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Recent News About GNU/Linux on Servers

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A showcase of GNU/Linux on servers, based on very recent news

GNU/Linux Rankings

  • Hosting Providers Know A Real OS When They See One

    A real OS doesn’t limit what you can do with your hardware and it doesn’t charge you extra for doing what you want. GNU/Linux is a real OS. Just ask the hosting providers. On Netcraft’s list of 47, 1 uses F5-BIG-IP, 5 use *BSD, 5 have an unknown OS and only 4 use that other OS with the EULA from Hell. All the rest, 32, use GNU/Linux as they should.

  • How to keep your Linux-heavy data center up and running

    Linux is an excellent tool for creating the IT environment you want. Its flexibility and open-source architecture mean you can use it to support nearly any need, running mission-critical systems effectively while keeping costs low. This flexibility, however, means that if something does go wrong, it’s up to you to ensure your business operations can continue without disruption. And while many disaster recovery solutions focus on recovering data in case of an outage, leaving it at that is leaving the job half done. Having the information itself will be useless if the applications that are running it don’t function, and you are unable to meet SLAs.



  • IT Vendors Announce Open Standards for ARM-Based Enterprise Servers

    The channel has moved another step closer to having ARM-based server rooms a major presence in the enterprise. On Jan. 28, ARM—together with a slew of collaborators including Canonical, Citrix (CTXS), Linaro, Microsoft (MSFT), Red Hat (RHT), SUSE, Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)—announced the new Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification for deploying servers based on the ARMv8-A 64-bit processor.

  • ARM is not about the status quo : Open source breeds new architectures

    “The rise of open source has opened doors for new architectures; the ARM partnership entering the market has already changed people’s perception of what’s possible; you’ll see that it’s going to drive a faster pace of innovation. Think of what happened in the phone ecosystem. It changed so much over the last five years in terms of what’s possible, and that’s been largely because there’s been a huge number of choices and innovation in terms of supply chain, in terms of new IP that’s being integrated. I expect to see the same thing happen in the data center space because now you have all these choices and people are innovating at different paces but it’s still overall accelerating the pace of innovation in the market,” said Mandyam.


  • Cloud Migration Service Shifts From IBM i To Linux

    Even though we don’t talk about it much, there are companies throwing in the towel and looking for IT solutions that do not include IBM i, Power Systems, or IBM. One of the companies with a track record of working in the IBM i migration business is Infinite Corporation, which last week introduced a new cloud-based migration plan called Infinite i. It will compete head-to-head with IBM i-based clouds.

  • Hardening the Linux desktop




  • Linode’s Command Line Interface Tool Helps Automate Cloud Servers

    According to the company, which concentrates its efforts on Linux-based virtual servers, “We’re pleased to announce the official release of Linode CLI – a simple, yet powerful and easy-to-use tool to manage and provision Linode cloud services from the command line. The Linode CLI gives users the same functionality they’re accustomed to, but with the convenience of the command line. The Linode CLI can create, reboot, rename, and resize Linode servers, manage domains and DNS records, NodeBalancers and more. Users can even access their account balance and network transfer. The Linode CLI makes it easy to script and automate tasks with its built-in JSON output mode.”


  • Galileo: The Slowest Fast Computer Around?

    Trying to marry Linux and Arduino together isn’t giving me a good feeling and I’ll tell you why.

  • The other end of the telescope: Intel’s Galileo developer board

    Yet it’s no less an Arduino board than the de facto standard Arduino board, the ATmega328-based Uno R3. Perhaps more so, in fact, since it has on-board features that the Uno lacks and requires add-ons to accommodate: Ethernet connectivity, a mini PCI Express connector and a Micro SD slot, for instance.

  • Like Arduino? Miniaturize your project with TinyCircuits

    “The traditional view of open source is about software. Open source hardware has been around for about 7 to 10 years. Making hardware open and building a community around it is a huge advantage in hardware like in software,” Burns said. “The community behind it keeps it alive, keeps it useful.”


