Tag Archives: Suse

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Xen enhances support for ARM

ARM on servers, running virtual machines, will soon be a reality and companies are preparing themselves for it. Open Source, as usual, has a lead in this domain and now Linux Foundation hosted Xen Project has strengthened its support for ARM.

“Virtualization and low-powered servers are leading companies to rethink the data center and its potential for efficiency,” said Lars Kurth, Chairman of the Xen Project advisory board.

The project has announced Hypervisor 4.4 with improved ARM support. There are major companies behind this release which include AMD, Citrix, Intel, Oracle and SUSE.

Newly supported hardware include AppliedMicro’s X-Gene, the Arndale Board, Calxeda ECX-2000, TI OMAP5 and the Allwinner SunXi boards.

The project says, “The substantially improved multiplatform capabilities of the hypervisor allow hardware and embedded vendors to port the Xen Project technology to new ARM SoCs easily, shortening their time to market.”

The new release introduces significant stability, usability and performance improvements for the ARM architecture and extended hardware compatibility. AppliedMicro’s X-Gene, the Arndale Board, Calxeda ECX-2000, TI OMAP5 and the Allwinner SunXi boards are all supported. The substantially improved multiplatform capabilities of the hypervisor allow hardware and embedded vendors to port the Xen Project technology to new ARM SoCs easily, shortening their time to market.

Additional enhancements in this release included 64-bit guest support on ARMv8 platforms. All userspace tools, such as the xl management tool, can run on 64-bit and create 64-bit virtual machines out of the box.

The release also include 64-bit guest support on ARMv8 platforms. The Xen Project hypercall ABI is now stable and will be maintained for backward compatibility, so users can trust future releases to boot older operating systems.

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openSUSE 13.1 now available on Azure

openSUSE 13.1 is now available through Windows Azure. SUSE Studio is there in case you are looking for help in uploading your own custom virtual machines. openSUSE 13.1 was released in November last year. It comes with a new Linux kernel, updated packages, and support for new Linux technologies.

The release delivers up-to-date cloud technologies, including the latest OpenStack Havana, and shows significant progress with ARM support. Distributed as separate KDE and GNOME editions, openSUSE 13.1 clubs the power of the KDE Software Compilation desktop environment and the beauty of the GNOME 3 desktop environment.

The official blog post reads: “13.1 support relies on Azure’s heavily refactored Linux Agent 2.0. and openSUSE’s underlying improvements to get your VM online faster than ever before, with all the stability you’ve come to expect.”

James Mason from Suse says that openSUSE is an officially endorsed Linux distribution on Windows Azure, so you have a few choices on how to get up and running:

• new VMs can be started from a prebuilt server image of openSUSE, via the Azure Gallery. This image is built originally in SUSE Studio, and shared in our Gallery as well, so you can see what’s inside it. Cloning our Gallery appliance provides a great foundation for customizing your own appliance;

• or, you can start fresh with a 64-bit openSUSE template. When you choose Azure as the image format, we’ll add the Azure Agent, and make the necessary system changes to play nice with the cloud infrastructure.

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openSUSE Summit 2013 concludes in Orlando

openSUSE Summit 2013 has just concluded in Orlando, Florida. At the three-day event, a variety of free and open source software contributors gathered to collaborate on one of the major Linux distribution projects.

openSUSE, the community Linux distribution by SUSE, was established in 2005. It holds an annual summit in the US and a conference in Europe. The oSSum13 program included keynotes, talks, workshops and a lot of fun.

Participants of this year’s Summit had a chance to play the Geeko Hunt game, where Geeko photos were hidden around the venue and they had to go around and look for them. The basic idea was to enhance socialising through collaboration in order to achieve the goal of finding the 20 hidden geeko heads.

At the event, Lars presented geeko infrastructure and familiarised the participants with Education Li-f-e. On the other hand, Jos shared his thoughts on all about community building, promo and “booth’ing,” the do’s and don’ts. More advanced hands-on workshops also took place in Genie Lab, taking the participants down the road of systemd and image building with KIWI.

Stella Rouzi added, “During our town hall meeting issues like the wiki maze and the extensive communication channels we feature for the project were brought up. A few ideas were presented, such as integrating more openQA testing in the openSUSE Factory development process, adding social and game-like features to OBS to motivate our contributors and get a little more game-addiction going.”

