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+ - Apache OpenOffice reaches 100 million downloads. Now what?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times.

Over 100 million downloads, over 750 extensions, over 2,800 templates. But what does the community at Apache need to do to get the next 100 million?"

Comment: Solving the wrong problem (Score 1) 184

by davecb (#46778069) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

In a previous life, we passed around virtual machines rather than doing paperwork. Paperwork is to be sure you have a plan to solve the explosion-and-revert problem.Managing machines instead of paper allowed us to include a process for doing an immediate revert on explosion (;-))

The VMs we passed around were Solaris zones, so they were very lightweight. If I wanted to apply an emergency patch to production, I first applied it to an image, put an instance on pre-prod, a physical machine, and varied it into test. After the smoke-test, I varied it into the pool on the load-balancer, and watched it closely. If it fixed the problem and didn't explode, I put lots of instances on the production physical servers and put them into the load-balancer, quiescing the un-patched instances but not erasing them. If the patch blew up after all, I could revert to the previous buggy release as fast as the load-balancer could disconnect people. Not quite as fast as doing an atomic change on a single server, but fast.

This is a minor variant on some old unix norms: 1) you aren't prohibited from doing even silly things, as prohibitions will keep you from doing something brilliant. 2) You can do anything, but you can't hide what you did, 3) you can change things atomically while running, and 4) if you do something dumb, you can revert it immediately.

The process is a variant/predecessor of ITIL, with pre-set apply and revert steps for emergency changes, which are the high-value part of the whole ITIL change process. Non-emergency changes were a little more heavy-weight, as we tested the patch in an instance in QA, then did a simulated UAT overnight (it was automated, but exceedingly slow), reviewed the results and then the de-facto board decided if we could release the image to production, QA and dev. Your paper-oriented CAB does approve all patches to QA and dev, right? I'll bet they missed that part (:-))

--dave
I did once have a customer where I had to do paper-based CAB approvals, but that was because we weren't funded to have a proper dev, and had no QA at all. As you might guess, we still had at least one fiasco. I shortened the contract as much as I could without doing a no-bid in the middle.

Comment: zOS Maintenance and CAB (Score 1) 184

by jacobsm (#46777781) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

I'm the zOS Systems Programmer at a Fortune 500 company. When we do system maintenance cycles our CRB just wants to know when the system environment is changing, not what's changing.

If anyone ever does want to know I do have detailed logs and a before and after image of the maintenance management database (SMP/E Consolidated Software Inventory) for them to peruse. They never do; since they don't understand zOS Systems Programming, and they shouldn't have to. It's their job to manage system availability and to ensure that proper testing and system validation activities were performed. It's my job to manage the environmental change.

For anyone who's foolish enough to ask for detailed documentation of every module, macro, load module, dataset, file in the Unix System Services file system that's being modified, well enjoy yourself.

What I won't stand for, is for someone to have veto power over what maintenance goes on. That's my decision, and since I'm the best person in the organization to decide, I do so.

Comment: As a Change Manager... (Score 5, Insightful) 184

by Pete (big-pete) (#46777571) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

I work in Change Management for a major telco, I chair the IT CAB, and I oversee server and client patching (amongst many other changes!). When we patch clients, we are patching up to around 30,000 real and virtual desktops - when we patch servers, they also number in the thousands.

There is no way we would allow a sysadmin to patch anything at any time without some level of oversight, an individual admin has no oversight on other patches, hardware interventions, application releases, network upgrades, business campaigns, etc that may be happening on our environment at any given moment (this isn't their job to be keeping track of all of that info). For server and client patching is as light as possible, but we still maintain a close oversight.

On the Wednesday following the second Tuesday of each month (for example), I sit down with the Windows server guys and the Windows client guys, and we review their proposals to patch - usually we have a fairly rapid timescale that we can meet to ensure that the patches are deployed (including pilot testing, etc to catch any issues before everyone's desktop is broken!), sometimes there are other major interventions that overlap, and then we need to make prioritisation decisions and decide which has priority. We have made similar agreements with the Linux teams, where they have a special process to patch, and we have close oversight on Unix patches, as upgrading these servers with a reboot can be a very big deal.

