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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Administration

News Administration Recommended Books Recommended Links Installation RHEL subscription management Oracle Linux Certification Program
Kickstart Installation of Red Hat from a USB drive Modifying ISO image Networking NTP configuration SELinux LVM Xinetd
RPM YUM Anaconda Kickstart Cron Wheel Group PAM RHEL handling of DST change
Redundant daemons in RHEL Disabling the avahi daemon Apache rsyslog SSH NFS Samba NTP
 serial console Screen vim Log rotation rsync Sendmail VNC/VINO Midnight Commander
bash IP address change Disabling useless daemons in RHEL/Centos/Oracle linux servers systemd rsync Systemd Disk Management Security
RHEL4 registration RHEL5 registration on proxy protected network RHEL6 registration on proxy protected network InfiniBand Installing Mellanox InfiniBand Driver on RHEL 6.5 InfiniBand Subnet Manager    
Tuning Virtualization Xen Fedora

Red Hat vs. Solaris

Tips Humor Etc

 Red Hat exists in several incarnations:

There is no free lunch and if you are using commercial distribution you need to pay annual maintenance or get some delays in availability of new version and patches.

RHEL is struggling to fence off "copycats" by complicating access to the source of patches, but the problem is that its licensing is a mess. Hopefully In RHEL 7 they will improve it.'

Currently Red Hat has most complex, the most Byzantine system of subscriptions after IBM (which is the leader in licensing obscurantism ;-).

It is based on so called "entitlements" which oversimplifying is one license for a 2 socket server. They are "mergeable" so if your 4 socket license expired and you have two spare two socket licenses RHEL is happy to accommodate your needs. But that does not assure the right mix if you need different types of licenses for different classes of servers.

And this is a problem as RHEL has three different classes of subscriptions: patches only, regular and premium. You are pretty complex position if you use all three types. For example for computations blades people typically use "parches only" subscription (cheapest), but when in three years it expires it can be replaced with , say, regular, which nobody  wants for those servers.

Despite there level of licenses (which imply different levels of tech support) technical support is uniformly weak, with mostly "monkey looking in database" type of service. For complex problem you are usually stuck.  In a way the only way to use RHEL is "as is".

Current versions

Current versions of RHEL (as of March 2014) are  5.9, 6.5, and since June 10, 2014 version 7.0. See Red Hat Enterprise Linux - Wikipedia.  and DistroWatch.com Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Documentation for version 6

Tip:

In linux there is not convention for determination which flavor of linux you are running. For Red Hat in order to  determine which version is installed on the server you can use command

cat /etc/redhat-release

Oracle linux adds its own file preserving RHEL file so a more appropriate  command would be

cat /etc/*release

RHEL  5.6-5.9 is probably one of the most stable version of  Red Hat I ever encountered. It still support more or less recent hardware (Oracle provides upgated kernel if you want it).  This is a very conservative distribution. For example, it still uses such really old (or obsolete, if you wish) versions as bash 3.2.25, Perl 5.8.8, and Python 2.4.3.

Oracle produced improved kernel for 5.x versions based of later version of linux kernel then "stock" RHEL kernel. It might benefit stability if you are running Oracle applications. It is 64-bit only and is more capricious toward hardware then Red Hat stack kernel so your mileage can vary.

RHEL 6 gave me impression of half-baked, rushed to customer distribution and may be signal internal crisis in RHEL development as in some areas it is worse then RHEL 5.6. For example during installation, the partitioning procedure changed and probably not to the better. Some "mostly-desktop or home network" daemons are present by default.   For example, complex  and potentially insecure avahi daemon (implementation of Zeroconf).

The Avahi daemon discovers network resources, allocates IP addresses without the DHCP server, makes the computer accessible by its local machine name by acting as a DNS server and facilitates sharing of files and printers.

As RHEL is targeted to corporate environments which typically use static IP for servers it makes little or no sense. It is better to disable it on installation. See   Disabling the Avahi daemon Kioskea.net

Also the ability of the distribution to select right set of daemons is compromised in RHEL 6 more then in RHEL 5 despite adding useful concept of "server roles": by default there is a lot of useless daemons. If you try for example to install "database server" role  you then need to check and delete/disable redundant  manually.

You can improve this dismal situation by careful selection of software using advanced menu for one box and then using kickstart for all other boxes.  Kickstart still works, despite trend toward overcomplexity in other parts of distribution ;-)

Problems with architectural vision of Red Hat brass

Both architectural level of thinking of Red Hat brass (avahi, systemd) and virtualization play of Red Hat creates some concerns. It is cleat that Red Hat by itself can't become a major virtualization player. It just does not have money for development. So the safest bat is to reply of the leader which is currently Zen and try to to persuade kernel developers to re-implement Solaris zones. But Red Hat brass things differently and wants to play more dangerous poker game: it started promoting KVM: Red Hat has released Enterprise Linux 5 with integrated virtualization (Xen) and then changed their mind with RHEL 6, replacing it with KVM.

Security overkill with SELinux

RHEL contain security layer called SELinux, but in most cases of corporate deployment it is either disabled, or operates in permissive mode.  Firewall is usable in in corporate deployments, especially in cases when you have obnoxious or incompetent security department (a pretty typical situation for a large corporation ;-) as it prevents a lot of stupid questions from  utterly incompetent "security gurus" and stop dead scanning attempts of tools like nmap, etc which local script kiddies (aka "security team") can use against your production server. 

Here is the Deployment Guide. Full set of documentation is available from www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/, Along with the deployment guide useful documents include: 

Updates in RHEL 5

Systemtap
Systemtap is a GPL-based infrastructure which simplifies information gathering on a running Linux system. This assists in diagnosis of performance or functional problems. With systemtap, the tedious and disruptive "instrument, recompile, install, and reboot" sequence is no longer needed to collect diagnostic data.

Systemtap is now fully supported. For more information refer to http://sources.redhat.com/systemtap.

iSNS-utils
The Internet storage name service for Linux (isns-utils) is now supported. This allows you to register iSCSI and iFCP storage devices on the network. isns-utils allows dynamic discovery of available storage targets through storage initiators.

isns-utils provides intelligent storage discovery and management services comparable to those found in fibre-channel networks. This allows an IP network to function in a similar capacity to a storage area network.

With its ability to emulate fibre-channel fabric services, isns-utils allows for seamless integration of IP and fibre-channel networks. In addition, isns-utils also provides utilities for managing both iSCSI and fibre-channel devices within the network.

For more information about isns-utils specifications, refer to http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4171. For usage instructions, refer to /usr/share/docs/isns-utils-[version]/README and /usr/share/docs/isns-utils-[version]/README.redhat.setup.

rsyslog
rsyslog is an enhanced multi-threaded syslogd daemon that supports the following (among others):
  • MySQL
  • syslog/tcp
  • RFC 3195
  • permitted sender lists
  • filtering on any message part
  • more granular output format control

rsyslog is compatible with the stock sysklogd, and can be used as a replacement in most cases. Its advanced features make it suitable for enterprise-class, encrypted syslog relay chains; at the same time, its user-friendly interface is designed to make setup easy for novice users.

For more information about rsyslog, refer to http://www.rsyslog.com/.

Openswan
Openswan is a free implementation of Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Internet Key Exchange (IKE) for Linux. IPsec uses strong cryptography to provide authentication and encryption services. These services allow you to build secure tunnels through untrusted networks. Everything passing through the untrusted network is encrypted by the IPsec gateway machine and decrypted by the gateway at the other end of the tunnel. The resulting tunnel is a virtual private network (VPN).

This release of Openswan supports IKEv2 (RFC 4306, 4718) and contains an IKE2 daemon that conforms to IETF RFCs. For more information about Openswan, refer to http://www.openswan.org/.

Password Hashing Using SHA-256/SHA-512
Password hashing using the SHA-256 and SHA-512 hash functions is now supported.

To switch to SHA-256 or SHA-512 on an installed system, run authconfig --passalgo=sha256 --update or authconfig --passalgo=sha512 --update. To configure the hashing method through a GUI, use authconfig-gtk. Existing user accounts will not be affected until their passwords are changed.

For newly installed systems, using SHA-256 or SHA-512 can be configured only for kickstart installations. To do so, use the --passalgo=sha256 or --passalgo=sha512 options of the kickstart command auth; also, remove the --enablemd5 option if present.

If your installation does not use kickstart, use authconfig as described above. After installation, change all created passwords, including the root password.

Appropriate options were also added to libuser, pam, and shadow-utils to support these password hashing algorithms. authconfig configures necessary options automatically, so it is usually not necessary to modify them manually:

  • New values of the crypt_style option and new options for both hash_rounds_min and hash_rounds_max are now supported in the [defaults] section of /etc/libuser.conf. For more information, refer to man libuser.conf.
  • New options sha256, sha512, and rounds are now supported by the pam_unix PAM module. For more information, refer to /usr/share/doc/pam-[pam version]/txts/README.pam_unix.
  • The following new options in /etc/login.defs are now supported by shadow-utils:
    • ENCRYPT_METHOD — Specifies the encryption methods to be used. Valid values are DES, MD5, SHA256, and SHA512. If this option is defined, MD5_CRYPT_ENAB is ignored.
    • SHA_CRYPT_MIN_ROUNDS and SHA_CRYPT_MAX_ROUNDS — Specifies the number of hashing rounds to use if ENCRYPT_METHOD is set to SHA256 or SHA512. If neither option is set, a default value is chosen by glibc. If only one option is set, the encryption method specifies the number of rounds.

      If both options are used, they specify an inclusive interval from which the number of rounds is chosen randomly. The selected number of rounds is limited to the inclusive interval [1000, 999999999].

OFED in comps.xml
The group OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution is now included in comps.xml. This group contains components used for high-performance networking and clustering (for example, InfiniBand and Remote Direct Memory Access).

Further, the Workstation group has been removed from comps.xml in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 Client version. This group only contained the openib package, which is now part of the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution group.
 

system-config-netboot
system-config-netboot is now included in this update. This is a GUI-based tool used for enabling, configuring, and disabling network booting. It is also useful in configuring PXE-booting for network installations and diskless clients.
 
openmpi
In order to accommodate the use of compilers other than gcc for specific applications that use message passing interface (MPI), the following updates have been applied to the openmpi and lam packages:
  • MPI installations are now consolidated under a single installation directory. All files can now be found under /usr/lib(64)/lam and /usr/lib(64)/openmpi/[openmpi version]-[compiler name].
  • Version and compiler strings are now included in the openmpi installation path, but not the lam installation path. This enables you to install multiple versions of openmpi, or install the same version of openmpi built by different compilers.

    While this capability allows you to use a version of openmpi built by another compiler, Red Hat only supports the latest, gcc-compiled version of openmpi.

  • openmpi and lam now use mpi-selector to set which MPI implementation to use at any given time. For more information, refer to man mpi-selector and man mpi-selector-menu.

Note that when upgrading to this release's version of openmpi, you should migrate any default parameters set for lam or openmpi to /usr/lib(64)/lam/etc/ and /usr/lib(64)/openmpi/[openmpi version]-[compiler name]/etc/. All configurations for either openmpi or lam should be set in these directories.
 

lvm2 Snapshot Volume Warning
lvm2 will now warn if a snapshot volume is near its maximum capacity. However, this feature is not enabled by default. To enable this feature, uncomment the following line in /etc/lvm/lvm.conf
snapshot_library = "libdevmapper-event-lvm2snapshot.so"

Ensure that the dmeventd section and its delimiters ({ }) are also uncommented.

 
bash
bash has been updated to version 3.2. This version fixes a number of outstanding bugs, most notably:
  • bash man page: updated to reflect the correct behavior of special built-in commands (such as eval, exec, and set. In addition, the bash man page now includes an explanation of the use of aliases in non-interactive scripts.
  • File descriptors now work as expected; in previous releases, bash did not close file descriptors with two or more digits.
  • A bug in the way bash handled certain multi-byte strings is now fixed.

Note that with this update, the output of ulimit -a has also changed from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 version. This may cause a problems with some automated scripts. If you have any scripts that use ulimit -a output strings, you should revise them accordingly.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jun 27, 2014]  What's new in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Red Hat

Download

...Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 delivers dramatic improvements in reliability, performance, and scalability. A wealth of new features provides the architect, system administrator, and developer with the resources necessary to innovate and manage more efficiently.

