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Can Ubuntu Click Address Linus Torvalds’ Binary Problems?

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 17:10 PM - (Software)

Click is a new packaging format for Ubuntu mobile applications which irons out the complexity of delivering an application to a user. Developers can bundle all additional dependencies into the package without worrying about the dependecy resolution. 

LCNA kernel panel

Linux is a dominant player in almost every industry segment, minus one: desktop. We heard Linus Torvalds’ pain when he uttered these words at LinuxCon North America this year, "I still want the desktop".

What’s holding desktop Linux back? There are many factors including marketing, pre-loaded Windows, support for hardware, and availability of applications. Linus, the creator of the Linux kernel, doesn't offer executables aka binaries of his own software Sub Surface for Linux desktop even though he does offer binaries for Mac OSX and Windows.

Why doesn't the creator himself support his own kernel? The answer is simple: packaging applications for Linux desktop is extremely painful for app developers. He said, "You don’t make binaries for Linux, you make binaries for Fedora 19, Fedora 20 maybe there is even RHEL 5 from 10 years ago.”

He then talked about problems with Debian systems, “…you don’t make binaries for Debian stable because Debian stable has libraries that are so old that anything that was built in the last century doesn’t work.”

It looks like Canonical is trying to address this issue and they believe that the solution is just one ‘Click’ away.

One 'Click' for Linux?

Click is a new packaging format for Ubuntu mobile applications which irons out the complexity of delivering an application to a user. Developers can bundle all additional dependencies into the package without worrying about the dependecy resolution. It makes life easier for both users and developers. Developers can use latest libraries and technologies to distribute their software independent of the release cycle of a distribution. It will directly benefit their users.

Martin Albisetti of Canonical told me, "I think Linus's main pain points are a lot of the same ones that drove us to work on Click packages. To some extent, it's the same problem to support an app across different Ubuntu versions than it is across different Linux distros: main dependencies tend to be very sensitive to version changes, filesystem paths change and it's hard to express dependency chains. You end up having to build your app slightly differently for each distro and version."

Canonical developer Michael Hall explains it to me, "To some extent Click moves us a little closer to the Windows and Mac model, where anything your program needs outside of the default OS install it needs to ship in the same package, so Subsurface will need to ship it's own copy of libmarblewidget in a Click package, just like it does for Windows and Mac, but not current Ubuntu debs. The user-space guarantee that he'll get with Clicks are in the framework definitions, if his package says it'll work with the "ubuntu-sdk-14.04" framework, then it will be installable and run on Ubuntu 14.10, because 14.10 is (at least supposed to be) binary compatible with that framework."

However, we should not get over excited because Click may not solve the problem for ‘Linux’ in general, even if it is the right solution.

The political and technical differences may stop other projects from adopting it. The latter can be easily addressed; we have seen companies adopt solutions by arch rivals: whether it was Red Hat adopting Canonical’s Upstart and then Canonical moving to Red Hat’s (not strictly) systemd.

The former, political difference, will be hard to overcome. There is an exception though. Political issues may remain a strong deterrence for community driven projects, but business driven products will incorporate everything that makes the lives of their customers easy.

Albisetti is aware of the real world and admits, "We aren't trying to solve cross-distro installation at the moment, it's been tried and failed before and given the current competitive environment is unlikely to get any traction. This is, however, a step in that direction."

The problem lies in the fact is there is no 'Linux OS’. Each distro is an OS in its own right which may be compatible with other distros. Hall says, "Nobody would expect a binary built for FreeBSD to just work on Debian, but for various reasons it's a common belief that a binary built for Fedora could (and should) just work on Ubuntu."

We have seen collaborative efforts within competing desktops. If distributions agree over Click can there be ‘one’ Click for 'Linux' that can be used on any distribution? Not likely. Click won't change any of the current situation magically.

Hall admits, "...you're still going to have to build separate Click packages for different OSes (Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, etc) because each one will have it's own framework definitions that they will offer and guarantee. So you'll build one Click binary for Ubuntu-sdk-14.10, another for Fedora-21, and another for Debian-jessie frameworks.” However, distros can solve this easily by promising backward binary compatibility with frameworks.

Reaching a Common Framework

Theoretically it is possible for ‘Click’ to work for everyone but the current state of Linux affairs is not very encouraging.

