Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Mark Shuttleworth: from Debian Developer to Ubuntu Founder

The other podcast that I did while I was at Debconf8 down in Argentina was with the ever charming Mark Shuttleworth, Debian developer in a past-life and founder of the Debian-based Ubuntu.  Take a listen! (pay no attention to my sniffling and broken Spanish in the beginning :)

My interview with Mark (15:33)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

If you havent met Mark he's 6'10" (notice the relative size of the cup).  As a student he was starting guard on the Capetown Krugerrands pro basketball team.\*

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • How mark got involved with Debian back in '93-- he noticed the lack of an Apache package so he banged one together and contributed it
  • After he sold his first company, what drove him to found Ubuntu and why did he choose to base it on Debian?
  • What is the business model behind Canonical and how has it evolved over time, particularly when in the case of Ubuntu, "the bits are free" (from technical support contracts to custom engineering)
  • Where will Ubuntu most likely get traction in the enterprise, via the server or desktop?
  • The trends Mark sees in the industry today
  • The Ubuntu+Red Hat+SUSE+ IBM "Microsoft-Free desktop" announcement that was made at Linux World and how this represents "a shift in what's possible"
  • Where Mark sees Ubuntu two years from now, what its like being your own angel investor and does Mark have an exit strategy?

\*(Mark really isn't 6'10 and I don't think there is such a team as the Capetown Krugerrands).

Pau for now...

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 kernel.org

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...

Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Gordon Haff of Illuminata shares his views from OSCON

My last podcast from OSCON is with industry pundit Gordon Haff of Illuminata (I actually also recorded an interview with someone from Amazon Web Services but their PR department nixed it after the fact). 

I originally did an interview with Gordon at the Red Hat Summit back in June but due the vagueries of technology, it vanished.  Gordon was kind enough to give me a make up in Portland.

My interview with Gordon (15:04)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


A man of many words. 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • Why Gordon was attending OSCON.  It has something to do with "philosophical underpinnings."
  • Red Hat as the most successful pure-play Open Source software company.
  • How IBM has used Open Source to sell proprietary software.
  • While Microsoft may be "Dead in Theory," it keeps turning a profit.
  • Ubuntu's chances in the enterprise space
  • Sun, a clear set of strategies around Open Source.  What about execution?

For more Gordon-from-OSCON, check out this piece he did from up there: The Attribution Problem

Pau for now...

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

OpenJDK default Java Runtime in Ubuntu

Last week, Doko (pictured here), sent out a mail to the ubuntu-devel-announce list saying that, for Ubuntu's Intrepid release due in October, "OpenJDK6 is the default java runtime / development kit in main, on all architectures."

This marks a key accomplishment for the JDK which began its it relationship with Ubuntu in the multiverse repository thanks to the Distribution License for Java

The Road to Freedom 

In the last year or so the JDK has been liberated and with the help of the folks from the Iced Tea project, encumbrances have been removed one by one.  With the release of OpenJDK JDK moved into Ubuntu's Universe repository in 8.04

Now, as of last week, it is has moved directly into the heart of the Ubuntu distribution, Main!  With OpenJDK in Main this means that the flood gates are now open for all Open Source apps that depend on the JDK to, as community manager Jorge put it, "rock in Ubuntu."

Interested in Getting Involved?

If you want to get involved check out the Java Team on the Ubuntu wiki.  Here is the background from Daniel's blog.  Make your Java app rock in Ubuntu!  Rock on.  :)

Pau for now... 

Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

Sam Ramji of Microsoft Tells all

Last week at OSCON I ran into Sam Ramji, head of Microsoft's worldwide open source and linux team, outside of Starbucks.  He had a back-to-back meetings lined up that day but since my podcast last year was singularly responsible for his rise within Microsoft, he cut out some time for me.  [BTW, this was the day before their Apache announcement] Here is the result:

My interview with Sam (11:02)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


I came bearing gifts.  Sam holding a real operating system (turns out he already had BeleniX loaded)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • His new position and team (its grown from 12 to 112 people and spans 65 countries) and what they're responsible for.
  • Strategy without execution is hallucination
  • The two licenses Microsoft submitted (one BSD-like and the other copyleft and which allows dual licensing), and got approved by the OSI last year.
  • The importance of interoperability and making sure MS stuff works well with Linux/Solaris etc.
  • The work they've been doing with the Jeremy Allison and the Samba team
  • Ballmer's recent quote regarding Open Source and "recovering their agnosticism"
  • What Sam's proudest over the last year and shout outs to team members.

Want more Sam?  Check out this Infoweek article, also from OSCON.


Pau for now...

Monday Jul 21, 2008

OSCON Bound!

