Category Archives: RedHat

What’s interesting: Learning from Twitter. Dries on Drupal. RHEL 6 finally arrives.

Good reading on the pitfalls faced while startups and open source grow at dizzying rates. And a major new version of Red Hat Linux emerges.

Twitter’s learning experiences about fast growth, new found success and founders working (or rather not working) together. A fascinating account of how co-founders often aren’t good managers, team builders or executives in their own ventures. In most startups, hiring is always a pain point. Underhiring both in experience and quantity can be debilitating.

Yet for all its astonishing growth, Twitter has succeeded in spite of itself — the enviable product of a great idea and lightning-in-a-bottle viral success rather than a disciplined approach to how it’s managed….

What the company needed was simple: people to do all the work. Yet it moved painfully slowly in hiring, with just 110 employees by the end of 2009, even though it had raised $150 million in venture capital by then….

“The mistake I made was definitely underhiring, both in quantity and in experience, in several areas, for a long time,” Mr. Williams says now. He attributes that mistake to the daily distractions of running Twitter and not anticipating how big it would become….

Twitter finally hired a recruiter, as well as people to handle mundane but important big-company tasks like human resources, payroll and ensuring that all of Twitter’s partners use the same blue bird logo….

Twitter’s executives talk about the “Dunbar number” — the maximum number of people, generally believed to be 150, with whom one person can have strong relationships….Each time employees log on to their computers, for instance, they see a photo of a colleague, with clues and a list of the person’s hobbies, and must identify the person. And notes from every meeting are posted for all employees to read.

Read more at NYT.

What Dries Buytaert is thinking about the commercialization of Drupal. Dries talks about the concern that open source projects when commercialized may spur concerns that the spirit of volunteerism could be lost or a volunteer project can be tainted when paid staff is introduced.

When new ground needs to be broken, it’s often volunteer communities that do it. But a full-time, paid infrastructure can be necessary for the preservation and protection of what communities begin. And when new advances are to be made or gaps to be filled in, volunteers rise up within the paid infrastructure. There will always be a place for volunteers, just as there is a place for professionals….

It’s quite common in the software industry that great movements are started by volunteers. While this can work quite well initially, there comes a time when a volunteer-based project becomes a threat to larger, controlled organizations (e.g., MySQL to Oracle, Linux to Microsoft). At that point, if the Open Source organization is to survive and compete, it may have to fortify its position by fostering commercial involvement that helps the project advance and compete. Red Hat is a good example. Without Red Hat, Linux might not have the strong market share it has today. It is also one of the reasons I co-founded Acquia, and why it is important that all Drupal companies contribute back to the project….

The commercialization of a volunteer-driven Open Source project is part of a project’s natural life-cycle. While it can be a significant change, it is a great opportunity. We can reap the benefits of growth, prevent volunteer burn-out and distribute the effort.

Read more on Dries’s blog.

Red Hat finally releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 6 after more than 3 years. The new version of RHEL boasts of a modern Linux kernel (2.6.32), improved performance, optimized resource management through kernel improvements, RAS, scalability, virtualization, power saving features and ext4 support.

Filesystems: The new default file system, ext4, is faster, more robust, and scales to 16TB. The fourth extended filesystem (ext4) is based on the third extended filesystem (ext3) and features a number of improvements. These include support for larger file systems and larger files, faster and more efficient allocation of disk space, no limit on the number of subdirectories within a directory, faster file system checking, and more robust journaling. The ext4 file system is selected by default and is highly recommended.

Power Management: The tickless kernel feature keeps systems in the idle state longer, resulting in net power savings. Active State Power Management and Aggressive Link Power Management provide enhanced system control, reducing the power consumption of I/O subsystems. Administrators can actively throttle power levels to reduce consumption. Realtime drive access optimization reduces filesystem metadata write overhead.

Stable Application Development and Production Platform: Ruby 1.8.7 is included, and Rails 3 supports dependencies. Updates to the popular web scripting and programming languages PHP (5.3.2), Perl (5.10.1) are also included.

Read more about RHEL 6 here and here.

What’s interesting: Hancom goes Open. A decade of Linux at HP. Open Source not a Business Model.

Recent statements in the world of Open Source and Linux.

