it matters. The silence on this matter has been deafening and if Red Hat says nothing to alleviate these worries, then this may actually contribute further to distrust. Red Hat is developing many core components in GNU/Linux systems and when NSA is using Red Hat to submit patches (created by the NSA) we do need some reassurances. It’s not just SELinux. Red Hat should identify very clearly which patches have come from the NSA so that extra scrutiny can be applied. Knowing what the NSA has done to NIST, RSA etc. it would also be wise to ostracise the NSA when it comes to patches.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Top 3: CentOS Dons a Red Hat, SteamOS Gets Hardware, Kali Linux Nukes Security
  2. Red Hat’s Love-Hate Affair With The Cloud

    Among the several reasons for Red Hat to embrace CentOS, its erstwhile copycatting nemesis, one explanation has largely been overlooked: The cloud made them do it. More specifically, OpenStack made them do it.

    Red Hat had all but sewn up the market for Linux in the data center. But in the cloud, the market for Linux is both wide open—and perhaps nonexistent.

  3. Red Hat Upgrades OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Platform
  4. Red Hat Promotes Open Source Software-Defined Storage

    If the advent of object-based storage à la OpenStack Swift is one sign of the decline of traditional storage technologies, the momentum of software-defined storage is yet more evidence that the future of data storage for the cloud and the enterprise is changing. And open source giant Red Hat (RHT) is the latest vendor to jump on board, with the announcement of new software-defined storage options for Red Hat partners that could have a wide impact across the channel.

  5. Red Hat, Partners Collaborate on AWS New Test Drive Demos
  6. Red Hat ups its virtualization and cloud game
  7. Red Hat shops get KVM updates, scalability in RHEL 6.5
  8. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3 Gets Real

    The RHEV 3.3 release is built on top of the open-source oVirt project, which is led by Red Hat. The new release adds support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 platform, improves performance and supports a wider array of systems.

  9. Findings from working on Red Hat’s installer

    I believe that the open source community as a whole would benefit if more open source developers considered the API and associated bindings as primary and the CLI as of secondary importance. Ideally, applications would be designed from the start with a well-defined API, a set of bindings that evolved with the API, and a CLI (if one was necessary) that was defined in a scripting language that made use of the bindings. Not only would this make the application ripe for automation, but it would likely have the added benefit of making the API better defined and more robust.

  10. Engage women, have fun, get more out of your open source project

    There are few women developers and even proportionately less working in open source communities. However, a career in OSS is ideal for women who are seeking balance in their lives whether the balance is starting a family or maintaining balance with friends and a strenuous and engaging hobby. It’s well established that there’s a shortage of women pursuing careers in computer science. UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute found that just 0.3% of students majoring in technology-related fields are female, despite the high demand for those skills. As few as 1.5% of open source contributors are women.

  11. Heard of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women? Learn more today.

    Marie Nordin is one of the OPW interns for the Fedora Project. She is the visual designer currently in charge of badge design for Fedora Badges, an open badges based web application that helps to encourage contributors in the Fedora community by awarding them with badges for their efforts. (For example, Marie is the proud recipient of the “Pixel Ninja” badge for her work on the Fedora Design team.) I interviewed Marie, and she shared how she came to open source, what open source projects she’s currently involved with, and her advice for other young women interested in getting involved.

  12. The Women of OpenStack talk outreach, education, and mentoring

    In the open source world, a women-only event seems counter-intuitive. Yet I am finding reasons for such events the more I attend them.

    At the OpenStack Summit, a twice-a-year event where OpenStack contributors get together to plan the next release, the Women of OpenStack group has set up events where we invite the women first. Men aren’t excluded, but our hope is to get more OpenStack women together. I can hardly capture the value of getting together with other women in OpenStack at the Summit, but here goes.

  13. Make money and have fun in open source

    We’re familiar with the statistics, and we’ve seen the photos from the tech conferences. Seas full of men. It requires patience to scan for the odd female in those auditoriums. It’s a popular topic, this scarcity of women in technology, one of the hip things to whine about these days. It’s politically correct to blame the male “priesthood” in Silicon Valley. Ask Paul Graham. He took it in the ribs after a few reckless comments about the funding practices of his startup seed accelerator, Y Combinator. He was quoted as saying, “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers. I would have to stop and think about that,” in a recent article. Ouch. But, really, is he so wrong?

