Nonprofit chooses Ubuntu for servers, OpenOffice for desktops

Oxford Archaeology, one of the largest independent excavation firms in Britain, has twin missions: (1) discovering and preserving historical artifacts that might otherwise be destroyed by construction projects (2) and sharing its finds and experiences with visitors to increase their appreciation of archaeology and history.

So it’s only natural that the cost-conscious, nonprofit $24 million company would turn to open source software to run the heart of its operations, from capturing and storing archaeological data to running routine business functions — even its telephone system.

“We have a strategic commitment to the idea that data should be open, shareable and usable by anyone, so archiving data in open source software makes the most sense,” said Chief Information Officer Chris Puttick. “And open source is the best long-term cost-saver … and gives us the ultimate flexibility to adapt without restriction.”

Open source for the long haul
Two years ago, when Puttick arrived at the 35-year-old company, his goal was to convert the entire firm completely to open source — not just the operating system but also the database, office desktops, customer relationship management and geographic mapping systems. The works.
The task was daunting. For starters, the frugal registered charity ran a mix of old and new hardware that was acquired as cheaply as possible and caused a lot of operational problems that no one knew how to fix, Puttick said. These problems were exacerbated by Oxford Archaeology’s rapid growth. Not only was IT responsible for a greater number of tasks, but the company was expanding rapidly, In just two years, it had doubled the number of employees from 200 to 400, he said.

But Puttick persisted, starting with the servers, most of which now run on Ubuntu (some 6.06 Long Term Support [LTS] and others on 8.04 LTS), and the free version of VMware, then trying the OpenOffice desktop application and the PostgreSQL open source database, which has an add-on for a geographic information system (GIS).

A year later, open source adoption really took off, when Puttick hired a systems engineer well known in the Ubuntu community and who greatly accelerated the migration effort, he said.

There have been a few hiccups and changes along the way, though. For example, Oxford Archaeology initially adopted Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise but later switched to Ubuntu because Novell’s British office was not responsive in providing support, he said.

Ubuntu may not be the best choice technologically, but Canonical Ltd (which provides support for Ubuntu) is responsive and quick to address user issues, both through regular channels and personal contacts, Puttick said. In fact, Canonical called Oxford Archaeology for user input prior to a major conference six months ago, and all Oxford Archaeology’s suggested improvements were included in the new 8.04LTS version, he said.

“We like to think (the improvements) were because they were talking to us,” he said.

Switching users over to OpenOffice has encountered resistance because “this isn’t what everyone else does,” he said. Nevertheless, the switch to OpenOffice is essential for two reasons.

First, it costs less, so the company can afford to distribute it to everyone. Second, its use of the Open Document Format standard is important to the company’s long-term mission of openness and data accessibility, Puttick said. The information captured from archaeological sites must be recorded and retained in a format that is always readable; after a dig is complete, the original site condition is lost forever, he said.

Additional changes are still under way, including migration to open source GIS packages, including gvSIG, QGIS and/or GRASS, and conversion from VMware to KVM, which Canonical includes in Ubuntu 8.04 for supported customers. Oxford Archaeology also may move to Scribus for open source desktop publishing, Puttick said. But a few Solaris servers will be retained to run open source Alfresco customer relationship management software.

Oxford Archaeological hasn’t encountered problems handling its growing workload or its communications, which are all based on standardized authentication interfaces for Windows and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris, he said.

Puttick estimates that the conversion to open source will be complete within a year. In the meantime, he’s confident that he’s on the right track. “The only difficulty we’ve had comes from being an early adopter of a new standard,” he said. “But with Open Document Format adoption, we have a good guarantee that our data will be readable in 50 years. And we won’t have to pay for an upgrade ever again.”

Open source: Cheaper and easier
The net result of the conversion to open source software has been a 15% to 20% decrease in IT spending over the past two years, despite the doubling of the company’s workforce, he said.In addition to saving money, open source products have made the work easier to manage. There are no licenses to worry about; ditto for virus updates. The staff just installs software on the servers, tweaks them, then leaves them alone and never thinks about them again, he said.

“My choice is to pay for software and have problems or not pay for software and have problems,” Puttick said. “This is very pragmatic. It’s not that I never have a problem. But at least I’m not paying for the software and still having problems.

