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Greg KH Readies for Collaboration Summit, Talks Raspberry Pi

Linux kernel maintainer and Linux Foundation Fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman will be moderating the highly-anticipated Linux kernel panel at the Collaboration Summit in a couple short weeks. He was generous enough to take a few moments recently to answer some questions about what we might hear from the Linux kernel panel, as well as some details on his recent work and projects. Oh, and we couldn't resist asking him about the new Raspberry Pi.

You will be moderating the Linux Kernel panel at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. These are big attractions for attendees. What do you anticipate will be on the kernel panel's mind during that  first week in April?

Kroah-Hartman: Odds are we will all be relaxing after the big merge window for the 3.4-rc1 kernel. Also, the Filesystem and Memory management meetings will have just happened, so lots of good ideas will have come out of that.

This panel moderation role comes after two Q&A-style keynote sessions with Linus last year to celebrate 20 years of Linux. How does moderating a panel of developers differ from interviewing Linus on stage?

Kroah-Hartman: I will need to bring more than just one bottle of whisky :)

Seriously, it's much the same, but instead of just one person answering questions, there are three different viewpoints being offered, which can result in the conversation leading places you never expect. An example of this would be the kernel panel that happened last year at LinuxCon Japan, where the developers on stage got into a big technical argument with the kernel developers in the audience, much to the amusement of the rest of the audience. If done well, it can show the range of ideas the the kernel developer community has, and how while we don't always agree with each other, we work together to create something that works well for everyone.

You recently released Linux kernel 2.6.32.58 but cautioned that you would no longer be maintaining version 2.6.32 and recommended folks switch to Linux 3.0. Is there anything else you'd like to say about people moving to Linux 3.0?

Kroah-Hartman: For a longer discussion on the history of the 2.6.32 kernel, please see the article I posted recently. Almost no end user will be building their own kernel and need to know the differences here; their distro handles this for them automatically. But, for the technical user, they know how to build their own kernels, and moving to the 3.0 kernel release should provide no problem at all. If it does, please contact the kernel developers on the linux-kernel mailing list with their problems and we will be glad to work through it with them.

Can you give us some updates on the Device Driver Project and/or LTSI?

Kroah-Hartman: There's nothing new going on with the Device Driver project other than we are continuing to create drivers for companies that ask for them.  I know of at least two new drivers going into the 3.4 kernel release that came from this process, and if any company has a need for a Linux driver, they should contact us to make this happen.

LTSI is continuing forward as well. Our kernel tree is public, and starting to receive submissions for areas that users are asking for. I've been working with a number of different companies and groups after meeting with them at ELC 2012 to refine how LTSI can best work for their users. There will be a report at LinuxCon Japan 2012 in June about what is happening with LTSI since the last public report at ELC.

Have you seen the Raspberry Pi? Sold out in a day. Any chance you've gotten your hands on one? If so, what's your reaction?

Kroah-Hartman: I have not seen one in person, but will be trying to get one (I signed up for one as soon as it went on sale, but was too late.) It looks like a great project, much like the BeagleBone and Pandaboard, both of which I have here and use for kernel testing. Hopefully the Raspberry Pi developers can get their kernel patches into the mainline kernel.org release soon, so that it is easier for users to take advantage of their hardware.

 

As Data Grows, So Grows Linux

IDC recently announced its numbers for 2011 Q4 servers sales: overall server revenues are up for the year 5.8 percent, and shipments are up 4.2 percent. As The Reg reports, these shipment numbers are back to pre-recession levels.

What’s more interesting, though, is the trends that emerge from the very latest reporting quarter, Q4. Linux was the only operating system that saw a revenue increase in servers Q4, with a 2.2 percent rise. Windows lost 1.5 percent and Unix 10.7 percent.

IDC attributes some of that Linux success to its role in what the analyst firm calls “density-optimized” machines, which are really just white box servers, and are responsible for a lot of the growth in the server market. These machines have gained popularity in a space still squeezed on budget and that continues to be commoditized. But there are other factors at play for Linux’s success over its rivals.

Coming out of the recession, Linux is in a very different position than it was 10 years ago when we emerged from the last bubble. Today it's mature, tried, tested and supported by a global community that makes up the largest collaborative development project in the history of computing.

Our latest survey of the world’s largest enterprise Linux users found that Total Cost of Ownership, technical superiority and security were the top three drivers for Linux adoption. These points support Linux’s maturity and recent success. Everyone is running their data centers with Linux. Stock exchanges, supercomputers, transportation systems and much more are using Linux for mission-critical workloads.

Also helping Linux’s success here is the accelerated pace by which companies are migrating to the cloud. Long a buzzword, the cloud is getting real, right now. While there is still work to do for Linux and the cloud, there is no denying its dominant role in today’s biggest cloud companies: Amazon and Google to name just two.

