Froscon 2013, a Mini Review

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Froscon, a weekend event held Bonn annually. This was the 2nd time Ive been able to attend but each time only on the 2nd day. Froscon is your typical Open Source event, with organised talks, a vendor area and an exhibition.

As  I was only able to attend the second day, I made sure I was there nice and early, so as not to miss anything. The standard ticket price is 5 Euros for the weekend, although there are other tarifs available. I planned to spend the morning section in a workshop and the rest of the day exploring the rest of the event. As I had arrived early, I decided to pop in and take a look at the Fedora booth and have a chat with the guys on the stand there. This year the Fedora booth was complete with a 3D printer, utilising the new 3D Printing Support in Fedora 19.

After checking out the Fedora booth, it was time for me to get over to the Workshop. The workshop was an introduction to Hadoop, run by a guy called Uwe Seiler from Codecentric. He had prepared a VM image for us to use during the workshop. It was available as a VMware image or a Virtual Box image.  While I has used to like Virtual Box I had recently removed it from my laptop. So I could either re-install it OR try and get it to work with KVM.

I started off just importing the .vmdk file and telling KVM that it was a vmdk file, but whileI did see grub, once the system started booting, I was getting lots of disk errors. I decided to convert the vmdk file to qcow2 using the following command

qemu-img convert -O qcow2 <sourcefilename>.vmdk <destinationFilename>.qcow2

Unfortunately this took the file from 2.4G to just over 7G but it did mean that it booted perfectly, with no errors. In retrospect, I realise that it was because I missed the compression option off. Doing the following, means the filesize stays as 2.4G

qemu-img convert  -c -O qcow2 <sourcefilename>.vmdk <destinationFilename>.qcow2

The image had been setup with some tutorials included, so you could work at your own pace and ask Uwe if you needed assistance.

After a couple of hours there I decided to go and investigate the exhibitors area a little more. One of the stands I walked past was the Piwik stand. I had run Piwik in the past but not for quite a while. I was impressed with how good it was looking these days, so I decided it was high time I installed it again. Now that I host my website in OpenShift I was wondering how I would be able to add Piwik. It turns out that someone has made an Open Shift Piwik application cartridge, so it was very simple to get a Piwik instance up and running.

Next I went to a talk in the Fedora room, about OpenScad. I hadent heard of it before but I was very quickly impressed with just how simple it was to use. Using it is like writing a bash script and you get instant results. There are some well documented examples over here

Next up I went to take a look at Freifunk which lets you, via alternate firmware on your router, setup up a mess network and offer free internet access to all. Its a great concept and I think mess is a very important next step in the evolution of networking, especially in light of recent revelations about wide scale internet snooping. At anytime you can see realtime stats of your local area – mine looks like this

The final talk for me was a quick overview of the new features/changes that will be in the next version of Fedora (Fedora 20). These are far too  numerous to list but can be found here.  I think Fedora 20 looks like being an excellent release

In other news, this weekend I also had a first look at OpenShift Origins (via an all in one VM). I have really come to like OpenShift, I have to admit, at first I wasnt too interested in PaaS as Im more of an IaaS person, but OpenShift has totally won me over.

All in all, it was a great geeky weekend, hope yours was too

OSG

GNOME 3, Mission Accomplished?

Its been four years since I posted an article requesting that, whatever GNOME do with the next version, could they please Make It Pretty. GNOME 2 had been looking very dated for a LONG time at that point and I knew we could have something better, something that would be easily better that anything Windows or even MAC could offer. So did they achieve it in my opinion? Read on …

TLDR;

The “too long, didnt read” version is that, for the most part, I would say yes. On the whole I’m very happy with GNOME3 and its features and modernity.

OK, if you are still reading then lets get to the heart of it. While I am, as stated, very happy with GNOME 3.x, there are some things that do drive me crazy, and there is a rather disappointing feeling, when passing feedback back to the developers, that they are dismissive and that they know whats best – which is a real shame

When 3.0 came out, while the basic framework was there and you could see its potential, there was a lot of stuff missing. Most notable for me was a total lack of customisation or more accurately configuration options. We were told that this stuff would come, and so it has, but its sure taken its time in some cases.

