Highly anticipated open-source releases coming in '09

These open-source browsers, dev tools, mobile apps and more promise that 'Oooh, cool!' sense of discovery.

The inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama was broadcast via Silverlight, yet more than 50,000 viewers watched it using Moonlight on Linux.

The inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama was broadcast via Silverlight, yet more than 50,000 viewers watched it using Moonlight on Linux.

You can certainly expect action in the configuration management space -- tools that help system administrators get more work done, faster and more consistently. Among them is Reductive Labs Inc.'s Puppet 1.0, due to be released sometime in 2009.

Reductive Labs intends to fully rewrite Puppet's networking functionality, as well as optimize modeling, language enhancements and reporting. Preliminary testing shows the server will be about three times faster with a memory footprint that's a third of its current size, says a project spokesperson.

In April, Zenoss Inc. will release Version 2.4 of Zenoss Core, its open-source monitoring and systems management suite, with a new dynamic Web-based user interface and with agent-less Linux and Unix command-line collection via SSH to improve system-level monitoring. The group will also launch a Zenoss community collaboration platform, Zenoss.net, for users to submit and share network monitoring and management best practices and Zenoss extensions.

These aren't the only new and improved tools for IT admins. Longtime Unix configuration tool Cfengine, which bills itself as "autonomous engineering for the data center," is now in Version 3.0 and backed by a commercial support company; an enterprise edition is planned for this year.

Also worth watching:

Enomaly Inc.'s Elastic Computing Platform, a programmable virtual cloud infrastructure. Version 2, now in alpha, includes a Web services API, automated VM deployment with Elastic Valet and multiserver support.

OpenQRM, a suite of data center management tools that may excite people dealing with configuration management and other administrative tasks in the cloud. As an example of the work under way, Version 4.4 (just out) includes remote control for the cloud using a SOAP Web service.

Content management and collaboration tools

Don't you hate it when perfectly good descriptive terms become buzzwords? That's been the case for "collaboration tools" and "content management" and maybe (just maybe) "knowledge management." These are useful categories, but the terms are so mushy that the products become hard to describe.

We humans are pretty good at creating meta-tools for organizing, sharing and presenting data ... and that's what this category is about.

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