Monthly Archives: April 2009

Zimbra Desktop – No Light, No AIR

With its 1.0 GA announcement this week, Zimbra Desktop is officially launched as an open source, full featured desktop mail client. I’d like to use this occasion to reflect back at an interesting approach that the Zimbra engineering team took in developing this product.

Zimbra Desktop behaves like a classic desktop application. It installs and runs on a user’s computer. Even though it’s designed to aggregate mail, calendar and address book data from many Web services such as Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, it runs and interacts with user independent of any particular Web service. However for anyone who’s curious enough to take a peek under the hood, she will find Web oriented technology at every turn.

Using technology originally designed for the Web in desktop application development is not anything new, let alone unique. Both Microsoft and Adobe have been pushing for their brand of RIA (Rich Internet Application) platforms, namely Sliverlight and AIR, and I have seen quite a few desktop products built on one or the other. Of course Mozilla XUL based desktop applications like Thunderbird and Songbird have been around even longer. However what makes Zimbra Desktop a unique case is the engineering approach. We are developing two products, an enterprise server product and a desktop application, in lockstep in the same code base.

The enterprise server in this case is Zimbra Collaboration Suite Server. It is a carrier grade email collaboration server running at many Fortune 500 companies, universities and large Internet Service Providers. The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) has support for many clients, including a state-of-the-art Ajax Web client. So what is the desktop application, Zimbra Desktop? In short, Zimbra Desktop is a special build of ZCS that installs the ZCS Server and the Ajax client on the same user computer, collapsing the client and server tiers into one. In terms of their designated roles, the two products can’t be more different. Using an analogy, if I were to claim that Exchange Server and Outlook client share more than 95% of the code between them, few people would believe me. But the equivalent is true in the case of ZCS and Zimbra Desktop.

We didn’t do this just to be cool. We did it for these benefits:

1) Code reuse – lower development cost
2) Code reuse – lower maintenance cost
3) Code reuse – lower user learning cost

The first two points are self evident. The third point about lower user learning cost is due to the fact that the Zimbra Desktop UI is virtually identical to that of the ZCS Ajax web client, so a user familiar with the ZCS Ajax UI doesn’t have to learn a new UI when running Zimbra Desktop. As a matter of fact many ZCS users are also Zimbra Desktop users, often switching between the two as they move between computers. Moreover, the high level of code overlap between the two products not only makes development cheaper but also brings innovation to market faster, because a new feature added to one is automatically available in the other in most cases.

Here is a component diagram of Zimbra Desktop.

At the core of Zimbra Desktop there lies the “micro edition” of the ZCS Server. The Ajax client talks to the local server in a way not much different from the online Ajax client to a real ZCS server. The most significant addition in Zimbra Desktop is the data synchronization engine, which synchronizes user data in the cloud with data on the local computer disk, making the data accessible even when there’s no network connectivity like during air travel.

Making ZCS Server run on a user computer is easy because a) it’s a Java application that can run on many OS platform, and b) it has enough tuning knobs built-in to be dialed down to support a user of one. The ZCS Web container is Jetty, also a product especially good at scaling up as well as scaling down.

One topic we can’t avoid in any discussion of Zimbra Desktop is its integrated browser, Mozilla Prism. Prism is a simple browser built on XULRunner in the same way as Firefox is a full featured browser built from the same code base. As a solution to render the Zimbra Desktop UI, there’s no more ideal fit than Prism as the ZCS Ajax client runs in Prism out of box, just like in Firefox. In addition, we also rely on Prism’s XPCOM layer and other native bindings for OS integration on Windows, Mac OS and Linux platforms such as Ubuntu, to support features like pop-up notifications and “mailto” link handling. It’s plugin framework allows us to do things like add attachments to emails simply by dragging them from their desktop into the compose area, or upload files to briefcase in the same way. While Prism is a perfect choice for us in developing the hybrid online/offline solutions, I should point out that both Silverlight and AIR can work well for other products. In the case of Zimbra Desktop however, Prism and the underlying XULRunner allow us to best protect our investment in the UI.

Finally, a word on why we still choose to build a desktop application when many are moving in the opposite direction, from desktop to the Web. We believe there’s the need for a mail client to be independent of any Web services and to be under the total control of an end user. While there are now products like Google Gears to allow taking a Web application offline in a generic fashion, in the end a Web application can only offer limited ways for third party customization. Many users spend a good part of their work day with a mail client, so it’s very important to allow the freedom to extend the software to best suit each user’s unique needs to be productive. With Zimbra Desktop, the third party extension mechanism is called Zimlets. This is our standard framework to enable Web service mash-ups that adds additional functionality, like Web conferencing or Twittering, directly into the email application with tight integration. In Zimbra Desktop 1.0, Zimlets can be downloaded and injected by end users; in 1.1, our next major revision, we will provide a more seamless way for end users to explore and manage Zimlets.

Announcing Zimbra Desktop 1.0 – the Next-Generation Email Client

With more than 2.4 million downloads, 7,500 forum posts and two years in the making it’s been a long road to this point… we are now happy to announce the general availability of Zimbra Desktop.

The free Windows, Mac, and Linux download is available now.

Century 21 agents spend many hours a day away from their reliable office network connections. The introduction of Zimbra Desktop allows us to continue reducing our dependence on Microsoft Outlook while retaining the superior Zimbra collaboration platform that we can now use wherever and whenever we need it.

