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.

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 :)

Sep 24 2008

Bug in ifconfig ?

So earlier this week I ran into the weirdest problem with Linux-HA. Heartbeat was happily adding an IP address as an active resource so one of my nodes when needed, but upon removal it failed to remove the IP from the stack. Further debugging learned that the Heartbeat scripts claimed the ip wasn't on the actual stack.

It was.. but it the output from ifconfig was different from what it expected it to be.

Heartbeat checks the output of ifconfig and expects to find the IP address it added itselve to be on a :0 or similar interface. Now ifconfig only seems output 8 characters for the interface name Which means that when you have an interface called eth0:0 the output perfectly lists it and heartbea
t is smart enough to remove the ip again when the node goes to standby. If however you have a vlan with 3 digits on a bond interface Heartbeat will add :0 to bond0.129 , the Heartbeat resource will add the ip address perfectly but opon checking all the :0 interfaces the bond0.129:0 interface won't be parsed as ifconfig outputs it as bond0.129 , hence resulting in a potential painfull situation where 2 nodes still share an IP address.

So where's the actual problem ifconfig, or heartbeat, I'd say both, but the easiest fix will be in Heartbeat, afterall there are other preferred ways of adding an ip addres to an interface. ip addr add comes to mind :)

So I filed a bug report :)

Sep 24 2008

Systems management, what will happen when the VCs want their money ?

Tarus is happy not to have VC's on his back. He doesn't want to be responsible for turning a 15 Milj investment into a 150 Milj cashout. Others chose to go that way.

Back when he wrote the article the chances were small that he already knew that Qlusters was going to be shut down with still sooo much money in the bank, but the VC's wanted it back.

So how do open source companies plan on making those tenfold roi reality.
Apart from selling out to a bigger company I think thats a very difficult task.
Especially when you keep in mind how to manage both the Open Source community and your customers. The figures he mentions that VC's require surely start pushing vendors into violating Fabrizio Capobianco rules.

Now the story changes when indeed you cn go to a model where you are selling a large scalable service to your customers, even with microsized payments it becomes a possibility, but that's a totally different business model from what e.g. the Open source systems management shops are doing .

So will the Zenoss, Hyperics or the Groundworks of this world survive the demands of their VC

Luckily these projects are Open Source, so when the company dissapears, the project can continue, and grow even better. Like openQRM did

Sep 24 2008

The new comment spam :(

The past couple of weeks my blog is being annoyed by different comment spams, the content of the comment seems perfectly relevant, often even correctly tackling the topic, or sometimes even almost insightful follow up questions.

However the link to the author site is totally bogus.

If talking about drupal and high availability , a question on GFS or OCFS2 is obviously on topic. However I don't want my blog to link to lot of irrelevant sites.

On the other hand I can't tell Mollom the content of the article is crap. I do want to tell Mollom the "author" of the comment is crap. I even might want to have the comment visible but not link back to the author.

Anyone got good ideas on that ?

Sep 10 2008

Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring , the Book

Harish Kumaresh from Packt wrote me last week to ask if I wanted to review their Zenoss Core book

The package arrived today ..

So I`ll try to free up some time asap to actually read it :)

PS. Yeah I know, the pictures are is so "Dries", but I like the concept :)

Sep 10 2008

Innovation in Startups

I`m absolutely astonished when I see some of the ideas / concepts people are trying to build a busness around , call it a cool startup and expect VC capital.

But I`m even more suprised that a big part of the world and even the VC world is falling for these ideas, or thinks that the general public will pay for such a product or service.

Let's have a look at some TechCrunch 50 startups.

Michael blogs about OtherInbox, when looking at their site my first reaction was: Hasn't google been doing that for ages ?
The or or type of addresses ?

On which you can base filters etc ? So what's new ? From reading their website I fail to see where they are differentiating.

2 articles down the road I learn from Brady that a company called Yammer which provides a hosted version of Twitter is also launching at TechCrunch... Now the idea of an enterprise Twitter version isn't stupid, but with a tool like already available in open source it is something everybody with a functional brain can implement in his own company. Question arises obviously if Twitter itselve shouldn't host this :)

Yammer seems to be a spinoff of a much more interresting tool that I'm actually using Geni now that was/is a groundbreaking and interresting tool to use for which I haven't found an equally strong alternative.

Having had a couple of ideas before where I usually killed the potential project after thinking about the business model I wonder if I just should have pursued the projects even though I myselve would never become a customer at such a company.

We belgian people tend to be to critical for ourselves it seems, we think a project can't succeed to fast, so maybe we should start more stupid ideas and see how the rest of the world react. Afterall.. Reinventing the wheel seems to be a popular hobby of a lot of people these days