eLiberatica, Romania, day #0
Yesterday was pretty exciting, traveling to Bucharest (OTP). I had a 45 minute transfer in Munich, but the first flight was delayed for about 20 minutes, so I was going to have to hurry to make the connection. After having run through the Munich airport from one gate to another though, it turned out it was the same plane and the same flight attendents as the first flight, so I could have just stay seated and not go anywhere ;-)

At my final destination the eLiberatica organisation had luckily arranged for someone to pick us up at the airport and drop us off at the hotel, because I've never been to Romania before and rumour had it traffic is crazy out here.

I've met a couple of people yesterday amongst which Michael "Monty" Widenius, founder of MySQL, his counterpart David Axmark, Lucian Savluc, organisation chair and last but most certainly not least;

** Nicu Buculei ** Finally! ;-)

We went out for dinner and drinks and ended up in a typically Romanian restaurant, where Adrian Joian showed up as well.

Note: This post is a little late, I know

eLiberatica, Romania, coming up!
I'll be travelling to Bucharest, Romania tomorrow, to attend eLiberatica. Not only will I attend, I'll also have a session titled "Fedora in the Enterprise".

Now, the way I understand it, eLiberatica is both government and business, mixed with a little community, so that makes for a very interesting audience to which I'm going to introduce Fedora's excellency and superiority.

With a little help from other presentations given by Karsten Wade, Paul W. Frields, Max Spevack, and others, and the feedback I've gotten from a similar session I've had at the Red Hat Partner Summit in Malta, I'm going to have this awesome slide-deck and an even more interesting story to go with it, and so I'm very excited about this opportunity.

Besides the excitement of getting on stage all the way out there in Romania, I'm also very excited to be able to finally meet Nicu Buculei, one of our most awesome Fedora contributors from Romania, most commonly know through being a leading example in the Fedora Design Team.

Red Hat EMEA Partner Summit 2009, Malta
I'm on my way back home from Red Hat's EMEA Partner Summit in Malta, the second annual partner summit in EMEA, while I'm writing this.

I was here on behalf of the Fedora Project, to give a session on capitalizing communities, essentially saying you can most efficiently add value to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the rest of the Red Hat partner eco-system by engaging and participating in the world of Free Software through Fedora.

My session was planned on Tuesday and since the Summit had started on Sunday, I had already met a lot of people from ISVs, System Integrators, suppliers and consultancy companies.

Now, I have a bunch of business cards from people that I'm going to follow-up with after I come home, having lined up maybe a few weeks worth of work to get their software into Fedora or EPEL, following up on details with others, and to investigate and research some of the products I've learned about, such as a 10, 40 or 100 GBit/s switch from Arista supposedly running an operating system based on Fedora (I did not yet get in touch with their developers but I'm working on it).

There's one ISV in particular that I want to highlight;

Bacula Systems

If you know Bacula, the name of this company may have already given away their line of business; the Free Software Bacula backup suite. Their CEO, Jack Griffin, was in my session and hooked up with me afterwards and so I got to hear their story and answer some questions on how a community works and why a community works the way that it does and how to, and how *not* to capitalize a piece of Free Software like Bacula.

He told me that they had been very careful not to go down the same road other companies had done;

Most companies capitalize on a piece of Free Software by adding some functionality on top of it, selling Licenses for what they would then call the "Enterprise Edition" or something along those lines. Most times, these developed features do not end up in the right place, upstream, and though they may be available as actual code, you can't use the product without purchasing a License. This is obviously not the right way of doing it, since it puts the product somewhere in between a true Free Software product, and a completely proprietary product. It's not the most efficient business model either, since you might end up inventing features that somewhere down the road are superseeded by the features in the truely Free Software version as well -duplication of work-, and you don't get the benefit of potentially a few million pair of eye-balls going over your features before they're even in the product you're trying to sell and potentially further improving them.

Bacula Systems on the other hand takes Bacula, removes the things they cannot support in the long-term, are -right then- infeasible or are otherwise not (yet) sustainable for the Enterprise, add all the value that Enterprises require such as long-term support, and then sell subscriptions. Obviously, while doing so, they actively participate in the development of Free Software Bacula so that down the road the next generation of Bacula is going to be an ever better product for their customers. Also, and this is majorly significant to the model, their supported version (or Enterprise Edition if you will) remains to be truly Free Software. This way, they ensure development and maintenance are cost efficient, truly honest and honorable wrt. the work done by the larger Free Software community, showing excellent Free Software citizenship. They've hired Kern Sibbald (and here's a nice interview from two years ago), father of the original Bacula project, as their CTO. He was also the one who suggested to keep the business honest, transparent and open. To further appreciate the way that Bacula Systems operates, let me tell you that they've assigned copyright on Bacula to the Free Software Foundation Europe.

Overall the story of Bacula Systems is pretty impressive (and so is their list of customer references), and I have to give them a huge compliment on having become the very best ISV I have seen so far, doing what they do so very well, knowing where they come from and keeping true to their roots as well as the morals and principles of Free Software. I wish them the very best in their business and I'm going to actively assist them in getting the job done.

