Oracle's 'State of the Penguin' Updates Penguinistas of Multiple Persuasions

Oracle Linux users in North America are gathering online tomorrow (Thurs. May 6, 10am PT) for the latest edition of the State of the Penguin. Wim Coekaerts, Oracle Software Development SVP and Linux Foundation Vice Chairman, will be leading what promises to be an enlightening conversation about the industry landscape, customer use cases, and the latest Oracle Linux technologies, including containers, KVM, open-source contributions, and developer tools, all to help Penguinistas "explore possibilities and update your plans."

Coekaerts' co-host for the event will be Sergio Leunissen, VP in Oracle’s infrastructure engineering team. Leunissen currently leads initiatives to deliver solutions for developers on Oracle’s operating system and Oracle Infrastructure Cloud, and he’s responsible for Oracle’s presence on GitHub.

I had the opportunity to talk with Coekaerts about the event last week. He's widely described as an "industry luminary," an appellation I found to be something of an understatement. He led the last online State of the Penguin, held six months ago.

"We're trying to provide an update on a regular basis to users of Oracle Linux, specifically, but also Linux in general," Coekaerts told me. "We want to let the community know what we're doing, and the 'state of the penguin' was just sort of a good headline for that."

The event will take the form of an informal Zoom chat, Coekaerts said, without the usual structured Power Point presentations offered by most webinars (though there will be some slides). It's planned as a true Q&A session, reminiscent of the original "state of" events at the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference.

The event definitely gives Big Red a stage to blow its own horn about its contributions to the Linux community. Coekaerts reminded me that Oracle is consistently among the top three or four contributors to the Linux kernel, that the company is consistently adding features and lots of lines of code, all of which is readily available for code review.  

"People don't realize how many code reviews we do," he said, "and they sometimes forget that doing code reviews and sign-offs is a big part of why Linux is as good as it is. Everyone looks at everyone else's code and provides comments and they formally say, I put my name on this, I looked at it and I agree that it's good code. A lot of that stuff is done by the people in our team."

I asked Coekaerts what was top-of-mind for him as the "state-of" event approaches. He pointed to the work his company has done on Linux on ARM-based chips. "We put a lot of effort into making Linux run really well on ARM on the server," he said, "and we've been applying all the knowledge we've gathered over the years on how to make a good server platform from an operating system point of view. We're taking that knowledge and basically applying it to ARM, because, although it has been around a long time for 32-bit servers, it has not for 64-bit servers."

He also pointed to the work Oracle has done on security around the QEMU hosted virtual machine monitor.

"The way QEMU works, it's one process that runs along with the VM," he explained. "And so there has been a concern that if the VM has a sort of backdoor into QEMU, you get to the host and there's a control platform. We have done a huge amount of work separating that, so there's one process running for managing QEMU, and another process that actually contains the stuff the VM needs. We've isolated the address space, and that's very important from a security point of view. And there's nothing in this that's specific to Oracle. Everyone else can make use of it."

Coekaerts' team is also working on a new memory access strategy that takes into account the drive toward higher core counts, and the resulting contention on locks in the kernel.

"What tends to happen as the cores grow is that people run more processes, so there's more contention on locks in the kernel," he explained. "So, as we run the database, for example, we discovered that there are significant performance impacts on getting access to virtual memory."

Coekaerts' team also came up with a new way of dealing with memory access called "Maple Tree."

"It went upstream into the kernel," he said. "I think it's a good example of how we try to make Linux better, in general."

Coekaerts felt it was important to mention that the complete Oracle Linux kernel, with the complete change logs starting from Linux 3.0, are available on GitHub. "Every change we make, all the errata, every bug fix—it's all publicly out there," he said.

With the release of Oracle Linux 8.4 on the horizon, attendees can also expect to get a peek at the roadmap, Coekaerts said, including an update on the Ansible product, Oracle Linux Automation Manager, the upcoming Oracle Cloud Native Environment 1.3 (basically an uptake of the latest version of Kubernetes), and upcoming releases of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle Linux.

There's more on the agenda, and Coekaerts had a lot to say, but I don't want to give away any plot twists. Anyone can register to attend the event.

Posted by John K. Waters on 05/05/2021 at 9:42 AM0 comments

InfluxDB Makes it Easier for Disparate Devs to Collaborate on Time Series Data

The challenges of building applications that need to handle the massive volumes and countless sources of time-stamped data produced by sensors, applications, and infrastructure are myriad. Because of the uniquely critical need for efficient communication among dev team members working with what is known as "time series" data is critical, distributed teams especially challenged.

Enter time series database provider InfluxData, which recently announced a solution to this challenge, at least within the InfluxDB Cloud. The new InfluxDB Notebooks allows developers to discuss time series data analyses and trends inside the platform, so team members don't have to use third-party messaging apps, which can slow them down significantly. This new capability allows users to create what the company calls "a durable artifact" that shows teams how time series data is analyzed to solve business problems.

"Development teams are more distributed than ever, but until now, they haven’t had the tools they need to seamlessly communicate around time series data," said Russ Savage, director of product management at InfluxData, in a statement. "To solve this problem, we’ve reimagined InfluxDB as a way to collaborate around data, not just store it. This new approach will dramatically save time for developers, so they can focus on building software."

InfluxData provides a time series database platform aimed at developers building Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and monitoring software. The company's new InfluxDB Notebooks adds a number of capabilities to the platform, including

  • Design time series data pipelines with dynamic data, live code, and real-time visualizations — all with inline explanatory notes. This capabilities allows dev team members to show their work and sharing it with others.
  • The ability to share incident investigations to explain root causes following service outages, and to build "runbooks" to avoid future outages.
  • The ability to document how Internet of Things sensor data has been collected, normalized, enriched, and "downsampled" to facilitate preventive maintenance and forecast device obsolescence.

