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Thursday, May 8. 2014
The German Unix User Group (GUUG) will hold their annual conference "Frühjahrsfachgespräch" on September 23-26 this year (I know, not really "Frühjahr" anymore, but this is how it is).
The Call for Presentations is still open until May 31st. Talks can be proposed in German and English, and there are slots for longer tutorials as well.
The range of possible topics is broad, so if you think you have anything interesting to share with a very passionate and technical audience of sysadmins and developers, here are some suggestions:
This year, I'm honoured to be part of the reviewing committee and we've received a number of interesting proposals already. But we'd like to see more!
So please don't hesitate and submit your proposal now!
Posted by Lenz Grimmer in Linux, MySQL, OSS at 09:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 9. 2010
Just as a friendly reminder about what I wrote a month ago: we've already received a number of great talk submissions for the MySQL & Friends Developer Room at FOSDEM 2011, thanks to everyone who contributed so far! However, we still are looking for some more!
You can submit your proposal via this form. The deadline for turning in your talk is Sunday, 26th of December, 2010.
Just to recapitulate, the DevRoom (H.2213) will be available to us on Saturday 5th 2011, from 13:00 till 19:00. Each session will last 20 minutes plus 5 minutes of Q&A. See this year's schedule for inspiration — I think we had a great lineup of talks that addressed a good mixture of MySQL-related topics. I am looking forward to your ideas and suggestions! Thanks in advance for your support.
Monday, October 25. 2010
Over the weekend I updated my Drupal 7 test appliance in SUSE Studio to the Drupal 7.0-beta2 release, which was released on Oct. 23rd. I also added phpMyAdmin upon a user request, to provide a web-based method to work with the MySQL instance, if needed.
In addition to the lightweight "headless" appliance (which can only be accessed and configured via a remote network connection), I've now also created a GUI-based version. This appliance starts a minimal GNOME desktop and a Mozilla Firefox browser, which in turn opens the Drupal installation page by default. I hope you will find this useful if you want to toy around and test Drupal 7 without having to go through the entire OS and LAMP stack configuration yourself. In fact, you can even test this appliance via the recently added test drive option from right out of your web browser!
The appliance is now also available in OVF format. SuSE Studio now also builds Amazon EC2 images, which don't seem to be available for download from the SUSE Gallery yet. I assume this is a recent addition to the continuously improving SUSE Studio functionality, hopefully these images will be made available soon.
Saturday, September 18. 2010
The Drupal community just recently released another alpha test release of their upcoming Drupal 7 version, to shake out the remaining bugs and to encourage more users to test it.
If you would like to give it a try, but you don't have a free server handy, how about using a virtual machine instead? Using the fabolous SuSE Studio, I've created an appliance based on openSUSE 11.3, Drupal 7.0-alpha7 and MySQL 5.1 with the InnoDB plugin and strict mode enabled (both for the SQL mode and InnoDB mode. Using this configuration helps to ensure that Drupal works well with the current version of MySQL/InnoDB and does not use any "questionable" SQL statements. This might be especially interesting for additional modules - Drupal core did not reveal any problems using strict mode so far.
You can download disk images for VMware/Virtualbox/KVM or XEN from the SUSE Gallery (free login required). Just boot the appliance in your virtualization application of choice, choose your keyboard layout and step through the network configuration and Time Zone selection. Once the appliance has booted up and the login: prompt appeared, point your web browser to the appliance's IP address to start the Drupal installation/configuration. MySQL has been pre-configured, there is an empty database named "drupal" and a user "drupal" with the same password to access it. You just need to enter this information in the Drupal Database configuration dialogue during the installation. Anything else can be configured to your liking.
After you have finished the installation, you can toy around with a fresh Drupal 7 installation! Install additional modules, change the themes, add content. And make sure to report all bugs that you run into while doing so! Have fun.
Wednesday, July 14. 2010
If you wonder why there hasn't been an update from me for quite a while — I just returned from two months of paternal leave, in which I actually managed to stay away from the PC most of the time. In the meanwhile, I've officially become an Oracle employee and there is a lot of administrative things to take care of... But it feels good to be back!
