John Frickson, Nagios’ Senior C Developer, sat down to chat about the latest Nagios releases including Nagios Core, NDOUtils, and Nagios Plugins. John has been a developer for over 37 years.

Alex Syse: What is the greatest improvement in the latest Nagios Core release? How will it help organizations that use Nagios Core?

John Frickson: I don’t think I could highlight any single improvement; there are too many. The fixes for security vulnerabilities are pretty big, fixes to the status maps, increasing socket queue length for listen(), a fix for “Core Worker seems to be choked” errors, fixing UTF-8 problems in the UI, and lots of other things. Core users will find it more secure, a little more responsive, more stable, and a little bit better UI.

AS: What future plans do you have for Nagios Core?

JF: I have quite a few things planned, some to be done soon, some later. A big one is distributed workers (ala mod-gearman) currently being worked on by another Nagios developer, Bryan Heden. I’d like to improve HTML handling in check-results, messages, and alerts, have recurring scheduled downtimes, out-of-the-box High-Availability configuration.The whole object relationships/inheritance/dependency/contacts/escalations etc system needs to be improved somewhat, which will most likely be a big task.I want Nagios Core to configure, compile, and install without problems on most systems, including Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and OS/X, like I recently did for NRPE and NDOUtils. Get the bug backlog cleaned up.

AS: Why is the NDOUtils release important?

JF: The most important piece is the fix for the problem that would cause the queue to grow and ndo2db not respond anymore, often leading to a crash. That had been a problem for a small group of users for a long time. The fix has been in test since shortly after I started, so the release finally makes that official. Also, NDOUtils has much better cross-platform usability on a wide variety of systems. Config/compile/install works much better on the less-widely used platforms.

AS: What were some of the best enhancements and fixes in the Nagios Plugins release?

JF: SNMPv3 and IPv6 support in check_snmp, SSL options and chunked encoding fixes for check_http, -v option to check_disk to get verbose information about a troubled partition, accept LDAP URI’s in check_ldap, performance data in check_file_age, check_jabber now works with Openfire servers, bigger RegEx buffer size, resource leaks, no longer truncating output of ‘ps’, and lots of others.

AS: How has Nagios Core changed since you arrived?

JF: It’s bigger, fresher, more exciting, kills 99% of germs, washes the dishes, diapers the baby, and gives foot rubs. Seriously, though, a lot of the changes aren’t really visible to the majority of users. Mostly, I’m getting the bug backlog reduced so we can be more responsive to bugs and feature requests, and get into a position where I can spend time on some bigger changes.

AS: Is there any plans for an interface update?

JF: Nothing earth-shattering, but yes, I’m working on some updates. I need to get the interface updated to at least the early 21st century. Some things need to be added, and it needs to be reorganized. Hopefully, it will be even easier to use, have more useful information, and look better.

AS: Do you have any side projects that you are currently working on?

JF: I have an idea for something that could have a huge impact and possibly be worth millions of dollars. If it works the way I’m hoping. With my luck, it probably won’t, but you have to dream. And no, I can’t tell you what it is.