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nVidia Finally Fixes Linux Bug

March 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has fixed an ancient problem in Ubuntu systems which turned the screen into 40 shades of black.

The problem has been around for years and is common for anyone using Nvidia gear on Ubuntu systems.

When opening the window of a new application, the screen would go black or become transparent. As it turns out, this is actually an old problem and there are bug reports dating back from Ubuntu 12.10 times.

However to be fair it was not Nvidia’s fault. The problem was caused by Compiz, which had some leftover code from a port. Nvidia found it and proposed a fix.

“Our interpretation of the specification is that creating two GLX pixmaps pointing at the same drawable is not allowed, because it can lead to poorly defined behavior if the properties of both GLX drawables don’t match. Our driver prevents this, but Compiz appears to try to do this,” wrote NVIDIA’s Arthur Huillet.

Soon after that, a patch has been issued for Compiz and it’s been approved. The patch would be pushed in Ubuntu 15.04 and is likely to be backported to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.


RHEL Finally Available On IBM’s Power8

January 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

IBM has made the Power8 version of the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) beta available through its Power Development Platform (PDP) as the firm continues to build support for its Power systems.

IBM and Red Hat announced in December that RHEL 7.1 was adding support for the Power8 processor in little endian instruction format, as the beta release was made available for testers to download.

This version is available for developers and testers to download from today through the IBM PDP and at IBM Innovation Centres and Client Centres worldwide, IBM announced on its Smarter Computing blog.

“IBM and Red Hat’s collaboration to produce open source innovation demonstrates our commitment to developing solutions that efficiently solve IT challenges while empowering our clients to make their data centres as simple as possible so they can focus on core business functions and future opportunities,” said Doug Balog, general manager for Power Systems at IBM’s Systems & Technology Group.

The little endian support is significant because IBM’s Power architecture processors are capable of supporting little endian and big endian instruction formats. These simply reflect the order in which bytes are stored in memory.

The Power platform has long had Linux distributions and applications that operate in big endian mode, but the much larger Linux ecosystem for x86 systems uses little endian mode, and supporting this in Red Hat makes it much easier to port applications from x86 to Power.

Suse Linux Enterprise Server 12 launched last year with little endian support for the Power8 processor, as did Canonical’s Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

However, Red Hat and Suse are understood to be continuing to support their existing big endian releases on Power for their full product lifecycles.

IBM sold off its x86 server business to Lenovo last year, and has focused instead on the higher value Power Systems and z Systems mainframes.

In particular, the firm has touted the Power Systems as more suitable for mission critical workloads in scale-out environments like the cloud than x86 servers, and has been forging partnerships with firms such as Red Hat through its OpenPower Foundation.


The ESA Goes With Red Hat For Cloud Services

January 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

The European Space (ESA) has deployed a private, on-premise cloud platform designed to serve its community in Europe. The infrastructure is partly based on a custom version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

The ESA Cloud needs to be constantly available to the space agency’s large user base, ensuring high levels of reliability and flexibility and the management capabilities of a modern IT environment, according to Red Hat.

Hosted applications include software development and testing, satellite data processing, document management and “more traditional” corporate IT services used during day-to-day operations.

The ESA Cloud infrastructure is based on systems from VCE, including a blade architecture with x86 CPUs, and cloud management software from Orange Business Services.

RHEL is one of the platforms supported within the ESA Cloud, and the space agency worked closely with Red Hat to customise the enterprise OS.

The customisation and implementation phase was particularly important, the ESA said, because its requirements are “dramatically” different to those of any other enterprise.

The scenarios Red Hat and the ESA IT team had to deal with were quite often “absolutely new”, the company stated.

The ESA Cloud is designed to provide complex virtual environments “within minutes” to end users, shortening the time needed to reach an organisation’s business and scientific targets.

Monitoring computing resources consumed in real time is another important feature of ESA’s private cloud, allowing the IT team to optimise the available capacity to support specific agency projects.

The first ESA Cloud data center is ready for production in Frascati, Italy, and the space agency has already completed a similar site in Darmstadt, Germany.

Future targets include increasing the number of available services, and disaster recovery capabilities to face “any possible large-scale calamity”.