— Marge Patterson, Vice President
CENTURY 21 Realty Group Companies

A lot of work and fine tuning has been done to create the best possible companion to the Zimbra AJAX Web experience, throughout that process your feedback has been invaluable!

For those less familiar, Zimbra Desktop is unique because it gives you centralized access to your Zimbra email inbox (or inboxes from virtually any external source)- plus your calendar, contacts, documents, tasks and briefcase- whether you are online or offline. We think it is the most advanced email application available, a hybrid combining the best qualities of traditional mail clients with a modern webmail experience, and the first to elegantly marry local and cloud storage so all communication information is at a user’s fingertips.

Since Zimbra Desktop supports any email account (plus contacts and calendars for Yahoo! and Google) we hope it’s the most convenient way to keep you organized and in touch with coworkers, friends and family. Additionally, with the latest Zimbra technologies, including faster indexed search, conversation views and tagging, you can easily handle large inboxes and quickly find important pictures, documents or messages from people you care about.

With Zimbra Desktop filling a big gap between free email applications with basic functionality and premium applications that may be cost prohibitive, we have seen a steady list of customers embrace the product, including Red Hat, Gyro International and 21st Century Realty Group. Zimbra Desktop gives their employees a better overall experience, provides offline “airplane mode” capabilities, works cross-platform and makes life easier for their IT departments by backing up end-user desktop data in the cloud.

Lee Congdon, Chief Information Officer at Red Hat recently shared his impressions on Zimbra and Zimbra Desktop:

“We recently swapped out our legacy email and calendar systems for Zimbra Collaboration Suite, which has received high marks throughout the company, and with the general availability of Zimbra Desktop, we can now offer all of our employees a sleek solution for both Web-based and desktop communication. We are especially pleased that the Zimbra Collaboration Suite is based on open source technology and that it performs very effectively in our Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment.”

We have always been dedicated to offering our customers freedom of choice to meet your diverse collaboration needs for work, school, or home, and Zimbra Desktop brings your most important communications to you in one place, wherever you are. Zimbra Desktop is free for anyone to use whether you are a Zimbra customer or not. (Zimbra customers have an additional benefit of support from us when using Zimbra Desktop with a Zimbra email account).

Download Zimbra Desktop today and take your email, calendar, and contacts with you on any plane, train, or automobile!

HylaFAX 6.0.0 released


The HylaFAX development team is pleased to announce the first release of HylaFAX 6.0.  HylaFAX 6.0 contains lots of new development and features that have accumulated in CVS for the past year since HylaFAX 4.4 was branched off for stable maintenance.

Our sincerest thanks go to all who participate in the development and testing process.

The source code for this release is available from our FTP site:

MD5SUM: 716de4f44b2a18205b4b24135f307e23  hylafax-6.0.0.tar.gz

SHA1SUM: f8020efcd48d17f5728d5bb0e6b46df2cd4b8ad2  hylafax-6.0.0.tar.gz

HylaFAX 6.0 introduces several new features for HylaFAX:

  • PCL Support
  • hfaxd can sort list output (like sendq) arbitrarily for clients
  • I18n: HylaFAX client strings are now translated and available in different languages
  • IPv6 support
  • New permissions in hfaxd to allow for more admin control on who can see/modify jobs/faxes (see PublicJobQ/JobProtection/PublicRecvQ)
  • Powerful page range handling capabilities
  • Better faxq/notify integration as well as many improvements to the T.30 protocol code.

There are only 2 differences to note if you’re upgrading from HylaFAX 4.4 or older, neither of which are likely to affect many users:

  1. If you have clients that still use the old protocol (not the common FTP style protocol), they will no longer work with the new hfaxd daemon.
  2. The notification email mechanism no longer sends “blocked” emails by default, as the jobs are not being requeued, or done.  To continue receiving them, you’ll need to configure it accordingly in FaxNotify.

The full set of release notes is browsable:;f=doc/RELEASENOTES-6.0.txt;hb=HYLAFAX-6_0_0


Binary packages for some operating systems and platforms are available. Please see:

If you are able and willing to produce a binary package of HylaFAX for general distribution and one is not already available for your platform/OS, then you are invited to add it to the Binary_Packages wiki page above.


HylaFAX has numerous public support resources available.  The user is encouraged to utilize the manpage documentation before turning to other support arenas.  However, if other support is desired, or if you would like to actively take part in the HylaFAX community, you are invited to:

– what version of HylaFAX you have,
– what system you’re running on (if it is Linux please name the distribution),
– if the problem is modem-related, identify it and the firmware rev For example: “HylaFAX 6.0.0 under CentOS 5.3 with gcc 4.3.1; ZyXEL 1496E with 6.11a firmware.”


    The HylaFAX development team

    Sendmail backup mx relay

    I have used sendmail for a number of years. We use it on our main mail server and on our backup mx servers.

    Up until recently we simply allowed the backup mx servers to relay all mail to the domains they serve. Unfortunately spammers tend to target backup mx servers in the belief they are less well protected.

    One of the side effects of this is that you end up accepting mail for lots of invalid addresses, which not only results in more spam (as the spammer thinks the address is valid) but also means you then end up trying to send non delivery receipts to some random reply address when the backup mx tries to deliver the mail to the main server and gets refused as the address doesn’t exist.

    I finally worked out that there is a nice feature in sendmail to only relay certain addresses thus refusing all the other junk and preventing the erroneous non delivery receipts.

