Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

Contributing to MySQL

If interested in contributing code to MySQL, you should attend the MySQL University session on contributing code to MySQL.

(Live broadcast with Q&A will be held on Thursday, June 25, 2009. You can still have access to rebroadcasts afterwards.)

Thursday Jun 04, 2009

Brief on MSA 2

Elsewhere, I wrote a brief on MSA 2 ("Mobile Service Architecture 2").

Tuesday Apr 14, 2009

MySQL Conference Notes

MySQL Conference 2009 is coming around the corner, next week, in Santa Clara.

You may want to delve into the notes, as a fast way to learn about the happenings.

If you want to become an active code contributor to MySQL, the hackfest by Mark Callaghan seems interesting, and you should probably also start here and here

There will also be a special BoF geared to community contributors. (I still haven't been able to find out about the exact timing of this but you should be able to find out if you're there. Once I learn about the exact time, I'll post it here.)

Friday Feb 13, 2009

Contributing Code to MySQL -- Some Simple Guidelines

If you would like to contribute to MySQL development, you can read the relevant top-level page on the MySQL Forge.

This page has some useful links to various forms of contributing to MySQL, including contribution of code to MySQL. (The MySQL|Sun team have recently simplified some of these pages in order to make them more useful to community members and potential contributors.)

Note that after some simple paperwork submitted to Sun ("Sun Contributor Agreement" or "SCA"), any signatory can contribute to any Sun-sponsored open-source project, including to MySQL.

It is a common parctice to require initial paperwork to clarify rights to the contributed work. This practice is also used by other open-source communities such as the Apache Software Foundation.

It is worth quoting, from the the master document, that

As we gain more experience, absorb more contributions and receive feedback from the contributors, please expect some modifications to the contribution system described here.

Thursday Feb 05, 2009

Golden Rules for Contribution-based Communities

There are some basic, golden rules when it comes to having a vibrant community of contributors.

The following are rules I have extracted and learned based on my experience managing and working with engineers actively involved and participating in the Apache/Derby, PostgreSQL and MySQL open-source communities. These rules are also based on extensive discussions with many folks involved with the MySQL community, with the PostgreSQL community and with the Apache/Derby (Java DB) community, over many years.

Before I go through these rules, I would like to thank Marten Mickos for having suggested some of the headings for these rules. (I originally had much longer headings for all of them.) I would also like to thank many of MySQL, PostgreSQL and Java DB colleagues, as well as to many other colleagues involved in open-source development, for having contributed to the ideas and practices behind these rules.

A) Transparency.
1.Often, this openness can span all the way from development (architectural specification, implementation design and planning, implementation, code review and walk-through) to testing, qualification and release.
2.It may be possible to move towards greater transparency over time but openness in development is often the minimum starting point. 

B) Dialog.
1.It should be possible to conduct open dialog and conversation regarding any aspect of the development (and other aspects of) work.
2.When mailing lists and other archive-able communication channels (such as wikis) focused on development work are opened up, it becomes easier to conduct open dialog and conversation regarding the development work. 
3.Of course, when a corporation or business concern contributes (either as a major contributor or a minor contributor) to the development of an open-source product, it is to be expected that some aspects of the development work (e.g. those related to specific customer needs) may remain obscure through mechanisms such as withholding of a customer's name. 

C) Pace.
1.It should be possible to track the fate of any contribution and have a public archive of the conversation conducted regarding that contribution—recording decisions made and various feedback loops in time for the purposes of learning and further work.
2.For this purpose, it is often sufficient to have a time record of the conversation conducted with respect to the given contribution.
3.These records can be searched to determine the fate of the contribution.
4.These records help provide a learning platform for the future contributors.

D) Setting Expectations.
1.Using available and open information, the contributor community should be able to form and entertain valid expectations regarding milestones, releases, timelines, etc.
2.Anticipating the future and related risk management helps all market participants to reduce transaction costs.

E) Small is Beautiful.
1.While it should be possible to absorb contribution of any size, emphasis should be put on  absorbing smaller and incremental contributions.
2.To create mass and momentum and community and quality, it helps to encourage smaller contributions.

F) Differences.
1.Not all contributions are equal.
Contributions are judged by whether they are well designed, fit into business roadmaps, are well documented, comply with standards, do not produce regressions in the code and improve performance.
2.Not all contributors are equal.
Contributors vary in expertise, skill and experience.
These variations give meaning to the practices and procedures of the contributor community.

