Archive for the ‘Opensource’ Category

Community Leadership Summit 2017 – Keynote notes #cls17 #oscon

Here are my rough notes from Community Leadership Summit 2017 keynotes. From what I could see there was video being recorded, so I expect that these will be published soon. I made notes, some people have already shared slides (and I’ve linked to them).

CLS17

5 Keys to a Successful Contributor Program – Sherrie Rohde – Magento

  • @sherrierohde / sherrie@magento.com
  • monthly meet ups/chats – #cmgrhangout
  • magneto masters (inspired by Lithium Stars – there is a community manager certification course). Super users. Top contributors.
  • what is a top contributor program? Not an influencer or advocacy program in this context. People who help move the community forward
  • Slides

5 keys to a successful contributor program:

  1. Involve stakeholders in your planning early & often
  2. Find value for everyone involved. What’s in it for the company? This is important when needing a budget. Don’t forget what’s in it for the contributors – ask what will make them want to be part of this. Have dedicated area of website to give them spotlight / showcase. Create a legacy together (don’t use them! Work together to bring more value to community)
  3. Don’t shortcut your communication plan. Announce internally/externally. Know why they are selected
  4. Keep an open dialogue. Have quarterly council calls. Find out what happens in their world. Talk about your world. Gathering place: hidden lounge on forums, slack channel
  5. Analyze your results. Measuring is important. Demonstrate value of what you’re doing. Measure key objectives. What equals success? Increase in contributors? Survey your masters!

How to run a community publication – Rikki Endsley – Opensource.com

  • @rikkiends / rikki@opensource.com
  • RH community site with community + content. No author budget.
  • make sure they are getting a return on their time and energy
  • more than a million page views per month
  • have roles. Let people earn status on the blog. In addition you can have role based badges (it works well for blogs, not going to motivate everyone but it does help)
  • stay organized and maintain a schedule (they use a trello board). Don’t be so ambitious in terms for schedule
  • reach out personally to writers
  • people like lists
  • give a strong lede. Let people know what they’re going to find
  • make sharing content easy
  • they also use adobe analytics

Metrics as a Trojan horse for real relationships – Matt Broberg – Intel

  • @mbbroberg
  • people are all that matter. We miss that when we measure things too closely.
  • corporations true goal is to make money. Sales make money. Engineering make products. Marketing provides leads. Support provides loyalty for customers (net promoter score). Community? More hugs?
  • accounting for cost? Why do I care if you got a talk or need to order stickers? Calculating ROI is hard. Hugs doesn’t fit into p&l stsfements.
  • counting peanuts instead of building community – you watch instead of being a member of the community. Nobody wants a tribal leader who isn’t part of the tribe – that’s called a dictator.
  • what’s worth measuring?
  • same breath awareness with the top 1-2 competitors in the space in terms of % share of voice
  • measure only what your business values. Ask a ton of questions to your organizational leadership. You need to know what success is measured in
  • the minute we choose to measure we are choosing to aspire to it. Be choosy about what you measure. And what you share within the organization because you are measured against it
  • community doesn’t org chart good
  • community does not lead to revenue – but it’s so often the best way to get there. Catalyst effect.
  • Ultimately we are story tellers but the metrics can give us validity in the organization
  • slides

All Things Open conference – Todd Lewis

  • @toddlew / toddlew.com
  • answer the “why” of the conference
  • what events really are? What results when you focus on the why?
  • people coming together with a basic set of values. Manifestation of technology, oss, education, networking, community
  • always start with the why. Why am I hosting this? Answer and convey honestly. Trust is the goal
  • all things open has the “why”. They also have a code of conduct
  • authenticity is vital and key, whatever the venue
  • attendees tend to view ourselves as “we” not “me”. Trust helps overlook mistakes.
  • do a speaker/sponsor dinner. Release of oxytocin. What do speakers get?
  • technology adoption curve – Everett Roger’s – diffusion of innovations 1962
  • got to cross the chasm – still applies to technology events. Each of these blocks build on another
  • how do you get people (early adopters) on gut? Values!
  • always say thank you! Be nice
  • “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”, “kindness matters”, “integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is watching”

Ask not what your community can do for you – Stephen R. Walli

  • @stephenrwalli
  • “If I build it, they will come” – you see big companies pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into this pit as well.
  • The definitive act of creating open source is you publish your software with an open source license
  • Choosing a license is a social contract. License reciprocity is not about software freedom; its a community decision
  • How do you choose a home? What do you like about it? There are three sorts of neighbours in your community: people who simply want to live there, people that report potholes & trash, etc, the people that organise the block party, pick up the trash, etc. – in open source for every 1,000 users, 100 will file a bug, out of which 10 people may provide a patch, of which 1 actually read the contribution guidelines!
  • Costs of entering & leaving communities!
  • What does your 10-minute rule look like? You have to ensure your software does something useful in that time, otherwise they abandon your project or it becomes shelfware.

