Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jealous that I'm Here Instead

He's done it again.

I just want to take this opportunity to point out that I am very, very, very, very, extremely, extremely jealous of one Mr. Jesse Keating.

That is all....

Update: P.S. No fair on stealing my lyrics-as-a-blog-post-subject thing either! I'm still jealous.

The Kids Are Alright

In a world of growing economic uncertainty, I'm glad to see that some people still have the ingenuity to creatively re-purpose the familiar...

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Feel Good Drag

In our game, you can usually quantify success by observing not only your own growth, but also what affects you are having on the greater community and those around you. Judging by that, I'm glad to report that one of my favorite open source projects, Magento, are well on their way to achieving success--if they haven't achieved it already.

Since their 0.6 release which is not too long ago, they've already reached 500,000 downloads. Their user community is also over 44,000 strong and they have over 60, thats right 60, translations. It is a true testament to the Magento team and their philosophy and dedication to the community model and to Open Source.

As if that doesn't suffice, others in the eCommerce space have begun to open source their offerings as they feel the heat from Magento. Oxid, a very popular German eCommerce software producer recently announced Oxid eShop is going open with eShop Community Edition. (Link is in German)

I stand by what I said months ago, Magento is killing it.

UPDATE: As I write someone showed me that Matt Asay posted about this as well on his Open Road blog.


Here's a link to a really great write up that the guys over at Phoronix did about Plymouth. Just remember, when you see it making its way to other distros, you saw it here first!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'd Rather Be With an Animal, Part 1

My life is very adventurous. It seems that every time I go away something HAS to happen. I arrived at FSOSS earlier today and as you probably guessed, something happened. Stay tuned after the jump, because it really is quite an interesting and, even I have to admit, funny, story.

A quick summary of day 1 of the symposium first. Got in, got to Seneca, Got there right in time to see Greg moderating his panel. I've been mostly involved in the Teaching OSS @ FSOSS track, and pretty much spent all day in that room. What came out of it were some really good ideas. One particular idea which struck me the most were the alternative models for engaging the academic community. Specifically, one which came up quite a bit today and one which I mentioned before to a few people, is getting academic schools other than CS/CE, mainly business and law interested in Open Source. Personally, I think its a great idea, particularly since from a research perspective, there maybe more practical implications for a Business major or a Law major surrounding Open Source, than there might be coming from CS/CE.

At 2:00 was our big parlor meeting type thing revolving around finally putting together all the disparate pieces in order to get re-focus our energies surrounding Open Source in Education and advancing the cause. Our big idea was that we need some neutral, third-party space in which we can begin to coalesce and join up in a unified voice. The first steps, we agreed, was getting up a list of current institutions and individuals who are already doing Open Source education well so that we stop reinventing the wheel and create a pool which we can draw from. Some sort of consortium was thought to be the best idea and we are starting slowly but surely. For now, anyone who is doing any open source in academia related stuff would do themselves well by checking this site and maybe adding to it:

After we disbanded, the real fun happened when I wanted to track everyone down again when they went to dinner. On second thought, I'll post up the story in the morning because I'm tired and want to go to bed. Just know for now that it doesn't involve anything getting broken and is sort of a Twilight Zone meets Jurrasic Park type of tale.

Okay, really tired, going to sleep. To be continued...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Linux Foundation's End User Collaboration Summit

Just got back from the EUCS. It was pretty cool and I got to meet a whole lot of interesting people. The point of the EUCS was to bring together developers and community managers with end users to get some conversation started and analyze the present to come up with some cool stuff for the future.

The day started off with Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation's Executive Director MCing some panels and talks by a few people including Red Hat's own Paul Cormier. Also, Anthony Williams, author of Wikinomics gave a keynote. He is one smart dude.

There were many cool sessions in a variety of different areas, including virtualization, power management, desktop-y stuff and mobile linux and I got to talk to some interesting people about a few pretty cool topics. Lots of people from Japan were there too, which was cool. All in all a cool day, although I tried to find education interested people and there werent many. I even tried to start an education break away session and no people came. Not that this was the right venue, but hey!, it was worth a try.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Looking for an MIT Student/Fedora Rep!