In about 20 minutes I leave for the airport, arriving tonight in lovely Portland, OR to attend OSCON.  This will be my third appearance there and I look forward to listening, learning, being interviewed and podcasting.  In fact it was at last year's OSCON that I kicked off my foray into the wild and wacky world of podcasting.    A year later I've got over 70 under my belt and am looking to grab a few more.

What to look for 

As I mentioned previously, Dalibor will be giving a talk and as Ken points out, Sun will be having its "coach potato" booth as well as hosting a party Wednesday night.   The MySQL branch of Team Sun will, of course, be there in force as Colin cites.

In watching the blog-o-sphere, I see that Zonker of OpenSUSE fame will be there, as will the FSF's Mako, Fedora's Mr. Karsten Wade and a whole slew of Canonical Ubuntuers including SABDFL himself -- to name but a few.

And Don't Forget Wednesday's Party

Who/What  OpenSolaris-mySQL-Zend OSCon Bash

                    [FREE for all OSCon attendees]

When Wednesday, July 23 8pm-midnight

Where DoubleTree Hotel Parking Lot

Be there...Aloha!

Pau for now... 


Friday Jul 18, 2008

Fedora's Max Spevack chat's about Community Management

Last but not least, here is my final podcast from the recent Red Hat Summit  and FUDCon.

I chose to close my series with the interview I did with former Fedora project leader and community manager Max Spevack.  It seemed a fitting way to end cuz after all, its all about community anyway, innit?.

My interview with Max (20:27)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


Rumor has it that Max has been in talks with Ralph Lauren to replace the polo player with the Fedora logo. 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The history of Fedora and how Max got involved, making the transition from Slackware, as well as his journey from QA to community.
  • How the Fedora leaders prior to Max had been tech-superstars whereas his skills are stronger in the softer areas e.g. community building
  • Its about leadership 101, not computing; The power of persuasion and "Thank You"
  • The Fedora culture and the fine line between clever and stupid working hard and being a workaholic.

The next FUDCon

And speaking of FUDCon, I saw where Max recently sent out an email about the next one which will be held in Brno, Czech Republic, from September 5 - 7, 2008.

Pau for now...

OpenJDK in OpenSUSE

Earlier this week I posted how OpenJDK was knock, knock, knockin' on Lenny's door.  At that time I also mentioned how it was already in Ubuntu and Fedora.

What I failed to mention, however, and was right under my very nose was that fact that OpenJDK had already made it into OpenSUSE 11.  Thanks to MySQL Euro-community manager and former SUSE employee Lenz Grimmer, I was englightened:

openSUSE has included the Sun JDK for quite a while already. openJDK has been
added to openSUSE 11.0 as well and is part of the default distribution (the
"oss" section, while the Sun JDK is in the "non-oss" part).

Here are some links to check out: 

Pau for now...

Wednesday Jul 16, 2008

DGilmore on the Fedora SPARC port

Continuing in my series of podcasts from the Red Hat Summit  and FUDCon, here is an interview with Dennis Gilmore the soft spoken ex-Aussie and key member of the Aurora SPARC Linux project.  Dennis is a Fedora community member but, as I found out, doesn't work for Red Hat but instead is employed by One Laptop Per Child.

My interview with Dennis (10:40)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


Former Aussie and current Cubbies fan. 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • Fedora and its quest to support SPARC
  • Making it so OpenJDK can run on SPARC -- How thanks to the hard work of Dennis and others, OpenJDK for SPARC  32 and 64 patches have been sent up stream and accepted so all flavors of GNU/linux can benefit.
  • The packages are now available on the Aurora mirrors.
  • How Aurora rose like a majestic phoenix from the ashes of the former official Red Hat SPARC port
  • Dennis' passion for obscure Hardware and the mini-home datacenter in his basement
  • How Dennis got involved in the world of Fedora and SPARC
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... 

Monday Jul 07, 2008

Chattin' with The Linux Foundation's Executive Director, Jim "Led" Zemlin

I'm back from my week of vacation and am ready to pick up where I left off with the interviews I conducted at the Red Hat Summit/FUDCon last month.  After today's, I will have three left: Dennis Gilmore, Max Spevack and Chander Kant of Zmanda.

The Honourable James Zemlin

On the first day of the Summit I was able to grab my buddy Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation for a spirited discussion about the Foundation, Linux and a bunch more. 

My interview with Jim (15:55)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


Jimmy Z, all badged-up and ready to roll! 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • What exactly does the Linux Foundation do? 
  • Fighting the anti-Linux FUD that comes from Microsoft and "others"
  • List of events coming up that the LF is involved with like the Kernel Summit and the Plumbers Conference.
  • Props for Sam Ramji of Microsoft
  • How Marten Mickos did at the Linux Foundation summit
  • Will Sun release more of its Free Software under the GPLv2?
  • IBM and their mix of Free and proprietary Software
  • What Jim plans to do at the RedHat Summit
Pau for now...

About

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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