  14. Advice from 5 Joomla! project leaders: Part 1

    The Joomla! community, inside and outside the company, is diverse and multi-cultural. It is made up of all sorts of people with two things in common: a love for Joomla! and a willingness to reach out and help others on the other side of the keyboard.

  15. Advice from 5 Joomla! project leaders: Part 2
  16. The participatory nature of the Internet strengthens fan communities

    Whether the big media producers like it or not, digital technologies have made it easier than ever for popular culture fans to create remixes or derivative works from their favorite movies, TV shows, books, and other media. And the participatory nature of the Internet has arguably helped broaden the popular definition of a “fan community” from something exclusive to comic and sci-fi fans to being inclusive of many genres and people. This includes giving wider exposure to a vast and yet often overlooked demographic in pop fandom—women—and their influence on mainstream media stories.

  17. Golden opportunity for public libraries to meet digital needs of women

    Women use the Internet 17% more than their male counterparts yet are underrepresented in programming and open source. Public libraries (and public schools) have a critical role to play with improving the dearth of diversity in coding and open source.

  18. Girls and Software

    December 2013′s EOF, titled “Mars Needs Women”, visited an interesting fact: that the male/female ratio among Linux Journal readers, and Linux kernel developers, is so lopsided (male high, female low) that graphing it would produce a near-vertical line. I was hoping the piece would invite a Linux hacker on the female side of that graph to step up and move the conversation forward. And sure enough, here we have Susan Sons aka @HedgeMage.

01.24.14

Debian Receives Prize from Valve But Becomes More Dependent on Red Hat

Posted in Debian, Red Hat, Security at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Debian is leaning towards systemd, which is developed by Red Hat (an NSA partner)

DEBIAN has got somewhat of a trophy now that Valve uses Debian GNU/Linux by default. It receives gratis proprietary games in return [1,2,3].

Debian recently made a lot of headlines because of the init debate [4-12]; Debian, being a dominant distribution (competing only with RHEL/CentOS for the #1 spot), is seemingly leaning in Red Hat’s direction and it is winning support from those whom Fedora let down [13]. As Sam Varghese put it, this “means that the future direction of Linux development will be determined by Red Hat, the company that is behind systemd, and the biggest commercial entity in the Linux game.”

It might actually be more beneficial to have Debian as the flag bearer, not Red Hat, which is working with the NSA. Debian has reported its share of flaws recently [14,18], but the problem is that by inheriting more code from Red Hat it is becoming more dependent on a company which admits (to me personally) that it sends to Linux patches that the NSA writes (not just SELinux) because the NSA is a major customer. We already know that the NSA wanted back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4], e.g. through weak random number generators. Given what happened in RSA, NIST, etc. we found it rather hard to blindly trust RHEL, especially the binary build (Red Hat staff has admitted to me that they don’t do a thorough audit of the build process). If Debian gets compromised, the same problem gets inherited by Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Valve Wants To Give You All Of Its Games On Steam (If You’re A Debian Linux Developer)
  2. Valve games for Debian Developers

    At $dayjob for Collabora, we’ve been working with Valve on SteamOS, which is based on Debian. Valve are keen to contribute back to the community, and I’m discussing a couple of ways that they may be able to do that [0].

  3. Valve Is Making All Their Games Free To Debian Developers

    Valve will be making all of their games — past, present, and future — available for free to Debian Linux developers.

  4. The Six Stages of systemd [linux.conf.au 2014]
  5. To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question
  6. Init wars: Shuttleworth’s copyright licensing hangs over debate

    As the debate on the default init system for the next Debian release winds down, one fact emerges: the copyright licensing model adopted by Canonical has been a decisive factor in the choice made by the technical committee.

  7. Which init system for Debian?

    The Debian project is no stranger to long, vehemently argued email threads, though, like the rest of us, Debian developers appear to be getting older and calmer as time goes by. If there were to be an intense thread now, one might think that the recent shift to XFCE as the default window system might be the cause. Indeed, there was some discussion of that topic, but that thread was easily buried by the hot-button issue that almost all distributions appear to need to debate at length: which init system to use. This is not the first time Debian has argued over init systems (see this 2011 article, for example), but, just maybe, it might be the last.