IBM Shows That Collaborations With the NSA Are a Company’s Death Knell

Posted in Asia, IBM, Servers at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: China refuses to buy from IBM because of its “special relationship” with the NSA and shortly thereafter China takes over IBM’s server business

IBM recently reported a sharp decline in sales, blaming this on a slump/collapse of contracts with China after the NSA leaks. Perhaps realising that trust is impossible to regain now, IBM, which does not exactly support software freedom on its servers [1], is selling its server business — just like the desktop business — to China [2-4]. It shows the ongoing decline of IBM, which added NSA-oriented extensions such as TPM to Linux-centric agenda. IBM claims to be “hardening the Linux server” these days [5], but historically its agenda inside Linux has been even more dubious than Red Hat's or Intel's because it pushed into Linux (the kernel) software patents agenda and artificial limitations, as we have demonstrated here for years. Linux is used extensively for server security [6], but when Linux itself becomes less secure, then we have a real issue in our hands. Air France now turns to HP [7] — not IBM — for its private server farm needs. Knowing that Boeing is the benefactor of industrial espionage (aided by US diplomats and the NSA), Air France would be wise to dodge IBM. HP has back doors too, but suffice to say, this is less obvious than IBM’s publicly-advertised NSA collusion.

“For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East.”Techrights has historically been friendly towards IBM but also highly critical of the company's patent agenda (lobbying for software patents), marketing tactics, and promotion of freedom- and privacy-infringing technology. The impact of the NSA on IBM is not at doubt [8], and it’s far from negligible [9,10]. For many years now IBM has been outsourcing its workforce to India and China and now it’s actually selling parts of its business to the East. Can clever people in the West (perhaps former IBM workers) outdo IBM by providing a freedom-respecting stack and consulting services around GNU/Linux and Free software? The term FUD comes from IBM, as IBM used these tactics to demonise a former employee who had gone independent with IBM expertise.

At this stage, despite deceiving marketing, IBM needs GNU/Linux and Free software more than GNU/Linux and FOSS need IBM. Recently, the President of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) called IBM a patent troll. IBM can carry on openwashing its business with OpenStack [11,12], Hadoop [13] and so on (even OpenOffice.org), but until it stops serving the NSA, the software patents agenda and various other conflicting interests (causes that harm software freedom and GNU/Linux) we are better off nurturing “true” (as in completely) Free software companies.

Going a few months back (as we mentioned at the time), we have reports such as:

IBM found black budget from the military/surveillance industrial complex too intoxicating to refuse. It sure it alluring to many companies and IBM is no exception; in the 1930 IBM famously did business with the Nazis, helping Hitler’s party profile people (before the data was used for imprisonment and genocide).

For those who did not know about the IBM/NSA relationship, here is a quick wakeup call. It’s not news. It was made known even in the NSA’s Web site. IBM boasted about it. To quote the page about TAPO:

What the Trusted Foundries have to offer:

Accreditation of Trusted Suppliers, with the list available at the DMEA website http://www.dmea.osd.mil/trustedic.html. Potential customers should engage directly with the listed suppliers (except IBM) for all services.
Through TAPO, a contractual relationship with IBM to produce leading-edge microelectronics parts in a trusted environment. IBM maintains world-class facilities in both Vermont and New York, providing a broad range of capabilities to the government in support of the Trusted Foundry contract.

Who can use TAPO services?
Any government-sponsored program can use TAPO to access the IBM Trusted Foundry:

DoD Sponsored Programs may qualify for subsidized pricing on specific MPW runs, provided funding is available.
Other government agencies will need to provide full funding for access.
Contractors working on IR&D projects may access the foundry provided they have a government sponsor.

What services are available?
Through industry partnership at IBM, TAPO offers:

Foundry Services including Multi Project Wafer runs, dedicated prototypes, and production in both high- and low-volume models.
Intellectual Property (IP) development, including standard prepurchased IP.
Packaging and test services.
Custom Logic Service: Cu-08, Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32.

Foundry Services:
TAPO offers several production options in the foundry business area depending on the schedule and the quantity desired. Designs up to the secret level are accepted.

