Blog

So what has been going on with community work lately? In this post I will try to boil down what has been happeing since my introduction post back in November. We've done some, and we would love to do more!

I'll give you a brief overview what we have done the last 3-4 months, and If you have any feedback, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Documentation & public communication

I've Investigated how our communication, mainly on our web pages towards the community is today, and started a change to make it easier to join the community around OP5 and from my findings started updating our profile on communication channels such as Github, mailing-lists, and other web pages related to our community.Taken ownership of our existing communication channels towards the community (such as this blog) and:

If you like to get in touch with us, just use one of the channels above. Found a bug, have a suggestion or even a patch, file these at Github: https://github.com/op5 if applicable - cheers!


To mention a few of the changes on the community landing site - I've worked with  @chelmertz to update and clean up the information on how others can get involved in the open source development by submitting patches, updated the Merlin README with a few more examples. Updated our community landing pages including adding information on related projects that is utilizing information from OP5 Monitor or its components on the OP5 Ecosystem page.

Merlin Dashboard and Nagstamon are two of the projects that I guess is fairly well known in the community that provides alternative dashboards for OP5 Monitor among other monitoring systems.

One newcomer is op5-cli which is a command line utility developed by Klarna that utilizes the REST-API in OP5 Monitor to preform various tasks such as configuration changes, scheduling downtime, fetch information from the reports API and so on. It's pretty feature rich and is a nice alternative if you prefer to use the command line to do stuff. You can read more about it on Github.

Openhub

 

OpenHub (formerly known as ohloh.net) is an online community and public directory of free and open source software (FOSS), offering analytics and search services for discovering, evaluating, tracking, and comparing open source code and projects.

The picture below shows the all-time effort that OP5 and external contributors has put in to the projects listed on Openhub. You can find a more current overview a bit further down in this post that lists the contributors individually.

Project pages for Merlin, Ninja and check_vmware_api has also been updated with current information, and I've also been lobbying internally that developers should claim their commits there - thanks (smile)

Code contributions

I have also gathered a little statistics on contributions in our projects since I want to do this to show our appreciation for the people that are using our software and contributing back to us - Thank you!
Only listing the external contributors here, as for the OP5 developers and contributors - you know we love you guys! (smile)

I've analyzed the contributions since 2016-12-01 - 2017-03-30 and highlighted the external contributors below. If you are interested ,you can click the links on each project on Github to get the full list of contributors and commits. I didn't find a good way to display the history for the last four months with graphics for now, so you'll have to set for numbers alone.

Ninja

Number of commits: 139

Total contributors: 15

Full history on Github

Merlin

Number of commits: 96
Total contributors: 9

Full history on Github

Naemon

Even if Naemon is not a project governed by OP5  we contribute heavily to this project, and a lot of the commits comes from OP5, so I'm listing it here as well.
Number of commits: 55
Total contributors: 9

Full history on Github

check_vmare_api

Number of commits: 4
Total contributors:4

Full history on Github

Conferences, talks and workshops

 
A few of us at OP5 will be attending FOSS-North the 26th of April this year to listen to all the interesting speakers and exchange ideas and discuss with all the other participants.
To mention a few that I find interesting among all the speakers:

  • Knut Yrvin - Open Source on Internet of things
  • Jeff Campbell - Actionable Agile Tools
  • Alexander Larsson - Flatpak: Apps on the linux desktops
  • Lennart Poettering - Immutable and Stateless Systems with systemd
  • Jos Poortvliet - Nextcloud: the future of private cloud sync and share, collaboration and coffee machines

 

Future

I have a few things I would like to focus on the next few months, and that is to make it easier for the community to try our software that is published on Github. I think the effort is to high to get a monitoring solution running based on NaemonNaemon-livestatus, Ninja and Merlin. I would want to make it easier to get going and use our things as this would make it easier for the users, as well provide us with more feedback about feature requests and the occasional bugs. As a start I would like to have a proper guide that explains how to download, compile and configure these components, and even better - providing builds so they can be easily installed.

What do you want from us? Can we make something better? Please get back to us if you have suggestions or feedback of any kind.

 

10-4

Introduction

I am very happy to announce that I've been offered the torch as OP5's new Open Source Community Manager (OSCM) and of course I gladly accepted this new challenge! This will be a part-time responsibility for me from my normal duties as a Support Engineer here at OP5.

