Blogrotate #10: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Posted in: Technical Track

Happy Friday everyone! I’m back and can see! The laser surgery was not anywhere near as bad as my mind had made it out to be, and I would recommend it to anyone. The results are worth it. For some reason the heat and x-ray vision have not kicked in yet…

Anyways enough about me, let’s look at some news.

Operating Systems

This one might better be suited to a storage section but slashdot has a post about FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux. The popular and free NAS server has an active discussion about this on the sourceforge forum. While it seems that generally the community is OK with this, many fear the loss of ZFS support which is currently not available in the standard linux kernel due to licensing incompatibilities between the GPL and Sun’s CDDL.

Red Hat has released its second update this year to its MRG (Messaging, Real-Time, Grid) platform. Sean Michael Kerner has the skinny in Red Hat Speeds Up Real-Time Linux.


In what I hope to be the final update on the Microsoft USB/DVD download tool debacle, MS has finally released the open source version of the tool to comply with the GPL licensing of its “borrowed” code. Peter Galli, the Microsoft open source community manager has more in Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool Released Under GPLv2. The source for the tool can be found at the CodePlex open source site.

If you are looking at making the jump to Thunderbird 3, Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has Review: Thunderbird 3 takes flight with tabs, enhanced search. Some folk here at Pythian have already made the jump. I’ll be doing so too as soon as I find the time.

Data Centers

Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge has an interesting piece about a data center in Quebec, Canada that is built inside a huge concrete silo. From the article “The cylindrical silo, which is 65 feet high and 36 feet wide with two-foot thick concrete walls, previously housed a Van de Graaf particle accelerator. When the accelerator was decommissioned, CLUMEQ decided to convert the facility into a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster known as Colossus”. The article has more, including pretty pictures of the site and its unique cooling systems. See Wild New Design: Data Center in A Silo for the full story.

Do you have servers in the Amazon EC2 cloud? Did they go down for almost an hour on Wednesday? If so, check out Rich Miller’s article Power Outage for Amazon Data Center.

Oh Rich Miller, you were a busy boy this week. According to his article, Canada: We’ll Only Buy Energy Star Servers, Lydia Aouani of Natural Resources Canada made this claim at the DatacenterDynamics conference in Toronto. Having worked extensively in Federal government departments, I doubt this will happen quickly, but it’s nice to know their thinking about it.


Emil Protalinski at Ars has an interesting look at ad click rates for the different search engines. There’s been a lot of hype that Bing is beating Google in click-through rates, but as Emil rightly points out a higher percentage of fewer people could still mean less actual clicks. See Bing ads over 75% more likely to be clicked than Google ads for more.

After the surprising claim from the Google chief: Only miscreants worry about net privacy stating, to paraphrase, “only bad people need to be worried about privacy” we have Mozilla exec urges Firefox users ditch Google for Bing. Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s director of community development, contends that users should move to Bing because Bing’s privacy policy is better.

That’s all we’ll have time for this week. I expect there will be one more edition next week before we break for the holidays, then we’ll be back again in early January for more newsy goodness. As always your comments or favourite news stories of the week are welcome.

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About the Author

Brad is just a guy, you know? I fought my way up in the world tooth-and-nail. Starting in broadcasting and music to travel to computer support to development of mid size xBase programs. Finally I settled into the wonderful world of system administration where I have honed my skills doing many diverse tasks. I started using Solaris in the mid 80's and built my first Linux system on a 386 using 30-some floppy disks and never looked back.

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