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SUSE is now go-to-market partner for Servergy’s PowerLinux Cleantech Servers

Cleantech IT innovations company Servergy Inc. has entered into a partnership with SUSE for its new PowerLinux Cleantech Server line and its new CTS-1000 servers. As part of this tie-up, Servergy’s customers will benefit from SUSE’s PowerLinux expertise and support, along with its scale-up and scale-out options, and new capability to run workloads in the cloud and virtually.

“The unparalleled combination of SUSE-branded PowerLinux software and services for cloud, virtualization and enterprise operating systems and the unique value proposition of Servergy’s Cleantech Architecture will give customers very high I/O scale-out capabilities when refreshing their data centers with clean and green infrastructure,” said Bill Mapp, Servergy chairman and CEO.

Servergy and SUSE work together to build a wide variety of solutions for top global customers, who are implementing Linux-based scale-out solutions and can benefit from Servergy’s hyper-efficient, clean and green offering that literally pays for itself.

According to the company, the Cleantech Server addresses rising data center costs by reducing server power, cooling, space, weight, water and carbon footprints by up to 80 percent, while increasing compute and I/O density by up to 16 times.

“For enterprises and data centers running on Linux, this is a real game-changing technology providing industry leading performance-per-watt,” Mapp added. “With SUSE, we are giving the global Linux community and our customers a new choice that brings hyper-efficient, high I/O, scale-out capability for big data, cloud, caching and distributed storage applications, globally.”

Servergy will present its go-to-market strategy with SUSE in a Lightning Talk at the SUSE Partner Forum, Nov. 11 at SUSECon.

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Suse releases really cool What Does the Chameleon say video

Suse is one of those few cool open source companies which does a really good job at entertainment. I hope our readers remember those cool “Linux is a girl’ YouTube videos.

Now while SuseCon is going on in Florida, the company has released an awesome (sorry for using adjectives, but it really is) video which is a spoof of the popular video ‘What does the fox say’.

It’s refreshing to see an open source company doing cool stuff like this one

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openSUSE 13.1 RC2 released

openSUSE team has announced the availability of RC2 of openSUSE 13.1. The release is not meant for production machine and is instead targeted at testers.

As a user you may think why would you care about testing it? Why to waste time when you can get it when it’s finally released.

If you are an openSUSE user, this the the time for you to have a look at it and make sure that when the final release is out there is nothing that would break your system. In the open source world the only price we pay, the only cost a user can bear, is by helping out developers in improving the very product that we user.

As Linus Torvalds says, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” So even if there are developers working on finding and fixing the bugs, additional eyeballs will make their work easier.

So, grab the RC2 from the link below and install it on your test machines. If you come across any issue, check out this page.

Download openSUSE 13.1

Note: If you are already on 13.1 RC1, then running zypper up will upgrade your system to the latest release. I am running on my production system and it’s working great.

OpenSUSE milestone 4 arrives, moves YaST to Ruby

Milestone 4 of openSUSE is now available for testing. It’s the final milestone release before the betas start coming out to prepare for openSUSE 13.x branch.

OpenSUSE 13.1 is expected to be released in November this year.

As you are aware that openSUSE has moved from non-free YaST to open source Ruby recently, and this Milestone will be part of history as it is the first release to integrate Ruby version of YaST.

Andy writes about the transition to Ruby on openSUSE news page, “YaST utilized an old proprietary code that made it harder for developers interested in improving YaST to submit changes to it. With the Ruby translation, it makes it easier for anyone acquainted with YaST to contribute code to it.”

So what’s new under the hood that an openSUSE user can expect?

  • KDE Workspaces, libs and apps 4.11 RC2
  • GNOME desktop 3.9.4
  • GTK3 3.9.8
  • GeoIP 1.5.1
  • hyper-v 4->5
  • qemu 1.6.0rc1
  • libreoffice 4.1.0.4
  • mc 4.8.9
  • ModemManager 1.0.0
  • scons 2.3.0
  • wine 1.6

xscreensaver 5.20->5.22 (yes, 2 screensavers for the price of one)

And furthermore there were minor updates to the kernel (we’re waiting for the next major release), RPM, systemd, GStreamer, Apache2, mariadb, poppler, and more.

If you are new to GNULinux, you will find openSUSE to be extremely easy to use and backed by a mature and friendly community. They are always ready to help.

