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 :)

Sep 10 2008

This should *never* happen!

While playing around with the great MySQL Activity Reporter , I ran into the following error.

[client] PHP Fatal error: strftime() [function.strftime]: Timezone database is corrupt - this should *never* happen! in /var/lib/mysqlard/mysqlar.php on line 62

Now the error is clear .. the Timezone database is corrupt and I`m the one to blame for .. this was on a pretty stripped down Centos that lives in UTC. So there wasn't a real Timezone database.

Obviously a quick apt-get install tzdata solved the problem, but once again the lesson is.. don't strip too much .. you'll eventually endup needing those 3 Kb of free space you gained anyhow.

Mar 12 2008

Upcoming Talks

A bit short notice but I`ll be giving a Xen talk tomorrow evening at the OSBC event in Eindhoven

Next week I`ll be talking to the interrested crowd about using openQRM to Manage your Datacenter at Linux World Expo Brussel

At LinuxWorld expo there are also other talks about OpenDoc Society, Drupal, Centos etc. The event is free .. so drop by if you are in the neighborhood.

Feb 06 2008

Fosdem 2008

This February I`ll be heading to my 8th Fosdem in row.

I went to every single Fosdem so far, some years only one day because of other obligations but I was a round most of the time
During the first couple of years I was pretty active in the FIT team, helping out people to find the right rooms , keeping the fosdem contributions safe with Sven, funding different social events and devroom dinners ,
Later I was in charge of the HPC and Cluster devroom in which we also held the openMosix summits.
And back in 2004 I replaced Moshe at the openMosix Summit standing in front of a great audience at the Janson room.

As Wim just pointed out the Drupal Devroom schedule is out
and it seems like 2008 will be the year that I have to rush my talk in order for the Drupal Devroom to close its doors on Sunday evening. I'll be sharing my knowledge on MySQL cluster with the Drupal crowd for them to learn and benefit from.

Jan 04 2008

Recent MySQL builds in CentOSPlus

Peter notes that you indeed can find pretty recent Enterprise level MySQL rebuilds over at the CentOSPlus repository.

Good things come to those who wait :)

Dec 03 2007

On open source Myths

Over at ITToolbox Tarry has another blog . He posted an article where he tried to debunk some myths about open source. I feel he needs some help there :)

Let's start with his second Myth , Open Source is Free. Off course it isn't , you need to invest your own time to get familiar with it or pay other people to use it. Compare it to building a house ... you can build one if you have the skills and the time , but you still need to pay for the bricks and the mortar, or you can pay someone who has the skills to build one for you. With software there used to be a similar thing. You could buy software, then install and configure it yourselve, or you could hire someone more skilled than you to install and support it when you run into problems. Now take away the fact that you have to buy bricks and mortar , or for this case the software. That's Free Software.. you still need to spend time to get to know the tools or pay someone to do that for you. Depending on what the core business of your ogranization is .. the choice is your.

Tarry says
BUT it remains a product that you need to get support. Just like Windows or Oracle database.
Which I don't agree with .. the fact is that I never can get the same level of experience and knowledge myselve on a product such as Windows or Oracle as I can on Linux and MySQL , I can't dig in to the source code of the first 2 products
In fact, Oracle is a better example, its an open source, right?
Whoow, when did that happen .. during which long vacation did I miss Oracle being Open Sourced ? Yes Oracle contributes a lot to open source but Oracle itselve being Open ... I must have missed that..

People won't notice but you'd have a huge application running on it in no time and you'd be stuck to that "free version" for the rest of your life. Or you choose to eventually buy the software support and even end up paying the license fee. Ha! Vendor lock Alarm!
Now there is a skyhigh difference between a limited featureset product that is free to download but not free to use in a production environment and and opensource which is free to download, to use, to modify and to contribute to. Yes there are people making a business model of supporting that piece of software but they don't force you to buy anything from them. It's a pretty sensible thing to buy services from the people that actually wrote the code , but you are free to buy the same services from someone else, someone local, someone who speaks your languag And they will be able to read the code and fix the problems.

