Tuesday Sep 02, 2008

Would you like some Freedom with that Fry? GNU turns 25 and Java powers the Video!

Given that John McCain has chosen Monty Python alum, Michael Palin as his running mate, its no surprise that the Free Software Foundation has found their own British comedian to promote the 25th birthday of the GNU operating system

The FSF have teamed up with Steven Fry English humorist, actor and novelist to produce a very cool five minute video explaining the history of GNU and the ethos behind Free Software.

Check out the video here

And speaking of Free as in Freedom, the video is powered by Java technology (who would have predicted that a few years ago! ;)

Pau for now...

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Talking with Meena: Open HA Cluster - Whole Enchilada now Open-sourced

As of today, the third, final and largest code release for Open High Availability Cluster has been made available.  This now means that all of the Open HA Cluster code is available as free software.   This will allow developers and admins to access and build complete HA solutions built on source code from the OpenSolaris project.

Right before the launch I grabbed some time with Meenakshi Kaul-Basu, the engineering director at Sun responsible for Availability products, and whose group the Open HA Cluster falls under.  Take a listen to Meenakshi's explanation of the event and her insight:

My interview with Meenakshi (9:29)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The first phase of the open code release was the Cluster agent in June of last year.  Phase two was in December and and was for the Geographic edition.
  • This third release represents nearly two million lines of code (and this number doesn't include the test code).
  • In addition to code it also comes with docs and internationalization functionality as well as the above mentioned automated testing.
  • Open HA cluster is tightly integrated with built-in OpenSolaris features like ZFS technology.
  • Integration of Open HA Cluster with free software apps like ,Apache TomcatMySQL, PostreSQL, Glassfish...
  • Where can you get started? (Here
  • How to join the discussion (HA cluster forum)

BTW: for a bevy of engineering details, check out Oasis, the Sun Cluster group blog.

Pau for now...

Friday May 23, 2008

Ubuntu Developer Summit - Prague

On Monday this week I attended the first day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Prague.  The summit which just ended today, was intended to drive plans and decisions for the next Ubuntu release "Intrepid Ibex" which is due out on October 30th.  (Check out the reports from the summit here.)

Mark welcomes the masses while Jono scans the crowd for hecklers.

Sun had about 12 folks there representing GlassFish, Open JDK, NetBeans, Hudson, Sun Studio and MySQL.  We attended sessions, had side meetings and had a big Canonical/Sun sync up at the end of the day to talk about the slew of software we hope to get into Intrepid. 

This was my third UDS and my favorite so far -- I loved the location, I loved all the Sun participation and I loved getting to see people who are becoming old friends! :)

The Many Faces of UDS Intrepid


Rick Clark brings the Ubuntu server team to its feet. 

Post pow-wow pic: Kaj Arno (MySQL), Mark Shuttleworth (Canonical), Arseniy Kuznetsov (NetBeans), Matt Zimmerman (Canonical) 

Robert has a bazaar conversation with the NetBeans guys (Yarda & Arseniy) 

Abhijit and Nitya talkin' GlassFish 

The road we took to dinner. 

Pau for now... 

Wednesday May 21, 2008

FOSS Camp Prague

Last night I got back at 1AM from a glorious week in Prague.  The first two days were spent attending FOSS camp, followed by a day off to explore the city and then Monday I attened the opening day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit (aka UDS Intrepid).

The view from my hotel room.  Not bad for a Holiday Inn!

Setting up Camp

FOSS Camp was sponsored by Canonical but its focus was on FOSS in general and not limited to Ubuntu.  The event was a great opportunity for "Team Sun" (composed of people from OpenJDK, OpenOffice, GlassFish and NetBeans) to present what we have been working on, meet a lot of the community players and learn about other projects.  Unlike UDS,  FOSS camp was in an unstructured un-conference format where people basically went up to a white board at the beginning of each day and wrote up sessions they wanted to lead:

One of the sessions that was particularly helpful was the packaging jam/tutorial that Daniel Holbach led.  Also, in the OpenOffice session which Mark Shuttleworth and Zonker of OpenSUSE joined, I felt there was some definite progress made between the two OO camps. [Check out Zonker's take on FOSS Camp here.]

Overall there were about 80 folks who attended over the two days.  Sun had 10 folks who attended and hailed from a handful of locations: Silicon Valley, Prague, Hamburg, Austin and St. Petersburg.  Oh and did I mention that the food was really good?!

Stay tuned for my UDS day one report and pics....

Jono Bacon kicks off FOSS Camp with a sermon on the evils of alcohol, while Mark Shuttleworth looks on

Team Sun and Daniel: (L-R) David (OpenJDK), Daniel (MOTU god), Stefan (OpenOffice), Nitya (GlassFish), Me, Marek & Alexei (NetBeans)

OpenOffice session  

View from the session room. 

An unholy alliance of community leaders, Zonker of OpenSUSE and Jono of Ubuntu fame. 

Heading off to dinner. 

Prague isn't ugly. 

Beer, Absinthe and outdoor dining, who could ask for more?! 

Night in the old town square. 

Pau for now... 

Friday Feb 08, 2008

My latest FOSS Presentation

Last Friday I was up in Dallas for a customer event.  We hosted 10 of our biggest customers and brought in Sun speakers from around the country to address specific topics that they were interested in. 

The event kicked off with an overall Sun strategy presentation, during which Sun's Free and Open Source Software strategy was covered as a key element. 

