2002 12 19

                    LINUX NEWS
          December 19, 2002 - Issue #112


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

    Calling All Windows Refugees
    More NVIDIA News
    Red Hat Turns A Profit
    Lose Exchange, Keep Outlook

3) Linux Resources

    Inside comps.xml
    How To Ask A Smart Question
    Open Source HA Patches
    2.6 Kernel Changes
    VPNs Demystified

4) App o’ the Week

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1) Sean's Notes

Next Thursday being Boxing Day, this is the last newsletter of
the year. So, I'm going to give you my predictions for the
upcoming year. If New Years 2004 rolls around and I'm completely
wrong, we'll just blame it on the flu I just recovered from.

First, a major distribution will drop out of the market. Red
Hat? Nah. Debian? Doubt it. Caldera/SCO/whatever they're called
today don't count.

Why? The market is limited, that's pretty obvious. But with some
vendors drastically changing course in terms of licencing and
products, something's amiss. In recent memory, I'm referring to
Mandrake looking at putting some of their software under dual
licences (http://news.com.com/2100-1001-978040.html), LindowsOS'
change from producing a Windows compatible product to their
"Click-N-Run", and Red Hat's sudden push toward their expensive
Advanced Server and related training.

There are a lot of distributions out there, and I'll be the
first to say that means more choice. But while Linux will
certainly see more adoption in 2003, I don't think the pie will
be shared equally.

Second prediction is an easier one. The BSDs (FreeBSD, OpenBSD,
and NetBSD) will get a lot more attention this year. We've seen
a flurry of new releases from them in the latter half of 2002.
They also rival the reliability and performance of Linux, and
have large communities supporting them.

Third prediction -- Sun Microsystems. Are they going down the
hole? No. But, out of all the proprietary UNIXes out there, I
think Solaris has the most likelihood of losing market share to
Linux. They're quite similar. SUN hardware is expensive (not
that HP and IBM hardware isn't). Sean's prediction? There's
going to be a big shakeup at Sun sometime in 2003.

As you can see, I'm pretty bad with the predictions (if you have
any, feel free to send 'em to me). What I do know is that Linux
is becoming a standard offering for many vendors. Lotus Notes
Version 6 runs on Linux. Oracle and RedHat have announced
partnerships with Dell and HP, the latter hardware showing
amazing performance on TPC benchmarks. SAP has released its
database into Open Source. We've seen Amazon and Ebay move some
operations to Linux, governments announce their intentions, and
even Microsoft having to work hard to close the deal.

CIOs and VPs of Technology are going to survey their domain and
see hundreds of Windows servers, each with a small, unique
purpose, sitting mostly idle, but requiring hundreds of hours in
maintenance. As they see their budgets cut or stagnant, the
questions will be, "Why? Why do we buy the latest and greatest
hardware, only to have it sit idle most of the time?  Why don't
we run multiple applications on the same server? Why am I always
paying overtime to have my staff patch them?"

The staff are going to say "Why do we spend so much time
reacting to server problems rather than planning for growth?
Why are we always patching and upgrading? I'm sick of the
restrictions Windows puts on me!"

It'll start off small, maybe a file server or a web server.
But little by little, you're going to see more and more Linux
popping up. Soon you'll see handfulls of SQL servers
decomissioned and brought back up as a single Linux box.

2003 might not be the year that the Enterprise moves over to
Linux, but it's still going to be a great year. Already, I see
managers at various companies looking for a way to break the
Microsoft mould. What they need are people like us to not only
propose a Linux solution, but to show just how easy it is to
implement and maintain.

Happy holidays, and have a great New Year!

Long live the Penguin,


2) Linux News

Calling All Windows Refugees

Are you running Windows on your machine, but are unhappy about
it? Want to give Mandrake a shot? Make a copy of your licence,
or installation guide, send it to them, and for less than $15US
they'll send you your choice of a full set of 8.1 or 8.2CDs, or
a CD for the recent 9.0 release.


More NVIDIA News

"As part of the Company's ongoing commitment to the Linux
community, NVIDIA today revealed details of a technical support
program for end users and professional customers; a new software
driver package that includes performance enhancements and new
features for NVIDIA's advanced graphics features, including
NVIDIA's CineFX architecture delivered by NVIDIA's Unified
Driver Architecture (UDA); and support for the latest PC
technologies, including AGP 8X and OpenGL 1.4." Great news for
those developing games for Linux, and for those looking to move
to Linux in the special effects business.


Red Hat Turns A Profit

Mostly based on a huge increase in sales of Advanced Server,
Red Hat managed to keep a few hundred grand in the bank.


Lose Exchange, Keep Outlook

One of my secret confessions is that I really do like Microsoft
Outlook. Samsung's "Contact" lets you replace your Exchange
server, but allow your users to keep their Outlook client.
There's a free download, unfortunately you have to download the
215MB ISO version (with all the Unix platforms) in order to get
the Linux install.


3) Linux Resources

Inside comps.xml

One thing that's always impressed me about Red Hat is the
flexibility of Anaconda, the installation program. It's quite
easy to add, upgrade, or remove packages to the distributed CDs,
the big secret lies in a file called comps.xml. Even if you
don't want to change anything, looking through it will give you
the definitive answer as to what installation option or package
group installs what package.


How To Ask A Smart Question

The best way to get a good answer is to ask a good question.
While I believe there are no stupid questions, there are
questions that are asked well, and those that are asked poorly.
One of them tends to result in a good answer, one of them often
ends up in insults. Here's a primer on where to look before you
ask your question, and guidelines on how to ask it.


Open Source HA Patches

Here are some amazing looking kernel patches for both 2.2 and
2.4 kernels that give High Availability features to the stock
kernel. Options include HA NFS, network based disk mirroring,
and some shared SCSI add-ons.


2.6 Kernel Changes

This article is pretty high on the technical scale, delving into
some kernel data structures, but it's small in scope so even the
newbies can enrich their knowledge of the kernel. 2.6 brings
around many changes, adding new functionality, and maturing
up existing code.


VPNs Demystified

Phase 1 vs Phase 2? AH or ESP? If VPN terminology confuses you,
this article will set you straight.


4) App o' the Week

There are many floppy or CD-based distros out there that are
specifically geared to the router market. Gibraltar supports
IPSEC and PPtP VPNs, not to mention OSPF/RIP/BGP, NAT, QoS,
proxies, and a lot more.


(C) 2002 BrainBuzz.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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