Archive for the 'technical' category

Red Hat and Intel: Smart processors, virtualization boost efficiency and performance

On Monday March 30, Intel announced the availability of their much anticipated new line of processors, the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 series–nicknamed Nehalem.

Red Hat, a long-time partner of the market-leading chip maker , collaborated on the chip’s debut, testing and optimizing the recently released Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 5.3 on the new processor.

Changes include a new processor architecture, platform architecture, memory subsystem, I/O subsystem, and options (including SSD and 10GbE).

So what’s the big deal? Why all the fuss? Here’s just a few of the improvements wrought by the combination of Intel’s processing power and Red Hat advancements in performance and efficiency. » Read more

Writing simple python setup commands

Building software in most languages is a pain. Remember ant build.xml, maven2 pom files, and multi-level makefiles?

Python has a simple solution for building modules, applications, and extensions called distutils. Disutils comes as part of the Python distribution so there are no other packages required.

Pull down just about any python source code and you’re more than likely going to find a script that helps make building and installing a snap. Most engineers don’t add functionality when using distutils, instead opting to use the default commands.

In some cases, developers might provide secondary scripts to do other tasks for building and testing outside of the setup script, but I believe that can lead to unnecessary complication of common tasks. » Read more

Risk report: Four years of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 4 was released on February 15th, 2005. This report takes a look at the state of security for the first four years from release. We look at key metrics, specific vulnerabilities, and the most common ways users were affected by security issues. We will show some best practices that could have been used to minimise the impact of the issues, and also take a look at how the included security innovations helped.

This report is an update to the three-year risk report published in Red Hat Magazine in February 2007.

» Read more

Introducing Pylons: A hacker’s web framework

Python has a good reputation for tasks like systems programming, network programming, and scripting, but Python for the web is becoming red hot. Part of this has to do with the very popular web framework Django, that was developed at a newspaper to help quickly create Content Management Sites. . Another reason is that Google App Engine–Google’s Cloud Computing offering for developers–only exposes a Python API.

If you are new to Python Web Development, then I’d recommend Django, as it is ideal for building CMS-type applications, social networking websites, and blogs. On the other hand, If you want a hacker’s framework, you might want to give Pylons a look.

Please note: By hacker, I am referring to the kind of hacker Eric Raymond refers to when he writes, “Becoming a hacker will take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work. Therefore, you have to learn to distrust attitude and respect competence of every kind. Hackers won’t let posers waste their time, but they worship competence — especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is valued.”

Ok, so what problem does a hacker’s framework solve that a framework like Django doesn’t? According to some of the Pylons developers, their framework is geared to solve 80/20 problems. Most people—80% of people–want to build blogs, and CMS-type applications. And for that 80%, Django works just great. Of course, the other 20% is where Pylons comes in to play as a “hacker’s framework.” » Read more

Video: Spotlight on PackageKit

Download this video: [Ogg Theora]

In the second installment of the Spotlight On series, we feature Red Hat engineer Richard Hughes on the fantastic new abstraction layer called PackageKit. PackageKit allows users to manage packages in a secure way using a cross-distro, cross-architecture API. This maintains a common set of GUI features, enabling the user to have a better session experience overall. For more information, visit

This isn’t your grandpappy’s dd command

co-authored with Grig Gheorghiu


The dd command is one of those ancient UNIX tools that is extremely powerful, yet at the same time, the syntax can make it feel slightly archaic. A lot of seasoned sysadmins and developers still remember the first time they saw the dd command used by a bearded wizard. He might have used it to test the disk I/O, capture a disk image, or restore it.

In some ways, dd can seem like Old Spice–only the guys over 60 use it. But the younger generation should know that dd still has some tricks up its sleeve. In this article, we’re going to put a new twist on this old favorite and show how grandpappy really does know best sometimes. The new twist is to mix dd with Python and the Google Chart API to make a UNIX 2.0 mashup tool. (“UNIX 2.0” is a play on words for what happens when you change the original behavior of a tool like dd to make it do something a bit different.) » Read more

JBoss Drools how-to: Tuning Guvnor, part 2

Guvnor is the business rules management system in Drools 5. When you deploy it out of the box, you get an unsecured web application that stores data in Jackrabbit’s embedded Derby database.

This two-part article explains how to tune Guvnor deployed on JBoss Application Server 4.2.3. (If you missed the first half of the series, catch up in our archives.)This means that we will use the container’s configuration files and security infrastructure. This installment covers enabling password validation based on an OpenLDAP server, moving from the default data repository, and enabling SSL for better security. » Read more

Open source telephony: a Fedora-based VoIP server with Asterisk

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has emerged as a popular technology for modern voice communications. Many organizations have replaced their analog or proprietary digital telephone systems with VoIP-based solutions. This allows the consolidation of telephone services into an existing IP infrastructure. In addition, using IP to host voice services lets the organization leverage existing expertise–while retaining all of the network’s management advantages. Though not without its disadvantages, VoIP provides a compelling option to those looking for a telephone solution.

This article will present a simple VoIP solution using Asterisk, an open source private branch exchange (PBX) product. It will show you how to install Asterisk, configure it using its LDAP backend, and connect to it using the Ekiga software VoIP client and a Cisco 7900 Series VoIP telephone to make calls. » Read more

NetworkManager: Secret weapon for the Linux road warrior

For years I have envied how easy my Windows- and Mac-based peers had it when traveling with their laptops. They connect to hotspots with ease, get online while I was still logging into root and running some tools. It just wasn’t fair. I wanted an integrated easy-to-use tool that did not require bringing up a shell or logging into root.

I now have that tool in NetworkManager. In this article I will explain what NetworkManager is, what capabilities exist in the tool (in both Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux), and what you can do to extend it to give you more control over your system than before.

What is NetworkManager?

NetworkManager is a software utility that allows a desktop user to manage wired, wireless, modem, WWAN/3G, and VPN network connectivity from a single source. It does not require root access or manual editing of configuration files.

NetworkManager started as a Gnome project and initially appeared in Fedora. It is now supported on multiple desktop environments (Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc.) and in multiple distributions (Fedora, SuSE, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian, etc.). NetworkManager uses dbus and hal to provide network status updates to other desktop applications, allowing them to alter their operation based on this information. For instance, if NetworkManager shows the network is offline, then apps like Evolution and Pidgin will put themselves into offline mode andwait for the network to come online. » Read more

JBoss Drools meets Hibernate

Jaroslaw is a JBoss QA Engineer based in Poland, and recently published an introduction to Drools that he kindly shared with us. This second piece covers Drools (or JBoss Rules), the open source business rules engine… in this case combining it with Hibernate.

This article is presented here in its entirety (with a trackback). The original can be found on Jaroslaw’s site. This article is also available in German and Polish.


Drools evaluates facts which are present in the working memory. But could it also reason over data stored in a relational database? This feature would extend Drools’ range of applicability and since this is an often asked question in the mailing list, it’s worth to know the answer which sounds: “of course Drools can!”


Hibernate, one of the most favorite ORM tools, allows to handle data stored in a relational database. This article will describe how one can access a Hibernate session from inside the rule engine. I will use PostgreSQL as a data source. Besides that I will create two classes, Game and Player, having a many-to-many relationship. » Read more