Tag Archives: Linux

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.

OpenOffice.org – A Developer’s Viewpoint: A Conversation with Michael Meeks

OpenOffice.org 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.

Meet CUBRID: One of Korea’s Top Open Source Projects

A Conversation with Jay Kim and Esen Sagynov of CUBRID.



I participate at the MySQL Conference in Silicon Valley every year and look forward to the diversity of ideas, projects and companies that represent the ever-growing open source database landscape. This year, CUBRID, an open source database project backed by a company from South Korea, caught my eye. What was most impressive to me was the team’s enthusiasm about open source software and its belief that an open source model can work for developing good software and, at the same time, for building a healthy services business in Asia as well as globally.

CUBRID’s team from Korea proudly announced its participation in the global open source ecosystem through the example of its open source relational database project at the conference. I talked with Jay Kim and Esen Sagynov from the CUBRID team about their experience building an open source database in Asia, growing the CUBRID community and increasing its adoption. Here is what they had to say.

1. Tell me about CUBRID?

CUBRID is an open source relational database highly optimized for web applications. In the summer of 2006, NHN, Korea’s top portal and search engine joined the CUBRID project as a major co-developer. After two years of development, in October 2008, CUBRID became an open source project with a GPL v2 or later license. Code development was initially hosted at http://dev.naver.com/projects/cubrid, a CUBRID development project site in Korea. As of October 2009, the project has been now setup at Source Forge.

NHN’s experience in database development and supporting its numerous on-line services provided a great opportunity to develop and scale CUBRID to handle large concurrent requests.The latest version CUBRID 2008 R2.2 was released in May 2010, the next version CUBRID 2008 R3.0 is expected to be released this summer.

2. How has CUBRID used the open source model for development?

CUBRID’s presence in the open source industry has already brought many changes. It is one of the leading open source projects in Korea. With the help of its open source community, CUBRID has been able to deliver 8 releases of CUBRID DBMS at an interval of 1-4 months, twice more frequent than other database providers.

From our experience in Korea, we are trying to develop CUBRID Cluster and CUBRID Manager, a client GUI database administration tool, and spin-off projects with many other developers. All of these projects come to live and continue to be developed because of the open source community. We feel that we create value for both users and developers around CUBRID.

The open source model has helped us not only facilitate development of third-party applications and tools for CUBRID DBMS but also helped generate new ideas and encourage more users.

3. How do you see CUBRID playing in the US market, especially since you have to compete with larger, more entrenched competitors like Oracle and MySQL?

The U.S. has always been the land of opportunity. CUBRID envisions its niche in web applications. Instead of competing with the market leaders, CUBRID is positioned in a slightly different way, being a database highly optimized for web apps, particularly those which drive extremely high traffic with prevailing READ-transactions. It provides enterprise level features for all users under GPL and BSD license.

CUBRID is being used in NHN’s numerous on-line services running on vast amount of servers in several environments, supporting scalability, stability and high performance. This allows CUBRID to support users’ requirements and their bug reports more rapidly. In addition, the average response time at CUBRID Community forum in the fourth quarter 2009 was only 3.6 hours.

We believe, CUBRID can attract users, including enterprises, who really value their own customers and this is the right time for them to get acquainted with CUBRID.

4. Why did you select GPLv2 as CUBRID’s license?

Unlike other databases, CUBRID does not distinguish our license policy between community and enterprise. There is only one version under GNU General Public License version 2.0 or later for the database server engine and under BSD license for the APIs and client tools. This CUBRID Open Source License Policy benefits both companies as well as community users.

We adopted the BSD license for our APIs because we do not want to impose any limitations for developing and distributing valuable products on the top of CUBRID. However, the core part of CUBRID, i.e. the database server engine itself, adopted the GNU General Public License so that any improved features on the server engine can be shared with many other users. For more information, see CUBRID’s Open Source License Policy.