About me

One does not simply introduce himself...But well, I'll do my best. My name is Fredrik Mikker and I have been working at OP5 for about five years in multiple departments. I enjoy to listen to music and go to music gigs. Music is a wide area and my favorite genres range from classical, classic rock, country (as a few might see from the title), heavy metal and punk, and some occasional hip-hop. I'm also a moonlighting forester and don't mind swing an axe or using a chainsaw in my own woods when I find the time. Movies and TV series takes up some time as well.

Open Source and Free Software has been circling around me since about 1999 when I discovered the Linux distribution Slackware 7.0. About then I was struck by the philosophy surrounding free and open source software. Setting up systems with FOSS (free & open source software) and fiddling with applications has been a large part of my life ever since, first on my spare time and in non-profit organizations, and later professionally.

I started out as a consultant in the Professional Services department back in 2011. Traveled around Sweden and the Nordics for about three years implementing OP5 Monitor and its add-ons at customer sites. In 2014 the support department here in Gothenburg were expanding, and I thought something like "I've never lived in Gothenburg, so why not?". I accepted the offer and a lot of water has passed under the bridges since then.

Background

As I implied earlier, a large part of the reason for working at OP5 is that the company is actively developing open source software. We are involved in and contribute to the community. We originally were a large contributor to the Nagios project and nowadays to Naemon.  As well we release various parts of the product as FOSS; Ninja and Merlin to mention a couple.

My position changed at the company and I ended up in Gothenburg at customer support, literally just across the room from the developers that were actually developing the product and working closely with the community around Naemon. This lit a light bulb and I started to getting involved in the community around OP5 Monitor, and working closely with my predecessor Anton Löfgren (Catharsis). He decided to go on an adventure, and away from his current position at OP5, and he kindly recommended me for this position to Per Åsberg (Development, IT and Customer Support manager).

Why me? I guess because I was sticking my nose in everything that was related the to the community and also because since I have a genuine interest in all things FOSS. I think that Collaboration in the way as free and opensource software communities are working is the key to how to evolve technology and software to meet the needs of the future.

The role of OSCM

What is a Open source community manager anyways, and what does one do, really?

My intention with this position is to continue the good work that Anton Löfgren started on in his presentation of the role: fostering OP5's engagement with the communities that are directly associated to the things we develop at OP5 or projects that we cross paths with; and also improve our communication with external projects to which we develop or contribute.

He mentioned a few things in his presentation of the role, and I would like to pinpoint what my focus areas are now in the beginning of my journey:

Documentation & public communication

To get people involved in discussions of the projects that we develop and contribute to, and freshen up the information and documentation for all things open source at OP5. I started to contributing to this long before I accepted this role as OSCM. I want to continue focusing on this part as the primary area, for now.

This involves answering questions and engaging in discussions on OP5's mailing list  and related projects, such as Naemon and Monitoring-Plugins, as well as the official unofficial IRC-channel #op5 at irc.freenode.net. If you want to talk with me on IRC my handle is 'bol'.

Clarify and simplify involvement

We have already taken a leap to simplify involvement by moving our projects to Github which handles feedback, bug reports and pull requests quite nicely -- but there's always more to do. The documentation on how to contribute and get involved as mentioned above is one of them.

Conferences, talks and workshops

I would also like to get out there to visit conferences, talk to people in real life and get inspired by other projects and hopefully engage a few people to be a part of the community or neighboring projects or communities.  Personally I've attended a few local conferences of these over the years, and to name a few: foss-sthlm, FScons, a few of OWASP's meetups in Sweden and foss-gbg.

And of course I'm a frequent visitor on OP5's own Dev-Beers here in Gothenburg.

Publish more projects

As of now, we have a few projects public on our Github Page, but we have more things internally that need some polish before they are published externally, mainly the documentation as mentioned before.

Aside from the core projects Merlin and Ninja, a small project was published recently which is a tool to bulk-import hosts into OP5 Monitor utilizing the REST-api. You can find the project in our Github repo op5Monitor-Excel-Import.

More to come.

Effort and contact

My work as OSCM is a part time engagement and is limited to four hours per week as for now, and there will always be a lot more to do than the available time offers me to do, but I'll try to make the best of it!

If you have any questions, comments, feedback - positive or otherwise, please come back to me via email fmikker@op5.com or the mailing list op5-users@lists.op5.com.

 

That's all for now. Live long and prosper.

/F

 

Foss North 2016

This is my notes in a simple list form and pictures from the Foss-north conference held in Gothenburg 2016-05-26.

The meetup is arranged by the non-profit organization Foss North which is a joint venture between Foss GBG and Foss Sthlm to create a larger meetup than the regular bi-monthly/quarterly meetings that Foss GBG arranges here in Gothenburg.