Look at a proprietary product where you want a feature changed or a critical bug fixed.
You can call your local supplier, who can't do anything else but call his reseller who will escalate to the vendor. There is no way your local integrator will actually be able to modify the product and fix the problem. However You or an open source integrator with the appropriate skills can take the code of the product, study it and fix the problems. After which off course they will contribute these changes back to the community. I see no vendor lock in there.

Simply because no matter how small you are, you wouldn't want to risk you application on this product, you'd rather go for a full support. Same applies to the "open source" cousin! Do you really think that running Centos, Whitebox, Ubuntu etc without licensing and regular patching is a sustainable option. no sweetheart, it isn't no where. There are however places where you can carry on for a while with this scenario, but not for long.

Yes you need to patch your system in a timely manner, but I don't see where you could License Centos or Whitebox or a big set of other Open Source projects such as Apache etc.
There are different good reasons to buy support and services , you might want to financially stimulate and support the people that wrote the code so they can continue to write it, you might want to have an insurance for your boss when things go wrong , you might have a long history of making too much IT expenses, or you are forced to buy a certified product because yet another vendor only wants to work on a certified products. But risk for instability on the open source side is not amongst the list of reasons. If you have the appropriate skills and time nothing is blocking you from supporting yourselve. There is absolutely no need to buy a license from someone . So carry on ..

On Open Source Innovation..
Innovation happens at the heart of the open source with as much fury as in a "Closed Source" shop.
Call me oldfashioned but I still think of most of the closed source shops as 9to5 developers that write code because their boss tells them. Their boss is being instructed by clueless marketing people that promise impossible features to customers with impossible deadlines. An Open Source developer writes code because he wants to fix something , because he needs a feature , not because someone tells him to do so. To there is much more passion to be found in the heart of an open source developer than in your average closed shop developer.

Innovation is not happening in the Closed Source shops anymore. Innovation is happening out in the open.

Tarry, guess we need to grab some beers to discuss this further , but I feel we'll have an opportunity coming up pretty soon :)

Nov 09 2007

Why openSLES doesn't exist

Over a year ago I asked Lazyweb: I wonder why nobody tried to rebuild SLES like RHEL...Yesterday .. Dag responded. It indeed seems that the community around Fedora and CentOS is much bigger than the community around openSUSE
The comment from Leo to his posting is confirming that. Luc makes an observation regarding the use of any Suse based product .. namely that people who are using it are stripping Yast from it .. sounds like something I could have said :)

Nov 07 2007

Whip me, beat me, make me maintain ....

Dag, we can't blame you for being brainwashed by IBM and still looking back at AIX tools, afterall you worked there twice already and who knows how may more times to come :)

But .. before you start to reinvent the wheel, or mksysb have a look at the following tools.
There's 2 tools that come to mind when looking at your requirements.

A tool I used a lot about 5-6 years ago is Mondo Rescue :
Mondo Rescue is a GPL disaster recovery solution. It supports Linux (i386, x86_64, ia64) and FreeBSD (i386). It's packaged for multiple distributions (RedHat, RHEL, SuSE, SLES, Mandriva, Debian, Gentoo). It supports tapes, disks, network and CD/DVD as backup media, multiple filesystems, LVM, software and hardware Raid.

I haven't used it for a while since my current preference off course goes to the SystemImager Framework. Apart from using it for automating installations off course you can use it to create a golden image of your running environment and restore that image any way you like, over network, from CD (with si_mkautoinstallcd) etc.

SystemImager makes it easy to do automated installs (clones), software distribution, content or data distribution, configuration changes, and operating system updates to your network of Linux machines.

On the other hand , if you manage your systems in an Infrastructures.org way , and you have good backups of your data. You don't need to restore a system from some media, as you will just be able to rebootstrap the failing machine in an identical way as you have been managing it and the only thing needed to do is restore your data.

PS. if you don't know what I don't want to maintain, skip the first result

Oct 15 2007

Good Soul

I have to admit .. I prefer being called a good soul over other things :)

Oct 12 2007

Xentos domU initrd with lvm support

Before I forget again

Initrd for domU

mkinitrd --preload xennet --preload xenblk /boot/initrd-2.6-xen.img 2.6.18-8.1.8

Now at least I can google for it again :)