5. How large is CUBRID’s user community?

We’ve gathered statistics related to CUBRID users since its first launch in October 2008. The number of total downloads has topped over 51,000 and latest statistics indicate a growing number of downloads with 3,200 downloads in May 2010 (per month). Also, the number of CUBRID Open Source community web site visitors increases daily. Last April, over 3,000 unique users visited CUBRID project home page.

Currently, there are over 20 active CUBRID open source contributors in Korea. There are also core developers in Romania and China. We are eager to support all interested developers and users to help grow interest in CUBRID. Considering our assumption that Korean database users account for only 1% of the entire global market, we believe the CUBRID community will grow very rapidly in the near future.

6. Has open source helped you grow CUBRID’s user community and convert them into paying customers?

Definitely, yes. Open source, as a whole, facilitates CUBRID development in a number of ways, including improved user awareness and faster adoption, stronger competitive positioning in the database for web industry, and, most importantly, a large base of users to find and report bugs and recommend improvements to CUBRID.

As open source is one of the today’s hot topics, most users and developers positively respond to the idea of holding Open Source Conferences and CUBRID Events. Therefore, we annually hold a CUBRID Bug Bash event. We bring together our experienced software engineers and CUBRID Community users and developers to search for and fix bugs in CUBRID and make code enhancements. NHN IdoCode (Summer of Code) is a large event to bring together professional software developers and enthusiasts to create new or port existing open source software for CUBRID. Those highly interested in open source development eagerly participate in the event and submit significant contributions to CUBRID Project. For instance, WordPress, phpBB, and MediaWiki have been extended to use CUBRID as the database server by our community contributors.

Ubuntu Users Community Guide is a Linux related event CUBRID also takes part in to facilitate the adoption of and software development for Linux Ubuntu OS. CUBRID also recently became a Linux Foundation Silver Sponsor. Linux’ strengths in the enterprise translate into major advantages for supporting web-based businesses. It’s ability to enable seamless high-volume transactions and high performance server/client infrastructure are among the reasons CUBRID has become an active member of the Linux development community and the Linux Foundation.

Additionally CUBRID supports various conferences like JCO Java Developer Conference, Advanced Computing Conference, attends global and local conferences like the O’Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo and Asia-Pacific Web Technology Conference.

We also organize an annual technical seminars called “CUBRID Inside” for our community developers. We discuss various details and challenges around CUBRID, including its three-tier architecture, CUBRID Quality Assurance process, CUBRID Heartbeat implementation, and so forth. As a result, we’ve experienced growing interest in CUBRID DBMS from developers and enterprise users, especially in the local market (Korea).

Nowadays, CUBRID is being actively used by IT industry leader in Korea – NHN Corporation, which deploys a farm of over 10,000 servers. In addition, large hosting companies Cafe24 and Mireene, software company ESTsoft, and many Korean local colleges manage their data with CUBRID. Two third of all CUBRID references come from the government sector. The Korea National Tax Service, Korea Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Korea Ministry of National Defense, Busan Transportation Corporation, and Korea White House are major customers who deployed CUBRID as their major database management software. Just imagine how much sensitive data they all have, how much security they all require – they all chose CUBRID as their database.

7. How would you attract newcomers to your community? What benefits can they expect and how can they contribute?

We often organize events for our community members to encourage their enthusiasm. We hold online seminars to share our knowledge, or bug bash events and distribute prizes for contributors. By participating in these events, newcomers can gain valuable knowledge in development and can share their knowledge with other.

We have enough interesting and exciting projects within CUBRID to get involved in, such as introducing a number of new query-embedded functions, porting existing open source projects for CUBRID, developing a newer version of CUBRID native libraries, and so forth. Besides major development activities, CUBRID community members are welcome to add to CUBRID’s on-line Universal Knowledge Repository by contributing better documentation, more code examples, easy-to-replicate examples, and comprehensive tutorials. Likewise, reporting bugs and providing feedback are also valuable for the community.

We want the CUBRID community to not be a place just to come and go, but to be a community where users stay and enjoy the rapid development process, something most newcomers are seeking for. To make CUBRID projects more beneficial to all, we always welcome any suggestion in every possible way from YOU!