  8. Debian May Be Leaning Towards Systemd Over Upstart

    For months now the Debian Technical Committee has been tasked with deciding between systemd and Upstart for the future init system of the Linux distribution that also has a FreeBSD kernel port, etc. The debate has been long and ongoing. Among other opinions, Ian Jackson of the committee came out last month in favor of using Upstart while Russ Allberry came out in favor of systemd.

  9. A Major Music Company Now Backs Systemd In Debian
  10. Init wars: Debian tech panel may end up deadlocked

    The Debian technical committee may end up in a stalemate when it votes on which init system should be the default for the next release of its community GNU/Linux distribution.

  11. Red Hat must be rejoicing as Debian tilts towards systemd

    The Debian GNU/Linux Project’s technical committee appears to be split down the middle on the question of the default init system for the next release.

  12. Spotify uses Debian, endorses systemd instead of Upstart as default

    Debian is considering between Upstart and systemd – two competing daemons. While Upstart was developed solely by Canonical, systemd was developed by contributors from different distributions (edited, thanks to Jos Poortvliet).

  13. When life hands you lemons, go back to Debian

    To keep a short story short, the mantainer of the proprietary AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) driver for the Fedora-focused RPM Fusion repository doesn’t want to do it anymore.

    And he made this decision not before the release of Fedora 20 with lots of notice — and not after with lots of notice BUT PRETTY MUCH DURING THE RELEASE with no notice.

  14. Debian: 2840-1: srtp: buffer overflow
  15. Debian: 2835-1: asterisk: buffer overflow
  16. Debian: 2832-1: memcached: Multiple vulnerabilities
  17. Debian: 2830-1: ruby-i18n: cross-site scripting
  18. Debian: 2828-1: drupal6: Multiple vulnerabilities

01.17.14

For Real Security, Use CentOS — Never RHEL — and Run Neither on Amazon’s Servers

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Security at 9:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat logo

Summary: Never run Red Hat’s “Enterprise Linux”, which cannot be trusted because of NSA involvement; Amazon, which pays Microsoft for RHEL and works with the CIA, should never be used for hosting

SEVERAL years ago CentOS almost died; now it’s being embraced by Red Hat and one pundit from tech tabloid ZDNet is moving to CentOS Linux on the desktop [1,2].

CentOS is still in the news [3], with the CentOS project leader (Karanbir Singh) giving an interview to the Linux Foundation [4]. We trust CentOS, whereas trusting Red Hat is hard. RHEL is binary and based on news from half a decade ago, the NSA is said to be involved in the building process, as well as SUSE’s, whereas CentOS is built from source (publicly visible). Microsoft and the NSA do the same thing with Windows and it’s now confirmed that Windows has NSA backdoors.

Earlier this month vulnerabilities in RHEL’s openssl and RHEL’s gnupg [5,6], contributed even less to trust. RHEL is so standard in the industry that it would probably be simpler than other distributions to exploit; the NSA may as well have off-the-shelf exploits for all major RHEL releases, which are deployed in many countries’ servers (even so-called ‘rogue’ countries). Based on the NSA leaks, Fedora — not RHEL — is being used by the NSA itself to run its spying operations (e.g. collecting radio signals from afar). Fedora is not truly binary-compatible and its source code makes secrets hard to keep.

Lastly, mind the latest of Red Hat’s Fog Computing hype [7,8], including the CIA’s partner Amazon that’s lumped onto Red Hat [9,10] as part of a conference [11,12]. Avoid Amazon at all costs. It’s a malicious trap for many reasons. Amazon also pays Microsoft for RHEL after a patent deal with Microsoft, as we pointed out years ago. Suffice to say, Microsoft's servers are as bad as Amazon's for privacy.

RHEL and its derivatives continue to be deployed in many large networks of systems [13], so it’s clear why the NSA would drool over the possibility of back doors in RHEL. Watch out for that. Given the way NSA infiltrated standards bodies and other institutions, it’s not impossible that there are even moles at Red Hat or Fedora. There used to be some at Microsoft (we know about those who got caught).

