Feeds

TurboLinux clustering and the code-forking scare

Or, the story that wasn't

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

TurboLinux airdropped some 'clustering enhancements' on to Linuxland this week, but it wound up mounting a search-and-rescue operation before anyone noticed. The kernel patch adds some load-balancing which TurboLinux says will make Linux more attractive as a clustering option. It's a patch that's optional, of course -- all modifications to the kernel have to be approved by Linus Torvalds himself, and Linus is a man who likes to say no -- having veered to the cautious side of most major decisions, not least SMP. The small patch itself is issued as GPL, but the TurboLinux business plan is to release the kernel bits as GPL code and the rest, running in user space, as proprietary binary-only extensions. Non-TurboLinux users will have to patch the kernel, write their own user space extensions, and hope for the best. Clearly, this is a strategy designed to gladden the hearts of their VCs. Now this unremarkable posting would have got little attention, but for the intervention of ComputerWorld and the usually reliable New York analyst outfit DH Brown Associates, who saw a chance to give us that old favourite -- 'when will Linux fork?' ComputerWorld, the puzzling IDG weekly which has jumped onto the Windows NT bandwagon just as the other trade weeklies are jumping off, [ADD YOUR COMPUTERWORLD HORROR STORY HERE] quoted DH Brown's Tony Iams as saying that Linus had better goddam include it or the kernel would fork. This might be a very good question -- if AT&T and Sun had wanted a unified Unix kernel badly enough fifteen years ago, and convinced DEC and IBM they needed one too, history would have been very different. For years, Microsoft has made much of NT being one code base (hmm... Embedded, Workstation, Data Centre, Server with Multiwin, Server without MultiWin, anyone?) And the point hasn't escaped the Microsoft spin-machine either, which has been briefing friendly journalists about the parallels for a while now. But it ignores a couple of facts, we reckon. One is that GPL forks are yet to produce a serious catastrophe: on plenty of occasions the code has merged back into the main tree -- as with the C libraries. The unyielding Torvalds has an uncanny knack for conflict resolution, and when it comes to the crunch the Linux herd likes to stomp as one. Or, else -- and this wasn't GPL, but the point holds true -- as in the case of the X11, the copyright holder simply gave up being bolshy and decided to go with the flow. And is Linus likely to hand running over to one distribution? TurboLinux seemed to realised this too last night. The distributor's source tree maintainer said that he'd never submitted the code to Linus, and didn't plan to. And that it was only ever a DiY patch, so if anyone wanted to get their hands dirty, they should feel free. Alan Cox, second to Torvalds in the kernel pecking order, tartly pointed out "Using Wensong Zhang's code [alternative load balancing] because it is rock solid and production hardened. It needs no proprietary tools. Several vendors already ship this code. I also know people building big web setups using it. [www.linuxvirtualserver.org]" So there. Now we're indebted to Mr Jesse Berst of ZDNet's Anchor Desk for pointing out that what gets Redmond really alarmed is the prospect of high availability Linux clusters that scale like hell. Despite trying to port 128-node VMS clustering to NT in the mid-90s in a vastly expensive programming gang-bang, using many of DEC's original engineers, NT clustering today supports, er…two nodes. Clearly there's something rotten. But the fab four of the self-styled Linux Cluster Cabal (Braam, McVoy, Scottish wunderkind Tweedie and the other one whose name we always forget) have been planning as much in not so secret fashion for a while now. We're expecting some kind of white smoke to emerge from the Cabal RSN -- so um, over to you, Mr Tweedie? ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.