Hall says, "Now, it's theoretically possible for all of the various Linux-based OSes to agree on a common framework definition, and have them all support and guarantee its availability. But that's been attempted before in the form of LSB, and I think history has proven that it's not going to work. Distros are too different, they evolve and grow at different rates and along different paths.”

The truth is that Canonical is not aspiring to shove the solution down the throat of everyone else. They are trying to solve a problem in a way which can be easily adopted by those willing.

In its current state, Click is targeting Ubuntu phones. It aims to offer an apk-like solution to developers so they can easily package software for Ubuntu.

Since Mir and Unity 8 is going to be the future of Ubuntu, Click will trickle down to the desktop eventually - most probably by the version 15.04 or 15.10. Canonical won’t be offering Click packages for Unity 7.x or XOrg because they can’t be fully confined.

Click is not going to replace the traditional applications; it’s not designed for that goal in mind. Developers need not worry because Canonical is not going to lock-out traditional desktop apps. Both traditional and Click applications will run on the same system. If Click makes life easier for app developers and their users they may start moving to it.

Click is in the very early days so it’s hard to say what it holds for the desktop; it’s certainly the future for Ubuntu mobile. Whether developers will adopt it or not, whether other distros will embrace it or not, lies in the realm of future. We can’t see it. What we can see is that once again Canonical is trying to solve a problem that plagues the desktop Linux.

I only wish the year of desktop Linux was a 'Click' away!

 

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Why You Should Care About The New Open Source .NET Core

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 15:56 PM - (Software)

The New Stack: Open sourcing .NET to take it cross platform means shifting to a modular design that Microsoft can develop in an agile way; and that means a better .NET. But making sense of the change means thinking about both the new technology and the strategy that’s behind it. 

Open sourcing .NET to take it cross platform means shifting to a modular design that Microsoft can develop in an agile way; and that means a better .NET. But making sense of the change means thinking about both the new technology and the strategy that’s behind it.

Why We Need .NET Core And What You Get From It

Twelve years since the release of the first .NET framework, developers have ended up with multiple, fragmented versions of .NET for different platforms. From the .NET Compact Framework to Silverlight, Windows Phone and Windows Store applications, every time Microsoft has taken .NET to a new platform, the supposedly ‘common’ language runtime has ended up with a different subset: each time, there’s a different runtime, framework and application model, with different development being done at each layer and APIs that go back to a common code base but haven’t always stayed common.

net

Read more at The New Stack

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Opera Browser Puts Out Linux Updates For The Holidays

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 15:55 PM - (Software)

There are stable, beta, and developer updates out this week for the Linux / OS X / Windows versions of the Opera web-browser...

There are stable, beta, and developer updates out this week for the Linux / OS X / Windows versions of the Opera web-browser...

Read more at Phoronix

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GNOME Shell 3.15.3 Adds Support For High-Contrast Themes

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 15:15 PM - (Software)

Various GNOME packages are being checked in this week for GNOME 3.15.3, another development release toward GNOME 3.16...

Various GNOME packages are being checked in this week for GNOME 3.15.3, another development release toward GNOME 3.16...

Read more at Phoronix

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How Poor Collaboration Threatens Security, Profits, Productivity

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 15:00 PM - (Enterprise)

Poor collaboration cripples productivity, slows down network performance and can put sensitive information at risk.

Poor collaboration cripples productivity, slows down network performance and can put sensitive information at risk.

Read more at eWeek

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Linux 3.19: ThinkPad Muting Redone, New Dell Backlight Support, Acer Is Banging

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 14:59 PM - (Software)

The x86 platform driver changes for the Linux 3.19 kernel have been submitted and they include some noteworthy improvements for many Linux laptop owners...

The x86 platform driver changes for the Linux 3.19 kernel have been submitted and they include some noteworthy improvements for many Linux laptop owners...

Read more at Phoronix

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Samsung Working On Another Tizen-Based Smart Camera – NX500

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 14:18 PM - (Mobile)

  Samsung has had a busy year with Tizen and not only in with Smart watches. Following the release of the first Tizen Smart Camera, the Samsung NX-300M, we have had the NX Mini, NX 30 and recently the NX1. Now the site Sammobile are reporting that Samsung is working on a Smart Camera that is a successor to the Samsung NX-300M which is to be called the NX500. It will run Tizen like its older brother but will hopefully offer a larger image resolution and better overall image quality, possibly it will be unveiled next month at CES 2015. We will bring you more as and when we hear it.  