Multi Project Wafer (MPW) Prototyping – MPW prototype runs have multiple designs on a single reticle and are targeted to customers in need of low volume with no production quantities.
Dedicated Prototype is a dedicated single design prototype run that includes the mask build. IBM guarantees a minimum of two wafers will be delivered to the customer.
Production phase produces unlimited chip quantities, following a successful prototype phase.

Custom Logic Services:
TAPO now has a contract in place for IBM’s commercial Custom Logic flow on digital chips. The customer provides a netlist of RTL hand off and IBM will do the physical layout, package, design, and GDSII generation, and provides tested packaged parts. Design submissions are accepted in Cu-08 Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32. IBM’s Custom Logic methodology is also available for classified designs.

Intellectual Property:
TAPO has bought pre-paid access to certain roadmap IP that it makes available to customers on an as-needed basis. A complete list of available IP can be obtained from TAPO. IP orders can also be placed for existing IBM IP, custom IP, and certain non-IBM IP.

No company should brag about working with above-the-law spies who engage in industrial espionage, lists for assassination, political coups, etc. IBM’s affairs with the NSA are not new; what’s news is public disapproval (even inside the US) of the NSA and its actions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM Stays Committed to the Cloud, But What of OpenStack?

    While there have been questions about IBM’s true commitment to the OpenStack cloud computing platform, the company definitely remains focused on cloud computing. Today IBM announced plans to commit more than $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint. The investment includes a network of cloud centers that clients can apparently leverage, including allowing businesses to run their IT operations in the cloud.

  2. Lenovo Confirms Purchase Of IBM x86 Server Business For £1.4 billion
  3. Lenovo Agrees to Buy IBM Server Business for $2.3 Billion
  4. IBM Sells Server Business to Lenovo for $2.3 Billion
  5. Hardening the Linux server
  6. A10 Networks Debuts Thunder DDoS Hardware

    ACOS is a Linux-based networking operating system.

  7. Air France builds private cloud with HP for Linux server farm

    Air France says it has automated and increased the reliability of its 1,500 Linux servers by deploying a private cloud solution.

    The deployment is based on HP’s Cloud Service Automation (CSA) software to accelerate deployment times for physical and virtual infrastructures.

  8. IBM’s Full Year Revenues Hit by NSA Scandal
  9. IBM Earnings – Don’t Expect Big Blue to Get Out of Its Slump
  10. IBM: At Least 10% Downside To Fair Value
  11. IBM Explains Its Participation on the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors

    Todd Moore, director, IBM Standards and Partnerships, discusses his participation as a member of the OpenStack board of directors.

  12. IBM Optimizes OpenStack Cloud Performance with Scheduler

    In a nod to the need for more efficient resource management for public and private cloud computing, IBM (IBM) has unveiled a new product for its OpenStack platforms. Called the Platform Resource Scheduler, the resource provides a virtualized programmable interface for automating the allocation of cloud resources.

  13. IBM’s Watson Fails To Compute In A World Of Open-Source Hadoop

    IBM has big plans for Watson, but its proprietary, developer-free approach is under-delivering.


Don’t Host GNU/Linux Under Hyper-V or Windows; There Are Back Doors

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Servers at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Reminder that Microsoft’s proprietary hosting environments have got holes in them, facilitating access even to guests (irrespective of the operating system)

ONE THING we know for sure, especially owing to Edward Snowden’s leaks, is that Microsoft and the NSA are two heads of the same hydra (one is privately-owned).

This morning we explained that Windows gets the latest back doors, whereas GNU/Linux gets endorsement from the British government (for internal use), so why would anyone want to make GNU/Linux dependent on (or a guest under) Windows hosts? Putting GNU/Linux on Azure is bad enough, but the same goes for hosting GNU/Linux as a virtual machine under Windows (a Trojan horse for the NSA), especially with Hyper-V (which is proprietary). According to [1], there are now vulnerabilities (read: back doors) in Hyper-V, so even the guests are being compromised (through the host). The same back doors that the NSA puts in Microsoft products (with Microsoft’s help) may turn out to be exploited by non-state actors [2], based on an example Bruce Schneier gave today.