Red Hat’s CEO is now telling his story in a Red Hat site [14] and one needs to remember who he used to work for (close to Boeing, which is primarily an army company), not just the country he is based on (hence the rules that apply to him, especially when he wishes to appeal to government contractors, DoD/Pentagon etc. which are the most lucrative contracts).

It should be noted that my Web sites are mostly running CentOS and the same goes for the host of Techrights, who focuses on security. With CentOS you can get the source code and redistribute; with Red Hat’s RHEL you can’t (it’s sold as binary).

There is definitely a good reason to trust CentOS security more than RHEL security. As for Oracle (“Unbreakable”), well… just read Ellison’s public statements in support of the NSA (never mind the company’s roots and the CIA). That tells a lot.

The bottom line is, blind faith in binary distributions is a bad thing. Blind faith in NSA partners (Red Hat collaborates with the NSA not just in SELinux) is even worse.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Taking the long view: Why I’m moving to CentOS Linux on the desktop
  2. Is CentOS ready for the Linux desktop?

    CentOS is a very interesting and different choice for a desktop distribution. I haven’t heard of many people using it that way. Whenever somebody brings it up it’s usually within the context of running a server.

  3. Fedora and CentOS Updates, Linux for Security, and Top Seven
  4. CentOS Project Leader Karanbir Singh Opens Up on Red Hat Deal

    In the 10 years since the CentOS project was launched there has been no board of directors, or legal team, or commercial backing. The developers who labored to build the community-led version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) worked largely unpaid (though some took a few consulting gigs on the side.) They had a few hundred dollars in their bank account to pay for event t-shirts and that was it. And the project’s direction was decided based on the developers’ immediate needs, not a grand vision of future technology.

  5. Red Hat: 2014:0015-01: openssl: Important Advisory
  6. Red Hat: 2014:0016-01: gnupg: Moderate Advisory
  7. Red Hat Invests in Open Source IaaS, Cloud Talent
  8. Red Hat Academy Expands Training, Includes OpenStack Coursework
  9. Red Hat Launches Test Drives on AWS

    At its annual Partner conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this week Red Hat (RHT) announced new Test Drives on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with three Red Hat partners – CITYTECH, Shadow-Soft, and Vizuri. Through the AWS Test Drive program, users can quickly and easily explore and deploy ready-made solutions built on Red Hat technologies.

  10. Why Red Hat Needs OpenStack … And AWS

    OpenStack, the cloud’s community darling, desperately needs leadership, and Red Hat seems the ideal leader. But OpenStack isn’t the only needy party here. As good as Red Hat’s growth has been over the last decade, it pales in comparison to that of VMware, a later entrant that has grown much faster than Red Hat. And the open source leader still trails well behind Microsoft.

  11. Google, Amazon Clouds Invade Red Hat Partner Conference

    Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services executives are set to address Red Hat Partner Conference attendees on Jan. 13 in Arizona. No doubt, the keynotes will seek to ensure Linux resellers understand how to move customer workloads into the Google and AWS public clouds, respectively.

  12. 7 Surprises At Red Hat Partner Conference 2014
  13. How to deploy OSSEC across a large network of systems from RPMs
  14. Teens and their first job: How to get on the path to a happy career

    I grew up in the 1980s in Columbus, Georgia. You needed a car to get around, so I did not work until I could drive. Within months of getting my driver’s license, I got my first job as a part-time computer programmer for a stockbroker.

01.14.14

Indebted to Fedora, the GNU/Linux Factory

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 1:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wallpaper

Summary: The contributions of Fedora to GNU/Linux put in some proper perspective

WHILE it is possible that Korora is better than Fedora, no project other than Debian contributes so much to GNU/Linux. Fedora is a contributions leader and its steward, Red Hat, employs a huge number of GNU/Linux developers.

A GTK3 version of Firefox is now coming through Fedora [1], a the aforementioned UX designer for GNOME is said to be working for Red Hat/Fedora [2], Fedora targets/tackles System z 64-bit [3] (kernel feature), and Fedora 21 has a lot of promise [4] (it is scheduled to be released later than expected [5,6]). Fedora is strong when it comes to hardware [7,8], software/repositories [9,10], and of course package/software management [11,12]. Fedora/Red Hat employed the inventor of Yum until he died and Yum got renamed.