One of my major dislikes in GNOME 3.x is the concept of what I believe is called a Gmenu. This is a menu that is attached to the bar at the top of the screen, than changes depending on what application you are focused on. Its kind of like a Global Menu but thankfully nowhere as bad as that. The concept is that you remove items or even the whole menu, from an applications bar and put it at the top of the screen. Its quite an old model if Im honest, I mean my Amiga used to have a global menu but back then we didnt have multiple monitors. And this brings me to the big problem I have with this concept.

Multiple Monitors

I am a huge fan of multiple monitor setups, I have 2 x 26″ Samsungs back at my home for example. So lets say you are in “Files” or, as you may be more familiar with, Nautilus. Lets say you have it open on your right-hand monitor, and then lets say you need to mount your NAS or some other share. There is a “Connect to Server” menu item that makes this really easy. In fact, my girlfriend, who has been a Fedora user for just a couple of years now, was able to, in earlier versions of GNOME, easily find this and use it to connect to her NAS. However, in the new Nautilus, the “Connect to Server” item is, yes you guessed it, in the Gmenu, so I have so move my mouse about 40 inches to the left just to do this – totally IDIOTIC.

Solution:

sudo yum install nemo

Nemo is a fork of the old Nautilus, that doesnt have Gmenu nonesense. Its a shame, I do like the new look of “Files” its nice and clean, but why take useful menu items and put them 40″ away from me?

Notifications

Ok, so thats my Gmenu and Connect to Server issues wrapped up into one, what else? The other major annoyance is notifications. Some bright spark, no doubt with a a degree in User Interface Design, has decreed that all useful notifications will be hidden from a user, apart from a brief slide up from the bottom of the screen before sliding away into oblivion. So if Im logged into IRC, and its open on different workspace, if someone messages me while Im looking away or sneezing, I will be totally unaware. I also cant seem my Dropbox (or more likely these days Copy – my referal code) sync status or anything else that used to be up in the top screen.

I can just hear that person (the UI designer) explaining that its totally better this way, and frankly, if it wasn’t for “Top Icons” coming to the rescue, then no doubt there would be a string of profanities launched back at him, from me.

Extensions

That brings me nicely onto extensions, which is a great feature of GNOME 3, one that I really like. GNOME 3 lets you customise the desktop “experience” with the use of extentions. I mean its a shame I have to install “Remove Accessibility” to remove an item from the top bar of my desktop, rather than just finding a tickbox in my settings somewhere, but there you are.

Yes, extensions are great, they at least put some control back in your hands. However, there are also issues here. Back in the 3.0 and 3.2 days (I think) extensions were nicely packaged up as RPMs that were in the standard repo.  Recently the have decided that this is not the way things should be done, instead, now you have to visit https://extensions.gnome.org/ and install/configure them from there. You may think thats nice and handy, but what about when there are newer versions of an extension available – Im not notified and they cant be updated using the usual methods of updating all the other software on your machine – instead, you have to revisit the site from time to time to have any idea if there are updated versions – I find this silly and quite irritating

 Summary

Ok, it may seem from this that I dont like GNOME 3, but that’s not true, not true by far. I really do love it, the things mentioned above are irritating but it is, for me, the single best desktop that’s available on any platform to date IMHO

If I could request anything from the programmers/designers responsible for it, it would be to a) please listen to and act upon constructive feedback b) always give us a way to disable some of these new features, like a tickbox to disable Gmenu etc etc. The other thing I would say is thank you, thank you for bringing my favorite desktop up to date.

OSG

Dropbox and SELinux

OK, so Dropbox isnt 100% Open Source but Im a pragmatic kinda guy and I do love Dropbox. However it (Dropbox) doent seem to like SELinux it seems.

I know its so tempting to reach for the “turn off SELinux” switch but wait, its actually very simple to make SELinux allow Dropbox to work.