During my absence, Giuseppe and Felix kicked off the Call for Papers for this year's European OpenSQL Camp, which will again take place in parallel to FrOSCon in St. Augustin (Germany) on August 21st/22nd. We've received a number of great submissions, now we would like to ask our community about your favourites!
Basically it's "one vote per person per session" and you can cast your votes in two ways, either by twittering @opensqlcamp or via the opensqlcamp mailing list. The procedure is outlined in more detail on this wiki page.
As we need to finalize the schedule and inform the speakers, the voting period will close this coming Sunday, 18th of July. So don't hesitate, cast your votes now! Based on your feedback we will compile the session schedule for this year's camp. Thanks for your help!
Saturday, March 6. 2010
I recently received a question from Robin Schumacher at Calpont, the makers of the InfiniDB analytics database engine for MySQL: "How would you recommend we try and get bundled in with the various Linux distros?"
Since this question has come up several times before, I thought it might make sense to blog about my take on this.
First of all, please note that there is a difference between "being part of the core distribution" and "being available from a distributor's package repository". The latter one is relatively easy, the former can be hard, as you need to convince the distributor that your application is worth devoting engineering resources to maintain and support your application as part of their product. It's also a space issue – distributions need to make sure that the core packages still fit on the installation media (e.g. CD-ROMs or a DVD). Therefore they take a very close look at each package and if it's really needed to be part of the installation medium or if it's fine to provide it for download from a package repository instead.
Distributors prefer to keep their core product small and restricted to the "basic OS building blocks". While MySQL might still be considered to be a part of this, this probably does not apply to the various plugins and extensions that are available for it. Therefore the best approach is to invest some engineering time and start doing the packaging yourself, either by hiring an engineer capable of creating and maintaining the packages, or by finding someone in your community who has the required experiences and is willing to do it.
While it's of course possible to set up and maintain your own build and package hosting infrastructure for that, I recommend to make use of the existing services provided by the distributors.
The top tier distributors all provide means of offloading the maintenance of "non-core" packages to their community, offering various options for packages to be made available. For example, Novell/openSUSE provide the free "Build Service", which is capable of building packages for other distributions as well (e.g. Fedora, Mandriva, Debian/Ubuntu, etc.). In addition to automating the builds, the Build Service also takes care of the distribution via their download mirror network and ensures that your application can be found via their package search interface.
Ubuntu/Canonical have "Personal Package Archives (PPAs) – if your project is hosted on Launchpad already, that might be something to look into for providing Debian/Ubuntu packages. Alternatively you could join the Debian project and start building and maintaining your package there. They maintain a list of "Work-Needing and Prospective Packages", a description of the process on how to become a new maintainer is outlined here.
If you'd like to target Solaris/OpenSolaris as well, there is the OpenSolaris Source Juicer – a web service which allows OpenSolaris community developers to build packages (using RPM spec files) and publish them for review, so they will be included in an official package repository. The Software Porters Community Group coordinates, advocates, encourages and helps with the porting of Software from multiple Platforms to the OpenSolaris Platform.
Thursday, November 5. 2009
This blog post is a by-product of my preparation work for an upcoming talk titled "Why you should be using a distributed version control system (DVCS) for your project" at SAPO Codebits in Lisbon (December 3-5, 2009). Publishing these thoughts prior to the conference serves two purposes: getting some peer review on my findings and acting as a teaser for the actual talk. So please let me know — did I cover the relevant aspects or did I miss anything? What's your take on DVCS vs. the centralized approach? Why do you prefer one over the other? I'm looking forward to your comments!
Even though there are several distributed alternatives available for some years now (with Bazaar, git and Mercurial being the most prominent representatives here), many large and popular Open Source projects still use centralized systems like Subversion or even CVS to maintain their source code. While Subversion has eased some of the pains of CVS (e.g. better remote access, renaming/moving of files and directories, easy branching), the centralized approach by itself poses some disadvantages compared to distributed systems. So what are these? Let me give you a few examples of the limitations that a centralized system like Subversion has and how these affect the possible workflows and development practices.
