Category Archives: Conferences

OSCON 2011 this week

Open Source Convention OSCON 2011

Open Source Convention OSCON 2011

OSCON 2011 starts off this week on Wednesday July 27th with keynotes by Jono Bacon from Ubuntu, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation and Karen Sandler of GNOME Foundation. Through the week, OSCON also brings some excellent topics on open source in mobile, education, cloud as well as open source tools and technologies including PHP, Ruby, Javascript and HTML5.

The conference proceedings are being streamed live.

A couple of talks I would like everyone reading this post to attend include a talk on creative techniques for loading web pages for Wikipedia by Trevor Parscal and Roan Kattouw from my team (Features Engineering at Wikimedia Foundation) as well as a talk on how to raise millions of dollars using open source by Arthur Richards from Wikimedia’s fundraising engineering team. Go Team!

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

A Conversation with Jay Kim and Esen Sagynov of CUBRID.

www.cubrid.org

www.cubrid.org

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!

Poll : Why Women Matter in FOSS?

Open World Forum

Open World Forum

The free and open source software world believes in freedom, openness, access and collaboration as some of its core values. Yet, the number of women in FOSS is minimal. Why? And how can this be changed?

April, a leading non-profit organization in France which promotes free and open source software is conducting a poll to better understand the role of women in FOSS. Researchers at one of Paris’ main universities – Paris Descartes University, will be analyzing the poll results. The analysis will be presented on September 30th in the Diversity Summit, at the Open World Forum in Paris.

If you’re involved in the FOSS community and care about this issue, express your opinion by taking a few minutes to complete the poll at:

http://owf-ged-poll.limequery.com/71557

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 TeachingOpenSource.org 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.

MySQL Week Kicks Off in Silicon Valley

A Conversation with Colin Charles, Chief Evangelist at Monty Program Ab

O'Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo 2010

A lot has happened in the MySQL world since last year’s conference in Silicon Valley. Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL through its purchase of Sun has led to increased diversity and opportunities for the entire MySQL ecosystem. The conference this week in Santa Clara brings it all together and showcases the latest happenings. I chatted with Colin Charles, program chair for the conference, about his expectations for the event.

What do you hope the MySQL Conference will accomplish this year?

I hope that we’ll see us going beyond MySQL being a company, or a trademark. I believe that if people understand that this is one large ecosystem, where we have some outright forks (like Drizzle), and some branches (like MariaDB, etc.), we’re all helping make the MySQL ecosystem a more vibrant and better one. Like features being funded, etc. It’s completely amazing!

What great new things is MySQL planning for this year?

I can’t quite say this considering I have no idea what Oracle’s plans are. But I can expect things like MySQL 5.5, a lot of talk with the storage engine vendors, new happenings with InnoDB. This year, I expect a lot of things within Oracle to be “settling down”, so to speak.

From a MariaDB perspective, we’re taking in more community patches (an example is virtual columns that have been sitting around on the MySQL patch queue for quite some time – so we’re picking up the slack). We’ll also focus on engines. We want new optimizer features, which we’ve been spending a lot of time on.

Drizzle? I think a release is imminent. There are more and more users in various pockets now as well. And the team is quite distributed, with Rackspace being one of the major hirers of Drizzle hackers.

What is the role of MySQL in relationship to other Oracle products such as Oracle Database 11G and BerkeleyDB.

There is really no relationship. These are all independent products. How will this be sorted in Oracle land when it comes to selling Cluster NDB against Oracle RAC/Times Ten? Or MySQL against Oracle? I think Oracle will allow internal competition. Competing against yourself is a lot better than competing against others.

BDB was a MySQL engine. It now has an SQLite front-end.

How has the MySQL landscape changed with offerings like MariaDB, Drizzle, XtraDB and others?

Drastically. Now people have a choice. Drizzle is a complete fork of the 6.0 tree. MariaDB is based on the current release HEAD of MySQL, which is 5.1. XtraDB is an engine that’s included in MariaDB. In fact, MariaDB includes engines like PBXT, XtraDB, FederatedX (modified Federated engine that MySQL no longer maintains), and will soon include the Spider and Sphinx engines.

What do you think of NoSQL? Is it complementary to MySQL?

NoSQL is for very smart people with very specific uses. I think you’d have to understand how an RDBMS like MySQL works, and figure out that, for your specific use, it doesn’t do the trick. Then you might use one of the new utilities, all lumped as “NoSQL” databases.

It will be a growing player, and we’ve focused on this at the conference this year. Maybe next year, we’ll have a whole track or two, as steam is picking up amongst all these solutions, and a lot of shops run MySQL and some NoSQL solutions at some stage… especially the big shops!

Drupal Sprint India 2009 Follow-up

Here are some good blog posts reviewing Drupal Sprint India held in Pune on Oct 30-31. Looks like it was useful and fun for those who participated.