LINUX CONTAINERS

Linux containers have emerged as a key open source application packaging and delivery technology, combining lightweight application isolation with the flexibility of image-based deployment methods. Developers have rapidly embraced Linux containers because they simplify and accelerate application deployment, and many Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platforms are built around Linux container technology, including OpenShift by Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 implements Linux containers using core technologies such as control groups (cGroups) for resource management, namespaces for process isolation, and SELinux for security, enabling secure multi-tenancy and reducing the potential for security exploits. The Red Hat container certification ensures that application containers built using Red Hat Enterprise Linux will operate seamlessly across certified container hosts.
NUMA AFFINITY
With more and more systems, even at the low end, presenting non-uniform memory access (NUMA) topologies, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 addresses the performance irregularities that such systems present. A new, kernel-based NUMA affinity mechanism automates memory and scheduler optimization. It attempts to match processes that consume significant resources with available memory and CPU resources in order to reduce cross-node traffic. The resulting improved NUMA resource alignment improves performance for applications and virtual machines, especially when running memory-intensive workloads.
HARDWARE EVENT REPORTING MECHANISM
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 unifies hardware event reporting into a single reporting mechanism. Instead of various tools collecting errors from different sources with different timestamps, a new hardware event reporting mechanism (HERM) will make it easier to correlate events and get an accurate picture of system behavior. HERM reports events in a single location and in a sequential timeline. HERM uses a new userspace daemon, rasdaemon, to catch and log all RAS events coming from the kernel tracing infrastructure.
VIRTUALIZATION GUEST INTEGRATION WITH VMWARE
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 advances the level of integration and usability between the Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest and VMware vSphere. Integration now includes: • Open VM Tools — bundled open source virtualization utilities. • 3D graphics drivers for hardware-accelerated OpenGL and X11 rendering. • Fast communication mechanisms between VMware ESX and the virtual machine.
PARTITIONING DEFAULTS FOR ROLLBACK
The ability to revert to a known, good system configuration is crucial in a production environment. Using LVM snapshots with ext4 and XFS (or the integrated snapshotting feature in Btrfs described in the “Snapper” section) an administrator can capture the state of a system and preserve it for future use. An example use case would involve an in-place upgrade that does not present a desired outcome and an administrator who wants to restore the original configuration.
CREATING INSTALLATION MEDIA
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 introduces Live Media Creator for creating customized installation media from a kickstart file for a range of deployment use cases. Media can then be used to deploy standardized images whether on standardized corporate desktops, standardized servers, virtual machines, or hyperscale deployments. Live Media Creator, especially when used with templates, provides a way to control and manage configurations across the enterprise.
SERVER PROFILE TEMPLATES
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 features the ability to use installation templates to create servers for common workloads. These templates can simplify and speed creating and deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, even for those with little or no experience with Linux.

Red Hat Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 – Setting World Records At Launch

June 10, 2014

Today’s announcement of general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 marks a significant milestone for Red Hat. The culmination of a multi-year effort by Red Hat’s engineering team and our partners, the latest major release of our flagship platform redefines the enterprise operating system, and is designed to power the spectrum of enterprise IT: applications running on physical servers, containerized applications, and also cloud services.

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, setting industry standards for performance along the way, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 continuing this trend. On its first day of general availability, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 already claims multiple world record-breaking benchmark results running on HP ProLiant servers, including:

SPECjbb2013 Multi-JVM Benchmark
• One processor world record for both max-jOPS (16,252) and critical-jOPS (4,721) metrics
• Two processor world record for both max-jOPS (119,517) and critical-jOPS (36,411) metrics
• Four processor world record for both max-jOPS (202,763) and critical-jOPS (65,950) metrics

The SPECjbb2013 benchmark is an industry-standard measurement of Java-based application performance developed by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC). Application performance remains an important attribute for many customers, and this set of results demonstrates Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s continued ability to deliver world-class performance, alongside support from our ecosystem of partners and OEMs. With these impressive results to its name already, we like to think that this is only the tip of the iceberg for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7’s achievements, especially since the platform is designed to power a broad spectrum of enterprise IT workloads.

SPEC and SPECjbb are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Results as of June 10, 2014. See www.spec.org for more information.

For further details on SPECjbb2013 benchmark results achieved on HP ProLiant XL220a Gen8 v2 (1P), HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 (2P), and HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 (4P) servers, see http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA5-3283ENW&cc=us&lc=en

[Jun 27, 2014] Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 in evaluation for Common Criteria certification

June 19, 2014

Security is a crucial component of the technology Red Hat provides for its customers and partners, especially those who operate in sensitive environments, including the military.

[Jun 27, 2014] Oracle Announces OpenStack Support for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM

A technology preview of an OpenStack distribution that allows Oracle Linux and Oracle VM to work with the open source cloud software is now available. Users can install this OpenStack technology preview in their test environments with the latest version of Oracle Linux and the beta release of Oracle VM 3.3.

Read the Press Release
Read More from Oracle Senior Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Wim Coekaerts
Read More from Oracle Product Management Director Ronen Kofman

 

Oracle Linux Free as in Speech AND Free as in Beer by Monica Kumar

> Jan 08, 2014 | Oracle's Linux Blog

One of the biggest benefits of Oracle Linux is that binaries, patches, errata, and source are always free. Even if you don’t have a support subscription, you can download and run exactly the same enterprise-grade distribution that is deployed in production by thousands of customers around the world. You can receive binaries and errata reliably and on schedule, and take advantage of the thousands of hours Oracle spends testing Oracle Linux every day. And, of course, Oracle Linux is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so switching to Oracle Linux is easy.

CentOS is another Linux distribution that offers free binaries with Red Hat compatibility. Traditionally, CentOS has been used for Linux systems which do not require support in order to reduce or avoid expensive Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription costs. Recently, Red Hat announced it was “joining forces” with the CentOS project, hiring many the key CentOS developers, and “building a new CentOS.” This is a curious development given that the primary factors that have made CentOS popular are that it is free and Red Hat compatible.

It would be natural for existing CentOS users to wonder what Red Hat actually has in mind for the “new CentOS” when the FAQ accompanying the announcement states that Red Hat does not recommend CentOS for production deployment, is not recommending mixed CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments, will not support JBoss and other products on CentOS, and is not including CentOS in Red Hat’s developer offerings designed to create “applications for deployment into production environments.”

If Red Hat truly wished to satisfy the key requirements of most CentOS users, they would take a much simpler step: they would make Red Hat Enterprise Linux binaries, patches, and errata available for free download – just like Oracle already does.

Fortunately, no matter what future CentOS faces in Red Hat’s hands, Oracle Linux offers all users a single distribution for development, testing, and deployment, for free or with a paid support subscription. Oracle does not require customers to buy a subscription for every server running Oracle Linux (or any server running Oracle Linux). If a customer wants to pay for support for production systems only, that’s the customer's choice. The Oracle model is simple, economical, and well suited to environments with rapidly changing needs.

Oracle is focused on providing what we have since day one – a fast, reliable Linux distribution that is completely compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, coupled with enterprise class support, indemnity, and flexible support policies. If you are CentOS user, or a Red Hat user, why not download and try Oracle Linux today? You have nothing to lose – after all, it’s of the CentOS community while remaining committed to our current and new users."

Al Gillen, program vice president, System Software, IDC
"CentOS is one of the major non-commercial distributions in the industry, and a key adjacent project for many Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers. This relationship helps strengthen the CentOS community, and will ensure that CentOS benefits directly from the community-centric development approach that Red Hat both understands and heavily supports. Given the growing opportunities for Linux in the market today in areas such as OpenStack, cloud and big data, a stronger CentOS technology backed by the CentOS community—including Red Hat—is a positive development that helps the overall industry."

Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst, RedMonk
"Though it will doubtless come as a surprise, this move by Red Hat represents the logical embrace of an adjacent ecosystem. Bringing the CentOS and Red Hat communities closer together should be a win for both parties."

Additional Resources

Connect with Red Hat

 

Red Hat + CentOS — Red Hat Open Source Community

Red Hat + CentOS

Red Hat and the CentOS Project are building a new CentOS, capable of driving forward development and adoption of next-generation open source projects.


Red Hat will contribute its resources and expertise in building thriving open source communities to help establish more open project governance, broaden opportunities for participation, and provide new ways for CentOS users and contributors to collaborate on next-generation technologies such as cloud, virtualization, and Software-Defined Networking (SDN).


With Red Hat’s contributions and investment, the CentOS Project will be better able to serve the needs of open source community members who require different or faster-moving components to be integrated with CentOS, expanding on existing efforts to collaborate with open source projects such as OpenStack, Gluster, OpenShift Origin, and oVirt.


Red Hat has worked with the CentOS Project to establish a merit-based open governance model for the CentOS Project, allowing for greater contribution and participation through increased transparency and access.

CentOS


Today, the CentOS Project produces CentOS, a popular community Linux distribution built from much of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux codebase and other sources. Over the coming year, the CentOS Project will expand its mission to establish CentOS as a leading community platform for emerging open source technologies coming from other projects such as OpenStack.


How is CentOS different from Red Hat Enterprise Linux?


CentOS is a community project that is developed, maintained, and supported by and for its users and contributors. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a subscription product that is developed, maintained, and supported by Red Hat for its subscribers.


While CentOS is derived from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux codebase, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are distinguished by divergent build environments, QA processes, and, in some editions, different kernels and other open source components. For this reason, the CentOS binaries are not the same as the Red Hat Enterprise Linux binaries.


The two also have very different focuses. While CentOS delivers a distribution with strong community support, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a stable enterprise platform with a focus on security, reliability, and performance as well as hardware, software, and government certifications for production deployments. Red Hat also delivers training, and an entire support organization ready to fix problems and deliver future flexibility by getting features worked into new versions.


Once in use, the operating systems often diverge further, as users selectively install patches to address bugs and security vulnerabilities to maintain their respective installs. In addition, the CentOS Project maintains code repositories of software that are not part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux codebase. This includes feature changes selected by the CentOS Project. These are available as extra/additional packages and environments for CentOS users.

 

[Oct 26, 2013]  RHEL handling of DST change

Most server hardware clocks are use UTC. UTC stands for the Universal Time, Coordinated, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Other time zones are determined by adding or subtracting from the UTC time. Server typically displays local time, which now is subject of DST correction twice a year. 

Wikipedia defines DST as follows:

Daylight saving time (DST), also known as summer time in British English, is the convention of advancing clocks so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour in late winter or early spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. 

DST patch is only required in few countries such as USA.  Please see this wikipedia article.

Linux will change to and from DST when the HWCLOCK setting in /etc/sysconfig/clock is set to -u, i.e. when the hardware clock is set to UTC (which is closely related to GMT), regardless of whether Linux was running at the time DST is entered or left.

When the HWCLOCK setting is set to `--localtime', Linux will not adjust the time, operating under the assumption that your system may be a dual boot system at that time and that the other OS takes care of the DST switch. If that was not the case, the DST change needs to be made manually.

Note:

EST is defined as being GMT -5 all year round. US/Eastern, on the other hand, means GMT-5 or GMT-4 depending on whether Daylight Savings Time (DST) is in effect or not.

The tzdata package contains data files with rules for various timezones around the world. When this package is updated, it will update multiple timezone changes for all previous timezone fixes.

[Feb 28, 2012] Red Hat vs. Oracle Linux Support 10 Years Is New Standard

The VAR Guy

The support showdown started a couple of weeks ago, when Red Hat extended the life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) versions 5 and 6 from the norm of seven years to a new standard of 10 years. A few days later, Oracle responded by extending Oracle Linux life cycles to 10 years. Side note: It sounds like SUSE, now owned by Attachmate, also offers extended Linux support of up to 10 years.

[Feb 07, 2012]  Virtualization With Xen On CentOS 6.2 (x86_64)

Linux Howtos

This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Xen (version 4.1.2) on a CentOS 6.2 (x86_64) system.

Xen lets you create guest operating systems (*nix operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD), so called "virtual machines" or domUs, under a host operating system (dom0). Using Xen you can separate your applications into different virtual machines that are totally independent from each other (e.g. a virtual machine for a mail server, a virtual machine for a high-traffic web site, another virtual machine that serves your customers' web sites, a virtual machine for DNS, etc.), but still use the same hardware. This saves money, and what is even more important, it's more secure. If the virtual machine of your DNS server gets hacked, it has no effect on your other virtual machines. Plus, you can move virtual machines from one Xen server to the next one.

[Jan 11, 2012] Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Announcement

They continue to push KVM which is seldom used in enterprise environment.   The most important addition is Linux containers.
 Dec 06, 2011 [rhelv6-announce]

Hardware support

Linux Containers

Filesystems

LVM

Performance

Error detection and reporting

X11

The X server has been re-based in this release. Updating the X server will increase system stability through the isolation of the system display drivers and will provide a better base for new features. Overall improved support for newer workstation optional hardware, multiple displays and new input devices.