All Contributions Welcome – Katie McLaughlin

  • katie@glasnt.com – KatieConf / @glasnt
  • Leslie Hawthorn – how to find and keep contributors – #LABHR – https://hawthornlandings.org/2015/02/13/a-place-to-hang-your-hat/
  • Have awards and acknowledgement within a project. E.g. If you contribute to Beeware, you get a shiny coin
  • HappinessPackets.io / saythanks.io
  • LinkedIn: recommendations & endorsements
  • Github: only some commits count, issues and pull requests – see the commit info
  • labhr.github.io

5 things I wish I knew before becoming a community organiser – Jason Hibbets – Opensource.com

  • @jhibbets
  • Shared purpose & passion
  • Understand the talent and motivations of participants – ask them what they’re good at, ask them what they want to do
  • Practice 2-way goal setting
  • Say thank you. A handwritten note? Public recognition
  • Listen more. Talk more. Be inquisitive.
  • Remember that every interaction is a gift. Even negative reactions (you can maybe flip this)
  • Incorporate feedback loops into every interaction. Try, learn and modify.
  • Find your superstars and let them shine
  • Empower and trust your top participants
  • Gamification does not have to be a competition (on opensource.com there are badges and points)
  • Show appreciation and gratitude, recognise those efforts (get them conference passes, travel support, additional rights, etc.). In person experiences are the ultimate reward
  • Celebrate milestones (hard to do globally; be creative)
  • Create a community awards program (beginners as well as experienced folk)
  • Be prepared and communicate effectively
  • Prepare as much in advance as possible
  • Automate as much as you can, but understand when a personal touch is required
  • Be short & concise in your messaging
  • Don’t go to participants with an ask everytime. You don’t want to be that guy!
  • Avoid engaging in endless debates (Slack vs IRC, which linux distributions to use, etc.)
  • Community means something different to almost everyone
  • Educate all the different audiences
  • Be aware that part of the role as organisers is to balance value between community and company
  • Document everything you do to measure success; trip reports, interactions, etc. document your Rolodex. Have a monthly report with standard metrics. Document the big wins that standard metrics don’t measure.
  • Burnout is real (avoid it)
  • Know and understand that community doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock on a Friday. Having flexible work schedules helps!
  • Know signs of burnout for participants and yourself
  • Have a plan of how to address burnout and recharge your batteries
  • Be intentional on creating time for family, friends, etc.
  • Grow your career and sharpen the stone. Get different ideas and bring them back in.
  • Your most valuable asset: your network. Value and build your network. It goes with you no matter where you go
  • slides PDF, slides ODP

Open Source as a Social Movement – Abigail Cabunoc Mayes – Mozilla

Bonus choice tweet

Homebrew and opensource analytics

Today I ran a quick brew update, and noticed the following:

==> Homebrew has enabled anonymous aggregate user behaviour analytics
Read the analytics documentation (and how to opt-out) here:
  https://git.io/brew-analytics
Updated Homebrew from  to .
Updated 2 taps (caskroom/cask, homebrew/core).
No changes to formulae.

Its well worth reading the document: Homebrew’s Anonymous Aggregate User Behaviour Analytics.

I’m in support of this move, after all Homebrew is valuable for me, and the volunteers need to know where to place importance of their time. I guess its also important to know if they should support many versions of OS X (as of this writing, I am still running OS X 10.10 instead of having upgraded).

Being non-server software, this is turned on by default. Imagine if we could do that with MariaDB Server and the feedback plugin? Its opt-in, and you don’t get statistics that “match reality” so to speak. E.g. some 12k servers out there, or how 88% of users are using Microsoft Windows. This number is wildly different from the quoted 12 million users in a recent press release.