Hancom, South Korea’s leading software developer says it will open source its popular word processing software Hangul for community to develop software for mobile devices.

Hancom, the developer of a word-processing program known to Koreans as Hangul and foreigners as HanWord, said this week it will open up the product’s source code so other people can modify it for smart phones, tablet computers and other new gadgets. smart phones, tablets and other new devices. Hangul was adopted by the South Korean government nearly 20 years ago and has been a standard in most South Korean companies too, making the country one of the few places where Microsoft’s Office suite of workplace products has taken a back seat. Nearly all documents by the government, except for those of Korea Intellectual Property Office, are Hangul files, which are known by their “HWP” file extension. Companies and individual users have to either buy the software or download a free ‘HWP viewer’ to be able to read them. A person could open Microsoft Word documents in the Hangul program, but not vice versa.

Read more at WSJ.

Bdale Garbee, HP’s Chief Technologist for Open Source and Linux talks about a decade of Linux at HP and what’s coming up in M&As – perhaps Novell?

“HP is absolutely committed to open source”. Bdale Garbee shares some statistics to back up this claim:
* Over 6,500 HP service employees to implement and support Linux and open source worldwide
* Over 3,000 open source software projects initiated
* Over 2,500 HP developers focused on open source
* Over 1,200 open source printer drivers provided

Read more at OSNews.

Red Hat CEO says open source is not a business model; it’s a way to develop software.

Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat, the oldest and by far the most successful company whose business is based purely around open source, makes no bones about it: “Selling free software is hard,” he says. In fact, he goes further: “Open source is not a business model; it’s a way to develop software.”

Read more in this interview with Glyn Moody at CIO UK. – A Developer’s Viewpoint: A Conversation with Michael Meeks could be so much more, given a less top down approach to project management and a looser rein on developers’ ability to get involved.

Read more at the H Open.

Join the POSSE in Silicon Valley!

POSSE California

POSSE California

As the open source ecosystem grows, the need for talented developers, collaborators and open source experts has burgeoned. Increasingly, universities want to incorporate the teaching of open source technologies, techniques and business models into their curricula to meet this growth.

For the past few months I’ve been working with Red Hat’s team at on open source education. As part of this effort, we’ve looked at conducting a week long camp for educators – POSSE – to teach open source development processes, tools and techniques. Professors Open Source Summer Experience, better known as POSSE, was first held in the summer of 2009.

As a board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), I’m proud to announce that OSI is supporting and helping organize POSSE in California along with Red Hat. What better place to hold the first camp on the West Coast than Silicon Valley.

We invite university, college and high-school instructors involved in teaching open source technologies, tools and software development to attend this week long camp in Mountain View, California from July 6-10, 2010. Registration is free for all instructors teaching software development in academic institutions. Seating is limited so please register as early as possible.

To register, sign up here. Attendees are responsible for their own costs for travel and accommodations. More information about POSSE California can be found here and here.

Red Hat organizes Professors’ Open Source Camp in Singapore



Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE), a training bootcamp targeted for faculty members of technical universities in Asia is being organized from November 9-13, 2009 at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. Faculty members from Singapore, Malaysia, China, India are expected to participate.

The first camp was held in Raleigh, North Carolina earlier this year in July.

The goals for the camp are ambitious. A cross-section of topics focusing on development tools and techniques aims to recruit new contributors to open source projects by providing a hands-on experience to participants using Fedora as project examples.

The 5-day camp starts with an overview of open source, then dives into communication tools such as IRC, wikis and blogs to teach participants how to be effective contributors. Development topics include compiling source code, using build tools, setting up a build environment and packaging with RPM.

Testing and bug fixing are easy routes for users to become contributors. Participants walk-through the process of filing bug reports with Bugzilla as well as editing, testing and creating bug patches.

The camp is being organized by Harish Pillay, Jasmine Ee, and Alan Ho from Red Hat Singapore. Mel Chua and Greg DeKoenigsberg are mentors for the program. You can find out more about POSSE Singapore at its website.

I think this program is an excellent start in the right direction by Red Hat and its Asia Pacific (APAC) team to facilitate open source education. Engaging faculty from engineering universities is key to increasing contributions as well as growing the talent pool of engineers in emerging markets to support industry demand.

