Open Source Graphics Take on Adobe, Microsoft

The Open Source desktop app sector is gaining another player, as the Xara Project speeds towards a 1.0 release. The Xara Xtreme project is focused on building an Open Source version of a commercial-standard vector graphics. The team just released its Xara LX 0.5 for Linux, and is available under the GNU Public License.

“Linux needs a top-tier commercial-standard graphics program,” the team wrote in the release announcement. “The Linux desktop has come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so, but it still lacks any vector or general purpose graphics program to genuinely compete with Windows and Mac commercial products. And although desktop Linux is evolving at a rapid rate, the platform is behind in the graphics market. We intend to change that,” the team added.

So what can Xara 0.5 do now? The list of functionality is pretty impressive:

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MySQL CEO Mickos Looks to Present, Future Opps

MySQL CEO Martin Mickos is always looking to the future, and not one to bugged by the past. OET had the chance to speak with Mickos about the immediate and long-term future of MySQL. Among the topics: relations with Oracle, a growing MySQL partner network, the dramatic uptake in MySQL 5 in the enterprise, and even his views on the webification of the enterprise. For a quick read and a great interview, read on.

An Open Enterprise Trends
Interview with Martin Mickos, CEO

OET: What is this theme MySQL would like to put forward for 2006?
Mickos: I think the overall theme is that we are building something fantastic for the online world, and that the whole world, the enterprise and everyone, is going online.

OET: So, the message is that it takes MySQL to go online?
Mickos: To really get ready for the online world it takes a strong LAMP stack with partners. This year was great for MySQL’s partners. The [MySQL User Conference] was oversold and huge. My first LinuxWorld was smaller than what we had this year. And it’s just little us.

OET: Speaking of partners, things seem to be getting a bit better between MySQL and Oracle? Can Oracle be both a partner and a competitor?
Mickos: Yes, the world was a little bit shocked when Oracle acquired Innobase. . And yes, we thought there might be negative impact on our company and our users. But, we come out of it all even stronger. We have renewed our contract for innoDB with Oracle, and we even nominated them as a MySQL Partner of the Year.

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Madriva Adds OpenVZ Virtualization to Linux Offering

OpenVZ operating system virtualization software will be included as part of the latest commercial distribution product from Mandriva (formerly MandrakeSoft) Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0.

With virtualization technology, a Linux server running either Intel or AMD CPUs, can effectively be split into many small ones, each running its tasks so that the whole server is utilized more efficiently.

Mandriva is the publisher of the popular Mandriva Linux, which is used by IT departments in enterprise, government, and education. OpenVZ is OS-level server virtualization built on Linux, which creates isolated, secure virtual environments on a single physical server.

“Embedding the OpenVZ technology directly into the Mandriva kernel will give Mandriva customers unparalleled virtualization functionality,” said Kir Kolyshkin, manager of the OpenVZ project.

As a result of the partnership, Mandriva users will see greater server utilization and availability with fewer performance penalties. Further, bundled OpenVZ virtualization will let Mandriva admins ensure that applications do not conflict, and allows apps to be re-booted independently. Read the OpenVZ Project’s blog on virtualization.

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Enterprise Data Protection Goes Open Source

Enterprise IT managers concerned about costly or proprietary data backup and recovery now have an Open Source option.

Start-up firm Zmanda Inc. has optimized the Open Source Amanda data backup project for academia with new enterprise-class features. Zmanda has also hired many of the Amanda Project committers, and has thus become the de facto commercial arm of Amanda, Zmanda CEO Chander Kant told OET.

[Initially developed at the University of Maryland in 1991, Amanda has been in use as an Open Source data protection project by academia for more than decade. Now in all major Linux distributions, Kant estimates there are more than 20,000 deployments of Amanda worldwide.]

“At a time when protecting corporate data is becoming a top priority for all businesses, most data protection solutions are simply too costly and too complicated,” said Chander Kant, CEO at Zmanda. “Zmanda gives businesses proven, enterprise-grade data protection at a cost savings of up to 90 percent over proprietary solutions. The data protection market is ripe for commoditization, and Zmanda now offers a low-cost, simple and secure open source alternative to help drive this.”

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Use Case: An Open Source Alternative to HP OpenView

A growing number of Open Source sysadmins and developers are working on web services projects, and are finding themselves mixing their Open Source and commercial software to deliver innovative solutions.

Massimiliano Panchi, a system administrator at an Italian financial software company, needed a way to monitor and log uptime history for a number of Oracle applications in a high availability configuration. Using PostgreSQL as his backend, Panchi built a Perl-based system that would check the status of his applications, populate the PostgreSQL database with these results, and send alert messages if something required human attention.

Now, this innovative solution left Panchi looking for ways to solve his management of his new blended commercial/Open Source software.

After his company evaluated proprietary (and expensive) solutions such as HP OpenView, Panchi wanted to look elsewhere, noting that commercial packages were too expensive and way over-engineered for his needs. OpenView “had a few too many great features that didn’t really address [my] specific problems. It was a bit too wonderful,” Panchi told Open Enterprise Trends, noting OpenView’s sophisticated GUI as an example.

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Australian Firm Calls on Perl for Telco Projects

Add telco services to the growing list of legacy systems that Perl can connect to, thanks in part to a software firm based in the farthest corner of the South Pacific.

Australia’s SkunkWorks focused on Perl and Linux to build its affordable appdev toolkit and engine for building and deploying telecom services.

SkunkWorks’ Whirlwind toolkit, which comes with the Telco Perl appdev engine, enables developers to use traditional Perl scripting skills to deliver a variety of enterprise-caliber telco services, including: voicemail play/record, fax, conference, text to speech, speech recognition, and even complex voice protocol conversions. The Perl-based system also supports all major providers of SS7 and VoIP solutions. Whirlwind also includes S.100 and VoiceXML interfaces. provides many plug-in modules for Perl to connect to third party and legacy systems. Examples of these modules are SMPP for SMS, DBI for database and LWP for web connectivity.

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IBM, Novell Differ Over Linux Indemnity for Users

Even among those companies that favor Open Source Linux use, there are differences over just how much those companies need to do to protect their enterprise users from liability.

During last month’s LinuxWorld, it became clear that not all major Linux providers are on the same page when it comes to indemnifying customers against any fallout from SCO’s $3 billion still-pending Linux copyright infringement lawsuit.

Notably, IBM and Novell execs last months outlined their views on indemnifying customers against any fallout from SCO’s Linux lawsuit. IBM remains steadfast that the suit has no merit and looks to original Linux providers, including Red Hat, SuSE Linux AG, and others. Meanwhile, Novell execs say that despite what Linux vendors’ opinion of the lawsuit are, they need to assure prospective customers.

For his part, Novell CEO Jack Messman told attendees that Novell would protect customers under a limited indemnity program. Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner. Details of Novell’s program are available.

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