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red hat virtual experience [Dec. 9th, 2009|04:11 pm]
[Location |garner, nc]

About a month ago, some of my Red Hat colleagues told me about the Red Hat Virtual Experience, and they asked if I had any ideas about how we could add value to the experience from the community and Fedora side of things.

I suggested that sharing some of the stories about the heavy use of virtualization in the Fedora Project's production operations would make for interesting content, and Mike McGrath graciously offered to participate in a panel discussion. A lot of the virtualization that Fedora uses is built upon libvirt, KVM, and other upstream open source virtualization projects that both Red Hat employees and Fedora contributors play a large role in.

While Mike handled the technical side of things, I manned a virtual Fedora booth and basically did the standard Fedora Ambassador thing, complete with asking people to Google Image Search "Fedora tshirt" and pretend that I'd just given them one.

Some of the specific discussions that I had today:

* I was asked about downloading Fedora 12, and choosing a specific mirror.

* I had an opportunity to tell a few people about FUDCons, and point people to the pages of past events that we've had.

* We had a pretty long conversation about nvidia drivers in Fedora, including the work ongoing with Nouveau, as well as the third-party locations that happen to package nvidia drivers for Fedora.

* I pointed folks to the Fedora 13 feature list, which is already starting to take shape.

* From the help & documentation side of things, I had several opportunities to direct people to the Fedora Forums, Freenode's IRC channels, the virtualization guide, and the Fedora Mini special interest group.

* I spoke to folks about Fedora Ambassadors in real life, and opportunities to meet with the community face to face.

* One visitor and I had a conversation about using Fedora as a platform to practice for RHCE-like skills.

* The final conversation that I had was about the gap between Fedora and RHEL. A user who has a number of RHEL servers deployed lamented the fact that he needs some of the newer software that is in Fedora (GNOME, for example), and that some of the software he needs is not in EPEL, and never gets updated in RHEL. Fedora isn't supported long enough for him to simply use Fedora to fill those needs, so he's stuck with a gap in which he can have the software he needs without support, or the support he needs without all the software.

* A couple of Fedora folks who I know from other parts of the world stopped by the virtual booth to say hi, including dowdle who often comments on LWN's Fedora stories, and 2006 RHCE of the year Marco Palazotti.

From: bochecha.id.fedoraproject.org
2009-12-09 09:49 pm (UTC)


I keep hearing about Red Hat's next product in virtualization : RHEV-M [1]

However, I couldn't find any link to the source (or event binary packages) to try it out.

Knowing Red Hat's commitment to FOSS, I don't doubt for a second that this product will not be closed source, so I see only 3 options :

1. I should look better
2. it was not released yet
3. I should definitely look better :)

As you're coming back from a Red Hat Virtualization event, could you clear my doubts and indicate which option is the correct one ? (1 and 3 being the most likely, I'm sure of it :)

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6DfoOrh-cs
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[User Picture]From: dowdle
2009-12-09 11:47 pm (UTC)

Opening up RHEV?

See my interview (mentioned in another comment) and some initial commentary I wrote regarding this for some additional background (see: Initial Reaction: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers - http://www.montanalinux.org/rhevfs-initial-reaction.html)

To answer your question, the current/first generation of RHEV has a management application that is Microsoft Windows Server 2003 based as well as requiring several other Microsoft technologies (MS SQL, Internet Explorer, .Net, etc). Red Hat is actively developing the second generation of the management application that is Java-based and multi-platform... so my guess would be that there is zero chance for a GPL release of the Windows code, and a much greater change (100%) of a code release after the second gen product is released.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-10 02:44 am (UTC)

Re: Opening up RHEV?

While this I think fairly explains RHEV-M, I would like to see RHEV-H source made available now.

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[User Picture]From: dowdle
2009-12-10 04:18 am (UTC)

Re: Opening up RHEV?

While I'm guessing that almost all of the components that make up RHEV-H have already been released as part of RHEL 5.4... there are surely a few components that haven't been:

1) The modified installer
2) The service that handles the communication between the RHEV-M and RHEV-H
3) Maybe some SPICE integration bits, not sure on that

Without RHEV-M, I'm not sure how useful the packaged up sources for RHEV-H would be... but yeah, Red Hat might technically be in violation of the GPL not making some or all of the code available. I'm guessing they will resolve that issue in the not too distant future, especially if they are confronted with it more publicly.

#1 might be nothing more than an a newer kickstart and / or a modified build script for RHEL... which aren't really source code, are they?

I'm probably wrong about #2 since RHEL 5.4 can also be managed from RHEV-M as a virtualization host... and I'd assume RHEV-H and RHEL5.4 use the same service?!?

At least they have documented the API... I think. See:


Perhaps I'm just imagining that they haven't released the source for RHEV-H because I don't have access to the RHEV channel on RHN to see if there is an ISO for the source.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-03-26 08:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Opening up RHEV?

I've got an answer to this question from redhat.
Here is the post: http://vrstorm.com/2010/03/26/about-the-open-source-of-rhev-h/
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[User Picture]From: jspaleta
2009-12-09 10:22 pm (UTC)
Let's talk about that gap between RHEL and Fedora a bit more.