By Pam Derringer, News Writer
28 May 2008 | SearchEnterpriseLinux.com

Zimbra Collaboration Suite version 5.0.6 is now available for download

Greetings everyone,

Zimbra Collaboration Suite version 5.0.6 is now available for download. We recommend all users upgrade at this time.

Customers and Partners may download it at the Zimbra web site.

ZCS 5.0.6 contains many important enhancements and bug fixes, including:

  • In the Zimbra Web Client users can insert hyperlinks when composing HTML email and now set different reminder times per calendar event
  • New user preference added for how messages are marked as read in email
  • Admins can now replay backup redologs from an arbitrary point in time when restoring mailboxes
  • Additional LDAP logging has been added to help diagnose sync problems
  • Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) is now GA for ZCS Open Source Edition and beta for ZCS Network Edition
  • ZCS for Ubuntu 6.04 LTS 64 bit is now GA (Open Source and Network)

Please see the release notes (PDF) for full upgrade details.

To see current, past, and next major release information visit the Zimbra Product Portal.

Thanks Again!
The Zimbra Support Team

Zend announces agreement with Dojo to enable easier client-side programming with Zend Framework

Zend is excited to announce a partnership between Dojo and Zend Framework. The goal is to deliver a one-stop solution for building rich internet applications with PHP & Ajax. Zend’s co-founder and chief technical officer Andi Gutmans discusses this announcement in-depth on his blog. On Tuesday May 27th Zend Framework and Dojo team members will hold a joint webinar to answer any questions about this partnership.

Register to ZF & the Dojo Ajax toolkit Webinar »

New Zend Core update for PHP 5.2.6

Zend has released a new update for Zend Core 2.5 which includes the latest PHP 5.2.6 maintenance release and a number of other updates. This update is provided free of charge to any customer with a Zend Core support contract. This release includes:

  • Latest PHP stable version, PHP 5.2.6 – This release includes over 120 bug fixes and security fixes. Key security fixes are:
    • Fixed possible stack buffer overflow in the FastCGI SAPI
    • Fixed integer overflow in printf()
    • Fixed security issue detailed in CVE-2008-0599
    • Fixed a safe_mode bypass in CURL
    • Properly address incomplete multibyte chars inside escapeshellcmd()
  • The Oracle oci8 support was updated to V.2.4 which adds support for Oracle 11g, several key enhancements and various bug fixes. Key improvements are:
    • Fixed PECL bug #10194 (crash in Oracle client when memory limit reached in the callback)
    • Allowed statement cache size to be set for non-persistent connections
    • Improved oci_password_change() to close persistent connections on shutdown (to update hashed connection details)
    • Changed oci_pconnect() to behave like oci_connect() when SYSDBA and SYSOPER privileges are used
  • The Linux update also includes the latest version of OpenSSL (v0.9.8g), CURL (7.18.1) and Zend Optimizer (3.3.5)

All Zend Core customers are encouraged to upgrade as soon as possible for the most reliable PHP environment.

Download latest update »
Purchase Zend Core subscription »

Parallels and Zend Form Technology Partnership Joint Solutions Will Optimize PHP Technology and the Application Packaging Standard

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Zend Technologies and Parallels today announced that they will collaborate on solutions that enable hosting providers to deliver world-class PHP applications through Parallels’ control panels and server virtualization offerings. The companies will deliver product interoperability and integration, define packaging and distribution standards, and pursue joint marketing initiatives.Zend products will be certified with the Application Packaging Standard (APS), a new application packaging format designed to help easily and quickly implement software as a service (SaaS). Using the APS standard, hosting providers will be able to configure technology stacks based on Zend products to deliver premium PHP solutions for operating business-critical web applications.

“The APS standard is already supported by more than 100 PHP applications for everything from blogging and collaboration to content management, ecommerce and CRM,” said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Parallels. “The Parallels-Zend partnership advances the web hosting industry by helping service providers deliver a greater variety of professional PHP applications and by growing the channel for PHP application vendors.” “With thousands of web applications available for individual and business use, PHP is one of the key technologies for hosting companies to support,” said Mark de Visser, chief marketing officer, Zend Technologies. “Combining the PHP expertise of Zend with the packaging, delivery and maintenance capabilities of the APS standard will further expand the portfolio of high-quality PHP applications.” “It is exciting to see Parallels and Zend extending their partnership,” said Jochen Berger, CTO of intergenia AG. “We believe that this collaboration will enable us to broaden our portfolio with applications built on Zend technology.” Availability Zend and Parallels will deliver an APS-compliant Zend Framework and an updated version of Zend Optimizer later this quarter. Over time, the companies plan to release new versions of all Zend products that support the APS standard.

