open source

Oct 19 2008

Why did sun really buy MySQL ?

To save Solaris from a certain death ?

Reading Planet MySQL the last couple of hours I'm trying really hard to convince myselve the Solaris offensive there is not orchestrated.. but I can't.
It might ofcourse be the fresh MySQL users that Sun brought in on their platform that started out blogging but hey .. I`m paranoia right :)

Are they really trying to get at least a fraction of the MySQL community on Solaris. Do they really think they can ? Yes they lost a zillion of Solaris customers that were running a proprietary database to MySQL on Linux users ,, but why would they want to move back to a semi proprietary setup ?

According to Linuxjournal Alan Cox seems to think that ZFS is the only thing that is keeping Solaris alive. I don't think DTrace was a bigg mass tool that would convince the crowds to suddenly move to an other operating system.

So is Sun trying to Lock In a community ? Other people would call it a Jail, altough I wouldn't consider this particular type of jail a Luxury one :)

Why can't Sun just drop the whole idea of building its own OS and contribute more , they are slowly learning in some other fields , but in the Operating System field they still haven't realised they should up the fight ... but then again .. I overheard someone say recently "The best fights to watch, are the ones that can't be won anymore .."

So just remember .. the L in LAMP still stands for Linux,

Oct 15 2008

Let the customer choose where to buy lunch from !

Matt Asay is pushing his favorite Open Source model again. The model where the majority of developers of a project work for a company and that company is creating a business around the project. There's nothing wrong with that model, but he seems to forget the other models time over time :)

Matt is absolutely right with 2 of the 3 things he wants you to consider.
A SI in the middle of a $50 million dollar project involving Alfresco not talking to Alfresco is just wrong. An SI not offering a support contract is also just wrong. But an SI forcing his customer to buy the commercially supported version from a vendor ? Where's the customer choice ?

The customer should have the option to choose for a commercially supported version or the free version. And preferably that should be an educated option.

Matt seems to forget about situations where an Open Source project is not managed by one central organization , by one company that contributes most of the code. What companies are in charge of Apache, Linux (and don't reply RedHat here), Xen (No it's not Citrix anymore) , Samba , and lots of others.

If you were in Australia why wouldn't you get a MySQL support contract from Arjen Lenz ? Even if he didn't have MySQL Partner Certification ?

If you were in Germany , as a Centos or even RHEL user would you want to get your critical Samba Support from some support guy at RedHat or from some German guy at a local shop

If Michael Badger were in the SI business , would he be a good partner to support your Zenoss setup ?

3 totally different cases, the ex-employee, the developer not employed by a vendor, the guy who wrote the book.

Not all Open Source projects are backed by 1 clearly identifyable company, lots of open source developers work at SI's and they might be a better source for a specific project than a vendor that just integrated their product.

Worse even .. I've seen tons of traditional SI's jump on the Open Source wagon, by working only with the Commercially backed Open Source tools, as if they were proprietary software. Obviously the commercial Open Source vendors love these SI's they are the best resellers , and probably the worst integrators.

So Matt, please remember, there is more open source on this planet than your corporate backed open source, I haven't seen figures , but my bet would be that the corporate backed part is the smallest one.

In the end the most important thing is that the customer has got to have the educated choice between the locally supported opensource alternative , or the locally supported opensource alternative with commercial backing ..

But then again , it might be the European vs US vision however :)

Oct 14 2008

10 rules to hire Open Source people

1. Do not require them to send resumes in Word, most of the open source people will be happy to send you a PDF, ODF file or point you to their online resume. If you insist they will rename a .html file to .doc and send that to you

2. Make sure your corporate website is readable with Firefox and adheres to open standards. If your site is requiring them to install all kind of proprietary plugins, they probably won't even look further.

3. Listing MS Office as a skills requirement is not a good idea.
Requiring documentation skills is.. but Open Source geeks prefer Latex or Docbook to write their docs.

4. Don't list other proprietary tools as job requirement, you are looking into hiring Open Source people, they probably know alternatives for the tools you list. Forcing people to use a tool they don't like never works out, either way.

5. Forget about Degrees , a self taught person with years of writing code and using it is worth much more to your organization than someone who proved he was capable of sitting on the school benches often reproducing what some retard who isn't fit for the industry thinks was cool 2 decades ago. However degrees don't hurt, but they shouldn't be a requirement.

6. Forget about Certifications too , Certifications are mostly a way to get more income from training for a software vendor. Most Certification exams are Multiple Choice and don't really prove a person is actually capable of implementing something. There are only a limited number of valuable certifications out there.

7. Don't expect that because their code is free they are free too. The average Unix guy might be 25-30% more expensive than the windows admin. But you only need 1 to manage 200 machines, not 20.

8. You need social skills also , yes there are bunch of people out there with no social skills, unless you need a Monkey force to write code and you have enough people capable of interacting with them.