The company says it plans to add another new capability to its platform: InfluxDB Annotations, which will make it possible to add notes directly on dashboard cells to more quickly highlight and explain the meaning of anomalies in time series data, and to coordinate troubleshooting efforts. It will be used to capture context and share details about ongoing investigations into outlier data points that are underway.

This capability will save teams time "by eliminating the need for multiple people to repeat the same investigation," the company says. Both features are designed to support "better collaboration workflows between developers,  SREs, and every stakeholder involved in time series collection, enrichment, and analysis."

Where InfluxDB Notebooks allows teams to "weave together computational information" such as code, data, and statistics with narrative and graphs, InfluxDB Annotations will help developers "share contextual clues" so they can quickly determine the root cause of incidents and restore services faster.

Posted by John K. Waters on 04/29/2021 at 9:54 AM0 comments

Clash of the Titans: The Consequences of Google v. Oracle

An epic battle between titans splashed across news banners and came to a history-making end last week. No, I'm not talking about Godzilla vs. Kong, but the decade-long legal clash between Google and Oracle over software copyright and fair use. (I know… I know… but the comparison was just lying there.) 

As I reported earlier, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled last Monday that Google did not commit copyright infringement when it used 37 Java APIs in its Android mobile operating system without Oracle's permission. There was a lot of money on the line--Oracle wanted an $8.8 billion piece of Google's Android business and $475 million in lost potential licensing revenue--but there was more at stake here than an obscene amount of cash. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 04/15/2021 at 3:53 PM0 comments

Microsoft Rolls Out OpenJDK Preview Release

Java developers got a preview today of the soon-to-be-released Microsoft build of OpenJDK, a Long-Term Support (LTS) distribution of Redmond's version of the ubiquitous open-source Java dev kit. This preview release includes binaries based on OpenJDK 11 for x64 platforms covering the three major operating systems: macOS, Linux, and Windows.

The Microsoft build of OpenJDK binaries for Java 11 are based on OpenJDK source code, the company says, following the same build scripts used by the Eclipse Adoptium project and tested against the Eclipse Adoptium Quality Assurance suite (including OpenJDK project tests. The binaries for Java 11 have passed the Java Technical Compatibility Kit (TCK) for Java 11, which is used to verify compatibility with the Java 11 specification.  More

Posted by John K. Waters on 04/06/2021 at 6:22 PM0 comments

VMware Launches New Multi-Cloud Platform

VMware unveiled a new distributed, multi-cloud platform this week designed to help its customers simplify the adoption and operation of multi-cloud environments.

The pitch for the new VMware Cloud is aimed at both software developers and IT operators. The platform is designed to boost the productivity of devs by enabling them to build and deploy to any cloud. The platform also gives IT the ability to modernize infrastructure and operations with better economics and less risk. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 03/31/2021 at 3:59 PM0 comments

Eclipse Foundation Launches Adoptium Working Group Focused on AdoptOpenJDK Mission

The Eclipse Foundation this week announced the formation of the Eclipse Adoptium Working Group, a collaboration of vendors supporting the efforts of the Eclipse Adoptium Project, formerly known as AdoptOpenJDK.

AdoptOpenJDK is an open, community-led initiative formed to provide free, pre-built binaries of the reference implementation of the Java platform from OpenJDK. Since it was founded in 2017 by Martijn Verburg, a leader of the London Java Community, AdoptOpenJDK has seen more than 240 million downloads. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 03/24/2021 at 3:54 PM0 comments

RedMonk Ranks Programming Languages Using GitHub and StackOverflow

Programming language rankings get regular headlines, and they should, at least from trend trackers like us. Among my favorite is the RedMonk quarterly, published this week. I like the methodology of their system, which extracts data from GitHub and Stack Overflow and combines them for "a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction."

In other words, it correlates what the cool kids are talking about with actual language usage "in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends." It's a mix that makes it meaningful. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 03/04/2021 at 3:54 PM0 comments

Foojay: A Place for Friends of OpenJDK, the community site for developers who use, target, and run their applications on top of Java and OpenJDK, today announced the companies who will make up its advisory board. The roster includes Azul, Datadog, DataStax, JFrog, Payara, and Snyk. This board will guide the direction, content and oversight of the site, with a focus on growing the community and meeting its mission to provide free information for everyday Java developers.

In case you missed it (which I must confess, I did), Foojay is a nascent-but-evolving-at-warp-speed Java information consolidation site for everyone from hard-core, in-the-trenches Java jocks to the Java curious. And it is a thing of beauty. It organizes information from multiple sources into logical categories and delivers the warts-and-all info you won't see on the vendors' sites. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 02/04/2021 at 3:59 PM0 comments

Eclipse Foundation Puts Down Formal Roots in Belgium

The Eclipse Foundation's move to Europe continues apace with the formal establishment last week of the Eclipse Foundation AIBL, its new international non-profit association in Brussels, Belgium. The new European entity launches with the support of founding members Bosch, Daimler TSS, IBM, and SAP, the Foundation said in an announcement.

The Eclipse Foundation is one of the world's leading open-source software foundations, steward of the Eclipse IDE, enterprise Java, and the Eclipse MicroProfile, and the heart of a global ecosystem of developers, companies, and public sector entities. By moving its legal residence from the United States to Belgium, the Foundation has created "a global institution that builds on its existing membership base, active developer community, and strong institutional relationships to enable collaboration and the free flow of open source software innovation throughout the entire world," the announcement reads. More

Posted by John K. Waters on 01/21/2021 at 4:00 PM0 comments

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