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The Fossa Project

Dr Jeff Jaffe has just announced The Fossa Project. He pronounces it "Foss-a", and described the fossa as being a very agile animal from Madagascar. People were staring blankly until that description, because of course the non-Jeff-Jaffe part of the world pronounces it "foo-sa", as in the cute little beasties personified by Sascha Baron Cohen and friends in the cartoon movie Madagascar.

The Fossa Project: what is a simple bite on the butt among friends?

Perhaps his pronunciation is made slightly more acceptable because it (just about) stands for "Free and Open Source Software with Agility", because the goal of the Fossa Project is to make computing tasks across a business work better and smarter. I can only hope that means they're finally going to throw YaST in the trash.


Your comments

Here's one of the ways that

Here's one of the ways that Novell describes Fossa: "This concept of policy-constrained identity construction and identity-enabled policy resolution will enable storage, processing and collaboration fabrics as pervasive as today’s network fabric."

What does it all mean?

Surely it's a middleware

Surely it's a middleware synergy platform?

M

"I can only hope that means

"I can only hope that means they’re finally going to throw YaST in the trash."

My god, what a f*cking useless moron you are. Get some clue.

Did you even read the

Did you even read the announcement? Do you have any idea what it's all about?

I always thought a fossa

I always thought a fossa (especially when pronounced the way you seem to suggest) was a depression or cavity, but there we go; I'm more familiar with anatomy than Madagascan mammals.
Perhaps it really is a cavity, into which they have chucked some marketing speak. :-)

Kilroy: if you'd like to

Kilroy: if you'd like to expand a little, please do. If you'd like to post random flames, please do so elsewhere.

U. Ser: I didn't just read the announcement: I sat through the keynote speech from Jeff, and just came out of the press conference where they talked some more about it. If I were to sum up my understanding of Novell's Fossa plan, I'd use the plain-old term "joined-up thinking" - ie, actually making software work together in a smart way, rather than forcing sysadmins to do the hard work. You can find some of the PDF summaries here: http://www.novell.com/brainshare/general-sessions-2008.html (it actually has some real scenarios too, which really helps make it all a little less abstract)

Rhakios: it's that too ;)

Addendum: the official

Addendum: the official Brainshare press release (including some bits on Fossa) is now up on PR Newswire - see http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-17-2008/0004775436&EDATE=

Addendum 2: I just talked to

Addendum 2: I just talked to Ross Chevalier who is Novell's CTO of Systems & Resource Management (and LXF subscriber, natch), who kindly confirmed for me that - at least in his opinion - Fossa doesn't really do much that Novell doesn't already do, it just brings it together into one cohesive system. Joined-up thinking it is, then!

> U. Ser: I didn’t just

> U. Ser: I didn’t just read the announcement: I sat through the keynote speech from
> Jeff, and just came out of the press conference where they talked some more about
> it.

You mean: You came out of a press conference where they announced (for the 100000th time or so) how the $WORLD_SOLUTION_OF_THE_MONTH would change every aspect of IT and lead to Novell's world domination?

Think about what happened to all the previous $WORLD_SOLUTIONS_OF_THE_MONTHS. Think about what happened to Zenworks for Linux, to name just one: They bought Ximian, used Ximian's "Red Carpet" as a counterpart to the then already existing Zenworks for Windows, spent a lot of money to extend it (admittedly with some bright ideas - if only they'd ever worked out). World domination was near.

Then they spent even more money to integrate ZLM (Zenworks for Linux) with YaST2. The result was ZYPP (for Zenworks YaST P... P... whatever). The openSUSE community suffered a lot for that (in fact, they are still suffering from all the after-effects). But it was all for the greater good, to integrate the 70% world solution with another 70% world solution (100% seemed to be in reach then).

Then what happened?

They fired ALL THE PEOPLE who worked on ZLM. They moved it to India for "maintenance mode" (management bullshit for "get this crap out of this place"). It is dying a slow, agonizing death.

ZYPP is still there, in the process of recovering from all the problems the ZLM integration brought. SLES customers are still subjected to the remnants of ZLM eating up resources on their every system (the ZMD (Zenworks Management Daemon) is ever-present). The openSUSE community found ways to get rid of "rug" and "ZMD". The SUSE ZYPP team came up with "zypper" as a (much better) replacement for "rug", and nobody ever had that crazy idea to have a daemon running all the time for whatever stuff "ZMD" did to gobble up all those resources.

That's just ONE world solution that didn't quite live up to the visions the Novell top management had back at that time. There are more. Lots more.

> If I were to sum up my understanding of Novell’s Fossa plan, I’d use the plain-old
> term “joined-up thinking” -

I'd use the plain-not-quite-so-old term "bullshit bingo".

> ie, actually making software work together in a smart
> way, rather than forcing sysadmins to do the hard work.

Forcing sysadmins to do the hard work? Seriously, did you EVER administer a Linux or Unix system without tools like YaST? Name any other Linux distro - whatever little admin tools they provide is just a lame excuse for not coming up with a comprehensive admin suite like YaST.

> You can find some of the PDF summaries here:
> http://www.novell.com/brainshare/general-sessions-2008.html (it actually has
> some real scenarios too, which really helps make it all a little less abstract)

I read that. It's just world bubbles without any content.

I broadly agree with all

I broadly agree with all that you've said, U. Ser; we all felt the pain of having multiple packages managers a few SUSE releases ago, and it just all felt so needlessly bad. But I think it's important to remember that OpenSUSE is a fairly small part of Novell's business plan: they are an identity and resourcing company with a strong enterprise desktop/server package, and that's precisely the area they are targeting with Fossa.

However, the one part I strongly disagreed with (although, as every Linux user knows, most people disagree on this sort of thing!) is your stance on YaST. You asked whether I've ever administered a system without YaST, and my answer is "I've administered 10 times as many as I have *with* YaST." I know that SUSE users like YaST because it puts everything in one place, but I have am a long-time critic of its poor UI design, its willingness to stamp all over any changes you make by hand, its chronic overcomplexity in areas that really ought to be simple, and its focus on programs rather than tasks.

Man, I could talk for a long time about what I don't like about YaST and why I'd rather hand-edit files than use it, but I know you'll feel exactly the opposite - I guess that's the nature of Linux, and we should be glad that we each have a distro that works as we want it to!



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