Red Hat RHEL Adds IBM’s Power 8

December 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.1 Beta with enhancements to improve ease of use, manageability and performance, as well as support for IBM Power8 little endian architecture.

RHEL 7.1 Beta is the next point release following the enterprise Linux vendor’s initial production release of RHEL 7.0 in June.

RHEL 7.1 adds OpenLMI support to streamline system configuration management with thin logical volume manager provisioning, along with kernel and user mode components supporting Ceph block storage devices.

The update also offers support for Microsoft CIFS for mixed vendor data centre environments that need it, providing native access to Microsoft Windows file and print services.

RHEL 7.1 also enhances identity management security with one-time password authentication via LDAP and Kerberos protocols and the FreeOTP standard, and introduces a certificate authority management tool.

In addition, RHEL 7.1 includes Security Content Automation Protocol Security Guides that reduce the complexity of compliance testing and enhance security assurance.

Building on RHEL 7.0 support for Linux containers in physical, virtual and cloud deployments in development, test and production environments, RHEL 7.1 adds access to Docker 1.2 in the RHEL 7 Extras channel.

For users with demanding workload responsiveness requirements, RHEL 7.1 adds real-time dispatching for workloads that require very precise and deterministic processing times. This capability is delivered with Linux kernel enhancements and additional userspace packages that can be added on top of a stock RHEL 7.1 installation.

Finally, RHEL 7.1 includes support for IBM Power8 little endian architecture for customers using the IBM Power8 systems infrastructure.

Running in little endian mode accelerates application portability to the IBM Power8 systems, thus allowing customers using IBM Power8 systems to use the existing ecosystem of Linux applications as developed for the x86 architecture.

Interested users can read the RHEL 7.1 Beta Release Notes, and can download the RHEL 7.1 Beta at Red Hat’s website.



RedHat Scoops Up FeedHenry To Bolster Mobile Space

September 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Mobile

Red Hat has acquired Feedhenry, a designer of mobile apps for the enterprise market.

The company sees the acquisition as a key driver to offer cross-platform support for its existing software products, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux Openstack 7, which it released earlier this year.

Feedhenry uses Node.js architecture to create mobile apps supporting both the client and server, running natively across Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry, as well as offering web apps in HTML5. It combines a wide range of toolkits and APIs offering integration with existing systems and most popular software applications from enterprise vendors like Salesforce, SAP and Oracle.

The purchase price is said to be approximately $82 million in cash (just over $8m) and is expected to close in quarter three fiscal year 2015.

Craig Muzilla, SVP of the Application Platform Business group at Red Hat said, “The mobile application platform is one of the fastest growing segments of the enterprise software market. As mobile devices have penetrated into every aspect of enterprise computing, enterprise software customers are looking for easier and more efficient ways for their developers to build mobile applications that extend and enhance traditional enterprise applications.”

“Feedhenry will help us enable customers to take advantage of the capabilities of mobile with the security, scalability, and reliability of Red Hat enterprise software.”

Red Hat said that it will continue to sell and support Feedhenry is products and work with its existing customer base. Feedhenry products will continue to offer a wide variety of cloud deployments, but under the ownership of Red Hat is likely to see particular emphasis on Openshift and Openstack. At the end of last month, Red Hat’s long-serving CTO Brian Stevens left the firm, according to a brief press announcement.



Chinese Using Scanners To Spy

July 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Security experts claim that a Chinese manufacturer has been installing malware in its hand-held scanners that steals supply chain data.

TrapX says infected scanners made by an unnamed Chinese manufacturer located in Shandong province have been sold to eight unnamed firms including a large robotics company. The manufacturer denied knowledge that its scanners and website-hosted software were infected.

Sixteen of the 48 scanners deployed at one firm were infected, TrapX found. They all successfully sought out and compromised host names containing the word finance and siphoning off the logistical and financial data. The report Anatomy of the Attack: Zombie Zero said:

“Exfiltration of all financial data and ERP data was achieved, providing the attacker complete situational awareness and visibility into the logistic/shipping company’s worldwide operations,”.

