Do you still deny the power of OpenSource?

January 22, 2010

Have you watched the movie Avatar? Or the movie District9? Let me tell you something which you might not know about the movies. Those movies and many other were rendered on a Ubuntu based server farm (specs and references later). If you are a hardcore Linux hater then I recommend not watching the movies, hehe! Don’t take it seriously go and watch the movies if you still haven’t because those movies might have not been possible without OpenSource and Linux.

From the Dustin’s blog post:

I just attended Paul Gunn‘s talk at LCA2010, entitled:

  • Challenges in Data Centre Growth (or, “You need how many processors to finish the movie???”)

Paul is a Systems Administrator at Weta Digital, a Wellywood digital effects studio here in Wellington, New Zealand. Check out some of the feature films that Weta Digital has worked on, and I think you’ll recognize a few. District9, Day the Earth Stood Still, Jumper, King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Fantastic Four, Eragon, X-Men, i-Robot. Wow!

Now you know what few other movies were also rendered using that Ubuntu server farm. Now lets get back to the specs of the server farm so you know what Linux is capable of. Weta Digital have 2Petabytes of diskarray, 10gbps of networking and 35,000 cores (4,000+ HP blades). Now you might be thinking that those movies might have taken couple of hours to be rendered on such huge setup? No those movies still took around 48 hours to be rendered on that setup. Did you see the benefits of using open source here? Not yet?

  • No Licensing cost for the OS
  • Free Support
  • No hardware requirements from vendor
  • Ability to modify the kernel as per the setup (if needed)

The above benefits are just few of the many that I could think of. There may be many more in the long run but you have got the idea! didn’t you? With proprietary software Licensing cost alone would have been more then the cost of setting up small OpenSource Lab. Then the additional support cost plus no ability to modify the kernel (if needed) to run efficiently in such a huge environment. And we all know how proprietary Operating system vendors provides you list of the hardware requirements when you tell them how big environment you are will to create.

Do you have any such OpenSource success stories? Or may be about Linux? Let us know.

Google has announced to liberate users data to show how much it care about its users

September 14, 2009

Google has announced on their public policy blog that they have launched a data liberation front known as dataliberation.org which will be used to guide Google users to liberate their data, means take their data away from Google to some other service. This is a very nice and sincere initiative from Google and will satisfy all those who claimed that Google has taken over our lives and we have all our improtant data under Google’s control. Even I was concerened about that but today Google has answered all of the concerns regarding the user’s data that is stored on Google. Currently not all service of Google supports data liberation but most of them do which includes Gmail too.

Dataliberation.org shows how much Google is willing to commit open standards and open web. Google believes users own their data not Google and hence the project dataliberation has been initiated. I won’t be a surprise to see more such innovatives ideas coming out of Google because no doubt they have the best people in their team.

PubSubHubbub, another open protocol from Google

August 6, 2009

Have you ever wonder why Google has became an Internet Giant? Answer is simple because they love being open and in return they get Love from majority of the Internet users. PubSubHubbub is another protocol that came out of Google, it is an open protocol, an extension to RSS. PubSubHubbub allows RSS feeds to be real time. From PubSubHubbub‘s Google Code page:

A simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom (and RSS).

Parties (servers) speaking the PubSubHubbub protocol can get near-instant notifications (via webhook callbacks) when a topic (feed URL) they’re interested in is updated.

PubSubHubbub works in combination with feed readers, your feed reader should be smart enough to understand and use this protocol. The publisher will publish a special <link…> tag which tells your feedreader about the hub that this feed uses. The feedreader will then fetch the feed onces from the original feed location and will subscribe to the hub. Now feedreader does not have to poll the feed again and again to look for updates. When there will be updates on the feed, the publisher will ping hub, the hub will fetch the updates and then the hub will multicast them to the subscribers.

Recently PubSubHubbub support was added to Google Reader Shared Items and now FriendFeed uses PubSubHubbub to get Google Reader Shared Items in realtime. See the demonstration from Google Reader Blog Post:

There is also an implementation to be used by community or you can create your own hub. The community implementation is hosted on Google App Engine and can be accessed at http://pubsubhubbub.appspot.com/

CentOS Administrator re-appears after the long dis-appearance…

August 3, 2009

Have you been using CentOS? If you have been using it then be happy, the Administrator has re-appeared and had meeting with all developers. If you decided to switch from CentOS after his disappearance then you should give it a second thought now. As CentOS has announced that the development will continue as it was and as the Administrator has reappeared the working agreement has been reached among the developers to resolve the remaining issues. The announcement also mentioned there should be no impact on CentOS users.

The copy of Open Letter to Lance Davic,

Note: The CentOS Development team had a normal meeting today and Lance Davis was in attendance. In the meeting a majority of issues were resolved right away and a working agreement was reached with deadlines for any unresolved issues. There should be no impact to any CentOS users moving forward.

July 30, 2009 04:39 UTC

This is an Open Letter to Lance Davis from fellow CentOS Developers

This is an Open Letter to Lance Davis from fellow CentOS Developers

It is regrettable that we are forced to send this letter but we are left with no other options. For some time now we have been attempting to resolve these problems:

You seem to have crawled into a hole … and this is not acceptable.

You have long promised a statement of CentOS project funds; to this date this has not appeared.

You hold sole control of the centos.org domain with no deputy; this is not proper.

You have, it seems, sole ‘Founders’ rights in the IRC channels with no deputy ; this is not proper.

