SCALE 10x Musings

I’m currently on a flight home after attending SCALE 10x, which seemed like an opportune time to reflect on the event. SCALE was once again an amazing event. Kudos go out to Ilan, Gareth, Phil and the entire SCALE team; the tracks were excellent, the event well managed and well attended (I don’t know if official numbers are out, but I believe they fell *just* short of their goal of 2,000 attendees) and the social scene was as vibrant as ever. SCALE really is the bar by which local community events should be measured.

While I didn’t live blog the event this year, as I have in the past, I did live tweet it. Visit the @linuxquestions twitter account if you’re interested. Some general thoughts after attending SCALE.

* Open Source and Open Standards, as they pertain to the cloud, are going to be huge and hotly debated topics in 2012; and likely well beyond. There seems to be a feeling that this is something huge that’s still just in its infancy, and that makes the topic interesting and exciting.
* Big data and distributed filesystems also appear to be heading for widespread mainstream adoption in the near future. On that note, LQ is considering moving away from OCFS2 as part of our next infrastructure update. If there’s anyone with GlusterFS experience in a production web environment, we’d be interested in hearing from you. We’d also be interested in other solutions you feel may be well suited.
* The MySQL ecosystem is not only thriving, but wildly more diverse than when it was just MySQL AB.
* Very small but very powerful devices such as the Raspberry Pi and the Pandaboard are not only remarkable, but should open the door to a whole new class of devices and possibilities. The amount of innovation here should be awesome.
* DevOps has really matured at an impressive rate.

I look forward to attending SCALE 11x, which will be my 8th, next year.

–jeremy

Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2010

First, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the entire LQ team. 2010 has been another great year for LQ and we have quite a bit of exciting developments in store for 2011, including a major code update. I’ve posted to this blog far less frequently in 2010 than I’d have liked to, and I’m going to work to change that this year (I do post to twitter fairly often, for those interested).

As has become tradition, here are the browser and OS statistics for the main LQ site for all of 2010 (2009 stats for comparison).

Browsers
Firefox 57.11%
Chrome 16.44%
Internet Explorer 16.40%
Safari 3.43%
Opera 3.25%
Mozilla 2.21%
Konqueror .47%

Firefox is now on a multi-year slide while Chrome has passed IE to move into the number two position. Safari made some significant gains while Konqueror use was cut in half.

Operating Systems
Windows 51.71%
Linux 41.33%
Macintosh 5.78%
iPhone .21%
Android .15%

Windows use is slightly down this year while both Linux and OS X use are slightly up. As expected both iPhone and Android are up significantly. While Android saw more significant gains, it’s still a bit behind the iPhone. The iPad, for reference, is at .06%

I’d also like to take this time to thank each and every LQ member. You are what make the site great.

–jeremy

New Site Launch: LinuxExchange.org

I’m happy to announce that I just launched a new site: LinuxExchange

LinuxExchange is “StackOverflow for Linux and Open Source” and is built on the StackExchange platform. That means it’s a collaboratively edited question and answer site about Linux and Open Source with a workflow somewhere between the forums of LinuxQuestions.org and the Mediawiki-based LQ Wiki. We’re still in a sort of BETA mode, but the site is live and a few people have already signed up and are asking/answering questions. We considered launching this under the LQ brand but in the end decided that the paradigm of this site was sufficiently different that having an LQ instance would be confusing and possibly counterproductive. That means the only connection between LQ and LE are that I’m the sole founder of both.

As always, feedback is welcome. It’s going to be interesting to see how LinuxExchange progresses and grows. I haven’t launched a new site in a while and am used to things being at LQ-scale, so starting from zero should be a challenge. I’m also looking forward to seeing what lessons we’re able to learn and then apply to LQ.

