Symantec Endpoint Encryption is now supported on Ubuntu LTS

Symantec Endpoint Encryption (powered by PGP) has been updated to to version 3.3.  For more information check out the release notes found on Symwise: http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH201458

Several changes have been made in this release including:

  • Support for Windows 8 on both the 32-bit and 64-bit version

  • Support for Outlook 2013 on the client

  • Support for Red Hat Linux and CentOS 6.3 and 6.4 both 64-bit and 32-bit.

  • Support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

This provides one of the missing parts of what I need to be able to run Ubuntu at my enterprise as we have a requirement to have our drives encrypted by the supported encryption product and have our keys managed centrally.

I hope things like this will see Ubuntu grow into the enterprise from a desktop point of view. Now all we need is integration into an endpoint management tool.

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RFC: Ubuntu and Symantec IT Management Suite

Do you use Ubuntu?  Do you use Symantec IT Management Suite?  A recent post on Symantec Connect asked for people who are running Ubuntu to post comments to see if there is interest in adding support for Ubuntu to the product.

For those that do not understand what Symantec IT Management Suite is I will provide a quick overview and then end with a couple of reason as to why I believe this will be a great fit for Ubuntu.

Symantec IT Management Suite (or the product fomarlly known as Altiris) helps with complete management of the endpoints (laptops, desktops and servers) from deployment of the endpoint (imaging), deployment of software and patches, and also tracking the device from an Asset Management point of view.  Some basic portions of IT Management Suite include

  • Bare metal deployment of servers

  • Image deployment of desktops, laptops and servers

  • Software delivery in an unattended way

  • Patch Management (including on the Windows side several 3rd party (non-Microsoft) patches)

  • Full inventory of the device (both hardware and software)

  • Comprehensive reporting on the status device

  • And many other things

My company has been working with Symantec IT Management Suite for almost 10 years and have done a bunch of videos explaining and showing how this product works.

I’ve also written several blog posts about why I believe Ubuntu needs to have more of a focus around the Enterprise and Enterprise tools.  Canonical has developed Landscape, their own product to help with the management of Ubuntu but it is time to leverage an existing management tool to help move further into the enterprise as well.

Here is how ITMS and Ubuntu could work together (in my view)

  • Imaging and deployment of Ubuntu machines across the environment in a standard format

  • Full software and hardware inventory of the device across the entire enterprise

  • Structured deployment of patches across the entire enterprise including reporting on the status of those patches

This would allow for deployment and management across the board in an enterprise and could help

Symantec Endpoint Encryption now supports Ubuntu LTS

Symantec Endpoint Encryption (powered by PGP) has been updated to to version 3.3.  For more information check out the release notes found on Symwise: http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH201458

Several changes have been made in this release including:

  • Support for Windows 8 on both the 32-bit and 64-bit version

  • Support for Outlook 2013 on the client

  • Support for Red Hat Linux and CentOS 6.3 and 6.4 both 64-bit and 32-bit.

  • Support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

This provides one of the missing parts of what I need to be able to run Ubuntu at my enterprise as we have a requirement to have our drives encrypted by the supported encryption product and have our keys managed centrally.

My First KDE Contribution and looking for more

I have contributed in various ways to the Ubuntu Project starting way back in the day with the first release of Kubuntu and its need for documentation.  This first release was my first introduction into the world of becoming an open source contirbutor and for many releases of Kubuntu I wrote the documentation or worked on the documentation or lead the team that did documentation.  Anyways I always struggled to find a way to contribute back to the main KDE project.  I finally found a way with fixing some typos and some grammar problems.

Recently a contributor to the kwalletd project posted an entry on his blog around adding support to GPG for storing the password in.  There were some minor changes that needed to be made and I was able to download the code and apply the needed changes.

So if you look at the commit, there’s my name on the list for making some changes.

Anyways long story short I’ve made some changes to KDE specifically around grammar and spelling and am looking for more work to do.

Are there junior jobs floating around that need some minor grammar changes or did you just implement some awesome new feature but English might not be your primary language?  I would love to help.  Drop me a note.

Another look at Ubuntu and the Enterprise

This post has been hanging out in a draft for a while and decided to post it.

Every 6 months a Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) comes around to help plan the next release of Ubuntu and each time I look forward to seeing some blueprint or meeting geared around Ubuntu and this past UDS I was greeted with this: Ubuntu Desktop in an Enterprise Setup.  This is not the first blueprint in Launchpad that has been created around Ubuntu I’ve seen and not the first post I’ve made about management and Ubuntu.

