Saturday Jul 25, 2009

Community Leadership Summit: Photos

Here are some images from the Community Leadership Summit (CLS 2009 Retrospecitve by Jono Bacon) last weekend in San Jose. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to participate in this event. I didn't have a chance to check out OSCON, which followed CLS, but I think this un-conference style of gathering better fits my interests anyway (see this tag here for BarCamp & other community events events in Tokyo). I hope the photos came out ok ...

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Community Leadership Summit Community Leadership Summit

Tuesday Jul 14, 2009

Community Leadership Summit

I'm heading to the Community Leadership Summit this weekend in San Jose, California. Jono Bacon's gig. I'm looking forward to meeting many others who build software communities around the world. I know and respect many of the people planning to attend, so it should be great fun. And it should be a hugely valuable experience, too.



I have an agenda in mind for my time. It's only a weekend, so I need to probe some issues as deeply as I can. I'd especially like to explore how software engineering and user communities are built across language and cultural barriers. That's the biggest deal for me since I live the issue every day and I believe there are big opportunities involved.

Other stuff: How/why do some communities seem to emerge organically (do they really?), while others are built using significant resources and sometimes face big challenges in the process. How do you manage around community dependence issues while investing resources? I know it's not popular to discuss, but I'll be asking people about competitive challenges they face while building communities. Over the years, many have told me that communities shouldn't be competitive (companies compete and communities cooperate, right?), but I've come to question and largely reject that line. I can point to many cases where it's absolutely true, but I also have lots of painful experience demonstrating that it's a lot of BS (I think it depends greatly on geography, culture, placement in the community, and politics).

More: Where is the line distinguishing building from natural evolution? And who defines the difference? On governance issues: Do you start out building with governance in place or let it emerge naturally over time? Do you build a top-down governing system, or let structures bubble up from the bottom when (and if) they are needed? And how do you resolve governance vs development methodologies? How do you measure growth or quality or whatever else you're building? What are the distinctions between building community from the platform of a major corporation vs building community while actually living out in the community itself? How are community development and engineering operations implemented differently around the world? How is community actually defined differently in various regions? Those are some of the issues I'll be poking.

And finally, I'd really love to see how people feel about the issue of "leadership" in communities. That's the name of the conference, after all, and it's an issue we've wrestled with on OpenSolaris forever. My opinion on leadership has evolved greatly over time, but I'm clearly moving in a specific direction lately and feel much more comfortable asserting my view on leadership.

Sunday Jan 18, 2009

The Art of Community

Jono Bacon at Ubuntu is writing a book on communities -- The Art of Community. I`m looking forward to this book. And I`m glad he`s writing it from his view at Ubuntu. I`m trying to follow Ubuntu more lately. I don`t know too much about the community, but I met some Ubuntu guys in Tokyo a while back and I also met Jono at CommunityOne last year and found him to be a very cool guy.

The reason I want to read this book is to learn more and learn faster. There is so much opportunity here. Back when we launched the OpenSolaris project four years ago I kept saying we should look at other communities and observe how they evolve and how they build and manage themselves through various circumstances. All communities are different and have to manage diverse challenges, but they also share many common elements. I do some reading on this, but where I most closely touch other communities live is in Tokyo with the Linux guys (TLUG) and Web 2.0 guys (Tokyo2Point0) and also with some photography things I do here. Hanging out with these communities has given me a fantastic perspective to juxtapose with OpenSolaris and bring to my activities here. I highly recommend participating in other communities. It doesn`t matter what kind of community, too. The point is to contribute somewhere. That`s where the real lessons are learned. And that`s what makes a community. If you can contribute and earn your own way and gain recognition and trust as a result in some sort of meritocracy, then that`s a little community. Value that. Grow that. Promote that concept as the foundation of the community.

On OpenSolaris we have made a lot of progress in some ways and hundreds of people all over the place are contributing to multiple projects, but in other ways we are still struggling to find our way. This is normal to a certain degree. It`s not a criticism, per say. All projects in all industries are basically learning mechanisms. They start from somewhere and grow. Those that learn, live and grow more. Those that don`t, rot and die. You can`t avoid this. Also, if you are open minded enough to learn, that will help spark your imagination. And that`s far more important than thinking you actually know something or repeating the same thing over and over again. Einstein used to say something like that, and he knew a great deal more than most.