Continue reading "Aspects and benefits of distributed version control systems (DVCS)"
Thursday, October 29. 2009
So you're a small startup company, ready to go live with your product, which you intend to distribute under an Open Source License. Congratulations, you made a wise decision! Your developers have been hacking away frantically, getting the code in good shape for the initial launch. Now it's time to look into what else needs to be built and setup, so you're ready to welcome the first members of your new community and to ensure they are coming back!
Keep the following saying in mind, which especially holds true in the Open Source world: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!". While the most important thing is of course to have a compelling and useful product, this blog post is an attempt to highlight some other aspects about community building and providing the adequate infrastructure. This insight is based on my own experiences and my observations from talking with many people involved in OSS startups and projects.
Continue reading "Some friendly advice for bootstrapping your OSS project"
Posted by Lenz Grimmer in Linux, MySQL, OSS, Solaris at 21:12 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, September 4. 2009
First off, I would like to thank all of the participants and supporters, particularly my colleagues Regina Steyer and Iris Musiol for the perfect logistics and co-sponsoring as well as Uli Graef, Thorsten Frueauf, Matthias Schmidt, Alexander Rubin and Joerg Moellenkamp for manning the Sun booth and the help on site.
Another big Thank You goes out to my team mates Giuseppe and Colin as well as to Sheeri K. Cabral, who were a big help in keeping the OpenSQL Camp on track and by supporting the event by giving talks. In addition to that, Sheeri recorded most of the OpenSQL Camp sessions on video and published them in record time!
So here's a quick summary of both events from my side, starting with the main conference.
Sun was a Gold sponsor of the event and we had a booth right at the main entrance area; it could hardly be missed. It consisted of two large and two small desks as well as a divider behind them. For demos, we had a (slightly noisy) Sun Fire X2200 M2 Server and four SunRay 2 Thin Clients (which by themselves triggered a lot of questions and curiosity by many visitors). The booth was flanked by rollup-banners on both sides as well as various posters attached to the divider. Here's a picture of our booth before the event opened:
We also had a number of talks in the main conference track (both German and English):
The comments and ratings of these sessions were generally very positive. Our booth was well attended, especially during the session breaks. In total, there were over 1.400 visitors at the conference over the two days.
I personally did not attend many sessions in the main conference tracks, as I was too occupied with the OpenSQL Camp and the booth organization. However, I managed to listen to Uli Graef's talk, which was a very technical and interesting session about ZFS features and internals. Being a big fan of ZFS myself, this was a very worthwhile session to be at and my impression was that it encouraged others to take a closer look at this truly amazing file system.
The second talk I attended was Sunday's keynote by Dries Buytaert from the Drupal project about "The Secrets of Building and Participating in Open Source
As for previous FrOSCons (is that the proper plural?), there was a social event scheduled for Saturday evening, providing barbecue (Steaks and Sausages as well as vegetarian dishes) and drinks. This event usually takes place outside and is always an excellent opportunity for networking and talking with key people from other OSS communities and projects. And there was plenty of time for talking - the queues for the grilled food were long...
Here is a list of other blogs and articles about FrOSCon that are worth a read (in no particular order and both German and English):
In addition to the main conference tracks, FrOSCon also provided a number of so-called "Developer Rooms" to OSS projects, so that they could organize sub-conferences or hackfests of their own. We applied for a room to set up a conference dubbed "OpenSQL Camp", related to the topic of Open Source databases, which was approved.
We then sent out a call for papers and invited people from the many OSS database communities to join us and talk about their projects. Every session proposal was published on the OpenSQL Camp web site and people were able to vote on the sessions they were most interested in via email or twitter:
The organization and scheduling of the talks and speakers was done via the FrOSCon conference system (Pentabarf), which made it very easy to perform this task and also made sure that the OpenSQL Camp sessions were included in the main conference program. Below is a full list of sessions at our subconference (see the FrOSCon Program page for abstracts, speaker info, links and slides). We had two cancellations by speakers on short notice, but were able to cover the gaps with ad-hoc presentations. I'd like to send a special thanks to Geert Vanderkelen, who gave a great presentation about MySQL Cluster despite the very short notice and some technical difficulties at the beginning!