About Parallels – Optimized Computing Parallels is a worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software that optimizes computing for consumers, businesses, and service providers across all major hardware, operating systems, and virtualization platforms. Founded in 1999, Parallels is a fast-growing company with 900 employees in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.parallels.com.

About Zend – The PHP Company Zend Technologies, Inc., the PHP Company, is the leading provider of products and services for developing, deploying and managing business-critical PHP applications. PHP is used by more than twenty million websites and has quickly become the most popular language for building dynamic web applications. Deployed at more than 25,000 companies worldwide, Zend’s family of products provides a comprehensive platform for supporting the entire lifecycle of PHP applications.

Zend is headquartered in Cupertino, California. For more information, please visit www.zend.com.

CONTACT: Parallels Inc Ben Rudolph, 425-282-6446 Director of Corp Communications ben@parallels.com or SparkPR for ZEND Jeff Koo, 415-321-1866 jkoo@sparkpr.com Copyright Business Wire 2008 -0- KEYWORD: United States

Enable Instant Messaging feature on Zimbra

By default, IM feature is not enabled on Zimbra systems after upgrading. You can use these commands to enable it:

su - zimbra
zmprov -l -v mcf zimbraXMPPEnabled TRUE
zmprov -v mc default zimbraFeatureIMEnabled TRUE
zmprov -v mc default zimbraFeatureInstantNotify TRUE
zmcontrol stop
zmcontrol start

Obviously set the COS to the one you use if it’s not the default.

Good luck! 🙂

FOSS Việt Nam nhiệt liệt đón mừng tin OpenOffice.org Việt 3.0 được dịch hoàn toàn ra tiếng Việt

VAIP. Trên diễn đàn FOSS Việt Nam, ông Đỗ Vũ Quỳnh đang công tác tại Tổ chức hợp tác ĐH Pháp ngữ (AUF) đã công bố “rất vui mừng vì có thể thông báo rằng chúng ta đã cuối cùng dịch ra tiếng Việt tất cả các chuỗi của OpenOffice.org với 100% phần giao diện và 100% phần trợ giúp. Đây là một thành tựu rất quan trọng, vì OpenOffice.org là một chương trình rất phổ biến mà cho phép mọi người đều dùng phần mềm nguồn mở cho các công việc hàng ngày”.

Đó là công sức không mệt mỏi vì cộng đồng của nhóm các thành viên đã giúp dịch tập hợp chuỗi khổng lồ này gồm các anh, chị : Nguyễn Đình Trung, Đỗ Thị Hảo, Ngô Huy Hoàng, Nguyễn Công Ngọc Sơn,  Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhàn, Nguyễn Thùy Trang, Nguyễn Văn Bách, Phan Trọng Khanh. Thành tựu của những người dịch này còn có ý nghĩa hơn vì gần như tất cả họ đã dịch lần đầu tiên trong tập hợp chuỗi này. Và còn lớn hơn nữa vì phần trợ giúp của OpenOffice.org chứa các chuỗi rất phức tạp, có định dạng khó hiểu  và còn rất nhiều lỗi trong tiếng Anh.

Ông Nguyễn Chí Công UVBCH Hội Tin học Việt Nam cho biết “Hội Tin học Việt Nam và các báo chí nên đăng ngay tin này, biểu dương và cảm ơn nhóm thực hiện, thậm chí đề cử trao giải đóng góp cho cộng đồng CNTT-TT”. Ngoài ra để chỉnh sửa lỗi dịch và việt hoá có thể sửa dần và cũng cần có một diễn đàn riêng để mọi người góp ý cùng sửa  lỗi.
Cũng trên Diễn đàn FOSS Việt Nam, ông Quách Tuấn Ngọc Cục trưởng Cục CNTT Bộ GD&ĐT cho biết sẽ giới thiệu ngay đường link tới tất cả các khoa CNTT và các phòng CNTT của các Sở và các trường THPT.