    By default we used to add the following to out access database RELAY

    which simply means relay all email addressed to the domain

    It is possible to be more selective but first you have to add the following to your sendmail configuration ( Suggest you save a copy of first for later comparison.

    dnl #
    dnl #Use access db with undocumented feature
    dnl #
    define(`_RELAY_FULL_ADDR_', `1')

    Then do a make. Compare your new with your old one just to ensure you’ve not lost anything.

    You can now specify specific email addresses in the TO field rather than just the domain.

    It means you have to remember to update your backup mx servers whenever you add or remove an email account but that is a small price to pay for the empty mail queues. I guess you could easily automate it.

    Don’t for get to rebuild your access database once you’ve edited the text file.

    # hash /etc/mail/access.db < /etc/mail/access

    PS. I also set DoubleBounceAddress to nothing (O DoubleBounceAddress=) to get rid of all those non delivery receipts of non delivery receipts!

    Ubuntu 9.04 release focuses on user experience and data center needs

    Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu, today announced the simultaneous release of Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition and the Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition, available for download on Thursday, April 23, 2009, and the Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix, available on Thursday April 30, 2009.

    With the new 9.04 server edition, Canonical has worked to extend the range of enabled servers, with 45 of the most popular mid-range servers from IBM, Dell and Sun and HP tested in the Canonical labs.
    Ubuntu 9.04 Server edition will preview Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). Ubuntu is the first commercially-supported distribution to enable businesses to build cloud environments inside their firewalls. With Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition, organizations can explore the benefits of cloud computing without the data or security issues associated with moving data to an external cloud provider. Following a successful beta program, Ubuntu Server Edition 9.04 will also be fully available on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

    Mark Shuttleworth, CEO, Canonical shared some of the server improvements in Ubuntu 9.04 Server edition include substantial improvements in some key applications for mail and other common infrastructure requirements.

    “There has been an extension of work around suspend and resume of servers,” said Shuttleworth. “Amazon’s EC2 elastic computing meme will penetrate deeply into the enterprise. And organizations will want that same elastic computing internally, along with the power saving capability. The best method is suspending or resuming. Through effective use of elastic computing, we think we can greatly improve the energy savings in the data center.”

    Shuttleworth referred to the concept of cloud computing as “the new hotness,” and says that Canonical has chosen to give it a very specific focus in this release. An image of Ubuntu 9.04 is now on EC2, so anyone interested in prototyping on Ubuntu 9.04 can fire it up on EC2. Shuttleworth shared that Canonical has a firm commitment to continue to release updates in the cloud. A description of other Ubuntu virtualization efforts and a more detailed report on the current position of Ubuntu in the data center and enterprise IT environment was published on at the beginning of April.

    Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition improves user experience
    Mark Zimmerman, CTO, Canonical explained some of the new features in Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition include a reduction in start-up time from 45 seconds to 25 seconds. According to Zimmerman, the release also includes an improved notification subsystem, which is the first in a series of design-led improvements.

    “We are really working on improving the intrinsic experience of using Ubuntu on the desktop,” explained Zimmerman. “The notification subsystem has a standardized way of displaying [notices], that adds to the polished feel of the desktop.”

    In addition, the desktop version of Ubuntu 9.04 features 3.0. This release of OpenOffice includes a lot of compatibility between Microsoft Office suite products that can make the user experience more seamless and easy, and wasn’t available at the last Ubuntu Desktop Edition release.

    Zimbra Collaboration Suite 6.0 Beta (Codename: Guns N’ Roses)

    Few things get our community excited like a major release version of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite. Today marks availability of the first GnR preview: ZCS 6.0 Beta 1 Open Source Edition. Admins and developers can find it over on the downloads page, for the less technically inclined we’ll also have a new hosted demo up shortly.

    Some feature highlights:

    » A new horizontal ‘three panel’ view with the message on the right.

    » There are now tabs for individual messages as well as the compose page.

    » Document & Briefcase access from the standard HTML client.

    » Share management & discovery UI that lets you see all shares (email, contacts, calendar, tasks, docs, etc) at a glance. Join a distribution list late? Find all existing shares with the group.

    » The ability to run existing email filters over the contents of a folder.

    » Did you get it? Know instantly, as read receipts have been implemented in the web-client.

    » Improved calendar resource auto-accept/decline conflict handling.

    » Calendar fisheye view – previously in Zimbra Desktop, now in ZCS.

    » Auto-updating RSS feeds & ICS event URLs on a configurable schedule.

    » Per-user blacklists & whitelists are exposed in the revamped mail preferences area.

    » ‘Published’ Zimlets management for end users in options. (Zimlets themselves can now define a new application or preferences tab.)

    » Mobile web-client overhauls: Including a special mini logon page, better appointment creation, and six new variants based on device type and connection speed.

    » Auto-complete from shared address books; and recently used contacts are presented first.

    » Configurable spell check on every send.

    » On-behalf-of aka sendAs option on compose in shared folders/relationship accounts.

    » Appointment list view & refined print layouts.

    » Full featured detached message view for the advanced AJAX client.

    » Attach files during mail compose directly from the briefcase; in the briefcase UI you can now send as attachments or links.

    » Pressure-based scrolling of folder and message list (within the same page).

    » OpenLDAP now allows for some on-the-fly configuration changes with zmlocalconfig via a cn=config backend instead of slapd.conf text files for preservation across upgrades.