Anyway, what has been most gratifying within the OpenSolaris Community is that the OpenSolaris User Group Community (which we currently call the Advocacy Community) has been growing and learning steadily since Day One. We`ve made mistakes and adjusted along the way. Not only that but the overall personalty of the OSUGs seems clearly defined by global cooperation and openness, not internal conflict and bureaucracy. Have you noticed this too? I`m on all the OSUG lists and I see people talking about technology, doing events, and basically just hanging out and hacking on OpenSolaris. Quite literally, a culture is forming. And it`s spread out among dozens of languages, cultures, and countries. Some people are more active than others, some are more passionate than others, some are more technical than others. But everywhere I look on the OSUG lists I see that everyone is welcome. And the entire thing is just moving along at its own understated pace with relatively few resources and very little structure. I mean, really, we give some web space, a mailing list, and some t-shirts. Not much stuff. And not much process. But more than enough to get started. And it seems that we grow faster as a community when we reduce our processes. Granted, we are still very small (around 5,000 people) within the entire OpenSolaris community (which is way bigger), but revolutions have started with far less. And you have to start somewhere, right? I get this same feeling on some other OpenSolaris projects as well, where people have just been working all along since Day One doing what they can with what they have.

I find this stuff fascinating because the concept of the community is for all of us. You don`t have to have power or money or title to join. You can just show up and participate and contribute and learn. That`s what impresses me about open source communities. Jono`s book should be a very cool contribution to all this. I need the ideas. :) This stuff is an art indeed.

Friday Sep 19, 2008

98

I updated my OpenSolaris laptop (a tiny little Sony barely bigger than my hand) to build 98 this morning while I was on a conference call with the U.S. Took about 20 minutes. I was doing lots of chatting via IM and going on the web for some stuff during the update, and I noticed very little performance hit. Just perfect. I haven't used it much since I had to run out after my call, but at least the actual update went well. Go get 98 here [indiana-discuss] pkg.opensolaris.org package repository update (build 98). By the way, these are developer builds so they are not perfect, obviously. There are known issues. Read the release notes.

But for me and my basic (relatively simple) use patterns the last few updates have been no trouble at all. And if I have trouble the guys on list are very helpful. In fact, many times, if you have a problem you don't even have to ask since you can usually figure it out from the conversations that spin around after each build is released and also from the bugs filed. Contrast this to my first experience installing a pre-release version of Solaris 10 four years ago. It took three hours and I needed the direct -- on keyboard -- help of two smart guys who argued with each other about the best way to do things. Drove me nuts. One of them told me -- in all genuine seriousness -- that my install failed due to bug #whatever and that all I had to do was go get this patch over there on that engineering's machine and compile it and it should (should?) work. The engineers were always very helpful to me, but in that case I just closed the lid and went home and installed Linux (probably Ubuntu). I needed to use my computer immediately, and I didn't want to keep using Windows. And I was too embarrassed to say I had no flipping clue how to go get that patch and do whatever with it. At the time, Linux wasn't that easy either, but at least I could handle it in most cases.

Anyway, that was a long time ago, and OpenSolaris has been a remarkably easy install for well over a year now. But it keeps getting easier. Just a few clicks from a CD on a fresh install, or a few lines typed into a terminal window for an update. Even I can do it. So, although the high end bits in OpenSolaris continue to engage the smartest people in the world running highly complex, mission-critical systems, the operating system can now also engage me as well. Now, I realize that the stated "target market" for the OpenSolaris distribution is pretty smart developers -- and not me -- but the system is evolving so fast that the guys building this thing will soon find that they are running right into people like me all over the place. And there are many millions of me out there. Very cool.

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

OpenSolaris vs Windows

Handicapping the Windows 7 Alternatives: "OpenSolaris has the pedigree to be a real challenger to Windows." -- Randall Kennedy

Nice to see our shinny new distro being compared to Windows in these early stages. Who knows, maybe after a couple of revs this year we'll start gabbing some share from Microsoft. Imagine that. And they said we'd be dead by now.

Tuesday Apr 29, 2008

OpenSolaris on C1 GNU/Linux Panel

Well, it seems it's more than just a panel, eh? Barton has all the details -- GNU/Linux Distro Smack Down! Only at CommunityOne. Should be a lot of fun.

Update: Here are the guys from the panel last week:

OpenSolaris at CommunityOne

Karsten Wade, Fedora; Barton George, Sun (moderator); Glynn Foster, OpenSolaris; Jono Bacon, Ubuntu; Zonker Brockmeier, OpenSUSE.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

The Ubuntu Brand

Interesting branding story shaping up in the Linux community -- Is Ubuntu becoming the generic Linux distro? Could the market be deciding that Ubuntu is Linux? I'm an Ubuntu user, and I surely don't see Ubuntu as the only Linux, but it's surely the only Linux I'd use.

