Thursday Apr 03, 2008

My Video Interview with Jon O'Bacon -- Ubuntu Community Leader

Ok, so Jono's real surname is Bacon (just like Redmonk pundit Steveo's real last name is Grady). 

Jono was on the West Coast after having just given the keynote at SCALE and was gracious enough to stop by Sun's studios before a talk he was giving at Google.  (This glorious event also marked my debut as a guest host on Sun's SDN Channel.)

Jono is a big supporter of the foundation to end squirrel-on-squirrel violence.

(If you cant see the video above, try this.) 

The Big LUG

If you're interested in seeing Jono live and uplugged (or is that unhinged?) and will be in the Bay Area next weekend you'll want to catch LugRadio Live USA 2008, April 12 - 13th.  This wild and wacky event marks LugRadio's US debut and will be chock-a-block full of open source luminaries (including Sun's own Ian Murdock and Josh Berkus).

Pau for now...

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

The Heron Cometh (with some Sunshine on its shoulder)

We are now about three and half weeks from the debut of Hardy Heron aka Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Long Term Support).  This will be the second LTS for Ubuntu, the first being 6.06 (aka Dapper Drake),  and it will help to give Ubuntu greater credibility in the enterprise. 

Sun and Canonical worked together to certify Sun systems for the original LTS and have done so for every release from then on.  In the case of Hardy look for a few new systems.

On the software side when we last saw Sun's Java stack it was safely within the Gutsy (Ubuntu 7.10) multiverse.  Tune in on the 24th of April to see what progress our Java bits have made within the distro. :)

Hardy Heron -- What a long strange trip its been. 

Pau for now... 

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

Bring on Prague, Bring on the Intrepid Ibex!

Yesterday Jono Bacon announced that the next Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) will be held from May 19 - 23 in Prague.  This is very cool for two reasons: 1) I've never been to Prague and 2) our Net Beans team is located there and will be able to attend in force.

The intrepid Jono Bacon about to make his debut on the Sun's SDN channel.  (I'm hoping to get this interview posted in the not too distant future.)

The Prague UDS, like the others before it, will serve as the planning session for the upcoming release which in this case will be Ubuntu "8.10ish" (looks like the October timing isn't exactly set in stone at this point).  As is tradition, yesterday the release was also given a pre-release alliterative animal name.  Alphabetically Ubuntu is now on "I" and rather than going with something common like an Iguana, the four legged beast that Mark revealed was an Ibex and an Intrepid one at that. 

According to Mark the focus for this Fall release will be mobility i.e. the ability to access the web through a variety of wireless technologies to be able to move from the office, to the train, and home, staying connected all the way.  They are also looking to beef up the desktop version so that it also can serve as a high-end workstation.

Virtual box and Ubuntu

And speaking of Ubuntu, I recently came across this entry that tells how to install Virtual Box on Ubuntu in three easy steps.  As you may remember a couple of weeks ago Sun announced that we would be acquiring the company.  Hopefully the Virtual Box team will also be at UDS Prague and I can meet them there.

And last, but not least, lets not forget Ubuntu 8.04 Long Term Support (LTS) aka Hardy Heron.  This is Ubuntu's second LTS release and like the releases before will feature a lot of cool Sun Java Software.   We are about two months away from the April 24 release and counting...

Pau for now....

Computers to be Recycled, loaded with FOSS and donated to Schools

Thanks to an event that Untangle is organizing, schools in Northern California will be getting recycled computers loaded with a bunch of FOSS goodies.

The event, Installfest for Schools, is happening on March 1st in four Bay Area locations:  San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo and Novato. Volunteers will be helping to install Ubuntu 7.10, including OpenOffice, as well as Untangle's Open Source Network Gateway on recycled hardware from the Alameda County Computer Resource Center

If you're interested in volunteering or want to learn more, you can get more details, and sign up here.  

A very cool effort by the community for the community. 

Pau for now...

Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Drawn to SCALE

Last weekend I attended SCALE (Southern California Linux Expo) for the first time.  The event, which was held at LAX Weston and featured talks and booths, turned out to be a great place to meet folks and chat. 

Jono Bacon, community manager for Ubuntu kicked off the event with a great keynote.  After Jono's keynote I tried to get into Josh Berkus' Postgres talk in one of the break out rooms but it was too packed.