Opensource projects, especially venture backed opensource projects/products, are always looking for metrics and usage statistics. The old adage at MySQL was that you were a user for about 3 years, before you even bought services. Its clear that we all need better metrics instead of download numbers. Kudos to Homebrew for being so brave.

Trying out the Intel NUC

I was thinking about buying a Mac Mini, but the Apple Store in Malaysia has over-priced it, due to the crazy Malaysian Ringgit (prices don’t reflect current realities; custom Mac Mini with all things thrown in is USD$1,499 vs RM6,899, today’s rate being RM6,435).

So I decided to buy an Intel NUC and go the Linux route. I picked up the Intel NUC NUC5i5RYH from CZone for RM1,643 which has an Intel Core i5-5250U processor, WiFi, Ethernet but requires you to provide some RAM, storage and you’re good to go. This is the model that allows an M.2 SSD and another regular 2.5” disk, so I chose to get the Transcend M.2 256GB SATA III 6Gb/s MTS800 to be the disk I’ll used to install an OS on for RM477 and decided that I’ll get another disk for storage/Dropbox purposes — HGST 7000rpm 2.5-Inch 1TB SATA III. RAM was easy – just make sure to get low power DDR3 RAM (DDR3L), and its easy enough to pick up 2*8GB sticks for a total of 16GB of RAM.

All in, I paid RM2,713 for this, and I provided by own MiniDisplayPort to VGA adapter. I see this as a huge savings over the Mac Mini. Sure, I can get a 2TB spinning disk on the Mac Mini (it seems that OEM folk can’t get these fusion drives at that size), but if I really wanted to go all out, I could have gotten a larger M.2 SSD and also went all in with SSD instead of spinning disk. Maybe when the 6th generation NUC comes out.

Configuring Ubuntu was relatively easy. Ubuntu 15.10 did require me to boot with the nomodeset option (so immediately after the visual BIOS splash screen, hit the Shift key, press e to edit the displayed kernel, and when it says ro quiet splash, edit it to say ro nomodeset quiet splash. You install Ubuntu via a USB thumb drive as well.

This is basically a server with X for me. It’s doing tasks like syncing Dropbox, backing up with CrashPlan, and it will allow me to use Docker containers, compile software, etc. while I’m sitting at my desk. It makes for a pretty mean desktop, all packed in a tiny little package. 

Why didn’t I go with the current i7? Seems like there wasn’t too much of a performance boost (good reading: Intel NUC Mini PC Review: Core i5 and i7 Benchmarked). The 6th Gen is also coming, so it will be a much more interesting platform for me (see the NUC6i5SYH; here’s hoping they also have i7 versions).

OLS needs your help – please donate

I went to my first OLS (Ottawa Linux Symposium) in 2005. I was living in Melbourne, Australia and I had to make it all the way to Ottawa, Canada. If you don’t want to read ahead, please consider donating to save OLS. I am providing my story after getting inspired by Matt Domsch’s: Ottawa Linux Symposium needs your help (I think I met mdomsch at OLS, and we continued working together on the Fedora Project even).

Anyway, how did I do this? In 2005, I won the national category of the Regional Delegate Program (RDP) of linux.conf.au 2005, which was sponsored by Sun Microsystems. Basically it meant that as a winner within Australia, I got to visit a grassroots event that was similar to LCA and naturally that was OLS. This was a time that the kernel summit was organised alongside the OLS, and I was totally excited. Not only did Sun pay for my travel & expenses to LCA 2005 (my first time to Canberra to boot), they also covered me to head to Ottawa. 

Consequently I met Simon Phipps for the first time in 2005, and he wrote this at his old Sun blog:

I really like that particular sponsorship as it allows the real stars of open source, the individual contributors, to attend the conference and gain recognition for their efforts. It works by paying the expenses and conference fees for ten key contributors (one from New Zealand and nine from around Australia) to attend the event, and then giving one of them (in this case Colin Charles from Victoria, a contributor to both Fedora and OpenOffice.org) an all-expenses paid trip to a conference in Europe or the US.

Who’d have thought that a relationship that started in 2005 would continue till this very day (we talked during due diligence of MySQL/Sun days, we worked together at Sun, and now Simon is the CEO of the MariaDB Foundation) in so many various different forms?

Looking back, connecting the dots, I’d like to think a lot of this was enabled by LCA and OLS (and the opensource stewardship that Sun Microsystems stood for). If anyone wants to look at a talk I wrote in 2005, about my experience with OLS and the very first Ubuntu Summit (pre-UDS, this was UbuntuDownUnder), take a look at The Last Two Weeks of My Life.

