Compose's Little Bits #5

A collection of links that have caught the eye of Compose's Technical Content Curator over the past week. This week, RethinkDB 2.2, PostgreSQL 9.5 and 9.6, Ruby 2.3, Java security, machine learning and remembering Gene Amdahl.

Database-y

RethinkDB 2.2 - Compose's friends over at RethinkDB have released RethinkDB 2.2 which offers an enhanced version of change feeds, faster data retrieval, performance and memory improvements, parallel scans in clusters and some new commands. It's already in the works for Compose and when we're happy with it, we'll make it available and talk more about the features. Until then, check out the announcement or the release live-but-now-recorded stream.

PostgreSQL 9.5... - The countdown to the PostgreSQL developers release of PostgreSQL 9.5 continues with the release of 9.5 Beta 2. More betas and release candidates are due before the final release, expected before the end of the year.

PostgreSQL 9.6 - Meanwhile, the feature focus has moved onto PostgreSQL 9.6 which is in development for late next year. A blog post by Robert Haas announced the committing of code for parallel sequential scans with an eye on getting it into 9.6. This lets the query planner allocate multiple worker threads to handle sequential scanning of the database in parallel. The potential for exploiting multicore systems is huge with this enhancement.

Developer-y

Ruby - The first preview of Ruby 2.3 has arrived with new memory optimizations for strings, a safe way to navigate object hierarchies without throwing an error and a "did you mean" gem built in to guess at what you actually meant to call when your NameError/No Such Method error pops up. Find the rest of the changes in the NEWS file.

Java - Do your applications use Apache Commons Collection? Or do you serialize and deserialize complex objects? Then you need to read this article from Fox Glove Security which discusses how numerous applications may be at risk of remote code execution and other attacks because of too much trust being placed in the serialization system. The Apache developers addressed the issue in a relatively rare blog post but the problem is not restricted to just Apache Commons.

Machine learning - What is data without learning from it? Just data. Google has, along with many others, been working on machine learning and just open sourced TensorFlow under an Apache 2.0 licence. The idea is you express the learning process as a data flow graph which has an effect on tensors, dynamically-sized multidimensional data arrays, within the system. Google's release has caveats; its a work in progress and it doesn't include any support for clusters of systems, only single machines. Not to be outdone, Microsoft followed by open sourcing its Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit.

Remembering

Gene Amdahl took on the might of IBM in the mainframe world when it was at its mightiest and, unlike others, made significant inroads into IBM's domain. Dubbed the "father" of the IBM 360 when he worked at the company in the 1960s, in 1970 he left to form Amdahl Corporation and create its IBM plug-compatible mainframe. He passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92 and a pioneering legacy. The New York Times carried an obituary.