TrapX suspected the attacks dubbed Zombie Zero were backed by the Chinese government and were a bid to gain intelligence on either logistics firms or their customers.


Will China Become The Home Of Linux?

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

The Chinese are seriously considering what the open source movement has been taking about for years and making Linux on the desktop viable. Every year starts with the mantra that <insert year> will be the year of Linux on the desktop and it never really happens. However the Chinese are so miffed with US spying that they are seriously considering imposing it.

Chinese Government news agency Xinhua published an article claiming Chinese vendors are using a ban on Windows 8 to push Linux-based OS variants. According the reports, Chinese developers may receive “preferential policy” treatment and official support for developing Linux-based operating systems. The Linux distributions and other locally developed programs are often “are created in accordance with Chinese people’s habits” and as such “beat foreign rivals”, the official news agency recorded.

There are three Chinese main Linux distributions, Ubuntu Kylin, Deepin and StartOS. StartOS – has a GNOME desktop environment which has been tweaked to look like Windows XP and has low hardware requirements.

Earlier efforts by Chinese developers to create a Linux-based operating system failed. The Red Flag distribution closed down this year after the Chinese Academy of Sciences withdrew funding for the project, citing general mismanagement and an inability to complete specific projects.


Is RedHat Being Open(Openstack)?

May 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has responded to claims that its implementation of Openstack isn’t as open as it should be.

A report at the Wall Street Journal this week suggested that Red Hat was blocking customers from using alternatives to the bespoke version of Openstack that it offers.

Red Hat provides Openstack with extended support by the company, however in spirit of open source, users should be entitled to use another vendor’s Openstack software, the generic Openstack, or create their own fork.

In reality though, the Wall Street Journal report suggests that Red Hat customers have been advised that Red Hat will not support mixed vendor software, that it has claimed it would cost the company too much to support multiple Openstack distributions and that Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Openstack are too closely intertwined to be separated.

Openstack’s open character is part of what makes it what it is, it’s embedded in the name, and Red Hat has been quick to distance itself from the report, though it does hedge a bit.

In a blog post, Paul Cormier, president of the company’s Products and Technologies division said, “Red Hat believes the entire cloud should be open with no lock-in to proprietary code. Period. No exceptions. Lock-in is the antithesis of open source, and it goes against everything Red Hat stands for.”

However, he went on to warn, “[Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform] requires tight feature and fix alignment between the kernel, the hypervisor, and Openstack services. We have run into this in actual customer support situations many times.”

In other words, its advice to customers is seemingly ‘of course you can do it, but you’d have to be a bit daft’.

He went on to explain, “Enterprise-class open source requires quality assurance. It requires standards. It requires security. Openstack is no different. To cavalierly ‘compile and ship’ untested Openstack offerings would be reckless. It would not deliver open source products that are ready for mission critical operations and we would never put our customers in that position or at risk.”

Which suggests that Red Hat will let you use your own version, unless it’s not happy with it, in which case it won’t.

In a swipe at HP, Cormier concluded by attacking its rival, saying, “We would celebrate and welcome competitors like HP showing commitment to true open source by open sourcing their entire software portfolio.”

HP, which recently launched its HP Helion brand for Openstack, would probably argue that it has already done this, so the war of words might just be beginning.


Dell And Red Hat Join Forces In The Cloud

April 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Computing

The Dell Red Hat Cloud solution, a co-engineered, enterprise grade private cloud, was unveiled at the Red Hat Summit on Thursday.

The Openstack-based service also includes an extension of the Red Hat partnership into the Dell Openshift Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Linux Container products.

Dell and Redhat said their cloud partnership is intended to “address enterprise customer demand for more flexible, elastic and dynamic IT services to support and host non-business critical applications”.

The integration of Openshift with Redhat Linux is a move towards container enhancements from Redhat’s Docker platform, which the companies said will enable a write-once culture, making programs portable across public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

Paul Cormier, president of Products and Technologies at Red Hat said, “Cloud innovation is happening first in open source, and what we’re seeing from global customers is growing demand for open hybrid cloud solutions that meet a wide variety of requirements.”