[Jul 31, 2011] Scientific Linux pushes RHEL clones forward by Sean Michael Kerner

July 29, 2011 |  InternetNews.
From the 'Clone Wars' files:

"Scientific Linux 6.1 is now available providing users with a stable reliable Free (as in Beer) version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1.

Red Hat released RHEL 6.1 in May, providing improved driver support and hardware enablement and oh yeah security fixes too.

Scientific Linux is a joint effort by Fermilab and CERN and is targeted at the scientific community, but it's a solid RHEL version in its own right. It's also one that could now be attracting some new users, thanks to delays at the 'other' popular RHEL clone -- CentOS.

The CentOS project just releases CentOS 6 and are many months behind Scientific Linux and even more time behind RHEL. That's a problem for some and could also represent a real security risk for most.

With the more rapid release cycle of Scientific Linux I will not be surprised if some disgruntled CentOS users make the switch and/or if new users just start off with Scientific Linux first.

While Scientific Linux is faster than CentOS at replicating RHEL 6.1, they aren't the fastest clone.

Oracle Linux 6.1 came out in June, barely a month after Red Hat's release.

It's somewhat ironic that Oracle is now the fasted clone tracking RHEL, since Red Hat has made it harder to clone with the way they package releases. As it turns out, it's not slowing Oracle down at all - though it might be impacting the community releases.

[May 31, 2011]   RHEL Tuning and Optimization for Oracle V11

The Completely Fair Queuing (CFQ) scheduler is the default algorithm in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 which is suitable for a wide variety of applications and provides a good compromise between throughput and latency. In comparison to the CFQ algorithm, the Deadline scheduler caps maximum latency per request and maintains a good disk throughput which is best for disk-intensive database applications.

Hence, the Deadline scheduler is recommended for database systems. Also, at the time of this writing there is a bug in the CFQ scheduler which affects heavy I/O, see Metalink Bug:5041764. Even though this bug report talks about OCFS2 testing, this bug can also happen during heavy IO access to raw or block devices and as a consequence could evict RAC nodes.

To switch to the Deadline scheduler, the boot parameter elevator=deadline must be passed to the kernel that is being used.

Edit the /etc/grub.conf file and add the following parameter to the kernel that is being used, in this example 2.4.21-32.0.1.ELhugemem:

title Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server (2.6.18-8.el5)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-8.el5 ro root=/dev/sda2 elevator=deadline initrd /initrd-2.6.18-8.el5.img

This entry tells the 2.6.18-8.el5 kernel to use the Deadline scheduler. Make sure to reboot the system to activate the new scheduler.

Changing Network Adapter Settings

To check the speed and settings of network adapters, use the ethtool command which works now

for most network interface cards. To check the adapter settings of eth0 run:

# ethtool eth0

To force a speed change to 1000Mbps, full duplex mode, run:

# ethtool -s eth0 speed 1000 duplex full autoneg off

To make a speed change permanent for eth0, set or add the ETHTOOL_OPT environment variable in

/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0:

ETHTOOL_OPTS="speed 1000 duplex full autoneg off"

This environment variable is sourced in by the network scripts each time the network service is

started.

Changing Network Kernel Settings

Oracle now uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) as the default protocol on Linux for interprocess

communication, such as cache fusion buffer transfers between the instances. However, starting with

Oracle 10g network settings should be adjusted for standalone databases as well.

Oracle recommends the default and maximum send buffer size (SO_SNDBUF socket option) and

receive buffer size (SO_RCVBUF socket option) to be set to 256 KB. The receive buffers are used

by TCP and UDP to hold received data until it is read by the application. The receive buffer cannot

overflow because the peer is not allowed to send data beyond the buffer size window. This means that

datagrams will be discarded if they do not fit in the socket receive buffer. This could cause the sender

to overwhelm the receiver.

The default and maximum window size can be changed in the proc file system without reboot:

The default setting in bytes of the socket receive buffer

# sysctl -w net.core.rmem_default=262144

The default setting in bytes of the socket send buffer

# sysctl -w net.core.wmem_default=262144

The maximum socket receive buffer size which may be set by using the SO_RCVBUF socket option

# sysctl -w net.core.rmem_max=262144

The maximum socket send buffer size which may be set by using the SO_SNDBUF socket option

# sysctl -w net.core.wmem_max=262144

To make the change permanent, add the following lines to the /etc/sysctl.conf file, which is used

during the boot process:

net.core.rmem_default=262144

net.core.wmem_default=262144

net.core.rmem_max=262144

net.core.wmem_max=262144

To improve fail over performance in a RAC cluster, consider changing the following IP kernel

parameters as well:

net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time

net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl

net.ipv4.tcp_retries2

net.ipv4.tcp_syn_retries

Changing these settings may be highly dependent on your system, network, and other applications.

For suggestions, see Metalink Note:249213.1 and Note:265194.1.

On Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems the default range of IP port numbers that are allowed for TCP

and UDP traffic on the server is too low for 9i and 10g systems. Oracle recommends the following port

range:

# sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range="1024 65000"

To make the change permanent, add the following line to the /etc/sysctl.conf file, which is used during

the boot process:

net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range=1024 65000

The first number is the first local port allowed for TCP and UDP traffic, and the second number is the last port number.

10.3. Flow Control for e1000 Network Interface Cards

The e1000 network interface card family do not have flow control enabled in the 2.6 kernel on Red Hat

Enterprise Linux 4 and 5. If you have heavy traffic, then the RAC interconnects may lose blocks, see

Metalink Bug:5058952. For more information on flow control, see Wikipedia Flow control1.

To enable Receive flow control for e1000 network interface cards, add the following line to the /etc/

modprobe.conf file:

options e1000 FlowControl=1

The e1000 module needs to be reloaded for the change to take effect. Once the module is loaded with

flow control, you should see e1000 flow control module messages in /var/log/messages.

Verifying Asynchronous I/O Usage

To verify whether $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle was linked with asynchronous I/O, you can use the

Linux commands ldd and nm.

In the following example, $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle was relinked with asynchronous I/O:

$ ldd $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle | grep libaio

libaio.so.1 => /usr/lib/libaio.so.1 (0x0093d000)

$ nm $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle | grep io_getevent

w io_getevents@@LIBAIO_0.1

$

In the following example, $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle has NOT been relinked with asynchronous I/

O:

$ ldd $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle | grep libaio

$ nm $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle | grep io_getevent

w io_getevents

$

If $ORACLE_HOME/bin/oracle is relinked with asynchronous I/O it does not necessarily mean that

Oracle is really using it. You also have to ensure that Oracle is configured to use asynchronous I/O

calls, see Enabling Asynchronous I/O Support.

To verify whether Oracle is making asynchronous I/O calls, you can take a look at the /proc/

slabinfo file assuming there are no other applications performing asynchronous I/O calls on the

system. This file shows kernel slab cache information in real time.

On a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 system where Oracle does not make asynchronous I/O calls, the

output looks like this:

$ egrep "kioctx|kiocb" /proc/slabinfo

kioctx 0 0 128 0 0 1 : 1008 252

kiocb 0 0 128 0 0 1 : 1008 252

$

Once Oracle makes asynchronous I/O calls, the output on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 system will

look like this:

$ egrep "kioctx|kiocb" /proc/slabinfo

kioctx 690 690 128 23 23 1 : 1008 252

kiocb 58446 65160 128 1971 2172 1 : 1008 252

redhat.com Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 Released in Beta

Storage Drivers

4.2. Network Drivers

[May 21, 2011] 6.1 Technical Notes

Installer

[May 21, 2011] Red Hat Delivers Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1

RHEL 6.0 was pretty raw, hopefully they fixed the host glaring flaws.
May 19, 2011 | Red Hat

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1, the first update to the platform since the delivery of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 in November 2010. 
... ... ... ...

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 is already established as a performance leader serving both as a virtual machine guest and hypervisor host in SPECvirt benchmarks.  Red Hat and HP recently announced that the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with KVM running on a HP ProLiant BL620c G7 20-core Blade server delivered a record-setting SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark result.  Red Hat and IBM also recently announced that the companies submitted a benchmark to SPEC in which a combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and IBM systems delivered 45% better consolidation capability than competitors in performance tests conducted by Red Hat and IBM.  See www.spec.org for details. 

“Building on our decade-long partnership to optimize Red Hat Enterprise Linux for IBM platforms, our companies have collaborated closely on the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1,” said Jean Staten Healy, director, Cross-IBM Linux and Open Virtualization.  “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 combined with IBM hardware capabilities offers our customers expanded flexibility, performance and scalability across their bare metal, virtualized and cloud environments.  Our collaboration continues to drive innovation and leading results in the industry.”

In addition to performance improvements, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 also provides numerous technology updates, including:

[May 19, 2011] CentOS 6?  by David Sumsky

Oracle Linux might be an alternative...

dsumsky lines

I'm a big fan of CentOS project. I use it in production and I recommend it to the others as an enterprise ready Linux distro. I have to admit that I was quite disappointed by the behaviour of  project developers who weren't able to tell the community the reasons why the upcoming releases were and are so overdue. I was used to downloading CentOS  images one or two months after the current RHEL release was announced. The situation has changed with RHEL 5.6 which is available since January, 2011 but the corresponding CentOS was released not before April, 2011. It took about 3 months to release it instead of one or two as usual. By the way, the main news in RHEL 5.6 are:

More details on RHEL 5.6 are officially available here.

The similar or perhaps worse situation was around the release date of CentOS 6. As you know, RHEL 6 is available since November, 2011. I considered CentOS 6 almost dead after I read about transitions to Scientific Linux or about purchasing support from Red Hat and migrating the CentOS installations to RHEL . But according to this schedule people around CentOS seem to be working hard again and the CentOS 6 should be available at the end of May.

I hope the project will continue as I don't know about better alternative to RHEL (RHEL clone) than CentOS. The question is how the whole, IMO unnecessary situation, will influence the reputation of the project.

[Nov 14, 2010] Red Hat releases RHEL 6

"Red Hat on Wednesday released version 6 of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. 'RHEL 6 is the culmination of 10 years of learning and partnering,' said Paul Cormier, Red Hat's president of products and technologies, in a webcast announcing the launch. Cormier positioned the OS both as a foundation for cloud deployments and a potential replacement for Windows Server. 'We want to drive Linux deeper into every single IT organization. It is a great product to erode the Microsoft Server ecosystem,' he said. Overall, RHEL 6 has more than 2,000 packages, and an 85 percent increase in the amount of code from the previous version, said Jim Totton, vice president of Red Hat's platform business unit. The company has added 1,800 features to the OS and resolved more than 14,000 bug issues."

5.6 Release Notes

Fourth Extended Filesystem (ext4) Support

The fourth extended filesystem (ext4) is now a fully supported feature in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6. ext4 is based on the third extended filesystem (ext3) and features a number of improvements, including: support for larger file size and offset, faster and more efficient allocation of disk space, no limit on the number of subdirectories within a directory, faster file system checking, and more robust journaling.

To complement the addition of ext4 as a fully supported filesystem in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6, the e4fsprogs package has been updated to the latest upstream version. e4fsprogs contains utilities to create, modify, verify, and correct the ext4 filesystem.

Logical Volume Manager (LVM)

Volume management creates a layer of abstraction over physical storage by creating logical storage volumes. This provides greater flexibility over just using physical storage directly. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 manages logical volumes using the Logical Volume Manager (LVM). Further Reading The Logical Volume Manager Administration document describes the LVM logical volume manager, including information on running LVM in a clustered environment.

[Apr 20, 2009] Sun goes to Oracle for $7.4B

Oracle+Sun has the power to seriously harm IBM. Solaris still has the highest market share among proprietary Unixes. And AIX is only third after HP-UX. Wonder if Solaris will become Oracle's main development platform again. Oracle is a top contributor to Linux and that might help to bridge the gap in shell and  packaging. Telecommunications and database administrators always preferred Solaris over Linux.
Yahoo! Finance

Oracle Corp. snapped up computer server and software maker Sun Microsystems Inc. for $7.4 billion Monday, trumping rival IBM Corp.'s attempt to buy one of Silicon Valley's best known -- and most troubled -- companies.

... ... ...

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, predicted the combination will create a "systems and software powerhouse" that "redefines the industry, redrawing the boundaries that have frustrated the industry's ability to solve." Among other things, he predicted Oracle will be able to offer its customers simpler computing solutions at less expensive prices by drawing upon Sun's technology.