New users can get the stable release of openSUSE from this link and seasoned/testing users can grab the Milestone 4 from here. If you are a new user don’t get the milestone yet.

openSUSE Conference 2013: the take away

The openSUSE community organized a conference in the beautiful Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. The conference was held at the Olympic Museum. One of the most remarkable facts of this conference is that this the first community-organized openSUSE conference, and fresh change from UDS, which instead of face-to-face, real-touch interaction have gone virtual.

So one take away is that you can organize conferences just through the community itself.

No European conference starts without a party

The conference kickstarted with a party at the night of Friday which was attended by about 170 visitors. Next morning the conference started off with some music and 20-30 beach balls thrown at the audience.

Georg Greve of Kollab gave the first keynote which revolved around privacy, mainly the disclosure about PRISM, and how Free Software can come to rescue as it puts users in control of their data as well as computing. This also creates a huge ‘market’ for Free Software for people, it gives new marketing opportunities to spread the word about free software and encourage it’s adoption.

George pointed out that the US spying goes beyond reading ‘personal’ emails, it gives US companies unfair advantages over the European companies and competitors.

…if you are negotiating with the US government about a trade deal between your countries or try to get a deal to buy airplanes from either Boeing or Airbus, the ability of the US representative to read every email you send and every call you make will probably not be beneficial to you.

It’s very important to be independent of US companies when it comes to IT infrastructure, cloud computing, social network or software. Unfortunately, the US has a dominance in this space. Only free software gives the independence, sovernighty that countries need without having to develop everything from scratch. Any company can take the same GNU GPLed code of Debian an customize it to their own needs without worrying about any backdoors of the US government. Similarly, personal or private clouds should be created within the political boundaries using technologies like ownCloud or Kollab and keep that data out of the reach of US government. This way the governments will be able to protect their citizens from US spying.

George’s talk was a very important talk and you can read more here.

The second day

Ralf Flaxa, VP of Engineering at SUSE, delivered the keynote on the second day. He talked about the history of SUSE, the company, and openSUSE, the community.

“History we come from a single SUSE Professional box that everybody worked on to the model of an enterprise and a community edition. This change was prompted purely by money. If it was possible, SUSE would still be doing just ONE box. It was fun to do, but change came and the Geeko had to go with it. Today, SUSE does not make any money on the community product – and that is by design. The openSUSE contributions are paid for by a percentage of SUSE profit and that is how SUSE likes it. These changes of course resulted in more than openSUSE: the opening of processes and release of tools like OBS are outcomes as well. A major goal of SUSE was to give the community influence on the development and encourage a variety of derivatives and flavors of openSUSE.”

It played out well for both, the company and the community. SUSE may not be the second largest open source company after Red Hat, nor is it raking in billions of dollars in revenues it continues to remain a significant force. Only unfortunate fact was the deal Novell (the company which acquired SUSE) made with Microsoft, in a way validating Microsoft’s bogus claims that Linux infringes upon its patents.

Beyond that SUSE has been a very significant force in the free software world and funds quite a lot of core Linux and open source technologies – whether it be the kernel, KDE, Gnome or LibreOffice.

SUSE – openSUSE relation ship is interesting as the code has diverges between the two operating systems. As Anditosan writes, “We have SUSE and openSUSE whose code bases have diverged. This has become a problem. Ralf wants his engineers to contribute to openSUSE and this is hard with vastly different code bases; it results in spending time on back porting or simply doing double work. The need for customers/users are different for each distribution but there are things which are the same. Both home users and enterprise users need stable and moving components. We need to think about how to bring things together. Then there is the upgrade path between openSUSE and SLE. There is none! We have customers using openSUSE who might want to move to SLE who cannot do so since the distributions are so different at this time.”

Ralf shared his suggestions to improve relationship between the two operating systems which you can read here.

Later in the day Vincent Untz, the openSUSE Board chair, ran a session to discuss project-wide topic.

Community matters

On the third day Jos Poortvliet, the openSUSE community manager, talked about the workings of an open community. I have known him for a while now and, as press I can say that he really knows how to accomodate journalists, and get openSUSE covered without using bogus or super hyper PR keywords.

When there are companies who are ‘using’ the open source community as unpaid employees – using as and when needed and then keep out when important decisions are made. We have seen this pattern in at least one open source company.

George Bratsos reports, He [Poortvliet] shared the changes that we have to do as a community to adapt to the changes in the world and influences that come from people who desire to contribute. For example, he shared the new thinking of big companies about open communities where the work is done in a “horizontal” manner. Meaning that all members of this community advance and work together without leaders or a boss to tell them what to do or where to steer. Instead, the challenge of new companies is to make all their employees contribute at the same level of their boss. This principle is learned from open communities.