 

Bạn có thể download bản OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta (và các phiên bản cũ hơn : 2.1, 2.3, 2.4) từ trang tải xuống của dự án vi.openoffice.org:
http://vi.openoffice.org/about-downloads.html

Fedora 9 is finally OUT

Dear my friends and colleagues,

Fedora 9 is finally OUT with many many new features and enhancements. Here are some highlights for the new release:

 

Release Highlights

[Tip] Latest Release Notes on the Web
These release notes may be updated. To view the latest release notes for Fedora, visit:

http://docs.fedoraproject.org/release-notes/

Fedora Tour

You can find a tour filled with pictures and videos of this exciting new release at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Tours/Fedora9.

Release Summary

For a less technical user friendly summary of the important changes in this release, refer to:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/9/ReleaseSummary

New in Fedora

This release includes significant new versions of many key components and technologies. The following sections provide a brief overview of major changes from the last release of Fedora.

Spins

Fedora includes several different spins, which are variations of Fedora built from a specific set of software packages. Each spin has a combination of software to meet the requirements of a specific kind of end user. In addition to a very small boot.iso image for network installation, users have the following spin choices:

  • A regular Fedora image for desktops, workstations, and server users. This spin provides a good upgrade path and similar environment for users of previous releases of Fedora.
  • One of several Live images that can be run from a disc or USB flash device, and can be installed to hard disk as desired. Refer to the “Live” section for more information about the Live images.

More custom spins are available at http://spins.fedoraproject.org. These Live images can be used on USB media via the livecd-iso-to-disk utility available in the livecd-tools package.

Jigdo

Fedora releases are also available via Jigdo. This distribution method can improve the speed of obtaining the installation ISO images. Instead of waiting for torrent downloads to complete, Jigdo seeks the fastest mirrors it can find via the Fedora Project Mirror Manager infrastructure, and downloads the bits it needs from these mirrors. To optimize seeking these bits, you can tell Jigdo to scan a DVD or CD you already have, and cut down on redundant downloads. This feature becomes particularly useful if you:

  • Download all the test releases and then get the final release, in which case you have 90% of the data already with each subsequent download.
  • Download both the DVD and the CD set, in which case the DVD holds 95% of the data needed for the CD sets.
  • Download any combination of the above.

Features

  • This release features GNOME 2.22. GNOME now includes a webcam photo and video creation utility called Cheese, improved network filesystem support, a new international clock applet, Google Calendar support and custom email labels in Evolution, a new Remote Desktop Viewer, improved accessibility features, and PolicyKit integration.
  • KDE 4.0.3 is available in the KDE Live image as well as the regular DVD.
  • Xfce 4.4.2 is available as part of this release.
  • NetworkManager 0.7 provides improved mobile broadband support, including GSM and CDMA devices, and now supports multiple devices and ad-hoc networking for sharing connections. It is now enabled by default on installations from DVD, CD, the network, and Live images.
  • The Fedora installer, Anaconda, now supports partition resizing for ext2/3, NTFS filesystems, creating and installing to encrypted file systems, improved Rescue Mode with FirstAidKit, independent locations for the second stage installer and the software packages. A redesigned, larger netboot.iso image now features a second stage installer partly for this reason.
  • Live USB images now support persistence, so your data and setting changes will be preserved even after rebooting.
  • PackageKit, a new set of graphical and console tools, with a framework for cross-distribution software management, has replaced Pirut in this release of Fedora. The PackageKit graphical updater is available instead of Pup. Behind PackageKit, the performance of yum has been significantly improved.
  • FreeIPA makes managing auditing, identity and policy processes easier by providing web-based and command line provisioning, and administration tools to ease system administration. FreeIPA combines the power of the Fedora Directory Server with FreeRADIUS, MIT Kerberos, NTP and DNS to provide an easy, out of the box solution.
  • Ext4, the next version of the mature and stable ext3 filesystem is available as a option in this release. Ext4 features better performance, higher storage capacity and several other new features.
  • This release of Fedora uses Upstart, an event-based replacement for the /sbin/init daemon.
  • Firefox 3 brings a number of major improvements including a native look and feel, desktop integration, the new Places replacement for bookmarks, and a re-worked address bar.
  • The completely free and open source Java environment OpenJDK 6 is installed by default. IcedTea 7, derived from OpenJDK 1.7, is no longer the default. IcedTea includes a browser plug-in based on GCJ, and is available for both x86 and x86_64 architectures. GCJ is still the default on PPC architecture.
  • OpenOffice.org 2.4, with many new features, is available as part of Fedora 9.
  • Fedora now includes Perl 5.10.0, which features a smaller memory footprint and other improvements.
  • Fedora now includes TeXLive to replace the older, unmaintained TeX distribution.
  • Fedora 9 features a 2.6.25 based kernel.
  • Kernel crashes can be more automatically reported to http://www.kerneloops.org/ and diagnosed in a friendly way via the kerneloops package installed by default. Crash signatures are commonly referred to as oopses in Linux.
  • Work on the start-up and shutdown in X has yielded noticeable improvements.