... ... ...

Yet Oracle says it can run Sun more efficiently. It expects the purchase to add at least 15 cents per share to its adjusted earnings in the first year after the deal closes. The company estimated Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun will contribute more than $1.5 billion to Oracle's adjusted profit in the first year and more than $2 billion in the second year.

If Oracle can hit those targets, Sun would yield more profit than the combined contributions of three other major acquisitions -- PeopleSoft Inc., Siebel Systems Inc. and BEA Systems -- that cost Oracle a total of more than $25 billion.

A deal with Oracle might not be plagued by the same antitrust issues that could have loomed over IBM and Sun, since there is significantly less overlap between the two companies. Still, Oracle could be able to use Sun's products to enhance its own software.

Oracle's main business is database software. Sun's Solaris operating system is a leading platform for that software. The company also makes "middleware," which allows business computing applications to work together. Oracle's middleware is built on Sun's Java language and software.

Calling Java the "single most important software asset we have ever acquired," Ellison predicted it would eventually help make Oracle's middleware products generate as much revenue as its database line does.

Sun's takeover is a reminder that a few missteps and bad timing can cause a star to come crashing down.

Sun was founded in 1982 by men who would become legendary Silicon Valley figures: Andy Bechtolsheim, a graduate student whose computer "workstation" for the Stanford University Network (SUN) led to the company's first product; Bill Joy, whose work formed the basis for Sun's computer operating system; and Stanford MBAs Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy.

Sun was a pioneer in the concept of networked computing, the idea that computers could do more when lots of them were linked together. Sun's computers took off at universities and in the government, and became part of the backbone of the early Internet. Then the 1990s boom made Sun a star. It claimed to put "the dot in dot-com," considered buying a struggling Apple Computer Inc. and saw its market value peak around $200 billion.

[Apr 17, 2009]  Adobe Reader 9 released - Linux and Solaris x86

Tabbed viewing was added
Ashutosh Sharma

Adobe Reader 9.1 for Linux and Solaris x86 has been released today. Solaris x86 support was one of the most requested feature by users. As per the Reader team's announcement, this release includes the following major features:

    - Support for Tabbed Viewing (preview)
    - Super fast launch, and better performance than previous releases
    - Integration with Acrobat.com
    - IPv6 support
    - Enhanced support for PDF portfolios (preview)

The complete list is available here.

Adobe Reader 9.1 is now available for download and works on OpenSolaris, Solaris 10 and most modern Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 8.04, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva 2009, SLED 10, Mint Linux 6 and Fedora 10.

See also Sneak Preview of the Tabbed Viewing interface in Adobe Reader 9.x (on Ubuntu)
 

>[Feb 22, 2009] 10 shortcuts to master bash - Program - Linux - Builder AU By Guest Contributor, TechRepublic | 2007/06/25 18:30:02

If you've ever typed a command at the Linux shell prompt, you've probably already used bash -- after all, it's the default command shell on most modern GNU/Linux distributions.

The bash shell is the primary interface to the Linux operating system -- it accepts, interprets and executes your commands, and provides you with the building blocks for shell scripting and automated task execution.

Bash's unassuming exterior hides some very powerful tools and shortcuts. If you're a heavy user of the command line, these can save you a fair bit of typing. This document outlines 10 of the most useful tools:

  1. Easily recall previous commands

    Bash keeps track of the commands you execute in a history buffer, and allows you to recall previous commands by cycling through them with the Up and Down cursor keys. For even faster recall, "speed search" previously-executed commands by typing the first few letters of the command followed by the key combination Ctrl-R; bash will then scan the command history for matching commands and display them on the console. Type Ctrl-R repeatedly to cycle through the entire list of matching commands.
     

  2. Use command aliases

    If you always run a command with the same set of options, you can have bash create an alias for it. This alias will incorporate the required options, so that you don't need to remember them or manually type them every time. For example, if you always run ls with the -l option to obtain a detailed directory listing, you can use this command:

    bash> alias ls='ls -l' 

    To create an alias that automatically includes the -l option. Once this alias has been created, typing ls at the bash prompt will invoke the alias and produce the ls -l output.

    You can obtain a list of available aliases by invoking alias without any arguments, and you can delete an alias with unalias.
     

  3. Use filename auto-completion

    Bash supports filename auto-completion at the command prompt. To use this feature, type the first few letters of the file name, followed by Tab. bash will scan the current directory, as well as all other directories in the search path, for matches to that name. If a single match is found, bash will automatically complete the filename for you. If multiple matches are found, you will be prompted to choose one.
     

  4. Use key shortcuts to efficiently edit the command line

    Bash supports a number of keyboard shortcuts for command-line navigation and editing. The Ctrl-A key shortcut moves the cursor to the beginning of the command line, while the Ctrl-E shortcut moves the cursor to the end of the command line. The Ctrl-W shortcut deletes the word immediately before the cursor, while the Ctrl-K shortcut deletes everything immediately after the cursor. You can undo a deletion with Ctrl-Y.
     

  5. Get automatic notification of new mail

    You can configure bash to automatically notify you of new mail, by setting the $MAILPATH variable to point to your local mail spool. For example, the command:

    bash> MAILPATH='/var/spool/mail/john'
    bash> export MAILPATH 

    Causes bash to print a notification on john's console every time a new message is appended to John's mail spool.

     

  6. Run tasks in the background

    Bash lets you run one or more tasks in the background, and selectively suspend or resume any of the current tasks (or "jobs"). To run a task in the background, add an ampersand (&) to the end of its command line. Here's an example:

    bash> tail -f /var/log/messages &
    [1] 614

    Each task backgrounded in this manner is assigned a job ID, which is printed to the console. A task can be brought back to the foreground with the command fg jobnumber, where jobnumber is the job ID of the task you wish to bring to the foreground. Here's an example:

    bash> fg 1

    A list of active jobs can be obtained at any time by typing jobs at the bash prompt.
     

  7. Quickly jump to frequently-used directories

    You probably already know that the $PATH variable lists bash's "search path" -- the directories it will search when it can't find the requested file in the current directory. However, bash also supports the $CDPATH variable, which lists the directories the cd command will look in when attempting to change directories. To use this feature, assign a directory list to the $CDPATH variable, as shown in the example below:

    bash> CDPATH='.:~:/usr/local/apache/htdocs:/disk1/backups'
    bash> export CDPATH

    Now, whenever you use the cd command, bash will check all the directories in the $CDPATH list for matches to the directory name.
     

  8. Perform calculations

    Bash can perform simple arithmetic operations at the command prompt. To use this feature, simply type in the arithmetic expression you wish to evaluate at the prompt within double parentheses, as illustrated below. Bash will attempt to perform the calculation and return the answer.

    bash> echo $((16/2))
    8
  9. Customise the shell prompt

    You can customise the bash shell prompt to display -- among other things -- the current username and host name, the current time, the load average and/or the current working directory. To do this, alter the $PS1 variable, as below:

    bash> PS1='\u@\h:\w \@> '
    
    bash> export PS1
    root@medusa:/tmp 03:01 PM>

    This will display the name of the currently logged-in user, the host name, the current working directory and the current time at the shell prompt. You can obtain a list of symbols understood by bash from its manual page.
     

  10. Get context-specific help

    Bash comes with help for all built-in commands. To see a list of all built-in commands, type help. To obtain help on a specific command, type help command, where command is the command you need help on. Here's an example:

    bash> help alias
    ...some help text...

    Obviously, you can obtain detailed help on the bash shell by typing man bash at your command prompt at any time.

[Feb 22, 2009] Installation Guide for RHEL 5

2. Steps to Get You Started
2.1. Upgrade or Install?
2.2. Is Your Hardware Compatible?
2.3. Do You Have Enough Disk Space?
2.4. Can You Install Using the CD-ROM or DVD?
2.4.1. Alternative Boot Methods
2.4.2. Making an Installation Boot CD-ROM
2.5. Preparing for a Network Installation
2.5.1. Preparing for FTP and HTTP installation
2.5.2. Preparing for an NFS install
2.6. Preparing for a Hard Drive Installation
3. System Specifications List
4. Installing on Intel® and AMD Systems
4.1. The Graphical Installation Program User Interface
4.1.1. A Note about Virtual Consoles
4.2. The Text Mode Installation Program User Interface
4.2.1. Using the Keyboard to Navigate
4.3. Starting the Installation Program
4.3.1. Booting the Installation Program on x86, AMD64, and Intel® 64 Systems
4.3.2. Booting the Installation Program on Itanium Systems
4.3.3. Additional Boot Options
4.4. Selecting an Installation Method
4.5. Installing from DVD/CD-ROM
4.5.1. What If the IDE CD-ROM Was Not Found?
4.6. Installing from a Hard Drive
4.7. Performing a Network Installation
4.8. Installing via NFS
4.9. Installing via FTP
4.10. Installing via HTTP
4.11. Welcome to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
4.12. Language Selection
4.13. Keyboard Configuration
4.14. Enter the Installation Number
4.15. Disk Partitioning Setup
4.16. Advanced Storage Options
4.17. Create Default Layout
4.18. Partitioning Your System
4.18.1. Graphical Display of Hard Drive(s)
4.18.2. Disk Druid's Buttons
4.18.3. Partition Fields
4.18.4. Recommended Partitioning Scheme
4.18.5. Adding Partitions
4.18.6. Editing Partitions
4.18.7. Deleting a Partition
4.19. x86, AMD64, and Intel® 64 Boot Loader Configuration
4.19.1. Advanced Boot Loader Configuration
4.19.2. Rescue Mode
4.19.3. Alternative Boot Loaders
4.19.4. SMP Motherboards and GRUB
4.20. Network Configuration
4.21. Time Zone Configuration
4.22. Set Root Password
4.23. Package Group Selection
4.24. Preparing to Install
4.24.1. Prepare to Install
4.25. Installing Packages
4.26. Installation Complete
4.27. Itanium Systems — Booting Your Machine and Post-Installation Setup
4.27.1. Post-Installation Boot Loader Options
4.27.2. Booting Red Hat Enterprise Linux Automatically
5. Removing Red Hat Enterprise Linux
6. Troubleshooting Installation on an Intel® or AMD System
6.1. You are Unable to Boot Red Hat Enterprise Linux
6.1.1. Are You Unable to Boot With Your RAID Card?
6.1.2. Is Your System Displaying Signal 11 Errors?
6.2. Trouble Beginning the Installation
6.2.1. Problems with Booting into the Graphical Installation
6.3. Trouble During the Installation
6.3.1. No devices found to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux Error Message
6.3.2. Saving Traceback Messages Without a Diskette Drive
6.3.3. Trouble with Partition Tables
6.3.4. Using Remaining Space
6.3.5. Other Partitioning Problems
6.3.6. Other Partitioning Problems for Itanium System Users
6.3.7. Are You Seeing Python Errors?
6.4. Problems After Installation
6.4.1. Trouble With the Graphical GRUB Screen on an x86-based System?
6.4.2. Booting into a Graphical Environment
6.4.3. Problems with the X Window System (GUI)
6.4.4. Problems with the X Server Crashing and Non-Root Users
6.4.5. Problems When You Try to Log In
6.4.6. Is Your RAM Not Being Recognized?
6.4.7. Your Printer Does Not Work
6.4.8. Problems with Sound Configuration
6.4.9. Apache-based httpd service/Sendmail Hangs During Startup
7. Driver Media for Intel® and AMD Systems
7.1. Why Do I Need Driver Media?
7.2. So What Is Driver Media Anyway?
7.3. How Do I Obtain Driver Media?
7.3.1. Creating a Driver Diskette from an Image File
7.4. Using a Driver Image During Installation
8. Additional Boot Options for Intel® and AMD Systems
9. The GRUB Boot Loader
9.1. Boot Loaders and System Architecture
9.2. GRUB
9.2.1. GRUB and the x86 Boot Process
9.2.2. Features of GRUB
9.3. Installing GRUB
9.4. GRUB Terminology
9.4.1. Device Names
9.4.2. File Names and Blocklists
9.4.3. The Root File System and GRUB
9.5. GRUB Interfaces
9.5.1. Interfaces Load Order
9.6. GRUB Commands
9.7. GRUB Menu Configuration File
9.7.1. Configuration File Structure
9.7.2. Configuration File Directives
9.8. Changing Runlevels at Boot Time
9.9. Additional Resources
9.9.1. Installed Documentation
9.9.2. Useful Websites
9.9.3. Related Books
10. Additional Resources about Itanium and Linux
IV. Common Tasks
23. Upgrading Your Current System
23.1. Determining Whether to Upgrade or Re-Install
23.2. Upgrading Your System
24. Activate Your Subscription
24.1. RHN Registration
24.1.1. Provide a Red Hat Login
24.1.2. Provide Your Installation Number
24.1.3. Connect Your System
25. An Introduction to Disk Partitions
25.1. Hard Disk Basic Concepts
25.1.1. It is Not What You Write, it is How You Write It
25.1.2. Partitions: Turning One Drive Into Many
25.1.3. Partitions within Partitions — An Overview of Extended Partitions
25.1.4. Making Room For Red Hat Enterprise Linux
25.1.5. Partition Naming Scheme
25.1.6. Disk Partitions and Other Operating Systems
25.1.7. Disk Partitions and Mount Points
25.1.8. How Many Partitions?
V. Basic System Recovery
26. Basic System Recovery
26.1. Common Problems
26.1.1. Unable to Boot into Red Hat Enterprise Linux
26.1.2. Hardware/Software Problems
26.1.3. Root Password
26.2. Booting into Rescue Mode
26.2.1. Reinstalling the Boot Loader
26.3. Booting into Single-User Mode
26.4. Booting into Emergency Mode
27. Rescue Mode on POWER Systems
27.1. Special Considerations for Accessing the SCSI Utilities from Rescue Mode
VI. Advanced Installation and Deployment
28. Kickstart Installations
28.1. What are Kickstart Installations?
28.2. How Do You Perform a Kickstart Installation?
28.3. Creating the Kickstart File
28.4. Kickstart Options
28.4.1. Advanced Partitioning Example
28.5. Package Selection
28.6. Pre-installation Script
28.6.1. Example
28.7. Post-installation Script
28.7.1. Examples
28.8. Making the Kickstart File Available
28.8.1. Creating Kickstart Boot Media
28.8.2. Making the Kickstart File Available on the Network
28.9. Making the Installation Tree Available
28.10. Starting a Kickstart Installation
29. Kickstart Configurator
29.1. Basic Configuration
29.2. Installation Method
29.3. Boot Loader Options
29.4. Partition Information
29.4.1. Creating Partitions
29.5. Network Configuration
29.6. Authentication
29.7. Firewall Configuration
29.7.1. SELinux Configuration
29.8. Display Configuration
29.8.1. General
29.8.2. Video Card
29.8.3. Monitor
29.9. Package Selection
29.10. Pre-Installation Script
29.11. Post-Installation Script
29.11.1. Chroot Environment
29.11.2. Use an Interpreter
29.12. Saving the File
30. Boot Process, Init, and Shutdown
30.1. The Boot Process
30.2. A Detailed Look at the Boot Process
30.2.1. The BIOS
30.2.2. The Boot Loader
30.2.3. The Kernel
30.2.4. The /sbin/init Program
30.3. Running Additional Programs at Boot Time
30.4. SysV Init Runlevels
30.4.1. Runlevels
30.4.2. Runlevel Utilities
30.5. Shutting Down
31. PXE Network Installations
31.1. Setting up the Network Server
31.2. PXE Boot Configuration
31.2.1. Command Line Configuration
31.3. Adding PXE Hosts
31.3.1. Command Line Configuration
31.4. TFTPD
31.4.1. Starting the tftp Server
31.5. Configuring the DHCP Server
31.6. Adding a Custom Boot Message
31.7. Performing the PXE Installation