Wednesday Jan 16, 2008

Ubuntu in Tokyo

It was great meeting some of the Ubuntu guys in Tokyo a few days ago when Benjamin Mako Hill was in town. Great conversation about Japan, community building, user groups, translations, contributions, Ubuntu and Debian, One Laptop per Child, and FOSS generally. Thanks to Barton George for making the connection. :)

Ubuntu in Tokyo

Left to Right: Rion Aoki, Mitsuya Shibata, Jun Kobayashi,
Fumihito Yoshida, Benjamin Mako Hill, Jim Grisanzio.
Photo Credit: Rion Aoki.

Friday Nov 16, 2007

"A Really Pleasant Surprise"

Dell's Open-Source Gambits Go Server-Side: "To be honest, adding Ubuntu as a server option for Dell machines didn't surprise me all that much. But Dell's addition of OpenSolaris to the server OS mix came as a really pleasant surprise. It's a strong sign that OpenSolaris is being taken seriously beyond Sun's own circles; I can imagine a fair number of people drooling at the idea of using Sun's ZFS on a relatively inexpensive Dell storage farm. On top of all that, Dell plans to provide Solaris support natively." -- Serdar Yegulalp, InformationWeek

Update: Just to be clear: I'm perfectly aware that Dell will be shipping Solaris 10, not OpenSolaris. Sun's press release makes this clear: Dell and Sun Microsystems Announce Solaris 10 Distribution Agreement. However, much of the code in S10 is open in OpenSolaris (that's where OpenSolaris came from, after all, remember?), and OpenSolaris code lives all over the place in Solaris Express, in the OpenSolaris distros, in S10 updates, and even bits and pieces in BSD and Mac OS. Confusing? Of course it is. That's why it's not a big deal that the media mixes the terms occasionally. The point is that Sun cut a deal with Dell around Solaris, and that will help the entire Solaris market and the entire OpenSolaris community. I'd cite Serdar's comments even if he had used the term Solaris 10 instead of OpenSolaris.

Wednesday Sep 26, 2007

As Good as Ubuntu

OpenSolaris revs up for competition: "This morning I installed Solaris 10 build 72 on a VMWare Fusion guest OS on Mac OS X. I was surprised by the new installer application. It's a completely different experience compared to before. Frankly, the new installation program can now compete against the user-friendliness of Ubuntu." -- Rom Feria, Hack IT Linux

It's great to see some of these experiences with the new Solaris installer. It's just the beginning, though. :)

Monday Sep 17, 2007

Mossberg on Ubuntu

Linux's Free System Is Now Easier to Use, But Not for Everyone: "Even in the relatively slick Ubuntu variation, Linux is still too rough around the edges for the vast majority of computer users. While Ubuntu looks a lot like Windows or Mac OS X, it is full of little complications and hassles that will quickly frustrate most people who just want to use their computers, not maintain or tweak them." -- Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal

Mossberg concludes the obvious for most users. He has a lot of good things to say about Ubuntu, too, which are well deserved. But it just goes to show how far an OS has to go to really be mass-market ready. Apple and Microsoft are already there and have been there for some time, obviously. But I bet Ubuntu gets there, too, and challenges MS in some key markets (which it's probably already doing). I'd love to see one of the OpenSolaris distributions evolve in this direction as well. Time will tell.

Wednesday Aug 29, 2007

My First Dwarf Caiman

Over dinner earlier tonight I installed Solaris Express with the first iteration of the new "Dwarf Caiman" installer. It's beautiful. Such an improvement over all the previous installs. This is the first time absolutely nothing went wrong, and I didn't have to ask anyone about anything. It just installed. Perfectly. And I was able to follow everything quite easily, too. Then after re-boot, it found the net all by itself, and I was flying all over the place immediately. I put it on a tiny little Sony TX750P laptop. Fresh install. Nothing fancy. I just wrote over Ubuntu and took the whole disk. To everyone working on Dwarf Caiman, very nice job.

Friday Aug 03, 2007

Barton's Japanese

Check out the Barton George interviews from Ubuntu Live. It's great to here him talking Japanese in interview #3 with Sadanori Horiguchi of Hitachi America. You sound great, Barton! Very impressive!

Wednesday Apr 18, 2007

Breaking New Ground

"You never want to be following too closely in someone else's footsteps because you are in a queue. You don't want be in a queue. You want to be breaking new ground. You want to be pioneering new fields." -- Mark Shuttleworth
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