There are other cases where anything from Microsoft should be strongly avoided. Cars are increasingly becoming surveillance devices [3], especially ones with Microsoft inside (instead of Linux inside) and we know this because of Microsoft's connection to Ford and Ford's own position on surveillance.

In short, those who value privacy should avoid everything from Microsoft, including the surveillance device which is Xbox (chat, camera, et cetera) and malware called Skype. When you use something from Microsoft you should assume to be under surveillance. Evidence provided by Edward Snowden should reassure you that you’re not being “paranoid”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Whodunit: A Hyper-V failure may reveal fabled ‘escape attack’
  2. Cell Phone Tracking by Non-State Actors
  3. 10 security, privacy issues you might not know about your car’s auto-location services

    As cars become more wired to the Internet and other communications services, the threat that your personal information and privacy could be exploited goes up exponentially.

    You can understand the concerns since at least one study from Frost & Sullivan found that the market for telematics services provided by auto manufacturers in North America is expected to increase from 11.8 million subscribers in 2012 to 31.6 million in 2016.


Computing Workload: Get It Off the ‘Cloud’, Quickly

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the reliance on third-party hosting (of storage space, databases, communications, processing, etc.) is a dumb new trend which needs to be rejected

IN TERMS of real market share (not just money), GNU/Linux is growing at the expense of expensive UNIX [1] and expensive Windows [2] and if we have learned anything from Microsoft’s collusion with the NSA (Google collaborated to a lesser degree) it is that we must not put any data remotely, especially not pass it over the Web to some third party.

Now that there is another round of shameless IBM PR (puff pieces and press releases [3-5]) we should recall that what companies once did was contract a company like IBM to set up, locally, a computational resource for workloads. But IBM, which faces competition from Google and others [6], is recognising a new threat and it’s the hype about “Linux Cloud Computing” [7] (Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others), which basically means NSA-accessible computing. This should always be rejected, based on grounds of privacy — if not privacy of the business (or government) then privacy of the customers (or citizens). We already know that the NSA uses surveillance for political and industrial espionage.

It is amazing to see how many companies host not only their E-mails on third-party servers (many located in the US) but also their data/databases and computational processes. This is beyond naïve; it’s reckless. GNU/Linux becoming dominant on servers is not much of an achievement if all those servers are basically wiretapping points.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. HP Korea Downsizes Unix Server Business

    HP Korea is reported to have drastically reduced sales personnel for its Unix server business in line with the reorganization of its server unit.

  2. Microsoft’s licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination
  3. IBM Will Minimize Impact of Future Disasters

    Not even Mighty Big Blue can stop a hurricane. But. IBM and Marist College are testing a new cloud computing innovation that could help prevent disruptions in voice and data communications services caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

  4. The Overall Linux Support Solution to Help with the Bottom Line
  5. Open Source Is Here To Stay On IBM i

    For years, open source software has been a bit of a redheaded stepchild in the button-down IBM midrange community. IBM i shops were hesitant to use it, and vendors were afraid to adopt it. But with so much of the computing world now running on open source, the aversion to open source has gradually melted away, and it has steadily crept into use among large corporations, and the IBM i world too.

  6. Google Compute Engine Generally Available With Lower Prices And More Linux Support

    Last year, Google unveiled Compute Engine at Google I/O, apparently seeking to compete with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for the cloud computing needs of businesses.

  7. Verticomm Technologies Discusses the Benefits of Linux Cloud Computing for Business

    Verticomm Technologies, one of the most reliable cloud computing service providers in Denver, recently discussed the positive impacts of having a Linux cloud computing for business having a larger pool of systems in the workplace.


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.


Avoid Oracle’s ‘Unbreakable’ Linux, Support Red Hat Enterprise Linux Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oracle: the ‘fake’ red


Summary: Red Hat is increasingly worried about Oracle, which seems to be doing nothing but leech and close down FOSS development (with Oracle-only features)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is just around the corner [1], having reached “beta” [2-4] and made MariaDB its default database [5]. This new release [6] does some cloudwashing [7,8] as if surveillance-friendly computing (or Fog Computing) is somehow a selling point now.