The mass migration to cloud computing has been quickened due, in part, to the rising level of data: both the amount of data enterprises are dealing with but the also how fast that data is growing. IDC this week predicted that the “Big Data” business will be worth $16.9B in three years. There is a huge opportunity here for Linux vendors. Our Linux Adoption Trends report, shows that 72 percent of the world’s largest Linux users are planning to add more Linux servers in the next 12 months to support the rising level of data in the enterprise. Only 36 percent said they would be adding more Windows servers to support this trend.

The enterprise server market is a strong area for Linux, but it’s an incredibly competitive market. Together we’ll continue to advance Linux to win here. In fact, we’ll be meeting at the NYSE offices in April at our Annual Linux Foundation Enterprise End User Summit where some of the world’s largest companies will talk in depth about exactly the things I’ve touched on here.

Yet again we are seeing market winners are born from collaboration. And we have the numbers to back it up.

 

NYSE Opens Up About Giving Up Control

Things are really heating up in anticipation for the Sixth Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit taking place April 3-5, 2012. Earlier this week, we talked to Gerrit Huizenga about Linux and cloud computing, and Amanda McPherson shared a peek at the behind-the-scenes work that will take place at The Linux Foundation's Member Legal Summit on April 2.

We also had the opportunity to talk to NYSE Technologies' Head of Global Alliances Feargal O'Sullivan. He will be a keynote presenter at the Collaboration Summit and will be talking about "Open Middleware Standards for the Capital Markets and Beyond."

Can you give us a bit of a teaser on your keynote presentation and tell us how NYSE Technologies identified an opportunity to open source its messaging API and help create the OpenMAMA project?

O'Sullivan: We considered open sourcing our Middleware Agnostic Messaging API for a number of years before finally making it happen late last year. One of the major reasons to do so was to allow our community of users to help develop the additional middleware 'bridges' we wanted to support faster than we could on our own. Of course, we were concerned about losing control of the process and, quite frankly, about opening our revenue generating Market Data Platform to increased competition.


The change came around January 2011 when we first presented the idea to our Technical Advisory Group. We proposed it as part of our overall strategy of building a community around an open infrastructure platform with common standards for capital markets participants. The idea received unanimous support and a level of enthusiasm that took even us by surprise. What it told us is that the industry suffered from 'vendor lock-in' due to proprietary APIs, which stifle both competition and innovation, as well as increasing total cost of ownership.


OpenMAMA returns choice to the user, forcing vendors to compete on features and value, which is better for everyone.


What is your biggest lesson learned that you can share with others who might be considering open sourcing technology?


O'Sullivan: Our biggest lesson learned was not to try to go it alone! When we first engaged The Linux Foundation, we had little experience in open sourcing software. We quickly learned that for OpenMAMA to be successful it needed the neutrality and credibility of being a truly open source project. That isn't as simple as it sounds; had we chosen the wrong license, or hosted OpenMAMA on a server in one of our data centers, it would have seriously undermined the project. Without the benefit of The Linux Foundation's experience, we wouldn't have known any better until it was too late.


What do you consider the advantages of open sourcing this technology?


O'Sullivan: OpenMAMA's true value lies in its agnostic architecture, which allows developers to code to a single API while enabling administrators to switch between supported middleware platforms to meet the requirements of the environment where the application is deployed. However, before being open sourced, MAMA only supported middleware platforms that made commercial sense for NYSE Technologies to develop. This meant leaving out other valuable middleware platforms because we didn't have the time or resources to support each one. Open sourcing unlocks the full potential of the API by giving control to the end users. Ultimately, OpenMAMA will make NYSE Technologies' clients happier and our products more functional.


How is the OpenMAMA project doing? Can you give us some updates?


O'Sullivan: So far, the OpenMAMA project has demonstrated a level of success that even we are finding hard to believe. Our approach was to open the C portion of the API at the launch in October 2011 and then contribute the remaining functionality in April 2012. In parallel we formed the OpenMAMA Steering Committee comprised of users, vendors and direct competitors, to govern the project. This gives the committee time to form a cohesive group and set the direction of the project, while in parallel giving the technical working groups time to evaluate the code and decide what their priorities are for the roadmap. On April 30, when we contribute the final pieces of the API, and when everyone gathers for The Linux Foundation's Enterprise End User Summit (which we are hosting at the New York Stock Exchange this year), the community will be fully prepared to take this project forward.


We're definitely looking forward to visiting your space in April! Can you tell us more about your decision to host this year's Enterprise End User Summit and why the event is a priority for your organization?


O'Sullivan: We at NYSE Technologies have always been keen users of open source technology. Furthermore, it is well known that the entire capital markets community heavily depends on Linux and other open source initiatives. So we see this as the perfect venue to release the final pieces of the OpenMAMA stack and to continue advocating its value proposition to all interested participants.


That, and everyone loves a party!

More details on O'Sullivan's keynote, as well as the other keynote presentations and sessions can be found on The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit website. If you're not already attending, you can still request an invitation.

 

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.

 
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