Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

Open Docs Update: Original list done, working on the next batch

I wanted to give a quick update on the Open Document project that we kicked off back in June. With the publication of the Schizo PRM on Monday, we have made public the original list of chipset docs that OpenBSD had asked for (see table below).

In addition to these we have posted a few others and have started work on new requests from various communities, including more from OpenBSD and some from OpenSolaris.  You can check out the complete list along with status of each at the Open Hardware wiki page.  The wiki page also gives instructions on how to request a document that you are interested in.


The Original List from OpenBSD

Schizo Safari to UPA and PCI host bridge Manual 

Gem Gigabit Ethernet 2.0 (GBE/P) Manual 

Cassini GigaSwift Ethernet 1.0 UTP Manual 

Tomatillo JIO, Jbus to PCI host bridge Manual 

Fire Jbus to PCI-Express root complex Manual 
Errata doc 
Delta doc 

Cheerio PCIO, Multi-function PCI bus device Manual

Psycho U2P, UPA to PCI host bridge Manual

I would like to give a big shout out to the engineers and legal folk here at Sun who've taken this on in addition to their day jobs without additional resources. Mucho Mahalo guys and gals!

Pau for now...

Wednesday Sep 19, 2007

Talking with Solveig Haugland - Open Office trainer Extraordinaire

While I was at LinuxWorld in San Francisco I was able to grab a couple of cool interviews with folks in the community.

Solveig Haugland teaching the world to use OpenOffice.


People often ask, how do you make money from Free and Open Source software if you give the software away for free?  Well Solveig Haugland has found one way, by developing a business around providing training for Open Office and Star Office users.

        Listen to the Interview (8:34)     mp3 version       ogg version

I ran into Solveig giving a presentation at the Dell booth where she was signed up to give several Open Office tutorials over the three days of the event.  It turns out that Dell called her out of the blue and asked if she would like to present in order to help support the announcement around Ubuntu (it was at Linux world that Dell announced that it was expanding the availability of Ubuntu to Germany, France and England.)

Coincidently it turns out that Solveig  is part of the Sun diaspora, having worked in the Sun education group.  In fact it was Kathy Sierra, another former Sun edu alum who turned her onto blogging.  Solveig is now an avid blogger, providing all sorts of Open Office "training, tips and ideas" on her blog.  You can also check out her official website, to learn all about OpenOffice.

And now with the announcement last week that IBM is joining the community, Solveig should see even more growth for her business.  I wonder if she's out in Barcelona this week for the conference?

Pau for now...

Friday Aug 24, 2007

My Interview with Lance Albertson of the Open Source Lab

At the end of day one of Ubuntu Live I caught up with Lance Albertson from the Open Source Lab (OSL).  The OSL, which is located  at Oregon State University, hosts and incubates free and open source projects as well as does development work all with the goal of promoting open source software and its communities. 

I met up with Lance at the Red Robin a block away from the convention center and plied him with beer and nachos until he told me the deepest darkest secrets of the OSL. 

Lance Albertson, OSL    Listen to the Interview (5:18)

Topics include:  What does the Open Source Lab do, which FOSS all stars does OSL host (hint, Apache, Mozilla...); How Lance got into the OSL via Gentoo; How they're funded;  And How has Lance adjusted to the move from Kansas to Portland.

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...

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....

Monday Aug 06, 2007

Off to Linux World SF

In a couple of hours my flight leaves to San Francisco and Linux World

Rather than having a Sun booth at Linux World, we are working through our partners, AMD and Intel who have been gracious enough to host us in their booths.  Kuldip will be in the AMD area showing off Sun Studio 12 -- our complete set of compilers and tools for Solaris and GNU/Linux.   I will be across the show floor in the Intel booth presenting Sun's GNU/Linux strategy and describing how we are working with Intel.  

If you're at the show and want to check out my preso, come to the Intel booth (#1108) Wednesday at 2:00PM.

Im also taking another mic to the show and hope to grab some more interviews while Im there.