What Ubuntu needs is not a Business Remix removing social bits and pieces (social is used more and more in business these days) but integration within the various systems management tools that already exist.  The most exciting thing about this new blueprint is the line: “Ubuntu-only solutions (e.g., a tight coupling to Landscape) are not an option.”  To whoever made that point I salute and applaud you.  People don’t want to be locked into yet another tool from yet another vendor.  If they are a CA shop, or a Symantec shop for Endpoint Management then Ubuntu should just work on that platform.
The challenge is this is not something that is going to be handled by a community member or by a member of the desktop engineering team, it is something that is going to be have to be done by Canonical’s business development or OEM team.  They are going to have to work w/ getting support from the companies that do Enterprise Endpoint Management.  Take a look at this table I’ve done in another blog post that shows how Ubuntu is supported:
Vendor Name of Product Supported Linux Distributions
Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (6 before EOY), SUSE Linux 11
Dell (KACE) Kace Systems Management Appliance Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4, and 5
IBM (Tivoli, Big Fix) Configuration Manager (?) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, 5, and 6, SUSE Linux 9, 10, 11
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) SCCM 2012 will support Red Hat, SUSE, and Solaris
Canonical Landscape Ubuntu
HP HP IT Management Software (NOTE: Had hard time finding exact information
about HP’s product as they have a lot of names
So let’s get going and get Ubuntu supported by Enterprise Endpoint Management….
UPDATE: I started working on this draft shortly after it was posted (5/7) and unfortunately haven’t seen any movement on this blueprint, not even an approve… Hopefully someone, somewhere within Canonical is working on it

Enterprise support instead of a business remix

In the last “Ask Mark” section that occurred on 2001/11/23 our supreme dictator for life showed up for questions (log can be found here) Mr. Shuttleworth mentions “we’re going to do a business desktop remix, because lots of people want a remix without the social bits…”  And I wonder just who wants this business remix?  Are there customers who are actively looking to replace Windows w/ Ubuntu but are just looking for the “social” to be removed?  I would argue we don’t need a new remix of Ubuntu, we need 3rd party support of Ubuntu instead.

Let me explain….
work w/ businesses every day ranging from 300 client devices to 100K+ client devices and none of them are even thinking about switching to Ubuntu.  In fact there is only 1 customer I’ve talked to all year that is using Ubuntu.  That customer isn’t looking for a remix of Ubuntu, he/she is looking to better manage the devices.  The only Endpoint Management Tool that supports Ubuntu is Canonical’s own Landscape, none of the vendors (HP, IBM, Microsoft, Symantec, Kace) provide support for the product and until that happens I doubt we will see many Enterprises adopt Ubuntu as their desktop of choice.
What do I mean by an Endpoint Management Tool?  I want a product that allows me to deliver software, patches, and images to my device along w/ providing a comprehensive inventory (software and hardware) of all of my devices.  Management won’t let me buy yet another tool to manage the devices or perhaps even migrate to this new operating system so it needs to work w/ what I currently have. Also I want a company to stand behind the product and offer me support. Bonus points for it being completely administrated from a web page.
Let’s take a quick look at what Linux support is out there w/ the top Endpoint Management Vendors I run into contact w/
Vendor Name of Product Supported Linux Distributions
Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (6 before EOY), SUSE Linux 11
Dell (KACE) Kace Systems Management Appliance Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4, and 5
IBM (Tivoli, Big Fix) Configuration Manager (?) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, 5, and 6, SUSE Linux 9, 10, 11
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) SCCM 2012 will support Red Hat, SUSE, and Solaris
Canonical Landscape Ubuntu
HP HP IT Management Software (NOTE: Had hard time finding exact information
about HP’s product as they have a lot of names
Note:  This is not a complete list of solutions/vendors/etc.  What is listed is based on information from the website from what I could, it might be wrong
So what does that table demonstrate?  We need vendor support before we need a “remix.”  We need one of the other vendors beside Canonical to start supporting Ubuntu in order to grow into the enterprise desktop arena.

Ubuntu and take your device to work

This week I attended through work a presentation about Endpoint Management with a focus around the whole “bring your device to work” megatrend the experts are talking about.  In case you haven’t heard this discussion is all about allowing an end user to purchase or use their own device instead of a corporate device.  Examples given in this presentation are large New York City based banks encouraging people to use their own devices (usually a Mac) as a recruiting tool to help attract top talent.  The presentation focused on how will IT manage these devices (patch, deliver software, track inventory, etc) on a non-corporate device.  In the past someone in IT decided what version of desktop/laptop (either a Dell or an HP) and then decided on an operating system (Microsoft and still for a lot of shops XP).  Now we are seeing a growth of whatever type of device the end user wants (anyone have this at their work?).

The interesting part about the discussion was the focus on Mac and how companies are managing them.  Macs in the corporate environment are growing and growing (heck I moved to one) and companies have to figure out what to do w/ them.  Thankfully the product I consult around (Altiris Client Management Suite) has perhaps the best Mac management outside of Apple. When asked about where the expers see Linux in the corporate world the expert replied it still exists within the walls of the datacenter (whether on premises or off premises in some form of cloud) and it really doesn’t exist in the corporate desktop (at least in the US).
This is a large frustration I have with Ubuntu is that it could focus on the corporate environment and potentially increase market share but instead chooses to focus on TVs and potentially mobile devices.  Canonical could partner with the various Endpoint Management software vendors (Microsoft, IBM, CA, Symantec, Dell, etc.) to support Ubuntu.
When I show up w/ my own laptop running Ubuntu there are certain things I’m required to have or report on including up to date with patches, has up to date antivirus and definitions and is able to be managed by the corporate management solution.  So Canonical, fire up those partnership agreements or whatever is needed and get your operating system supported by more vendors so the corporate desktop market share can grow