Google Chrome OS

Google Chrome OSSo… what I told yesterday evening to a good friend of mine has just been announced: Google is to release their “own” operating system called Chrome OS. In short: Linux kernel, simple interface, all apps on the web, better security, very fast boot. This is likely to be much like gOS actually. (I’m sad for them, it seems they have missed a Google buyout they were obviously expecting). So in the future it’s very likely that Microsoft Windows and Mac OS are going to be challenged the hard way on the mainstream market. But I was wrong yesterday because I predicted to my friend that the Google OS would be nothing else than Google Android. No: instead they have choosen a luxurious way to get the best from Google’s own development team by entering into a kind of self-competition, or maybe better to call that internal competition. Now, here are a few things that come to mind:

  • Linux kernel, fast boot: OK, there are a few people who already know how to do that, and actually do that for years
  • (Web) Applications on the web (say “in the clouds”, it’s more fashionable): OK… what else? Windows applications ? no. Linux applications? maybe since that’s Linux kernel. Hmmm.
  • Minimal user interface: ouh ouh! IceWM?
  • “redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates”: I think there are a couple of guys around here on the planet who have been using such operating systems daily, for at least… 15 years (ouch… white hair is not far).
  • What else…? … hardware support! plug and play your XYZ too cool €15 device, and see what happens. I’m curious to see what they do about this part, really curious.

So, OK, I’m a bit harsch, rather amused actually, with this announce, because you know, to me it’s just a minimal Linux system with a browser on the top of it, and I understand that this announce is important and is catching a lot of attention because there is a company with 6 letters starting by a G behind it. And it’s really possible that they catch a significant part of the OS market, for sure. Anyway, I’m not too convinced about the lack of support for Windows apps, I think they may be a little too confident about the capabilities of web-based applications, but this may change in the next three to five years. And of course I can’t wait to see what they do about the support of zillion hardware devices that come with a Windows driver on a CD to make them work. Stay tuned!

IP Traffic Shaping on Linux

Recently I got interested in traffic shaping to simulate various bandwidth capacities. It was a headache to find a working software in that field until I realized that 1) it was easy 2) it was straighforward on Linux kernel since version (2.2.x?).

First of all, you need to modrobe a few kew kernel modules:  cls_u32, sch_cbq, ip_tables

Then all you have to do is to use the “tc” utility which is part of the iproute package.

For instance, let’s assume that you want  to limit incoming and outgoing traffic to 256kbits/s on your local host, and assuming that you have a 100Mbps capable network interface on eth0, what you have to do is:

#  tc qdisc add dev eth0 root handle 1: cbq avpkt 1000 bandwidth 100mbit
# tc class add dev eth0 parent 1: classid 1:1 cbq rate 256kbit allot 1500 prio 5 bounded isolated
# tc filter add dev eth0 parent 1: protocol ip prio 16 u32 match ip dst 0/0 flowid 1:1

Then if you want to change the limit, use “replace” instead of “add” in the second command. For instance:

# tc class replace dev eth0 parent 1: classid 1:1 cbq rate 64kbit allot 1500 prio 5 bounded isolated

You will notice easily that it’s doing the job very well.

Anyway,  I went into some troubles when I started to monitor the traffic: the bandwidth that I set with tc doesn’t fit at all with the actual limitation. For instance, when setting 50kbit in tc, I get a real limitation of around 24 *kBytes* per second, which is about 200kbps. At first, I thought it was a problem with “knetdockapp” that I’m using to monitor the traffic. So I used Bandwidthd which shew similar results, and finally, I transferred a big file during 60 seconds and calculated the real rate from the number of bytes that were received. The results were still the same.

So I’m still wondering why there is such a difference between the figure provided to tc and the real shaped bandwidth.