Thanks Jay and Esen for taking the time to talk about CUBRID. Good luck!

Brazil and India: The Next Generation of Open Source

Brazil and India: Next Generation of Open Source

Brazil and India: Next Generation of Open Source

Those of us who follow the growth of open source in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) know that both Brazil and India are leveraging open source at a rapid pace towards economic development.


India is a heavy user of open source. Sectors leveraging open source include software development outsourcing, business process outsourcing, government services, technical education as well as industries such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, oil and gas, defense and space. According to Wikipedia, India produces 2.5 million graduates every year from which only a small percentage, about 700,000 people are employed by India’s BPO industry. The BPO industry which has flourished on cheap, skilled labor has started to leverage open source software based automation to gain further cost advantages.


Brazil has also been a hotbed of open source activity in recent years. Government agencies, private industry, universities have been teaching and implementing open source solutions to create local centers of knowledge and gain expertise around open source in the country. Seeing India’s success in IT outsourcing, Brazil has also declared an interest in using open source to gain leadership in the market of software development outsourcing.

According to recent articles in Network World and Computer Weekly, Brazil has a few humps to overcome to fully leverage the power of open source for software outsourcing. These challenges include a predominantly non-English speaking IT industry and higher hourly wages. But the Brazilians are optimistic that deep knowledge of open source can overcome such factors and help them compete globally.

Brazil’s open source experts in IT, government and education are very active in international open source forums as well as engaging international experts in Brazil. For example, the Linux Foundation will be holding its first-ever Brazil summit later this year. Such exchange of ideas, skills and expertise can help stimulate the local knowledge economy and give Brazil an edge especially in open source expertise.

Brazil has other advantages that it could combine with the knowledge of open source to develop its software development outsourcing markets with special focus on the US. These advantages include geographical proximity to the US, in-country advanced technology research and excellent infrastructure such as roads, airports, power and telecommunications.

Collaboration is good

In the true spirit of open source, both India and Brazil can learn a lot from each other. India’s IT and outsourcing industries could certainly learn a thing or two from Brazil’s commitment to open source to foster innovation and develop its internal and export markets. Making deeper commitments to adopting open source can only help both countries grow their economies while sharing their experiences and best practices. Knowledge economies can only thrive on continuing the pursuit of better education, deeper expertise, more innovation and long term collaboration.

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Two excellent articles published recently on Apple’s quest to improve user experience in its mobile products such as the iPhone and what Open Source can learn from it.

1. Making Open-Source Software Free and Fabulous, by Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation, BusinessWeek

This article aptly reiterates the pressing need to focus on further improving the Linux and Open Source application user experience.

“We’re moving to a tech world with Apple on one side and virtually everyone else on the other. Linux needs to more effectively compete with Steve Jobs and the magic of Apple. It’s important that open-source products add more value for users than simply being free. Open-source software also needs to be fabulous….

…Providing a good user experience isn’t paramount under the white lights of the data center. In consumer electronics, it’s a different story. Mobile Linux vendors must increase their technical investments by working on key open-source projects to make every component used in Linux devices benefit the user experience. That includes making devices boot up faster, connect better, and display graphics more smoothly. In the server market, IBM made the investments to improve Linux for information technology workers a decade ago. The mobile industry uniting behind Linux should do the same.”

2. Why Open Source developers should thank Apple (and why Apple should thank open source) by Dj Walker-Morgan, The H Open

This article does a good job of highlighting areas where Apple has helped Open Source by raising the bar for usability.

“Apple has also set a high competitive bar for open source, and proprietary developers to exceed. For too long, the competition for open source was defined by Microsoft’s offerings…

…although Apple has made design, policy and commercial decisions that people in the free and open source software community vigorously object to, they have provided a number of things too: a real competitive bar to replace the complacent Microsoft competition and a disruption to the mobile phone market which has indirectly led to Linux based phones moving from oddities to center stage. It is said that a rising tide raises all ships, and Apple has, in the last ten years created competition that is making all the players in the business rise to the challenge of competing. Open source and free software are rising to that competitive challenge and if that means users of free software and open source software get as good an experience using it as Apple’s well polished offerings, isn’t that something to be thankful for?”

