Originally Published: Monday, 15 January 2001 Author: Matt Michie
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Spending Time With Aduva

Linux.com interviews Izar Tarandach, co-founder of Aduva, an upstart Linux service company. Find out more about the Aduva Manager which "can give a one-click interface ... to downloading, upgrading, downgrading, and configuring" of a Linux system.

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An Interview With Izar Tarandach, Aduva Co-Founder With Ury Segal

Questions By Matt Michie

Linux.com: What is the concept behind Aduva?

The motto "Release early, release often" seems to have a corollary that people take for granted: "Update a lot". In the Linux world, that goes for kernel, hardware drivers, and most important, packages.

The Linux newbie, and the experienced administrator are then faced with the option of "if it is working don't touch it" or to go all the way down to the many dependencies which a single package may have. Hardware installation, sometimes, is also far from trivial, requiring rebuilds of modules, creation of device files, and so on. Kernel compilation to a specific box can also be a challenge for some people.

The concept behind Aduva is to shield newbie users from all the headaches, and let them concentrate on using the system and extracting from it as much as possible. Expert and Intermediate users are benefiting from our Kernel compilation and from our knowledge base, which is a major time saving feature for procedures that every Linux user is faced with. We achieve those goals by serving a single interface to the entire system, with enough granularity in the automation process to serve all levels of users, from my mom to any guru.

Linux.com: Where did this idea come from?

From suffering :). Working as sysadmins, we went every day through the motions of installing and uninstalling, and compiling kernels to different machines, in different distros. We seemed to be feeling that "something was missing." The Aduva Manager and the Aduva Knowledge Base are the first fruits of that.

Linux.com: How does Aduva stand out from its competitors?

What do you mean, we have competitors ? Oh. Them. :))))

In the hardware and kernel installation field, we don't think we can single a competitor today. We are quite proud of our results in this area. However, we do have some good competition in the package maintenance arena. Apt-get/RPM from Conectiva touches more than the others our expertise in this area.

We think that the most striking difference between our service and the competitors' ones is that all of them, to the best of our knowledge, are based on the dependencies found in the packages themselves.

We go a step further, by devising our own set of rules, that may be quite different from those the author put in, and then running these rules to exhaustion through an automated lab and human QA procedures.

Linux.com: How will Aduva work with the Linux community?

We are proud to have come from the Linux Community, and we want to give back to it as much as we can. Our first step is the commitment to go GPL as soon as possible. More than that, we have decided that for the home user, the service will be free of charge, as in "no money involved". We want to have contributions from the community in the form of feedback and bug reporting, so that we will be able to keep making our services better.

Our CTO, Ury Segal, is on the board of directors of Linux International. We are a corporate sponsor of it. Aduva is also a fierce supporter of the IGLU, the Israeli Group of Linux Users. Most of our employees are active members of IGLU, and we have made a point in being part of every IGLU event that we can, both sending people (giving talks, helping in installfests) and with green (funding T-shirts and Mandrake 's to distribute at Windows 2K Launch Day). We are very happy to be part of this group of high-quality people that helped us so much in the early beta tests of the service.

Linux.com: Are there any advantages for developers with your system?

Yes, they can concentrate on the code they're writing instead of on the version compatibility between the libraries they are using :)

Linux.com: What makes this system easier for system admins?

As is, the Aduva Manager can give a one-click (hey, is that a patent infringement?) interface to many, many long hours of downloading, upgrading, downgrading and configuring until a stable system is reached.

For the sysadmins of larger Linux sites, we are developing a more work-oriented version that will take much of their workload off them. But that is another story :)

You mention on your Web site that you eventually intend for the client to be open source, and are working with the requisite lawyers and other business people to work out the final details. How has this process been? Is there a better understanding of open source and its benefits or do they still give you strange looks when you talk about "free?"

We are very fortunate that our investors have a really good understanding of the changes the world is going through, especially in the software development and distribution area. Also we were sure from the very beginning that we will make our contribution as a service, not a shrink-wrap piece of software, so they were cool with that too. It took some time to get the lawyers to find out the many details between the different licenses around, and to get them to stop nitpicking on semantics and colors. But in the end we think the final arrangement will appease us all, both community and corporate.

Linux.com: Do you intend to port your system to other distributions? Other operating systems such as FreeBSD?

At this time we do not consider porting to other systems. We want to support world domination one miracle at a time. On the other hand, we do not close the door to the possibility. As of today, it is not planned.

Linux.com: What plans do you have for the future?

We are expanding the services from RH into other distributions. Shortly we will have beta Knowledge Databases for more of the most popular distros.

It would be great to say that we have a vision (apart from margueritas by the pool:)) for our future. Instead, we will just say that we are looking into many different ways of helping out in Linux deployment, and we think we have some very interesting ideas for the near future.

Many people ask us if there will be something like an Aduva Linux distro. We do not see it happening.

Linux.com: Any final thoughts?

It is fascinating to be able to go out and take part in the Linux progress. At the start we were a bit timid, quite uncertain of our place in the order of things, but with the support of the community we found out that we do have something to offer and that people truly want this kind of service. We would like to extend a warm word of thanks to Jon 'Maddog' Hall, who was very supportive of the idea when it was still a napkin draw, and to the whole community for helping us develop it.

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