Two days ago I had written at linux.com that I was looking forward to the release of Fedora Linux 11 Leonidas, just to find out today that the release date had been pushed further back from June 6th to June 9th. Well, it just looks like I have to wait a little bit longer.
September 1-4 Red Hat is holding a Summit in Chicago, IL. Some of the features and highlights include:
- technical and business seminars
- hands-on-labs and demos
- customer case studies
- networking opportunities
- partner displays
- visionary keynotes
- direct collaboration with Red Hat engineers
While I had sumbitted a paper to present in the summit, yesterday I unfortunately received the news that this year I am unable to present my topic on the “Future of Linux Storage Management.” Maybe I will give it another try next year and it will give me some time to polish up the presentation.
For those of you interested in attending in Chicago, you can still register.
Every now and then I still come across a website that “is not supported on anything but Microsoft Windows” or in some cases “both Windows and Mac OS.” Yesterday I was browsing through the CW’s website to catch a rerun of an episode I had missed of Reaper. I was instead greeted by a “this operating system is not supported” message.
It is worth noting that the same message greeted me last year (for a similar scenario) and in both cases the site had also mentioned “to stay tuned for support of other Operating Systems.” A year had elapsed and nothing! Which surprises me as the usage of GNU/Linux has increased since then (thankfully to the netbook boom). What would it take to get support for other popular operating platforms? It is almost as if I need to keep a VirtualBox client profile for Windows XP whenever I need to use a more unstable environment.
For those of you who are regular visitors, you may already know that before I started playing with GNU/Linux (2001/2) I was using FreeBSD. And while I continue to use GNU/Linux, I still hold an emotional tie to BSD-based operating systems. It was not until recently that I had decided to give the latest version of PC-BSD a try. This is version 7.1: Galileo Edition. A side note: PC-BSD is a desktop oriented version of FreeBSD intended to be extremely user friendly, primarily because of their implementation of their PBI package management system along with other features.
So I downloaded and began the installation of PC-BSD. The installation process was fairly quick and very simple. I am not complaining when I say this but I was a bit surprised to find the generic FreeBSD (actually PC-BSD) text only boot screen asking for the user to initiate the Default installer or any of the other options (which includes starting the installer with the experimental ZFS support). When I select the Default or when the boot screen times out to the Default, all components are loaded into memory and X loads into the graphical portion of the installation process. It is the same thing for the boot loader after the OS has been installed.
The graphical portion of this process went through the generic menus of “agreeing to the terms of the BSD licensing agreement”, along with obtaining preliminary root/user account information/configuration (such as default shell to even enabling auto-login). It also went through the process of selecting a disk device for UFS (default: with soft updates) file system and OS installation. NOTE: There is an option (for the advanced user) to customize the disk layout; and you can also use the original UFS file system without the soft updates or a third option of UFS with journaling enabled.
Just before the installer begins to copy all files to disk, you are prompted with an option of additional applications to install which range from Amarok, Filezilla, Firefox, Opera, OpenOffice, Pidgin, the source code, VLC and more. After all is confirmed, you just sit back and wait for the installation to complete and the system is rebooted.
The default graphical environment for this distribution is KDE 4.x. While I have always been more of a GNOME user (personal opinion: it is also easy to develop apps for GNOME with GTK+ and pyGTK), KDE 4 does look nice. While it takes some time to get used to it, I can respect the KDE community’s vision and implementation. They are challenging the norm and pushing the boundaries into a newer way of treating the desktop.
For a new user, everything has been categorized properly. From basic system configuration to other basic functionality. The one thing that I did want to try out with PC-BSD was the Push Button Installer (PBI). Instead of the pkg/rpm/deb/etc. packaging methods of installing applications, the PBI offers a graphical interface similar to the ones found on Microsoft Windows and the Mac OS X series of Operating Systems. This is great for users coming from that environment! You can view all available PBI application in the pbiDIR.
This installer works great and what I enjoy the most about it is if a PBI package requires the usage of WINE (installed by default), you do not need to bother to do anything else. The PBI takes care of everything for you and you can execute it like a normal Windows executable.