G) Places.
1.It is clear where one needs to work.
There are enough branches or trees to serve distinctly different target groups.
2.Trees and branches are well-groomed.
Active code branches or trees are kept at a minimum set in order to keep the product roadmap and expectations coherent.

H) Parallelism.
1.Contributions are added in parallel with frequent synchronization so that community participants can respond to each others' work.Parallel work leads—naturally and out of brute necessity—to modularization, better and faster integration.

I) Incrementalism.
1.Work is conducted in increments.
2.Each contribution does one thing.
3.Each contribution has a test case that exercises it.

J) Learning.
1.Contributor community assets (channels of communications, forums, bug databases, etc.) are developed to improve learning by all participants and contributors.


Acknowledgment

I'd like to thank Brian Aker, Knut Anders Hatlen, Davi Arnaut, Kaj Arnö, Jorgen Austvik, Igor Babaev, Mark Callaghan, Peter Eisentraut, Sergei Golubchik, Shawn Green, Lenz Grimmer, Rick Hillegas, Stefan Hinz, Geir Hoydalsvik, Henrik Ingo, Alexey Kopytov, Mark Leith, Dmitry Lenev, Manyi Lu, Giuseppe Maxia, Paul McCullagh, Mårten Mickos, Chad Miller, Francois Orsini, Konstantin Osipov, Trudy Pelzer, Sergey Petrunia, Jay Pipes, Jeffrey Pugh, Ole Solberg, Georg Richter, Mikael Ronström, Kristian Waagan, Dag Wanvik, Monty Widenius, Jeff Wiss, and more.

Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Brand Value vs. Logos

Jim Buckmaster, Craig's list CEO:

We pay zero attention to brand. We never use that word internally. We do zero advertising. We don't have a logo. We've never done a focus group. We don't care about any of that. And now we're told we have the strongest brand ever for a company our size.

What a great example, and still, isn't there a little symbol, a little logo, a little peace sign in the browser URL box?

Thursday Jul 24, 2008

OSCon Presentations

Until O'Reilly gets the slides for OSCon 2008 posted, you can find some of the slide-sets and more at SlideShare.

Sun Microsystems was a platinum sponsor of the conference and had some free, slickly-published guerrilla booklets on operating systems and OpenSolaris, and several un-conference presentations at their booth, including some amazing presentations on DTrace and ZFS. I was also happy to hear the Erleng packages will be available directly as an OpenSolaris IPS.

All this, until O'Reilly posts the presentation for public viewing.

Tuesday Apr 15, 2008

Skype and Sun

Skype and Sun have much in common—including not only their leveraging of the Internet but also their support for PostgreSQL!

They are both Gold Sponsors of PGCon 2008

It Runs Your Company

Monty's T-Shirt says it all.


 

Sunday Apr 13, 2008

Community Dinner

Giuseppe Maxia blogs about the MySQL community dinner with some special guests in attendance.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

Open Source Databases on the Rise

Christopher Lawton of The Wall Street Journal reports on the rise of the open source databases:

The potential benefits in cost and flexibility have not been lost on customers. The market for open-source databases is expected to grow 35% to $270 million this year from $200 million in 2007, according to Gartner Inc. Among the earliest adopters are midsized companies, which don't always need the high-end features of conventional databases, says Carl Olofson, analyst with IDC, a market-research firm.

For example, Sun Microsystems Inc. provides supported offerings of MySQL, PostgreSQL and Java DB (Apache / Derby) to its customers.

If you're interested in discussion and community around open source database technologies for Solaris, see here.
 

Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

The Conference Around the Corner

83B5F103-3175-435E-AE95-5793F0F00C23.jpgFor those living in the Silicon Valley and working on software for the Web, one of the best technology conferences of the year will arrive literally around the corner: MySQL Conference & Expo, April 14 to 17, 2008, here in Santa Clara California

Wednesday Mar 19, 2008

OSDB Events

The best way to learn about major open source databases (e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.) is to attend developer and user conferences. Sun Microsystems sponsors many of these conferences and events. (This April, you can catch Sun folks attending the MySQL conference in Santa Clara, and in May, you can catch them at PGCon in Ottawa.) Finally, if you're interested in Sun technologies and databases, you should become a member of the OpenSolaris Databases Community and start contributing.

Friday Feb 08, 2008

Proud of my better half

Working for non-profit organizations requires a special kind of dedication and personality. 

So, I'm really proud of my wife, Liana, for all her work at the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) and for having played a key role in putting together NCCLF's 25th anniversary annual report.