The post Samsung working on another Tizen based Smart Camera – NX500 appeared first on Tizen Experts.

Read more at Tizen Experts

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Imitate Fake Hollywood Terminal Hacking Melodrama with This Amazing App for Ubuntu

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 13:00 PM - (Software)

Why not make the current terminal and apps work act like they do in the movies, with no functionality whatsoever...

We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new "hollywood" package made for this exact purpose.

Hollywood movie producers invest a lot of time and money in custom interfaces and GUIs that don't really do anything, but they think they’re nice and interesting on film. Most of the time, someone is hacking away by typing frenetically while windows with crazy stuff open and close. This is why this kind of image is now seared into the public's consciousness and hacking looks more exciting than in real life. It isn't.

Read more at Softpedia.

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OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Devin Avery

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 08:00 AM - (Enterprise)

OpenDaylight accepted seven student interns for the summer of 2014 to work in the community and receive hands-on development experience in SDN. Each intern worked closely with an active OpenDaylight developer as their mentor on a project that suited interest and community need. 

OpenDaylight accepted seven student interns for the summer of 2014 to work in the community and receive hands-on development experience in SDN. Each intern worked closely with an active OpenDaylight developer as their mentor on a project that suited interest and community need.

This blog series aims to showcase the interns chosen and the projects they actively worked on, the mentors who aided in their professional development and the overall experience of working in an open source community to create a common platform for SDN and NFV.

Devin AveryAbout Devin Avery

Devin Avery joined Brocade’s SDN team and the OpenDaylight Project in April 2014. As committer on the controller project, Devin is using his seven years of experience developing model based enterprise, MSP and CSP infrastructure monitoring applications (written in java and running in karaf) to help OpenDaylight move from labs into production. Devin current lives in and works out of his New Hampshire home and holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire.

 

 

What project in OpenDaylight are you working on? Any new developments to share?

I am a committer on the controller project with a primary focus of encouraging MD-SAL adoption among the community. Using models to represent “things” is a great way to separate business logic from common infrastructure. This creates more time to focus on the business value for our customers. The challenge is figuring out how we can make a model-driven engine that people desire to use. By documenting, refactoring, and refining tutorials, we have made great strides on increasing the usability of MD-SAL APIs. In addition, the weekly MD-SAL calls and email threads continue to offer up many suggestions on how we can continue to improve interactions with our current modeling core.

 

Read more at OpenDaylight Blog

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Docker CTO Solomon Hykes to Devs: Have It Your Way

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 03:14 AM - (Enterprise)

Docker has moved from an obscure Linux project to one of the most popular open source technologies in cloud computing. Project developers have witnessed millions of Docker Engine downloads. Hundreds of Docker groups have formed in 40 countries. Many more companies are announcing Docker integration. Even Microsoft will ship Windows...

Docker has moved from an obscure Linux project to one of the most popular open source technologies in cloud computing. Project developers have witnessed millions of Docker Engine downloads. Hundreds of Docker groups have formed in 40 countries. Many more companies are announcing Docker integration. Even Microsoft will ship Windows 10 with Docker preinstalled. "That caught a lot of people by surprise," said Docker founder and CTO Solomon Hykes. Docker is an open platform for building, shipping and running distributed applications.

Read more at LinuxInsider

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Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 Releases Now Ready for Download

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 02:21 AM - (Software)

OMG!Ubuntu! The first alpha releases in the Ubuntu 15.04 development cycle are now available to download for testing. Four flavours participate in this milestone, including Ubuntu GNOME and Kubuntu. Ubuntu ‘proper’ will once again only participate in the final beta release due March, 2015. What’s New?   Naturally, being this early on in the development cycle means...

1504The first alpha releases in the Ubuntu 15.04 development cycle are now available to download for testing. Four flavours participate in this milestone, including Ubuntu GNOME and Kubuntu. Ubuntu ‘proper’ will once again only participate in the final beta release due March, 2015. What’s New?   Naturally, being this early on in the development cycle means there aren’t  huge wholesale changes […]

 
Read more at OMG! Ubuntu!