Looking at the Art of Community Management

The Art of Community Management (Image Credit:

The Art of Community Management (Credit for image: Lumaxart at

Code, collaboration and community are the pillars of open source. Every successful open source software project has an active community around it that reflects the project’s priorities and character.  Since the core concern of most open source projects is code, their communities are typically focused on developers and on producing good code.

But other areas also important.  Many open source software communities also look at tools and infrastructure to support the community’s needs as well as ways to create marketing buzz and how to grow and maintain a healthy ecosystem for users. One of the signs of a successful community is the emergence of a community manager who fits the outreach needs of the project.

In its LQ Community Manager Interview Series, has published a series of excellent interviews with some of the community managers of popular Linux distributions — Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Fedora. These interviews highlight the strengths that each community manager brings to their particular project.

Here are the three interviews:

GNUnify 2009: Community Support Matters

GNUnify 2009

GNUnify 2009

I’ve been supporting GNUnify in Pune for many years now. And every year it has been great to see the deep support of local organizations like the Pune Linux Users Group (PLUG), Pune Tech and others.

GNUnify has come a long way. It started off as a small college festival in 2003 and has blossomed into a full-fledged technology conference today that represents the diverse and talented free and open source community of Pune. In an earlier era, while I was organizing LinuxAsia in Delhi, I was happy that I could help Harshad Gune, the key mover behind Gunefy, er… GNUnify, to grow the conference by having key players in the global open source community participate, speak and mentor at GNUnify. I’m proud to have been able to get many of my open source colleagues and friends including David Axmark of MySQL, Brian Behlendorf of Apache, Louis Suarez Potts of OpenOffice, Danese Cooper of OSI, Zaheda Bhorat from Google, Bob Adkins of Technetra, Matt Barker from Ubuntu, Chander Kant of Zmanda, Tony Wasserman of CMU and others to participate locally and help GNUnify grow. In addition, India’s FOSS community poured in their support in the form of speakers, participants, and mentors. That’s why I consider GNUnify to be a serious community contribution to growing open source and collaboration.

This year was another step in the right direction. I was excited when I met with Seth Bindernagel at Mozilla HQ in Mountain View and he agreed that it would be great to pull together a Mozilla Camp at the conference. Seth and his colleague Arun Ranganathan came all the way from California to deliver a fantastic Mozilla Day at the conference. It was also an opportunity for members of Mozilla’s India localization volunteer team to meet, discuss and make things happen for Firefox.

Another project that I was happy to see participate this year was Fedora India. The Fedora Activity Days (FAD) at GNUnify were a high energy effort that pulled together India’s Fedora team. I thank my friends at Red Hat, especially Sankarshan, for making this happen. FAD mentored and inspired developers and students interested in learning and participating more in the Fedora project.

It was also good to see the diversity in the technology program at the conference this year. Other workshops and talks that I thought were well done included Bob’s workshop on “Ruby from Basics” which had more than 70 hands-on participants (wow!), Rajesh’s “Programming with” workshop, Bain’s talk on git, Namita’s talk on ext4 filesystems, Dexter’s talk on WordPress tips and tricks “Blog A Way”, Pradeepto’s “Hello World – the KDE way”, and Navin’s talk on FREEconomics: the economics of free open/source. My talk on “User As Contributor: Best Practices For Growing Open Source User Communities” had lots of interaction on how and where FOSS users can contribute to growing the adoption of open source in their local communities, using local languages and locally relevant applications.

A new session at GNUnify this time was the Frequently Used Entries for Localization (FUEL) session which brought together a small but dedicated group (Rajesh Ranjan, Sandeep Shedmake, Sudhanwa Jogalekar, G. Karunakar) working on accurate translations for Marathi localization.

Another new program at GNUnify this year was “FOSS in Academics“. The session perhaps could have been better organized and better attended, but then this reflected the reality that technology education in India is by and large FOSS ignorant and unaware of many of the changes sweeping through the software world. As the need to provide FOSS-ready talent to the Indian IT industry grows, the urgency to incorporate FOSS in education is expected to follow. Its good to see GNUnify try its hand at FOSS in Academics. It might start a trend!