It turns out that Dropbox tries to do some naughty stuff that SELinux is there to protect us from – namely executing out of the memory buffer. This type of thing is usually done by programs trying to do malicious things on the system and happily SELinux protects us from this – but that prevents Drop from running.

How to Fix It

There is a nice and simple way to fix this and no I dont mean disable SELinux 😉

There is a boolean that you could flip that turns off this protection – namely allow_execstack

sudo setsebool allow_execstack 1

However this is going way to far as you all now allowing any process to execute from stack, which isnt a good idea.

The best way is to tell SELinux that you just want Dropbox to be able to do this and nothing else. The way that you do this is you label the executable file, in this case /usr/bin/dropbox, as type execmem_exec_t

You can do this with a quick chcon, but thats not the best way to do it, the following two lines will fix Dropbox to work with SELinux

sudo semanage fcontext -a -t unconfined_execmem_exec_t /usr/bin/dropbox
sudo restorecon -v /usr/bin/dropbox

Now if you take a look at the SELinux contetxt of the file, you can see its got the right label

ls -lZ /usr/bin/dropbox
-rwxr-xr-x. root root system_u:object_r:execmem_exec_t:s0 /usr/bin/dropbox

If you spend a little time to understand the basics of SELinux (file contexts and booleans) you will find it is quite straight forward to work on a system with SELinux turned on

If you are interested in learning more about this stuff, check out the Dan Walsh blog

OSG

Operating System Choice for Critical Systems

It NEVER ceases to amaze me that when selecting an operating system for a critically important role, that people still chose Windows. Now this isnt a rant about how Linux or BSD are better or more secure than Microsoft Windows. I mean I think its quite an easy argument but one thing that is not up for debate is that Microsoft Windows is the most targeted operating system when it comes to Malware.

So why, for the love of all things good in the world, do you chose the most targeted OS for your critical systems. Here are just three recent incidents/reports that prompted this rant

1. The investigation into the recent Spanish air crash noted that a critical ground system, that was designed to spot problems and alert people was actually switched off as it was infected with malware

http://www.technewsdaily.com/malware-implicated-in-fatal-spanair-crash-1078/

2. The latest worm currently doing the rounds and allegedly targeted at Irans Nuclear Reactor. Iran have admitted that some of their systems are indeed infected with this malware. Its a nuclear reactor for gawd sake.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9188147/Iran_admits_Stuxnet_worm_infected_PCs_at_nuclear_reactor

3. My favorite though was the recent announcement about an infection in a United States military network – their worst infaction ever, was caused by an infected USB drive.

That code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control.

http://www.itpro.co.uk/626428/infected-usb-caused-biggest-us-military-breach-ever

For gawd sake people, if its a critical system, dont chose the most malware targeted operating system. It makes no sense at all.

FOSDEM 2010

We I have just returned from my anual trip to FOSDEM, held in Brussels. FOSDEM is one of my favourite conferences, there are so many interesting tracks and the, already large, conference seems to grow bigger each year. FOSDEM is entirely free and exists on a combination of donations and sponsorship, a model which clearly seems to work.

Like all good conferences you are inevitably faced with with the problem that there are multiple talks that you would like to see but the are being held at the same time. Some of the talks inevitably make it online and this years is now exception. They are available here

Of course, like most conferences, its not all about the tech. FOSDEM is the conference where I see the most socialising. I guess the fact the Belgium has some of the finest beers in the world helps this no end 🙂

Each year I come away from FOSDEM itching to get my hands on some of technologies that I have heard about, and this year is no differnt. Spacewalk is a project Ive been interested in for about 6 months now and it seems to have had some really nice features added soon. Im just waiting for them to break the need to use Oracle before I really dive back into it. PostgreSQL is on the roadmap and should be here soon.