9. Reward Open Source contributions , with conferences, a bonus etc
Stimulate an environment where Open source is not something that you use, but which you also create.

10. Do not create a history of violating licenses , but have a public record of good open source citizenship. If you are known to violate the GPL or related licenses Open Source people will hav doubts about why you need them or why they would be interested in creating a better product with you.

Oct 04 2008

Why openID will fail

Martin Strandbygaard just gave an introductory talk about openID, at Open Source days in Denmark, Given the recent discussion about openID and security, mostly the phishing opportunities it created I was interrested to hear the talk.

Yes I have an openID, I use it at like 2-3 sites.. why.. because most of the sites haven't adopted yet..
Martin gave an overview of different sites already allowing people to use openID to log on. And also which sites today allow you to create an openid identity with them that you then can use elsewhere. Yes you can use your LiveJournal, or Yahoo Account as an OpenID. I'm not doing that. I'm running my own Open Source Open ID server (funny he didn't touch that subject).

When he continued to discuss adoption he mentionned that even the company from RedMond was starting to allow people to logon with their OpenID , however just an OpenID from a restricted set of OpenID servers.

I asked where on the Yahoo site I could log on using an OpenID, and my fear was confirmed, you can't. So yahoo indeed is promoting OpenID, but why .. so they can see which other services their users are using so they can quickly acquire them ?

And according to Martin different other sites that allow OpenID authentication are gearing towards allowing just a limited set of OpenID services, the ones that they have partnerships with.

Now I don't want to use a 3rd party OpenID server, I have my own.. I want to control my own data. For services that use the above mentionned mode, trusting a limited set of openidproviders, my presonal OpenID is useless. I would once again endup having to sign up with different OpenID servers , which kind of makes the whole idea of not having to keep different username/password combinations around void :(

One of the questions from the audience was about how strong the authentication of an OpenID logon was. fact is that you can make it as strong as you want. If you build an OpenID server you could go with plain text authentication over http, basic authentication over https or even build an authentication system based on a challenge response framework.
The bigger question however is how and what data goes to the OpenID consumer.

So apart from the existing security challenges today , there are a lot of organisatins claiming to support OpenID, while they actually aren't, and that's the first blocking factor for quick openID adoption. And the ones that are adopting aren't doing it open enough.

I fear it was a nice attempt .. but I don't really think it's going to be a big success.
It should have taken of allready ..

Oct 04 2008

Open Source Days 2008 , Day 2

As I was already up since yesterday 0500 , it was dinner with Sven , Robin and some other conference visitors at a Turkish Buffet place , after which we headed to what seemed to be a great bar where they failed to serve us while waiting for over 10 minutes, so we moved on to another place. and then to be "early"

After walking around a bit in Copenhagen and looking for a bus stop to go to the university I managed to bump into Wim & Co who offered me a ride to the IT University. Where I was almost in time for the first talk by
Jan Wieck about Slony-I, A master to multiple slaves-replication system for PostgreSQL
Given my recent MySQL MultiMaster setups I was fairly interested where PostgreSQL is at today.

Jan started out with explaining where he used replication the most,
For backups and Specialized services so he could offload long running and intrusive reporting tools to an isiolated server.

While going over the history of Slony he also mentioned eRserver, first written in Perl later rewritten in Java and that was a ... Well lets just say that memory usage wasn't really ideal.

The presentation covered different potential replication scenarios and the problems one could run into.
No sign however of multimaster replication. Jan Wieck even told us he had no plans to implmenent multimaster replication
at all at the moment. To me MultiMaster means that I can move my database connection together with my application service in a HA setup. I don't need to wory about the possibility of writing in a slave and breaking replication as the slave is also a master and the other node Will catch up.

Next up was a talk about openID, which made me realize a couple of things about it.. all off that in a separate post :)

The University restaurant was open and you could pay for your Chilli Con Carne to a really Grumpy cashier which brings me right to the next talk I followed.. A Developers Guide to Grumpy Old Sysadmins however, the majority of people in the room were Sysadmins , or people with a mixed role doing both development and sysadmin work.

You don't let your developers even close to your production systems. He then went on to read a fairly big part of "Over Clocked, Stories of the Future Present " by Cory Doctorow , which I've promptly put on my holliday reading list :

So what's it like being a sysadmin ? You get calls in the middle of the night because a system breaks,
When you work you .. people complain when things go wrong.. they don't cheer when things go right or when you have done your job correctly

Reminds me of this situation at a customer where the Cisco people that fail to automate their work and get to travel around the qworld to do their work using their serial console , where as the Linux platform team has automated their work so far they get to stay home and watch the machines boot then do a quick check over ssh to see if they actually work.

Anyhow.. the talk really wasn't focusing on how developers could cooperate better with sysadmins, apart from a couple of general tips so it really missed its goal.