Sam Greenblatt, VP of Enterprise Solutions Group Technology Strategy at Dell, added, “Dell is a long-time supporter of Openstack and this important extension of our commitment to the community now will include work for Openshift and Docker. We are building on our long history with open source and will apply that expertise to our new cloud solutions and co-engineering work with Red Hat.”

Dell Red Hat Cloud Solutions are available from today, with support for platform architects available from Dell Cloud Services.

Earlier this week, Red Hat announced Atomic Host, a new fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) specifically tailored for containers. Last year, the company broke bad with its Fedora Linux distribution, codenamed Heisenbug.


Will Facebook Start Monitoring Your Mouse?

November 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Wall Street Journal reports that the social network hopes soon to be able to tell whether your newsfeed is visible on your desktop or mobile screen, where you have placed your cursor, and even how long you hover over that Like button before committing.

Although Facebook is not the first company to consider such a move, which was photo stock agency Shutterstock, this is the first time a big social network has contemplated collecting this data.

At the moment, although Facebook has collected over 300 petabytes of data, the level to which the information is mined is significantly less than Shutterstock’s collection of similar data.

Facebook’s head of Analytics is Ken Rudin, who came from Zynga earlier this year. He said in an interview, “It is a never-ending phase. I can’t promise that it will roll out. We probably will know in a couple of months.”

At present, Rudin is analyzing whether it makes business sense to know your every cursor move, but speaking about it so publicly suggests that it is pretty likely.

Although any kind of change to user data collection of this magnitude probably would need to be announced, with Facebook’s removal of user voting in late 2012, the only option that Facebook users will have now will be to vote with their feet if this decision gives them the creeps.

If that doesn’t give you the shivers, we don’t know what will.


Facebook Relaxes Its Rules On Teen Privacy

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will relax privacy rules for its teen users.

The announcement comes amid headlines about teenage bullying and cyber predators, and industry analysts expect the move to draw fire. The social network has frequently found itself criticized for its privacy policies, and this one could draw more attention than usual.

Until Wednesday, Facebook users between the ages of 13 and 17 were only able to share status updates, pictures and videos with their online friends or friends of friends. With the new policy, teenage users may opt to open up their accounts and make their posts public.

“Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard,” the company wrote in a blog post . “While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services.”

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new policy could be an issue or Facebook. “Historically, online privacy activists have gotten riled up about Facebook privacy issues but it never really ever got far,” he said. “Now there is the chance child advocacy and parent groups will step in.”

Facebook also is enabling teens to turn on a Follow feature, which allows their posts to show up in other’s news feeds.

Adult users have always been able to choose how public or private their information is made.

“We take the safety of teens very seriously, so they will see an extra reminder before they can share publicly,” Facebook noted. ” When teens choose “Public” in the audience selector, they’ll see a reminder that the post can be seen by anyone, not just people they know, with an option to change the post’s privacy. And if they choose to continue posting publicly, they will get an additional reminder.”

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said Facebook’s move is all about advertising.

“When Facebook is allowing more people to see teenagers’ information, they’re also allowing advertisers to see more info,” he said. “Marketers can get better knowledge of what is hot with teens. Teens also tend to be very loud and public in what they want to buy.”

However, despite the potential financial benefits to this, Facebook is taking a big risk with this move, added Kerravala.

“Facebook is publicly traded now, so they need to start thinking about how to continually increase shareholder value,” he said. “That’s life as a public company. The risk is that parents get upset about this and either limit their kids’ use of it or force kids off Facebook.”




Red Hat Unleashes Fedora 19

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Computing

Red Hat has released Fedora 19, codenamed Schrödinger’s Cat, which has support for 3D printing and is the first to use MariaDB as its default SQL database instead of Oracle’s MySQL.

Red Hat’s Fedora Linux distribution is the testing ground for the firm’s hugely successful Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution, and for that reason it heralds what will appear in future releases of RHEL. The firm’s Fedora 19 release brings support for 3D printing through OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun and Repetierhost, and it is the first release to make MariaDB the default SQL database server implementation in place of Oracle’s MySQL.

The Fedora Project was criticised for delaying its Fedora 18 release, however Fedora 19 appeared on time. Fedora’s latest release includes Gnome 3.8 and the capability to enable Gnome Classic, a Gnome 2 type user interface, along with KDE Plasma 4.10 and Mate 1.6, with other window managers such as Xfce and Lxde available in different spins.