When I (Russ) try to call the phone numbers for UK Linux, and for you individually, I get a telco intercept ‘Lines are temporarily busy’ for the last two weeks. Finally yesterday, a voicemail in your voice picked up, and I left a message urgently requesting a reply. Karanbir also reports calling and leaving messages without your reply.

Please do not kill CentOS through your fear of shared management of the project.

Clearly the project dies if all the developers walk away.

Please contact me, or any other signer of this letter at once, to arrange for the required information to keep the project alive at the ‘centos.org’ domain.

Sincerely,

Russ Herrold
Ralph Angenendt
Karanbir Singh
Jim Perrin
Donavan Nelson
Tim Verhoeven
Tru Huynh
Johnny Hughes

So System Admins and Linux users, best of luck tweaking your CentOS servers. I hope CentOS will stay with us and will not go away as promised by the developers.

Microsoft – Releasing code under GPL

July 31, 2009

Are you surprised by reading the title of the post? Yes, it is true that Microsoft has released some code under GPL although it is not much, but I think it is a good start. There are rumors that they have violated GPL but I think that could be fixed and it is acceptable as Microsoft did it for the first time. They will learn the correct way of doing things as the time will pass.

I may be exaggerating it but I am happy to see such good postured from Microsoft towards Linux and Linux community. It has been quiet a long time since Microsoft has been blaming Linux for code violations and was not showing any support for the Linux users in general. But the release of these drivers which are more or less 20,000 lines of code show that Microsoft is now finally changing.

Right now it will be very early to say if there will be any future releases but there is one thing, Microsoft will get some real love from Linux user community if they keep supporting them and that might help them a lot. But yet again if they don’t release anything under GPL they should not make claims that they used to do in the past.

Open Source is slowly making its way to enterprise and Linux in general. Recently google has made few real good anouncements which I will cover in next blogposts. So Stay tuned. Best of luck to all open source developers, because it is because of them I am writing this post from my Mozilla FireFox and this because of them that you are reading it from wordpress.com.

Moving towards 3d web, Google has joined the caravan

April 22, 2009

Google has released an open-source web API for creating and displaying 3D in browser. The API is named O3D and is available at google code. Accoring to the Google Code O3D,

O3D is an open-source web API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser. This API is shared at an early stage as part of a conversation with the broader developer community about establishing an open web standard for 3D graphics.

The O3D Home page has more information, go check it out. If you are a devleoper and interested in 3D then get involved and be part of the revolution that will be soon brought to the web in the shape of 3D or else stay tuned to experience the nextgen 3D web.

Opensource and me in 2009.. contd

April 15, 2009

Opensource is rocking everywhere specially in these economic crisis everywhere, I have seen many people switched to Opensource or Linux. So, Opensource is growing and that is really a good thing. The article I talked about in the last post has been published on CIOPakistan. I hope I will be writing more for open source this year.

Coding for Google summer of code will be starting soon as they will publish the accepted students. So best of luck to everyone who has submitted the application/proposal. I am happy this year more students applied to Summer of Code and I was able to introduce the Summer of Code to atleast one student. I am also very determined to work on any Open Source project specially which will put me to some real work this summer if I am not accepted in Summer of Code.

I will also be starting a series of system admin howtos for 2 reasons, one to take notes and document every system admin activity. Second most important is to share the knowledge with others. So the series of howtos will soon start getting published and it can be either from today or tomorrow too.

Have been really working on some real solutions on Amazon EC2 and have also tried other cloud services and they all really compatible and top of each other for one feature or the other. It is really good to see how cloud is changing the way web used to be. There is also one more project that I am working on which is realted to cloud management and scalability and will soon be released in public as a service. :)

OpenSource and me in 2009

January 9, 2009

First of all I am sorry for not being able to post on the blog, as I was really taken over in the past. But once again, now I will try to keep the blog updated else there is no point having the domain and blog here on wordpress.com, so I will now try to be regular.

I also have to write an article regarding Pakistan’s Economy and OpenSource, which is still not completed and already have been behind the scheduled. But I hope I will get it done very very soon. Hopefully sometime next week, although I will not be able to post it here until I get permission from Rabia, but lets see what happens.

As far as Opensource is concerned there are many things that has been changed, Ubuntu 8.10 came our, OpenSuse 11.1 came out, I had the chance to install OpenSer, etc etc. But couldn’t wrote about them here on the blog. I will try to update all of it here so I can later reference it, and also I feel very happy when someone find the posts here useful for them.

So, its like resolution for this year, that I will keep the blog updated.

What to do if your Amazon EC2 instance becomes unresponsive?

October 5, 2008

I have been very badly hurt by this, as our programmers were very actively working on PHP application and all of a sudden yesterday my Aamzon EC2 instance stopped responding to all TCP/UDP communication. I tried everything including ec2-reboot but nothing worked out, there were few major changes in the code which were not backed up and I fear losing them.

The distribution was CentOS 5 and I was running apache and ha-proxy on the instance, ha-proxy was running for a possible new instance launch to accommodate the load. Thanks that I had MySQL db on a different instance. The instance was launched using RightScale (because my client wanted it). The RightScale guys had some code changes in their Dashboard but I doubt that will effect the running instance.

I am not going to terminate the instance until there is the a last ray of hope. I am posting this question to some major forums including slashdot and others in the hope that I might get some help. So, if any of you have ever faced this situation, how you dealt with it? How you recovered your data from EC2 instance? And how did you get back you instance to respond to TCP communication?

UPDATE: That was a hardware fault and after sometime the instance came back to normal without losing anything. :) Thanks everyone who helped me during that time.


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