RHEL 3 release:October 2003

RHEL 4 release:Feb 2005

RHEL 5 release: March 2007

RHEL 3-4 gap: 16 months
RHEL 4-5 gap: 25 months
RHEL 5-6 gap: 32 months and counting.

That 32 month gap is the underlying problem. Red Hat needs to have an on-the-record conversation about solutions to the problems caused by that 32 month gap, that don't void support contracts. Until Red Hat is ready to have that discussion I don't see a way for the larger RHEL customer ecosystem to work with Red Hat to address the issue.

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[User Picture]From: dowdle
2009-12-09 11:57 pm (UTC)

RHEL 5 dot update

As you are probably aware, Red Hat *HAS* addressed the RHEL5-6 gap to a certain extent already. How? By extending the support cycle for RHEL 5 and by doing several re-bases of packages with the dot update releases. Which packages? Firefox... OpenOffice.org... Evolution... Thunderbird I think... and make a few others. You can find the real details (my memory is not so good sometimes) in the release notes for the last couple of RHEL 5.update releases.

While those mitigations are helpful there certainly is room for improvement.

Some would say that Red Hat should have taken one of the RHEL 5.update releases and called it RHEL6. I think the best candidate for that would have been 5.4 with the addition of KVM... but since they didn't switch kernel branches and the vast majority of the packages remained upchanged, I can see why they didn't bump it up.
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[User Picture]From: jspaleta
2009-12-10 12:28 am (UTC)

Re: RHEL 5 dot update

The extended support doesn't really address the conversation Max had. Specific applications got a rebase okay.... but what about frameworks and libraries? What's RHEL's available gtk version compared to mainline? What's RHEL's available python version 2.4?

If you are starting in-house development on a new project today that you expect to be in service for 4+ years are the framework and libraries RHEL5 provide too stale in some cases? How many customers end up rolling their own versions of newer upstream libraries and framework versions in order to fill the gap and get access to upstream features not available in the older supported RHEL versions?

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[User Picture]From: dowdle
2009-12-10 04:03 am (UTC)

Re: RHEL 5 dot update

I completely agree with you and the things I pointed out are proof that Red Hat is aware of the problem. I'd like to see an interview with one or more of the Red hat bigwigs to see what they have to say.

It would also be nice to get a glimpse of the road map that Red Hat has for RHEL 6... like Steve Jobs has historically done before the release of each new Mac OS X candidate. Being so tight lipped or giving the impression that their plans are so strategically important they want to keep them secret as long as possible... really comes off as if they have no plan.
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[User Picture]From: jspaleta
2009-12-10 05:55 pm (UTC)

Re: RHEL 5 dot update

Aware of the problem...sure... but is awareness enough?

If "we" want to solve the problem Red Hat needs to invite stakeholders into a publicly archived conversation about how consumers ( aka customers) , external contributors (aka Fedora EPEL and upstream developers for projects that customers are using) and Red Hat (aka The Man) can build a mutually beneficial solution to better fill the gap.

It can be an invite only conversation to keep the signal to noise level up (ie don't invite me)...but it needs to be archived publicly so the rest of us who are not invited but are going to be part of a ecosystem response will be able to get perspective on what the game plan is and will have a better idea of what piles of dirt to move around once we are encouraged to pick up a shovel.

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[User Picture]From: dowdle
2009-12-09 11:41 pm (UTC)

My buck fifty worth of commentary

Awesome report. I really, really, really enjoyed the conference... although I have to admit I was at work and wasn't able to concentrate exclusively on it the whole day so I missed a lot of content... and the opportunity to ask questions and chat after them. Luckily though I saw someone mention that the presentations would be available online for the next 3 months... and verified the "replay" feature is there already.

I did get to attend a couple presentations and do some question asking and chatting... although there were usually three going at the same time so there was no way to see them all live anyway.

I attended the Technical Merits of KVM talk by Andrew Cathrow and was actually able to extend an interview I had done with him and Jim Brennan by chatting with them in the Networking Cafe. (See: Interview: Red Hat on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization - http://www.montanalinux.org/interview-red-hat-rhev.html).

While I did notice some pretty minor technical glitches it does show the promise of such a "virtual" type event. I wonder how much it cost Red Hat and if it is something Red Hat (and/or others) would consider sponsoring for Fedora... so Fedora could have a virtual online conference.

MY MAIN POINT / QUESTION IN WRITING THIS COMMENT IS... How many folks like the Virtual Experience and would like a Fedora Virtual Experience event?

My only regret though is that the event was outsourced to virtualevents365.com (this was my first use of their service) and that it, I assume, is a closed service/product... and based strongly on Flash.. If there were unresolved concerns about using virtualevents365.com for a Fedora virtual conference, maybe Fedora could setup up a DimDim server (http://www.dimdim.com/) as an almost suitable substitute that is much more open/free?!?

I too am signed up as a Fedora Ambassador but I've been busy with so many other Linux-related projects (OpenVZ and the LUGs in Montana) that I haven't been very active so far as the Fedora online services are concerned. Oh, and I have been responding to several Fedora related articles on LWN as Max mentioned.
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