It looks like my school might be getting a football team! As part of my English course, I was supposed to analyze the debate and formulate my own opinion. Then, I was to contribute to the conversation. I thought, what better way than to post it on my site! So, attached to this post is my essay, in it’s complete form.
For those who have followed my blog recently, you may have read my post on my troubles finding my place in the openSUSE community. As it turns out, finding my place was a lot easier than I thought once I ran across a wiki page called “Local User Groups.”
Local User Groups in the openSUSE community have the same function as Local Community Teams in the Ubuntu community. With my prior work in the Ubuntu community working on a Local Community Team (LoCo) and even leading it for a while, this was my calling. I’ve been all over the place in the Ubuntu community, but advocating an operating system is what I do best. With this in mind, I sought the list of current teams. I was disappointed to find many teams that were no longer in existence and only a couple of teams from the United States that were still active.
This is when I created openSUSE Georgia. This Local User Group is intended not to compete with other LUGs, but instead to work with them. The creation of this team was the next logical step for me personally as a Linux community contributor. For the longest time I had hoped to see for other distributions join in the effort for promoting Linux while I was working with the Ubuntu Georgia LoCo. Finally, I have the chance to take on a team of my own and help activate a completely new community of openSUSE users in the state of Georgia in order to help push Linux further into the mainstream.
As of now, the site is barely set up but the core services are there. You can visit the project page in the link above. There is currently a Google Group set up for the mailing list and a Google Calendar to track events. If you are interested in joining, please join the Google Group, all you will need is a Google account. Future plans include events, face to face meetings, and work in the local community providing support. I look forward to working with this new team and the opportunities and challenges it provides!
So, as a customer of Verizon I was pretty happy to hear that the Palm Pre would be coming along in 2010. According to a new article on PCWorld, that might not be happening.
Now not going into the argument of whether or not the device will actually manage to make it onto the network, I feel personally this is just another sign of Palm’s inability to market a product effectively. I love Palm, and it is one of the technologies I used to follow when I started writing on this blog several years ago. Now, Palm is slipping away. I had strong hopes that they would be able to salvage themselves with the Palm Pre, but instead of marketing it on a network everyone likes, they went with Sprint. To top that all off, the marketing campaign was mediocre at best.
So what is going wrong with Palm? I love their devices and prefer them over PocketPCs, but why have they made so many missteps? I imagine 20 years from now Palm will be considered like Atari, something that had a huge market, lost it, and then tried to come back only to fail again. What Palm needs to do now is release either the Pre or a new, awesome device on either Verizon or possible AT&T. Only those networks get any attention from the mass market.
Hopefully Palm will be able to get their act together. I love using my Palm Centro, and it would be a shame not to be able to get another one.
Anytime a large change is made, it can be difficult to adapt. Just to be clear, I am not talking about moving from one home to another, but rather my move back into the Linux space from my recent hiatus at the beginning of school. Personally, I have found the move into the OpenSUSE community to be quite difficult. Trying to find my place is not easy, especially since in the Ubuntu community I did a wide range of things, but never specialized in any of them. Recently, I had been trying to work as a wiki editor, but with a rather well-developed community already built, the rules and procedures kept me wondering if I was going to cross some sort of line. On the other hand, much of Ubuntu’s wiki was left to the community to organize in basically any way they wanted, without a list of strict rules or marking for certain pages. In part that is what I enjoyed about the Ubuntu community — it’s “newness” left many things to be discovered and shaped by average community members such as myself.
Wiki editing does not seem like where I want to be. While I like making the wiki clean and nice looking, I feel that I have made a much larger contribution if I work as an advocate of the system. Back when I worked for the Ubuntu Georgia LoCo, I did many things, but what I enjoyed most is working directly with the community.
OpenSUSE also has an promotional effort, however they are following a similar path as Fedora, with individuals called “ambassadors” who promote the system at conferences and in local user groups. I will make it perfectly clear that while ambassador would be my role of choice, I do not fly solo when it comes to something like this. Promoting a system on my own? Not going to happen. I have written in the past about how I believe the LoCo method of advocating a system is better than individual contribution, and I still stand firmly behind this belief. I wish more projects took this approach. It is so much easier to work in a team than working on your own. You can bounce ideas off each other, work as a team to take care of a massive task. My previous LoCo just pulled off an amazing Linux show here in Atlanta with over 600 people in attendance. That’s four people working to make that event happen, and nearly six times the number of people who attended the first event last year. LoCo teams can have a massive impact on the community around them.
For now I will site by and learn what opportunities await me. Perhaps I will see an opportunity, and maybe it will be a sign to switch to another project. So far, I am still unsure.
Recently, Microsoft initiated a new foundation called CodePlex which will allow for individuals and businesses to connect and collaborate on open source projects. This new foundation has been founded by Microsoft, yet is its own non-profit entity, with Microsoft as it’s core contributor. While I see this as the next move from Microsoft coming into the open source arena, I wonder about the projects that will be hosted.
Apparently, the leadership consists of an interim board, which will one day be replaced by a more permanent board. Several of the board members are familiar names:
- Steve Ramji, Microsoft
- Miguel de Icaza, Novell
About half the board members are from Microsoft with the others coming from around the Linux and Open Source community. While the main Codeplex project is open to any project, the foundation will decide what to take on itself, with a few suggestions already coming from Microsoft.
The initial question in my mind is what if the project that is being suggested has nothing to do with Microsoft technology? I imagine being a collaborative effort, the technologies will probably surround interoperability between systems, which is certainly not a bad thing as long as the code is publicly available. However, when bringing open source and proprietary technologies together, someone is bound to mention patents. What happens if a patent is trespassed, and it is someone working within CodePlex Foundation? This sort of scenario could form a rather interesting PR issue for Microsoft if it ever encountered it.
Currently, there is only one sponsor of the foundation, Microsoft. I imagine that Novell would join sometime in the future. As far as the other corporations are concerned, it will be interesting to see if IBM would join the effort.
As far as I can tell, the actual CodePlex collaborative site, which is owned by Microsoft, works like Launchpad and Sourceforge and is used to host open source projects — which brings me to my big question: What’s the point?
“…we expect the Codeplex Foundation to be complimentary to, and not competitive with, other open source foundations.”
The foundation is apparently supposed to be different from other foundations, of which several are listed as examples. The complaint is that the other foundations only cover a particular piece of software or system, rather than the broad spectrum that the CodePlex Foundation is intended to cover. That is very true, and it is nice to see Microsoft pulling together some open source collaboration. What might be interesting in the future is how patents are handled within the project. Will patent encumberences cause unrest between members? Will Microsoft or the pro-Microsoft board only allow members of corporations who have signed patent agreements? Either way, it is nice to see Microsoft opening themselves up to the open source world.
If you’ve ever been to my blog before, I am sure that until recently, you have noticed I placed a large focus on the Ubuntu distribution. Now that my blog is a general tech blog, I have been taking a look around the internet at the many various places for another opportunity to come my way. Now, I have found it.
I am now volunteering for the OpenSUSE project.
I am really looking forward to meeting new people and working with a completely different software set. I imagine that my efforts will not be able to compare to what I did for the Ubuntu project simply because of school, but in my spare time I plan to help out a bit here and there, and then hopefully expand my role once summer rolls around. I never know where this road might take me, so for now I am just along for the ride.