Friday Aug 22, 2008

An Inside look at Debian -- Chatting with DPL Steve McIntyre

Down in Argentina I grabbed some time with Steve McIntyre, Debian's 11th project leader since its founding 15 years ago.  Steve has been on the job since April of this year and I checked in to see how it was going.

My interview with Steve (17:36)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Right after this picture was taken Steve took second in the Mar Del Plata Caber toss

Some of the Topics we tackle: 

  • What Steve's been doing his first four months on the job
  • The survey he sent out to all the teams to see what was working and what wasn't, and what he learned
  • Progress on the search for the sender of the death threats
  • The dunc-tank brouhaha and how things have quieted since then
  • The power of derivatives (e.g. Ubuntu, the City of Munich, Spain...) and trying to make it easier for them to contribute back.
  • How decisions are made in this organized chaos -- a do-ocracy rather than a democracy and how things be dictatorial as a release nears
  • How Debian is similar to

Extra credit reading: Debian GNU/Linux: 15 years old and at the Crossroads

Pau for now...

Tuesday Aug 19, 2008

Open JDK in Debian's Lenny -- Distro Grandslam!

Not long after I began my journey home from Debconf last week, OpenJDK officially made it into Lenny.  Lenny is Debian's next release and is due out late next month (fingers and toes crossed). 

Pitching OpenJDK to the Debian powers-that-be: Doko (lower left) explains the finer details of OpenJDK to Mark Hymers at Debconf while, Neil, Phil and Joerg look on.

Can't Swing a Dead Cat without hitting a Distro with OpenJDK Included

With inclusion in Lenny, OpenJDK is now in all of the top four FOSS GNU/ Linux distros and available for two more:

OpenJDK included in Available for

Thank Yous All Around

A big Mahalo to everyone working on Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Debian who made this possible with specific shout-outs to:

Pau for now...

Tuesday Aug 12, 2008

Update from Debconf Argentina + More Pics

Greetings from Day 3 of Debconf 8 here in lovely Mar Del Plata.  This is a much more mellow event that last years which was held in Edinburgh.  Given the distance for a lot of the folks this debconf has about half as many as last years (~200 vs. ~400).  That being said it has been quite productive in spite of (because of?) its languid pace. 

I'm meeting with the various folks here who are working on Java as well as SPARC ports.  Its looking really good for OpenJDK making it into Lenny but I'm not ready to pop the champagne cork just yet.  We should know for sure in the next day or two. 

Debian SPARC support

This is what I've learned this afternoon regarding Debian SPARC support:  Debian supports everything the upstream kernel supports (i.e. they don't do anything Debian specific to it). Starting with Lenny they will not be supporting the SPARC32 machines (sun4m architecture) but will support sun4u (pretty much all older 64-bit machines) and sun4v (Niagara) subarchitecture.

I've gotten two good podcasts that I look forward to posting after I get back, one with DPL Steve McIntyre and the other with Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu/Canonical who spoke this morning.  

The view from the room where the talks are held: the Casino and town square

Happy hackers hardily hacking 

The view from the room where the talks are being held #2 

The fishermen's club, long pier, restaurant and gigantic beer billboard in one.

The fountain in the square at night, like the Belagio in Vegas, the fountains "dance" to the music. 

The Casino (rumored to be the world's largest). 

Sampling the local fare. 

"We don't need no stinking garnish".  Argentines take their meat seriously. 

Pau for now... 

Sunday Aug 10, 2008

Opening Day Debconf8, Argentina

After 24hours of travel I finally arrived yesterday afternoon at the hotel here in lovely Mar Del Plata, Argentina.  I'll have to admit that I'm still confused by this whole Winter-in-the-Southern-Hemisphere thing with the cooler temps and sun setting early.

The Mar del Plata boardwalk.  The low building on the far right is the Casino. 

The Conference Kick-off 

Team Argentina - our hosts. 

A couple of hours ago the conference kicked off with an introduction from our local hosts who have been busting their butts over the last year to get ready for this week.

After that was the introductory keynote from the current Debian Project Leader (DPL), Steve McIntyre.  This debconf is special since it marks the 15th anniversary of the starting of the Debian project.