The best part of utilizing the PBI method is that there is a sense of consistency on where application programs get installed; and that is in the /Programs path. As much as this pains me to say, I wish to see more consistency with the /opt path in Linux.
While I only skimmed the surface with this article as I primarily wanted to emphasize the PBI application installation system, there is still so much more to do with PC-BSD. From the Wardens to Jails, and everything else that most GNU/Linux and UNIX users may be familiar with, PC-BSD is worth a try. It is extremely user friendly. And from the point of installation with auto-updates running in the background and having the right applications installed, I can see someone coming from a Windows environment and having little problems settling in. The development teams involved have done an excellent job in packaging this OS together.
Most of you may already be aware of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems. If not, here is an article stating just that from Sun’s website. I read the news as soon as it was published on the net along with the reactions of Sun users for Sun products. What will be the future of mySQL or OpenOffice?
It just dawned on me yesterday: What will be the future of ZFS and Btrfs, seeing how Chris Mason, the lead developer to Btrfs works for Oracle? Historically, Btrfs was the Linux community’s solution to ZFS. Sun had intentionally open sourced and released ZFS under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) as a way to prevent it from being integrated into the Linux kernel and allow the Solaris operating system to have a competing lead. Although the license did not stop it from being ported over to the Mac OS X and other BSD based distributions such as FreeBSD (and PC-BSD).
The CDDL conflicts with the General Public License (GPL) version 2. While we saw ports of ZFS on FUSE, this wasn’t something that could allow the kernel to grow and ensure a more dominant future. In order to last in the enterprise class market, the Linux kernel needed a better performing, more feature rich and newer file system. That is when Btrfs stepped on to the stage, which by the release of Linux kernel 2.6.29, it was merged into the kernel tree.
Reading the Btrfs development mailing list, the concern for the future of Btrfs has already been brought up. Chris Mason assures to the team, that Oracle has not changed the plans for Btrfs and that its development and growth will continue. And realistically this would be the way to go. Too much time and money has been invested into Btrfs. To re-license and port a stable version of ZFS into the Linux kernel could take, at a minimum, a couple years. Also, there is this sense of pride within the community. To port ZFS over to Linux could kill that pride, emphasizing that Linux cannot survive on its own and needs to extract its ideas and functionality from elsewhere. I can also see developers and administrators alike, losing respect for Oracle if they were to make such a drastic decision by abandoning all that has been done.
I for one, hope that Oracle stays true to their word. While the ZFS file system is an excellent file system, I know the Linux kernel will be able to compete on its own terms and with its own technologies.
Yesterday I was flipping through my copy of Solaris Internals for some research in software development that I am doing and I came across something that I have seen mentioned in the past but never personally used before. That was the SunOS/Solaris file system PCFS. PCFS is a DOS file system which supports read/write operations to/from FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 formatted devices.
I wanted to learn more information and Wikipedia did not have a thing on the topic! So I created it and as a reference I relied on the man page for it. I know the entry seems a bit bare but in all honesty, not much needs to be said on the topic. It is a DOS file system and nothing more.
Recently many have noted a comment made by Mark Shuttleworth in response to Canonical’s support of WINE and Microsoft Windows compatability). The community response to Shuttleworth’s comments were of mixed results. I must admit, that I agree with Shuttleworth. He stated:
Many already know that Apple’s Mac OS X series of operating systems is not Microsoft Windows and will not run Windows applications, they also need to understand that GNU/Linux is not Windows and cannot natively run Windows applications. Apple has gotten this far without that need for emulation and people still purchase and utilize their products. The key behind their success is all marketing; from the eye candy to the advertising. The question is, when am I going to see real advertising for GNU/Linux? When will I be able to turn on the television and right after those stupid “I am a Mac/PC” commercials, observe a GNU/Linux one?
A PC user using GNU/Linux would need to understand that this is not a cheaper alternative to run their Windows applications. Shuttleworth is correct in stating that it needs to succeed on its own terms or it will fail. GNU/Linux needs to stand up on its own two feet and be recognized for its worth. I had made this exact point in a past post. But the only way for that to ever happen is when the average PC user understands that it exists and is also not a Windows clone.