[Feb 3, 2009] Using The Red Hat Rescue Environment LG #159

There are several different rescue CDs out there, and they all provide slightly different rescue environments. The requirement here at Red Hat Academy is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an intimate knowledge of how to use the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 boot CD.

All these procedures should work exactly the same way with Fedora and CentOS. As with any rescue environment, it provides a set of useful tools; it also allows you to configure your network interfaces. This can be helpful if you have an NFS install tree to mount, or if you have an RPM that was corrupted and needs to be replaced. There are LVM tools for manipulating Logical Volumes, "fdisk" for partitioning devices, and a number of other tools making up a small but capable toolkit.

The Red Hat rescue environment provided by the first CD or DVD can really come in handy in many situations. With it you can solve boot problems, bypass forgotten GRUB bootloader passwords, replace corrupted RPMs, and more. I will go over some of the most important and common issues. I also suggest reviewing a password recovery article written by Suramya Tomar (http://linuxgazette.net/107/tomar.html) that deals with recovering lost root passwords in a variety of ways for different distributions. I will not be covering that here since his article is a very good resource for those problems.

Start by getting familiar with using GRUB and booting into single user mode. After you learn to overcome and repair a variety of boot problems, what initially appears to be a non-bootable system may be fully recoverable. The best way to get practice recovering non-bootable systems is by using a non-production machine or a virtual machine and trying out various scenarios. I used Michael Jang's book, "Red Hat Certified Engineer Linux Study Guide", to review non-booting scenarios and rehearse how to recover from various situations. I would highly recommend getting comfortable with recovering non-booting systems because dealing with them in real life without any practice beforehand can be very stressful. Many of these problems are really easy to fix but only if you have had previous experience and know the steps to take.

When you are troubleshooting a non-booting system, there are certain things that you should be on the alert for. For example, an error in /boot/grub/grub.conf, /etc/fstab, or /etc/inittab can cause the system to not boot properly; so can an overwritten boot sector. In going through the process of troubleshooting with the RHEL rescue environment, I'll point out some things that may be of help in these situations.

[Jan 22, 2009] redhat.com The World's Open Source Leader

Intel Intel Core i7 (Nehalem) processor is now supported. That increases scalability for database loads. Nehalem is a quad-core, hyperthreaded 45nM processor. Unaudited results showing gains of 1.7x for commercial applications and gains up to 3.5x for high-performance technical computing applications compared to the previous generation of Intel processors.

The Nehalem architecture has many new features. According to Wikipedia the most significant changes from the Core 2 include:

[Dec 24, 2008] Alan Cox and the End of an Era - Blogs – ComputerworldUK blogs - The latest technology news & analysis on Outsourcing, HMRC data, Apple iPhone, Global warming, MySQL, Open Enterprise

And now, it seems, after ten years at the company, Cox is leaving Red Hat:

I will be departing Red Hat mid January having handed in my notice. I'm not going to be spending more time with the family, gardening or other such wonderous things. I'm leaving on good terms and strongly supporting the work Red Hat is doing.

I've been at Red Hat for ten years as contractor and employee and now have an opportunity to get even closer to the low level stuff that interests me most. Barring last minute glitches I shall be relocating to Intel (logically at least, physically I'm not going anywhere) and still be working on Linux and free software stuff.

I know some people will wonder what it means for Red Hat engineering. Red Hat has a solid, world class, engineering team and my departure will have no effect on their ability to deliver.

[Sep 11, 2008] The LXF Guide 10 tips for lazy sysadmins Linux Format The website of the UK's best-selling Linux magazine

A lazy sysadmin is a good sysadmin. Time spent in finding more-efficient shortcuts is time saved later on for that ongoing project of "reading the whole of the internet", so try Juliet Kemp's 10 handy tips to make your admin life easier...

  1. Cache your password with ssh-agent
  2. Speed up logins using Kerberos
  3. screen: detach to avoid repeat logins
  4. screen: connect multiple users
  5. Expand Bash's tab completion
  6. Automate your installations
  7. Roll out changes to multiple systems
  8. Automate Debian updates
  9. Sanely reboot a locked-up box
  10. Send commands to several PCs

[Sep 9, 2008] The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis by Bruce Byfield

September 9, 2008 | http://itmanagement.earthweb.com

A few weeks ago, when I wrote that, "forced to choose, the average FOSS-based business is going to choose business interests over FOSS [free and open source software] every time," many people, including Mathew Aslett and Matt Assay, politely accused me of being too cynical. Unhappily, you only have to look at the relations between Red Hat and Fedora, the distribution Red Hat sponsors, during the recent security crisis for evidence that I might be all too accurate.

That this evidence should come from Red Hat and Fedora is particularly dismaying. Until last month, most observers would have described the Red Hat-Fedora relationship as a model of how corporate and community interests could work together for mutual benefit.

Although Fedora was initially dismissed as Red Hat's beta release when it was first founded in 2003, in the last few years, it had developed laudatory open processes and become increasingly independent of Red Hat. As Max Spevack, the former chair of the Fedora Board, said in 2006, the Red Hat-Fedora relationship seemed a "good example of how to have a project that serves the interests of a company that also is valuable and gives value to community members."

Yet it seems that, faced with a problem, Red Hat moved to protect its corporate interests at the expense of Fedora's interests and expectations as a community -- and that Fedora leaders were as surprised by the response as the general community.

Outline of a crisis

What happened last month is still unclear. My request a couple of weeks ago to discuss events with Paul W. Frields, the current Fedora Chair, was answered by a Red Hat publicist, who told me that the official statements on the crisis were all that any one at Red Hat or Fedora was prepared to say in public -- a response so stereotypically corporate in its caution that it only emphasizes the conflict of interests.

However, the Fedora announcements mailing list gave the essentials. On August 14, Frields sent out a notice that Fedora was "currently investigating an issue in the infrastructure systems." He warned that the entire Fedora site might become temporarily unavailable and warned that users should "not download or update any additional packages on your Fedora systems." As might be expected, the cryptic nature of this corporate-sounding announcement caused considerable curiosity, both within and without Fedora, with most people wanting to know more.

A day later, Frield's name was on another notice, saying that the situation was continuing, and pleading for Fedora users to be patient. A third notice followed on August 19, announcing that some Fedora services were now available, and providing the first real clue to what was happening when a new SSH fingerprint was released.

It was only on August 22 that Frields was permitted to announce that, "Last week we discovered that some Fedora servers were illegally accessed. The intrusion into the servers was quickly discovered, and the servers were taken offline . . . .One of the compromised Fedora servers was a system used for signing Fedora packages. However, based on our efforts, we have high confidence that the intruder was not able to capture the passphrase used to secure the Fedora package signing key."

Since then, plans for changing security keys have been announced. However, as of September 8, the crisis continues, with Fedora users still unable to get security updates or bug-fixes. Three weeks without these services might seem trivial to Windows users, but for Fedora users, like those of other GNU/Linux distribution, many of whom are used to daily updates to their system, the crisis amounts to a major disruption of service.

A conflict of cultures

From a corporate viewpoint, Red Hat's close-lipped reaction to the crisis is understandable. Like any company based on free and open source software, Red Hat derives its income from delivering services to customers, and obviously its ability to deliver services is handicapped (if not completely curtailed) when its servers are compromised. Under these circumstances, the company's wish to proceed cautiously and with as little publicity as possible is perfectly natural.

The problem is that, in moving to defend its own credibility, Red Hat has neglected Fedora's. While secrecy about the crisis may be second nature to Red Hat's legal counsel, the FOSS community expects openness.

In this respect, Red Hat's handling of the crisis could not contrast more strongly with the reaction of the community-based Debian distribution when a major security flaw was discovered in its openssl package last May. In keeping with Debian's policy of openness, the first public announcement followed hard on the discovery, and included an explanation of the scope, what users could do, and the sites where users could find tools and instructions for protecting themselves.

[Aug 23, 2008] redhat.com OpenSSH blacklist script

That's sad -- RHN was compromised due and some troyanised OpenSSH packages were uploaded. 
22nd August 2008

Last week Red Hat detected an intrusion on certain of its computer systems and took immediate action. While the investigation into the intrusion is on-going, our initial focus was to review and test the distribution channel we use with our customers, Red Hat Network (RHN) and its associated security measures. Based on these efforts, we remain highly confident that our systems and processes prevented the intrusion from compromising RHN or the content distributed via RHN and accordingly believe that customers who keep their systems updated using Red Hat Network are not at risk. We are issuing this alert primarily for those who may obtain Red Hat binary packages via channels other than those of official Red Hat subscribers.

In connection with the incident, the intruder was able to get a small number of OpenSSH packages relating only to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (i386 and x86_64 architectures only) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (x86_64 architecture only) signed. As a precautionary measure, we are releasing an updated version of these packages and have published a list of the tampered packages and how to detect them.

To reiterate, our processes and efforts to date indicate that packages obtained by Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers via Red Hat Network are not at risk.