    » GALsync accounts via datasource contact folders with sorting, browsing, and enhanced client usability.

    » MySQL as the logger DB has been removed, in favor of more zmstat service implementation mixed with SQLite & RRD for the new logger service.

    » Role based delegated permissions on every individual feature. Now you can create distribution list managers, while HSP’s can give someone permission to manage multiple domains from one login. (Available in both network and open source editions – the network edition will include easy admin console configuration.)

    Release Note OTRS 2.4.0 beta1 – Aitutaki Beach

    Dear Community Members,

    We are proud to announce that the beta1 release of OTRS 2.4  Codename: Aitutaki Beach (Cook Island) has been released today.


    (12) SECURE SMTP



    Why AGPL instead of GPL? – AGPL and GPL are identical, with one exception: For software used in an SaaS environment Copyleft is effective in AGPL – which is not the case when  using GPL. Keeping in mind the growing world of SaaS, ((otrs)) wants to ensure that future developments continue to return to the OTRS community. This is the reason for the switch to

    Why v3 instead of v2? – GPL v2 is getting older and has, especially in the USA, various legal uncertainties. In the opinion of ((otrs)) GPL v3 is keeping the spirit of GPL v2, and at the same time has been tailored to new needs. ((otrs)) views GPLv3, more specifically AGPLv3, as being the best balanced Copyleft Open Source License available today, offering  Protection for copyright owners and users and providing the best security under the law.


    The need for a system-spanning, next to real-time, and personalized presentation of useful information led to an integrated Management Dashboard. It is possible to create plug-ins to display content from individual extensions alongside the standard content. Standard plug-ins are:

    • Ticket volume (new & open) from the last 24h, 48h and 72h
    • Calendar including an overview of upcoming events (escalations, auto-unlocks, etc.)
    • System-wide overview of ticket distribution within the queues
    • First Response Time/Solution Time of Queues
    • Integration of RSS


    The new reports provided with OTRS 2.4 are:

    • Created Tickets
    • Closed Tickets
    • SLA Analysis
    • Required working time per customer / per queue
    • Solution time analysis per customer / per queue
    • Answer time analysis per customer / per queue


    With the Master/Slave Ticket, it is possible to link multiple tickets of a similar nature, and handle them collectively. As soon as the problem is solved, only the master ticket must be closed. All other tickets will be closed automatically,  and the solution text for the master ticket will be sent to all customers of slave tickets.

    A new link type ‘Slave’ will be available. All tickets with this Type of link will inherit the following actions from their Master ticket:

    • Status change
    • Email answers
    • Change in FreeText fields
    • Notes
    • Pending time changes
    • Priority changes
    • Owner changes
    • Responsibility changes


    With this feature, it is now possible to write e-mails, notes, and notifications in rich text format (HTML format). Using a  WYSIWIG editor (What You See Is What You Get), it is possible to comfortably write using formatted text and even include  inline pictures.


    With this new feature it is possible for all users to activate “out-of-office” to notify colleagues and OTRS of the period of their absence. The out-of-office feature is active for a time frame set by the user. Activation of this feature has the following effects:

    In the lists in which an agent can be selected as owner or  reponsible (i.e. Ticket creation or changing ownership), the period of absence and the time till return will be shown behind the user’s name. This will help making the absence of the user more transparent.

    If an agent receives a follow-up during a period of absence, the ticket is automatically unlocked and a notifcation is sent to all agents in the queue. This allows immediate reaction to the customer follow-up by another service employee.


    Flexibility of presentation within the ticket overview is a must. Based on the “S/M/L” (Small/Medium/Large) Ticket View every agent has the possibility to change the view for each type of overview (Queue View, Status View, etc) on-the-fly with a simple mouse click on the appropriate icon. This allows for the highest possible level of individualization and adjustment to any operational situation.

    Additionally, decentralization of the Bulk Action feature integrated the Bulk Action in all ticket overviews (Bulk Action allows processing of multiple tickets at a time).


    To streamline ticket creation, AJAX-based auto-completion has been introduced into the customer search feature. With this, as soon as the first three letters of a customer name have been entered, the run-time search will offer a list of dynamically changing names, based on the continued input, for user selection. This means, that it is now technically possible to create a ticket without reloading the page, reducing the time spent on waiting for the page reloads.


    OTRS saves article attachements in the database by default. As the database grows (> 50GB) this can become a problem for backup/restore operations. From OTRS 2.4 on, it is possible to store the attachments on the server’s local file system; this can be done on-the-fly in the live system. It only requires the modification of a setting via the SysConfig. In most cases, this issue arises only after production has started and is often due to growing backup cycles. In general, above setting will then be changed to file system storage. Although from then on all attachments will be written to the file system, all previous attachements remain in the database. The extension makes it possible to relocate old attachments, in most cases greatly reducing the size of the database. The service program that takes care of this is “bin/”.

    To move attachments from the database to the file system, please perform the following: “bin/ -s  ArticleStorageDB? -!ArticleStorageFS? ”


    Currently, e-mail replies to forwarded articles arrive in OTRS as email-external. The problem is that the answers to these forwarded articles can be seen by the customer in the web-interface. Although it is possible to classify e-mails of an entire domain as email-internal, this only shifts the problem. Also, such step makes it impossible to properly service customers in the domain, as the customer would not be able to track tickets in the customer web-interface any more. With this new feature, e-mail replies can be traced back, and email- internal or email-external will be set based upon the original Forward-Article type.


