Report from the Front

News from ApacheCon and just how many bugs are in the Linux kernel?

Chips, Cards, and Geeks

Amid tumbling dice and clinking ice, ApacheCon 2004 was held this past November in Las Vegas, the city that makes kitsch cool. While most attendees departed McCarran International Airport a tad lighter in the wallet, they also went home a lot smarter. ApacheCon left everyone brimming in knowledge, enthusiasm, and confidence that the future of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and its cadre of projects looks like one of the safest bets around. The ASF and its participants still have the hot hand, and show no signs of calling it an evening anytime soon.

Perhaps more than ever, this year’s conference underscored the fact that ASF spans so much more than its namesake web server. With 18 tutorials and more than 65 presentations, the dilemma wasn’t finding one interesting session, but agonizing over which of five simultaneous presentations to attend.

Some highlights:

*Ted Leung of the Open Source Applications Foundation (http://www.osafoundation.org/) presented “XML at the ASF: The XML, WS, and Cocoon projects.” In addition to describing the lion’s share of XML-oriented projects fostered by the foundation, Leung also introduced several newer or lesser known projects, including XMLBeans, a tool for binding XML and XML Schema features to equivalent Java language constructs, the native XML database Xindice, and the Cocoon- based content management system called Lenya.

*Apache mod_mono (http://www.go-mono.com/asp-net.html) author Daniel Lopez Ridruejo of Bitrock (http://www.bitrock.com/) presented several sessions, perhaps most notably “Cross Platform ASP.NET with Mono,” where he demonstrated execution of ASP.NET pages hosted on the Apache server.

*Michael Radwin presented a captivating talk on HTTP caching and cache-busting, drawing on experience gained in the development of the Yahoo web infrastructure.

Presentation slides and other materials are available at http://apachecon.lpbn.org/. —W. Jason Gilmore

Bugs Check Out, But Don’t Check In

According to Coverity (http://www.coverity.com), a software engineering company founded by five Stanford University computer science researchers and focused on developing a better way to build software, the 2.6 Linux production kernel contains 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, well below the industry average for commercial enterprise software. As a comparison, commercial software typically has 20 to 30 bugs for every thousand lines of code, according to Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Sustainable Computing Consortium. By that measure, the Linux kernel “should” have 114,000 to 171,000 bugs.

Coverity found Linux bugs in five areas: crash causing defects, incorrect program behavior, performance degradation, improper use of application programming interfaces, and security flaws. A summary of the bugs found is available at http://linuxbugs.coverity.com. However, Coverity says that most of those bugs have already been fixed.

As a public service, Coverity will start providing bug analysis reports on a regular basis and make a summary of the results freely available to the Linux development community.

The Penguin is a Fast Mover

A new IDC (http://www.idc.com) report, Worldwide Linux 2004-2008 Forecast: Moving from Niche to Mainstream, predicts the overall market revenue for desktops, servers, and packaged software running on Linux will exceed$ 35 billion by 2008. The report also projects that the market for packaged applications and infrastructure software running on Linux will exceed$ 14 billion in the next four years.

The new study measure Linux more broadly than ever before, considering Linux shipped with new hardware deliveries, Linux running on redeployed systems, and instances where Linux is used as a guest operating system. Taking these varieties into account, IDC’s research found that the installed base of servers running Linux is 37 percent larger than the installed base for new systems shipped with Linux as a primary operating system alone in 2004.

“When all manifestations of Linux operating systems are counted, Linux is clearly a mainstream solution,” said Vernon Turner, group vice president and general manager of Enterprise Computing research at IDC.

Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL, said, ““This is the first authoritative and comprehensive snapshot of how people truly use Linux, and it’s not surprising for us to see that the adoption is far ahead of even some of the most optimistic estimates.” Cohen concluded, “Linux is forecast to be the fasted growing server operating system environment, and the overall Linux solution stack is growing at a commensurate rate,” concluded Cohen. “What this research shows is the significant and increasing influence of Linux on the enterprise IT marketplace.”

A summary of the IDC report is available on the OSDL Web site at http://www.osdl.org/docs/linux_market_overview.pdf.

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