Archive for September, 2010

Bye bye Suse, welcome Fedora

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Successfully migrated my workstation @home from OpenSuse to Fedora13

After using SuSE and later OpenSuse since 1994 it was time for a change. I was stuck at OpenSuse because of its excellent multimedia support trough 3rd party repostitories from packman. Last evening another update brought the system down once again. Time for change.

Since a long time Fedora does not ship software any more which are problematic because of software patents, such as mp3, different video codecs etc. Since then Fedora was more or less a no-go for home-usage. In meantime there is a 3rd party repository available called RPM Fusion. RPM Fusion is as good as packman, this made the decision to switch easier.

Why I finally switched from OpenSuse to Fedora:

  • @Work, I’m mostly working with RHEL systems
  • Workstation @work migrated to Fedora long time ago
  • Novell is going to die, future of (Open)Suse is uncertain
  • Multimedia support is as good as for OpenSuse trough 3rd party repositories
  • Suse has a bad package management (zypper and friends) and its going worse with each new release
  • Fedora is more innovative
  • Bigger community
  • Better quality control (obviously)
  • If a Fedora update is going wrong, packages can be easily downgraded with a single command

Is the switch on my home workstation enterprise relevant?
Yes and no.

Yes, because people like me tend to use the upstream project of the two enterprise Linux distributions RHEL (with Fedora as upstream) and Suse (with OpenSuse as upstream). I know a lot of people who already switched to Fedora quite some time ago.

No, because for home usage for ordinary users Ubunu, Debian, you-name-it-distribution is good enough.

I’m quite convinced that (Open)Suse will die in the next time. One of the reasons is that Novell brought SuSE Linux AG back in 2003 and dismissed lots of developers. Then investment companies held the major part of Novell’s stocks. Investment companies are known to be interested to make money on the short term, not on the long term.

If Suse is really going to die, this is a bad thing for the Linux society. The only “Enterprise” Linux would then be Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As we know from Microsoft, a monopoly is always a bad thing. There is an urge for another Enterprise Linux vendor. How will kick in? Mandriva? They are nearly bankrupt. Ubunu/Canonical? They call five years of support long term support (LTS)? Gimme a break! Oracle Linux (Aka OEL)? Its a RHEL clone.

Your opinion?
Please leave a comment

Have fun? Unsure…

Rumours about RHEL6 GA end of October 2010

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The latest unofficial rumors about the release date of RHEL6 are pointing to end of October 2010. This is a bit more precise than the official statement “later this year“.

There are multiple sources of this rumors, so it can be considered truthful but still not as a fact. Hopefully RHN Satellite 5.4 will be released end of September to prepare the infrastructure to be able to manage RHEL6.

Have fun!

FUDCon and FrOSCamp Day Two

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

After the official party called “wired dreams” @StuZ on Friday, I was a bit late and arrived @ETH in the early afternoon.

At 14:00 there was the (from my point of view) probably best workshop, it was about Puppet. Puppet is an open source data center automation and configuration management tool. For more information see

There is also a Swiss Puppet User Group. It seems to mostly active in western Switzerland.

The second interesting talk was about collectd, a system performance statistics gathering tool similar to Cacti, but more sophisticated.

Conclusion: The two days at FUDCon and FrOSCamp have been really worth to attend. Not only because of the talks, but also for socializing with other people. I had the chance to talk with people from the Fedora Project as well as to some Red Hat people.

Unfortunately FUDCon will not be held in Switzerland for the next few years, because the conference will always be hold in another country each year. I hope similar conferences will be held in Switzerland (or at least in nearby regions) in the next few months.

Have fun!

FUDCon and FrOSCamp Day One

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

FUDCon 2010 was the first Fedora event I visited, so I was curious about who to meet there. I was keen to visit the talks about different topics. Most of this talks have been great and gave a good overview on the topic discussed.

It was a Co-event together with FrOSCamp, so there was also a small exhibition floor where different projects presented themself.

At lunch in the lovely restaurant “Hot Pasta” I had the chance to talk to other Fedora people. The table has been quite international: German, Swiss, Dutch and US (Maybe other countries?) People talking.

After countless more chats with people, at 18:00 the bar was open and the sponsored Free Beer was served. The party beginns.

For more pictures have a look to Máirín’s Photos on Its also worth looking at Planet Fedora.

Have fun!

Rumors about Novell and Suse Linux

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

There have been a lot of rumors that Novell will be sold. Latest rumors are that the Linux parts of Novell (former SuSE) will be split off and sold separately.

Since that got public, there are even more rumors: Which company will buy the Linux part of Novell?

  • Red Hat: Very unlikely, since the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the EU and USA will most likely disagree because RHEL and SLES are already some kind of “duopoly”.
  • Microsoft: No way that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will agree on this. On the other hand, MS has enough manpower to get on market with “MS-Linux” if they want to do so.
  • VMware: Would make sense, they can position them as a counterpart of Red Hat with its KVM initiative. Since VMware is a Windows-Shop, it is unlikely.
  • Oracle: They already have OEL, a clone of REHL, very unlikely
  • Hewlett-Packard: Would make sense because HP-UX is dead and HP does not have a future proof operating system anymore
  • IBM: They have AIX and IBM is involved in business with both, RHEL and SLES and others. I’m unsure if it would make sense to take over Suse. AIX is one of the two Unix Systems that will survive (maybe the only one since most probably Solaris 12 will never appear).