My notes from Steve's talk

  • It was 15 years ago that Ian Murdock sent out an email announcing the starting of Debian
  • There have been 11 project leaders since then, 10 releases
  • The releases, since the Toy Story theme was adopted, are in order:  Buzz, Rex, Bo, Hamm, Slink, Potato, Woody, Sarge, Etch and soon, Lenny.
  • The stats
    • There are 24,000 binary packages in Lenny (about 10k source packages)
    • 1000+ registered Debian developers
    • Millions of users (?)
  • The Good
    • Huge dedicated developer community
    • Huge number of packages
    • Widest architecture support of any distro
  • The Bad
    • History of struggling to release
    • Flamewars
    • People often not willing to work together
    • PR & artwork
  • Why does Debian Matter
    • Often described as the most important distro
    • Massive number of users
    • Free and Open
  • The Challenges going forward: Need to be able to scale
Stay tuned for more updates!

The Mar del Plata coatsline from the air. 

The Mar del Plata International Airport (I wonder if I could have flow here directly from Austin?)

The fishing club as the sun starts to go down.

I spent some time poking around the downtown area after I got in.

Pau for now...

Friday Aug 08, 2008

Off to DebConf 8 and Argentina

I'm off in few hours to attend DebConf 8 in lovely Mar del Plata, Argentina.  The only bummer is that its winter down there so this seaside resort is going to be a bit chlly and as a result Im not able to pack as light as I usually do.  That being said, getting away from the string of 100 degree days that we've been having here in Austin isn't such a bad thing.

I had a great time at DebConf 7 in Edinburgh, particularly since it was a homecoming of sorts for me.  This time its exciting since I've never been to Argentina before and have heard great things. Like last year, Sun is a Silver Sponsor of the event.

On the software side, OpenJDK is in Sid and we've recently been granted a Freeze exception so keep your fingers crossed for Lenny.  While Im there I want to sync up with the various maintainers and find out what the status is around other stuff like Net Beans, GlassFish, MySQL, VirtualBox, Sun Grid Engine, jRuby and Jython.  On the Hardware side I want to talk to folks about the status of various SPARC ports.

I've also got my trusty podcast recorder so I hope to post a few of those when I get back as well. 

Pau for now...

Monday Jul 14, 2008

Open JDK in Debian's Sid

Dalibor sent a note out to the packaging team last night letting us know that OpenJDK is now in "Sid. Sid is the unstable Debian distribution and is the entre (if all works out) to Lenny the next Debian stable release, due out later this year. 

First Ubuntu, then Fedora and now OpenJDK is knocking on Debian's door!

OSCON and more

For more on Debian and OpenJDK, see Dalibor's blog.  And if you're going to be at OSCON next week and are interested in learning more about the wacky world of OpenJDK, make sure to catch Dalibor's talk Better Living Through OpenJDK: IcedTea, BrandWeg, and SoyLatte

Pau for now... 

Thursday Apr 17, 2008

Debian and OSI Election Results

Well, it certainly is election season, both here in the US and in the Free and Open Source world.  As I mentioned a few entries ago, the new OpenSolaris Governing Board was elected at the end of last month.

Whose in at Debian?

The election results for Debian Project Leader were made public on Monday and winner was Steve McIntyre.  Steve has been a Debian developer for over 10 years and acted as the Assistant project leader in 2006 when Anthony Towns was DPL.  I met Steve at Debconf7 up in Edinburgh and he's a very good guy and looks good in a kilt ;)  Congratulations Steve!

Steve, being rammed by a flying head, is sporting the traditional Debian kilt.

OSI's Board for '08 

At the beginning of this month, after its April board meeting, the Open Source Initiative's board for 2008 was announced.  

The 2008 members are:

  • Michael Tiemann
  • Bruno de Souza (my podcast with Bruno from last year)
  • Alolita Sharma
  • Nnenna Nwakanma
  • Russell Nelson
  • Martin Michlmayr (New)
  • Harshad Gune (New)
  • Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
  • Danese Cooper
  • Ken Coar

Congratulations to all!  (For more details, check this out.)

Pau for now...