–jeremy

2009 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

The polls are closed and the results are in. You can view the detailed results here, but I’ll include a list of winners at the end of this post for convenience. This was the ninth annual LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards and we’ve set a record for participation each and every year. We once again had some extremely close races and a couple multi-year winners were unseated this year. KDE, which had won Desktop Environment of the Year every year we’ve had the MCA’s, was finally unseated… by Gnome (in a very close race). There’s quite a bit of interesting information in the data, so I recommend you check out the detailed results. You can also view the full results of previous MCA’s if you do a search.

The complete list of the winners is as follows (percentage of votes received in parentheses):

Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (30.13%)
Server Distribution of the Year – Debian (24.24%)
Security/Forensic/Rescue Distribution of the Year – BackTrack (43.48%)
Database of the Year – MySQL (60.81%)
Office Suite of the Year – OpenOffice.org (90.76%)
Browser of the Year – Firefox (65.21%)
Desktop Environment of the Year – Gnome (41.96%)
Window Manager of the Year – Compiz (23.10%)
Messaging App of the Year – Pidgin (48.74%)
Mail Client of the Year – Thunderbird (53.48%)
Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (67.43%)
Audio Media Player Application of the Year – Amarok (38.81%)
Audio Authoring Application of the Year – Audacity (77.26%)
Video Media Player Application of the Year – VLC (46.05%)
Video Authoring Application of the Year – FFmpeg (21.94%)
Multimedia Utility of the Year – GStreamer (32.84%)
Graphics Application of the Year – GIMP (66.48%)
Network Security Application of the Year – Nmap Security Scanner (29.85%)
Host Security Application of the Year – SELinux (39.26%)
Network Monitoring Application of the Year – Nagios (51.11%)
IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year – Eclipse (23.28%)
Text Editor of the Year – vim (35.29%)
File Manager of the Year – Nautilus (24.92%)
Open Source Game of the Year – Battle for Wesnoth (15.45%)
Programming Language of the Year – Python (27.59%)
Backup Application of the Year – rsync (48.99%)
Open Source CMS/Blogging platform of the Year – WordPress (45.20%)

If you have feedback on how we can improve the Members Choice Awards, let us know.

UPDATE: Here’s a very nice user-contributed summary of the top 5 nominees in every category. Thanks Wesley.

OStatic has also covered the results.

–jeremy

75% of Linux code now written by paid developers

In what should come as no surprise to those who have been watching, 75% of Linux code is now written by paid developers. From the article:

Forget lofty ideals about the open-source community: most Linux kernel code is written by paid developers at major corporations.

The Linux world makes much of its community roots, but when it comes to developing the kernel of the operating system, it’s less a case of “volunteers ahoy!” and more a case of “where’s my pay?”

During a presentation at Linux.conf.au 2010 in Wellington, LWN.net founder and kernel contributor Jonathan Corbet offered an analysis of the code contributed to the Linux kernel between December 24 2008 and January 10 2010. (The kernel serves as a basis from which individual distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian or Red Hat are developed, though these will often add or remove specific features.)

A massive amount of coding went on in that period: 2.8 million lines of code and 55,000 major changes were contributed to the kernel, which evolved from version 2.6.28 to 2.6.32 over that time. “The development process is clearly quite alive and quite active,” Corbet said, noting that this amount to more than 7,000 lines of code added every day.

I’ve seen this presentation (well, an earlier version of this presentation – I was not at Linux.conf.au) by Jonathan before and I think the article changes the tone of it in an unintended way (specifically the “Forget lofty ideals about the open-source community” bit). First, Open Source has never been about unpaid labor. The fact that people conflated the meaning of free in “Free Software” long ago is something we’re still dealing with today unfortunately. Next, we’re talking about 25% of 2.8 million lines of code that were contributed by volunteers in a roughly one year span. That’s 700,000 lines of code. It’s not just a matter of how much it would have cost a company to write those lines of code, either. How many bugs fixed in those lines would never met a companies threshold for needing to be fixed? How many features added by those lines would have never made it past a managers cost-benefits analysis? In closed source software, a single unaffiliated person with extra time and the appropriate skills is never able to commit code to address these issues. That’s one reason Open Source software has been so successful.