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Why Docker, Containers and systemd Drive a Wedge Through the Concept of Linux Distributions

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 00:18 AM - (Enterprise)

The New Stack: The announcement of Rocket by CoreOS was perceived by many to be a direct challenge to Docker, particularly as it came on the eve of DockerCon Europe and threatened to overshadow news coming out at the event. 

The announcement of Rocket by CoreOS was perceived by many to be a direct challenge to Docker, particularly as it came on the eve of DockerCon Europe and threatened to overshadow news coming out at the event. Docker, Inc. CEO Ben Golub was quick to fire back with his ‘initial thoughts on the Rocket announcement’. This piece isn’t about the politics of ecosystems and VC funded startups, which I’ll leave to Colin Humphreys (and note an excellent response from Docker Founder and CTO Solomon Hykes). It also isn’t about managing open source community, which I’ll leave to Matt Asay. Here I want to look at systemd, which lies at the heart of the technical arguments.

There’s been an unholy war raging through the Linux world over systemd for some time. Pretty much everything on a system gets touched by what is selected as the first process on a system and how that impacts everything getting started up. People care a lot about this stuff, and the arguments have been passionate. Nevertheless, Mark Shuttleworth conceding defeat on behalf of Ubuntu marked the last major distribution going all in on systemd. Unless forks like Devuan become successful it’s going to be pretty hard to get Linux in a couple of years time without getting systemd as part of it.

Since CoreOS is a shiny new distribution, they went for systemd from the beginning. It was an obvious move, and frankly anything else would seem pretty ridiculous. Docker however, is a child of a different generation. Docker couldn’t align itself with systemd and then wait around for for it to become popular. 

Read more at The New Stack

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BBC: Why Do We Share?

Friday, 19 December 2014 - 00:06 AM - (Software)

The BBC World Service podcast The Why Factor interviews Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin about why sharing in open source software is a good thing.

 Why do we share? What makes it different from giving? And what does it have to do with strategy and impulse control? Mike Williams from the BBC talks to the scientist Nikolaus Steinbeis who found out which region of the brain is active when we share and why small children have problems with that. He visits the Redfield Community in the north of London, where over 20 people share a household and he discusses with a young 'couchsurfer' and a software specialist from the Linux foundation about the pros and cons of sharing.

“Sharing is essential to be competitive these days. We're no longer in a world where any single person can do all of the work individually and somehow out innovate the collective," says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin in the interview.

Listen to the full podcast at the BBC's The Why Factor.

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How Red Hat Is on the Path to Become Red Hot in 2015 -- and Beyond

Thursday, 18 December 2014 - 17:25 PM - (Enterprise)

With OpenStack, the company has already disrupted how corporations view their infrastructure and what they've thought of as cloud -- specifically, the relationship to the cloud and server virtualization.

With OpenStack, the company has already disrupted how corporations view their infrastructure and what they've thought of as cloud -- specifically, the relationship to the cloud and server virtualization. OpenStack serves as the operating system for cloud computing and because it is open source, other companies or independent software developers can use the computer code for their own use and build on it. 

Red Hat envisions OpenStack becoming the default choice for next-generation of cloud computing architecture. This open source operating system for cloud computing can be used for virtual servers, where software can trick a single server into thinking it is running multiple, independent servers within one box, or tying together multiple servers through software and fooling them into acting as one server. 

Read more at The Street.

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6 Aging Protocols that Could Cripple the Internet

Thursday, 18 December 2014 - 17:13 PM - (Enterprise)

Six Internet protocols that could stand to be replaced sooner rather than later or are (mercifully) on the way out.

The biggest threat to the Internet is the fact that it was never really designed. Instead, it evolved in fits and starts, thanks to various protocols that were cobbled together to fulfill the needs of the moment. Few of those protocols were designed with security in mind. Or if they were, they sported no more than was needed to keep out a nosy neighbor, not a malicious attacker.

The result is a welter of aging protocols susceptible to exploit on an Internet scale. Some of the attacks levied against these protocols have been mitigated with fixes, but it’s clear that the protocols themselves need more robust replacements. Here are six Internet protocols that could stand to be replaced sooner rather than later or are (mercifully) on the way out.

Read more at InfoWorld.

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