A blast from the past: Kevin Lahey shows off a couple of Cobalt boxes running NetBSD. 

While there were a lot of GNU/Linux folks there, contrary to the name, the event covered much more.  All three BSDs (Net, Free and Open) were there and Sun had a booth where, among other things we were demonstrating OpenSolaris and Indiana developer preview #2. (A big shout out to Matt Ingenthron who tirelessly worked the booth on Saturday).

I also met three new Canonical employees based in the US and, armed with my trusty recorder, I was able to grab three interviews which I hope to post later this week -- Open SUSE's new community manager, Zonker Brockmeier, Dave Roberts, marketing VP from Vyatta and Tom "Spot" Callaway the Fedora engineering manager for Red Hat.

All in all, a great little show.

Pau for now... 

Thursday Feb 14, 2008

First source release for Open JDK 6 project (Whew!)

Its taken a little longer than initially intended but, as of an hour ago, the Open JDK6 source has been loosed upon the world!  While this release is primarily targeted at the GNU/Linux distributions  there are also versions for Solaris (both x86 and SPARC) and Windows.  You can get them all here on the download page.

The end of the beginning 

This initial tarball comes with matching binary plugs.  As Joe Darcy, who's been leading this project within Sun, explains:

Not all of the source code that makes up the JDK is available under an open-source license. In order to build an OpenJDK binary from source code, you must first download and install one or more of the following files from which the build process will copy over "binary plugs" for these encumbered components.

And this is where the community comes in, to help both with these final encumbrances as well as to address the outstanding compatibility issues.

Hack on brothers and sisters! 

Coming Soon 

And while the community is lending a helping hand, Joe's team will be sallying forth and working on a new drop.  This follow-on release will be out within the next couple of weeks and should include:

  • JAX-WS 2.0 -> 2.1 upgrade
  • Removal of the binary plug for the imaging classes
  • Exclusion of SNMP support if the binary plugs aren't present
  • Updated README-Builds files that point at the right locations.
Pau for now...

Tuesday Feb 12, 2008

Sun grabs VirtualBox

I just ran into Steve Wilson, Sun's VP of xVM, in the cafeteria and heard the good news. Sun is acquiring innotek, a small company based in Germany that makes a very cool product called VirtualBox

I had recently heard of VirtualBox on an internal mailing list, now I have no excuse not to download it for my Mac and run Ubuntu in it (I was going to use Fusion, but this makes more sense).  I wonder if it will also let me load up the Fedora 8 disc I got at SCALE?

Here are some basics:

  • innotek VirtualBox is a family of x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. 
  • Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts
  • It has a very extensive list of supported guest OS's [including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), and OpenBSD]
  • VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company  [which will now be Sun  ;)]
  • You can find sources, binaries, documentation and other resources for VirtualBox on this site
  • It is freely available as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
  • You can download it here.

For more info on this deal, you can check out the press release as well as Steve's blog and Tim Marsland's (our software CTO).

Looks like we're on a roll, I can't wait to see what Free software company we might acquire next. :) 

Pau for now...

Friday Feb 08, 2008

Ubuntu wins big in France: High school French rampant

Ill have to admit, when I heard about Ubuntu's big win last week the first thing I thought was, what clever headline can I create using my limited French (I find using French in a blog adds a certain "je ne sais quoi")?

The gendarmerie's 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux system distributed by Ubuntu, explained Colonel Nicolas Geraud, deputy director of the gendarmerie's IT department.

Unfortunately I got distracted with other work and everyone else used all the good ones:

Wither Macedonia?

Given the above, what I want to know is last Fall when Ubuntu scored big in Macedonia, where were all the clever puns employing Macedonian?  Why in that case did the media opt instead to go with straight-forward, informative headlines e.g.

As the grandson of Macedonian emigrants, I want answers!

Pau for now.. 

Tuesday Jan 22, 2008

OpenSolaris + Ubuntu + Sake = Memories

I love playing matchmaker.  I was therefore psyched that Jim Grisanzio and Mako were able to hook up while Mako was visiting Tokyo.  Not only did the two of them get together but a few folks from Ubuntu Japan also joined the party.  (In fairness, I think it was Jim who joined Mako and the Ubuntu'ers).  Check out the scene at Jim's blog.