Beyond these ‘core’ topic quite a lot was covered during the conference. Above all the most important thing was face to face interaction where you sit together, talk, eat, play and discuss. Nothing ‘virtual’ can replace this experience.

The openSUSE team did a commendable job or organizing this physical conference and they will gather again in 2014 in Croatia, in the city of Dubrovnik.

Author’s note: Due to my shift to US from Europe I was not able to attend the conference where we almost bought the tickets (my wife had to report to the new job on 16th, the same day the conference started). So I would like to thank the community members who did an awesome coverage of the event and I was able to steal their work for this report.

openSUSE 13.1 Milestone 2 arrives, 12.1 reaches end of life

The openSUSE team has announced the release of second milestone of 13.1.

The team says, “As to be expected, the inclusion of newer software versions is the highlight of this release. Broken in M1 and fixed now are automake, boost, and webyast. But first, let’s talk openSUSE 12.1: it is no longer maintained.”

openSUSE 13.1 Milestone 3 is expected for the 11th of July release, according to the road-map. The team will release one milestone per month, until it hits beta which will be out on September 19th. RC should come out by October 10 and RC2 on October 31st.

The most notable list of changes made in Milestone 2 includes:

livecds using overlayfs now with persistent hybrid support
automake 1.12.1->1.13.2
boost 1.49.0->1.53.0
util-linux 2.21.2->2.23.1
evolution 3.8.1->3.9.1
gtk3 3.8.1->3.9.0
icu 50.1.2->51.2
iproute2 3.7.0->3.9.0
kernel 3.9.0->3.10.rc4
libreoffice 4.0.2.2.1->4.0.3.3.2
MozillaFirefox 20.0->21.0
pulseaudio 3.0->4.0
qemu 1.4.0->1.5.0

openSUSE is fast gaining popularity, again, owing to it’s great polish and ease of use. Most openSUSE developers are also the ones who heavily contribute to upstream (openSUSE leads the development of important projects like LibreOffice).

YaST opens up, being rewritten in Ruby language

For those not intimately familiar with SUSE and openSUSE , it bears mentioning what YaST actually is. YaST is our administrative control panel, composed of numerous modules for Software Management, User Management, Partitioning, and a variety of other tasks. It has interfaces implemented with GTK , Qt , and a command line interface. The command line interface is particularly nice in the case that you are running a server without a graphical environment, or if for some reason your graphical environment is not working. YaST even powers the very advanced graphical installer, providing users with power and stability during the install process. WebYaST brings the power of YaST to remote administration, allowing you to remotely administer your machines from a comfortable web-based graphical interface.

For a couple of years now I’ve been hearing rumors about YaST being switched to Ruby from the proprietary YCP language. However, up to recently I haven’t stumbled across any substantiating evidence. Fact of the matter now though is that it is happening, and the next openSUSE release may even use the new Ruby based YaST.

Firstly though, why bother? It after all does work, and quite well for that matter. There are numerous reasons why this transition is being made. Firstly, YCP is a language developed explicitly for YaST development, and thus the only people who know it are YaST developers. This cuts out many people who would otherwise be able to contribute to it’s continued evolution and maintenance. But why Ruby? Other similar tools are usually written in Python. Largely this is due to the simple fact that SUSE has many proficient Ruby developers. But, Ruby in it’s own right is an excellent choice due to it’s simplicity, flexibility, and the rapid development it enables. Also, it bears mentioning that WebYaST is based on Ruby, and so this would enable tighter integration and remedy duplication of effort enabling the two implementations to share more code.

The new Ruby implementation is being worked on by SUSE developers in Prague. It appears they are using a code translation scheme as the starting point similar to what Xamarin used when they rewrote the Android OS to use Mono. The new code has already been used to effectively install and administer an experimental build of openSUSE, and the developers feel confident of having it ready to begin integration by Milestone 4 of the next openSUSE release 13.1.

Personally I think this is an excellent move, as it would allow the community to do more rapid development and innovation around YaST. Also, it would make YaST more accessible to other projects that might be interested in using or adapting parts of it for their own purposes. However, it should come as no surprise that if it does make it into openSUSE 13.1 it may introduce some new bugs that could prove a pain during installation or for new users. Nonetheless, I feel that this is certainly the right direction and will point openSUSE and others towards a promising future of innovation with YaST.