CentOS Pulse #1005 - 10 July 2010

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Update. Translations are now online in Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. Many thanks are due to our translators for their help.

1. Foreword

Welcome to another version of CentOS Pulse. This release is packed with information from the Community for the Community. We have an interesting interview and have introduced a new section in which we monitor Twitter, to obtain further feedback. As usual, there are the jokes and tips.

Enjoy the read.

The Newsletter Team

Geerd-Dietger Hoffmann

2. Announcements

Several official announcements were made in the last month and we summarise them here.

2.1. CentOS 6 Beta

Talking to people from the wider community, this is something that has been regularly raised in the last few month. It seems like a lot of people are expecting there to be a public Beta of CentOS 6. To be honest there will be no such thing. Let me explain why. Because we take everything from the upstream vendor and don't patch anything (to retain the important 100% binary compatibility), it is in our interest that all issues are resolved in the upstream source code. If there were to be a CentOS 6 Beta, a lot of defects would go unreported upstream -- as people would not be using the built in reporting tools, etc. So with a CentOS 6 Beta there would be no gain and it would actually damage the overall quality of the system. Of course, within the CentOS Project, people are looking at the steps & technology used and are preparing for the ultimate release of CentOS 6 but this will only be published after the upstream product, RHEL 6, has been released.

Geerd-Dietger Hoffmann
Milos Blazevic

3. Interview

First can you say something about yourself? (Job, where do you live, etc ...)

My name is Milos Blazevic (orig. Miloš Blažević) and I live & work in Belgrade, Serbia. Nearing the end of my studies, during which I obtained a BSc degree in Information Systems and Technologies from the University of Belgrade, I sought employment. So, for the past two years I've been working as a Systems Administrator/Systems Engineer for a small company named List Solutions who are a DASP (Dell Authorized Service Provider). During that time, I had the privilege of configuring an EMC Clariion CX4-120 storage system, as well as Clariion AX4-5F. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to “play” with either of those, since both were delivered & installed upon acquisition and configured on site, whilst the servers were installed with that Redmond OS :-(.

What was your first Computer?

I recall my first computer being a PC486 running Windows 95 and as I was sharing it with my older brother, the installation of another OS in parallel was quite an endeavour. :-) That was in 1996.

How did you start with *NIX?

About four years later, after seeing it on TV, I decided to learn blind touch-typing, 'cause it looked cool ;-) and was useful, after all. As usually happens, one thing leads to another. So, the next thing I knew, I was working part time assembling PC configurations and, during that time, I heard about the OS' based on the Unix/Linux kernel. Now, I'm not really sure where the idea to learn about Linux came from but at the start of my journey I was recommended to use Red Hat Linux and being the year 2001, I guess, that was the most logical choice for a beginner. Initially my progress was slow but self-driven in an absence of a proper Internet connection. (I had a Connexant HSF modem with 14.4Kbps bandwidth and my “Google-Fu” was rather poor.) I only had access to a couple of books of questionable quality, as they suffered from bad translation ('cause the originals weren't available).

How did you get involved with CentOS and its community? What are your main areas of contribution?

Well, after several years of using Fedora as a primary Desktop OS (and, latterly, the only OS), I became very disappointed with Fedora's functionality and the way things evolved. So after almost a year of trying to stick with it, I finally gave up and switched to CentOS (a logical substitute for RHEL) as a stable replacement for Fedora. From that point on, I started installing CentOS where ever I could, including the laptop that I used at work. That laptop was equipped with a Broadcom wireless card, which refused to work out-of-the-box. Now the process of finding the driver and making it work showed me that I wasn't the first one looking for a solution and, although I had resolved the issue by using the manual (which was sorta hard to find via Google), it was far from being comprehensive. After a few rather lengthy threads in the CentOS forum regarding this issue, I decided to compile a comprehensive guide using the existing resources and my acquired knowledge of the matter. So, after doing that, I e-mailed Alan Bartlett (after wrongly assuming he was the person in charge of CentOS Wiki Wireless HowTo page), asking if he would publish my guide on-line. The reception I received was most welcoming and, as there was no reason for me not to do it myself, that is what eventually happened -- after a few tweaks and reviews were made by the community. By participating in everyday forum activities, I just wanted to do some good for the community and, for myself, learn new topics & get some insight into how others think -- whilst giving something in return.

Favourite programs?

There are quite a few: love the Vim text editor, autofs (automount deamon) makes my life easier, K3b, Xine, Eclipse ... I also like playing the original Color Lines for which I need DOSBox to make it work. Unfortunately, Random House Webster's dictionary, which I use on daily basis doesn't work as well as I'd wish with Wine, but the bottom line is – it works.