My Life as a Salary Man 

All of this makes me natuskashi about the four years I spent right out of college in Japan.   After an initial stint as an English teach (which gave me the time and resources to study the language) I became a salary man at Sony.  I joined their international advertising group but soon busted a move to the UNIX workstation team. 

Here I am with a bunch of my co-workers showing off Sony's line of computers circa 1990.

For those who don't remember (which is probably everyone), in the second half of the 80's Sony had a workstation named NEWS (Network Engineering WorkStation).  A Japanese OS and the long list of Japanese ISVs made NEWS a big hit domestically but didn't carry much weight outside of Japan.  We tried all sorts of things but companies like Sun, Apollo and DEC had the market pretty well sewn up.  Just to give you an idea of how tough the field was in the US at the end of '88/beginning of '89, the HP 9000/370, Apollo DN 4500 and Sun 3/4000 were all using the Motorola 68030 which ran at a scorching 33MHz!

Welcome to the Boomtown

Tokyo at the end of the '80s/beginning of the '90s was a very exciting place to be.  It was the height of their bubble (and a little bit of the deflating) and yen was flowing like mizu.  They were bringing in the best designers, architects and artists from around the world and things were looking pretty uber hip.  I had a cool six tatami mat apartment about 10 minute bike ride from Asagaya station.  There were tons of tiny cool jazz and blues bars right near the Asagaya train tracks that I hung out at.

I've only been back to Japan once since I left.  About five years ago I went to help with a marketing course at Sun Tokyo.  It was great to be back and i went and visited my old 'hood and hit the bars at Asagaya. 

I'll need to find another excuse to get back.

Pau for now...

Wednesday Jan 09, 2008

Running OpenSolaris as guest on Ubuntu 7.10 in 10 easy steps

After I got from break I found out about a cool blog that Chris Kampmeier wrote a few weeks ago. 

In his entry, Chris takes you through, step by step, how to get the OpenSolaris Developer Preview 1 installed into a VM on VMware Workstation 6.0.2 running on Ubuntu 7.10

(Re. Open Solaris, you can grab the preview here.  Or if you want a cool walk-thru check out this article)

The idea however is that this 10 step process is just a short term workaround and things will get even easier once a pre-installed VMware image of OpenSolaris is made available.  As Chris explains, "Ideally, all you should need to do is download a VMware image and boot it within VMware Workstation, VMware Player or one of the VMware server products."

And when can you expect said pre-installed image?  Hopefully in a matter of weeks.  Chris has made it his personal goal to help the Open Solaris community deliver the image with the next interim release of the OpenSolaris Developer Preview, which is approaching fast and furious.

Pau for now...

Friday Jan 04, 2008

My Interview with Rick Clark -- Ubuntu's server lead

Last but not least, here is the interview I conducted with Rick Clark, a recent Canonical employee brought on to head their server group. 

This is the last in a series of tapings I did in Boston/Cambridge while attending FOSS Camp and UDS (the other three being Mark, Peter and Mako).

My interview with Rick (9:14)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

An artsy picture of Rick (ie I forgot to snap a pic and had to crop this from another picture I took.)

Who is Rick?

  • Head of Canonical's server team
  • Former big company guy (E\*Trade, McKesson etc.) with a background in security architecture and system engineering.
  • Father of twins who like to help daddy enter data.
  • A Thrashers fan (who knew Atlanta had an NHL team?!)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  •  Why Rick busted a move to Canonical and world of Free Software.
  • Having to walk the line between being true to the ideals of Free Software while at the same time providing a system that allows companies to "just do business."
  • Working closely with upstream partners
  • What he's been pleasantly surprised by at Canonical and what has taken some getting used to.
  • The march towards Hardy.
Pau for now...

Friday Dec 14, 2007

Catching up with Mark Shuttleworth

While in Boston I caught up with Free Software's favorite cosmonaut, Mark Shuttleworth.  We were both in beantown for FOSS camp and the Ubuntu Developer Summit and took a break from the day's activities to chat out in the courtyard at the Hotel@MIT.  Little did he know I was recording his every word!

My interview with Mark (10:13)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Mark's the one without the "Barton" nametag.

Who is Mark?