I popped into the Lightning talk about Ubuntu on EEE talk , hoping to learn something, apart from 1 url that I should read I guess it was the otherway around , it's usually a bad sign when a speaker starts every 2 slides with "I haven't tested this myselve but " ...

Oct 04 2008

Open Source Virtualization

I've just placed the presentation I gave both yesterday at the Open Source Days in Copenhagen , and last week in Zurich at the Open Expo , about Open Source Virtualization online.
The presentation is based on a series of articles I wrote earlier this year for

You can download it here

The presentation covers a fairly complete overview of what's around in Open Source Virtualization tools and and their Management frameworks.

I will be giving the same presentation again at the end of the month at T-Dose in Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Oct 03 2008

Open Source Days 2008 , Copenhagen, Day 1

I'm expecting different people not using Dopplr to come back to me next week and tell me they were in Denmark also , as Copenhagen is the place to be this week(end)

I was late for the first talk on how to automate a large scale school environment with gentoo. So I missed the rationale for the development of DIPO, and I didn't want to bother the speaker with questions he had already explained in his earlier slides, however .. it spelled "reinventing the wheel" all over again.

The second speaker apologised for being late on schedule as the first speaker had to compile everything. Nigel Kersten from from Google talked about Puppet, need I say more.. it was great :)

So lunch is really really early here as from 11u30 on , however I didn't mind as I was up since 5 , so I actually was pretty hungry :)

After lunch 3 talks and a Keynote were scheduled. In order not to be late for my own talk I headed into the Open Solaris Storage talk ... , not really interesting :(

Funny quote from the talk however "The clients are still Linux, but the server is already solaris"...funny thing to say ... certainly for a dying breed.

My own talk was fairly well attended, people were sitting on the stairs in the Auditorium and there was a lot of Q&A after.

As said in my talk last week in Zurich I don't think
Sun has a really clear message with what they are doing with xVM etc
So the talk aftermine should have cleared that out shouldn't it.
Well it didn't , all I got back from it was .. "We ported Xen to Solaris" , and "Our demo doesn't work because of a funky dns problem."

So Robin Rowe is keynoting about about Linux at the Movies.. and tonight it's off to the Social event .. well one of them :)

Oct 02 2008

Sharing Calendars

Seth is having the same problems I have, sharing your calendar with different groups of people. Where some of these groups have their own system in place already.

Only he has a partial solution for it.

I'm looking for a step further.. it could probably be called Calendar Delegation.
I kind of would like to have 1 calendar that I manage and based on from where you see that calendar you get detailed information or just free busy. So my favorite customer would see if I`m at their office or not
and if I`m having meetings at their office, however whem I`m not at their office they would just see a busy.

My collegues should however be able to see that I`m at a customer but not having any meetings there.

And I should only have to manage everything in one place while for my customers they should just be able to see it in their calendar solution flavor of the week.

A man can dream right ? :)

Sep 25 2008

OpenExpo Social event

Yesterday apart from Free Beer, the social event also featured a couple of 5 minute lightning talks.
Tobias Oetiker took the first slot, his 5 minute talk was incredible. In 5 minutes he went trough 80 something slides , really remined me of the St Peter talk about Jabber and Security a couple of years ago at Fosdem. I after 2 talks I realised that I could strip down my OLS openQRM talk and give it in 5 minutes too .. so I did :) Awesome.. 5 minutes is really really really short :)
But I managed .. I even got questions at the end :)

Definitely a good concept to let people decide on giving a talk at such a short notice :)

Sep 25 2008

OpenExpo Day 1

Everybody is in Zwitserland these days .. even the Userfriendly crowd , so am I :)

I'm in Winterthur for the OpenExpo Zurich, a less eventfull flight than my last conference trip brought me to my hotell where I crashed and after a short walk to the conference site I managed to catcht the last part of Bruce Perens talk

He talked about Spies using Open Source, he talked about Casinos in
Vegas wanting interoperability and asking him for help.

Bummer the Mozilla talk was in German, so I left ..

Altough asked to give the Open Source in the Telco industry talk in English it was in German too .I tried to follow ..failed .. to bad as most of the work I do is in the Telco industry .

Enrico Zini talked about Debian Diveristy and the clear conclusion is that
Debian people are weirdos :) Some of them insist in wearing Kilts a bit more thatn the average male on this planet. Some of them meet their wife at Debian Conferencesm others go to debconf on honeymoon.. they go on holiday to space..
start contributing less, build their own meta distro and take away a lot of the less experienced people, which was a good thing.

After Enrico Max Spevack took the floor to talk about Fedora, he was the second in line to apologise for not doing his talk in German. Weird..
I'm in doubt in which language I'll give mine . Dutch of French .
There are significantly less people in this talk compared to the Debian talk

No real info on the recent security hickup however, I got a Fedora T-Shirt for asking though :)