There was an interesting talk by Linsay Holmwood about Flapjack, Cucumber Nagios & Visage, both of which Id like to have a play with. Another very interesting talk was give by a couple of Guys from Facebook. They were talking about how they have scaled Facebook with Open Source tools and the additional tools that Facebook have created and Open Sourced. Full marks have to go to Facebook for this, nice to see a company contributing back to Open Source so much. You can go to facebook.com/opensource to find out about this.

I have also come away from FOSDEM ready to give OpsView another try, @dotwaffle extoled its virtues, so I certainly need to take a look at that. I have to say it was a real priviledge to listen to Andrew Tanembaum talk about Minix as well, I had no idea about some of the cool technologies included in it such as the reincarnation service. He was an entertaining speaker also which always helps.

I mentioned that FOSDEM seems to grow each year and take on more and more talks, inevitably this leads to some talks being put in rooms that are too small for the level of interest. I really wanted to take a look at some of the Coreboot talks but the room seemed to be at capacity right from the start. I guess I need to use those online videos I mentioned above.

Each year there also the usual swag available and this year was no different. I came away with a new TShirt and Max Spevak (Fedora Community guy) had brought over some excellent “powered by Fedora” case stickers. Spreaking of which, Max had also organised a Fedora Activity Day on the Friday afternoon, which was a nice way of starting off the weekend, a kind of pre-con. It was great to see so many Fedora Ambassadors at FOSDEM again this year.

All in all I had a great time there, a time that always seems to be over too quickly. It would be great to seem then extend the conference by a day or two. There were over 200 lectures given over the space of two short days, so Im sure there is enough content. I guess it depends if they could secure use of the University on weekdays that may be the limiting factor.

Anyway, a *very* big thanks to the organisers, the sponsors and the people who volunteer their time to make sure that the conference runs so smoothly. If you have never been to a FOSDEM, please make sure to see if you can go next February – watch the site for the exact date.

Other Conferences
While Im talking about conferences, please be sure to check out
LOAD www.loadays.org April, Antwerp BE
OGGCamp oggcamp.org March, Liverpool UK

WordPress comes to Android

For a while now I have been quite jealous of the SquareSpace iPhone app that let’s you manage you site right from your smart phone.

Well now, if you have a WordPress blog and an Android phone you too can have this functionality. WordPress is now in the Android app store, and what’s more its totally free.

Thanks to readwriteweb for the headsup.

Note: This post was done from my phone, alhtough the above link was impossible to do and categories also seem to be broken at the moment but this is a 1.0.0 version.

Im a very happy geek now!

Give Google a Break

Google are developing a new operating system, aimed squarely at the netbook market. The ethos behind it, like with most things at Google in the last 12 months, is speed – they want it to take no more than 7 seconds to boot.

Once logged in you will only have access to a web browser – the browser will be Googles Chrome Browser, as you may expect. There will be no desktop or other apps, everything will be done from the browser. They are going to build in functionality for  working offline, for when you are not connected to the net.

Many people, even in the Linux world, seemed to be opposed to this but I can only see it as a good thing. Under the hood its based on Linux, Google have said they have been working with Ubuntu in this respect. Google have stated that Chrome OS will be Open Source and released the current dev version on Chromium.org. From my point of view I think its going to be good for the Linux platform. The improvement in boot speed and hardware drivers alone can only be good.

I really dont know why Google seem to have so much opposition. I understand peoples concerns about a company that knows so much about its users but they are the only company to have a “do no evil” moto. Whats more Google are also a very transparent company, the information that they have on you can easily be found and deleted if you so wish. For example, if you want to view or delete your web history, just go here and do so.

I do wonder how many people know about the Data Liberation Front, a team of Google engineers who work solely on making sure that you can easily get your data in or out of as many Google products as possible, as simply as possible.

I really do feel that Google are a friend of open source. Their Android phone OS is Open Source and while I know there was some concern over their reation to the Cyanogen mod, when you read into it, you can understand their point of view – plus they worked with the Cyanogen guy to come up with a work arround.

Also, lets not forget the Google Summer of Code. Each year they make this great contribution to Open Source. Im sure its not entirely altruistic but never the less it is a very valuable contribution.