One Small Blip on the Stock Index, One Giant Step for Apple

Apple overtakes Microsoft

Apple overtakes Microsoft (Image credit: www.funny-potato.com)

History was made today as Apple overtook Microsoft ($226.3 billion) in market value and became the world’s most valued technology company at $227.1 billion dollars.

iPhones, iPads and iPods have definitely revitalized Apple’s innovative streak. It will be interesting to see how the company maintains its success in the consumer device space as competition from Google, Microsoft, HP and other vendors heats up. And open source is in the middle of it all, as it becomes a favorite tool-chest to surpass the market leader. Android, Chrome, HTML5, CSS3… the list grows as tools of disruption are readied. It’s going to be exciting times ahead especially at WWDC in San Francisco coming up on June 7-11.

Open Source Bloggers in Datamation 2009 Top 200 Tech Blogs

Datamation’s 2009 Top 200 Tech Blogs list the following folks in the Linux / Free and Open Source category:

Starting at rank 155…
155 – Matt Asay: The Open Road
156 – SourceForge Community Blog
157 – Linux Today Blog
158 – Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog
159 – Aaron Seigo
160 – Stormy’s Corner: Stormy Peters
161 – Miquel de Icaza’s Web Log
162 – Jim Zemlin
163 – Free Software Foundation
164 – Linux.com’s Featured Blogs
165 – The Linux Blog
166 – Groklaw
167 – Sexy Sexy Penguins
168 – Ken Hess’s Linux Blog

Even Linus didn’t make it to this list. I think this list needs some new faces. There are many other personalities in the tech world who could be considered for their knowledge and expert opinions on trends and technologies from growing markets in Asia, South America and Africa. But that would be another list :-)

India’s FOSS community celebrates Software Freedom Day 2009

SFD 2009

SFD 2009

Today is Software Freedom Day. India’s FOSS community has organized install fests, software demos and talks to promote free and open source software across the nation. University FOSS clubs, Linux User Groups (LUGs) and Open Source User Groups (OSUMs) have been organizing grass-root gatherings all week.

Coverage from some of these events includes:

It’s pretty exciting to see so much activity. Hope to see even more schools and colleges participate next year. Happy SFD 2009!

Looking at the Art of Community Management

The Art of Community Management (Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/)

The Art of Community Management (Credit for image: Lumaxart at www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart)

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, LinuxQuestions.org 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:

Are you ready to Ubunchu!

Ubunchu - A Ubuntu Manga Comic Book (Credit: Ubunchu)

Ubunchu - A Ubuntu Manga Comic Book (Credit: Ubunchu)

Earlier this month, Ubunchu, a comic book for Ubuntu, was published in Japanese. Ubunchu is about three students in a sysadmin club who are learning about Ubuntu. Japanese Manga artist (Mangaka) Hiroshi Seo is the creator of this comic series and his first edition has already been translated into English, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese. Translated versions can be found here.

The comic book format has become an interesting, if novel, way to popularize technology. For example, when Google released Chrome, it introduced its new browser accompanied by a wildly popular comic book. I believe this format could also help kids in middle school and high school learn about the latest technologies like Linux and open source.

Calling on our Indian language localizers… Are you ready to translate Ubunchu? Ubunchu comes with a Creative Commons license and has the SVG source available too. So it should be easy to translate and spread the word.

And here is what Hiroshi says to translators…

For translators:

  • If your are planning to translate the manga into another language,  my consent is not required,  for it is released under Creative Commons BY-NC license. Though I’d really appreciate if you let me know it when it’s done. Then I would add the link of the distribution site to the list above.
  • Both English version’s are distributed with it’s SVG sources. You will find it very easy to edit with SVG editing software like Inkscape. Thanks to DoctorMO & C-quel’s work!  When using these sources, please don’t forget to add the credit for them.