Thursday May 08, 2008

Pics from CommunityOne & JavaOne

Here are a few pictures from earlier this week taken at CommunityOne and day one of JavaOne

Podcasts a comin'

In the next few days I will also be posting a bunch of podcasts I did while in San Francisco including a bunch from key OpenSolaris folks, a post-Distro-smackdown recording,  an interview with the Fedora IcedTea guys and a chat with the JRuby dudes.

Mr. Finch exits -- Before either event even began, the city was crawling with Java topped cabs.

CommunityOne and the Launch of OpenSolaris (this time for real)

Marten Mickos, Neelan Choksi and Ian Murdock hold forth on FOSS business models at RedMonkTwo

C1 Speakers: Jono Bacon (Ubuntu), Zonker Brockmeier (OpenSUSE), Mako Hill (FSF), Karsten Wade (Fedora)

Sun Software EVP Rich Green and RedMonk pundit Steveo Grady talk seriously under the disco ball at the OpenSolaris launch party. 

JavaOne - DayOne 

The MySQL Community Crew attend their first JavaOne as Sun employees (and find that that means they don't get the free backpack).  L-R: Jay Pipes, Giuseppe Maxia, Lenz Grimmer and Colin Charles.  

The post-keynote deluge. 

If you attend JavaOne you've gotta get your picture taken with Duke (there was a huge line).

Pau for now... 

Monday Apr 14, 2008

Ending Software Patents - Talking with Ben Klemens

You've got to respect any individual willing to kick off a presentation with a impression of Kermit the frog.  And not just an impression but a rendition of Kermit singing the rainbow connection.  Well Ben Klemens, tasked with leading the Free Software Foundation's End Software Patents campaign, is just such an individual (the point?  Kermit lied.  There aren't so many songs about rainbows).

I was able to grab Ben after his talk at the Free Software Foundation's membership meeting last month and talk about ending software patents.  

My interview with Ben (10:27)  Listen (Mp3)   Listen (ogg)

"Is that a patent troll I see up there?" 

Who is Ben?

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • Patent Trolls
  • The protection that Copyright provides
  • How software patents are all the Gipper's fault
  • The Supreme Court has been extremely clear in their disapproval of software patents
  • The question is do software patents promote the progress of science -  the answer is no


Extra Credit Reading - Where Sun Stands on Software Patents:

Pau for now....

Thursday Mar 27, 2008

Hollywood and Free Software -- Talking to Henri Poole

At the Free Software Foundation's members meeting that I recently attended, I was able to grab FSF board member Henri Poole.  I caught Henri right after he gave his talk, "Hollywood and Free Software."  I don't know about you but "Free Software" and "Hollywood" are not words that I often see in the same sentence.

My interview with Henri (6:31)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)


Who is Henri?

  • FSF board member since 2002
  • Co-founder of CivicActions which, among other things, is working on Peter Gabriel's Witness project, creating the WITNESS video hub.
  • A Berkeleyite who began hacking code as teenager in Oklahoma
  • The former head of Mandrake Soft.
  • The former Director of Technology for Dennis Kucinich's US Presidential campaign.

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The writers strike and how it provided for a receptive audience
  • Meeting up with 15 members of the writers guild at the house of the writer of Schindler's List
  • The birth of "Virtual Artists": entertainment and software writers coming together to enlighten the world through a new form of story telling.
  • Matching the technology with the strategic direction
  • Looking for management, funding and what the next few months holds.

Pau for now... 

Thursday Mar 20, 2008

2008 FSF Members Meeting

As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, last weekend I was in Boston to attend the Free Software Foundation's annual members  meeting

It kicked off early Saturday morning amidst a flurry of wet snow.

It was 95 degrees in Austin on this day. 


The event was a day long affair held on the MIT campus and featured a dinner that evening at the Middle East.

The crowd mills about waiting for the event to start.  There was a very impressive buffet of fruit, juice, danishes etc to get things started right  -- Can't talk Free Software on an empty stomach.

Matt and Josh campaign to eliminate both DRM and yellow jumpsuits. 

After a welcome by Executive Director Peter Brown, campaign managers Matt Lee and Joshua Gay reviewed some of the work they've been involved with over the last year. 

The rest of the day was composed of  a series of presentations including, "The Zen of the Hacker,"  "Ending Software Patents," Freedom and Web Services," and "Hollywood and Free Software" as well as an update on GPLV3.  (I was able to grab Ben Klemens and Henri Poole after their talks on Patents and Hollywood, respectively, for interviews.  Look for those in the next few entries).

The event then wrapped up with an hour an half open mic Q&A with board members.

L-R: Exec director Peter Brown and board members Geoffrey Knauth, Mako Hill and Richard Stallman (Henri Poole joined the group after this picture was taken)

All and all an interesting day that ended with great baklava and conversations at the Middle East.

P.S. If you haven't checked out the FSF website recently, do.  Its had a facelift and isn't so drab any more. 

Pau for now...

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Boston: Gnomies, Fiber Optics and the FSF

Last Thursday I left warm sunny Austin for cold, snowy Boston.  Despite the weather I had a great time.  The main purpose of the trip was to attend the Free Software Foundations annual membership meeting but I was able to add on a few things.