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • FOSS camp -- cavorting with upstream projects and other distros, how this initial event went
  • The Ubuntu Developer summit -- how it works and how it serves to pick the features and determine what cool FOSS stuff will land in the next Ubuntu release.
  • Ubuntu's upcoming second Long Term Support (LTS) release - its emphasis on the server and virtualization (Mark tries to trick me into divulging on air what Sun is doing in the virtualization space but I think quickly and outwit him).
  • Hiring on skills not on an address -- what it means to drive a geographically dispersed virtual organization

Ok, so the part about being a cellist isn't true.

Pau now...

Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Latest UltraSPARC servers certified for Ubuntu


Well its official, as of the Friday before Thanksgiving,  the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220 Server (pictured above) and its little brother the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 Server were certified by Canonical on their latest release, Ubuntu 7.10 (nee "Gutsy Gibbon").

At the time of the T5220/5120 launch last month, Gutsy had not yet been released but I gave a heads up that certification would be coming.  Well its here

These new systems, based on the T2 processors (8 cores x 8 threads = 64 threads per chip), are uber-beefed up versions of the T1000/T2000 cool-thread servers that Canonical originally certified on.  To learn more about these new systems check out a collection of blogs here.  And if you want to try one for free for 60 days, you can sign up here.

Pau for now...

Monday Nov 12, 2007

Boston: FOSSCamp and Ubuntu Developer Summit

I'm finally getting time to post about the event(s) I attended in Boston a few weeks ago.  

On Sunday I caught the second day of FOSScamp and on the Monday I attended the opening day of the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) focused on the Hardy Heron release (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS).  I also got a chance to visit with Michael Goulde of Forreser Research and Peter Brown of the Free Software Foundation.

The UDS opening day welcome. 

Both FOSScamp and UDS were held at the geek-themed Hotel@MIT.  FOSSCamp was an unconference with topics for discussion scribbled up on a big board at the beginning of both days.  Matthias "Doko" Klose put me up to co-hosting an OpenJDK discussion with him.   We had a good turn out and a fair amount of interest in what was going on in the space. 

FOSSCamp command central: Scott Jame Remnant, James Troup, Claire Newman. 

UDS was open to the public but its goal was "to get Ubuntu developers -- who usually collaborate online -- to work together in person on specific tasks." and actually get specs written.  The summit was divided into seven tracks: Platform, Desktop, Server, QA, Community, Kernel and Mobile.

The geek-theme even carried over to the blankets.

I also had my trusty FlashMic with me and bagged four more interviews: Mark Shuttleworth, Benjamin "Mako" Hill, Peter Brown and Rick Clark, head of Canonical's recently created server group.    As of  last week's trip to Oklahoma City, I have no more travel scheduled for the rest of the year and should be able to start posting the back log of interviews Ive accumulated.

Just a small subset of the UDS attendee mug shots 

A wacky building on the MIT campus (aka the Stata center designed by Frank Gehry). 

Claire and the crew of Shuttleworth One - the only way to fly!

Oh yea, and the Sox won!

Pau for now...

Friday Oct 26, 2007

Off to Boston for UDS, FSF, ETC

Tomorrow around noon I head off for Boston and the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS).  The summit which is being held at the Hotel@MIT is a week long event used to plan and do real work on the next release, which in this case is Hardy Heron.  (Not that I will be doing any real work, but hopefully some real learning.)

Hardy will be the second LTS (Long Term Support - 5yrs of support on the server, 3yrs on the desktop) release for Ubuntu, the first being "Dapper" or "6.06".  Expect a whole bunch of hoopla around Hardy when it debuts on April 24th as "Ubuntu 8.04."

On beyond Ubuntu

In addition to hangin' with the Ubuntu folk, I will also pay a visit to Peter Brown and the Free Software Foundation as well as grabbing a beer with Michael Goulde of Forrester.  I will bring my trusty Flash Mic along and will hopefully grab a bunch of podcasts.  Speaking of which, I didnt get around to posting the four I did last week at Sun's Open Source Summit, something else to look forward to.

All Updated and Ready to Go

Just so the other kids at the summit don't laugh at me I updated this morning from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10.  It was pretty painless over the net particularly since I had a big pipe here in the office.  The only failure I got was "pmount" which, after checking the forums and a colleague I decided to ignore and hope its not somethin important :) 

Like its 1999

I'm looking forward to getting back to the Dirty Water, having gone to grad school in Beantown as well as spending a summer during college living in an MIT dorm. 

And if the Sox win in 4...the town's gonna party like its 1999!

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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