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Thunderbird 11 Released: Lots of Fixes, Frustratingly Few New Features

Though it gets much less attention than its browser sibling, Thunderbird is still plugging away. Since it's on the rapid release cycle, it's also pushing out releases pretty regularly, with fewer new features per release. With Thunderbird 11, it's a very short list of new goodies but a long list of fixes.

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Patents, Legal Collaboration and our Legal Summit

Unfortunately legal issues, specially patents lawsuits, are much in the news. From Yahoo suing Facebook to the ongoing battles surrounding Apple and other mobile device providers, my RSS and social media feeds seem to have more and more articles about legal issues everyday.

Wired published a great article today from an ex-Yahoo developer on how his work was weaponized for a patent war.

He writes: "I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it." This case, among other similar ones, points out the need quite urgently for reform of our software patent system. When companies struggle, especially large ones, it's often easier to litigate than innovate.

But amid the patent wars there has been some good news. OIN last week announced they are expanding their patent pool to cover other important projects such as KVM, Git and others projects.

As SVN writes: "Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the OIN’s broad Linux Definitions." Keith Bergelt of OIN will be speaking at our upcoming CollaborationSummit on this Linux definition. Keith will take people through the changes in the definitions, as well as the updating of the 1000s of packages already included in their coverage. This is important stuff and I'm very happy to feature Keith as a speaker.

We are continuing our active role in the legal landscape by marshaling the power of collaboration with our members. Before next month's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we will be holding our Linux Foundation Legal Summit, where counsels and attorneys from our members come together with our legal experts and others from around the industry to plot the best defense for Linux and free software. There is power in collaboration; certainly with software but also with legal issues. It's a core part of our mission to enable this legal collaboration and spear head programs, like our Open Compliance program, that simplify and improve legal matters in our community. And as mentioned above, we also have a track on legal and compliance issues at the Collaboration Summit. This year Bradley Kuhn was kind enough to assist me in creating the track and I'm happy to say we have a who's who of leaders in the open source legal industry.

We are featuring
-- Aaron Williamson of the SFLC on the Evolving Form of Free Software Organization
-- Bradley from the Software Freedom Conservancy on GPL Compliance
-- Richard Fontana from REd Hat will talk about the Decline of the GPL and what to do about it
-- Karen Sandler from the GNOME Foundation will talk about real world trademark management for free software projects

And on day one of Collaboration Summit we will have a keynote on the SPDX project, one of the best examples of collaborative legal issues. You can read details about full the schedule of Collab Summit.


I hope to see many of you there.

 

Can Linux Win in Cloud Computing?

Gerrit Huizenga is Cloud Architect at IBM (and fellow Portland-er) and will be speaking at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in a keynote session titled "The Clouds Are Coming: Are We Ready?" Linux is often heralded as the platform for the cloud, but Huizenga warns that while it is in the best technical position to warrant this title, there is work to do to make this a reality.

Huizenga took a few moments earlier this week to chat with us as he prepares for his controversial presentation at the Summit.

You will be speaking at The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit about Linux and the cloud. Can you give us a teaser on what we can expect from your talk?

Huizenga: Clouds are on the top of every IT departments list of new and key technologies to invest in. Obviously high on those lists are things like VMware and Amazon EC2. But where is the open source community in terms of comparable solutions which can be easily set up and deployed? Is it possible to build a cloud with just open source technologies? Would that cloud be a "meets min" sort of cloud, or can you build a full fledged, enterprise-grade cloud with open source today? What about using a hybrid of open source and proprietary solutions? Is that possible, or are we locked in to purely proprietary solutions today? Will Open Standards help us? What are some recommendations today for building clouds?

Linux is often applauded as the "platform for the cloud." Do you think this is accurate? If not, what still needs to be done? If so, what is it about Linux that gives it this reputation?

Huizenga: Linux definitely has the potential to be a key platform for the cloud. However, it isn't there yet. There are a few technology inhibitors with respect to Linux as the primary cloud platform, as well as a number of market place challenges. Those challenges can be addressed but there is definitely some work to do in that space.

What are the advantages of Linux for both public and private clouds?

Huizenga: It depends a bit about whether you consider Linux as a guest or virtual server in a cloud, or whether it is the hosting platform of the cloud. The more we enable Linux as a guest within the various hypervisors, and enable Linux to be managed within the cloud, the greater the chance of standardizing on Linux as the "packaging format" for applications.

This increases the overall presence of Linux in the market place and in some ways simplifies ISV's lives in porting applications to clouds. As a hosting platform, one of the biggest advantages for cloud operators is the potential cost/pricing model for Linux and the overall impact on the cost of operating a cloud. And, the level of openness that Linux provides should simplify the ability to support the cloud infrastructure and over time increase the number of services that can be provided by a cloud. But we still have quite a bit of work to do to make Linux a ubiquitous cloud platform.

What is happening at the Linux development level to support the rapidly maturing cloud opportunity? What does the community need from other Linux users and developers to help accelerate its development and address these challenges?

Huizenga: I'll talk about some of the KVM technologies that we need to continue to develop to enable cloud, as well as some of the work on virtual server building & packaging, DevOps, Deployment, and Management. There are plenty of places for the open source community to contribute and several talks at the Collaboration Summit should dive further into the details as well.

What do you make of Microsoft running Linux on Azure?

Huizenga: Anything that lets us run Linux in more places must be good!

More information about Huizenga's talk can be found on The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit schedule. If you're interested in joining us, you can also request an invitation to attend.

   

Linux Training Opportunities at Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

The Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit is a great time to, well, collaborate. But it's also a really good opportunity to learn.

We're offering three courses at this year's Collaboration Summit, each in a different area, to help build skills while rubbing elbows with other top kernel developers.

Advanced Linux Performance Tuning is a deep dive into proven tools and methods used to identify and resolve performance problems, resulting in system that is better optimized for specific workloads.  This is particularly for those who write or use applications that have unusual characteristics, that behave differently than kernel performance heuristics anticipate.  It is a hands-on course that assume some familiarity with basic performance tools.  This course is offered on Monday, April 2nd.

Overview of Open Source Compliance End-to-End Process
is for any company that is redistributing Linux or other open source code.  It provides a thorough discussion of the processes that should be in place to ensure that all open source code is being tracked and that licensing obligations are being met.  This is a very practical course designed to give your company the ability to design your own internal process.  This course is offered on Sunday, April 1st.

Practical Guide to Open Source Development is not a course on coding.  Rather, it is about maximizing the effectiveness of your contributions.  It is structured to give you a thorough understanding of the characteristics that make the open source model work well for corporate develoment organizations, and covers best practices when joining an external open source project, when launching your own, and when open sourcing proprietary code.  This course is offered on Monday, April 2nd.

All of these courses are available for registered invitees now.  If you've already registered for Collaboration Summit, you can modify your conference registration and add these courses.

See you there!

 
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