There another point in the presentation though:

“75% of the code comes from people paid to do it,” Corbet said.

Within that field, Red Hat topped that chart with 12%, followed by Inte (sic) with 8%, IBM and Novell with 6% each, and Oracle 3%. Despite the clear commercial rivalry between those players, central kernel development worked well, Corbet noted.

So the top 5 companies, many of them direct competitors contributed 35% of the code. Unlike in some other competitive landscapes, when it comes to OSS people and companies can all be part of the same community or ecosystem. Yes, Red Hat and Novell have marketing materials and presentations on why you should choose their commercial offering. At the code level however we are all working toward the same goal… realizing that a rising tide lifts all boats. We’ve learned how damaging a monopoly can be in the software world. Having multiple viable companies with Linux offerings based on the same kernel should be seen as a strength; as a way to limit vendor lock-in. We’re far from perfect in this community, but forgetting our “lofty goals” isn’t something I think we should do just yet ;)

–jeremy

OpenSource.com Launches

Red Hat has recently launched OpenSource.com. This isn’t a site where Red Hat will simply extol the virtues of its products, but about Open Source in general… even outside the technology context. We already know that Open Source has the ability to definitively produce better software. Red Hat is now asking a bigger question: where else can the principles we’ve learning in building OSS be applied. From the about page:

opensource.com is where we explore what happens when the Open Source way is applied to the world. What problems can we solve? How would it affect the way we learn? Work? Run our governments?

We want to shine a light on the places where the open source way is multiplying ideas and effort, even beyond technology. We believe that opensource.com will be a gathering place for many of the open source stories we’d like to share–through articles, audio, web presentations, video, or open discussion.

The term open source began as a way to describe software source code and the collaborative model for how it’s developed. Red Hat used this model for developing technology and built a business model around open source and its principles: Openness. Transparency. Collaboration. Diversity. Rapid prototyping.

The open source way is more than a development model; it defines the characteristics of a culture. Red Hat and other open source thought leaders want to show you where open source is headed next. Tell you how to get involved. Help you apply it to your life and the world around you.

The open source way is about possibility.
Open source presents a new way to solve old problems. To share ideas and effort.

The open source way opens doors.
Open source offers a new perspective. Open, not closed. Collaboration, not isolation.

The open source way multiplies.
Knowledge. Effort. Inspiration. Creativity. Innovation. The impact is exponential.

And it’s already happening:

CHANGING OUR SOCIETY…

The open source way thrives on broad collaboration and shared effort. Wikipedia is one of the world’s most extensive collections of information. Its rapid, exponential growth arose from a very different model and philosophy from the traditional encyclopedia. Anyone can contribute, and entries are subject to peer review.

CHANGING HOW WE WORK…

Two key characteristics of the open source way are transparency and accountability. With natural and organic foods market Whole Foods, they pass accountability to the employees that can most directly impact their individual areas throughout each store. Wages, staffing decisions, even choosing what items to stock–these activities are all done in the open.

CHANGING OUR GOVERNMENT…
US President Barack Obama came to office with the promise of change. His campaign encouraged participation, and his administration has pledged to create a new environment of openness and participation in government.

CHANGING HOW WE LEARN…
Education is all about an exchange of knowledge. MIT took the lead in sharing knowledge and chose to try and change the world in the process. They make the materials used in the teaching of almost all of its undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the web, free of charge, to any user in the world. With nearly 1,800 courses available, MIT OpenCourseWare is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.

It will be interesting to see what kind of participation they get outside the RHT ecosystem and what kind of ideas and actions they’ll be able to evoke. IMHO it was a clever move tying this site to the Open Source name. It both furthers Red Hat’s image as a leader in the Open Source brand and looks to expand awareness of that brand. I’m sure they hope both add to their bottom line.

–jeremy

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