Most talks attracted between 20-50 attendees and we had a great mix of topics from several different database projects (with a slight majority of MySQL-related talks). The Panel Discussion (moderated by me), called the "OSS Toolshed Shootout" went quite well and the speakers had a good time answering questions on various topics about their projects. Thanks again to all OpenSQL Camp speakers for making this event a success!
All in all I think that both FrOSCon and OpenSQL Camp were well worth supporting and attending - we were able to provide insight and trigger some interesting discussions among the OSS enthusiasts and developers in the audience. It was also a good opportunity in get in touch with many people of other OSS communities, fostering the MySQL (and other Sun OSS projects) ecosystem.
I personally look forward to next year's FrOSCon - a Big Thanks to the organizers for another great event!
Posted by Lenz Grimmer in Linux, MySQL, OSS, Solaris at 22:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, July 20. 2009
The Call for Papers for the OpenSQL Camp 2009 (European Edition) has ended yesterday — we received 27 excellent session proposals from various Open Source Database projects. I would like to say a big "Thank You" to everyone who submitted a talk! In the beginning I was a bit concerned that the conference would become too MySQL-centric, but this fortunately changed in the last few days.
Sadly we now have more than double the amount of sessions than we can actually host, which means that we will have to review and vote on the sessions to distill the final program. We've formed a small committee that will perform this task (currently consisting of Sheeri, Giuseppe and myself) and is in charge of finalizing the schedule. But you can help us with this! We are seeking your input on which sessions you would like to attend until Sunday, July 26th (12:00pm PST).
The system basically asks for "one vote per person per session", giving you a chance to influence the program yourself: you can cast one vote for each session by either stating you would be interested in attending it (+1) or not interested (-1). Additionally, you can add a comment for each vote to provide a reasoning for your choice. Ideally, you should of course plan to actually attend our event, but you are welcome to tell us what you would have been interested in, in case you can't make it to the Camp. See the OpenSQL Camp wiki page for more details and instructions. You can submit your votes via Twitter or the OpenSQL Camp mailing list.
We look forward to your input!
Wednesday, July 1. 2009
I've now posted all the current talk submissions to the OpenSQL Camp Wiki. A big Thank You to everyone who contributed so far and helped us to bang the drum for this event! If you haven't heard about OpenSQL Camp yet, it's a subconference of the Free and Open Source Conference (FrOSCon) in St. Augustin, Germany, which takes place on August 22+23. The topic of OpenSQL Camp is "Open Source databases and related technologies" and we're looking for interesting presentations in this field.
As we have 12 session slots to fill, we still have room for at least 6 more submissions! It's also a tad bit MySQL-centric at the moment, that should definitely change! We would love to get some more diversity to cover a broader range of Open Source Database technology.
So please submit your talk proposals and help spreading the word — the Call for Papers is still open until July, 19th! Post a message to relevant discussion forums and mailing lists. Know an expert in this field? Approach him directly! OpenSQL Camp Speakers will receive free entry to FrOSCon, which is worth visiting in any case!
Tuesday, June 30. 2009
I admit it — I'm a fan of simulation software, particularly flight simulators. Probably the best Open Source Flight Simulator out there is FlightGear — it provides an impressive level of reality and you can download and install many additional plane models and terrains. There are packages of FlightGear 1.0.0 in the games repository of the openSUSE Build Service, which works quite well and I have been enjoying it a lot. However, the FlightGear project released version 1.9.x quite a while ago (1.9.1 was published in January 2009) and I was itching on giving the new version a try (just take a look at the screenshots and you know what I mean). However, building FlighGear on Linux is quite a complex task with many dependencies, and so held off from doing it myself, waiting for someone else to perform the update...
Well, this weekend I finally bit the bullet and did it myself - FlightGear 1.9.1 has now been added to my home:LenzGr build repository. I based my packages on the ones included in the games repository, but I plan on cleaning them up a bit and splitting them into separate packages (currently the FlightGear source RPM contains SimGear and fgrun as well). I also "borrowed" the OpenSceneGraph sources and spec file from the PackMan repository, in order to have a functional build. Unfortunately FlightGear currently only builds on a very limited list of distributions so far (namely OpenSUSE 11.0, just what I needed) — I haven't had time to adapt the spec files for FlightGear and OpenSceneGraph to match the appropriate build dependencies for the other distributions yet and "02-check-gcc-output" gives me some grief on platforms where it actually builds but generates compiler warnings (but patches are welcome!)...