Recenlty Google seemed to cause some more negative ripples with their aquistion of the Etherpad Project. I think anyone who has tried both Wave and EtherPad will understand why Google wanted Etherpad. Etherpads real time document editing is much better than the current Google Wave client. So the Etherpad team have been pulled off Etherpad and put to work on Wave. The controvesy was not so much about this but that the fact they closed Etherpad, a product that many people use and find invaluable. They gave people about a months notice to trasition away from it. The thing I will say about this is that as soon as they became aware of the communities concern, they re-examined the decision and have re-opened EtherPad – in a matter of days. They then said, in a very open way “what were we thinking”.

UPDATE: They have also released the sourcecode for Etherpad under the Apache Licence

This brings me on to Google Wave.I know that people who have been able to try this out are not that overwhelmed with it. What I will say is that its very early days in this products development. I would also so that Wave is all about the protocol underneath that lets you collaborate on document editing and the current Wave client is just the first implementation of a client – there will be other clients. In other words, think of Wave as SMTP and the current client as Outlook Express. There will be better clients

My main point about Wave though is how Google have gone about this. They said, from the outset, that they wanted to create an open protocol, just like SMTP. They also built federation in and they have also desinged it to be extensible, so that people can develope their own plugins. This shows that they are a company that just seem to get it. The understand why Openess is important.

So whats the point of this article, well what Im really saying is give Google a break. Yes they have a lot of information about us and its right to be concerned but their every action to date seems to have been honorable. Lets save the paranoia for companies that treat us and our data appallingly on a daily basis

I’d love to hear your opinion of this subject, please leave a comment or use the contact form

OSG

WordPress Auto Upgrade

Recent versions of WordPress have the ability to upgrade themselves at the click of a button. This has never seemed to work for me, instead it just asks for FTP credentials. I was told this was a permissions thing, that this is what happens if it permissions arent correct. So today I decided to look into it. Its really quite simple.

On a web server, the service runs under an account context – in my case the account is apache. Now all the files in the root of my WordPress folder are owned by root, and only root can write to them. So this is why auto-upgrade doesnt work. Changing the ownership of these files to be Apache would fix it. However, this means that if ever Apache is attacked and breaks giving the user access as the apache user, he would have read-right access. Its a pretty unlikely scenario I know but hey, call me paranoid

If you want your WordPress to be autoupgradable, you simple need to change the ownership of the wordpress files to apache so that the webserver has read/write access.

Ive decided to come up with two scripts, one that is run before the upgrade, that changes the ownership to apache and one that runs after the upgrade to change the ownership back. Its really very simple, so here they are

Before upgrade

chown apache:apache /var/www/html
chown apache:apache /var/www/html/readme.html
chown apache:apache /var/www/html/index.php
chown apache:apache /var/www/html/license.txt
chown apache:apache /var/www/html/xmlrpc.php
chown -R  apache:apache /var/www/html/wp-content/
chown -R  apache:apache /var/www/html/wp-includes/
chown -R  apache:apache /var/www/html/wp-admin/
chown apache:apache /var/www/html/wp-*

chown root:root /var/www/html
chown root:root /var/www/html/readme.html
chown root:root /var/www/html/index.php
chown root:root /var/www/html/license.txt
chown root:root /var/www/html/xmlrpc.php
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-content/
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-includes/
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-admin/
chown root:root /var/www/html/wp-*
Post upgrade

chown root:root /var/www/html
chown root:root /var/www/html/readme.html
chown root:root /var/www/html/index.php
chown root:root /var/www/html/license.txt
chown root:root /var/www/html/xmlrpc.php
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-content/
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-includes/
chown -R  root:root /var/www/html/wp-admin/
chown root:root /var/www/html/wp-*

Its probably not really necessary but it feels better this way 🙂

Please note, my WordPress files are in the root folder, not in “wordpress” or “blog”, so you will need to adapt the above for your own case

OSG

Hypervisor Shootout

Im a virtualization fanboy, sorry but its true. It solves so many of our problems (rollback of updates, power & aircon savings, operation resilience, zero downtime etc) and without any downside that I can think of. I use it at work and I use it at home – it rocks! Recently I ran into an issue with my home virtualization setup (I wrote about some of the issues here).