We have provided a shell script which lists the affected packages and can verify that none of them are installed on a system:

The script has a detached GPG signature from the Red Hat Security Response Team (key) so you can verify its integrity:

This script can be executed either as a non-root user or as root. To execute the script after downloading it and saving it to your system, run the command:

   bash ./openssh-blacklist-1.0.sh

If the script output includes any lines beginning with "ALERT" then a tampered package has been installed on the system. Otherwise, if no tampered packages were found, the script should produce only a single line of output beginning with the word "PASS", as shown below:

   bash ./openssh-blacklist-1.0.sh
   PASS: no suspect packages were found on this system

The script can also check a set of packages by passing it a list of source or binary RPM filenames. In this mode, a "PASS" or "ALERT" line will be printed for each filename passed; for example:

   bash ./openssh-blacklist-1.0.sh openssh-4.3p2-16.el5.i386.rpm
   PASS: signature of package "openssh-4.3p2-16.el5.i386.rpm" not on blacklist

Red Hat customers who discover any tampered packages, need help with running this script, or have any questions should log into the Red Hat support website and file a support ticket, call their local support center, or contact their Technical Account Manager.

[Aug 7, 2008] rsyslog 2.0.6 (v2 Stable) by Rainer Gerhards

This is new syslog daemon used by RHEL.

About: Rsyslog is an enhanced multi-threaded syslogd. Among others, it offers support for on-demand disk buffering, reliable syslog over TCP, SSL, TLS, and RELP, writing to databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and many more), email alerting, fully configurable output formats (including high-precision timestamps), the ability to filter on any part of the syslog message, on-the-wire message compression, and the ability to convert text files to syslog. It is a drop-in replacement for stock syslogd and able to work with the same configuration file syntax.

Changes: IPv6 addresses could not be specified in forwarding actions, because they contain colons and the colon character was already used for some other purpose. IPv6 addresses can now be specified inside of square brackets. This is a recommended update for all v2-stable branch users.

[Mar 26, 2008] InternetNews Realtime IT News – Oracle Expands Its Linux Base by Sean Michael Kerner

Oracle claims that it continues to pick up users for its Linux offering and now is set to add new clustering capabilities to the mix.

So how is Oracle doing with its Oracle Unbreakable Linux? Pretty well. According to Monica Kumar, senior director Linux and open source product marketing at Oracle, there are now 2,000 customers for Oracle's Linux. Those customers will now be getting a bonus from Oracle: free clustering software.

Oracle's Clusterware software previously had only been available to Oracle's Real Application Clusters (RAC) customers, but now will also be part of the Unbreakable Linux support offering at no additional cost.

Clusterware is the core Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) software offering that enables the grouping of individual servers together into a cluster system. Kumar explained to InternetNews.com that the full RAC offering provides additional components beyond just Clusterware that are useful for managing and deploying Oracle databases on clusters.

The new offering for Linux users, however, does not necessarily replace the need for RAC.

"We're not saying that this [Clusterware] replaces RAC," Kumar noted. "We are taking it out of RAC for other general purpose uses as well. Clusterware is general purpose software that is part of RAC but that isn't the full solution."

The Clusterware addition to the Oracle Unbreakable Linux support offering is expected by Kumar to add further impetus for users to adopt Oracle's Linux support program.

Oracle Unbreakable Linux was first announced in October 2006 and takes Red Hat's Enterprise Linux as a base. To date, Red Hat has steadfastly denied on its quarterly investor calls that Oracle's Linux offering has had any tangible impact on its customer base.

In 2007, Oracle and Red Hat both publicly traded barbs over Yahoo, which apparently is a customer of both Oracle's Unbreakable Linux as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

"We can't comment on them [Red Hat] and what they're saying," Kumar said. "I can tell you that we're seeing a large number of Oracle customers who were running on Linux before coming to Unbreakable Linux. It's difficult to say if they're moving all of their Linux servers to Oracle or not."

That said, Kumar added that Linux customers are coming to Oracle for more than just running Oracle on Linux, they're also coming with other application loads as well.

"Since there are no migration issues we do see a lot of RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] customers because it's easy for them to transition," Kumar claimed.

Ever since Oracle's Linux first appeared, Oracle has claimed that it was fully compatible with RHEL and it's a claim that Kumar reiterated.

"In the beginning, people had questions about how does compatibility work, but we have been able to address all those questions," Kumar said. "In the least 15 months, Oracle has proved that we're fully compatible and that we're not here to fork Linux but to make it stronger."

[Feb 26, 2008] Role-based access control in SELinux

Learn how to work with RBAC in SELinux, and see how the SELinux policy, kernel, and userspace work together to enforce the RBAC and tie users to a type enforcement policy.

[Jan 24, 2008] freshmeat.net Project details for cgipaf

The package also contain Solaris binary of chpasswd clone, which is extremely useful for mass changes of passwords in mixed corporate environments which along with Linux and AIX (both have native chpasswd  implementation) include Solaris or other Unixes that does not have chpasswd utility (HP-UX is another example in this category).   Version 1.3.2 now includes Solaris binary of chpasswd which works on Solaris 9 and 10.

cgipaf is a combination of three CGI programs.

All programs use PAM for user authentication. It is possible to run a script to update SAMBA passwords or NIS configuration when a password is changed. mailcfg.cgi creates a .procmailrc in the user's home directory. A user with too many invalid logins can be locked. The minimum and maximum UID can be set in the configuration file, so you can specify a range of UIDs that are allowed to use cgipaf.

[Dec 21, 2007] LXER interview with John Hull - the manager of the Dell Linux engineering team

The original sales estimates for Ubuntu computers was around 1% of the total sales, or about 20,000 systems annually. Have the expectations been met so far? Will Dell ever release sales figures for Ubuntu systems?

The program so far is meeting expectations. Customers are certainly showing their interest and buying systems preloaded with Ubuntu, but it certainly won't overtake Microsoft Windows anytime soon. Dell has a policy not to release sales numbers, so I don't expect us to make Ubuntu sales figures available publicly.

[Dec 21, 2007] Red Hat to get new CEO from Delta Air Lines Underexposed - CNET News.com

"When you take them out of the big buildings, without the imprimatur of Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle, or HP around them, they just didn't hold up."

Szulik, who took over as CEO from Bob Young in 1999 just a few months after its initial public offering, said he's stepping down because of family health issues.

"For the last nine months, I've struggled with health issues in my family," and that priority couldn't be balanced with work, Szulik said in an interview. "This job requires a 7x24, 110 percent commitment."

Szulik, who remains chairman of the board, praised Whitehurst in a statement, saying he's a "hands-on guy who will be a strong cultural fit at Red Hat" and "a talented executive who has successfully led a global technology-focused organization at Delta."

On a conference call, Szulik said Whitehurst stood "head and shoulders" above other candidates interviewed in a recruiting process. He was a programmer earlier in his career and runs four versions of Linux at home, he said.

Moreover, Szulik said he wasn't satisfied with more traditional tech executives who were interviewed.

"What we encountered was in many cases was a lack of understanding of open-source software development and of our model," he said. During the interview, he added about the tech industry candidates, "When you take them out of the big buildings, without the imprimatur of Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle, or HP around them, they just didn't hold up."

The surprise move was announced as the leading Linux seller announced results for its third quarter of fiscal 2008. Its revenue increased 28 percent to $135.4 million and net income went up 12 percent to $20.3 million, or 10 cents per share. The company also raised estimates for full-year results to revenue of $521 million to $523 million and earnings of about 70 cents per share.

[Oct 29, 2007] Oracle's Linux Unbreakable Or Just A Necessary Adjustment - Open Source Blog - InformationWeek

.. In fact, Coekaerts has to say this often because Oracle is widely viewed as an opportunistic supporter of Linux, taking Red Hat's product, stripping out its trademarks, and offering it as its own. Coekaerts says what's more important is that Oracle is a contributor to Linux. It contributed the cluster file system and hasn't really generated a competing distribution.

Yet, in some cases, there is an Oracle distribution. Most customers Coekaerts deals with get their Linux from Red Hat and then ask for Oracle's technical support in connection with the Oracle database. But Oracle has been asked often enough to supply Linux with its applications or database that it makes available a version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with the Red Hat logos and labels stripped out. Oracle's version of Linux has a "cute" penguin inserted and is optimized to work with Oracle database applications. It may also have a few Oracle-added "bug fixes," Coekaerts says.

The bug fixes, however, lead to confusion about Coekaert's relatively simple formulation of Oracle enterprise support, not an Oracle fork. And that confusion stems from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's attention-getting way of introducing Unbreakable Linux at the October 2006 Oracle OpenWorld.

When enterprise customers call with a problem, Oracle's technical support finds the problem and supplies a fix. If it's a change in the Linux kernel, the customer would normally have to wait for the fix to be submitted to kernel maintainers for review, get merged into the kernel, and then get included in an updated version of an enterprise edition from Red Hat or Novell. Such a process can take up to two years, observers inside and outside the kernel process say.

The pace of bug fixes "is the most serious problem facing the Linux community today," Ellison explained during an Oracle OpenWorld keynote a year ago.

When Oracle's Linux technical support team has a fix, it gives that fix to the customer without waiting for Red Hat's uptake or the kernel process itself, Ellison said.

Red Hat's Berman argues that when it comes to the size of the problem, Oracle makes too much of too little.

When Red Hat learns of bugs, it retrofits the fixes into its current and older versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That's one of Red Hat's main engineering investments in Linux, Berman said in an interview.

Coekaerts responds, "There are disagreements on what is considered critical by the distribution vendors and us or our customers."

Berman acknowledges that several judgment calls are involved. Some bugs affect only a few enterprise customers. They may apply to an old RHEL version. "Three or four times a year" a proposed fix may not be deemed important enough to undergo this retrofit, he says.

But Coekaerts told InformationWeek: "Oracle customers encounter this problem more than three or four times a year. I cannot give a number, it tends to vary. But it does happen rather frequently."

Berman counters that when Oracle changes Red Hat's tested code with its own bug fixes, it breaks the certification that Red Hat offers on its distribution, so it's no longer guaranteed to work with other software. "Oracle claims they will patch things for a customer. That's a fork," he says.

What Red Hat calls a fork is what Oracle calls a "one-off fix to customers at the time of the problem. … If the customer runs version 5 but Red Hat is at version 8, and the customer runs into a bug, does he want to go into [the next release with a fix] version 9? Likely not. He wants to minimize the amount of change. Oracle will fix the customer's problem in version 5…" Coekaerts says.

I think it's fair to characterize what Oracle does as technical support, not a fork. There's no attempt to sustain the aberration through a succession of Linux kernels offered to the general public as an alternative to the mainstream kernel.

But the Oracle/Red Hat debate defines a gray area in a fast-moving kernel development process. Bugs that affect many users get addressed through the kernel process or the Red Hat and Novell (NSDQ: NOVL) retrofits. That still may not always cover a problem for an individual user or a set of users sitting on a particular piece of aging hardware or caught in a specific hardware/software configuration.

If Oracle fixes some of these problems, I say more power to it.

But if they are problems that are isolated in nature or limited in scope, as I suspect they are, that makes them something less than Ellison's "most serious problem facing the Linux community today."

Ellison needed air cover to take Red Hat's product and do what he wanted with it. In the long run, he's probably increasing the use of Linux in the enterprise and keeping Red Hat on its toes as a support organization. That's less benefit than claimed, but still something.

[Oct 23, 2007] Yast (Yet Another Setup Tool) part of its distribution.

Oracle Enterprise Linux became more compatible with Suse

Yet Another Setup Tool. Yast helps make system administration easier by providing a single utility for configuring and maintaining Linux systems. The version of Yast available here is modified to work with all Enterprise Linux distributions including Enterprise Linux and SuSE.

Special note to Oracle Management Pack for Linux users:
 

 [Oct 23, 2007] UK Unix group newsletter

Oracle hasn't "talked about how our Linux is better than anyone else's Linux. Oracle has not forked and has no desire to fork Red Hat Enterprise Linux and maintain its own version. We don't differentiate on the distribution because we use source code provided by Red Hat to produce Oracle Enterprise Linux and errata. We don't care whether you run Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Enterprise Linux from Oracle and we'll support you in either case because the two are fully binary- and source-compatible. Instead, we focus on the nature and the quality of our support and the way we test Linux using real-world test cases and workloads."

zfs_linux

data=writeback While the writeback option provides lower data consistency guarantees than the journal or ordered modes, some applications show very significant speed improvement when it is used. For example, speed improvements can be seen when heavy synchronous writes are performed, or when applications create and delete large volumes of small files, such as delivering a large flow of short email messages. The results of the testing effort described in Chapter 3 illustrate this topic.

When the writeback option is used, data consistency is similar to that provided by the ext2 file system. However, file system integrity is maintained continuously during normal operation in the ext3 file system.

