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back to article Google's cloud dumps custom Linux, switches to Debian

Google is moving the default software for its rentable cloud servers from a custom version of Linux to Debian. The decision to make Debian the default image type for Google Compute Engine was announced by the company on Thursday. As a consequence, Google's stripped down Linux OS GCEL (Google Compute Engine Linux) is being …

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Debian Makes Sense.

CentOs is essentially the Free Redhat so Ditto.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows, Windows,

give us Windows, Google! With tiles, please!

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Re: Windows, Windows,

Sure - but everytime you spin up the instance you will have to run GenuineAdvantage and then phone India to get your licence re-authenticated

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows, Windows,

</trollface>

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Re: Windows, Windows,

Pretending you were seriously believing this for just a moment.

It's all nonsense. You do not have to reactivate Windows in this type of environment, assuming you installed the right version to start with. Poor quality trolling.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows, Windows,

At least he won't need to install 1,400 security patches:

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/34258/

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Anonymous Coward

@AC12:04GMT - Re: Windows, Windows,

Thanks for entertaining us! Secunia is a Windows company and listing Debian as a vendor on the page you mention is indeed hilarious. Oh, and you know as much about Linux as Secunia does but you're still funny.

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Re: Windows, Windows,

Depends if people are willing to pay the license fees and support work associated with keeping Windows VM instances up and running. A lot of hosting companies that provide Windows as an option already charge extra to cover this.

So sure you can have Windows "in the cloud", and I presume if you really want to connect via RDP just to restart an http server, you can have it with tiles. Why though, when you can have an OS kernel based on 24 years of active development in Internet, HPC and and embedded environments, that's rock solid, and comes for free with a whole bundle of powerful userland tools already?

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Linux

Re: Windows, Windows,

I really can't imagine why anyone would want Windows to start with. Let alone, attempt to install it 'correctly'.

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Trollface

Re: Windows, Windows,

@Vince: Yes, but let me troll to point out you just trolled to troll another, and in the process, you put holes in your own boat.

Vince: "It's all nonsense. You do not have to reactivate Windows in this type of environment, assuming you installed the right version to start with. Poor quality trolling."

You just assumed yet another variable that is yet another reason why not to choose Windows, that is unless you believe having to reactivate a OS license is NEVER a possibility with Microsoft Windows. Of course, with Debian it isn't, which the original troll implied (With appropriate comedy I might add).

P.S. Did I troll...YES! I'M GUILTY!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows, Windows,

Well go and use Azure then and watch your uptime fall on it's ass.

Now piss off and stop trolling.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC12:04GMT - Windows, Windows,

Not sure what you mean by 'Secunia is a Windows company' but that's a fail regardless of if you were implying it was something to do with Microsoft, or if it only produces Windows products.

Lots of large corporates - for instance many investment banks - use Secunia's research and vulnerability tools and alerts - which cover 40,000 OSs and applications - and are not Windows focused.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows, Windows,

"Why though"

Lower TCO, more functionality (more instance a non experimental NFS 4.1 Server!), more efficient on same hardware, more secure with a much lower vulnerability count, with issues fixed faster and fewer days at risk of zero days, etc, etc.

nb - you wouldnt normally use RDP - Server 2012 is without a GUI by default - all the management tools are designed to be used remotely, and there is Powershell - which is more powerful than any default UNIX shell.

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Re: Windows, Windows,

"Lower TCO"

Who's measuring? Using how many discredited Microsoft-sponsored reports?

" more efficient on same hardware"

No. Just no. There's a reason the top 500 supers are almost all Toy Unix based - because it's not quite a toy any more. With my own personal experiences largely flying in the face of your assertion (and I'm sure, many others who have similar experiences), I have to wonder what you're on about?

"and there is Powershell - which is more powerful than any default UNIX shell."

Ah, a troll. Okay, you got me, I guess.

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Headmaster

Compute

It's a verb.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compute

Arsehole is a noun.

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Linux

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

Oh god... I hate myself for saying this, but I agree with Eadon.

Since the advent of SElinux (which now I'm getting the hang of it is extremely useful/powerful/secure-in-the-right-hands) and the backing/support of the USA's NSA, I think it can easily be argued that Linux *can be* the safer option if it's managed correctly.

It *can* also be the cheaper option. But not with current governmental budgetary controls/procedures in place. Linux on the servers is pretty much a no-brainer to me though.

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Mushroom

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

Munich tried that. Ten years and tens of millions of dollars later they still havnt finished migrating to Linux.. And the 'migration' consists largely of accessing Windows via Citrix whenever they need to get real work done....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

I don't see a problem with slowly migrating, quite the opposite, that's the clever thing to do.

