Article from Issue 210/2018

OpenStack Queens released, Kali Linux comes to Windows, Ubuntu to start collecting data with Ubuntu 18.04, CNCF illuminates serverless vision, Red Hat Decision Manager 7 released, and topological superconductor could lead to quantum computing with weird fermions. 

OpenStack Queens Released

The OpenStack Foundation has announced the 17th release of OpenStack, dubbed Queens. OpenStack now powers some of the biggest public clouds in the world. According to a 451 Research survey, 60 percent of enterprise workloads will run in the cloud. The survey also reports that enterprise adoption of OpenStack is expanding in parallel, with enterprises in nearly all verticals and regions now running mission-critical workloads on OpenStack software.

Queens is well equipped with many new features to handle such workloads. It comes with Cinder multi-attach that enables operators to attach the same Cinder volume to multiple virtual machines (VMs). If one node goes down, the other takes over and has access to the volume. According to the OpenStack Foundation, this was one of the most-requested features in cloud environments.

The Queens release also includes significant enhancements to support emerging use cases such as machine learning, network functions virtualization (NFV), container integration and edge computing.

"Our developer community keeps building new tools that are helpful to the infrastructure operator. Eight years in, features that enhance manageability, resiliency, scalability and user experience are still paramount and still have sizzle factor," said Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation.

Kali Linux Comes to Windows

Kali Linux, a penetration testing distro that you may have seen in Mr. Robot, is now available in the Microsoft Store. The Kali Linux team has been working with the Microsoft Windows Subsytem for Linux (WSL) team to bring the distro to the platform that still dominates the PC landscape. By doing so, Kali has brought some of the best penetration testing tools to the biggest PC user base.

"This is especially exciting news for penetration testers and security professionals who have limited toolsets due to enterprise compliance standards," wrote Mati Aharoni, lead Kali developer, in a blog post.

At the end of last year, Microsoft took WSL out of beta, making it available for every Windows 10 user for the latest Fall Creators Update. Users can simply go to the Microsoft Store and install their preferred Linux distro just like any other app. Initially only Ubuntu, openSUSE Leap, and SUSE Linux Enterprise were available, but the WSL team is working with different distros to bring them to the store.

Officially only command-line Linux utilities are available through WSL, as the target audience is developers and sys admins who want to write or deploy applications for Linux machines running on the cloud. That didn't stop the Linux community from running GUI applications through WSL. In fact, even the Kali Linux team managed to run a full blown XFCE desktop.

Running Linux distros under WSL has its own shortcomings. Your system is only as secure as Windows 10. However, the Kali Linux team sees some great possibilities too, "While running Kali on Windows has a few drawbacks to running it natively (such as the lack of raw socket support), it does bring in some very interesting possibilities, such as extending your security toolkit to include a whole bunch of command-line tools that are present in Kali."

Being able to run Linux inside of Windows 10 gives developers native access to tools from both worlds.

Ubuntu to Start Collecting Some Data with Ubuntu 18.04

Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, is planning to collect diagnostic data from its desktop operating system. In a message posted to the Ubuntu Developer mailing list, Will Cooke, director of Ubuntu Desktop, explained the reason behind this move, "We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that matter most to our users, and in order to do that, we need to get some more data about what sort of setups our users have and which software they are running on it."

Ubuntu installer will have an opt-out checkbox for sending diagnostics information to help improve Ubuntu.

Canonical has chosen to keep this feature opt-out, instead of opt-in, meaning unless you uncheck the box, Canonical will collect diagnostic data. The Ubuntu privacy policy will be updated to reflect this change. In order to give users more control over the features, there will be an opt-out option in the Gnome System Settings.

What kind of data will Canonical be collecting? Nothing invasive. They want to know which flavor and version of Ubuntu you are running and whether you have network connectivity (one may wonder how will they get the data if there is no network connectivity?). They will also collect data about the processor, GPU, screen resolution, memory, storage, and OEM manufacturer. Other data includes location (not IP address), installation duration, status of auto login, and disk layout.

Cooke said that all of this data will be made public. It could be a great way for Canonical to start collecting stats about the Linux desktop. There are no credible stats about who is using the platform. Canonical's move can be a step in that direction.

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