In the event of a power failure or system crash, the file system may not be recoverable if a significant portion of data was held only in system memory and not on permanent storage. In this case, the filesystem must be recreated from backups. Often, changes made since the file system was last backed up are inevitably lost.

[Aug 7, 2007] Linux Replacing atime

August 7, 2007 | KernelTrap

Submitted by Jeremy on August 7, 2007 - 9:26am.

In a recent lkml thread, Linus Torvalds was involved in a discussion about mounting filesystems with the noatime option for better performance, "'noatime,data=writeback' will quite likely be *quite* noticeable (with different effects for different loads), but almost nobody actually runs that way."

He noted that he set O_NOATIME when writing git, "and it was an absolutely huge time-saver for the case of not having 'noatime' in the mount options. Certainly more than your estimated 10% under some loads."

The discussion then looked at using the relatime mount option to improve the situation, "relative atime only updates the atime if the previous atime is older than the mtime or ctime. Like noatime, but useful for applications like mutt that need to know when a file has been read since it was last modified."

Ingo Molnar stressed the significance of fixing this performance issue, "I cannot over-emphasize how much of a deal it is in practice. Atime updates are by far the biggest IO performance deficiency that Linux has today. Getting rid of atime updates would give us more everyday Linux performance than all the pagecache speedups of the past 10 years, _combined_." He submitted some patches to improve relatime, and noted about atime:

"It's also perhaps the most stupid Unix design idea of all times. Unix is really nice and well done, but think about this a bit: 'For every file that is read from the disk, lets do a ... write to the disk! And, for every file that is already cached and which we read from the cache ... do a write to the disk!'"

[Aug 7, 2007] Expect plays a crucial role in network management  by Cameron Laird

 Jul 31, 2007 | www.ibm.com/developerworks

If you manage systems and networks, you need Expect.

More precisely, why would you want to be without Expect? It saves hours common tasks otherwise demand. Even if you already depend on Expect, though, you might not be aware of the capabilities described below.

Expect automates command-line interactions

You don't have to understand all of Expect to begin profiting from the tool; let's start with a concrete example of how Expect can simplify your work on AIX® or other operating systems:

Suppose you have logins on several UNIX® or UNIX-like hosts and you need to change the passwords of these accounts, but the accounts are not synchronized by Network Information Service (NIS), Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), or some other mechanism that recognizes you're the same person logging in on each machine. Logging in to a specific host and running the appropriate passwd command doesn't take long—probably only a minute, in most cases. And you must log in "by hand," right, because there's no way to script your password?

Wrong. In fact, the standard Expect distribution (full distribution) includes a command-line tool (and a manual page describing its use!) that precisely takes over this chore. passmass (see Resources) is a short script written in Expect that makes it as easy to change passwords on twenty machines as on one. Rather than retyping the same password over and over, you can launch passmass once and let your desktop computer take care of updating each individual host. You save yourself enough time to get a bit of fresh air, and multiple opportunities for the frustration of mistyping something you've already entered.

The limits of Expect

This passmass application is an excellent model—it illustrates many of Expect's general properties:

You probably know enough already to begin to write or modify your own Expect tools. As it turns out, the passmass distribution actually includes code to log in by means of ssh, but omits the command-line parsing to reach that code. Here's one way you might modify the distribution source to put ssh on the same footing as telnet and the other protocols:
Listing 1. Modified passmass fragment that accepts the -ssh argument                   

            ...
         } "-rlogin" {
            set login "rlogin"
            continue
        } "-slogin" {
            set login "slogin"
            continue
        } "-ssh" {
            set login "ssh"
            continue
        } "-telnet" {
            set login "telnet"
            continue
           ...
     

In my own code, I actually factor out more of this "boilerplate." For now, though, this cascade of tests, in the vicinity of line #100 of passmass, gives a good idea of Expect's readability. There's no deep programming here—no need for object-orientation, monadic application, co-routines, or other subtleties. You just ask the computer to take over typing you usually do for yourself. As it happens, this small step represents many minutes or hours of human effort saved. 

[Jul 30, 2007] Due to problems on high loads in Linux 2.6.23 kernel the Linux kernel process scheduler has been completely ripped out and replaced with a completely new one called Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) modeled after Solaris 10 scheduler. 

This is will not affect the current Linux distributions (Suse 9, 10 and RHEL 4.x) as they forked the kernel and essentially develop it as a separate tree.

But it will affect any future Red Hat or Suse distribution (Suse 11 and RHEL 6 respectively).

How it will fair in comparison with Solaris 10 remains to be seen:

The main idea of CFS's design can be summed up in a single sentence: CFS basically models an "ideal, precise multi-tasking CPU" on real hardware.

Ideal multi-tasking CPU" is a (non-existent) CPU that has 100% physical power and which can run each task at precise equal speed, in parallel, each at 1/n running speed. For example: if there are 2 tasks running then it runs each at exactly 50% speed.

[Apr 10, 2007]  Here come the RHEL 5 clones

Of course if you go with a cloned RHEL, while you get the code goodies, you don't get Red Hat's support. Various Red Hat clone distributions, such StartCom AS-5, CentOS, and White Box Enterprise Linux, are built from Red Hat's source code, which is freely available at the Raleigh, NC company's FTP site. The "cloned" versions alter or otherwise remove non-free packages within the RHEL distribution, or non-redistributable bits such as the Red Hat logo.

StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-5 is specifically positioned as a low-cost, server alternative to RHEL 5. This is typical of the RHEL clones.

These distributions, which usually don't offer support options, are meant for expert Linux users who want Red Hat's Linux distribution, but don't feel the need for Red Hat's support.

[Apr 10, 2007] Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Some Assembly Required

With RHEL 5, Red Hat has shuffled its SKUs around a bit—what had previously been the entry-level ES server version is now just called Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This version is limited to two CPU sockets, and is priced, per year, at $349 for a basic support plan, $799 for a standard support plan and $1,299 for a premium support plan.

This version comes with an allowance for running up to four guest instances of RHEL. You can run more than that, as well as other operating systems, but only four get updates from, and may be managed through, RHN (Red Hat Network). We thought it was interesting how RHN recognized the difference between guests and hosts on its own and tracked our entitlements accordingly.

What had been the higher-end, AS version of RHEL is now called Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. This version lacks arbitrary hardware limitations and allows for an unlimited number of RHEL guest instances per host. RHEL's Advanced Platform edition is priced, per year, at $1,499 with a standard support plan and $2,499 with a premium plan.

[Mar 23, 2007] Using YUM in RHEL5 for RPM systems

There is more to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5) than Xen. I, for one, think people will develop a real taste for YUM (Yellow dog Updater Modified), an automatic update and package installer/remover for RPM systems.

YUM has already been used in the last few Fedora Core releases, but RHEL4 uses the up2date package manager. RHEL5 will use YUM 3.0. Up2date is used as a wrapper around YUM in RHEL5. Third-party code repositories, prepared directories or websites that contain software packages and index files, will also make use of the Anaconda-YUM combination.

... ... ...

Using YUM makes it much easier to maintain groups of machines without having to manually update each one using RPM. Some of its features include:

RHEL5 moves the entire stack of tools which install and update software to YUM. This includes everything from the initial install (through Anaconda) to host-based software management tools, like system-config-packages, to even the updating of your system via Red Hat Network (RHN). New functionality will include the ability to use a YUM repository to supplement the packages provided with your in-house software, as well as plugins to provide additional behavior tweaks.

YUM automatically locates and obtains the correct RPM packages from repositories. It frees you from having to manually find and install new applications or updates. You can use one single command to update all system software, or search for new software by specifying criteria.

[Dec 7, 2006] Survey Finds Red Hat Customers Willing To Stay With Company if it Cuts Prices

(SeekingAlpha) Eric Savitz submits: Red Hat customers are mulling their options. But they can be bought.

That’s one of the takeaways from a fascinating report today from Pacific Crest’s Brendan Barnicle based on a survey he did of 118 enterprise operating system buyers, including 86 Red Hat support customers. The goal of the survey was to see how Linux users are responding to the new offerings from Oracle (ORCL) and the Microsoft (MSFT)/Novell (NOVL) partnership.

Reading the results of the study, you reach several conclusions. One, most customers are seriously considering the new offerings. Two, Red Hat can hold on to most of them, if they are willing to cut prices far enough. And three, customers seem a little more interested in the Microsoft/Novell offerings than those from Oracle.

Here are a few details:

[Dec 1, 2006] Red Hat From 'Cuddly Penguin' to Public Enemy No. 1

We have suffered from that image in the past. And some of our competitors have played up the fact that the JBoss guys are behaving like a sect. When, in fact, if you look at the composition of our community, we have an order of magnitude more committers than our direct open-source competitors.

But the perception is still there. Bull even said something about that perception. And we'd been thinking about opening up the governance. So when Bull provided us with a great study case, we decided to put the pedal to the metal. But make no mistake this is not going to be a free-for-all. We care a lot about the quality of what gets committed. We invest very heavily in all our projects. We're serious about this so we expect the same level of seriousness from our collaborators.

There is going to be a hybrid model where there is an opening up of the governance. In terms of code contributions it's always been there. But now it's been made explicit instead of implicit and open to attacks of "closedness." JBoss has always been an open community, but we've hired most of our primary committers.

Well, you seem more willing to compromise and evolve your stance on things. Like SCA [Service Component Architecture]—initially you were against it, but it seems like you've changed your mind.

Well, yeah, the specific SCA stance today is there is no reason for us to be for or against it. If it plays out in the market, we'll support it. And I think Mark Little [a JBoss core developer] said it very well that the ESB implementations usually outlive standards.

So what you're seeing from us is mostly due to Mark Little's influence. Mark has been around in the standards arena and has seen all these standards come and go. So it's not about the standards, it's about our implementation in support of all these standards. And it's not our place to be waging a standards war. It's our place to implement and let the market decide and we'll follow the market.

So where I'll agree with you is that it's less of a dogmatic position in terms of perceived competition and more focus on what we do well, which is implementations.

Another thing is JBoss four years ago was very much Marc Fleury and the competitive stance against Sun and things like that. Today I don't do anything. In fact, I actively stay out in terms of not getting in the way of my guys.

So it's both a sign of maturity and of a more diverse organization. I'm representing more than leading the technical direction these days. And that's a very good thing.

You said you approached David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, to work at JBoss. What other types of developers are you interested in hiring?

Yeah, we did approach him. There is a lot of talent around the Web framework. One of the problems is it's a very fragmented community at a personal level. You have one guy and his framework. Though, this is not the case with Ruby on Rails. But there's a lot of innovation that's going on that would benefit from unification under a bigger distribution umbrella and bigger R&D umbrella. And I think JBoss/Red Hat is in a position to offer that. So we're always talking about new guys.

One of the things I like to do is talk to the core developers and say, "Where are you in terms of recruitment?" And we're talking to scripting guys. I think scripting is the next frontier as [Ruby on Rails] has showed. We have a unique opportunity of bringing under one big branded umbrella a diverse group of folks that today are doing excellent work, be it the scripting crowd, REST, Web framework, or the Faces, or the guys integrating with Seam. All of the work we're doing is going to take more people and we're always on the lookout for the right talent and the right fit.

[Sep 14, 2005] Dr. Dobb's Red Hat Releases Enterprise Linux 5 Beta September 13

... The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Beta 1 release contains virtualization on the i386 and x86_64 architectures as well as a technology preview for IA64.

... ... ...

Aside from Xen, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Beta 1 features AutoFS and iSCSI network storage support, smart card integration, SELinux security, clustering and a cluster file system, Infiniband and RDMA support, and Kexec and Kdump, which replace the current Diskdump and Netdump. Beta 1 also incorporates improvements to the installation process, analysis and development tools SystemTap and Frysk, a new driver model and enablers for stateless Linux.

Linux Client Migration Cookbook A Practical Planning and Implementation Guide for Migrating to Desktop Linux

IBM Redbooks

The goal of this IBM Redbook is to provide a technical planning reference for IT organizations large or small that are now considering a migration to Linux-based personal computers. For Linux, there is a tremendous amount of “how to” information available online that addresses specific and very technical operating system configuration issues, platform-specific installation methods, user interface customizations, etc. This book includes some technical “how to” as well, but the overall focus of the content in this book is to walk the reader through some of the important considerations and planning issues you could encounter during a migration project. Within the context of a pre-existing Microsoft Windows-based environment, we attempt to present a more holistic, end-to-end view of the technical challenges and methods necessary to complete a successful migration to Linux-based clients.

