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Red Hat Summit sessions preview: Rik van Riel, Fedora 9, and RPM with Spot


Here’s a little sneak preview of some of the educational sessions at this year’s Summit. And who better to outline their talks than the speakers themselves? In this first installment, Rik van Riel talks about computing speed; Fedora developer (and Red Hat engineer) Bill Nottingham outlines his thoughts on the most recent Fedora release; and Tom Callaway sums up his plans to speak about the simplest ways to use RPM. Want more? Come see us at the Summit, and check out the full schedule.

Why Computers Are Getting Slower (And What We Can Do About It)
Rik van Riel
Wednesday, June 18, 10:15 a.m.

Common wisdom holds that everything about computers gets faster with time. Over the last 20 years, processors have gotten about a thousand times faster, a typical PC has two thousand times more memory, and hard disks are a hundred thousand times times larger.

However, it has become a common experience for people to buy a new faster computer–only to find out that it takes longer to boot up (or do other common system tasks) than it took on the older, supposedly slower computer.

This year at the Red Hat Summit, I will start by explaining some of the fundamental hardware and software reasons for the observed slowdowns. The most obvious reasons have to do with the fact that hardware designs are approaching the limits of what is possible within the laws of physics.

A less obvious reason is that the capacity of most components in a computer has increased far more than the speed at which the components operate. This has caused several operating system algorithms and system administration practices to become impractical on today’s hardware.

Besides showing how bad things can get, my Red Hat Summit presentation also will also discuss operating system improvements to alleviate the problem, as well as deployment and application development practices that can solve the rest of the problem.

Fedora 9 Overview and Demonstration
Bill Nottingham
Wednesday, June 18, 11:30 AM

One of the most often asked questions in the software world is:

“What’s coming in the next release?”

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® is no different. Sure, you can wait for the beta release, and pore through the release notes and the package changelogs. You can corner a product manager at the right moment and get the scoop. But the best way to find out what’s coming up in future Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases? Look at Fedora.

Fedora–for those who don’t know–is a freely available and freely distributable Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open-source software. It’s developed by people across the globe as part of the Fedora project community, and it’s where Red Hat does their innovation.

In this talk, we’ll look at some of the features that are in Fedora 9 that preview the things to come in later releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Just some of the things you can now do in Fedora 9 that you can’t do in Enterprise Linux 5:

As a IT executive:

  • You can run hardware accelerated virtualization, including your old Xen guests, all on the stock kernel

As a systems administrator:

  • You can delegate and restrict routine administrative tasks to your users on a task-by-task basis, while simultaneously reducing the amount of security conscious code that runs as root
  • You can set up your systems to easily have guest users, that run in a restricted mode where everything they do is reset upon their logout

As a road warrior:

  • You can now install to an encrypted filesystem, and use encrypted filesystems for your user data
  • Your laptop will use less power than it did before, extending your battery life
  • You can now configure your freshly-attached projector without worry of offending all those within earshot

As a user:

  • You can now lock your user session and easily let another user log in, without having to close anything you’re doing
  • You can transparently move audio streams at runtime from your built-in sound card to your USB headset, or mute your music player when you have an incoming SIP call

At the Red Hat Summit, we’ll discuss all of these and more, with demos. Stop by and see if I actually use Yanni for the audio demos.

How to Make Good RPM Packages
Tom “Spot” Callaway
Wednesday, June 18, 1:30 p.m.
RPM Packaging can help make your life easier, but good packages are the key to success. Using good packages means that you spend less time
installing, patching, and tracking software. In my session, I try to peel back the myths and the mystery that surrounds the process of making good, reliable, and maintainable RPM packages. I cover the basics and explain the different sections of an RPM spec, as well as providing some tips and tricks from the Fedora Packaging Guidelines. RPM is powerful, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Sound like a good time? Then you should join us at this year’s Red Hat Summit. Geeks. Execs. Educators. Everyone. There’s still time to register. (But I’d hurry if I were you.)

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