    In the current release of OTRS it is possible for a user to maintain a Watched Tickets List. This feature is dealing with tickets marked as “subscribed” by a user. It has the advantage that users no longer lose track of tickets marked as “sub-scribed”, and are able to view them on an individual list. The “Read-Only” Feature – Up to now, tickets marked as “sub-scribed” were shown in a list, however, the agent could only actually view them if they were in a queue for which the agent had read permissions. With the “Read-Only” Feature, agents subscribed to a ticket always have read permissions on the ticket, even if the ticket is moved to a queue where the agent has no permissions. “Notify” Feature – Via a personalized setting, every agent can define whether or not to receive notifications about tickets, just as the owner and responsible of a ticket would receive. This allows for active tracking of watched tickets.

    (12) SECURE SMTP

    OTRS can receive and send mails in multiple ways. All currently available methods for receiving emails have been implemented within OTRS 2.3 (POP3,POP3S,IMAP,IMAPS). Until now, there were two options for sending emails: using a local MTA (Sendmail, Postfix, etc.) or per SMTP. In OTRS 2.4.x, SMTPS (Sercure SMTP) has been implemented in order to keep up to the growing security standards.


    • Perl 5.8.8 or higher
    • Apache2  & mod_perl2 or higher, Microsoft IIS 6 or higher, Webserver with CGI support
    • MySQL 4.1 or higher
    • PostgreSQL 8.0 or higher
    • Oracle 10g or higher
    • DB2 8 or higher
    • MSSQL 2003 or higher


    We kindly ask for your assistance to update the translation files! The current status can be found here:

    =================== (Germany/Hamburg)

    A complete list of all download mirrors (ftp/http/rsync) is available at


    For those folks who are using OTRS 2.3 and want to upgrade to 2.4 please read the UPGRADING and INSTALL files. We do not recommend to use OTRS 2.4.0 beta1 for running operations. The stable release is planned to be published 2009-07-01.

    Although OTRS 2.4.0 beta1 has been tested before, we appreciate your contributions. As always, you’re encouraged to tell us what you think, using this feedback e-Mail: [] or by filing a bug in Bugzilla [].


    Hauke Jan Böttcher
    Director Sales & Marketing

    ((otrs)) :: OTRS AG :: Norsk-Data-Straße 1 :: 61352 Bad Homburg
    Fon: +49 (0) 6172 681988 10 :: Fax: +49 (0) 9421 56818 18 :: Communication with success!

    Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Burchard Steinbild
    CEO: André Mindermann

    NEW! ENTERPRISE SUBSCRIPTION – Get more information NOW!

    OTRS mailing list: announce – Webpage:
    To unsubscribe:

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    Welcome to Fedora 11

    You know, Fedora 11 is coming soon, in just less than a month. We are welcome to it all together.

    As a long-time fan of RedHat and Fedora distros, I would like to share with you some interesting information. Please also do not forget to turn back here to see the final count down on the side bar.

    Enjoy it yourself!


    The following are major features for Fedora 11:

    • Automatic font and mime-type installation – PackageKit was introduced in Fedora 9 as a cross-distro software management application for users. The capabilities it offers thanks to integration with the desktop became more visible in Fedora 10, where it provided automatic codec installation. Now in Fedora 11, PackageKit extends this functionality with the ability to automatically install fonts where needed for viewing and editing documents. It also includes the capability to install handlers for specific content types as needed. Some work is still being completed to provide automatic installation of applications.
    • Volume Control – Currently, people using Fedora have to go through many levels of mixers in different applications to properly set up sound sources. These are all exposed in the volume control on the desktop, making for a very confusing user experience. PulseAudio allows us to unify the volume controls in one interface that makes setting up sound easier and more pain-free.
    • Intel, ATI and Nvidia kernel modsetting – Fedora 10 provided the first steps by a major distribution into using the kernel modesetting (KMS) feature to speed up graphical boot. We indicated at the time that we would be adding greater support for additional video cards as time went on. KMS originally was featured only on some ATI cards. In Fedora 11, this work is extended to include many more video cards, including Intel and Nvidia, and additional ATI as well. Although not fully complete, we have increased enormously the video card coverage of the KMS feature, with more to come.
    • Fingerprint – Extensive work has been done to make fingerprint readers easy to use as an authentication mechanism. Currently, using fingerprint readers is a bit of a pain, and installing/using fprint and its pam module take more time than should ever be necessary. The goal of this feature is to make it painless by providing all the required pieces in Fedora, together with nicely integrated configuration. To enable this functionality the user will register their fingerprints on the system as part of user account creation. After doing so, they will easily be able to log in and authenticate seamlessly using a simple finger swipe. This greatly simplifies one element of identity management and is a great step in the evolution of the linux desktop.
    • IBus input method system – ibus has been rewritten in C and is the new default input method for Asian languages. It allows input methods to be added and removed dynamically during a desktop session. It supports Chinese (pinyin, libchewing, tables), Indic (m17n), Japanese (anthy), Korean (libhangul), and more. There are still some features missing compared to scim so testing is strongly encouraged and reports of problems and suggestions for improvements welcome.
    Some other features in this release include:

