The single mailing list dream

June 13, 2009

The ASF uses a (way too) large number of mailing lists for all its internal and project communications.

Having crosscutting discussions is quite hard – for example, many projects use OSGi these days, and the only way for them to share their OSGi experience would be to create yet another list, or to subscribe to all of each other’s lists, which means a lot more traffic to manage.

One of my current technical dreams is to have a single list for all of the ASF, using tags to define the audience and visibility of messages – a la Twitter hashtags.

A message about the maven-scr-plugin on the Sling list, for example, would be tagged

#sling #osgi #maven-scr-plugin #scr #public

so that people subscribing to the #osgi and #scr tags, for example, would see it.

Another obvious use case is to easily ignore all discussions about a given topic (like #budget maybe? ;-), in a reliable way and without losing other communications within the same group.

I’m not sure how to implement this today (particularly the access control part for things like the #asf-private tag), but that would in my opinion be a huge improvement on what we have now.

Update: it’s now 2017 and I heard from a colleague that his company the OpenStack dev list is using this model for group communications. That’s using mailing lists, but the model would apply to any shared channel that supports threaded discussions with searchable thread titles. I’m so happy to hear that this actually works! And too bad I haven’t been able to use it myself so far.

The ASF is the Switzerland of Open Source

March 30, 2009

matterhorn-bahn.jpgBy popular demand (two people – that’s about 100% of my readership!), here’s an essay similar to my lightning talk of last week at ApacheCon: The Apache Software Foundation is the Switzerland of Open Source.

This is based on my rough notes and failing memory, so that won’t be exactly the same thing.
Read the rest of this entry »

Google Summer Of Code 2009 – Real Soon Now!

March 6, 2009

The 2009 logo is fantastic, isn’t it? Flower power is not dead apparently.

Google Summer Of Code 2009 starts soon, open source organizations can sign up starting March 9th (a very important date planet-wide anyway), and students can sign up starting March 23rd.

An A4 flyer is available to display in your school, or anywhere geeks graze.

Assuming we’re accepted as an organization, projects of the Apache Software Foundation will be listed on our wiki. I’m probably going to suggest one or two Sling-related projects.

Philip Johnson’s video presentation (below) gives a good overview of the program and of its requirements, for students.

Bye bye Tika and Pig podlings, welcome ESME

December 17, 2008

The Apache Tika and Apache Pig podlings where I was mentor, have graduated a few weeks ago, both in the “galaxy” of Lucene-related projects. Congrats and good luck!

Having lots of Copious Free Time as usual (not!), I have signed up as a mentor for the new and exciting ESME project, a secure and highly scalable microsharing and micromessaging platform, written in Scala. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

The Apache Incubator has been very busy in 2008, with many innovative things happening. It’s not always easy to manage, with so many people and projects involved, but the results are very encouraging.

I wonder when the ASF will hit the 100 projects mark…probably in 2009 already, or early 2010.

More Apache brand abuse ahead

November 25, 2008

I usually do my best to look at the positive facets of people and things, even when mistakes happen. Today, however, seeing a press release that tries to associate the ASF with preferences for PCs over Macs and M$ Office over OpenOffice makes me really angry.

Holy crap! If this is what people get out of ApacheCon, we might as well stop having conferences right now.

(As usual here, this post represents my personal opinion, not an official statement of any sort).

To put things in perspective, I’ll note that the ApacheCon conferences are produced by an independent company, not by the Apache Software Foundation itself. Said company apparently contracted the brilliant PR agency who authored that press release – looks like the ASF might have to fix some things in there.

Here’s what I wrote in my nomination ballot for the ASF board a few months ago:

…keeping the ASF independent of business influences, while providing a neutral ground for those businesses to collaborate, is a constant challenge. I think preserving this independence will require increased efforts in the next few years, as open source moves even closer to center stage – with corresponding increased interest from businesses in what we do and in the Apache brand…

Sounds like I’m unfortunately being proven right by such PR junk.

Update: “PR junk” might be too harsh a statement – thinking about it it seems like i hate most press releases anyway, so you might need to take that with a grain of salt.

You *have* to listen to feathercast

November 20, 2008

I created this little jingle a while ago to try out GarageBand, with FeatherCast in mind.

Rich Bowen recently started using it for the last episodes, I’m honored, thanks Rich! FeatherCast has got some fresh interviews from ApacheCon there, don’t miss them!

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

November 1, 2008

cdg-waiting.jpgI’m on my way to ApacheCon US 2008 where I’ll give two talks. One of which is not ready yet so I’m making good use of my travel time ;-)

I don’t know if terminal 2E in Paris CDG is new, but it looks quite good with all the wooden paneling. Doesn’t make the journey shorter (2 stops and about 17 hours if all goes well), but at least it’s quiet, there’s power and Boingo works.

Call for papers – ApacheCon Europe 2009

October 21, 2008

The call for papers for ApacheCon Europe 2009 (Amsterdam, March 23-27) is open, proposals must be submitted before October 24th. Don’t miss it!

Financial assistance for ApacheCon US 2008

September 26, 2008

The Apache Travel Assistance Committee is looking for people who would like to attend ApacheCon US 2008 but need some financial support in order to get there.

See their information page for details.

Hey, El Reg – Microsoft is *not* becoming an ASF member!

July 26, 2008

Contrary to what The Register reports, Microsoft is not paying $100,000 annual membership to the Apache Software Foundation.

ASF membership cannot be bought: people earn their individual membership by merit, and there’s no such thing as ASF member companies.

As with any other sponsor of the ASF, Microsoft’s sponsorship only means that they’re giving money to the ASF, money that the ASF can use freely, as the ASF does not accept directed donations.

I am very pleased to see this happening. It won’t make me love Microsoft’s current products much more (although, as my son notes, the XBox is a nifty piece of kit), but it is great to see more and more people inside Microsoft understand the importance of open source in today’s IT landscape.

Update: as I write this, the Google Number for +apache +microsoft +sponsor* is 682,000

Update: it’s been at least 24 hours since I posted a comment to the Register article linked above, indicating their error. Surprisingly, that comment hasn’t been moderated in yet…