Last week I gave a MySQL University Presentation about how to contribute code to MySQL. This time DimDim did not fail to record the session, even though there is a funky overlap of audio from Stefan Hinz (the moderator) and myself at the beginning. I had a bit of a slow start into the presentation, because of a very nasty headache that plagued me that day. But we had a lively discussion at the end and I hope it was useful to the participants.
In case you have missed it, you can now watch the playback or download the session slides:
Wednesday, June 10. 2009
XtraBackup is an Open Source online (non-blockable) backup solution for the InnoDB and XtraDB storage engines. It works with both MySQL 5.0 and 5.1 (and possibly 5.4 as well) and is distributed under the GPLv2.
Some weeks ago Vadim announced the availability of xtrabackup-0.7, stating that they consider it stable enough now to label this version a "Release Candidate". I've been maintaining RPM packages of xtrabackup on the fine openSUSE Build Service for quite some time now, RPMs of 0.7 for a number of distributions are now available for download. Please report any bug reports via the bug tracker on Launchpad.
Tuesday, June 9. 2009
The OpenSQL Camp 2009 web site is now ready for business, I've updated various pages and added some more information about the call for papers. I've also set up a Twitter account (no way without one nowadays, right?), which might also play an important role in the voting/rating of talks later on (Giuseppe came up with an interesting proposal for that).
So we're now seeking your input! Let me quote from the web pages directly:
OpenSQL Camp is a free conference of, by, and for the open-source database community of users and developers. The first OpenSQLCamp 2008 took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, November 14, 15, and 16 2008.
The OpenSQLCamp 2009, European Edition will take part in parallel to the Free and Open Source Conference 2009 (FrOSCon) on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August in St. Augustin, Germany. St. Augustin is located close to Bonn and Cologne.
Attendees of this conference are mostly open source developers and end users/open source enthusiasts. The FrOSCon organizers agreed to provide us with a "Developer Room" for both days, which allows us to organize our own subconference about Open Source Databases and related technologies. The goal of this event is to spread the word about the vibrant communities and large ecosystems around Open Source Databases and to educate the attendees about what alternatives exist to commercial databases. It is a place where people come to learn, to participate and to contribute. In other words, it's a great conference, and if you attend, it will be better.
We are seeking talks related to Open Source Databases of all kind, not just relational databases! Submission about tools and technologies related to OSS databases (e.g. connectors/APIs) are also welcome.
Submitting your proposals
We will use FrOSCon's Pentabarf conference coordination system to collect talk submissions and perform the organizing and scheduling of the talks. Please create an account there, if you don't have one already. Once you have activated your account via the email address you provided, please log into the system and create a new event. Make sure to select track OpenSQLCamp for your submission!
The deadline for submitting your proposal is Sunday, July 19th, 2009!
We will try to synchronize our schedule and speaking slots with the main conference program, to allow easy switching between sessions in the Developer Rooms and the main conference. So your talk should be put into the "Lecture" format and will last one hour (incl. Q&A).
We will try to perform the review and voting about the sessions in public, so the community and potential audience will have a say about which sessions they want to listen to. The details of how this will be done are still under discussion.
A number of database-related talks have already been submitted to the general FrOSCon program. The FrOSCon organizers will evaluate if some of these talks would be more suitable for the OpenSQLCamp track, but stated that they would be interested to keep some of the submitted sessions as part of the main conference program.
Some ideas and suggestions for submissions
Any submission is welcome, as long as it has technical content and it's not a vendor pitch for a commercial program! Open Source is a prerequisite. The conference languages are German and English, so your talk could be of either language.
You should also read Giuseppe's advice on how to get your proposal accepted (it was aimed for the MySQL Conference, but the overall message still applies).
Some database projects and related technologies that we would like to be present at OpenSQLCamp include the following (in alphabetical order, without claim to completeness):
We plan to approach and invite these communities directly to participate and contribute.
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