    • Ext4 filesystem – The ext3 file system has remained the mature standard in Linux for a long time. The ext4 file system is a major update that has an improved design, even better performance and reliability, support for much larger storage, and very fast file system checks and file deletions. It is now the default filesystem for new installations.
    • Virt Improved Console – In Fedora 10 and earlier the virtual guest console is limited to a screen resolution of 800×600. In Fedora 11 the goal is to have the screen default to at least 1024×768 resolution out of the box. New installations of F11 provide the ability to use other interface devices in the virtual guest, such as a USB tablet, which the guest will automatically detect and configure. Among the results is a mouse pointer that tracks the local client pointer one-for-one, and providing expanded capabilities.
    • MinGW (Windows cross compiler) – Fedora 11 provides MinGW, a development environment for Fedora users who wish to cross-compile their programs to run on Windows without having to use Windows. In the past developers have had to port and compile all of the libraries and tools they have needed, and this huge effort has happened independently many times over. MinGW eliminates duplication of work for application developers by providing a range of libraries and development tools already ported to the cross-compiler environment. Developers don’t have to recompile the application stack themselves, but can concentrate just on the changes needed to their own application.
    Features for Fedora 11 tracked on the feature list page:

    The Future of Linux: Fedora 11 Beta Available Today

    It’s certainly not news to anyone that Red Hat and Intel have been closely working hand-in-hand for many years to offer high-performance, low-cost alternatives to proprietary IT solutions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux combined with Intel processors and system components have essentially redefined the meaning of “commodity computing.”

    The most recent result of this partnership centers around today’s announcement of the availability of Intel’s latest Xeon (Nehalem) processor. This processor provides significant new capabilities that, as a result of our collaboration during its development, are fully supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, which was released in January. We believe that the combination surpasses the capabilities of proprietary high-end systems, while offering true affordability.

    There are two primary areas where Intel’s new Xeon processor, combined with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, offers customers the opportunity to meet their computing needs while reducing costs:

    • Scalability/Performance. Virtualization enhancements provide greater scalability and performance, and allow for the virtualization of a wide range of workloads, even those that are I/O intensive.
    • Energy efficiency. Support for Greener IT features result in lower power consumption and cooling requirements.

    In short, this is really all about doing more at a lower price-point. Let’s dig into a few technical details around scalability/performance and power efficiency enhancements.

    Until recently, system performance was primarily driven by new processors operating at increasingly high frequencies — that is the good news. The bad news was a seemingly insatiable appetite for power and cooling — all driving up datacenter costs. A common solution to this problem has been to use virtualization to consolidate workloads. So, Red Hat and Intel worked closely together to deliver enterprise-caliber virtualization in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, which customers have been successfully deploying since the product was released in early 2007.

    Enhancements provided by the new Intel Xeon processor take both virtualization and power efficiency to a new level. The virtualization capabilities provided in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 are highly optimized to utilize the latest features of Intel Virtualization hardware, including “extended page table” memory access optimization. Extended page table support enables the hypervisor to directly access memory maps of virtual guest instances, thereby bypassing previously necessary kernel software codepaths – the net result is significant speedup in data access for I/O intensive workloads. Scalability enhancements provide support for up to 126 processors and 1TB of memory in virtualized deployments – significantly larger than competing products.

    Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 enhancements to utilize Intel’s QuickPath memory technology can more than double the performance of memory intensive workloads – both in non-virtualized and virtualized deployments. This increased performance and scalability of virtualized infrastructure opens the door for deployments of entirely new categories of workloads. For example, it was previously uncommon to virtualize I/O intensive workloads such as database and network file serving. Today, Red Hat’s performance analysis of industry-standard database benchmarks running on the new Intel Xeon processor with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3’s optimized virtualization show that I/O intensive workloads can achieve 85 percent of the performance of non-virtualized deployments. As a result, the combination of the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux release and Intel Xeon processor yields substantial performance benefits over the prior generation, while providing the efficiency and flexibility of virtualization for consolidation and workload migration.

    Of equal importance are the power management enhancements, which can be summarized as dynamically adaptable. There’s a lot more to it than the typical control of basic processor speed. Rather, the new Intel Xeon processor is able to dynamically adapt not only processor speed, but also interconnect speeds to both memory and I/O devices, as well as adapting the number of active cores and threads on each processor. Of course, the hardware is only half of the power efficiency story because without the corresponding operating system optimizations, from scheduling to virtualization, the full benefits could not be realized.

    The close Red Hat / Intel co-development relationship makes Red Hat Enterprise Linux a highly optimized platform from both a virtualization and power management perspective. And, to make this product launch as successful as possible, we invited some of our most demanding customers to participate in early product testing. Through a joint beta program we were able to optimize the implementation of both hardware and software. Customer interest for the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 and the new Intel Xeon processor was exceptionally strong, making it the one of our most highly anticipated recent product launches.

    These are just a few highlights of a new wave of commoditization of formerly exotic features. Offering compelling performance, scalability and power efficiency, the combination of the new Intel Xeon processor and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 enable a best-in-class computing solution with impressive affordability.

    To learn more about the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the new Intel Xeon processor, check out the 5.3 announcement press release and our 5.3 blog and video.

    Recent enhancements by Red Hat to its Enterprise Linux subscription services mean that systems can be supported for up to 10 years, with no requirement to upgrade. Read more in our blog on Red Hat’s Extended Update Support offering.