Ulteo unveils the first Open Source virtual desktop, providing businesses with quicker, cheaper deployment and easier applications management

Following its commitment to desktop virtualization solutions, Ulteo, an Open Virtual Desktop Infrastructure company, announced today that they were releasing the first version of their Open Virtual Desktop solution for enterprises. Delivering faster deployment times and ease of management for the IT department, this first release can be integrated easily into an existing professional Linux or Windows IT environment. The solution can be up and running in a few minutes, delivering rich desktop applications to corporate users.

Read more >>>

New Ulteo Application System coming soon

It’s slick, automatic, and have the latest software version inside (Firefox 3, OpenOffice 2.4…). We’re on track to release the first alpha of Ulteo “Polaris”, and guess what? Soon you may be able to play with the first Ulteo SBC/VDI solution for corporates.

Google Chrome is out

Google Chrome, a new web browser – based on Apple WebKit – aimed at surfing the world wide web, has been released by Google today. Only available for Windows for now, it should be available for other plateforms such as Linux later. What is funny, in my opinion, is that normally, releasing a new web browser should have made not even a news wavelet in the IT world. But Google is releasing it, so it makes a lot of noise. It’s clear that even if they were to release a toilet bowl, that would generate a lot of press. The good news is that they are releasing this product as Open Source, because (they)”owe a great debt to many open source projects, (…) We’ve used components from Apple’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox” (which are open source projects). The question to Google now is: why don’t you improve Webkit and Firefox features and performance instead of releasing your own web browser? Other question: licensing. According to Wikipedia, Google Chrome is covered by BSD licensing but as far as I know, WebKit is covered by the LGPL. So, find the bug (if any). Regarding Mozilla, I don’t know enough about its licensing, so maybe it can be converted to BSD. I’ve tried to find information about source code licensing on the Chrome web site, but I couldn’t find any in 5 minutes. And by the way, why no antialiasing for text rendering? What else? Hmm… OK, we have a new web browser around there. Let’s dance.

Ulteo Application System beta1 has been released…

The image “http://www.ulteo.com/main/images/as/ulteo-scheme.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Automatic synchronization of documents with the Ulteo Online Desktop, automatic upgrading, new “My Digital life” panel, installation in about 3 minutes, hundreds applications available… That’s what you’ll find in this just-released installable version of Ulteo Application System. We have made it with a clear goal in mind: make the PC user’s life still easier. I hope you’ll apreciate it… (download, release notes…)

Two coffees with Ladislav

ladislavbodnar.jpgToday, I’ve spent some time meeting with Ladislav Bodnar. Ladislav is the (nice) guy behind distrowatch.com!, a reference Linux website, one of the biggest and certainly one of the nicest ones. Ladislav was coming from Tapei, Taiwan for two days in Paris. I didn’t dare tasting his nice present yet, a kind of litchy-candies under a plastic film, because everything is written in (traditionnal) Chinese and I’m so blind about Asian languages. But tomorrow I will do, for sure. Will keep you updated.

What a rush!!

The Ulteo main web server is experiencing a big, big, rush. It’s been under an heavy load for two days, and of course, page loading is sometimes slower than expected… We have performed urgency tasks, such as moving static stuff to other servers, but the rush is really too big. That’s the Slashdot effect, which is not turning into a too bad situation because our servers have a good connectivity and still answers… Of course we’re planning to switch to bigger servers, with some redundancy, but this will of course take a few days. So, be patient, register and come back later if you don’t succeed to launch a session or don’t want to wait… Apologizes for that situation, but we didn’t expect a so big and explosive rush…

Gaël.

P S and we are also reading all your warm emails! It seems that you like it, and we are going to make it still better, with some stuff that you do not even expect…

Today is the day. For a premiere

Last days have been extremely busy with the finalization of a partnership of Ulteo with  a major Open Source organization. Their software can soon be accessed through the Ulteo Online Desktop in one click, without any download or installation. Finally some publicly available stuff 😉 Stay tuned! And I can’t wait the release of the V2 of this stuff which has been under heavy development internally for several months.