There has of course been a Microsoft- and HP-sponsored study that claims the migration is all wrong and far more expensive than their option would have been, but those stubborn Bavarians do not seem to agree:

"No, Microsoft, open source software really is cheaper, insists Munich"

http://www.zdnet.com/no-microsoft-open-source-software-really-is-cheaper-insists-munich-7000010918/

"In total the LiMux project would cost €23m, compared to the €34m the authority estimated it would have cost to stick with Windows and MS Office."

"Hauf said the HP study assumes support costs for 12,000 clients running the LiMux OS [...] However the number of clients running LiMux in that period has been far lower, [...] and will only reach 13,000 this year. He added that the report also overestimated the number of IT staff working on the project by putting it at 1,000, which is the total number of IT staff working for Munich."

Ahh, Microsoft at its very FUDding best.

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Linux

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

@DanDanDan... A poorly managed Linux is 100x better than a "properly managed" Windows OS. Although, to properly manage, i.e. secure, a Windows OS it's best to just power it down and unplug it.

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Stop

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

"real work" can also be done with libreoffice

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Mushroom

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

That cost also excludes the millions that IBM spent developing the 'Limux' version of Linux used by this project.

There are numerous other sources than Microsoft / HP that confirm that it would have been cheaper to stay with Microsoft:

http://www.geek.com/news/munich-linux-migration-hits-serious-snags-555131/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

""real work" can also be done with libreoffice"

Only if your 'real work' is the most basic level of use and you don't care that your documents wont display correctly on the 99% of PCs that use a proper version of Office....

If that was true, corporates would be running to it like a better mousetrap, but there has been near zero adoption....

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Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

If you are a city council and your staff are producing documents and powerpoints that are anything more than basic - fire them.

Similarly if you are making documents available to your customers - the tax payers - that are only readable by the lates tmost advanced versions of office you are doing it wrong

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Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

I don’t work there but I would put money on their problem not being with Linux but with the legacy windows stuff they are still burdened with. I've worked in many places and the only technical reason ever not to move from MS was 'supporting' legacy stuff.

There were financial reasons - but never to do with the cost of the new system - but the price of 'supporting' the legacy stuff seemed to be a lot lower if you pretended to expand it. And that’s with SME's.

God knows how hard it is to drop MS completely when they can afford several staff reading your governments legal requirements and ensuring you know how to comply with them by maintaining your legacy stuff.

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Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

IIRC Munich originally started this when they were facing moving off W2K/NT4 to XP.

It wasn't that they intended saving money on that move - reading between the lines of the CTOs statement MSFT were prepared to give them the licenses almost free.

It was that they wanted off the MSFT upgrade treadmill. they would since have upgraded xp->vista->win7->win8, each of which would have had the same licence and retraining costs. And would have been done at a date out of their control. You are facing a huge hole in your budget following a recession - and a US software company decides it's time for you to pay several million $ right now.

.

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Holmes

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

That is a clue that they do not know what they are doing. Such failures are common in government, as they tend not to do what is smart, since smart often cost money.

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Mushroom

Re: Linux - the engineer's server operating system

"If that was true, corporates would be running to it like a better mousetrap, but there has been near zero adoption."

Because of FUD just like this, I might add.

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Three wins for Debian in a week

0. Wheezy released

1. International Space Station laptops

2. Google cloud

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Coat

Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

Phase 3: Profit?

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Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

I thought the whole point of Debian (and Free Software in general) was people taking advantage of what's gone before, and paying for it by contributing code back for everyone else to continue the process. Debian profits by receiving code contributions that improve it so that even more people want to use it. As soon as there's a concept of charging (as opposed to accepting donations towards running costs) in order to make a monetary profit, the whole thing breaks.

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WTF?

Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

"As soon as there's a concept of charging... the whole thing breaks" - I would have thought the opposite. As soon as there's money to be made, innovation and breakthrough should be highly stimulated. It's precisely the reason that big businesses are such massive contributors to open source projects. The Linux kernel being a prime example. The GPL protects the code base and the money motivates the innovation - it's a win-win for all involved!

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Anonymous Coward

@Captain Save-a-ho - Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

Absolutely! We're all profiting from this, even you could profit too. I don't want to scare you but there is life after Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

Not necessarily! A lot fundamental inventions, innovations and breakthroughs were made without sniffing for the money. Look at the beginnings of the rocket science for example.

Besides that, the Linux kernel development was never motivated by money although it's true that some are profiting in a way or another. Do you really think those skilled developers would simply go home because there's no money to be made?

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Coat

Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

I run nothing but Debian, and I'm always reminded how poor I am every time I realize I can't donate money. Debian very much requires money or at least what money can buy, if you don't know this, then you haven't even once read the Debian homepage. Google can help, but let us hope Google doesn't lean on Debian too much for private gains.