    March 30th, 2009

    by Tim Burke, Senior Director, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Engineering

    Bằng chứng lịch sử khẳng định chủ quyền VN tại Hoàng Sa

    Một sắc chỉ của triều đình Nguyễn liên quan đến việc canh giữ quần đảo Hoàng Sa được gia tộc họ Đặng ở huyện đảo Lý Sơn, Quảng Ngãi, gìn giữ suốt 174 năm qua, nay trao lại cho Sở Văn hóa – Thể thao và Du lịch tỉnh.

    Hậu duệ của dòng họ Đặng, ông Đặng Văn Thanh, vừa lặn lội từ đảo Lý Sơn vào đất liền, đến thành phố Quảng Ngãi để trao di vật tổ tông cho lãnh đạo tỉnh. Tiến sĩ Nguyễn Đăng Vũ, Phó giám đốc Sở Văn hóa – Thể thao và du lịch Quảng Ngãi, nói: “Quá vui mừng và bất ngờ khi tôi nhận được tư liệu quý này, bằng chứng lịch sử khẳng định chủ quyền VN đối với quần đảo Hoàng Sa”. Đây là sắc chỉ của vua Minh Mạng (triều Nguyễn), phái một đội thuyền gồm 3 chiếc với 24 lính thủy ra canh giữ đảo Hoàng Sa vào ngày 15 tháng 4 năm Minh Mạng thứ 15 (tức năm Ất Mùi 1835).

    Chủ nhân của bức sắc chỉ.

    Chủ nhân của bức sắc chỉ.

    Qua phiên dịch của tiến sĩ Nguyễn Xuân Diện, Phó giám đốc thư viện, Viện Nghiên cứu Hán Nôm VN, sắc chỉ ghi rõ (bằng chữ Hán): “Giao cho ông Võ Văn Hùng ở Lý Sơn chọn những thanh niên khỏe mạnh và giỏi nghề bơi, lặn để gia nhập đội thuyền, giao Đặng Văn Siểm (dòng họ ông Đặng Lên đang giữ tài liệu) lo kham việc đà công (người dẫn đường), giao Võ Văn Công phụ trách hậu cần”.
    Sắc chỉ còn thể hiện cách thức tổ chức của đội Hoàng Sa, thủy quân Hoàng Sa, phiên chế, cách tuyển chọn, thời gian xuất hành mà nhiều bộ chính sử và các tư liệu lâu nay chưa đề cập rõ.

    Theo tiến sĩ Vũ, đây là sắc chỉ duy nhất còn nguyên vẹn bản gốc liên quan đến quần đảo Hoàng Sa của Việt Nam. Sắc chỉ này là bằng chứng lịch sử khẳng định mỗi năm vua Minh Mạng đều cho thành lập một hải đội gồm các thợ lặn thiện chiến nhất ở Lý Sơn giong buồm đến Hoàng Sa để tìm hải vật và cắm bia khẳng định chủ quyền của Việt Nam ở quần đảo này. Triều đình từ thời đó cũng đã xác định đây là công việc rất quan trọng, được phối hợp chặt chẽ từ trung ương đến địa phương trong việc lập bản đồ, cắm mốc chủ quyền, trồng cây và bảo vệ Hoàng Sa.

    Từ sắc chỉ này, theo nghiên cứu của giới sử học Quảng Ngãi, công việc bảo vệ Hoàng Sa thời xưa kéo dài suốt nhiều năm và rất nhiều hải đội người Việt đã nối tiếp nhau có mặt ở quần đảo Hoàng Sa. Không chỉ tộc họ Đặng mà ở huyện đảo Lý Sơn còn có các tộc họ Võ, Phạm, Nguyễn… cũng liên tiếp nhau đến Hoàng Sa – Trường Sa theo lệnh của triều đình. Tiến sĩ Diện cũng khẳng định sắc chỉ là một tờ lệnh rất quý giá, có niên đại vào năm Minh Mạng thứ 15. Các dấu ấn đóng trên văn bản cho thấy giá trị xác thực và tin cậy của tờ lệnh.

    Ấn của vua được đóng trên sắc chỉ.

    Ấn của vua được đóng trên sắc chỉ.

    Ông Đặng Lên, chủ gia đình đang lưu giữ tờ lệnh của tổ tiên, kể, sắc chỉ đã truyền trong dòng họ từ nhiều đời nay và được 6 thế hệ lần lượt cất kỹ trong một hộp kín, hiếm khi được mở ra nên không biết nội dung nói gì. Chỉ đến dịp giỗ tộc Tết vừa rồi, cả dòng họ thống nhất photo tờ sắc chỉ gửi đến Sở Văn hóa nhờ dịch, mới biết tổ tiên từng tham gia bảo vệ chủ quyền đất nước ở Hoàng Sa. “Tộc họ chúng tôi rất tự hào về truyền thống tổ tiên giong buồm đến Hoàng Sa theo lệnh triều đình nên nay quyết định hiến tờ sắc chỉ cho quốc gia”, ông Lên xúc động nói.

    Theo ông, mới đây có người giả danh là cán bộ Sở Văn hóa – Thể thao và Du lịch Quảng Ngãi tìm đến gia đình ông để xin nhận tờ sắc chỉ. Tuy nhiên, khi liên lạc với Sở có xác nhận là không cử người đến nhà, gia đình ông Lên kiên quyết từ chối trao tư liệu này cho kẻ mạo danh.

