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The Latest News from the High-Tech World

Munich choose free software; MySQL encourages" free data"; and Opteron gets openMosix.

Munich Chooses Free (as in German Beer) Software

After receiving final approval to deploy Linux for its 14,000 workers in June 2004, the City of Munich has officially chosen its favorite “flavor:” Debian. According to the City, price was only a small factor in the decision to adopt Debian city-wide; ultimately, Debian’s features most impressed the migration team.
The City of Munich’s plan to eject Windows caused Microsoft great consternation, even prompting a personal visit from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The City did not relent, and since then, the German Foreign Office and the Office for IT Security have also chosen Linux. Other European cities, including Vienna, Austria and Bergen, Norway have dropped Windows as well.
Starting immediately, the City of Munich and its two German consulting companies, Gonicus and Softcon, will create a customized distribution based on Debian that’s tailored specifically for civic administration. Migration from Windows to Debian will begin as soon as the City’s “LiMux” (the codename for the City’s migration plan) distribution is finished, which is expected to be some time later this year.

Free Your Data: Migrate to MySQL

In an effort to further promote the adoption of MySQL, MySQL AB, the creators of the MySQL database, have launched the MySQL Migration Suite (MMS), a visual, graphical user interface tool that facilitates the migration of Oracle and Access databases to MySQL. You can download MMS from http://www.mysql.com/products/migration-suite/.
Now in Beta and provided under the GNU Public License, the Migration Suite can convert schemas and views, and can handily automate the task of converting simple databases to MySQL’s format. However, the tool cannot (yet) convert many of the proprietary features of Oracle and Access, such as Oracle’s PL/SQL stored prodedures. Any database feature that cannot be converted by MMS is flagged by the tool and skipped. MySQL AB promises to expand MMS in the future and add support for SQL Server, Sybase, DB2, and Infomix.
In related news, MySQL AB also announced the second Beta of MySQL 5. MySQL Community Edition 5.0.4-beta includes support for stored procedures, triggers, and views, among other new features. You can download the latest version of MySQL 5 from http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/ and its mirror sites.

openMosix Optimized for Opteron

The openMosix project has released openMosix 2.6, a new version of the software that combines ordinary, networked computers into a single-system image (SSI) Linux cluster.
The new openMosix has been ported to Linux kernel 2.6, and much of the openMosix software — which is applied as a kernel patch — has been moved from the the kernel to “userland,” or the domain outside the kernel where applications run. Additionally, openMosix 2.6 is the first version of the software to support the AMD Opteron processor. All told, the recent changes greatly enhance performance and simplify porting to new revisions of the kernel and to different processor architectures, such as the PowerPC.
To find more information and to download the source for openMosix 2.6, visit http://www.openmosix.org/.

Feel the Need for Speed? Pony Up the Pennies

The Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840, the first dual-core PC processor aimed at the desktop market, is now available in a handful of products from specialty computer maker Alienware, PC giant Dell, and little-known Velocity Micro. The 840 contains two 3.2 GHz processor cores. The desktops that include the chip start at $2,300 to $3,000, which is extremely pricey, especially when many satisfactory desktops can be purchased for less than $1,000. However, hard-core gamers and media professionals may ignore the premium price to obtain the ultimate high-performance desktop.
The Dell Dimension XPS starts at $2,900, but high-end users will likely opt for a high-end configuration, including two 160 GB hard drives, 2 GB RAM, and a DVD-RW drive for $3,600. The Velocity Micro ProMagix DCX desktop comes configured with the dual-core chip, 1 GB RAM, a 128 MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 graphics card, a 200 GB hard drive and a DVD burner for $2,700. And for the fragging freak, Alienware offers the 840 in several configurations. One is the Alienware Area-51 AXL (pictured). It ships with 1 GB RAM, a 74 GB, 10,000 rpm hard drive, Nvidia’s 256 MB GeForce 6800 graphics card, Creative’s Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS audio card, and a DVD burner, for $4,500. (Doom III not included.)



Intel is not the only chip maker planning to offer multiple cores in the same package. AMD is now offering a dual-core Opteron, the first dual-core processor available for servers. Dual-cores do not necessarily run faster than traditional CPUs, but can double throughput.

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