Pau for now... 

Ian Murdock Talks Project Indiana

Larry Bird, David Letterman, Ian Murdock -- all proud son's of the great state of Indiana.  It is the last in this list that I caught up with during OSCON.  

Ian Murdock, Chief OS Strategist, Sun    Listen to the Interview (8:24)

Reservoir Dogs, Project Indiana style -- L to R: Mr. Pink (Patrick Finch), Mr. Brown (Jesse Silver), Ms. Purple (Sara Dornsife), Mr. Green (Ian Murdock,), Mr. Black (Glynn Foster)\*

What we chatted about

During our conversation, Ian took me through what exactly project Indiana is.  In a nutshell he describes it as a community project to build an Open Solaris binary distribution with the main goal being to make Solaris technology more accessible to a broader audience -- thereby  growing the market for Solaris. 

Ian positioned the project in evolutionary rather than revolutionary terms and talked about the packaging effort that is a large part of Indiana.   We also discussed "Wads vs. Distros," Ian's background in the FOSS world and what the Open Solaris community thinks of all this.

I hope to check in with Ian from time to time and get him to give us update as the project marches on. 

Pau for now...


\*Full disclosure: the glasses were added after the fact, these guys are really not this cool ;)

Friday Jul 27, 2007

Looking back at Ubuntu Live

Bright and early last Sunday morning Mark Shuttleworth kicked off the very first Ubuntu Live at the Portland Convention center in Oregan.  It was a great event full of luminaries, pundits, geeks and corporate folk.  I enjoyed the talks but as always with these events the real value came in the people I met between the sessions and the conversations I  had over beers.

As I mentioned last entry, I was armed with a mic as I made my way north from Menlo Park to Oregan.  I really got into the whole interview thing and by the end of the three days found that I had conducted 18 interviews from Mark Shuttleworth to Tim Gardner who is a kernel developer at Canonical to analysts, to actual Ubuntu users. I hope to have those recordings posted early next week.

Here are some pics from the event. 


Its Sunday morning at 9:00AM, thanks for joining us for "Brunch with Ubuntu."

Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon rides the wild surf of the convention center. 

I slam down the velcro bean bag seconds before the bungy cord does its worst.

Tom Marble talkin' bout cool Java apps for the desktop 

Dinner at Kells with Mark, Richard, Malcolm (all Canonical), Jim (Linux Foundation) and Zaheda (Google).   A lot of business was discussed along with 80's music triva which I am not too ashamed to admit, I excel at.

Mr. Shuttlworth chats with Brian Aker from MySQL at the Sun Gala held at the Red Robin (which actually turned out to be a lot of fun and a great place to gather -- FOSS folks are pretty easy to please when you promise them "Free as in Beer."  I know it works for me.)

Marybeth from shows off the One Laptop Per Child at the Red Robin.

Pau for now...

Thursday Apr 05, 2007

Texas: The Lone Star (Office) State

Following the lead of Massachusetts last year,  the Texas State House and Senate are currently considering legislation to require all state agencies to move away from proprietary formats and use an open document format for electronic state documents.  The main idea here is that if the format is open it helps ensure that access to these documents will be preserved going forward without having to be locked into a single application or vendor.   This is a cause that Sun, along with the ODF alliance have been keen on advancing.

I was pretty excited to find out that I, a recent resident of the 28th state,  was able to lend my support to the cause by sending a letter to my new state legislators asking them to support Bill SB446.

I now feel like a true Texan, fighting for our state's software freedom.  Giddy Yup! :-)

Pau for now...

Thursday Mar 15, 2007

While I was Unpacking...the Penguin marched on

Well while we've been moving the family to Austin -- driving across country, flying back across country, packing boxes, unpacking boxes, looking for local doctors, finding dry cleaners, dealing with the stomach virus (all 5 of us in succession, like dominoes) etc. -- the GNU/Linux world has churned on. 

Here are a few of the interesting events that have taken place while Ive been distracted:

Pau for now...         