If anyone reading this is an MIT student and is interested in doing some awesome Fedora-related stuff on campus and with faculty, please let me know! Details to those who respond...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fedora at LinuxWorld SF

Fellow Fedorans,

Please join the Fedora Project at next week's LinuxWorld Conference and Expo taking place in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Ca. The show floor will be open Tues-Thu from 9:30am until 4pm. Additionally, we will have a Fedora BoF on Wednesday the 6th at 5:30pm. Please stop by the booth in the .org pavilion.

I will be recording video testimonials, so please bring a smile!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rock the Vote

Just got done with voting for the F10 release name. I don't know how hot I am on the range voting, but we'll see. What are you waiting for?? Vote for the Fedora 10 Release name NOW!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fedora on the Final Frontier

There has been a long standing rumor regarding NASA running Fedora which all of us in the Fedora community have been always intrigued by. Is it true? What are they doing with it there? Why don't they run RHEL. Fortunately enough, a couple of weeks ago, I got to experience NASA behind the scenes, first hand, and hang out with the coolest members of the Fedora community, and find out the answer to these questions and lots more.

A big "THANK YOU" goes out to Jim Dumoulin and the guys from the NASA Telescience Lab.

Needless to say this was possibly one of the most awesomest days of my life. Let's go to the tape:

This is where it all began. Usually it takes 24-48 hours to get security clearance. Of course I got hooked up in only 4 on my drive down from Jacksonville, not including a 45 minute delay once I arrived due to a windows server running the badge printing machines being down. I was quite glad to have passed security clearance. The Feds ain't got nothin' on me. Whew!

{Photo of Security ID had to be removed at NASA's Request}
Security Clearance. Sweet!!

Everything started at the famous Operations and Checkout building where they do many many NASA-y things. Seeing as that I didn't get a good picture of the whole building I should mention that the building is HUGE and it serves many functions. Primarily, they process horizontal payloads going to space, whether on the Shuttle or some other rocket/rlv. The building also houses a lot of technology related infrastructure, which we will get into in a bit. Most importantly, or most cool I should say, this is where the Astronauts live while at Kennedy Space Center:

Under lock and key.

Below are a few miscellaneous photos of stuff around the Ops and Checkout building:

STS-112 was in space while I was there, so this banner was put up before they departed to show support.

This is the famous door where the Astronauts exit to load onto the bus to the shuttle. The bar you see on top is where all the TV cameras are usually mounted.

Astronaut Parking Only. Oddly enough, despite my vehement protest that I am a space cadet, they refused to let me park here. Maybe someday...

Now on to the good stuff.
Fedora at NASA: It Does Exist!

A video distribution and streaming system. You'll see the server shortly.

Okay, so as it turns out, NASA is using Fedora and RHEL. A Lot! I was taken into the data center of the Telescience Lab, and got to see some machines. This is but a fraction of whats going on. I was happy to find out that Fedora is being used to help shuffle the above video streams around. You can get to the server here. Most of this stuff is what ends up on NASA TV.

A video feed coming off the server, this was live footage of one of the spacewalks. It gets distributed from here to a few places, including Mission Control in Houston and of course NASA TV.

These servers run a few things at the lab, including video distribution, data processing, and web serving. Wanna know what its running?


Shadowman lurking in the dark corners of NASA.

This is an SGI supercomputer, 512 processors, more RAM than I can remember, running IRIX which does data analysis. Telescience provides telemetry data to Launch Control, and its all sourced from here. Nothing to do with Fedora, but still cool for geekdom at large. THIS has a fat pipe.

These systems were most likely built by Fedora release engineer Jesse Keating while he was working for Pogo Linux. These run Fedora. When they had to analyze the data and photos from the Columbia crash, NASA would move data from permanent storage onto these servers for analysis. Jesse told me about this and I was very skeptical, so I asked and it turns out to be very true. I was very proud to know, and we should all be very proud, that our community is making software that is helping make the future of space exploration safer.

If it ain't broke, don't upgrade it, right? Actually one of the guys in the lab told me they are in the process of upgrading to Fedora 8 and playing with 9 alpha.

This is a blade server running Fedora which runs NASA's countdown server. So what is this server you ask? So the actual time source for the launch countdown is the atomic clock but there are a few sources at NASA which sync to it and each other to provide launch services. This is one of them. Actually this is THE public facing countdown time source. If you click that main Telescience Lab link all the way above, this server is where alot of those links on that page land. They also have a page for ELV/RLV countdowns as well.

