DatabaseLinux World Boston 2005

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“Think warm thoughts.” I reflected upon the more exotic regions of the globe while waiting for the subway into the city. Despite having slept just 2 hours before hopping onto a plane to Boston, the bitter cold did little to keep me awake. Yet this the birthplace of America’s freedom, home to Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Adams. So neither cold nor drowsiness could cap my excitement regarding visiting one of this country’s greatest cities, not to mention attending the most exciting Linux conference of the season. The result was a week filled with historical and technical enlightenment alike. This summary touches upon just a few of the many announcements that took place during the show.

Novell Announces Project Hula

In yet another major move signalling Novell’s committment to open source, the company announced the Hula project, kicking it off with the release of more than 200,000 lines of code from the Netmail collaboration server application. In the age of bloated software, Hula’s intended goal of “[doing] the basics better than anyone else, not [expanding] in a thousand different directions” is particularly refreshing. Furthermore, particularly stiff competition from companies like Red Hat and Microsoft could welcome new innovation among what remains a crucial yet boring platform.

Xandros Announces SurfSide Linux and Open Circulation Edition

The Xandros has long provided an impressive alternative to Windows, and their newly announced Open Circulation Edition is no different. Offering an amazingly familiar interface, CD burning capabilities, default Skype installation, and dual-boot installation features, potential Windows-converts now have no excuse but to try out what is easily one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions on the market.

Furthering their push into offering a familiar Linux operating system, Xandros also announced a new desktop Linux product titled SurfSide Linux. Intended to provide users with a worry-free Internet client, SurfSide Linux includes a firewall, antivirus software, VPN capabilities, all of the requisite client software such as Firefox and Thunderbird, and more. SurfSide Linux retails for $99.95, and for a limited time includes a 120 minute Skype voucher.

MySQL Continues to Roar

The MySQL database server continues to prove itself the darling of the open source industry, and Linux World was no different. Hosting numerous partners at its substantial booth, it’s apparent that MySQL’s value as an enterprise database server is more pronounced than ever. The following companies are just a selection of its booth partners at the show, each of which offers quite impressive products and services:

  • ActiveGrid: ActiveGrid offers a LAMP-based application server that greatly facilitates the integration, creation, and scaling of open source systems.
  • Emic Networks: Emic offers a highly available, scaleable, and manageable LAMP cluster.
  • GoldenGate: GoldenGate provides transaction-management features for the MySQL platform.

Despite the present clamoring for MySQL’s offerings, don’t discount PostgreSQL. It’s array of impressive features have long been overshadowed by the at times incredulous dislike for inviting new users into the fray, however a tremendous website overhaul and recent backing by Pervasive Softwarecould prove to be quite promising for this powerful open source database server.

Travel Notes

I’ve only been to Boston a few times, but think you could do worse than stop at these places:

  • Eat at America’s Oldest Restaurant: In operation since 1826, the Union Oyster House offers fantastic clam chowder at 19th century prices.
  • Eat at Skipjack’s: The service isn’t so hot, but the food is fantastic and relatively cheap.
  • Drink at the Pourhouse: Despite being right across the street from the convention center, you’re treated like a local here, both in terms of service and pricetag.
  • Check out the Museum of Fine Arts: Ralph Lauren’s car collection will be showcased here from March 6 – July 3, 2005. Even if you’re not there during this time the museum is a can’t miss.
  • Visit Boston Common: One of the oldest public parks in the country, Boston Common once hosted British troops and now is the site of numerous monuments commemorating the war and various city figures. It’s also the start of the Freedom Trail, another fascinating city attraction.
  • Catch up on reading at Antiquarian Books of Boston: Offering a fascinating array of collectible books and periodicals, I barely escaped this place with my wallet intact.

About the Author

W. Jason Gilmore ( is the Open Source Editor for Apress ( He’s the author of Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: Novice to Professional (Apress, 2004. 748pp.). Jason’s work has been featured within many of the computing industry’s leading publications, including Linux Magazine, O’Reillynet, Devshed,, and Webreview.

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