What’s very curious about this announcement is the reinforcement of known policy that excludes Oracle’s MySQL. Oracle Linux 6.5 has also just been released [9,10] and Oracle’s treatment of it is dangerously selfish. It’s not just about MySQL, RHEL, and LibreOffice; there’s also the Java angle [11] now that Red Hat has Ceylon. Oracle is trying to ‘steal’ customers from RHEL and it has been trying to do this (without much success) for years, trying to appeal to GNU/Linux administrators [12] with increasingly-long (and expensive) support contracts [13].

Oracle has just joined the OpenStack Foundation [14], but the attempts to describe Oracle as “open” fail miserably because Oracle is actively suing FOSS projects, abandoning some (LibreOffice is thankfully evolving without Oracle [15,16]), and liaising with Microsoft to sell proprietary products.

Those who want to support GNU/Linux development would be better off supporting Red Hat or projects like Debian and CentOS. Oracle’s clone is not like any other clone; it’s more like a trap.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Just when you were considering Red Hat Linux 6.5, here comes 7
  2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta now available
  3. Red Hat Signals Arrival Of Enterprise Linux 7 Beta
  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Enters Beta

    At long last, Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform now has a next-generation milestone, including new performance, storage and virtualization capabilities.

  5. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta arrives with MariaDB as its default database

    Red Hat’s newest enterprise Linux takes one giant step forward to its release and shifts from MySQL to MariaDB for its database management system needs.

  6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta Released
  7. Red Hat is OpenShifting into the cloud

    Best known for its Linux distribution, Red Hat’s introduction of OpenShift Enterprise 2 shows that the open-source giant has its eyes on the cloud.

  8. Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2 Goes Live

    The next version of Red Hat’s (RHT) OpenShift on-premise private PaaS offering is about to hit the proverbial shelves. Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s general manager of Cloud and OpenShift, unveiled OpenShift Enterprise 2, which was designed to provide customers with the ability to increase the speed, efficiency and scalability of their IT service delivery.

  9. Oracle Linux 6.5 Now Available
  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 Arrives with Unbreakable Enterprise Linux Kernel 3.8
  11. Red Hat’s Ceylon will get up Oracle’s nose

    As the Linux market gets crowded with more and more players, the control of standards becomes important; that’s how one gains marketshare and outwits rivals.

  12. Make the Oracle Service Bus IDE feel at home on Linux
  13. SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical Lengthen Open Source OS Support Cycle
  14. Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation, Announces Integration Plans
  15. New Goodies Coming in LibreOffice 4.2
  16. Stealth Mode

    Upcoming LibreOffice 4.2 will start to offer this feature in stealth mode, so to say. The Options dialog’s “Security – Options…” page contains a new “Block any links from documents not among the trusted locations” check box, using the list of trusted locations managed on the “Security – Macro Security… – Trusted Sources” page. When enabled, a matching document’s references to any external entities are not resolved. This includes resources like linked graphics, movies, and sounds, references to external settings like color and gradient tables, and ODF’s “auto-reload” feature.


To Oracle, ‘Community’ Means Paying Oracle Customers

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Oracle continues to extend only its own distribution of GNU/Linux (which is a ripoff of another), leaving everyone else out in the cold

Oracle, the selfish company run by a selfish man (who has risen to power in part thanks to CIA help), just announced a new clone of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [1,2]. This clone is not free and it’s not about Free/libre software, it is about control (by Oracle). It’s merely a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [3,4] and it has some Oracle-only ‘features’ [5]. Oracle didn’t make these, it bought these from Sun.