As Red Hat sponsors the Fedora Project it is not surprising to see Fedora include Openshift, the firm’s platform as a service infrastructure. Fedora 19 also includes node.js and Ruby 2.0, but arguably its biggest move is away from Oracle’s MySQL to the community maintained MariaDB fork, which suggests that eventually RHEL will make MariaDB its default SQL database implementation.

The Fedora Project has said that work on Fedora 20 has been in active development for several months and it plans to release that in November.

Fedora 19 is available for download from regional mirrors and users can also use Fed Up to upgrade from previous versions of the distribution.


The U.S. Is Not The Worst Cyber Snooper

June 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Indian government cyber snooping program is becoming so pervasive that it makes the US Prism operation look harmless. India is giving its security agencies and even income tax officials the ability to tap directly into e-mails and phone calls without oversight by courts or parliament, several sources said.

The excuse is that the move will help safeguard national security, because that excuse is always trotted out when governments do evil things. The Central Monitoring System (CMS) was announced in 2011 but there has been no public debate and the government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused.

The government started to quietly roll the system out state by state in April this year, according to government officials. Eventually it will be able to target any of India’s 900 million landline and mobile phone subscribers and 120 million Internet users.

Cynthia Wong, an Internet researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch said that if India doesn’t want to look like an authoritarian regime, it needs to be transparent about who will be authorized to collect data, what data will be collected, how it will be used, and how the right to privacy will be protected.


Chinese Hackers Appear To Be At It Again

May 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China’s People’s Liberation Army went silent they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques.

The Obama administration had bet that “naming and shaming” the groups, first in industry reports and then in the Pentagon’s own detailed survey of Chinese military capabilities, might prompt China’s new leadership to crack down on the military’s team of hackers. But it appears that Unit 6139 is back in business, according to American officials and security companies.

Mandiant, a private security company that helps companies and government agencies defend themselves from hackers, said the attacks had resumed but would not identify the targets. The victims were many of the same ones the unit had attacked before. Mandiant said that the Chinese hackers had stopped their attacks after they were exposed in February and removed their spying tools from the organisations they had infiltrated.

But in the last two months, they have begun attacking the same victims from new servers and have reinserted many of the tools that enable them to seek out data without detection. The subject of Chinese attacks is expected to be a central issue in an upcoming visit to China by President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon. However little is expected to come of it, the Chinese have always denied that they have a hacked anyone, ever.


Anonymous Went After North Korea Again

April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Anonymous has restarted its attack against North Korea and once again is using a North Korean Twitter account to announce website scalps.

The Twitter account @uriminzok was the scene of announcements about the hacked websites during the last stage of Op North Korea, and reports have tipped up there again.

The first wave of attacks saw a stream of websites defaced or altered with messages or images that were very much not in favour of the latest North Korean hereditary leader, Kim Jong-un.

They were supported by a Pastebin message signed by Anonymous that called for some calming of relations between North Korea and the US, and warned of cyber attacks in retaliation.

“Citizens of North Korea, South Korea, USA, and the world. Don’t allow your governments to separate you. We are all one. We are the people. Our enemies are the dictators and regimes, our goals are freedom and peace and democracy,” read the statement. “United as one, divided by zero, we can never be defeated!”

Before the attacks restarted, the last Twitter message promised that more was to come. It said, “OpNorthKorea is still to come. Another round of attack on N.Korea will begin soon.” Anonymous began delivering on that threat in the early hours this morning.

More of North Korean websites are in our hand. They will be brought down.

— uriminzokkiri (@uriminzok) April 15, 2013

We’ve counted nine websites downed, defacements and hacks, and judging by the stream of confirmations they happened over a two hour period. No new statement has been released other than the above.…

— uriminzokkiri (@uriminzok) April 15, 2013

Downed websites include the glorious, a North Korean news destination. However, when we tried it we had intermittent access.

Last time around the Anonymous hackers had taken control of North Korea’s Flickr account. This week we found the message, “This member is no longer active on Flickr.”


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