Friday I had a couple of meetings at the Cambridge Brewing Company.  I met with Jeff Hammond from Forrester Research who in addition to all the other stuff on his plate, picked up Free and Open Source Software when Michael Goulde retired.   It was basically a get to know you meeting and it went well.  After that I met with Andy Oram of O'Reilly, who specializes in GNU/Linux and Free Software books.  After my meetings I met up with a buddy from high school who is leading research in fiber optics in a lab at BU.  We had coffee and then I got to see the lab itself.

Carson Roberts - Van Helsing of the optics lab;  The spike he's holding, when stretched by the machine behind him, will produce ~10km of fiber optic cable. 


From there I headed down to Newbury street where I stumbled upon what appeared to GNOME foundation board meeting.

I think the one on the left is Jeff Waugh

The next day, Saturday was the FSF members meeting.   Stay tuned for a post on that and a couple of cool interviews I was able to grab.

Pau for now...

Thursday Mar 06, 2008

OpenOffice goes V3!

Big news today, starting with the April release of OpenOffice, it will be licensed under the Lesser GNU Public License, Version 3, (LGPLv3).  This license upgrade was decided based on input from the community and is an evolution from OpenOffice's current license:  LGPLv2.  While Sun previously chose v3 for xVM Ops Center, OpenOffice represents a much bigger ball of code and, as far as I know is the largest project yet to go v3.

Talkin' 'Bout an Evolution 

Yesterday I was able to grab a few folks to talk about this change and what it means for OpenOffice and Free Software.  On the line I had Michael Bemmer who, among other things, runs StarOffice, OpenOffice for Sun, Jim Parkinson VP of Developers tools and Michael's boss and Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation.


My Interview with Jim, Michael and Peter (9:47)    Listen mp3    Listen ogg 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The other piece of news, moving to the Sun Contributor agreement and what that means.
  • Why L rather than regular GPL?
  • What about a foundation?
  • The GPLv3 drafting process, whats been added since V2?
  • Whats the reaction been?


Extra Credit Reading/Listening:

Pau for now.... 


Thursday Dec 20, 2007

Talking with Mako - The FSF's newest board member

At the end of day two of FOSS camp in Cambridge, I was able to grab some time with Benjamin Mako Hill.  I had blogged about Mako's appointment to the board of the Free Software Foundation back in July but this was the first time that I really got to meet him.  He's quite an amiable guy and very enthusiastic about what he's involved with (it definitely comes through in the interview).  Check it out:

My interview with Mako (10:25)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Nothing says "passion" like a well stickered laptop. 

Who is Mako?

Some of the topics we tackle

  • The process of getting accepted onto the board of the FSF
  • The daunting task of trying to fill Eben Moglen's shoes
  • What it means to be the first board member from the post "GNU generation"
  • Being the software guy on the One Laptop Per Child project
  • Having been a rebel with too many causes
  • The open source/free software "schism"
  • UNIX jokes at a cappella shows


Since there is a good chance this will be my last entry of the year, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a hau'oli makahiki hou!

Pau for now...

Friday Sep 14, 2007

Fake Steve/Real Dan at it again

Dan Lyons who recently outed himself as the real Fake Steve Jobs caused a few hearts here at Sun to skip a beat this morning with his latest entry

"You manage the relationship with the FSF right? it's a joke isn't it?" was the question posed to me by a couple of folks.   "Of course it is," I replied as I hurriedly dialed Peter Brown at the FSF to confirm.

Peter sounded happy to hear from me and when I asked if he'd read today's Fake Steve entry he replied, "no, is it a good one?" 

I then read it to him over the phone and he couldn't stop laughing.

Pau for now...

Tuesday Jul 31, 2007

What was Eben thinking?

A week ago today, Eben Moglen took the stage at O'Reilly Radar opposite Tim O'Reilly

In case you missed it, what transpired next was described by Zonker Brockmeier of as follows:

...Software Freedom Law Center director Eben Moglen threw down the gauntlet to O'Reilly founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly. Saying that O'Reilly had spent 10 years making money and building the O'Reilly name, Moglen invited O'Reilly to stop being "frivolous" and to join the conversation about software freedom... 

Ashlee "Im neither a woman nor a Brit" Vance from the Register had this to say:

O'Reilly invited Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen to participate in a discussion about "licensing in the Web 2.0 era" at this week's OSCON. The conference organizers did their best to fix the conversation. Even though everyone laughs at O'Reilly's Web 2.0 moniker to his face, the conference promoter still takes the phrase very seriously and expects others to do the same. Moglen declined the offer...


I was fortunate enough to grab Mr. Moglen after his appearance and find out what exactly it was that they put in his water that morning.  

Here is the interview\* where Eben discusses his "theatrical event, "  as well as: the rights of users; political language vs. business language;  his current relationship with the FSF and what role the Software Freedom Law Center plays in the FOSS world; GPLv3 and why he wears lemon tinted glasses.