[Jun 24, 2004] Open Source Blog: Open Sourcery by Blane Warrene

I recently spent some time speaking with a popular Yankee Group analyst who covers the enterprise sector in the US, focusing in on open source and where the movement may go in the next few years.

Just to be clear, I differentiate, as most industry watchers do, between Linux and open source. While Linux is open source, the primary Linux distributors have caught on to how they need to position themselves for success and are starting to run their businesses just as any proprietary software company does.

Red Hat and SUSE make prime examples, realizing the path to long term success and revenue streams resided in proving themselves enterprise worthy to larger businesses and institutions, have shifted business models or been acquired by organizations with roots in the enterprise.

Her views, while not always popular in the open source community. are right on point if open source seeks widespread adoption and a permanent seat at the table for longer term financial success.

There are a few obstacles open source proponents need to accept and move forward on:

  1. It will be more costly for a company to migrate away from Windows to Linux, even in light of slightly reduced ongoing maintenance and improved security and uptime. While I have not always agreed that the costs are higher, having migrated corporate systems to Linux in the past, their research showed it to be true in many cases -- especially when migrating beyond standard web hosting and email systems. The costs are higher when factoring in re-certifying drivers, application integrity and training.
  2. To truly become entrenched as a viable financially-rewarding option (meaning open source companies make money and create jobs), a shift toward commercial software models is necessary. This does not mean forgoing open source, however, what it does mean is developing a structure for development, distribution, patching and support that passes muster with corporate IT managers who could be investing substantial amounts of money in open source.

What it boils down to is that while open source has definitely revolutionized software, and it is found internationally in companies large and small, businesses still pick software because it provides a solution not just because it is open source.

The fact that it is cheaper or free simply means the user will save money, but this does not win the favor of those buyers who could be injecting millions into open source projects rather than proprietary software makers.

I would use Firebird as a model. In an interview with Helen Borrie, forthcoming in my July column on SitePoint, she noted that since many Fortune 500 companies are using an open source database like Firebird speaks volumes to the maturing of their project and open source at large.

The reason as I see it, is due to the treatment of Firebird like an enterprise scale proprietary software project. They have a well managed developer community and active support lists, commercial offerings for support through partnerships with several companies, and commercial development projects for corporate clients.

If more open source projects looked at Borrie's team model and discipline in development and support, we just might see more penetration that attracts longer and more profitable contracts and work for those like us in the SitePoint community.

Selected Comments

HarryF

It will be more costly for a company to migrate away from Windows to Linux, even in light of slightly reduced ongoing maintenance and improved security and uptime. You mean relative to staying with Windows? Does this include recurring costs of Windows licensing / upgrades?

The costs are higher when factoring in re-certifying drivers, application integrity and training.

On the drivers front, that assumes (if we're saying Linux cf. Windows) that systems need upgrades as frequently. There's generally less need to keep upgrading Linux, when used as a server.

Re application integrity, think thats very hard to research accurately - kind of a wooly comment that needs qualification.

On the training side, it's an interesting area where it's kind of like comparing Apples with Pears.

Windows generally hides administrators from much of what's really happening, so it's probably easier to train someone to the point where they're feeling confident but given serious problems, who do you turn to?

*Nix effectively exposes administrators to everything so more time is required to reach the point where sysadmins are confident. Once they reach that point though, they're typically capable of handling anything. The result is stable systems. I'd also argue that a single *Nix sysadmin is capable of maintaining a greater number of systems (scripts / automation etc.) although no figures to back that.

Firebird is an interesting example. The flip side of Firebirds way of doing things seems to be the Open Source "community" is largely unaware of it (compared to, say, MySQL).

  Posted by: HarryF from phppatterns.com Jun 24th, 2004 @ 8:03 AM MDT

 bwarrene

Yes - on costs - Linux was actually found to be more expensive in numerous cases compared to staying with Windows. This is unfortunate as I am a proponent of finding migration paths from Windows to Linux for stability and administration automation. However, the research did show the total cost of ownership eventually balances out, it simply is much more expensive at the outset than staying on a Windows upgrade path.

This survey (partially on site with staff and others via questionnaire) - 1000 companies with 5000 or more employees - found that they did have to certify drivers at the initial migration, certify all new disk images, provide training or certification to adhere to corporate policy, buy indemnification insurance, perform migrations, test, establish support contracts and finally, pay about a 15 percent premium when bringing in certified L:inux staff.

The benefit if the company decided to take the financial hit: over an extended period they experienced the benefits of Linux - uptime, experienced admins and flexibility of the platform.

Application integrity was ambiguous in the study - however - managers cited it constantly when trying to retire commercial Unix and move apps to Linux, needing certification that an entire applications runs exactly as before.

Perhaps it is time for the open source community to begin establishing central organizational points that act as clearinghouses - like Open Source Development labs does for Linux - to certify open source applications on a major scale.

  Posted by: bwarrene from practicalapplications.net Jun 24th, 2004 @ 1:12 PM MDT

andrecruz

I beg to differ on Harry's view about Firebird. Firebird is not as popular as MySQL because 1) it's a newer project (project, not software) and 2) MySQL support comes built into PHP; no need for additional software. Firebird requires either recompilation or loading this DLL into the extension space.

  Posted by: andrecruz Jun 24th, 2004 @ 9:37 PM MDT

jmcginty

It was nice to read about your chat with L... DiD... (why are we keeping her name secret?).

Second, I don't understand your distinction between Linux and Open Source. Maybe I'm slow or something, but what it seems to boil down to is:

"Open Source = unprofessional Proprietary = professional (unstated) Linux = open source, but starting to become professional despite itself by acting like proprietary."

Well I'll grant you there are a lot of unprofesssional Free Software projects out there; but the same is true of proprietary. Bad proprietary programs are slightly less likely to see the light of day, but there's still a bevy of them out there.

Now, on the assertion that Linux companies are succeeding by acting like proprietary companies: there's truth and non-truth to it. On the one hand, Red Hat and SuSE have no doubt learned a lot about management, marketing, and good business practices from established companies. On the other hand, an effective open source player does not act the same as an effective proprietary player: there are all kinds of issues with dealing with the developer community that are not an issue in the proprietary world: they bring plusses and minuses, but have to be dealt with rather than ignored.

And I will note that Red Hat, the most successful Linux distributor, is a pure-play Open Source vendor: they do not ship proprietary code. In fact, they devote a lot of developer time to a community distribution that they make no direct money on (but do get free testing from). Likewise, one of the first things Novell did after its so-far successful acquisition of SuSE was to GPL SuSE's proprietary installer. This suggests that while good management is indispensible in anythin, Open Source ventures should not be running off and trying to ape proprietary vendors blindly.

Finally, there's a big difference between the way mass-market shrinkwrapped proprietary software and the way big-iron stuff is. With big-iron stuff you often have consultants in the field, lots of direct customer feedback, maybe even code sharing under NDA with the client: in short, it works a lot like an Open Source project. And that's where Open Source has shined: *nix boxes, web servers, network infrastructure, compilers, developer tools, and increasingly RDMSes. With mass shrinkwrap you have to do much more seeking out of customer needs on your own and also be prepared to tell customers to shove it and wait for the next release. On stuff like this (desktop guis and apps) Open Source has been less successful.

At least one high-profile OSS desktop project (Mozilla) was a legendary quagmire for a long time and is only beginning to claw its way back. Many of the mistakes came from not being open to community input ("dammit, we don't need a whole platform, just a good browser") as any good project of any kind should be. Thing is, no one has a clear idea of how to be usefully open to community input on a mass-market OSS project yet: the twin dangers of adding every requested feature or my-way-or-the-highway-ism have been so far hard to avoid.

Personally, I think the question of the Open Source desktop is given too much importance. Windows server shipments still account for 60% of the market, so it's not like that area is all sewn up. A company that wants to avoid vendor lock-in would do best to migrate its server infrastructure first - that's gonna be least painful and probably highest long-term benefit. Then maybe desktop apps, the maybe desktop operating system.

On MySQL vs. Firebird: yes, MySQL is more widespread, but they're used for entirely different things.

  Posted by: jmcginty Jun 25th, 2004 @ 12:34 PM MDT

Dag Wieers

I'm a bit confused to why you want to differentiate between Linux (eg. Red Hat) and Open Source.

Red Hat releases source packages and contributes largely to Open Source projects, both in resources as in code. Improvements by Red Hat are included in SuSE and vice versa. Everybody wins.

This ensures that Red Hat will have to be the best on its own merits. Competition will always be lurking around the corner to take over. Despite that, Red Hat is doing a good job.

You cannot compare this to proprietary vendors were your money goes into the big company bucket being used for the next version that you have to pay for again.

If I can choose I'd rather pay for services, if it guarantees that the money is used for Open Source development. If my Open Source vendor goes belly-up, its work is still available for anyone to use.

Paying for Open Source just guarantees you that you have freedom and are never tight to any vendor. Red Hat is just one example to show that the money is used for the good of the public.

And if you don't have deep pockets, there's still Fedora, CentOS, TaoLinux or Whitebox. Plenty of competition in the same vendor segment. Hard to beat IMO.

  Posted by: Dag Wieers from dag.wieers.com Jun 26th, 2004 @ 3:57 AM MDT

Ron Johnson

One thing I notice that is never mentioned when talking about Windows vs. Linux TCO is virus & worm costs. Both the cost of AV s/w and clean-up after an infection sneaks into the corporate LAN. That *huge* expense will never be borne by a Linux shop.

  Posted by: Ron Johnson Jun 26th, 2004 @ 7:56 AM MDT

HP Throws Weight Behind MySQL, JBoss By Clint Boulton

HP (Quote, Chart) stepped up its commitment to open source software Monday by pledging to offer and support the MySQL database server and JBoss application server software in its servers.

The Palo Alto, Calif. systems vendor said it has inked agreements with those open source purveyors to certify and support MySQL and JBoss software on its servers.

Jeffrey Wade, manager of Linux Marketing Communications at HP, said the certifications factor in the company's Linux reference architecture is a software stack that covers everything from the hardware to the operating system, drivers and management agents.

Deployed on HP ProLiant servers, the open source Linux Reference Architectures are based on software from MySQL, JBoss, Apache, and OpenLDAP. The company's commercial Linux Reference Architectures are based on product from Oracle, BEA and SAP.

Both MySQL and JBoss will join the HP Partner Program and receive joint testing and engineering support on HP's hardware systems.

Wade told internetnews.com the added layer of MySQL and JBoss support addresses one of the largest concerns customers have today in opting to pick open source technology over mainstay proprietary products such as Microsoft (Quote, Chart)Windows, Sun Microsystems' (Quote, Chart) Solaris or UNIX.

"We can provide support for that entire solution stack and we're also now giving our customers flexibility in choice and the types of solutions they want to deploy whether that's a commercial or open source application," Wade said.

Bob Bickel, vice president of strategy and corporate development at JBoss, said commercial use remains somewhat constrained because a CIO doesn't know whom they can turn to for support.

"They don't know who they can turn to for indemnification," Bickel told internetnews.com. "Yeah, it works great and it's cheap but what happens in the middle of their big selling season if something goes down. Who do they turn to and get it from. What HP's doing is taking an all encompassing view of this with certification and testing."

Testing keeps customers from guessing what version of a Java virtual machine, operating system, MySQL or JBoss product can all work together in a guaranteed way, Bickel explained.

MySQL Vice President of Marketing Zack Urlocker said companies such as Sabre are using an open source stack for business applications. Partnering with HP, then, provides great validation for MySQL and JBoss software.

"A couple of years ago the big knock on open source was that it might be good on the periphery or Web applications, but was not quite ready for business critical applications," Urlocker told internetnews.com. "Now, the No. 1 issues have been support. People who have had a lot of success with Linux are now looking at how to use a whole open source stack."

The deal is truly symbiotic. While MySQL and JBoss get backing from a technology driver such as HP, HP gets the added credibility of being cozy with open source, a label many enterprises and HP rivals, such as IBM (Quote, Chart) and Dell (Quote, Chart), are working toward.

Linux sales are trending tall regardless; according to recent hardware server and database software studies from high-tech research outfit Gartner.

Despite legal threats from SCO Group and competition from Microsoft, Gartner said Linux continued to be the growth powerhouse in the operating systems server market, with a revenue increase of 57.3 percent in the first quarter of 2004.

Gartner also found that Linux siphoned market share from UNIX in the relational database management system (RDBMS) market, a niche that grew 158 percent from $116 million in new license revenue in 2002 to nearly $300 million in 2003.

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