OSDL and the Linux Kernel Community

I mentioned in a previous post that I hoped Greg's comments on OSDL technical management were just an anomaly or simple miscommunication. Greg was kind enough to point out to me that this is unfortunately not the case. Currently they seem to be still ignoring us, as nothing has changed (yeah, lots of talk, but no real actions…) But, we have a slot on the board meeting in January to discuss our point-of-view, so we are not giving up yet. As I also mentioned in my last post, I'd hate to see OSDL drop the ball here. Their distribution agnostic employment of Linus, Andrew and others as well as some of the additional projects and initiatives they have going have become not only extremely important, but woven into the current framework. It's not like either Linus or Andrew would be hurting for a job if something happened to OSDL – companies would be waiting in line to be the ones that sign those checks. But, would that company offer the kind of vendor neutral, distro agnostic, non-commercial setup that they currently have? Who knows… but Linus has certainly shown that this is something that's important to him (and for good reason). FWIW, I'd be happy to help in whatever capacity I can. LQ was an OSDL Linux Summit sponsor last year and we're working on it for this year also, so I may be able to get somebodies ear from that angle. Additionally, I'd by happy to work with OSDL in any capacity that they think could help them with their “community building” skills. LQ has grown to over 200,000 members and 2,000,000 posts so I'd like to think I could help in some capacity. If anyone is interested, don't hesitate to contact me – even if it's just to chat or throw ideas around. This is sometimes that is important and worth working on to do correctly. Now, I'm sure there is plenty on both sides that I'm not aware of – but I'm more than willing to listen and learn.
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–jeremy

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2 Responses to OSDL and the Linux Kernel Community

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jeremy,
    Not sure how to contact you but maybe you'll see this post…
    I'd love to take you up on your offer to help with community building. I'm just one of the worker bees at OSDL so don't really have the power to change OSDL (except by trying to set a good example). For the past year or so I've been working with the Linux NFSv4 development community, by helping get the testing efforts organized.
    I've had experience with forming community-based efforts in the past. For example I helped found and run the Inkscape and openclipart.org projects, and participated during the very early days of the Mozilla and Wikipedia projects.
    I tapped into that experience for setting up the NFSv4 testing effort. From the start I ensured all discussions were done openly. OSDL traditionally would form new mailing lists for new projects, but for this one I broke with tradition and just did everything on the regular linux-nfs (http://linux-nfs.org/pipermail/nfsv4/) list. We had conference calls (which are more company culture than open source culture), but they were all open invitation. I'm hosting a number of services for the NFS community (bugzilla, wiki, test harness, etc.) which are hosted under the linux-nfs.org domain space (rather than osdl.org.) I also work to try to get the various companies involved in NFSv4 to join in and participate, “stone soup” style. I also work to try to encourage the companies to cooperate with each other. For instance some companies have proprietary tests, but no hardware or time to run them, while others have hardware or manpower but lack the tests; so my hope is to help the former open source their tests, to make it easier for the latter to make their contributions too.
    I've had some success with this approach. The developers appreciate getting the analyzed test results for every patch they put out. Companies have a better awareness of how the development is coming along, and end users have more tools for evaluating NFSv4. NetApp has increased their OSDL sponsorship because of the successes of the effort, which means I'm able to buy new equipment! (OSDL in general has been in a freeze on buying new hardware for a while, so NetApp's sponsorship is going to make a big difference.)
    It's worth mentioning that there's a lot of other engineers like me at OSDL just quietly making contributions to Linux, Postgres, and other projects (see developer.osdl.org), but it's sometimes a bit frustrating that we're so far under everyone's radar. I guess it's like the news – no one ever reports that a schoolbus full of children *didn't* crash in Topeka. ;-)
    Anyway, with the NFSv4 testing project I'd love to find ways to get more people from the community involved. It's great that we have so many companies dedicated to working on it, but I feel it'd be much more successful if we could have more community members involved. I think it'd also help strengthen this as an example of how OSDL can help companies and the community work together. If you'd be interested, I'd love to chat more with you about this – bryce@osdl.org.

  2. Anonymous says:

    bryce,
    It sounds like you're doing a lot of really great things at OSDL. I'd agree that the “worker bees” aren't getting enough press (or recognition). I'll shoot you an email to see how I can help. If anyone else needs to contact me, my email is jeremy _at_ linuxquestions.org.
    –jeremy

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