What do you do when you are not looking at a computer monitor?

If I'm not spending time with my girlfriend, I'm probably killing brain cells by drinking beer with my friends whilst discussing the “transiency of life and infinity of space”. ;-) I also have to admit I'm very passionate about pyrotechnics and flying. (For now only watching Red Bull Air Races, 'cause enrolment onto an actual training course would demand more time and finance that I can currently afford.)

Favourite drink?

Beer, of course. :D

However, there is also “Gold Strike” as far as the shooters are concerned . . .

In the future, with what would you like to become involved?

With regards to the CentOS Wiki, I was thinking about “publishing” a little write-up about the ease of maintenance of Dell based server hardware -- as far as the hardware health/monitoring and firmware/BIOS updates are concerned. I believe that around 80% of the users of Dell servers who are running CentOS/RHEL are still unaware of the software/firmware/driver repository that Dell has created and is maintaining.

I'm also very interested in some of the other areas that I have had very little (or no) time/opportunity to work with, such as clustering, Spacewalk, syncing e-mails to a mobile phone via Funambol, etc.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

One of the things I'm not proud of but I will admit to it: I have a slight aversion to the Ubuntu distribution – or, more precisely, its community. I guess this is mostly due to some of the solutions employed therein. Also the absence of the Vi(m) editor in the default installation, along with the absence of mutt. Some of the default paths have been known to occasionally give me hard time. Most of all – the unjustified hype surrounding Ubuntu and its community (that is my own subjective opinion, of course).

When I was two years old, I drank down (bottoms up) my grandfather's glass of >50% brandy!

On another occasion, when I was about nine or ten, I tested the wires from a shattered electrical outlet (in a abandoned house) to see if they were under voltage by grabbing them in one hand (while holding the other hand behind my back). It was under voltage and I got away with it unharmed. My older cousin (by four years) didn't believe me and so he poured a cup of water onto the wires! Fireworks followed. :D

4. Community Threads

We need hints from the community to find those interesting threads, as well as to report on different viewpoints, summaries and insights.

4.1. Twitter Landscape

This is a new section of the newsletter. Here we will publish some tweets that mention CentOS to provide an overview of what the community/users think.

A message from @W3Techs was posted on #centos, at 3:09 PM Jul 1st, which caused a huge copying on Twitter (43 times):

CentOS is now the most popular Linux distribution on web servers : http://bit.ly/9p4FGG.

Now some random tweets mentioning CentOS:

Frank Cox

5. Tip Of The Newsletter

If you have a good tip or know of a really useful program that you would like to share, please send us an email.

Have you ever typed rm * in the wrong directory and watched as all of the files in that directory disappeared instantly?

To avoid that situation, put an empty file named -i into the directory that you want to protect from an absent-minded rm * command.

touch ./-i

Now every time you use rm * in that directory you will be prompted to remove each file individually.

I put a -i file into important directories (like /home/username) on all of my computers -- it's saved my butt quite a few times.

Geerd-Dietger Hoffmann

6. Jokes and Funny Stuff

6.1. We have a lot of CDs

centos01

6.2. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

centos-anaconda-error

(If you don't get the joke, watch this video.)

Timothy Lee

7. CentOS Errata

This section highlights the most severe security updates for each supported CentOS release, whilst providing a summary and short links to the reference of the security issue.

7.1. CentOS-3

7.2. CentOS-4

7.3. CentOS-5

8. User Desktop

User Desktop

9. Events

9.1. Upcoming Events

The CentOS Promo Special Interest Group organizes the CentOS presence (booths, presentations, etc) at various conferences and trade shows. Here we highlight upcoming events. If you are interested in helping, please join the Promo SIG.

Look at:

9.2. Berlin LinuxTag

You could call it a tradition that CentOS is represented at one of the biggest Linux/FOSS events in Europe and this year was no exception. It is always nice to meet up with other people active in the community and talk to the users -- to find out more about what they like and dislike. Besides loads of talks, most noticeably the one from Mark Shuttleworth, the Ubuntu sponsor there was the CentOS Beer event which provided a relaxed atmosphere to discuss geek related topics and CentOS news. Of course not everything was beer related. We also build a little cluster or scalable cloud (in new IT speak) with our laptops and could compile a RPM distributed using a mobile phone as a switch.

Berlin LinuxTag

10. Contributing to CentOS Pulse

We are always on the look-out for people who are interested in helping to:

Please see the page with further information about contributing.

Finally if you would like to appear in the newsletter, you will have to have contributed positively to the CentOS community and then, hopefully, be noticed by one of our reporters. ;-)

Newsletter/1005 (last edited 2010-07-12 19:45:31 by GeerdDietgerHoffmann)