Friday Mar 21, 2008

'Tis the Season: Debian Project Leader Elections

Well here in the U.S. the election primary season is in full swing (as if you didn't know).  Barack? Hillary? McCain? (Oh, and by the way did I mention enough times that I went to school with Barack/Barry?) 

The Open Solaris Governing Board is in the midst of its campaigning/elections with voting closing on Monday and the winners announced on Tuesday and the Debian GNU/Linux distro is in the middle of its Project Leader campaigning period.

Debian Project Leader '08 Elections

Voting for the Debian Project Leader runs between March 30 and April 13 with the victor ascending on April 17. 

In the running in this year's election are:

  1. Marc Brockschmidt  [platform]
  2. Raphaël Hertzog  [platform]
  3. Steve McIntyre  [platform]

The Line of Kings

For those of you interested in history, since its inception, there have been 10 project leaders for Debian:

  1. Ian Murdock (August 1993 – March 1996), founder of the Debian Project
  2. Bruce Perens (April 1996 – December 1997)
  3. Ian Jackson (January 1998 – December 1998)
  4. Wichert Akkerman (January 1999 – March 2001)
  5. Ben Collins (April 2001 – April 2002)
  6. Bdale Garbee (April 2002 – April 2003)
  7. Martin Michlmayr (March 2003 – March 2005)
  8. Branden Robinson (April 2005 – April 2006)
  9. Anthony Towns (April 2006 – April 2007)
  10. Sam Hocevar (April 2007 – present)
(The above taken from wikipedia.)

Who will be lucky #11? (not to be confused with client #9)

Good luck to all three and may the best man win! :)

Pau for now... 

Monday Dec 17, 2007

GlassFish in Debian

Right before last week's packaging team meeting, Minnesota Tom sent out a note that GlassFish was in Debian contrib.  How it got there we don't know but we're stoked (yes I did grow up in Hawaii during the 70's, why do you ask?)  Ahh, the beauty of Free Software.

Now we haven't analyzed the packages yet but as Tom pointed out the packagers have gotten around the Maven build dependency by replacing it with ant.  So Glassfish is now a part of "Lenny" (all their  release codenames are characters from the movie Toy Story) which is currently due out the second half of 2008. 

The care package

Speaking of Debian, last week I received a care package that they put together for all of the sponsors of Debconf 7.  There were a couple of cool Debian shirts, one from the event and one from HP, a hardcopy of the final report, an O'Reilly book etc. etc.  But what was super cool and now is up on my wall, is a 6" x 10" swatch of the Debian kilt (learn more and see Mr. Steve McIntyer modeling it  here).


The current release and the real deal:

My room at the W came with the Etch a Sketch and I couldn't pass up the photo opp. 

Pau for now.... 

Friday Dec 07, 2007

Relive Debcon7 - Final report out

Just a little while ago a link to the final report from DebCon7 arrived in my inbox.  It was a great way to relive the thrills, chills and spills that made up the 8th annual Debian developers conference which took place this summer. 

The alley between my hotel and the conference.  Notice the castle in the back.

Over 400 people from around the world attended the event, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, which consisted of talks, hacking, sightseeing and lots of beer drinking.   The 30 page document, complete with pictures and charts, talks about how it all went and what went on both professionally and socially.  It also includes personal impressions from some of the attendees including Sun's very own Tom Marble.  Although my impressions weren't included in the report, I am featured prominently in one of the pictures (I am in the top right quadrant of the group photo, about nine people to the left of the guy on the right with both his hands in the air).

Who Doesn't want to look like the Bay City Rollers?! 

One of the more interesting features of the event was the Debian tartan that started out as a joke and then became a reality to the tune of 6,000 pounds.  The team who designed the pattern thought long and hard about the various choices (whether before or after the tartan was created I'm not sure) but if you read the report you'll find out the significance of the various elected features. 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y-D-E-B Night!

Probably the tartan's biggest feature is that it "spells out DEBIAN in Morse code (with a correct 1:3 ratio for dots to dashes, and for the pauses in and between letters)."  The report goes on to explain that "the tartan looks fairly conventional, but it is unusual (although not unique) in that it is mirrorsymmetrical on only one diagonal. This is to avoid reversing the Morse section which would otherwise spell ANIVEU."  And to prove this was legit and not a kludgy hack, the resulting tartan is "being entered into the Scottish Tartans World Register as tartan number 3210."