Red Hat CEO James Whitehurst in India

Red Hat’s CEO James Whitehurst is currently on his first trip to India since he took over from Matthew Szulik last December. Whitehurst is to meet with top industry and government leaders. He is also scheduled to meet with members of the open source community as well as famous academics such as Dr. Deepak Phatak of IIT Bombay.

In an interview in Mumbai, Whitehurst hoped that open source software adoption would continue to grow as more e-governance projects are sanctioned. India’s central government continues to increase its investment to make IT services accessible to a larger percentage of people in rural and small town communities. Red Hat India continues to focus on growing Linux and open source deployment in four key markets in India – government, BFSI, telecom and education.

Localization and Open Standards

Other areas that Whitehurst sees as big ticket items for India are local language localization and adoption of open standards. Both these areas are crucial for supporting large e-governance projects. Red Hat India continues to make serious contributions to language localization by incorporating support for 11 Indian languages in RHEL and Fedora. Languages that are fully supported include Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Telegu and Tamil. Whitehurst reiterated the need for localization in helping reduce the digital-divide in India.

Whitehurst highlighted Red Hat’s efforts to promote open standards as a dynamic that could change society in the long run. Red Hat has made significant headway in lobbying for adoption of open standards by the central government. India voted against OOXML in favor of ODF earlier this year at ISO. However, despite objections against OOXML, it was approved by ISO as an international standard in August. Appeals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela that stemmed from irregularities surrounding the approval process were rejected by ISO.

India’s Fedora Community

Whitehurst also praised the Indian Fedora community for actively working on Fedora. India has the third largest group of contributors to the Fedora project. 26 contributors (many of whom work for Red Hat India) are listed on the Fedora project wiki.

OSBC 2008: Open Source and True Innovation

Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst delivered the first keynote of the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco with a state of the union on Red Hat’s leadership in open source – $500 million dollars in revenues, millions of servers, thousands of customers. Whitehurst highlighted Red Hat’s leadership in the Linux market with 80 percent marketshare with RHEL and 30 percent of the application server market with JBoss. His speech sounded like it was being delivered to “shareholders” of open source.

The new CEO is not quite 90 days into his job. But he’s been all around the globe – meeting customers, heads of government and policy makers in China, Russia, and Europe. He feels that open source is gaining more popularity internationally due to anti-US sentiment.

Whitehurst explained that one of Red Hat’s key challenges is to bring the value of the open source community development model to enterprise customers. For example, the “oVirt” project for building management tools around virtualization is helping Red Hat engage enterprise customers as participants in building these tools together. Another challenge is for Red Hat to be the defining company of open source for the 21st century – by changing the way technology is developed through “iterative innovation”. Patent reform is one of the biggest issues that Red Hat is currently facing and he hoped to see a broader strategy of protecting the whole community instead of just focusing on individual companies.

Open Invention Network (OIN) visits India

Jerry Rosenthal, CEO of intellectual patents company – Open Invention Network (OIN), was in India last week to interact with technology companies in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. During its trip, OIN met with leaders in government, the IT industry and with India IP experts to discuss ways Linux can promote innovation as well as how to better protect Linux end-users and developers. Two Indian companies were announced as new licensees of OIN – and Quad One Technologies. is a partnership between of Vienna, Virginia and Sumangala CreativeTech India Pvt. Ltd. (SCTI) of Hyderabad. It offers call center helpdesk services. Quad One Technologies Pvt. Ltd. of Hyderabad provides offshore software consulting services for the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry.

Indian law does not recognize software patents as of now, though it is under tremendous pressure from the WTO to buckle under. Today, Indian IT companies involved in offshoring and outsourcing for US clients are the prime candidates for joining OIN’s license network.

OIN was formed in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. It has more than 100 worldwide patents and patent applications as part of its patent commons. These patents can be licensed royalty-free by companies to provide IP protection to Linux end-users, distributors and developers. OIN, a for-profit company, is one of the many organizations such as the Linux Foundation and SFLC who have set up groups to defend Linux against possible patent attacks. One of OIN’s goals is to evaluate software and hardware Linux-based solutions and potentially acquire, for its patent commons, the IP embodied in the best solutions.