One of the customers, a humungous telco, had asked for a deeper dive into FOSS and Sun's activities in this area so I took them through this presentation.  

What I covered

In this latest pitch I spend the first half of the presentation talking, at a high-level about FOSS: where its come from, where its going, how it works and what it takes.  In the second half I focused on Sun in the post-bubble world and how FOSS and Frenemies have been what I consider two of the most important components of Sun's renaissance.  Given that I only had an hour, it actually was more of survey course than a deep dive but it seemed to go well and I ended with a minute to spare :)

And speaking of events, Im off later this afternoon to LA to attend SCALE.  I'm armed with my new mp3 recorder and am lookin' to snag me a few more interviews.  Zonker's already said he's game so thats at least one victim :)

Pau for now...

Monday Aug 20, 2007

My Interview with Ashlee Vance of the Register

Ashlee Vance, Enterprise Editor, The Register  Listen to the Interview (7:55)

I first met Ashlee Vance last year at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Mountain View.  Given the snarky style with which he writes and the fact that the Register is a British endeavor I had pictured Ashlee to be some foppish Brit with spectacles and maybe a bow tie. 

The occasion of the meeting was to discuss the fact that Canonical was certifying Sun's servers for Ubuntu and that Glassfish would be a part of the Feisty Faun release.  When I got in the room where the chat was going to be held I saw a somewhat schlubby looking American guy who I assumed to be an Ubuntu hacker who had wandered into the wrong room.  Turns out this was Ashlee. 

Unlike what I had expected, Ashlee was very mellow and unassuming, I guess the better to lull his prey into a false since of security :)   If you're not familiar with Ashlee's articles here are a few recent ones that will give you an idea of his style:

Less than a month ago I had a chance to run into Ashlee again up at OSCON.  The result of that meeting is the following interview

Topics: He's neither British nor a woman; What it means to be a snarky writer; What he shares with Mark Shuttleworth; Open Source does it matter as a term, isn't it simply a different distribution method?  What is the OSI thinking;  How he's come to terms with his name.

Pau for now...

Sun Sponsors open source contests in India and Scotland

Sun is sponsoring two free and open source software contests that coincidently were both announced last week: the Code for Freedom contest in India and the Scottish Open Source Awards

Code for Freedom is open to undergraduate and graduate students and is in commemoration of India's 60 years of independence.  The contest, which runs until January of 2008, invites participants to contribute to one of the following five projects: Open Solaris, Project GlassFish, NetBeans, Apache Derby and Open Portal.  For contest details click here.

And then up north, "the Scottish Open Source Awards is part of a strategy to promote the use of Open Source in Scotland and to reward those companies delivering Open Source excellence."  The closing date for entries is September 28 and presentations will take in November (exact date to be announced).

Edinburgh, Scotland - taken while at Debconf.  (Unfortunately, never having been to India, I cant post a similar picture to support Code for Freedom.  I just might have to plan a trip :)

Pau for now...

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

Linux World SF07 and "Frienemies"

Last week I was out in the Bay Area to attend Linux World SF.   I had been hearing about how the show was dying and/or on its last legs and was therefore pleasantly surprised by what I found. 

A virtualzied Ubuntu running at the VMware booth.

A Change in Tenor

The only other Linux World SF that Ive been to was last year's so I cant say first hand what it was like back in the day but from what I hear, it seems to have changed from being developer focused to being more business focused.  Other shows like OSCON and Ottawa Linux Symposium, its safe to say, are drawing more of the Linux developer crowd these days. 

For me the show was a great place to meet and compare notes with people doing my job at other companies like Dell and IBM as well as getting to chat with smaller companies like SugarCRM and orgs like the Etherboot project [Etherboot's president Marty Connor whom I met for the first time is a total howl and must doing something right since I think he said he had three summer of code interns working on his project]. 

While there were the ultra slick gianormous booths like those hosted by Motorola and Novell, I found a lot of the more interesting stuff back in the .org pavilion.  Back there is where you found folks like Postgres, the FSF, Debian, the Linux Foundation, Eclipse etc.  And speaking of Postgres, I grabbed Josh Berkus for an interview and its now a part of my podcast backlog that I will continue to whittle away at.

Debian and FreeBSD in the .org Pavilion.

Keynotes and Bad-itudes

Because of meetings and other events like the T2 launch, I unfortunately missed the keynotes/talks.   It was during one of the Dell sessions that they announced that they would be offering Ubuntu pre-loaded in the UK, Germany and France.  And it was during Andrew Morton's  Conference Kickoff  where he talked about getting involved with the Linux kernel and made the comment:

"I think it's a great shame that OpenSolaris still exists," he continued. "I wish they had killed it. They've fragmented the non-windows OS world and for no reason. There is no reason why they couldn't have gone to Linux."

Now the this-town-ain't-big-enough-for the-two-of-us stance is what I call a "bad-itude." 

Switch "Linux" with "Open Solaris" and you have the view held by most folks at Sun not so long ago (and Im sure still a few today).  Although the change began before he took the helm, since Jonathan became CEO a little over a year ago I have seen a real change at Sun towards providing our customers with choice and the realization that one size doesnt fit all.  This is why we resell Red Hat and Suse, work very closely with Canonical/Ubuntu and encourage sales of Solaris on systems from "competitors" such as IBM, Dell and HP.

The hi-tech world is no longer binary and you cant simply point to the "bad guys."  As I discussed with my peers at IBM and Dell, these days we're all "frienemies." We compete aggressively in some areas and partner closely in others. 

Oh, brave new world.

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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