In general the meetup was pretty good, well arranged, good speakers with a broad variation on topics, all the way from hardware design and low-level linux kernel stuff to user interface design, licensing and software patents. More breaks would have been welcome though. A tight schedule with many speakers can be pretty exhausting when the areas are interesting.

At the bottom of this post you can find some pictures from the event, mostly on presentations. I'll add a link to the presentations when they are available.

 

Attendees from op5: Carl Helmertz, Joachim Ekstrand and me, Fredrik Mikker

We also met  Anders from Ericsson there, a regular on the Dev-beer at the Gothenburg office there.

Amy Sanford - We're all entrepreneurs 

AES Consulting

Keywords: Dare, innovate, inspire, entrepreneurship

  • The startup of your extraordinary disruption: Digitization, Innovation and the Tech Entrepreneur
  • Disruption - the fourth industrial revolution
  • How to awake the inner entrepreneur. We're all entrepreneurs.
  • Be open to new things, fail forward: Dare to make mistakes and fail


Youtube: The start-up of you: rediscovering the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. Book/Youtube: No ordinary disruption - #NoOrdinaryDisruption
Youtube: Inside Sweden's silicon Valley

Reflections: I'm not the target audience, but the ideas about the fourth industrial revolution and that the traditional hubs of innovation is behind Mumbai and some other new tech-hubs around the world.

Lewis Horne - Opensource electric car

Uniti - teamuniti.com

Keywords: Inspire, dare, software, openness, think diffrent, automotive

  • Why start over, and think different?
  • No heritage, no compability issues. No ordinary steering wheel mechanics, steer-by-wire?
  • The average trip by car in Sweden is 1.2 KM. Why drive a 2 ton tank when you can use a more suitable transportation for short distances.
  • Not aiming for maximum profit but rather to make a new, more suited car and improving the environment at the same time.
  • Aurdino is used heavily for prototyping, and Uniti ARC is the in-house electronics that will control the vehicle.
  • Open hardware with open specifications, and open source code: Uniti linux distro, A VM for testing, Documentation and source on Github
  • The powertrain is from Bosch.


Reflections: Great idea about a new non-traditional electric car, but he's really a sales guy.. I'd love a test drive though. Only available via Occulus Rift so far.

Adam Dunkels - Make your software eat the world

Thingsquare, Contiki open source OS for embedded devices. - http://www.contiki-os.org/ / http://www.thingsquare.com/

Keywords: IoT, embedded

  • Hardware is getting cheap, which makes the traditional industry transform to software development. The same goes for clock cycles that has skyrocketed the last decade.

1. Open source software
2. ??????
3. Profit!

  • Find the problem you want to solve, and don't just go for profit. Create good software and the value will come.
  • Throwing VC/cash on a company that doesn't have a well defined product doesn't end well.


Reflections: Talkes a bit like a sales guy,  looks like Joe MacMillan in Halt and catch fire. But a decent speaker about a area I don't care that much about for the time being. Codes a lot for being a CTO.

Mirko Boehm - Protecting open source through patent pooling and defensive publications

Open invention network

Keywords: Free software, software patents, collaboration

  • Patents are not applicable to open source software, you don't sit in your basement and invent something by your self, and wait 2 years until the patent has gone through the patent office, you will be behind in the industry before you've started. It's a collabarative age where people do things together, so how should we address this in the world of open source?
  • Open source and patents does not add upp. Often a large portion of the software stack is derivative work.

 

  • You don't need to have a patent to join the network, but what you can do is to benefit from Red Hat, Google etc that they won't sue you over software patents. Any company that works with open source can benefit from this and stand on the shoulders of giants if a lawsuit is filed.
  • It only covers the open source parts of the software stack, not propitary parts.
  • It's free, as in beer.
  • Defensive publications - Linuxdefenders.org Protection from patent trolls. Declare that this is a known innovation and it can't be patented.


Outstanding questions that I need to look up:

  • Linux system definition?'
  • European patent office is granting software patents?


Reflections: Quite interesting, if you don't like software patents. I don't, so, yeah. But it contained a lot of legal terminology that isn't that easy to get at a first glance.

 

Alessandro Rubini - Time in software and hardware

Consultant/CERN/fsfe

Running linux since before 1.0

  • All automatic systems need the concept of time, especially a particle accelerator.
  • But not everything is simple in the field
  • The human representions of time is perverse, according to Alessandro :)
  • The act of measuring time is taking time!


Reflections: Low level linux kernel and hardware stuff, not my cup of tea. He stuttered, and had a heavy italian accent which made it hard to understand everything - but a funny guy that actually made the talk good anyway.

