Thesis 4: Make Content Networking a Commodity!

Inspired by Jon “Maddog” Hall’s statement at this year’s UKUUG conference that the network is built into Linux I asked myself: why is the network not built into any open source CMS as it is with Linux? Why is it so hard to connect them? Why are they still monolithic blocks of content management?

Obviously, developers of OSS CMS have not yet learned the lesson that Linux tells them: make networking a commodity! Yes, of course, we all do Web services now, yes SOAP or XML-RPC. Yes, there are RSS feeds, trackbacks, pingbacks. Good! A good start, especially in the Weblog community. Unfortunately, the quest for interoperability is as well just at its beginnings. Can we learn from the times when networking was built into Linux? Maybe it’s worth taking a look back at the discussions that evolved in the *nix community.

I will keep an eye on that in the realm of the CONESYS project.

UKUUG: Extreme Linux Programming – A Continuum

Some notes on Jon “Maddog” Hall’s session Extreme Linux Programming – A Continuum.

It was new to me when Jon told us that the Titanic movie used 160 alpha processors with Linux to render the movie. The final rendering took about a year. The producers saved 500 000$ compared to proprietary solutions, a circumstance that Jon commented with: “So the world’s most xpensive movie was half a million dollar cheaper”.

Jon examplified how Linux is used for super computing when finding quarks (physics), doing adaptive control of earthquakes, simulating meteorits crashing New York, mammograms (breast cancer) analysis.

In these cases, Jon said, Linux helps with its cost efficiency, because often people say: “We know how to solve the problem, but we cannot afford to solve it.”, until they see the cost benefits of using Linux for super computing.

Jon drew the following future and past chronologic line, showing “Where does Linux belong?”:

– Beowulfs 1994/1995
– Small-Mid Range Servers 1998
– Embedded Systems 2000
– Commodity based NUMA machines 2003
– Desktop 2003/2004

And the nice thing is, he added, that all of it is based on one set of APIs.

Linux is just perfect for super computing, he said, because “the ntworking is built in” and “parallelism screems at you”. With Linux, you have parallelism even in single-cpu machines where it cuts down on I/O wait time and keeps memory and cache “warmer”.

The investment protection that Linux offers to super computing implementation, are based on the:
– standard operating system
– standard architectures
– standard programming techniques
inherent to Linux.

Oh, and I learned a new acronym: RAS = Reliability/Availability/Scalability.