 \*.ogg version, thx to Patrick

The "conversation" continued during the break.  (Eben Moglen is the fellow on the left with the grey beard, Tim O'Reilly is the fellow on the right with the grey beard.)

Pau for now... 

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

The FSF Board: The Next Generation

I was chatting with Peter Brown of the FSF last week and found out that I had missed the news about Benjamin Mako Hill's appointment to the FSF board.  I think this is fantastic news.  While very impressive, the FSF board is not as diverse as it could be and Mako's appointment to the spot left vacant by Eben Moglen will add diversity along the axis of age.  

At the ripe old of age of 26 Mako brings a different perspective to Software Freedom.  As discussed in feature last week on

...Hill says that, in many ways, he represents the second generation of free software activists. He suggests that the first generation of activists, such as Richard Stallman, were motivated by their dream of a free operating system. People of Hill's generation share that goal, but view it differently, because they have grown up with free operating systems. As a result, Hill says, "The things that interest me are not flexing the technical muscle, although that's important. It's more defending freedom, helping to make the tough calls about how the FSF protects freedom. We've succeeded to a massive degree -- not entirely, but hugely -- and I think it's important to start thinking about how we're going to move from here."

He also talked about the shift in  the potential audience for the free software message.

"It used to be that software freedom was something most important to hackers, because they were the ones who were most impacted." But now, with the majority of people in industrialized worlds using computers or computerized devices throughout their day, the audience has grown vastly larger, and so has what is at stake.

While Mako's background is in civil rights, he was fundamental in the formation of Ubuntu, currently serving on the community council as well as being the first author of "The Official Ubuntu Book" which he co-authored.  And speaking of books he was also first author of the "Debian GNU/Linux 3.x Bible" which he also co-authored and is a key member of the Debian community.  In fact, it was at Debconf7 last month that I briefly met him.

So a big congratulations to Benjamin Mako Hill,  I hope I get the chance to work with you soon.

Pau for now... 

Friday Jun 29, 2007

GPLv3: Alive and Kicking!

Today at 12:00 noon (EDT), Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation unleashed the GNU Public License version 3 to the world.  This license, the first update to the GPL since version two was released over 15 years ago, represents 18 months of work and the  input of a multitude of individuals and organizations.  

The Process

Input came from four committees or constituents: Committee A: Industry Luminaries, B: Hight Tech companies (which Sun was a part of), C: Public/Private users and D: the general public.  This input would then be reviewed by Richard Stallman, a revision was drafted and a new version was released to the committees for review.  This loop was repeated three times with a little extra tweaking at the end.

Visualize Whirled Peas

The transparency of this process was visually rendered on the web by overlaying color to the verbiage in the actual contract.  Yellow represented areas that received relatively few comments and on the other end of the spectrum, red showed those areas where most people were adding input.  This was further detailed with roll-over annotations that provided the actual comments.

Comments on draft 2


The GPLv3 process has been an impressive and inclusive one, intended on protecting the freedom of software by clarifying and updating the principles of Richard Stallman and the FSF.  What will now be fascinating to watch is who adopts  it, when and for what.  As Simon says, there is no doubt that Sun will use GPLv3, but the questions that we still need to answer are for what and when.  For those communities that Sun acts as the steward, such as Open JDK and OpenSolaris, the decision can not be rendered by fiat but must involve discussion by the communities themselves.  This will take time.

A toast

But for now a big congratulations to Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen, Peter Brown and to everyone else who participated in the process of birthing the GNU Public License version 3. A toast to community, transparency and Free as in Freedom.

 Pau for now...

Thursday Jan 18, 2007

Hawaii Bound

Well Im really excited because tomorrow morning at 9:00AM I jet off to Hawaii to speak at the Pacific Free and Open Source Convention  (PFOSSCON.)

I weaseled my way into this since Im the only member of the Free and Open Source Group at Sun that was born and raised in Hawaii.  Not that being from the islands was a prerequisite but that didnt stop me from putting myself forward as the most appropriate candidate.  I even got to do pre-press for the event by doing an interview on KTUH, the university of Hawaii at Manoa's student radio station which is also streamed live on the web.

At PFOSSCON, I will be sharing the bill with none other than the prophet of the Free Software Movement himself, Richard Stallman.   Ive never seen Stallman speak and since I will be managing Sun's relationship with the Free Software Foundation, this will be a great opportunity.  Also speaking will be Dave Roberts.  Dave is VP of strategy and marketing at a cool looking company called Vyatta that is pursuing open source networking.

The conference is on Saturday, so I will have Sunday to relax with friends and relatives.  Monday we are off to Waimea on the Big Island to do a mini conference to the astronomer community and other interested parties.  Waimea is fascinating since its a small little town that is home to some of the world's top astronomers.  The reason for this is that it is at the foot of Mauna Kea which, given its height and location in the middle of the Pacific, hosts some of the most advanced observatories on earth. Observatories such as the  Keck, Gemini and CFHT

I plan to take a bunch of pictures and post some in future blogs.  I may even blog from the isles while Im there...but then again, the risk of getting sand in my laptop may be too great and I may have to keep it zipped up in its case.

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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