To speak negatively about Fedora is to basically forget who it is that puts a lot of effort (and investment) into GNU/Linux development. Ubuntu (of Canonical), by contrast, mostly gets credit for gaining market share.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GTK3 Version Of Firefox Up For Fedora Testing

    It’s taking a long time of the GTK3 port of Mozilla Firefox to be completed, but it’s now been made a bit easier for those wanting to test out GTK3 Firefox on Fedora Linux.

  2. openSUSE Forum Back, Allan Day Interview, and Fedora Tidbits

    Allan Day, UX Designer on GNOME for Red Hat, has given an interview to Steven Ovadia over at My Linux Rig. Fedora’s Program Manager blogged on the upcoming Fedora 21 release cycle.

  3. Fedora 20 Officially Released for IBM System z 64-Bit

    Dan Horák has announced on January 8 that the Fedora 20 (Heisenbug) Linux operating system is now available for download for the IBM System z (s390x) 64-bit systems.

  4. Nameless Fedora 21 Linux Is an Opportunity for Growth

    Typically, Red Hat’s Fedora Linux distribution has two colorfully named releases a year, but that likely won’t be the case in 2014. However, that’s no reason for concern.
    The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Linux community recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, capping off a decade of releases and evolution. In 2014, Fedora could be in store for its biggest evolution since the project’s creation, with fewer releases and even a new naming strategy.

  5. Fedora 21 Won’t Be Released Before August
  6. Where’s Fedora 21 schedule?

    Is Fedora 21 going to be released in the old model way, or new one? Hard to answer right now. But there’s one date – F21 is not going to be released earlier than in August (and I’d say late August). See FESCo ticket. What’s the reason? As otherwise we would try to hit May timeframe? Short answe: we want to give the opportunity to the teams that are smashed by release windmills to work on tooling.

  7. AMD Radeon R9 270 in Fedora 20 experience

    A week ago I’ve bough MSI Radeon R9 270 GAMING 2G. It’s an upper mid-range card and most new games should run on it reasonably well on high details. In Fedora there are two choices – you can either use the default open-source radeonsi driver, or you can install proprietary catalyst driver. I have tried general system functionality and also a lot of games (through Steam) on both drivers.

  8. Ubuntu 13.10 vs. Fedora 20 Benchmarks
  9. Fedora Utils: An overview

    I was a happy Ubuntu user, until Gnome Shell arrived! It was new, it was shiny. And it provided all those things that I needed. I mostly used the compiz expo plugin to switch between tasks. I would set-up my top-left corner as a hot corner to trigger expo and use docky for my favourite apps. When I tried Gnome Shell 3.2, it was quite similar, expect the dock was on left. But that didn’t hamper my experience. I initially used docky and awn, but finally got rid of it.

  10. EPEL 7 Development
  11. Fedora’s Yum Replacement Ready For User Testing

    DNF, the next-generation yum package manager spearheaded by the Fedora project, is now ready for end-user testing ahead of its expected use out-of-the-box by Fedora 22.

  12. Fedora Users Still Have Mixed Feelings Over DNF

    While DNF isn’t the default package manager on Fedora Linux installations until at least Fedora 22, there’s still many mixed reservations about this intended replacement to Yum.

Korora Claimed Better Fedora Than Fedora, and It’s Growing!

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A promising Fedora derivative releases a GNU/Linux distribution just weeks after Red Hat

Korora 20 was recently released [1], following the promising footsteps of Fedora 20. Some say that Korora is better than Fedora [2], not just because of the new fantastic Web site [3] but also technical merit in the distribution itself [4]. Techrights has not tested Korora, but the founder and principal developer of Korora (there are now two, plus one who is a tester and support administrator) is a longtime supporter and at times contributor of ours. He is a man of principles and his site uses encryption (SSL) by default, diverting all unencrypted requests to HTTPS.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Korora 20 Fedora Remix “Peach” Now Available
  2. Meet Korora 20 – It’s like Fedora, but Better

    Korora, a Fedora Remix distribution with tweaks and extras to make the system “just work” out of the box, which aims to provide a complete and easy-to-use system for general computing, is now at version 20.

