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Ubuntu Ocelot Debuts as Kernel.org Returns

  • October 11, 2011
  • By Sean Kerner

There are all kinds of species on the Linux Planet, even Ocelots. This week, the Linux Planet is gearing up for the Ubuntu 11.10 release, as other distros plot their own respective courses forward.

1. Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.10 aka, the Oneiric Ocelot, is set for official release on Oct. 13th and it's already generating more than its fair share of hype.

The new Ubuntu release continues to improve on the Unity interface that first debuted in the 11.04 release earlier this year. Ubuntu 11.10 also improves the Dash search interface and updates the Ubuntu One personal cloud data syncing and storing service. Ubuntu 11.10 uses Mozilla Thunderbird as the default email client, although users can still choose to use and install other clients including GNOME's Evolution.

For Ubuntu server users, the new release marks the debut of JuJu, which was formerly known as Ensemble. JuJu provides a cloud orchestration service, enabling users to deploy and manage their cloud instances more easily. Ubuntu 11.10 also marks the coming out party for OpenStack as the primary cloud technology for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). UEC had previously favored Eucalyptus, with OpenStack available in the 11.04 release as a technology preview.

2. Oracle Enterprise Linux Kernel 2

This past week was a big one for Oracle with both its OpenWorld and JavaOne events. At OpenWorld, Oracle announced a new Linux enterprise Linux kernel, bringing features from Solaris to Linux.

Among the Solaris features finding their way to Oracle's Linux is Dtrace. Dtrace provides a way to get better visibility into system activities and performance. It's also a tool for which there are already myriad other choices available for Linux administrators.

Oracle is also bringing containers to Linux as a way to provide granular virtual isolation.

It's unclear at this point if any other distribution will want to follow Oracle's lead, or even if they can.

3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Beta

Oracle's Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which got a preview for its upcoming release this past week. According to Red Hat, RHEL 6.2 includes new kernel optimizations in the process scheduler, networking, virtualization and I/O subsystems.

RHEL 6.2 is set to give a speed boost to server administrators by way of faster ext4 and XFS filesystem response times. Additionally, Red Hat is claiming improved network packet transmission throughput by as much as 30 percent thanks to enhanced Transmit Packet Steering (XPS) capabilities in RHEL 6.2.

4. Red Hat Acquires Gluster

Red Hat also made waves this past week with the acquisition of storage vendor Gluster. Red Hat is paying $136 million for the commercial vendor behind the open source GlusterFS filesystem. Gluster is a distributed filesystem being positioned as a solution for big data like Hadoop.

At this early stage it's unclear how or when Red Hat will fully integrate Gluster into RHEL as a product offering. That said, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens said that even before the acquisition, a RHEL customer could benefit from Gluster. According to Stevens, a Gluster service can be installed on top of an existing RHEL deployment to create a scale-out pool of data.

The Gluster acquisition is the second time in Red Hat's history that they've gone out and acquired a technology vendor to help expand their filesystem expertise. Red Hat acquired GFS (Global FileSystem) vendor Sistina in 2003 for $31 million.

5. Kernel.org Returns

After just over a month offline, kernel.org returned to service last week. The primary home of Linux kernel development and Linus Torvald's git tree had been offline after a security incident at the end of August.

Linus Torvalds has already returned his 3.1 kernel development to kernel.org, and Greg Koah-Hartman has released Linux 3.0.4 with kernel.org as the primary repository.

At this point, kernel.org maintainers are not providing a full discussion on what exactly happened in the security breach. They are, however, implementing new security procedures including mandating the use of stronger cryptographic keys

"Thanks to all for your patience and understanding during our outage and please bear with us as we bring up the different kernel.org systems over the next few weeks," a note on kernel.org states. "We will be writing up a report on the incident in the future."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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