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  • jzb 5:42 pm on November 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apache, , , IRC, Pondering, Slack   

    Proprietary tools for FOSS projects 

    slackMy position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

    At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

    Fedora is generally averse to adopting anything proprietary, even using things like YouTube or Twitter to promote Fedora tends to generate discussion and questions about whether it’s proper to use proprietary services. Grudgingly, though, most folks have accepted that to promote Fedora you have to go where the people are–even if that means using non-FOSS services. Apache has been more willing to adopt non-free services (e.g., Jira) where acceptable FOSS services exist. Not surprising, because Apache’s culture is more “use open source because it’s pragmatic” rather than driven by ideology. (That is painting with a very broad brush, and I think you can find a diverse set of opinions within Apache, including mine.)

    Generally, though, I worry about making too many concessions to non-free software. I worry that we’ve gone too far towards business concerns, and too far away from wanting to change the world for the better. There’s a balance to be struck, I think, where we put food on the table, build successful companies and successful and sustainable communities. Where we use tools we’ve built to do our work, and tools we can improve, but don’t rake people over the coals because of the tools they choose or make bad business decisions out of a desire for purity.

    This post asking people not to use Slack really resonates with me. I see this as a wholly unnecessary adoption of proprietary software where there’s a reasonable and serviceable alternative. The good news, I think, is that Slack seems to be spurring some development of better IRC alternatives that might not have developed without Slack. And it’s spurred more people thinking about the tools they use, and whether they’re open, and what that means. Full disclosure, I have a personal Slack account. I’ll use it to chat with friends, just like I’ll use Facebook or Google Hangouts. But I don’t see recommending it for an official channel for, say, Project Atomic.

     
  • jzb 12:46 pm on October 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apache, , , MUA,   

    Is that the right mailing list? Is that the right audience? 

    email-icon-postQuick thought for the day: are you sending that message to the right mailing list?

    If you work in open source, odds are you spend a lot of time working with people via email. At Red Hat we have internal mailing lists for developers that work on projects, and external mailing lists for projects, as well as internal lists for specific groups, topics, etc. I’m also, less than I’d like these days, involved in the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and it has user lists and developer lists for projects, announce lists, and a variety of private lists for projects and specifically for members, fundraising, and so on.

    I could write volumes about what’s good and bad about various Mail User Agents (MUAs) and mailing list software. But this is not about that–this is about bad habits that people fall into when opening and conducting discussions on mailing lists. Specifically, whether they’re going to the right place.

    All too often, I see people opting to go for the least-public list when opening discussions. Part of this, I think, is just human laziness. You get into a routine, and stick with it. This is doubly hard to overcome when an initiative starts “behind the firewall” and then moves into the public.

    Part of this is a tendency to stay with a familiar group. It can be “scary” to expose your ideas, commentary, plans, or whatever to a large audience. It can also, honestly, be annoying. Everybody has an opinion, and filtering through all the opinions and commentary can be a royal pain in the posterior. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be tricky when you do opt for openness and then have to filter through all of the digressions, uninformed opinions, and (occasionally) dissent to come to a decision.

    I could probably write volumes on this topic, but I promised a quick thought. So, in a nutshell: Think before you start a conversation on a mailing list. Are you sending it to a private list to avoid discussion or exposure, or is there a good reason the conversation needs to be private? (Alternately, are you sure of the audience you’re sending to? Are you sending anything group/company confidential to too wide an audience? It happens infrequently, but it can be a big problem when it does.) If not, then break the habit and opt for openness. You might just be surprised how effective that can be, so give it a shot.

     
  • jzb 12:15 pm on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apache, , OSCON, Portland,   

    Headed to OSCON 

    oscon-logoOnce again, time for the annual trek to Portland, Oregon for OSCON — perhaps for the last time!

    Next year, OSCON is going to be in Austin, TX — which seems like a bit of a mistake to me. Portland and OSCON go together like milk and cookies.

    If you’re going to be at OSCON, make sure to drop by Open Cloud Day on Tuesday, and come by the Red Hat booth to say hello!

     
  • jzb 6:20 pm on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apache, Apache CloudStack, CCC, , CloudStack, SCLs, Software Collections   

    Looking Forward to ApacheCon, CentOS Dojo Denver, and CloudStack Collaboration Conference in April 

    In just a bit more than a month, the mile-high city is going to play host to a triple-feature of open source IT goodness:

    Starting April 7th and running through the 11th, you’ll have a chance to connect with folks developing and deploying some of the most used infrastructure in the world. Apache Web server? Check. Apache Hadoop? Check. Lucene, Solr, Libcloud, Kafka, Cordova…? Check, check… well you get the idea. Also CentOS and Apache CloudStack.

    The schedule for each of these events is outstanding. Oh, and I managed to sneak in a few talks as well. I’ll be doing a talk at each:

    You really, really don’t want to miss this year’s ApacheCon, and stay for the Dojo and CloudStack Collab because they’re also going to be chock full of goodness. You can register for ApacheCon here, and register for the CentOS Dojo for just $50 through March 20 and add the CCC registration there as well. Or just register for the CentOS Dojo on April 10th separately if you can only make one day.

    Have questions about any of the events? Drop me a note by email or hit me up on Twitter, happy to try to help or find the right person.  Hope to see you in Denver!

     
  • jzb 12:51 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apache, Octopress, WordPress   

    Back to WordPress 

    After fiddling with Octopress for quite some time, I’ve decided that I still prefer WordPress. So, here we are. May or may not try to import Octopress posts back into WordPress, depending on how much free time and interest I have. (Right now, it’s very minimal…)

     
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