My home setup is pretty straight forward. The Host runs Centos minimal and upon that platform I use OpenVZ (great for thowing up and tearing down linux guests in a very short time) and VMware Server 2.0. I made the VMware choice a few years back, there wasnt much else out there and I wanted something that I could manage from a Linux machine – my home is entirely a Windows free zone 🙂 VMware Server 2.0 is managed from a web interface, so that works for me.

Anyway, with my recent issues I decided to re-evaluate my virtualization decision, thinking that I would probably just end up back with the same setup. Before I talk about which Hypervisors I have tried in the last week, lets look at my requirements

  • to be able to mange from Linux is high on the list but negotiable (I guess)
  • I need some kind of container technology for Linux guests (OpenVZ or VServer etc)
  • I need to be able to do full virtualization for guests that cant exist as containers
  • Id like to be able to quickly move a guest to another hardware platform easily, in case of maintenance or hardware failure.
  • Snapshots – to be able to take a snapshot and quickly roll back to it is pretty important to me
  • Ease of management
  • If its open source then great
  • Zero cost

So lets look at which solutions Ive tried

  • OpenVZ & VMware server 2 – its the current solution and works well for the most part
  • XenServer (running OpenVZ as one of the guests)
  • VirtualBox – I know, bet you didnt expect that
  • ProxMoxVE – an Open Source combination of OpenVZ and KVM

As you can see, Im a big fan of OpenVZ – its simple, fast, clean and offers quick guest migration to other hardware and very little overhead. The choices in that list, two maybe obvious and two maybe less obvious.

Lets start with the first option – VMware Server 2 and OpenVZ combination. Looking at my requirements you can see that it meets all except one (its not Open Source). Its a good combination and has served me well over the years. One of the requirements that I say it matches is being able to move a guess to another server easily. OK, this is a bit of a stretch as it would involve shutting down the guest, copying the files over to the other server and booting it up. A little bit of hassle but not bad. OK, lets move onto the next one.

XenServer 5.5.0 (using OpenVZ inside one of the guests). The install is pretty straightforward, once online you come to the first problem – management. XenServer is managed from a Windows thick client – there are 3rd party web front ends that you can install and that’s why I even entertained the idea. One of the upsides of this platform is that it offers live migration of all guests to another XenServer and that is included in the version that Citrix gives away for free. However, please not that live migration is only available if the CPUs of the Hosts are the same, which in my case they are not – so no live migration for me. I deduct a point for that, which you may think is a little harsh but my two home servers dont have identical CPUs. I ran this setup for a few days before deciding it wasnt the solution for me. Things that made me make that decision – no roll back to a snapshot. You have to take the snapshot, create a template from it and then create a VM from the template – all that in order to roll back to a snapshot! Thats madness!! Also, the fact that you cant over commit resources – so if you have 4 gigs of ram then your guests need to be configured so that they dont exceed this total. Weird, most hypervisors allow you to overcommit, anyway, so XenServer is nice but its no where near what I need. Live migrartion would be cool but it wont work in my setup. All that and I have to boot my laptop into Windows to manage it – no, XenServer you have been evicted.

