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License fees for SuSE Linux?

Author: JT Smith

PDAJames writes “SuSE says it will have Linux ported to Hammer by November. This interview says that they also might be converting the entire German parliament over to Linux, and that they’re going to start charging ‘license fees’ for SuSE Linux.”

Category:

  • Linux

Linux advisory watch – March 15th 2002

Author: JT Smith

From LinuxSecurity.com: “This week, advisories were released for zlib, mod_ssl, xtel, pam_pgsql, cyrus-sasl, netscape, mod_frontpage, openssh, rsync, gzip, NetBSD kernel, php,
fileutils, and cvs. The vendors include Conectiva, Debian, EnGarde, FreeBSD, Immunix, Mandrake, NetBSD, Red Hat, Slackware, SuSE, Trustix, and Yellow
Dog Linux. Many serious advisories affecting nearly all Linux vendors were released this week, it is advisable that you patch your systems
immediately.”

Category:

  • Security

Check Point, SSH release VPN wares for handhelds, branch offices

Author: JT Smith

From Network World Fusion: “VPN vendors Check Point and SSH this week announced software and hardware for securing network connections from remote users with PDAs to enterprise branch offices.”

Category:

  • Security

Review: Belkin Regulator Pro 1400VA NetUPS power supply

Author: JT Smith

By Jeff Field

If you are like me, you have a lot of equipment that needs power, and you need that equipment for work. My power here goes out more often than I’d like, and until now, not even my laptop on a battery with a wireless network was immune to these outages because the access point required power. After the last outage, I decided it was time to solve this problem.

I decided to get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for my equipment — something I had meant to do for a while. You don’t think about it until your power goes out, and then you aren’t in much of a position to order something at that point.

More power
I went looking for a UPS with several features. I had a power strip with an RJ11 (phone) pass-through designed to prevent phone surges, but I did not have one for my network cable. So when I was looking to buy a UPS unit, one nice feature, though not crucial, would be an RJ45 pass-through for voltage protection on my incoming network. More importantly, I wanted a power supply that could run enough of my equipment for a sufficient amount of time. This included my desktop PC, wireless access point, network hub, phone, LCD monitor, VCR and TiVo, and I wanted them all to run for 30 minutes. Also, not paying an arm and a leg would be nice.

I figured out I would need about 600 watts for all my devices, so I had to look for a UPS where 600 watts was roughly a bit more than the half-load in order to get the time I wanted. This put me in the 900-watt range, which translates into power supplies in the 1400VA range. “VA,” or voltamps, is the “potential” or “available” power. Roughly 65% of this is the real amount of power, in watts, that the unit can handle at full load. When power is consumed, there is a certain amount of energy wasted. Enough with the physics lesson.

Finally, my decision came down to two potential units: an APC SmartUPS 1400, and a Belkin Regulator Pro 1400VA. Each unit had a lot going for it. Both had six battery-powered outlets, network surge protection, a 1400VA rating, and equivalent equipment warranties (up to $100,000) for damaged caused by a surge, and I have had good experiences with products from both companies. My decision came down to the price — you can find the Belkin for $500 on Pricewatch — plus the reputation of the retailers.

Here is a tip about purchasing online, and particularly from sites you find on Pricewatch. I do not specifically endorse one retailer or another unless I have a lot of experience with them (none of them have sponsorship deals, these are the places I really buy from, with my own money). If I repeatedly buy from a place with good results, like NewEgg.com, then I feel confident in sending you there. However, if I find a deal from a place I have little experience with, I tend to link just to Pricewatch and let you make your own decision. Part of your decision should be consulting the newly revamped ResellerRating.com, a free site dedicated to helping you find out if a retailer has a good reputation with customers.

As for the purchase of the UPS, aesthetics was also a small factor — that’s not always the best reasoning, but whatever unit I picked should be located in the same area of my office as my other equipment, and everything else is black, as is the Regulator Pro. That’s not a deciding factor, but a little bonus.

In the box
When I opened the relatively large box, I found several things of interest: an RS-232 serial cable, to allow communications between a PC and the UPS, a CD with Belkin’s Sentry software (which supports Linux), a power adapter, documentation, and the UPS itself. Documentation consisted of the warranty paper and a fold-out manual telling you what the various readouts on the UPS mean (load percentage, battery charge, under/over voltage, etc.) and how to set the unit up, although that is a simple task.

Setup and software
Setting up the unit was very easy. Like a cordless phone or any other device with a battery, you plug it in — overnight, if possible, to fully charge — and then you are good to go. While it was charging, I attached the serial cable to the PC to start the Belkin Sentry software, and after some haggling, it worked with my serial port. The Belkin Sentry software, while a closed-source product, is extremely full featured. It will notify someone if power goes out, and manage the shutdown of the system in the event of a power outage, as well as allow you to monitor the charge and load of the UPS.