Drupal Sprint in Pune this weekend

Drupal in India by Prasad Shirgaonkar

Drupal in India by Prasad Shirgaonkar

Drupal seems to be picking up momentum among Indian developers and students this year. Reflecting this new-found interest is the upcoming Drupal Sprint on October 30th and 31st in Pune. The sprint is taking place at the Bhaskaracharya Pratishthana (BP) campus on Law College Road and is being organized by Pune Linux Users Group (PLUG) enthusiasts and BP.

At this cosy and focused FOSS gathering, you can participate in a sprint to fix bugs, write documentation, develop Drupal modules as well as learn about migrating from Drupal 6 to the latest Drupal 7. And if you’re not into developing code or documentation, you can learn about how Drupal is being used in websites, blogs and online magazines by attending talks and workshops which occur in parallel.

After organizing PLUGMASH a couple of years ago, I’m glad to see the PLUG organizing this event. It would be impossible to pull off this sprint without Vivek Khurana, Manjusha Joshi, Sudhanwa Jogalekar and all the folks volunteering their time to share their passion for Drupal.

Registration is free for this sprint. So all you need is time and of course an interest in building beautiful websites. If you’re in the Mumbai-Pune area, do stop by and participate. I’d love to hear from you about the event, so send me your feedback :-)

Impressions from OpenSourceWorld 2009

IDG’s LinuxWorld (LW) was renamed to OpenSourceWorld (OSW) this year. Two other IDG conferences CloudWorld and Next Generation Data Center were co-located with OpenSourceWorld at Moscone West. Interest in what was once LW’s expo (now OSW’s solutions showcase) and curiosity about how the re-branding was working led me to attend the event last week.

As in past conferences, IDG did a great job with the infrastructure (stages, presentation, A/V etc.) as well as the new solutions showcase. However even an upscale venue such as Moscone West could not hide the effects of the current economic downturn. Particularly obvious was the lack of crowds.

First stop: Conference Sessions

At the conference sessions, I expected to hear about new ideas in business models and activities around open source. I was disappointed. The talks and panel discussions lacked depth. The keynotes suffered as well. The Dell keynote speaker was substituted at the last minute and seemed unprepared.

Next stop: The Solutions Showcase

Open Source World 2009, San Francisco

Open Source World 2009, San Francisco

This year’s expo was trimmed down to a solutions showcase featuring vendors from three market segments – open source, cloud computing and data center. The shortened timings (an hour at lunch and a couple of hours in the evening) might have been intended for maximizing crowd coverage between sessions and the show floor but turned out to be pretty inconvenient for many attendees, giving them little time to connect with exhibitors. However once the show floor opened and the evening reception started, the pretzels and drinks helped get conversations flowing.

Final stop: The Invisible Dot Org Zone

No open source conference is complete without the healthy participation of dot org projects. But here at OSW they were invisible! Well almost. After asking around at the FreeBSD booth which was surprisingly located on the main show floor, I found the projects tucked away in a separate room at the back of the showcase hall. This (mis)placement was unfortunate and doesn’t represent the open source world which thrives on technology from all sectors, commercial and non-commercial alike. Hopefully, IDG will consider having all exhibitors in the same area next year.

Any business conference can only be successful by virtue of the real value it brings to its participants – the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers as well as attendees. Perhaps, re-branding and co-locating multiple conferences, in the face of a bad economy, diminished a compelling value for any of its participants.

Hoping for a better OSW next year!

At OSCON 2009


OSCON 2009
The O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) moved down from Portland to San Jose this year. Here are some highlights of my experiences at the conference this time.

What did I like?

Community

Why does every open source developer, entrepreneur and evangelist want to be at OSCON every year? More precisely, why do I like to be at OSCON every year :-) It’s because of the community – the community around open source. OSCON continues to be the only open source technology conference in the US where everyone can meet their friends, colleagues and fellow community members to talk technology and discuss where open source is heading. OSCON still manages to attract the combined free and open source community. There are developers, community activists, and leading technologists from local and global open source projects and organizations, all interested in leveraging open source software and in practicing collaborative innovation.

What did I find really interesting?

Open Source in Education

Anyone involved in open source advocacy today will include “open source in education” as one of their top priorities. The global message is clear – there is a shortage of talent to support open source software. It is the education systems across the world which need to produce these needed resources. A couple of talks at OSCON – ‘Educating Students in 21st Century Skills via FOSS’ and ‘New Ways for Teaching Children Software Programming’ featured experts who relayed their experiences and reviewed best practices in teaching open source technologies in high schools and universities in the US.