This is Jim, the director of the Telescience lab, at the command console in the lab.

This is me at the original command console desk from the Apollo era. That black and white photo shows everyone huddled around it back in the day.

This is the famous Shuttle assembly and prep building where they turn the Shuttle vertical and connect it to the rockets and put it on the transporter.

The Shuttle transporter. This things was as large as a city. It was actually headed out to the launchpad which as Jim explained was odd since we were in the middle of a bad weather warning and there was lightning and no apparent reason for this beast to be heading in that direction.

A pic of the transporters cab as we drove by.

This is a picture of the same building from the side showing Launch Control (the small building there). Those tracks are the from the transporter.

The countdown clock from a distance.

Launchpad B. Unfortunately, due to the lightning, we were unable to get any closer. I hope one day I get to go back and take some more pictures off the launchpad.

This is me on the inside of the door where the Astronauts come out to load onto the bus to the Shuttle. Many a great person have stood in this spot. I claimed it in the name of Fedora and was quickly then asked politely asked to leave the building. Just Kidding!

Reality hit when I saw this. See that text that says "You are Here?" Well if you've ever seen a Red Hat video, many of them end with that, and it sent a chill down my spine to see it there with in the same font nonetheless. It got me thinking about our community and how as people, we really imitate the vast mechanics of space and our universe. As a community, each interaction is like another collision of asteroids, another chance for something to take root. Another chance for a planet to come to life.

I've been involved in Fedora since Day -1 (RHL and RHLP). Looking back at everything that we've gone through and where we are now continues to amaze me, but above all else, the members of our community and their passion, their persistence and insistence on making those collisions gain momentum truly inspires me. Considering everything we have been through, success and strife, triumphs and tribulations, promises we made and followed through on, promises we made that fell through, how much we have learned and how much everyone in the community has gained as a result, being able to walk into a place like NASA with an open armed welcome, makes me damn proud to be part of this.

Look what we have done, but more importantly, look what we've enabled! That's been our goal all along and I think we have done it well. Some people have been to space, we enable others to go to space. We are the platform that dreams are built on. Not just our own dreams, but the dreams of all humanity.

Next time I see "You are Here" I think I can take a little more pride in answering, "Yes, yes I am." I for one am proud to call our planet, the Fedora Planet, my planet and my community.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Florida Linux Show Wrap Up

Last Monday I had the pleasure of attending the Florida Linux Show at the University of Central Florida. The show was sponsored by Red Hat and as such we had both a Red Hat and a Fedora booth. Coming into it, I knew it would be smallish show, being that SCALE had just ended but I really wanted to get a feel for what was going on there and really get a chance to meet some of the community members down there as its not an area we often get to. A special thanks goes out to Kyle Gonzalez for really playing a huge part in coordinating everything. Everyone who attended got a Fedora 8 LiveCD in the goodie bag and many many more CDs and DVDs were given out.

Everything went smoothly, we had a great booth setup with Red Hat along the back wall next to the entrance and Fedora in prime time right at the entrance. The show had, I would guess close to 400 people in and out over the course of the day and the talks seemed really cool, although I didn't get to go anyway because I was manning the booth.

I was very surprised to see the everyone that approached us was very enthusiastic and we had barely anyone come over and give us the usual "you suck because of this and that." Mostly, people came over to tell us thank you for the great work we have been doing, especially with Fedora 8 and all the great artwork recently, to play with OLPC and to check out the Fedora 9 Alpha. I was surprised that so many people were interested in the Alpha, given that it was our first time doing it, but it just proves that our philosophy of getting code into peoples hands as early as possible is really what people want.

I'll go through the show with some pictures and let everyone make their own impressions, but my overall impressions were that this is going to become a very large and very good community oriented conference much like there were in the good old days, because the guys organizing the show really want to keep the focus on the software projects and communities around them as well as packing the show with a good pack of speakers. It's nice to see that things like that are becoming the norm again.

Some guys checking out the F9 Alpha and trying to do some disaster recovery.

This dude came ready in his Red Hat gear to check out the OLPC.

Myself and Kyle hanging out in the booth.

The pristine booth setup!

More Fedora Fans. Yes!!