    Trao đổi với ngày 9/4, ông Võ Xuân Huyện, Chủ tịch UBND huyện Lý Sơn, cho biết, chính quyền địa phương đang chỉ đạo các cơ quan chức năng tăng cường bảo vệ gia đình ông Lên cùng với bức sắc chỉ được xem là cứ liệu lịch sử quan trọng khẳng định chủ quyền của Việt Nam đối với quần đảo Hoàng Sa.

    Sáng cùng ngày, Sở Văn hóa – Thể thao và Du lịch đã tiếp quản và bảo lưu tài liệu này. Sở cũng làm một phiên bản của sắc chỉ có chiều dài 1,5 mét, rộng 0,6 mét trong khung kính để ở nhà thờ họ Đặng tại Lý Sơn, đồng thời tặng giấy khen cho ông Đặng Lên.

    Nội dung của sắc chỉ.

    Nội dung của sắc chỉ.

    Mấy ngày qua, câu chuyện về những người lính giong buồm đến Hoàng Sa được người dân Lý Sơn kể cho nhau nghe như những bản anh hùng ca. Theo lời kể của những người già trên đảo Lý Sơn, họ từng được nghe cha ông truyền miệng nhau về những chuyến giong buồm vượt biển đến Hoàng Sa gần 200 năm trước.

    Theo ông Lên, trước khi giong buồm vượt biển Đông, các thành viên của hải đội Hoàng Sa được gia đình, họ tộc làm lễ “tế sống”, gọi là Lễ khao lề tế (thế) lính Hoàng Sa. Lễ này thường diễn ra vào tháng 2 và 3 hằng năm ở đảo Lý Sơn. Mỗi người lính được tạc một hình nhân để thế mạng và chôn vào các ngôi mộ gió, bởi chuyến đi của họ giống như cuộc ra đi của tráng sĩ Kinh Kha – khó có ngày về.

    Ở Lý Sơn ngày nay, hầu như đi đến đâu cũng bắt gặp vô vàn những ngôi mộ gió này. Các hải đội Hoàng Sa ở Lý Sơn nối tiếp nhau đến Hoàng Sa – Trường Sa trên những chiếc ghe bầu được đóng bằng gỗ chò mà người xưa hay gọi là tiểu điếu thuyền. Ghe chỉ rộng khoảng 3m, dài hơn 10m, chở được 10 người. Nương theo chiều gió, ghe căng ba cánh buồm cùng với sức chèo đi khoảng ba ngày ba đêm thì đến đảo Hoàng Sa. Ngoài lương thực, nước uống được mang theo tạm đủ dùng trong 6 tháng, những người lính còn bắt cá, chim làm lương thực trong suốt chiều dài hải phận. Trước khi ra đi, các thành viên không quên mang theo bên mình một thẻ bài ghi rõ danh tính, quê quán, phiên hiệu hải đội. Mỗi người còn chuẩn bị một chiếc chiếu, dây mây, nẹp tre để lo hậu sự cho chính mình nếu không thể trở về đất liền.

    Nhắc đến Hải đội Hoàng Sa, người Lý Sơn luôn khắc cốt ghi tâm những người anh hùng bất chấp hiểm nguy để cắm mốc, dựng bia chủ quyền, đo đạc thủy trình, trồng cây cối, thu lượm hải vật ở quần đảo Hoàng Sa, trong đó có những người của tộc họ Phạm là Phạm Quang Ảnh và Phạm Hữu Nhật.

    Theo gia phả lưu giữ tại gia tộc Phạm, vào triều Nguyễn, Phạm Quang Ảnh được phong làm cai đội Hoàng Sa. Ông lãnh quân ra đi rồi mãi mãi không về. Con cháu đắp nấm mộ chiêu hồn tập thể cho ông cùng 10 người lính của mình. Đến nay, ngôi mộ gió này vẫn còn được thờ tự ở thôn Đông, xã An Vĩnh.

    Còn ông Phạm Hữu Nhật được phong làm Chánh đội trưởng suất đội, đã dẫn đầu một nhóm thuyền chở khoảng 50 người mang theo lương thực đủ ăn 6 tháng vượt biển đến Hoàng Sa. Ở từng điểm đảo thuộc quần đảo Hoàng Sa, họ đều dừng lại cắm mốc, dựng bia chủ quyền ở đảo đó và đo đạc thủy trình, trồng thêm cây cối, thu lượm hải vật, rồi mới về tấu trình hoàn thành nhiệm vụ.

    Không ai rõ Phạm Hữu Nhật đã đi bao nhiêu chuyến, nhưng có một điều chắc chắn rằng lần cuối cùng ông đi mãi không về. Gia đình, họ tộc đã phải an táng ông bằng nấm mộ chiêu hồn không có hài cốt. Tổ quốc cũng khắc ghi công ơn của ông bằng việc đặt tên Hữu Nhật cho một hòn đảo lớn nằm ở phía nam quần đảo Hoàng Sa. Một hòn đảo lớn trong nhóm đảo Lưỡi Liềm ở Hoàng Sa cũng được đặt tên Quang Ảnh để ghi nhớ công lao của Phạm Quang Ảnh- người đã từng đặt chân lên đảo này để khẳng định chủ quyền.

    Giới nghiên cứu sử học tại Quảng Ngãi cũng xác nhận những thông tin này là thật.

    Bài và ảnh: Phạm Khang