Open Government: Transparency = Open Source + Open Standards + Open Data

Tim O’Reilly, publisher and owner of O’Reilly Media, started the discussions on Open Government at OSCON with his keynote which highlighted efforts of the new Obama administration to promote open data and open source software for equal access to information. O’Reilly also talked about the new advocacy group – “Open Source for America” which will focus on lobbying the US government to use open source software. There were also some excellent panel discussions on open government which discussed issues of open data, transparency and the practicalities of working with government. Personally, having worked for many years on technology projects with government agencies and witnessed first-hand the fast pace at which agencies have absorbed open source technologies – it was very interesting to witness the current spike in enthusiasm among the Silicon Valley technorati to engage in public-private partnerships to work with the federal government. In the panel, ‘Open Source / Open Government’ – moderated by my colleague at the Open Source Initiative (OSI), Danese Cooper – Brian Behlendorf spoke of the sometimes frustrating effort required to work with various agencies. The panel provided valuable insight into the tough process of trying to implement open government in real organizations. The second panel on ”Bureaucrats, Technocrats and Policy Cats: How the Government is turning to Open Source, and Why’ presented Oregon state initiatives such as DemocracyLab, Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) and Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (OSDV). This panel offered a snapshot of changes that open source software has enabled in public policy, government, and education.

Digital Media, Publishing, Open Source

The age of digital media has arrived. News on paper has to co-exist with the Internet. And OSCON sessions on how paper and digital are working together using open source were well presented by New York Times (NYT) as well as by National Public Radio (NPR). David Gottfrid of the New York Times did a great session on the NYT’s goals to share their content online and their APIs for opening up their digital content – news stories, audio podcasts, blogs and opinions. Excellent material to build some great data mashups. Another interesting talk on mainstream media going online, was by Adam Martin of National Public Radio (NPR) who walked through NPR Digital’s open APIs for sharing their audio podcasts and online content. Grey areas still exist such as licensing of content for non commercial vs. commercial usage as well as their choice to not use CC licenses for content distribution. There were many questions about what non-commercial usage is. What if someone’s personal blog uses Google Ads on their site? What if someone mashes up NPR audio with their own commentary and spreads disinformation? Boundaries of usage are still unclear and being worked out by these organizations.

Social Good: Making a Change with Open Source

My friend Zaheda Bhorat organized a diverse group of projects showcasing how open standards and open source software are helping to generate social benefits today. The presenters for three different projects – Paul Rademaker from allforgood.org, Adam Lerer from Open Data Kit (an Android based system helping community healthcare workers in Kenya and Uganda) and Greg Norris of Earthster.org – talked about how their projects are using open source software, open data and open standards to make an impact in the areas of volunteering, poverty eradication, healthcare and climate change.

Technology Trends

Other sessions that I enjoyed attending included “State of Lightning Talks” hosted by Josh Berkus to get a 5 minute snapshot of active open source projects – from PGSQL, Drupal, OpenOffice to newcomers such as MariaDB, R language, and MongoDB. Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation delivered the closing keynote for the conference on Friday afternoon. It was an interesting talk about Zemlin’s projections on how Linux was fast becoming the default choice for peripheral hardware producers. Linux has helped Asian hardware vendors maintain their margins in a high volume business. These vendors use Linux for its technology as well as to avoid Microsoft license fees. He also predicted that Apple’s AppStore model was going to become pervasive with every hardware vendor having their own store to reduce fees that have to be paid to third parties. Jim offered another projection about the netbook revolution coming to the US in the next 6 months, with ATT launching a $50 netbook based VOIP service.

Three things that I felt were well done at OSCON

  • Excellent content on emerging topics: I liked the breadth and depth of new and emerging topics such as open government, climate change, social good.
  • Good expo interaction with excellent talks from companies (e.g. Intel talk on Moblin) and some excellent organizations in both the dot org and for-profit sections.
  • Snacks, healthy as well as not-so-healthy, in the expo hall sponsored for every break ;-)

Three things that I’d like to see at OSCON

  • New speakers; New topics: Fresh faces and new topics can always help invigorate a conference.
  • More participation: Attendance was estimated at about 2000 people by the organizers this year. In the vastness of the San Jose convention center, the crowds seemed smaller. Maybe lower registration fees would help in these times of recession. Lower fees could also help OSCON compete with low cost or free unconferences that are gaining in popularity.
  • More water please: All attendees would benefit from more water dispensers in the hallways and expo hall.

Scilab workshop for teachers at Bhaskaracharya Institute of Mathematics

Scilab workshop at BP

Scilab workshop at BP

The Bhaskaracharya Institute of Mathematics in Pune is organizing full-day workshops on Scilab specifically targeted for teachers.

This program is organized jointly by BP and IIT Bombay. Prof. Katre and Manjusha Joshi of BP have been prime movers in organizing these workshops and activists in spreading the use of open source software for mathematics analysis and research at BP.

These workshops are to be held from 4-7 July from 10am to 5pm. The targeted audience is teachers from colleges under Pune University and Mumbai University and aim to cover various aspects of Scilab, which is part of the undergraduate (BCS) syllabus.

BP has been instrumental in organizing other open source software workshops and conferences such as PLUGMash 2007 with the Pune Linux Users Group (PLUG) .