    Korora 20 has been dubbed “Peach” and is based on Fedora 20 “Heisenbug.” The developers followed closely the Fedora 20 cycle, so it’s only natural that Korora is a stable version.

  3. Korora 20 (Peach) released with a side of website refreshments

    This release brings with it a significant amount of work by the team and community to bring not two but ”five desktops” that have been shaped for a genuine Korora experience. The additions of Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce represent the growth of our community and their contributions. Thank you to all who have contributed to make this possible.

  4. Korora 20 (Peach) hand-on: Even better than I expected

For Systems Administrators, GNU/Linux (and UNIX) Becomes Key Skill

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: GNU/Linux distributions, even zero-cost distributions such as CentOS, are becoming the de facto standard for servers

THE NUMBERS don’t lie. A lot of companies move to distributions like Debian and CentOS, not necessarily paying for their migration to GNU/Linux (Gartner and IDC only count revenue, not installed base). Hosts statistics [1] show just how massive GNU/Linux has become, physically and virtually (a lot if GNU/Linux servers are hosted jointly under hypervisors [2]), and many systems maintainers or administrators increasingly adapt to a UNIX- or Linux-dominated world, where desired skills relate to operation of GNU/Linux [3] for the most part (command line for performance and debugging). It’s not just about Red Hat. Recently, Zimbabwe had Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS mirrors set up [4] and Red Hat saw itself having to embrace CentOS, which is a free clone of RHEL [5-11]. Both sides were happy, based on their announcements [12-13], and the biggest loser was probably Microsoft, which at one point wanted to coopt CentOS and use it against Red Hat (without success and without much publicity, either).

By some estimates, CentOS is the most widely used distribution of GNU/Linux (other estimates say that Debian is the most widely used, but it’s hard to verify).

Generally speaking, Red Hat’s embrace of CentOS, only weeks after announcing surging revenue, is an indicator of the fact that GNU/Linux is attaining world domination on servers and there’s no monopoly by Red Hat or by paid (subscription) distributions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNU/Linux is Kicking Ass At Netcraft

    This is how hosting providers monitored by Netcraft see the operating system universe. The majority use GNU/Linux when it counts, not just because someone offers them that other OS. GNU/Linux offers great price/performance/reliability. You can get that kind of performance on your desktop too from Debian.

  2. Exclusive Research: Server Virtualization Usage Varies by Enterprise Size
  3. New Year’s Resolutions for SysAdmins

    Ah, a new year, with old systems. If you recently took time off to relax with friends and family and ring in 2014, perhaps you’re feeling rejuvenated and ready to break bad old habits and develop good new ones

  4. ZOL relaunches local mirror for largest Linux distros: Debian, Ubuntu & CentOS

    As we step into a new year, I can’t help but look back on the current year and wonder that there has been a lot of talk in the broadband/internet side of things locally but not a great amount actually done about it.

    Now I know that sounds very negative, ISP’s have innovated quite a bit this past year, from uMax starting things by changing the game somewhat with fixed (non 3g) internet with their 20gigs for $75 plan and free modem, then ZOL blew that out of the park by saying that all their packages would no longer have a bandwidth caps forcing other providers like YoAfrica to follow suit. I’m still waiting for TelOne to also do similar across there packages as the last “big” ISP in Zimbabwe that’s yet to update/improve their packages (unlikely I know).

  5. As focus shifts to OpenStack, Red Hat embraces (coopts) Linux clone; The week in cloud

    Put this one in the strange bedfellows department: Red Hat, the company known for its supported enterprise Linux, is now working with its chief clone, CentOS. Since CentOS is seen as a free option to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in many businesses and Red Hat threatened legal action against CentOS in the past, last week’s news raised some eyebrows.

  6. Hell Freezes Over in Linux Land as Red Hat Makes Nice With Its Clone
  7. CentOS to boost its Linux distribution with Red Hat
  8. Red Hat Officially Joins Forces with the CentOS Project
  9. Red Hat and CentOS team up to push Linux and Openstack
  10. Red Hat Embraces Rival CentOS

    Red Hat’s CTO explains why the Linux giant is now working with the community group that has been cloning its flagship enterprise Linux platform.

