LJ Archive

New Products

James Gray

Issue #255, July 2015

Canonical Ltd.'s Ubuntu for Cloud & Servers

The feature-rich 22nd release of the Ubuntu Debian Linux-based operating system, version 15.04, recently became available for download from Canonical Ltd., the OS's commercial sponsor. In the Cloud & Server versions of this “Vivid Vervet” release, three new features stand out: the LXD hypervisor, Snappy Ubuntu Core and the OpenStack Kilo release. First, the next-generation LXD hypervisor for containers, asserts Canonical, eliminates the virtualization penalty of traditional hypervisors, making Linux-on-Linux workloads much faster and much more dense. Meanwhile, Snappy Ubuntu Core, the smallest Ubuntu available, is designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices. Snappy Ubuntu Core already is running on the next generation of network switches, home routers, smart drones and robots, adds Canonical. Finally, the company notes that this Ubuntu release is “the world's first OpenStack distribution to make the newest 'Kilo' release available to users, a significant step forward in scalability for virtual networks on OpenStack”.


SoftMaker Office HD Basic

Although it lacks the advanced functionality of its sibling version, the newer, free and slightly more spartan SoftMaker Office HD Basic “still considerably overtrumps all the other free Android Office packages”, claims its developer. SoftMaker adds that the original SoftMaker Office HD was the first office suite for Android tablets to offer the full functional scope of a Windows Office package; the “Basic” variant meanwhile forgoes some advanced functionality. Basic consists of three apps, namely TextMaker HD Basic (word processing), PlanMaker HD Basic (spreadsheets) and Presentations HD Basic (presentation software), each optimized for touch operation and seamlessly compatible with their MS Office counterparts. The programs offer functionality beyond simple correspondence to include advanced formatting and graphical design. Connectivity with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and OneDrive is built in.


Rich Cameron and Joan Horvath's The New Shop Class (Apress)

Publisher Apress proposes an ideal use for its new book The New Shop Class as a hands-on guide for mentoring budding makers and hackers to a potential science career. Subtitled Getting Started with 3D Printing, Arduino, and Wearable Tech and authored by real “rocket scientist” Joan Horvath and 3D printing expert Rich Cameron, the work demonstrates what open-source “maker” technologies and wearable tech really can do in the right hands. Not only will this book keep readers a step ahead of the young makers in their lives, but it also will provide essential background on mentoring future scientists and engineers. Insights into how engineers and scientists got their start, what these professionals do and how their mindsets mirror that of the maker also are included.


AdaCore's CodePeer

AdaCore's CodePeer 3.0 is the recently upgraded version of the company's advanced static analysis tool for the automated review and validation of Ada source code. Version 3.0 sports a variety of enhancements that help developers detect potential runtime and logic errors early in the software life cycle, and its deep analysis can directly support formal certification against industry-specific safety standards. These standards include DO-178B for avionics and EN50128, the highest standard for safety integrity concerning software for railway control and protection. AdaCore claims a proven track record in the most demanding systems and can help customers in any application domain. The tool, AdaCore says, simplifies the verification effort by detecting subtle bugs in both new code that is being developed and in existing code bases that need to be analyzed for vulnerabilities.


Martin L. Abbott and Michael T. Fisher's The Art of Scalability, 2nd Ed. (Addison-Wesley Professional)

In their new book The Art of Scalability, 2nd ed., leading scalability consultants and authors Martin L. Abbott and Michael T. Fisher comprehensively explain how to scale products and services smoothly for any requirement. The contents of this extensively revised edition include new technologies, strategies and lessons, as well as new case studies from the authors' consulting work for companies like eBay, Visa, Salesforce.com and Apple. Written for both the technical and nontechnical decision-makers, Abbott and Fisher explore the core elements affecting scalability, including architecture, process, people, organization and technology.


VMware's Project Lightwave and Project Photon

As part of its push to enable enterprise adoption of cloud-native applications, VMware recently announced two new open source-projects: Project Lightwave and Project Photon. Project Lightwave is an identity- and access-management project that VMware says will extend enterprise scale and security to cloud-native applications. Meanwhile, Project Photon is a lightweight Linux operating system optimized for cloud-native applications. These projects are designed to help enterprise developers securely build, deploy and manage cloud-native applications. By integrating into VMware's unified platform for the hybrid cloud, these projects will create a consistent environment across the private and public cloud to support cloud-native and traditional applications. The company hopes that the open-sourcing of these initiatives will foment a dynamic ecosystem of partners and developer community, leading to common standards, security and interoperability within the cloud-native application market. The desired outcome is improved technology and greater customer choice.


Imagination Technologies' Creator CI20 Microcomputer

Looking for a high-performance, fully featured Linux and Android development platform? “Step right up” says Imagination Technologies, developer of the new MIPS-based Creator CI20 microcomputer. The company recently upgraded the Creator CI20, which now features an improved board layout that optimizes Wi-Fi performance and is easier to mount in cases. Imagination Technologies also has designed a new 3D-printable enclosing, and makers can use source files from the company's Web site to build their own versions. On the software side, the new version adds out-of-the-box support for FlowCloud, an IoT API designed to connect devices to the cloud.


Sentrix's Cloud-DMZ

The traditional response to the growing threat of attack on Web applications has been to deploy Web Application Firewalls (WAFs). WAFs, says Sentrix, are no longer suitable as they are extremely complex to deploy, configure and manage within today's dynamic Web development models. The Sentrix alternative is Cloud-DMZ version 3.0, “a disruptive approach” that increases security effectiveness by replicating the customer's original Web site, thus locking out attackers by removing more than 99% of the attack surface. Unlike WAFs, Cloud-DMZ does not inspect all incoming traffic but rather continuously analyzes the protected Web property's functionality and virtualizes the customer user interface within a cloud-based grid. As a result, Cloud-DMZ prevents data breaches, defacement and DDoS attacks while not generating false positives and forcing the blocking of legitimate traffic. Among other features, version 3.0 unveils a new, real-time Application Layer Visualizer, “the first tool that empowers both security and Web development teams to visually identify the critical business logic components of their Web application, identify security gaps, fix them using a visual policy editor, and test them before publishing”, notes Sentrix.


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