The last thing you want is an application version release of a critical ordering application happening at the same time as a system software patch, and then to have an issue afterwards - is it the application version, is it the systems patch, was there some conflict with the activties being performed at the same time? Troubleshooting gets more difficult, teams point fingers at eachother, and the whole time the business is screaming blue murder.

Of course in an Incident situation there is more flexibility to get things fixed fast, and with security issues I am keen to break open the S-CAB process to expedite a rapid approval flow to ensure that security holes are fixed as fast as possible - of course most changes are encouraged to follow the rules though, the change calendar is published, and everyone knows when the "standard" slots for deployment are, and if most people manage to schedule their changes within those windows, then it minimises potential conflict for everyone.

Change management are not your enemy, they are your friend - once you register your change with them, they have your back, they will guard from other interventions clashing with you, will stop you from inadvertently upsetting the business, and will decrease change related Incidents. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and Change Management need to find the right process for the right type of change - we cannot have a full in depth investigation into every configuration change, every patch, every bug-fix, every new server to be provisioned. A good Change Management team will guide changes to the appropriate flow, and grease the wheels for certain types of interventions - it seems that the CAB mentioned in the summary are still finding their feet a little, and I am sure they will evolve over time as they start to understand which changes are high risk, and which can be allowed to pass with a lighter touch.

-- Pete.

+ - System Administrator vs Change Advisory Board 1

Submitted by thundergeek
thundergeek (808819) writes "I am the sole sysadmin for nearly 50 servers (win/linux) across several contracts. Now a Change Advisory Board (CAB) is wanting to manage every patch that will be installed on the OS and approve/disapprove for testing on the development network. Once tested and verified, all changes will then need to be approved for production.

Windows servers aren't always the best for informing admin exactly what is being "patched" on the OS, and the frequency of updates will make my efficiency take a nose dive. Now I'll have to track each KB, RHSA, directives and any other 3rd party updates, submit a lengthy report outlining each patch being applied, and then sit back and wait for approval.

What should I use/do to track what I will be installing? Is there already a product out there that will make my life a little less stressful on the admin side? Does anyone else have to go toe-to-toe with a CAB? How do you handle your patch approval process?"

Comment: Was the problem fixed by an MSE update? (Score 1) 5

by Futurepower(R) (#46776965) Attached to: Microsoft malware attacks taking down XP computers
Bruce,

Was the problem fixed by an MSE update? See the discussion on a Microsoft site, System Center Endpoint Protection - error 0x80004005. That discussion indicates that the problem caused severe malfunctions, but was apparently fixed within 22 hours.

You said, "I suspect a very high percentage of people will assume they got a virus, and be forced into an upgrade situation." I think that is true, no matter why the problem occurred.

More about Windows XP: I've written an article, Microsoft Windows XP "end of life": What to do? that I think gives a much more balanced view of Windows XP than anything I've read in the media. The article needs updating with information I've gathered recently.

+ - Federal appeals court says EPA can force power plants to cut mercury emissions-> 1

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes ""A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld regulations adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut mercury and other emissions from large power plants, a setback for states and energy trade groups that have been challenging Clean Air Act regulations during the Obama administration.

The decision by a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit means that coal- and oil-fired plants must purchase scrubbers and other equipment to prevent 91 percent of mercury from being released into the air during the burning of coal.... The Department of Energy forecasts that capacity retirements will reach 60,000 [megawatts]""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Earlier story, rejected: (Score 1) 5

by Futurepower(R) (#46774785) Attached to: Microsoft malware attacks taking down XP computers
I posted this story earlier, but it was rejected:

We are seeing 4 kinds of problems with Windows XP today at 2 remote locations:

1) One kind of problem is similar to the one in this April 7, 2014 story about computers in Australia: Pop-ups irritate Windows XP's remaining users. Microsoft Security Essentials on computers in the United States give pop-up messages about the MSE service being stopped.