Friday Feb 02, 2007

St IGNUcius

In the last of my Richard Stallman trilogy, as promised, I present Richard's self-proclaimed alter ego. 

At the end of both of his talks in Hawaii, RMS closed by transforming before the audience's very eyes from man to minor deity: St IGNUcius from the church of Emacs.

I bless your computer my child.

The good Saint explained that in the church of Emacs, contrary to popular belief, using vi editor is not a sin...its a penance.   He did warn, however, that it was true that vi vi vi is the editor of the beast.

According to the teachings of St. IGNUcius:

To join the Church of Emacs, you need only say the Confession of the Faith three times:

    There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels.

People sometimes ask if St IGNUcius is wearing an old computer disk platter. That is no computer disk, that is my halo. But it was a disk platter in a former life. Unfortunately, no information is available about what kind of computer it came from or what data was stored on it. However, you can rest assured that no non-free software is accessible on it today.

Saint IGNUcius says: Some people don't realize that Saint IGNUcius is Saint IGNUcius's way of not taking himself too seriously. Therefore,

Warning: taking the Church of Emacs (or any church) too seriously may be hazardous to your health. 

Copyright (C) 2000 Richard Stallman


Pau for now...
(Be sure to tune in next time to see what Barack Obama was up to in 1973)


Wednesday Jan 31, 2007

The Freedom Fighters take Kamuela

As promised, albeit a day or two late, here is the pictorial oddessey documenting the "Freedom Fighters" tour of the Big Island, or more accurately our trip from Kona to Kamuela.

Kamuela (aka Waimea\*) is a fascinating place.  Its a small interior town on the Big Island of Hawaii and is the center for ranching activities and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture.  To give you a sense of size of this culture, the Parker Ranch in and around Waimea is the largest privately-owned cattle ranch in the US (and you thought everything was bigger in Texas).  At the same time Kamuela is also home to the headquarters of two of the most advanced astronomical observatories in the world, the Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

It was at the Canada-France-Hawaii facility at 3,000 feet that we gave our talks on Free Software.

\*Since there are a bunch of Waimeas in Hawaii, the USPS and many of the locals use the name "Kamuela" to refer to the town.

Kona Airport

Above: Our merry band assembles after arriving in Kona.  From left to right: Jim Thompson, entrepreneur, free software supporter and organizer of our trip; Scott Belford, Director of  the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation (HOSEF) and the organizer of PFOSSCON;  Richard Stallman (aka RMS) founder of the Free Software movement.


On the ride from the Kona airport to Kamuela, we were treated to a veritable global potpourri of music from RMS's personal traveling collection (conveniently stored in the CD spindle case that you get when you buy blank disks.)  Our aural travels took us from Holland to Japan to Bali to Peru all at a relatively high volume (Richard freely admits that he has trouble hearing these days).


The Grounds at the Kamuela Inn

Above: The view from my room at the ultra homey Kamuela Inn.

The Waimea Coffee Company

Above: Before an early dinner and our talk we had some time to kill so we made the half mile trek over to the Waimea Coffee Company, located smack dab in the middle of this bustling town. We chilled, drank coffee and checked out the view and email.

 The Daniel Thiebaut Restaurant

 Above:  We had an early dinner a  few hundred yards from the Coffee Company at Daniel Thiebaut's  which featured a blend of Asian, French and contemporary cuisine. (My recommendation is to get the Ali'i special)


 Above:  Our meal amongst the Aloha shirts.  For dinner our group was joined by Sarah-with-an-H and Bill Wiecking.


Presenting at CFHT

Above: RMS led off and I then came in for the big close :)

Back at Kona Airport - Aloha

 Above: Our work is done here.  Time to head back to the mainland.  


Tune in next time for --  RMS's alter-ego "St. Ignucius."


Pau for now... 

Note: I used the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) today for the first time and loved it, free software at its best!  I was able to shrink the photos above and then fool with the contrast, brightness and pump up the clarity.  I can see it becoming a very addictive tool.



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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