Although the tartans were available to all, they were a bit too rich for my blood so instead I decided to invest in a cool Etch-a-release T-shirt.

Spain via Argentina 

Debconf7 and Edinburgh were a blast and I look forward to Argentina and Debconf8 and beyond that, the recently announced Debconf9 in the Extremadura region of Spain.

Goodbye Edinburgh, hope to see you again soon (I wonder what this tartan spells in morse code?

More pictures from Edinburgh. 

Pau for now...

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

T1000 - Euro Freedom fighters weapon of choice

Ok, so maybe the title is a bit of an overstatement but its good to see Free Software advocates in Europe making good use of the UltraSPARC-based Sun Fire T1000 servers.  Superfast, supercool (as in low power consumption and heat) and based on GPL'd chips -- whats not to like!? 

FSFE:  We got a T1000 and we're gonna use it!

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is doing a lot of great work advancing Free Software in Europe.  It is therefor very cool to see that they are using the T1000 we gave them to power the on-line presence for the FSFE community (aka the Fellowship) and deliver them new services.

FSFE president Georg Greve, in a picture from his blog -- armed and dangerous with the T1000.

Debconf7 -- checkin' builds in Auld Reikie on a T1000

For this past summer's Debcon7 held in Edinburgh we lent Team Debian a T1000 to compile builds on.  There was a rumor that it was also used to power the Ceilidh.

Teviot Student union at the University of Edinburgh where Debconf 7 was held. 

High up in the union's bell tower was the debconf server room.  Look at that T1000 go! 

Pau for now... 

Tuesday Apr 17, 2007

A month of Releases

Its Spring and Linux releases are blooming like flowers.

RHEL 5 -- The season actually kicked off the last week of Winter with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on March 14.  Originally  targeted for the '06 Christmas season, this release features integrated Xen virtualization support similar to what Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 delivered last summer. 

Debian 4.0 -- Several weeks later, and after a 21 month development cycle, Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 was the next release to debut.  Debian 4.0, code named "Etch," was also meant to arrive in time to make it under the holiday tree but instead endured a long and winding road to release including the creation of a Dunc-Tank.  Dunc ['"Development Under Numismatic Control" -- which could equally be called "coin-operated coding"']  was put in place to make sure that Debian hit their December 4 release date.  Needless to say, they didn't.  Who knows when or if 4.0 would have been released without Dunc tank but one things for sure, it did cause a whole bunch of ruckus within the Debian community.  

CentOS 5 -- Most recently, near the end of last week, CentOS (Community ENTerprise Operating System) released CentOS 5, a release which bears an uncanny resemblance to RHEL5. Actually its billed as being a "100% compatible " rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is based on the upstream release 5 including both server and client packages.

Ubuntu 7.04 -- Which brings us to the present and the eve of the eve of the release of Ubuntu's until-now-known "Feisty Faun."   Feisty, which will be released Thursday under the humorless moniker of Ubuntu 7.04, will include performance improvements, improved availability of network services, secure remote network services, UltraSparc improvements (Yea!), updated LAMP stack, updated cluster suites and virtualization.   More importantly on Thursday you'll get to see if we made good on our promise made back in November to include Glassfish (the free and open source Java EE 5 implementation) in the next Ubuntu release. 

Tune in Thursday to see if the Faun comes out caffeinated. :)


Pau for now... 

Monday Mar 19, 2007

Ian's in the House!

Well the big news today is that Ian Murdock started this morning as Sun's Chief Operating Platforms Officer.  As the founder of Debian along with the work he has done as the CTO of the Linux Foundation and the head of the Linux Standard Base, he will bring a fresh perspective to our OS strategy. 

I had a great talk with him last week and am excited by his thinking, particularly around the area of Solaris and usability.   He mentioned that while he will be resigning as the CTO of the Linux Foundation, he plans to remain as the head of the Linux Standard Base, so that means Sun will be assured a representative there :-)  Im also glad to hear that in true FOSS fashion he wont be relocating.   The more Sun decentralizes geographically the better (says the recent Austin emigre).

Welcome Ian!


PS look for the answers to the Saints tomorrow.

Pau for now... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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