If you have money you want to invest in local non-profits, including community art centers and low-income housing, NCCLF can be an excellent venue to look into.


Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Underground Notes and Voices from OSCon and Ubuntu Live

Some say Sun is as cool as OSCon (if not cooler) because, among most companies that support OSCon, only Sun can produce truly underground notes on OSCon.

David Van Couvering reviews Mike Olson's comments about his keynote at OSCon and pontificates about whether the value of Open Source could be limited to the collaboration it fosters. David aptly notes that

Open source and an open community gives you the assurance that the technology you are depending on is not going to be discontinued or put into "maintenance mode," it won't be acquired by someone who you would rather not do business with, and it won't be used as leverage against you to extract money or modify your behavior.

By way of further review, David contrasts MySQL as an Open Source project to PostgreSQL as an Open Source project.

In a separate underground note from OSCon, Barton George has posted his interview with Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen.

Barton has also produced a series of interviews with some six dignitaries during Ubuntu Live: Mark Shuttleworth. Tim Gardner, Jane Silber, Daniel Holbach, Stephen O'Grady, Jono Bacon.

Monday Jul 30, 2007

Hands Cutting Things

A couple of hands cutting things:

Friday May 04, 2007

Blog Entries on JavaOne 2007

At java.net, I will be compiling some blog entries in anticipation of JavaOne 2007 and following the conference (mostly from the pavilion floor).

For a database related topic, you might want to check out Francois Orsini's "Enabling Offline Web Applications with Java DB," where he previews his upcoming JavaOne talk with Zimbra's Kevin Henrikson.

Monday Mar 26, 2007

Open Source and Property Rights

Open Source development—whether it is OpenOffice, Apache, Open Solaris, Linux (Debian), Sun Studio, Open JDK, Apache Derby (Java DB), PostgreSQL, Glassfish or Netbeans—engages communities in production of value governed by a revolutionary model for property rights, emphasizing open distribution of software rather than the traditional "exclusive-rights" notion of property.

The new property model finds its grounding in the use of the Internet as the backbone for parallel development of relatively complex systems of value generated by (non-idyllic) communities of developers—large quantities of value being generated for little, direct financial compensation. 

In the exclusive-rights model of property ownership, the state uses force (or the threat of force) to prevent "unlawful" use, in order to "secure" those rights and encourage their development. 

In the open-source model of property ownership, the width of distribution and availability represents the only "security" that needs to be provided.

The state's role must be vastly different, and it must be focused on rights of distribution and use, and of mixing. Being a vastly different model of ownership, open source has often confronted a state which wants to apply its traditional understanding of property and its "security." We have witnessed this with property "rights" over content because general content in the digital-distribution world possesses many characteristics similar to software.

Monday Feb 19, 2007

Conflict and Self

People distrust strangers. Only in conflict can you "prove" yourself. In conflict your true self is revealed. On the stage, as well as in life, every one is a stranger who does not first "prove" himself. A person who stands by you in adversity is a proven person. Even an illiterate knows that politeness and smart talk are not signs of sincerity or friendship. But sacrifice is...

...Since most of us play possum and hide our true selves from the world, we are interested in witnessing the things happening to those who are forced to reveal their true characters under the stress of conflict... In conflict we are forced to reveal ourselves. It seems that self-revelation of others or ourselves holds a fatal fascination for everyone.

                                                       Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing

While most can agree with Egri that conflict provides one medium for self-revelation, they may also see that community and care could provide similar media. In fact, all these aspects are bound up together. For example, community incorporates, in its very institution, passageways for a variety of conflicts and their resolution. However, one thing remains certain and confirms Egri's viewpoint. In the crucible of conflicts, characters reveal themselves most revealingly. We may extend our human observation and note that embedded in every conflict, justice will show its weight and import regardless of the apparent justice of a specific resolution.

Thursday Dec 08, 2005

Why We Need to Learn about Learning

We need to learn about learning because never before have we "meddled with it on the scale on which we do today," to borrow Etienne Wenger's words —

For many of us, the concept of learning immediately conjures up images of classrooms, training sessions, teachers, textbooks, homework, and exercises. Yet in our experience, learning is an integral part of our everyday lives. It is part of our participation in our communities and organizations. The problem is not that we do not know this, but rather than we do not have very systematic ways of talking about this familiar experience.

In his book, Wenger focuses on disclosing a new, systematic way of talking about the familiar experience of learning in "communities of practice" by way of finding meaning and identity through "participation". One should probably also think about knowledge networks.

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