A nice message someone left us. I couldn't agree more!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fire in the Attic, Proof of the Prize

Lyric from the song: Anna Molly
By: Incubus
From the Album: Light Grenades

I like it when good things happen. Especially when those good things are related to Open Source and Open Standards, so I have to give a few shoutouts this morning. One blog post at a time. People are giving us reasons to be proud.

First up today: AOL

That's right! AOL might no longer be the laughing stock of everyone who has owned a computer since the 80's. Seriously though, AOL has the potential to be the world's largest identity providers. They have over 63 Million user accounts and have been working on implementing OpenID. I actually did my first OpenID login using AOL as a provider when I had to
log into Oreilly's site for OSCON 2008 to submit my abstract for the call for papers. It was really neat and it worked flawlessly. I give AOL a lot of respect for working on this and will gladly use them as my provider from now on. Unless Fedora ever becomes a provider that is. You can find more info about AOL and their OpenID efforts here.

Now in case that wasn't exciting enough for you, the bombshell came this morning. AIM is going Jabber! I was absolutely delighted when I read this. AOL is making positive steps to finally move on and up from their decade long commitment to being as proprietary as possible and pissing of numerous people to actually opening up, embracing the age of open standards and trying to regain some mind share and build community. AOL must have hired the right hackers along the way...

This along with the MySQL deal this week serves as a tremendous validation of the open source/open standards model to those who don't know any better. We're winning!

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi

But I didn't need to just say that, because we've known all along! It's just a matter of time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Seem to Recognize Your Face...

Lyric from the song: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
By: Pearl Jam
From the Album: Vs

I should be doing work right now, but somehow I ended up managing to add my blog as being imported as part of my Facebook notes. This means that if you have chosen to validate our acquaintance via Facebook you will now be harassed on your home page every time I put up a new post. Consider this a test...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chicken Nuggets: 88 Happy Lessons I Learned in the Cafeteria

When I decide to write a book about my life, the subject line will be the title. Doesn't that sound weird? Chicken Nuggets? Chicken Nuggets taught me a lot about life. Let me give you the background story and then give you the top lessons (no not all 88) I took away from chicken nuggets.

When I was in 6th grade, at least I think 6th grade, one day me and one of my good friends decided that we were going to have a pig out during lunch at school--a good old fashioned keep going until your body is so full there is room for your soul eating contest. To our utter delight, that day they were serving chicken nuggets. We loved chicken nuggets.

I ate, in the span of 20 minutes, 88 chicken nuggets. I was the champ. It felt good. Even our principal who was all the while disgusted, was at the same time extremely impressed by the feat. If there was ever anything to take pride in at that time in our lives, it was knowing that the kid who can eat the most nuggets was in your school, your friend, your enemy, your pupil, the kid you threw stuff at it in class and the one you pushed at recess. Nothing mattered though, because for a glorious few precious moments, I felt the world stop turning, and someone was truly happy.

After that there are different accounts as to what happened, some of which include me throwing up, which I vehemently deny, although it is possible.

Anyway, what lesson could a person take away from a Chicken Nugget? Here are a few:

Lesson 1: Everything is covered in layers, often layers that no cares about, looks can be deceiving and the best stuff is always on the inside.

Lesson 2: Kids are stupid, and will always do stupid things, but if we could hold on to the happiness of our youth forever, maybe we would reconsider and realize that maybe kids aren't so stupid after all. They're just happy.

Lesson 3: Anything you can fit 10 of in your mouth at once probably shouldn't be in there in the first place.

Lesson 4: Don't throw up next to people. People are easily disgusted and will never forgive you for throwing up on their shoes.

Lesson 5: This is the most important one. In my life, I absolutely must build a time machine to go back to those times. Times were simpler then, we did whatever the hell we wanted and we were truly happy. Go back to those times, just to sit and take in the happiness. Go back to those times... Even if only for a minute, go back to those times...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Godspeed to All You're After

Lyric from the song: Godspeed
By: Anberlin
From the Album: Cities

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like a piece of them just died? I surely do.

Back in the day, when I was a mere speck of nothingness on the Open Source map, one name everyone knew was Havoc Pennington. Not only because it was only the coolest name every but because the guy was one of the greatest hackers of our time. In secret, I had always dreamed of meeting the man behind the mailing list posts and then one day I did and it turned out that not only was all the hype true, it wasn't enough.