My wild guess is: Hewlett-Packard. Why? Monopolies and Mergers Commission will not be concerned, and HP does not have any competitive Operating System in its assets anymore.

Depending on who is buying the Linux business of Novell, we will have fun or not…

Lets take a breath,


FUDCon 2010 Zurich

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This year the FUDCon (Fedora User and Developer Conference) will be held in my home town.

There are quite a lot of interesting talks on the agenda and two social events in the evening. I’ll not missing it.

The conference is sponsored by Red Hat and it is free of charge.

See you there…

RHN Satellite 5.4 release in sight

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

When analyzing recent Bugzilla-reports and mailing list posts, we can expect a RHN Satellite release quite soon. Why? The main reason for this is the lack of SHA256 support in sat530. Since RHEL6 packages having SHA256 checksums, the release of Satellite 5.4 is a prerequisite for releasing RHEL6. As always there will also be a large load of bugfixes included.

Expected new features

  • yum repository syncronising
  • Support for SHA256 checksums
  • Maybe support for SHA384 checksums
  • Support for Oracle 11g databases (on external servers)
  • Improved preformance
  • Orphaned profile elimination to prevent wasting entitlement
  • Runs on RHEL6 (and thus Tomcat6?)
  • Recording of the install-date of packages

Of course, this list can be wrong. Because lots of bugzilla entries are not open to the public this list also tends to be incomplete. Lets have a closer look to the new features that most probably will hit rhn satellite 5.4

yum repository syncronising
This feature allows to sync custom channels with an external yum repository. Lot of people are mirroring EPEL and IUS repositories with the help of wget and push the packages into the satellite with the help of rhnpush. In future there will be a command like spacewalk-repo-sync –channel you-name-it-custom-channel (maybe the command will be renamed to rhn-repo-sync). This new feature will not only safe some GB of disk space, it will also speedups the process of getting new packages from external repos.

In Spacewalk 1.1 there were a lot of improvements made on repo handling. Hopefully sat540 will have them too. Since I was not able to figure out which Spacewalk version is the upstream for sat540, I can only hope that it will be version 1.1.

Support for SHA256 checksums
RHEL6 packages are all coming with SHA256 checksums. Those are not supported with the current release 5.3 and older. This means version 5.4 needs to be released close to the GA of RHEL6, otherwise customers are not able to manage RHEL6 systems internally.

Support for Oracle 11g databases (on external servers)
Right now, only Oracle 10g databases are supported on external servers. This is annoying for customers that already ditched Oracle 10g and upgraded all Databases to 11g. This new feature allows to have a homogeneous database landscape in the datacenter.

Orphaned profile elimination to prevent wasting entitlement
Today when re-provisioning a system, the system gets registered and entitled twice, the old system-profile needs to get deleted manually. Often this gets forgotten and wastes entitlements. In RHN Satellite 5.4 there will be a function to detects those duplicate system registrations.

Runs on RHEL6
The upstream project Spacewalk runs fine on Tomcat6, which will be included in RHEL6. It is quite unlikely that the Sat distribution comes with an own Tomcat5.5 server, so it means that the support for Tomcat6 was backported from Spacewalk.

Recording of the install-date of packages
This small feature is quite important for a lot of users. In some industries there are regulations to know when a particular package was installed. Of course you can get this information out of the systems /var/log/yum.log, but now you will have this information handy on your Satellite server.

Open Questions
There is a Bugzilla tracking bug for RHN Satellite version 5.3.1. What is it good for? Will there be support for RHEL6? My guess is not having RHEL6 support and 5.3.1 will be ditched even before its got released.

Will RHN Satellite 5.4 will also run on RHEL5? Maybe the distribution comes with Tomcat6 packages for RHEL5? Maybe Sat540 will be able to run with Tomcat5.5? We will see…

Upgrade scenarios: Will it be easy to upgrade from 5.3? Is it needed to refresh the OS from RHEL5 to RHEL6? If it is that easy as upgrade from i.e. Spacewalk 1.0 to Spacewalk 1.1 then we all will be happy :-)

Release Date
As always, Red Hat does neither publish a roadmap nor release dates. All we know for RHEL6 is “later this year” and thats also true for the release of RHN Satellite 5.4.

The gap between Spacewalk 1.1 and RHN Satellite 5.3 is quite huge. Lots of new and interesting features have been introduced, lots of bugs fixed, much better performance. With the upcoming release of version 5.4 this gap will be much smaller.

In contrary to the release of 5.3 which was quite buggy on GA, I do not expect the same for 5.4 because Spacewalk seems to be very stable at the moment. This makes me confident that 5.4 will be a very stable version from GA on.

Have fun!