Number three on the list is Virtual Box and I bet many of you are thinking that this is not a server solution, its a solution that runs on a Desktop. Well for those who dont realise there is a commanline tool called VBoxHeadless that lets you start guests from the command line and the thick client is available on Linux so its not as out there as you think. It does snapshots, its Open Source, it costs nothing etc but ultimately I decided against this option

So finally there is ProxMox. This is a combination of KVM and OpenVZ that all comes wrapped up on an install CD that uses Debian as its base. Again, the setup is pretty simple – you install onto the server and then all management is done via the Web Interface. (You also have ssh access to the host by the way). This solution is a great fit, it only misses out on one option, there are no snapshots available. As Proxmox uses OpenVZ I was able to import my existing OpenVZ containers into it easily and manage tem from the web interface from then on. For the sake of testing I installed an XP guest using the KVM option (fully virtualised) and it was all very simple and straight forward. This relies on you having a processor that it VT capable but I did, so that was no problem. In many ways Proxmox is better than my existing setup because all the guests are managed from one interface (before I used the VMware web interface for fully virtualised hosts and the commandline for OpenVZ containers). the other advantage this has is that its fully open sourced.

We have a winner

So who won, what did I decide to do? I have to say that even I was surprised by this as I had expected to go back to VMware but Ive actually stuck with the last option – Proxmox. OK it doesn’t let you create snapshots from the web interface but thats the ONLY thing it doesn’t do – and its all totally Open Source. Rock on!

Open Virtualization Format

A lot of this (moving from one hypervisor to another) wouldn’t be possible without the OVF, its great that so many people got behind it so quickly. The last thing we need in the virtualization space is vendor lock in. In short you can export your Virtual Machines into OVF format and from there into your new hypervisors format. Most modern hypervisors will support this. Interestingly, while VMware ESX(i) supports it, VMware Server 2 didnt – but VMware provide OVFtool for this very purpose. Citrix provide a link about how to convert VMs here. VirtualBox not only supports importing and exporting from OVF directly but, as I recently found out, can directly read VMware disk formats and let you boot a VM without the need to convert.

I’d love to hear your experiences in this area, drop me a line via a comment or Contact form

OSG

UPDATE: Just a quick note to add that Virtual Box have just announced that their new version will introduce “teleportation” of a live guest from one platform to another – ala VMware Vmotion but VirtualBox can do it to disparate hardware – even different CPUs (AMD to Intel). Read more here

VMware Left Me

Was it me? I dont know, I was loyal, but they left me anyway – well thats how it feels

Long Time Fan
Ive been a long time (read 2000/2001) fan of VMware – they were the first and, you could argue, still are the best in their space. Im a Linux fan, have been for a while and one of the reasons that I liked VMware was because the software I bought from them (yes I paid for Workstation and upgrades) was available for my OS of choice. Whats more they took the time to make sure that the windows worked with GTK2 looks. This to me meant that they liked their Linux users, they gave a crap about us.

I was so disappointed when I moved my home server from VMware Server 1 to VMware server 2 as the Linux client had gone. At least its been replaced with a web interface, that seems like a good idea – then all operating systems can manage the server. The interface came in for some criticism but it did everything I needed it to for the most part and I could manage my home VM server while out and about.

Times change and VMWare came out with their free version of ESX – namely ESXi. Now while ESX also had a decent web interface, ESXi did not. Your only choice of a graphical interface now meant you had to run Windows. So I stayed with Server 2.0

Recently I became aware of “VMWare Go” which was a “new web interface of ESXi users”. Yay I thought, good times! Alas no, when I went to log in I was prompted with a message that said “Your broswer must be at least Firefox 3 or higher, or IE v7 or v8 to use this site”. Thats odd I thought as I am running 3.5.5. What I very quickly realised is that this wasn’t to do with browser, it was to do with OS. I tried the site from my dual boot laptop (the only place I have Windows left these days) and I was able to get in with Firefox 3.5.5 on Windows but running the wizard prompts you to download components like the .net framework and other such single platform technology. How utterly disappointing

End of the Road
What did we do VMware? Why did you abandon us? Well anyway, I guess its the end of the road then old friend. Be happy.

Im off to migrate my stuff to Xen or KVM. Im not sure which yet, Xen has Amazon using it and Citrix seem committed to open source. In fact Ian Pratt was on FLOSS Weekly earlier in the year, so they seem to have the right mindset. On the other hand the Redhat road map points to KVM.

Anyway, watch this space. Im going to take my time to decide which to chose – i am on the rebound after all 🙂

OSG