Road Map

The proposed plans for the next release of Fedora are available at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/RoadMap.

OpenOffice.org 3 beta is ready for testing

The OpenOffice.org Community is pleased to announce that the public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is now available. This beta release is made available to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of OpenOffice.org, but is not recommended for production use at this stage.

If you are a regular user of OpenOffice.org, here’s a great opportunity to help us make the next release the best ever.

What’s new in OpenOffice.org 3.0?

The most immediately visible change to OpenOffice.org 3.0 is the new “Start Centre”, new fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar. A closer look shows that 3.0 has a myriad of new features. Notable Calc improvements include a new solver component; support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing; and an increase to
1024 columns per sheet. Writer has an improved notes feature and displays of multiple pages while editing. There are numerous Chart enhancements, and an improved crop feature in Draw and Impress.

Behind the scenes, OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and is capable of opening files created with MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). This is in addition to read and write support for the MS-Office binary file formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.).

OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, with the look and feel of any other Aqua application. It introduces partial VBA support to this platform. In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates well with the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and thus offers better accessibility support than many other Mac OS X applications.

A more detailed guide to the features can be found at http://marketing.openoffice.org/3.0/featurelistbeta.html

Beta Availability

OpenOffice.org 3 beta is immediately available in US English for MS-Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and OpenSolaris platforms from http://download.openoffice.org/3.0beta. This page also contains details of where to find localized builds and language packs as they become available. For more details, please consult the appropriate native language project – see http://projects.openoffice.org/native-lang.html

Help us gathering bugs in May!

In order to help us release OpenOffice.org 3.0 on schedule in September, users of the beta release are encouraged to report any bugs, issues or errors at http://qa.openoffice.org.

If you would like to test just the new features, there is a list of test cases by component at http://qa.openoffice.org/ooQAReloaded/TestcaseSpecifications/OpenOffice.org_3.0

If you are nervous about reporting bugs through the formal bug reporting system, you can simply email details to the user support mailing lists http://www.openoffice.org/mail_list.html

The developers look forward to receiving your feedback on this beta release of OpenOffice.org!

“2008 – the year of 3”

Is Linux still safe? Do we need to use antivirus?

Linux itself (the kernel) is mostly safe. Until someone find a new ptrace or vmsplice bug of course…

But a desktop OS, whatever it is, will never be really safe IMHO. I would even declare that no computer system as large as an OS could be totally safe. The real difference is what the malware (virus/trojan/worm/…) will be able to do when it will come to your desktop! And here, using GNU/Linux and FLOSS in general make a difference.

First, FLOSS projects often care more about security than closed ones. This is simply because everybody have access to the source code so any security mistake would be pointed out relatively soon. And then there is two cases: either this is a serious project and the bug would be corrected quickly, or this is a project which doesn’t care much about security and most user will simply stop using it => the project will die because of lack of users.

Second, the way a Unix based system is organized, with strong privileges separation *by default*, make it relatively hard to exploit by malwares. Even if one do enter your environment and maybe install itself to be started with your session, because it can not install itself to start with the system without getting first privileges for that, it will have to find a way to escalate privileges up to root to really be able to harm the system.

Just try it! Without a real strong security bug in a program run as “root” (in the kernel, or into a library used by a program run as “root”), it’s just not that easy. Let’s even say it’s quite impossible until one of these bugs has been found. Of course, except bugs, there could be a security hole introduced by a misconfiguration, e.g. some knowledge-less user blindly following some wrong instruction in a forum.
But in this case it’s not a program bug but a user bug. 😉

Last but not least, about data security (lost or corruption of data), let’s remind everybody that the best way is not to use an anti-virus but to make frequent backups and to save a copy in another place (in case the main one would burn, be flooded or whatever) ! It’s the best way to protect your data from just almost everything.

Posted by Jean Christophe André, from HanoiLUG.