  11. Red Hat incorporates ‘free’ Red Hat clone CentOS

    For almost a decade, expert Linux users who didn’t need the Red Hat Enterprise Linux support used its clone CentOS instead. Now, Red Hat has adopted this community Linux. Don’t panic!

  12. CentOS Project joins forces with Red Hat

    With great excitement I’d like to announce that we are joining the Red Hat family. The CentOS Project ( http://www.centos.org ) is joining forces with Red Hat. Working as part of the Open Source and Standards team ( http://community.redhat.com/ ) to foster rapid innovation beyond the platform into the next generation of emerging technologies. Working alongside the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems, we hope to further expand on the community offerings by providing a platform that is easily consumed, by other projects to promote their code while we maintain the established base.

  13. Red Hat and the CentOS Project Join Forces to Speed Open Source Innovation

01.03.14

Fedora 20 Brings Wayland to GNOME and Abandons Blobs

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Binary blobs like AMD’s Catalyst driver are being marginalised by Fedora, which is also starting to introduce Wayland in GNOME-based distributions

THE previous post dealt with the state of Wayland in KDE. Well, it’s not just KDE which moves in this direction. The main patron of GNOME, namely Red Hat, is leaving proprietary graphics drivers behind [1,2] (the less, the merrier) and also moving to a more manageable graphics stack. Fedora is improving GNOME 3 and the GNOME Shell [3,4], which it now tied more closely to Wayland [5]. This is significant. With other work which aims to improve the desktop experience (e.g. Systemd [6]) we are bound to see many projects following, and not just direct Fedora derivatives like Korora [7]. The Fedora project is probably the biggest driver of GNU/Linux development, rivalled only by Debian, which still isn’t leaning towards Systemd [8,9]. What Fedora does affects not only RHEL, but also the world’s most used server operating system (close to Debian), CentOS [10].

Watch closely what Fedora is doing because what Red Hat decides on typically becomes a de facto standard for the rest of us. The good news is, the graphics stack in Linux seems to be repelling blobs (with root privileges), which are the most likely component to ever act as a backdoor (unless it already exists).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fedora 20 Linux: Problems Supporting AMD Video Hardware

    Fedora 20, the newest version of the Linux-based operating system affiliated with Red Hat (RHT), has been out only for a few weeks. But it is already creating challenges for Linux users with AMD graphics hardware, which is not supported in some cases on the new release. It’s a reminder of the way that dependence on proprietary device drivers can drastically hinder open source adoption.

  2. Will there really be no AMD Catalyst driver packaged by RPM Fusion for Fedora 20?
  3. Fedora 20 Delivers Updated Gnome Software Center

    Fedora 20 delivers a sleek new software manager for the Gnome Shell that is perfectly user-friendly. This new software manager also takes advantage of the header bars introduced with Gnome 3.10. I have taken an extensive look at the re-designed Gnome Software Manager, and now its time to show off the goods.

  4. DJANGO UNCHAINED: Don’t let ‘preview’ apps put you off Fedora 20

    If you’re a fan of GNOME 3 and the GNOME Shell, Fedora 20 will be a welcome update. This release sees an upgrade for Fedora’s default GNOME spin, bringing the desktop to GNOME 3.10.

    Fedora’s live desktop CD has used GNOME by default for many years now. Once upon a time that was completely unremarkable. However, since Ubuntu now has Unity, OpenSUSE pours its effort into KDE and Mint has worked hard to divorce Cinnamon 2.0 from GNOME 3, Fedora is, well, just about all GNOME has left these days.

  5. GNOME Shell Wayland Benchmarks From Fedora 20

    While an X.Org Server is still used by default on Fedora 20 “Heisenbug”, Wayland has become a viable option for early adopters and developers wishing to work on Wayland software compatibility and/or testing. All the packages are needed on a Fedora 20 installation to launch a GNOME Wayland session and begin working, including support for XWayland in order to run X11-dependent games and applications.

  6. KDBUS & Systemd Now Yields A Working System

    Open-source developers this week achieved a pleasant late Christmas present for Fedora users of having a working system with using the in-development Linux kernel DBus implementation (KDBUS) paired with the latest systemd code can now yield a booting system.