Havoc is one of the greatest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting and working with. A great mind, a genius hacker and most importantly an all around good guy.

Havoc, you are a pioneer and visionary, your daily presence will be missed. Godspeed to
all you're after...

I Am The Manager!

The following is a statement which Max was supposed read on Saturday morning at FUDCon when he announces changes to Fedora leadership. It was triggered to auto post and thankfully it didn't because I don't think Max ended up reading it. Anyway, this is what I would have said had I been there for the announcements and asked to speak.

Good morning friends. When I call you friends, I truly mean that and it is to you that I owe this great honor. I started off doing little more than carrying boxes in and out of conferences, and saying Fedora and Red Hat until people were about to puke; the lowest of the low in the community. And, I am proud to NOT be here today as one of it's newly appointed leaders, your Fedora Community Manager. I cannot say that I made it here without the help of each and every one of you and while working with you throughout the past years, since before
Fedora even existed, I feel as though we have become true friends.

If anything, my words today are a message of commitment. If you understand the true value of Fedora as a technology platform, as a community and as a vehicle for social change, and are willing commit to making our community successful, then I guarantee you 1000% in return.
I will measure my success much like any parents do their child's, by gauging your health, well being, activity and strength, and by the same token you should measure your success by mine as a leader. Most importantly, like in any relationship, we must nurture each other's growth.

It would also be unfair to not acknowledge and thank Red Hat's new CEO, Jim Whitehurst, who could have flown home this weekend to see his wife and kids, and yet decided to come here and geek it up with us. This demonstrates true appreciation of the value of the community and Jim on behalf of our community I warmly welcome you as our newest member. Jim has a lot of vision and truly believes in Fedora and we owe it to him, and every other member of the community, who could easily invest their time elsewhere, and chooses to invest it here, nothing more than 100%.

We will not fail. We cannot fail.

Finally, I would like to say that over the years we have hit some bumpy spots and have always persevered and I will be working with each and everyone of you to ensure that we fill those potholes. Alongside that, there are an interesting number of new initiatives that you will hear
about in the coming weeks which will prove interesting to many of you. Some of those initiatives might or might not even be taking place this weekend. Wink, Wink. I eagerly await your feedback. My email is jaa {at} my phone is xxx-xxx-xxxx, (I wasn't about to post my phone number on the internet) don't call too early, but call often!

So a little bit of tweaking, a lot of growing and 100% commitment. We owe it to each and every one of us, in this room, and not. From here on out, we got each other's back...

Cheers! to a brighter future...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I won't let you give up on a miracle, 'cause it might save you...

Lyric from the song: Miracle
By: Paramore
From the album: Riot!

Its bittersweet and ironic how sometimes in life the people who we hope will save us end up being the ones who need the most saving. Its often painful to admit and some people, for fear of coming to some stark realizations, will fight with all their might to prevent themselves from accepting this profound truth.

One thing I can proudly say I've been blessed with, above all else, is the opportunity to go all around the world and meet some of this planet's greatest people. Some rich, some living in utter poverty, some Ph.D.s and some who never made it out of grade school. Some in the farthest reaches of Earth and some right in my own backyard.

Once in a while, you happen upon a truly great person and as much as you realize their potential, they are unwilling to even begin to attempt to reach it. And no matter how much you push them, they push back doubly as hard and in the end of the day all you are left with is a tremendous wasted potential. Some people let the past hold them back and so they struggle with themselves; some more passively than others. As much as they want something or realize something would be good for them, they subconsciously can't live with that and they keep themselves closed up tightly and stuck in some impenetrable psychological bubble. That fills me with great sadness.

People have no idea what it is I do. They know it has something to do with computers, some Linux thing perhaps, but more than that, they have no clue. Some people get downright confused by it. My parents, after showing them the Linux Format article, are even more confused than before about what I do. Its quite funny, because in reality it has nothing to do with computers. It has everything to do with people and helping each and every person reach their maximal potential. Technology is just the means I guess.

So from now on when someone asks me what I do I'm gonna start saying, that is my mission, to make sure that each and every person sees their potential and to help them realize it and reach it. It's not faith if you use your eyes.

I tried to save you. I might have failed, but I'm not gonna give up on a miracle because it might save you. When this memory fades, I'm gonna make sure its replaced with chances taken and hope embraced. I hope I told you...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008