Once the battery was fully charged, it was simply a matter of connecting equipment. The instructions for just about every UPS I have ever encountered tell you not to connect a power strip. This is not entirely accurate; what it should really say is “do not connect a power strip with enough items on it to overload the UPS.” In my case, I was well under the wattage limit, but the back of the Regulator Pro does not lend itself to plugging in block transformers, which only take up a few watts each but take up plenty of room. So I connected a generic power strip with a few transformers on it, plus the equipment mentioned above. Once I had everything on, I booted up, and decided it was time for the ultimate test.

The test
I reached around the back of the UPS and unplugged it from the wall outlet. It started yelling at me. I had disabled all methods of the UPS safely shutting own the PC, and started a stop watch to tell exactly how long it would take the UPS to run out of juice and fully fail (Note: This is not something you should normally do, because it can shorten the life of your battery, not to mention the hardware that gets cut off). After 20 minutes of running at approximately two-thirds load, the UPS shut down. Not half an hour, but impressive nonetheless; only one blackout in my recent memory lasted longer than a few minutes.

Other features
Other features fairly standard on UPSes today include AVR (automatic voltage regulation), which means the UPS monitors your power for spikes or sags and adjusts the voltage accordingly, as well as “pure sinewave output voltage,” which is to ensure that the power you are getting is also free of noise/interference. These features combined eliminate the problem of brownouts, where power is available, just not enough to reliably run equipment.

Conclusion
The Regulator Pro 1400VA (Model F6C100-4) from Belkin is an excellent UPS, well worth the price if your uptime and data integrity are critical for your work, or even if you just hate it when a power outage cuts off your game of Wolfenstein. There are, of course, less powerful models available, but for the serious power user, a unit in the 1400VA range is what I recommend. Consider that many people need not only their PC and monitor, but now need power for networking equipment as well. This unit could comfortably hold a few low-power computers and some network equipment on its own.

As for Linux support, Belkin seems to be at about the same point as other UPS manufacturers: It has closed-source software available to Linux users, but no official Open Source solution yet. The Belkin model is available on Pricewatch for around $500, and remember to check through ResellerRating.com.

Open Source household

Author: JT Smith

From O’Reilly: “Open source breeds computer literacy. Linux programming and administration, gaming and homework — kids can do this stuff, no sweat.”

Category:

  • Open Source

Sun should sue over dirty tricks, not innovation

Author: JT Smith

Craz(P)enguin writes “It seems that many in the tech world do not see the Sun lawsuit against Microsoft with a good eye. Analysts and journalists in the industry including people from Gartner Group, ZD News and this latest editorial at OSNews, claim that Sun aims unrealistically too high this time.”

Linux 2.2.21-rc2 released

Author: JT Smith

Alan Cox has announced the release of Linux kernel 2.2.21-rc2. Read more for the changelog.2.2.21rc2
o Fix Xeon crash on boot (Dave Jones)
o Update keyspan maintainer (Greg Kroah-Hartmann)
o Fix visor oops add palm m125 support (Greg Kroah-Hartmann)
o Update whiteheat driver to fix SMP locking (Greg Kroah-Hartmann)
o Fix head.S asm for cpu type (Mikael Pettersson)

Category:

  • Linux

AOL 7.0 tests Netscape browser

Author: JT Smith

Anonymous Reader writes, “News.com reports AOL has relesed a beta version of its 7.0 client using Netscape’s Gecko.” (A story first reported at NewsForge.)

Wind River releases BSD 4.3, announces future release roadmap

Author: JT Smith

BSD Today reports that Wind River has released BSD/OS 4.3 and details Wind River’s roadmap for future releases: “Future releases of the operating system will target server appliances, security and traffic management appliances, network attached storage (NAS) devices, and telecom application processing blades as part of Wind River’s strategy to provide end-to-end development platforms across the entire spectrum of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and embedded market segments.”

ESR’s wife, Cathy, becomes de facto KDE User Advocate

Author: JT Smith

Anonymous Reader writes “http://www.linuxandmain.com/news/raymond.html

What began as comments made by Linux luminary
Eric S. Raymond about KOffice’s KPresenter
program has blossomed into a lengthy exchange
that addresses fundamental issues that participants
say must be resolved if Linux is to become
a mainstream desktop operating system.

Spanning multiple KDE mailing lists, the
discussion has at its center Raymond’s wife,
Catherine Olanich Raymond, a lawyer in a
Philadelphia firm, who emerged a strong voice
for users seeking to adopt Linux and KDE.
She was joined in her advocacy by Rob Landley,
a developer well known in Linux circles and
beyond.

As seems often to be the case, file formats
are seen as an obstacle to more widespread
desktop Linux use. But a problem less obvious
and perhaps more insidious – – whether the
development community can become as closed
as its source code is open, thereby accidentally
ignoring the user — quickly figured in the
exchange. And an outside observer following
the discussion could perhaps be forgiven
for coming away with the impression that
developers resent end users.”

Category:

  • Open Source