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Windows

Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

"Debian very much requires money or at least what money can buy"

http://www.spi-inc.org/donations/

Is there a philosophic reason for not using PayPal? This page looks very 1997.

The tramp: I don't spend money on shiny hardware but I can afford to donate the price of an OEM Windows 7 DVD.

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Re: Three wins for Debian in a week

"Profit?"

Have you forgot "satisfaction", "pride in work", or even "community benefit"?

Or do your charge friends who come over for a cup of tea?

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Anonymous Coward

greatness

where are now all those people saying Google is great because they have the capacity to have a custom-better-faster-safer linux? one by one google is ditching all their great products, what's next after Reader and Linux? phpbb instead of g+ :D ?

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Re: greatness

I typically don't reply to AC's, but being I run nothing but vanilla Debian and you somehow have 7 downvotes...I believe you are correct. If you read no farther than this paragraph, then I must ask now: Will this push Debian development, or push Google development in Debian? There is a difference.

Google seemed to start with the intention of taking Linux to a new level, although no one knew or does know what that level is. Now, they are starting to understand that they can make even MORE money by cutting down on certain development, which requires a migration from fully custom to a tweaked standard. In time, expect this from anyone running anything Linux today. Give it 5 to 10 and all your mobiles will all be running Debian or a tweaked forked version of it (BTW, this might not be a good thing).

Of course, there will still be Windows for the ones who just can't let go...

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Re: greatness

@MyBackDoor: I am not sure that Google's behaviour in this scenario is necessarily motivated by avarice. The scenario you describe would be the typical approach of someone coming in from the outside; I have a dream but first X, Y and Z must happen. A few months down the track and the realisation hits that X and Y are already present and Z just needs a few changes. Hat's off to Google for backing up and working with the community on Z rather than going off and inventing the wheel as other large corporate patent trolling companies might.

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Anonymous Coward

Best in class?

Depends which class. Price class? possibly; UNIX class? no; freedom to tinker, customise at kernel level? probably.

But really, get out into the wider world where people spend money: you many be surprised.

Actually, are you referring just to Linux (the operating system) or to GNU and other (for instance BSD) shells and utilities called from the shell? Just to betray one bete noir of mine: Bash is a very broken and incomplete rewrite of ksh/Posix Bourne and does not even do Posix mode properly; it almost makes me prefer tcsh or msh.

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Linux

Re: Best in class?

Then you're quite free to use tcsh or ksh instead. You'll find them packaged for just about any distro.

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Mushroom

Re: Best in class?

> But really, get out into the wider world where people spend money: you many be surprised.

It really depends on your assumptions.

It seems like YOU are the one likely to be surprised.

Linux has been displacing commercial Unix going on DECADES now. This displacement even includes Fortune 100 companies which are your last bastions of overpriced commercial Unix.

The truth is that EVERYONE is stingy. If you were up to your rhetoric then you would know that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Best in class?

"Linux has been displacing commercial Unix going on DECADES now."

As has Windows Server....Particularly in recent years....

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Linux

Used Debian stable for 9 years

And that's on a £15/month virtual machine. It's never crashed once, and always been updatable and upgradeable using apt-get between stable releases, and only needing lower level tools to resolve package management conflicts on very rare occasions. Over that period uptime has been better than 99.9% , largely thanks to the skills of the hosting company. The worst bug affecting it was a memory leak which affected a few months operations before an upgrade to the next stable release fixed it to the extent that while the bug was active it needed rebooting about every 3 weeks. It probably gets rebooted about 2-3 times a year on average. I've never successfully adopted the same approach for desktops - due to these being much more complex systems to maintain in comparison with stripped down servers not needing the overhead of a GUI. On a desktop a full reinstall every couple of years clears out much unwanted cruft and many anomalies. I'm intending to go to Wheezy this summer, at a time when I've got a couple of days to sort out any issues if any arise, but based on past experience there's a good chance there won't be any.

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Unhappy

User E%$^&#nce?

I'm a bit worried about the more frequent use of the term 'user experience' in Google's PR speak lately (as in the update in the OP). I associate that with unsavvy marketing management types, Microserfs mostly. I hope it's not a bad sign.

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Re: User E%$^&#nce?

User experience: i.e. it does what I want without any of the useless marketing crap added on. I always distinguish between websites for engineers and websites for marketing. The former tend to be a bit stripped down in appearance but are good at finding what you want quickly, the latter just look flashy and are often quite useless if you're looking for something specific.

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Re: User E%$^&#nce?

"websites for marketing". I've lost patience with companies whose 'help' website answers any question about 'prodcut x' with 'Buy product x'. Crystal Reports anyone?

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