This was a pretty quiet week in the world of free software. However, as always, there were still several compelling stories in our never-dull community. This weeks stories deal with some of the most popular projects in the worlds of Linux, GNU, and free software: openSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, FreeNAS, and Mageia:
- The OpenSUSE Conference Heats Up
- FreeNAS 8: The FreeBSD Spin on Network Storage
- The Ubuntu Software Center: The Apps Concept for Ubuntu
- Fedora to Switch to BTRFS
- Mageia 2.0 Is Already in the Works
The OpenSUSE Conference Heats Up
The OpenSUSE Project will hold its 3rd International Conference in Nuremberg, Germany from September 11th to September 14th, 2011. The conference enjoyed a 35% increase in attendance from 2009 to 2010, and this year’s conference may be even bigger.
Developers and enthusiasts from other communities such as Fedora, Ubuntu, and Debian were part of the heterogeneous attendance at the last two conferences. I personally love to see events like this that bring all of us together in the GNU, Linux, free software, and open source communities. I look forward to seeing the networking connections made at these conferences to eventually benefit all GNU/Linux distributions.
FreeNAS 8: The FreeBSD Spin on Network Storage
I have always loved the mission of the FreeNAS Project: to bring a free software solution to the world of network attached storage. All of us have a growing number of devices in our homes: laptops, desktops, mobile devices etc. Having to copy all of your songs, movies, and other files to every one of these devices can be a nightmare. Several years ago, I found that the best solution for me was to have one central computer connected to my network that would host all of these files centrally, in a way that would be accessible to all of the devices. I decided to use a Centos 5 box for this task, but FreeNAS is another dedicated solution that works just as well. FreeNAS 8 was just released, and it was downloaded 43,000 times in its first 48 hours of availability. The FreeNAS Project was started several years ago when its authors could not find any free software to set up home file servers on their own home systems. They decided to write their own. Their hobby project exploded in popularity after its release, and the rest is history. If you are looking for a good, free solution to build a home NAS server, FreeNAS is a great product, and you have access to all of its source code.
The Ubuntu Software Center: The Apps Concept for Ubuntu
I have used several software installation programs during my time with Linux: Synaptic, apt, rpm, yum, and Yumex, to name a few. The Ubuntu Software Center is Canonical’s take on the same concept. I am mainly a Fedora man, but I do use Ubuntu on my netbook, so I am very familiar with the Software Center. Tech writer tom Bradley recently decided to test Ubuntu for 30 days, and write about his experiences. He discussed the Software Center in detail, focusing on its great usability, and how it allows you to find a variety of applications for your Ubuntu system. I find that the whole concept of repositories to be very advanced in Linux, and I find this to be one of our best features. I am really surprised that the Windows and Mac worlds have not completely stolen the concept yet. I personally don’t find the Ubuntu Software Center experience to be all that different from using Yumex on Fedora or Yast on openSUSE. I think that this kind of user-friendly software management has come to be expected in a modern GNU/Linux distribution. Kudos to the Ubuntu community for their great efforts!
Fedora to Switch to BTRFS
The BTRFS (B-tree File System) has been touted as the next generation file system for Linux. It is supposed to correct, add, and/or improve the following characteristics of the current Linux file system:
- integral multi-device spanning
Since Fedora is the cutting-edge testing ground for cool new features that will eventually make their way in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, I find it to be no surprise that the Fedora community would be one of the first major distros to fully embrace BTRFS. I love ext4, but I also love competition. I hope to see the best file system win (as long as it is licensed under the GPL).
Mageia 2.0 Is Already in the Works
On June 1st, 2011, version 1.0 of Mageia Linux was released. This new distribution is basically a fork of the Mandriva Linux distribution. It is great to see many more communities pop up and support the free software movement: Mageia is no exception. I found out on the Mageia forum today that the community has already begun work on Mageia 2.0. Apparently, Mageia 2.0 will sport some exciting new features:
- XML metadata
- DrakX redesign
- Urpm backend for packagekit
I have not tried Mageia myself, but judging from the positive comments on their forum, it looks like they have a very solid release on their hands.
This was a relatively light week for Linux, but a very productive one. Linux and the free software community are starting to show many signs of maturity and stability. The FreeNAS project shows that there is plenty of room for BSD-based software such as FreeBSD and NetBSD in the free software community. Until the next edition of TLWIR, enjoy free software and enjoy our community!
Bradley, T. (2011, June 10). Day 10: A Look at the Ubuntu Software Center. PC World Magazine. PC World. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/229989-2/day_10_a_look_at_the_ubuntu_software_center.html
Btrfs. (2011, June 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:38, June 12, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Btrfs&oldid=433560836
FreeNAS. (2011, May 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:06, June 12, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=FreeNAS&oldid=430496231
Manns, S. (2011, June 11). Issue 179. openSUSE Weekly News. openSUSE. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from http://news.opensuse.org/2011/06/11/opensuse-weekly-news-issue-179-is-out/
Watson, J. A. (2011, June 3). Mageia 1 Linux Distribution Released. ZD Net UK. ZD Net. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/jamies-mostly-linux-stuff-10006480/mageia-1-linux-distribution-released-10022610/