Ordering something in Dutch
I've been living in the Netherlands all my life... one could argue I speak Dutch "pretty well".

Quoting from Max's earlier blog post:

Chitlesh speaks a little bit of Dutch, and made his best attempt to order us some beers in the native language of Holland. The waiter gave him a funny look and said in English, "Are you trying to speak Dutch?" Chitlesh responded in the affirmative, and the waiter said "Please don't." After this exchange, I believe that Jeroen is no longer allowed to mock me for not having learned Dutch yet.

Putting this statement to the test, Max and I went for dinner just a few places down the road of where this other incident had happened.

And so, the waiter comes up to our table ready to take our order. I tried to order in Dutch, under the impression that I speak Dutch fluently, and given the fact that Amsterdam is still in the Netherlands, but the waiter didn't understand me either. I ended up ordering my beer and steak in English...

Another rant on planet
This is another rant on planet, this time aimed specifically at one person's actions. That person is Michael DeHaan.

Obviously, I can only speculate on whether he's the person that left the anonymous comments [1, 2, 3] on earlier blog posts I did. As you can see in the third anonymous response, the person pretends to have nothing to do with the debate or project but found it appropriate to call me a dork anyway -twice -which seems rather odd for someone not involved at all. Why even raise the question of where that quote I deliberately kept anonymous -to prevent shit like this- came from, unless you feel uncomfortable being quoted?

So, let me share the results with you.

I've been unsubcribed from the Cobbler mailing list.

A comment I made on Michael DeHaan's patronizing blog post has been removed. I have the confirmation email to prove it. Too bad I didn't anticipate on such lame behaviour though, or I would have made a screenshot.

Meanwhile, I've been kick-banned from #cobbler on FreeNode, with the last few lines saying:

(Mon)[19:54:55] <jmeeuwen> hmm, why was i unsubscribed from the cobbler mailing list?
(Mon)[19:55:15] * shenson_` is now known as shenson
(Mon)[19:58:07] <jmeeuwen> mpdehaan, have anything to say about that?
(Mon)[20:00:15] <jeckersb> are you sure you weren't just subscribed to cobbler-devel ?
(Mon)[20:02:59] <jmeeuwen> i was subscribed to cobbler@lists.fedorahosted.org
(Mon)[20:03:11] <jmeeuwen> cobbler-devel seems pretty new to me
(Mon)[20:04:55] <shenson> may have been an accident, mpdehaan was trying to get people subscribed to cobbler-devel and I think he mentioned that he may have broken something
(Mon)[20:06:11] <jmeeuwen> when was that?
(Mon)[20:06:23] <shenson> a week ago?
(Mon)[20:08:33] <jmeeuwen> right, it seems i've not received a single message after the "added cobbler check items for ris-linux" thread though
(Mon)[20:08:59] * shenson doesn't know, only speculating
(Mon)[20:09:23] <mpdehaan> jmeeuwen was unsubscribed for his little rant on planet
(Mon)[20:09:27] <mpdehaan> honestly, I don't have time for it
(Mon)[20:09:44] <mpdehaan> and complaints here will get you a kickban as well
(Mon)[20:10:15] <jmeeuwen> thank you mpdehaan, for showing how you operate being the good foss citizen you so subtly suggested i'm not
(Mon)[20:10:26] * ChanServ gives channel operator status to mpdehaan
(Mon)[20:10:28] * mpdehaan sets ban on *!*n=kanarip@*.kanarip.com
(Mon)[20:10:29] * You have been kicked from #cobbler by mpdehaan (mpdehaan)

With my last comment referring to his blog post.

I'll continue support on Cobbler though, advertising and implementing it with my customers and giving presentations and workshops wherever I get the chance. I'll also continue patching Cobbler whether upstream (or just you in this case) chooses to accept them or not. It has not been many though, we both know. I guess I'll have to do so through blog posts on Planet though because mails to Cobbler's mailing lists will undoubtedly be bouncing. We'll see.

Michael, I'm sorry I have to say I'm sorry. Maybe I shouldn't have posted that quote or maybe I should have just directly referred to the source -you. I didn't because I did not want it to get personal. I don't know but what I do know is what happened as a consequence of all that is just wrong. Think happy thoughts, right?

[edit] modified the IRC log to show people's nicknames

Seht gut aus!
De nieuwe website waaraan ik werkte, voor de Nederlandse (en Nederlandstalige) Fedora community begint er goed uit te zien. Nu ja, niet perse goed, want hij staat nog op het standaard thema. Ik heb er echter een heel klein beetje inhoud aan gegeven en geprobeerd de boel een beetje in te delen, en zowaar neemt de Drupal site nog aardige vormen aan ook.

Neem een sneak preview, maak een account aan en als je geinteresseerd bent om ermee te spelen, laat me dan ook even je accountnaam weten! Is er iemand geinteresseerd in het aanmaken van een Fedora thema voor de site? Ik zou u graag aan boord willen hebben!


Ook wil ik u attenderen op onze nieuwe mailing list, http://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/fedora-nl
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Quotes and Context for Cowards
It was suggested that a quote I used in one of my last blog posts was taken out of context, and inappropriately put on my blog and thus Fedora Planet.

