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Tomcat for Ubuntu and Debian gets Mule kick

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After a kicking from a mule, Java sites and applications on servers running the next versions of Ubuntu and Debian should be more reliable .

The packages for Apache Software Foundation's Tomcat in Ubuntu 10.04 and Debian 6.0 have been updated to avoid sudden shut downs and unreliable re-starts.

The mule in question is MuleSoft, a recent Tomcat convert that has altered the way Tomcat is started by the Linux distos. Tomcat will now no longer be invoked via JSVC but with catalina.sh script instead.

A Tomcat co-author blogged on the MuleSoft site: “MuleSoft's contributions to Tomcat have significantly improved the reliability and usability of both the Ubuntu and Debian Tomcat 6 packages."

Other changes are designed to cut down the amount of package fiddling required by users. Authbind is now the standard method for binding Tomcat to ports lower than 1024 so Tomcat can be run entirely as an unprivileged user. The security manager will default to the disabled state, and reliable restarts are now implemented in the init script.

Ubuntu 10.4 is due next week while the arrival of Debian 6.0 is now uncertain after a code freeze for March, announced in October, was last month postponed due to outstanding bugs.

MuleSoft is a recent convert to the cause of Tomcat. The company started life in 2006 as MuleSource and sprang out of an open-source Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) project stated by MuleSoft's chief technology officer Ross Mason in 2003.

The Mule ESB is MuleSoft's main business, with more than 1.5 million downloads and has been deployed in more than 2,500 production environments.

MuleSoft's Apache conversion started in September 2009, when the company changed its name from MuleSource and released its MuleSoft Tcat Server beta. The server spiced Tomcat with features for enterprise customers in deployment, configuration management, and diagnostics. MuleSoft followed that in February this year with Tomcat for the Amazon and GoGrid clouds, called Cloudcat - a supported virtual image with a management console. Price starts at $0.30 per hour.

The move into Tomcat follows SpringSource, the company founded on the Spring Framework that released its Tomcat-based SpringSource dm server in 2008 and also added management and development features for businesses along with paid support. ®

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