Jonas Öberg - State of free software - Legal and policy issues in Europe (And elsewhere)

Free software foundation Europe

Keywords: Free software, licenses, database of signatures

  • Sony TV's contains FOSS, such as almost all other vendors of tv's, set-top boxes, smartphones etc.
  • Software provinence - Where does the software originate? The term comes from the art community.
  • If you want to know where software in your device comes from, you need a database.
  • Black duck created one for their purposes.
  • 2015 - 78% of software used is free and open, according to Black Duck software. (Hello Peter).

 

We had a demo with Peter Andersson that introduced op5 to Black Duck's database of signatures to find out where the works/software originates from.

Other ones that are free?

Reflections: No slides and a lot of legal stuff again.

 

Anders Arnholm - Software Craftmanship

HiQ

Keywords: Collaborate, learning, be proud of your work

  •  Why are you here? Think about it.
  • Care about you craft and be proud of your work and make stuff that you can be proud of. Critizise your self, it's healthy. Ask or read if you don't know. Noboby knows everything, but everybody knows something. Collaborate and learn, and make learning a habit.
  • Don't live with broken windows, if you see something that's broken - fix it! Blame is counterproductive, improve stuff instead.
  • Sign your work that you have done, and be proud of it. It can be anything that helps a project.


My reflections: Lots of good ideas about thinking of the work you do as a craft, like a great mason, carpenter etc.

Alexandra Leisse - Death by a Thousand paper cuts

Ardoq

Keywords: UX, Design, Complexity

  • Ease of use, is complexity a problem?
  • Overly complex products leave users overwhelmed if they don't understand what to expect from a function. People want to be in control.
  • Is there a way to make complex things simple?
    • Probably not, creating a simple app that can preform complex tasks is hard, but we could make them clear and understandable instead.
  • You need to make tradeoffs, all the time.
  • One example is a coffee maker with one button, it makes the coffee black, in a cup. But sometimes I want milk, espresso, smaller cup etc. Ends up with a lot of buttons. Limit the amount of choices. What tradeoffs should we make to have the best coffeemaker?
  • Mental model: What you think about a function can become the truth, since your knowledge is limited. You think you know how something should work, but that's often not the case.
  • Data model: Code is clear and beautiful as per design from a backend coders perspective. But can demand complex functions higher up in the stack to deliver the functionality to the user.
  • Try to think from the users perspective to solve the problem, through the whole application to reduce complexity in other layers of the stack.
  • Focus on the problem, worry about corner cases later. Deliver a product that is understandable and intuitive.
  • Think big, ship small.

 

Outstanding questions:

  •  Hicks Law?

Reflections: From my novice eyes, she seems to have a hang of UX/Design, and made the talk really interesting.

 

Aarne Ranta - Grammatical Framework

Digital grammars
Keywords: Translation, localization, Fortran

The talk was about a opensource translation framework that is developed by a community of PhD's in linguistics.
An offline application for translation. Isn't based on statistics of a large dataset as google translate, bing etc.

  • Small in terms of application size. The application is ~30mb.
  • Built for producer tasks, such as translating single words in a large dataset, not really consumer tasks such as complex scentances, but moving forward in that area too.


Reflections: Complex stuff, not really that interesting from my point of view, but a good talker. Finnish has a lot of words for beer..

Daniel Stenberg - Everyone, everywhere runs this code all the time

Mozilla/curl/haxx.se

Why CURL? Because the internet doesn't follow specs and needs a tool that can talk via multiple protocols.
Curl is a 18 years old project, it started with httpget, a few hundred lines of code from a Brazilian developer that only could do HTTP. Became cURL in 1998 due to implementatation and support for more protocols.
The name is from clientURL or c(language)URL, made it up along the way.

  • Curl is everywhere, in all the things - Tvs, Phones, Cars etc. ~1 billion active devices approx. A software that eats the world, it's everywhere.
  • One part of this is that it's not GPL, and can be included everywhere (MIT Licensed).
  • Paid contributions for features occurs. Need x-feature, how much, how long?
  • Why open source? It would have died in the 90s if it wouldn't been opensource.


How to write software that ends up being used by millions of users?
 - Write lots of code
 - Provide useful options and aipis
 - Rinse, repeat.
 - Repeat until it succeeds

Does it ever get done?
 - No, it truly never gets done
 - Protocols keep evolving
 - Open source code survives (if done correctly, craftmanship, docs etc)
 - No slow-down in sight
 - You can help!
 - 185 command line switches

Reflections: A good speaker that has been in the FOSS-world for ages, a lot of fun anecdotes.