This attitude from Oracle is not surprising. Given the way Oracle just slapped OpenOffice.org at Apache (with little or nothing done to help) [6], leaving it for people to take from there [7] and to enhance [8] amid the decline of offline word processors [9], the treatment of GNU/Linux by Oracle is not shocking. Other than btrfs, what has Oracle really done for GNU/Linux? Almost nothing. Even btrfs is hardly promoted by Oracle anymore. Let’s face it. Oracle just does its own thing the proprietary way (trying to keep up with what’s shareable [10] and then adding its own private extensions at the top). To Oracle, Free/libre software is a rival [11] which it is only ever willing to co-opt in order to help sell its expensive proprietary software. When it comes to Free software, Oracle is a user, not a developer. btrfs needed to be licensed like the kernel it targets.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Send in the clones: Oracle, CentOS catch up to Red Hat Linux 6.5
  2. Linux Top 3: RHEL Clones Update as Linux Mint Gets a new Dash of Cinnamon

    This past week marked the final release of Linux Mint 16 codenamed ‘Petra’. So far, Linux Mint has been made available in two officials builds, one with the new Cinammon 2.0 desktop and the other with MATE.

  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 ships, but still no RHEL 7 in sight

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5 has reached general availability following a six-week beta period, making it the first minor release of RHEL 6 to ship since version 6.4 in February.

  4. Fact sheet: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5

    The latest iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (6.5) is now available, and it’s a serious contender to usurp all other platforms as king of the enterprise space. This particular release was designed specifically to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications. The new release focuses on key enterprise-specific areas….

  5. Oracle integrates DTrace debugger into its Linux distribution
  6. Apache OpenOffice 4.1 to Bring Enhanced Accessibility Support

    The Apache OpenOffice project is pleased to announce that it has successfully integrated support for the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 interfaces. Support for these interfaces enables screen readers and other assistive technologies to work with Apache OpenOffice, which in turn enables greater productivity by OpenOffice users who are blind or who have low-vision.

  7. Stakeholders and Remixes: the other names of true communities

    This year we had a workshop dedicated to LibreOffice migrations inside the 3ctor and I spoke about what was going on in France. I was however reminded of a very important notion during my various conversations with the audience. Free Software licences pass on several rights to the users. But these rights or freedoms, while essential, do not mandate how a Free Software project community should work. If anything, that would be quite out of topic and perhaps going against the very spirit of Software Freedom. Among these freedoms, two are implied that are of particular importance but often overlooked in regard of Free Software development projects: the right to fork and the right -as a user- to leave the software or the vendor/supplier who is providing you support and services on the FOSS stack in question.

  8. LibreOffice now has a built in XML-parser
  9. Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience

    Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience, but there are still good reasons to use them. The question is, how well do the work in today’s computing environment?

  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 and Docker
  11. Devil is in the details of Oracle-to-PostgreSQL migration

    EnterpriseDB execs have moved customers off Oracle, but contracts and app packages can tangle switch to PostgreSQL


Trusting Trust and Trusting Red Hat et al.

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even Red Hat’s logo does not inspire confidence

Red Hat logo

Summary: Why companies which are based on the United States cannot be trusted as US law requires them to provide access to personal information (or even back doors) without ever disclosing this

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 has just come out [1,2,3]. Red Hat targets the so-called 'cloud' (surveillance-friendly) market with it, quite frankly as usual [4]. Cutting-edge RHEL prototypes like Fedora 20 are to be released soon, and Scientific Linux (not just CentOS) will need to catch up by rebranding RHEL (they are being compared in terms of performance in [5]). Some people are remixing [6] Red Hat’s distributions, not rebranding them. But few people actually audit RHEL code line by line. Disassembling RHEL binaries is an even greater challenge, so nobody knows for sure what RHEL does. It’s a vast body of software and it is deployed in many mission-critical operations, not just in the United States.

“Trusting Trust” is an old concept, coined by some of the earlier UNIX folks. This subject happened to have been raised during business lunch earlier this week and it speaks on the degree of trust we must place on compiler developers, chipmakers, high-level software companies, and even Free software developers whose code we never personally audited (or continue to audit every time a new release is made available). Verifying the security of a small piece of software like a CMS (as Germany currently does) is feasible, but for entire operating systems it is virtually impossible and then there’s the peril of checking chip designs, their fabrication process, and the same for software (compilers). IBM et al., those who infect computers with TPM (NSA connections) only lead to mistrust. We are talking about a “special surveillance chip” here. And yes, there is history to it. Slashdot published this bit of analysis a few months ago. Read the comments too. One says: “I work for Red Hat…. The NSA asks me to put code in the Linux kernel and I pass it to Linus.” (see the context for more interesting information of this kind).