  7. Interview: Chris Smart of the Korora Project
  8. Init wars: Debian inclining towards upstart
  9. Debian Still Debating Systemd vs. Upstart Init System
  10. Progress Being Made On CentOS 7, Based Off RHEL7

    The CentOS community developers focused on their rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 have already begun playing with the RHEL7 Beta source packages to form CentOS 7.0.

12.24.13

Despite US Roots, Red Hat Appears to Have Benefited From NSA Scandals

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Servers at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who said US businesses are suffering?

Summary: Red Hat’s revenues soar after half a year of important revelations about the NSA

A LOT of the corporate press in the US wrongly paints the NSA disclosures as a killer to US technology companies, perhaps conflating “US” with “proprietary”. Well, many companies in the US are adhering to Free/Open Source doctrines and they aren’t doing too badly, even amid the NSA scandals. Despite them or because of them, those companies are doing well. Those companies hardly seem to have been affected by 'standards' with back doors in them.

Enter Red Hat.

While Red Hat’s nation of origin makes it somewhat difficult to trust patches it submits to Linux on behalf of the NSA, south/Latin America sure buys a lot of RHEL. The code is out there for auditing and even compilation by oneself. There is no known back door in RHEL. Some may speculate about hardware-level back doors or even random number generators with too low an entropy, but none of this is confirmed, just hypothesised. The US Department of Defence uses/deploys a lot of Red Hat, so why would the NSA put a back door in ‘vanilla’ RHEL (China is alleged to have been doing so in derivatives of RHEL).

Putting aside hypotheses, Red Hat is doing well [1] and its profits surge [2], with a 15% increase in revenues [3]. RHEL7 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7) is already looking quite promising [4]. The company, Red Hat, is liaising with OpenStack [5-10] amongst other partners and for those who cannot afford Red Hat there is CentOS 6.5 [11], which has just received a positive review [12].

Techrights has been running on CentOS for quite a few years, enjoying the work of Red Hat and also the low cost (we are hardly funded by anyone, except a few donations that we appreciate a lot). Back doors in proprietary software will hopefully convince more and more nations — let alone businesses — to explore GNU/Linux servers, desktops, and more. The price of freedom/autonomy/privacy is misunderstood by too many.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. State of the Red Hat Union
  2. Red Hat’s pockets bulging on strong Linux, JBoss sales

    Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat posted strong financial results for the third quarter of its fiscal 2014 on Thursday, with earnings that beat both analysts’ estimates and the company’s own earlier guidance.

    Revenues for the quarter ending on November 30 were $397m, up 15 per cent from the same period a year ago.

  3. Red Hat reports 15% increase in revenues

    Red Hat, an icon of open source business, reported $397 million as total revenue for the quarter. It’s an increase of 15% in U.S. dollars from the year ago quarter.

  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 Looks Great, Performance Is Great

    Red Hat this week released the first beta to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. RHEL 7 is based upon improvements and other work that happened over the past few release cycles in Fedora (Red Hat says it’s Fedora 19-based but in developer comments it turns out to be a mix of 18/19/20) and is riding on its new enterprise Linux 3.10 kernel. In this article is a first look at RHEL 7 Beta 1 along with our first benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 comparing the results to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.

  5. Dell and Red Hat team to sell enterprise OpenStack
  6. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 4.0 Reaches General Availability
  7. Red Hat launches its own OpenStack product.
  8. Dell and Red Hat’s OpenStack Alliance To Open Many Enterprise Doors
  9. Red Hat launches Enterprise Linux OpenStack 4.0 platform
  10. Dell Advances Cloud Efforts and Preps for More Innovation
  11. What’s New In CentOS 6.5?
  12. CentOS 6.5 Review – Red Hat for all

    CentOS firmly sits in the stable category of Linux releases – packages are rarely the the very latest versions, the kernel used is much older and it even still has GNOME 2 as its desktop environment, all in the name of cutting down on bugs. While it is stable and capable of running on older tech, it isn’t as resource friendly as distros specifically geared towards being lightweight. Especially if you pick up the full DVD image of the distro, clocking in at nearly 2 GB, which carries multiple desktop environments and a lot of default apps.

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