2) Computers are requiring far longer to start, perhaps 12 to 15 minutes. Then the MSE pop-up appears.

3) Microsoft Security Essentials now calls into question whether XP is genuine. These are all computers that have run without issues for several years. The customer bought licenses when Windows XP was first released.

4) We have seen problems with the Windows XP operating system detecting a key stuck down when no keys were pressed on the keyboard. That is a software problem, not a keyboard hardware problem. It causes the system to be un-responsive because the key being detected is not one actually pressed, but is actually a key combination. Again, that is happening on computers that have been trouble-free for years. That problem began happening after a Windows update.

Microsoft said it would support MSE on Windows XP for another year. See the Microsoft article, Microsoft antimalware support for Windows XP. Apparently that support is not happening in the normal way.

+ - Quality: Open Source vs. Proprietary->

Submitted by just_another_sean
just_another_sean (919159) writes "Coverity Inc., a Synopsys company, released the 2013Coverity Scan Open Source Report.
The report details the analysis of 750 million lines of open source software code through the Coverity Scan service and commercial usage of the Coverity Development Testing Platform, the largest sample size that the report has studied to date.

A few key points:

* Open source code quality surpasses proprietary code quality in C/C++ projects.

* Linux continues to be a benchmark for open source quality.

* C/C++ developers fixed more high-impact defects. Analysis found that developers contributing to open source Java projects are not fixing as many high-impact defects as developers contributing to open source C/C++ projects."

Link to Original Source

+ - What good print media is out there that hasn't already died?

Submitted by guises
guises (2423402) writes "A recent story discussing the cover of Byte Magazine reminded me of just how much we've lost with the death of print media. The Internet isn't what took down Byte, but a lot of other really excellent publications have fallen by the wayside as a result of the shift away from the printed page. We're not quite there yet though, there seem to still be some holdouts, so I'm asking Slashdot: what magazines (or zines, or your newsletter) are still hanging around that are worth subscribing too while I still have the chance?"

+ - WordPress 3.9 brings brand new editor and more features ->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "WordPress users can now rejoice as the much awaited 3.9 arrives with some really stunning improvements. Writers and bloggers will now enjoy the brand new visual editor which is fully redesigned and looks more or less like Google Docs. It’s very mature, user-friendly and elegant looking. It has improved image management as well has HTML5 support for themes."
Link to Original Source

+ - Problems with Windows XP caused by Microsoft.

Submitted by Futurepower(R)
Futurepower(R) (558542) writes "We are seeing 4 kinds of problems with Windows XP today at 2 remote locations:

1) One kind of problem is similar to the one in this April 7, 2014 story about computers in Australia: Pop-ups irritate Windows XP's remaining users. Microsoft Security Essentials on computers in the United States give pop-up messages about the MSE service being stopped.

2) Computers are requiring far longer to start, perhaps 12 to 15 minutes. Then the MSE pop-up appears.

3) Microsoft Security Essentials now calls into question whether XP is genuine. These are all computers that have run without issues for several years. The customer bought licenses when Windows XP was first released.

4) We have seen problems with the Windows XP operating system detecting a key stuck down when no keys were pressed on the keyboard. That is a software problem, not a keyboard hardware problem. It causes the system to be un-responsive because the key being detected is not one actually pressed, but is actually a key combination. Again, that is happening on computers that have been trouble-free for years. That problem began happening after a Windows update.

Microsoft said it would support MSE on Windows XP for another year. See the Microsoft article, Microsoft antimalware support for Windows XP. Apparently that support is not happening in the normal way."

+ - Microsoft malware attacks taking down XP computers 5

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In an apparent attempt to force Windows XP users to update, Microsoft is now using its Security Essentials program as a malware trojan to make XP machines unusable. It slows the machine down to a crawl, mimicking a virus attack. In other cases, it locks it up completely. The timing couldn't be an accident. Shouldn't this be illegal?

https://plus.google.com/104518..."

FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin

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