That said, I digress. This post is about OLS and its organiser Andrew Hutton (ajh). I’ve visited OLS several times as an attendee, and even as a speaker. I’ve not made it there in the last few years due to conflicting commitments, but I sincerely hope to make it there in 2015. You need to help the event by donating to OLS.

I’ve met so many people in various walks of life at OLS. OLS was a big event during the times of the kernel summit. It may have not grown much since, but the movers and shakers of the opensource world were always there. I learned so many new things, met so many great people, and networked with an awesome lot of folk.

That to me was the benefit of going all the way to Ottawa. Community. Camaraderie. Inclusiveness. Lasting friendship. 

Amazon EC2 Linux AMIs

If you use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), you are always given choices of AMIs (by default; there are plenty of other AMIs available for your base-os): Amazon Linux AMI, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Server and Ubuntu. In terms of cost, the Amazon Linux AMI is the cheapest, followed by SUSE then RHEL. 

I use EC2 a lot for testing, and recently had to pay a “RHEL tax” as I needed to run a RHEL environment. For most uses I’m sure you can be satisfied by the Amazon Linux AMI. The last numbers suggest Amazon Linux is #2 in terms of usage on EC2.

Anyway, recently Amazon Linux AMI came out with the 2014.03 release (see release notes). You can install MySQL 5.1.73 or MySQL 5.5.36 (the latter makes the most sense today) easily without additional repositories.

The most interesting part of the release notes though? When the 2014.09 release comes out, it would mark 3 years since they’ve gone GA with the Amazon Linux AMI. They are likely to remove MySQL 5.1 (its old and deprecated upstream). And:

We are considering switching from MySQL to MariaDB.

This should be interesting going forward. MariaDB in the EC2 AMI would be a welcome addition naturally. I do wonder if the choice will be offered in RDS too. I will be watching the forums closely

Ubuntu Edge failure and what it means to me

A few days ago I received a credit from Indiegogo, because the USD$600 that I pledged for the Ubuntu Edge didn’t work out (I pledged on day one not because it was cheap but because I felt I needed the device and thank Canonical for the wonderful work they’ve done in addition to being brave about going into new markets; I would have paid $895 if need be – we don’t get heavily subsidised phones where I come from). There was a lot of buzz about how this is the largest crowdfunding experience ever, and so on, but to me, as a believer in opensource, I feel this failure to get an Ubuntu Edge more than ever.

It was by no means a shoddy amount that was pledged, in the sense that it raised USD$12,813,501 out of the USD$32,000,000 goal. I was curious with who pledged, and this is quite public as well – see the pledges list. But what you see is that a lot of people pledged not for the phone but smaller amounts which I guess is a huge problem.

Simply put, you need about 50,000 people (community members/Ubuntu users/etc.) to pledge to buy the phone (at an average sale price of USD$695). A mere 50,000. I planned to analyze the data, but its great that The Guardian did most of the work for me, so read: Ubuntu Edge: how many phones were really ordered – and the mistakes.

14,577 individuals pledged to order the phone. Enterprises were shy by the looks of it.

Out of the 14,577 individuals, I expect many of them to be Ubuntu users to some extent (if not lovers of opensource). Where are the rest of the Ubuntu users?

The public stats for Ubuntu are quite impressive – generally it is the most popular desktop Linux distribution out there. Just look at the adoption & reception: in June 2009, it was estimated that there are 13 million active users; in fall 2011 Canonical itself estimated more than 20 million users worldwide. This number must have grown tremendously, but even at a 20 million base, you’re looking at 0.073% conversion rate to buy an Ubuntu Edge.

I know people that are Ubuntu users and wanted to buy it, but not at the price point. Over $600 for a phone with a computer that docks just isn’t feasible as a cost in many parts of the developing world. Without user registration, we can’t tell where Ubuntu users are located, but I’m willing to bet it’s a good mix between the developed/developing world, right?

I was hoping to hold an Edge in my hand come May 2014. I’m still hoping to hold an Ubuntu mobile device in my hand. While I am disappointed, I can imagine Mark Shuttleworth asking himself a lot of questions. He’s spent millions developing Ubuntu, the community that surrounds it and the commercial aspects around it. Apparently monetizing the userbase is harder than it looks.


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