Let me give you a little context here, so that despite the comments cowardly posted anonymously you may make up your own mind.

This thread on the Cobbler mailing list concerns new checks being added to Cobbler for ris-linux and Windows provisioning.

A little background here; In order to notify the user or administrator that implements Cobbler of potential problems with the Cobbler installation, Cobbler has a command: cobbler check. These checks run various little scripts that examine the configuration files, check whether related services are running, and things like that. It also makes a number of suggestions such as additional packages to install for added functionality.

The thread mentioned earlier concerns, amongst other details, whether cobbler check should suggest the installation of the ris-linux package whenever it detects it's not installed, just like it does for cman. I think they ended up deciding that Cobbler should be silent if you configure it to not bother about Windows provisioning but I'm not sure and it's besides the point I'm trying to make here.

When you run cobbler check, you will see that there is several useful messages especially of you have just installed the cobbler package. On your way to resolve and each of every issue raised, you will also find that a number of suggestions are negligible but cannot be disabled or fixed without installing additional packages or manually removing the check from the code. One may not want these extra packages (who needs fencing tools in a bare metal environment, or ris-linux in a homogeneous Linux environment), but nonetheless Cobbler complaints about it. I say "complaints", because that is how the messages are perceived out here in the field.

For diagnostics, this means that a system administrator will run cobbler check to see what problems Cobbler thinks still exist and might cause unsuspected behaviour. Needless to say, you will want the list of messages to be as short as possible.

In my opinion, you then have three options:

  1. You add configuration items that tell cobbler whether to even perform the check (i_want_windows: 0), or whether to let the user know about what it finds out (dont_make_suggestions_i_know_what_im_doing: 1)

  2. You (silently) check for a package and if it's not installed, you do not check for any configuration items, service or whatever it is you would have checked if the package were installed and you do so silently.

  3. You create subpackages of Cobbler that will pull in not only the appropriate checks for said sub-package, but also depends on the package(s) the capability depends upon.

In the first case, I argued that it the list of configuration items to disable just to keep cobbler check as silent as possible might grow and grow over time, so I was ready to suggest some other solutions, thinking I was a good FOSS citizen.

In the second case, Michael DeHaan argued that the check on cman was intended to suggest that the package could be installed to enable the fencing and power management features in Cobbler. That's a good point and there's no arguing about it. Making the checks entirely silent without manual intervention apparently is not a very viable option if you want the output to draw attention to added functionality -so very true.

I on the other hand argued that if Cobbler requires another program to be installed for certain added functionality, it should either (1) require the package though RPM or (2) keep silent and not show messages suggesting you should install it. Of course, not every Cobbler installation wants the cman or ris-linux packages to be installed. If it were installed it might need to be configured as well given the checks Cobbler then runs -although you may never ever need the functionality of said package. Sounds like a waste of time to me if you went this route. Just keeping silent though conflicts with the argument Michael DeHaan made against the second case (the one where he mentions deliberately spitting out suggestions). So, I suggested another solution which brings me to point (3) in the list above.

Now, in the last case where you split up the cobbler package into several sub-packages, one might still want to have yum install cobbler to just install Cobbler with all it's capabilities and checks, and this can be done, and the model for this I suggested in one of my posts is perfectly viable. Many other packages do the exact same thing. But, the suggestion was refused by the technically very sound and apparently well thought through argument that "Now this is just silly. You can live with check output being a few lines longer, I think." -- Michael DeHaan. Let me say that you're right Michael, and that I can live with a few more lines of output, I can. But that coming from someone who says you cannot have distro specific dependencies makes me quote you in blog posts you may wrongfully or rightfully consider be taken out of context and you can live with it, I think.

Coming back to the original point of this blog post -whether I've taken that quote out of context or not. Well, you can make up your own mind. Meanwhile, I've been called a dork, an ass, all by anonymous people of course. Dare you show your face? I know I do!

Aan het werk met Drupal
Ik ben bezig Drupal te installeren en te configureren zodat de Nederlandse Fedora community aan de slag kan met het verzorgen van wat inhoud.

1 van de zaken waar ik nu mee bezig ben is het verzorgen van een Feed Aggregator, maar die moet dan natuurlijk wel alleen berichten in het Nederlands ophalen.
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Heard the funniest thing today
"No, we can't enforce hard-deps on packages that are not available on all distros."

Isn't that just silly?

Puppet Managed for Life
puppetmanaged.org, one of those things I do for fun, now runs over 13 different organizations in 17 different domain name spaces. Some of these organizations are SOHO environments, like kanarip.com, others actually run their businesses on machines managed by puppetmanaged.org

I've had some people knock on my door requesting additional information on the modules on puppetmanaged.org, or documentation, and hence I figured it would be the right time to start some mailing lists for development and user support.

I would like to invite you all to post a message about what you think of the modules on puppetmanaged.org, it's documentation, what other ideas you have, what you are missing in the modules or what modules you are missing, or even just what you are having for dinner tonight.


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