There is currently a discussion in Diaspora about this. It is argued that Red Hat will need to appease the government — especially the Pentagon/DOD — in order to keep winning major contracts that are derived from black budgets sometimes. There are stories I am aware of (but cannot share) about the role spies play in procurement for government. They can veto and influence decisions. This is a very ugly side of procurement which many people are simply not aware of. It only makes sense for Red Hat to try to appease the NSA and perhaps attach code from the NSA, with or without sufficient scrutiny (it goes well beyond involvement in SELinux, which is not the NSA’s only role in Linux). Well, some in Twitter wanted more information about this, so I reminded them that several years ago I wrote about how RHEL goes through the NSA before release; the same is true for SUSE. Now we know for sure that Linux was the target of NSA back doors [1, 2, 3, 4]; more new reporting on this [7-10] is starting to appear (people are catching up) and a new report tells us that “NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software” [11].

“he law in the US has become somewhat incompatible with freedom-respecting software.”We already know that the NSA worked closely with Microsoft and got a widely-used platform (internationally) with back doors it has exclusive access to, which basically means that Microsoft Windows is a Trojan horse for the NSA. Just remember where Linux is being developed. It’s the same country as Microsoft and Apple. Projects like Debian inherit some code from Red Hat, which complicates things further. The chain of trust is undone.

After the new report from the New York Times [12,13] (published to make huge impact this weekend) perhaps it’s time for Torvalds to withdraw his newly-acquired US citizenship and move back Linux development to Finland. With all sorts of National Security Letters, gag orders, oppressive laws like PATRIOT Act etc. we just know that those based in the US can be forced to facilitate surveillance (without ever speaking about it publicly). This may sound like a radical solution, but when companies like Red Hat and the Linux Foundation need to comply with US laws we just simply cannot have any trust. Torvalds pretty much lied to us (in a clever way) about NSA request for back doors in Linux, but his father, who is a European politician based in Europe, told us the truth.

In the past we argued that Red Hat should move to Europe because of software patents (I asked Red Hat’s CEO about it and he dismissed the possibility). Now we have another reason to suggest relocation. The law in the US has become somewhat incompatible with freedom-respecting software.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 Delivers Precision Timing
  2. Red Hat Launches Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 arrives
  4. Red Hat and eNovance to accelerate adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack platform

    Red Hat Inc. and eNovance, an emerging European leader in the open source cloud computing market, are collaborating to deliver OpenStack implementation and integration services to joint customers. The companies made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong.

    The collaboration between Red Hat and eNovance is aimed at accelerating enterprise adoption of OpenStack globally. According to a new report from 451 Research, OpenStack-related business revenue is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2015 as the enterprise market for OpenStack evolves.

  5. Fedora 20 Beta vs. Ubuntu 13.10 vs. Scientific Linux 6.4
  6. Update on x2go

    I’ve been playing with / using x2go more lately and I sure do like it. I originally learned about it by reading the Fedora 20 ChangeSet and saw that it will be a new feature in the upcoming Fedora 20. I started using Fedora 20 shortly before the alpha release came out. Fedora 20 Beta was released on 2013-11-12… and I’ve been building my MontanaLinux remix about once a week.

  7. NSA wanted a backdoor in Linux, confirms Linus’ father
  8. Did NSA contact Linus for a backdoor in Linux? [updated]
  9. Linus’ father confirms NSA attempt at backdoor in Linux
  10. Mastering Linux, Backdoor’d, & openSUSE 13.1
  11. NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software
  12. N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power

    In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency’s eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.”

    Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.

    Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” The agency also said it would try to decrypt or bypass codes that keep communications secret by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships,” human spies and intelligence partners in other countries. It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”

  13. Latest Snowden leak reveals NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities

    In a mission statement last year the US National Security Agency described how it would continue to expand its power and assert itself as the global leader in clandestine surveillance, according to a new report based on the Edward Snowden leaks.

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