Life in Open Source Communities, live at ApacheCon!

October 30, 2009

notmuch.jpgI have just finished my slides for next week at ApacheCon. Though the topic of how to “survive” in our open source communities has been on my mind for a while, this is a totally new presentation, which is both great (in the blank slate sense) and a lot of work.

cocoon-step.jpgHaving recently read Presentation Zen (very recommended if you do presentations and/or like beautiful books), I started adding full-screen pictures to the first few slides, and couldn’t stop! The presentation will then consist of me ad-libbing (or more precisely trying to tell stories) on a series of nice pictures grabbed from (don’t worry about that name).

allabout.jpgI’ll post the slides here later, for now they are super secret, so you’ll just get the teasers…images courtesy of (update: slides added now).

Hope to see you next week! In any case I have collected a number of useful links in my delicious bookmarks, I’ll point people to them in the presentation.

How well does the french-speaking world know the Apache Software Foundation?

October 27, 2009


I was at OpenWorldForum in Paris a few weeks ago, together with fellow Apache members Sander Striker and Emmanuel Lécharny.

My first impressions (apart from the fact that Paris is always nice – I knew that already) were that the French tend to wear suits and say “vous” (polite form of “you”) instead of “tu” (the familiar form) which I would tend to use in geeky circles. Cultural differences…

But more seriously, how well does the french-speaking world know the Apache Software Foundation? Not well, it seems to me. In most of our discussions people could associate the ASF with the Apache HTTP Server project, but not much more. 2’000 committers? 300 members? Really?

bertrand-tivipro.jpgTo help improve this, I hope that the ASF can take a more active role in the conference next year, I’ll bring this up next week at ApacheCon with our conference people.

In the meantime french-speaking folks are welcome to learn a bit more about it thanks to TiViPRO’s interviews of Emmanuel and myself, shot during the conference.

The Board is dead, long live the Board!

July 9, 2009

Well, not exactly dead, but today the Apache Software Foundation elected a new board of directors:

2009 board: Shane Curcuru, Doug Cutting, Justin Erenkrantz, Roy T. Fielding, Jim Jagielski, Geir Magnusson, Jr., Brian McCallister, Brett Porter, Greg Stein

Congrats to all! There were a lot of excellent candidates this time, and the new board looks like a nice mix of great people. Looking forward to what this year brings.

And thanks to the outgoing board – being part of it has been a rich learning experience for me. Hard work at times, but it’s great to have more insight about how the foundation works and to be able to help.

I’ll list the names of the 2008 board here, so that I can find them in 50 years when we talk about the good times:

2008 board: Justin Erenkrantz, J Aaron Farr, Jim Jagielski (chairman), Geir Magnusson Jr, William Rowe Jr, Sam Ruby, Henning Schmiedehausen, Greg Stein, Bertrand Delacretaz

Shane Curcuru has created a nice timeline of all board members from the beginning to 2008.

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.
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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.