FOSDEM 2009

Ive just got back from my annual trip to FOSDEM, it seems to get busier every year and each year there are exciting new things to be found

The top three projects that interested me this year were:

SUSE Studio: This is a web application (currently in closed alpha) that enables the very quick creation of virtual appliances. Currently it supports exporting to three types of appliance – VMWare Appliance, Bootable ISO, Bootable USB. The web interface itself is very slick, using the latest AJAX goodness, and is very intuitive. Lets say you want to set up an appliance that will have a webserver and database combo, you simply tick apache and mysql and it adds the relevant packages. It asks you to set up mysql (if that’s what you have chosen) and then you simply click on build and within a minute or two the appliance is ready to download

Another project that I was unaware of was Cobbler – this is used for the fast commissioning of multiple (from tens to thousands) servers. There are many use cases for it – one that he gave an example of is when a web server farm became breached and taken over by a malicious hacker in the middle of the night, He was able to rebuild the whole server farm with just a few commands! If you want to make you server commissioning both quick and completely standardised this is a very interesting program.

The final project I wanted to mention was FreeIPA, this aims to bring Identity, Policy and Auditing all under one roof. Its something that, although all the individual components have been available for ages, no-one seems to have brought them all together into one project, not in any coherent way at least. Currently it provides/uses LDAP (specifically the FDS) kerberos, DNS, DHCP and puts a web interface on the front of it all. It worth pointing out that policy and audit management wont be added until version 2, but this is certainly a project to watch

FOSDEM has really expanded the number of tracks it does in recent years and I know it would love to expand them further if they could get hold of a big enough space but I for one think it might be time to expand FOSDEM beyond its two day length, then we could fit in more talks. All in all a fantastic weekend in Belgium though

OSG