Selena and I gave a talk on the various issues of running databases “in the cloud” at the recent linux.conf.au in Ballarat. Video is up, embedded below:
Way back when, for linux.conf.au coming to Melbourne in 2008, I edited together a promo video for it. IIRC the raw video was shot by Kelly on DV tape, imported in and I got a CD of some massive 400MB MPEG file of a bunch of questions. Using Cinelerra and some graphics package that I forget (very early Inkscape?), I managed to get this done in 2006. I understand things are a bit less segfaulty these days.
Amazingly enough, this is the last time I actually did any video editing.
You should also go to linux.conf.au 2011 in Brisbane this upcoming January.
This miniconf aims to cover many of the current methods of data storage and retrieval and attempt to bring order to the universe. We’re aiming to cover what various systems do, what the latest developments are and what you should use for various applications.
We aim for talks from developers of and developers using the software in question.
Aiming for some combination of: PostgreSQL, Drizzle, MySQL, XFS, ext, Swift (open source cloud storage, part of OpenStack), memcached, TokyoCabinet, TDB/CTDB, CouchDB, MongoDB, Cassandra, HBase….. and more!
Josh Berkus gave a great talk at linux.conf.au 2010 (the CFP for linux.conf.au 2011 is open until August 7th) entitled “How to destroy your community” (lwn coverage). It was a simple, patented, 10 step program, finely homed over time to have maximum effect. Each step is simple and we can all name a dozen companies that have done at least three of them.
Simon Phipps this past week at OSCON talked about Open Source Continuity in practice – specifically mentioning some open source software projects that were at Sun but have since been abandoned by Oracle and different strategies you can put in place to ensure your software survives, and check lists for software you use to see if it will survive.
So what can you do to not destroy your community, but ensure you never get one to begin with?
Similar to destroying your community, you can just make it hard: “#1 is to make the project depend as much as possible on difficult tools.”
#1 A Contributor License Agreement and Copyright Assignment.
If you happen to be in the unfortunate situation of being employed, this means you get to talk to lawyers. While your employer may well have an excellent Open Source Contribution Policy that lets you hack on GPL software on nights and weekends without a problem – if you’re handing over all the rights to another company – there gets to be lawyer time.
Your 1hr of contribution has now just ballooned. You’re going to use up resources of your employer (hey, lawyers are not cheap), it’s going to suck up your work time talking to them, and if you can get away from this in under several hours over a few weeks, you’re doing amazingly well – especially if you work for a large company.
If you are the kind of person with strong moral convictions, this is a non-starter. It is completely valid to not want to waste your employers’ time and money for a weekend project.
People scratching their own itch, however small is how free software gets to be so awesome.
I think we got this almost right with OpenStack. If you compare the agreement to the Apache License, there’s so much common wording it ends up pretty much saying that you agree you are able to submit things to the project under the Apache license. This (of course) makes the entire thing pretty redundant as if people are going to be dishonest about submitting things under the Apache licnese there’s no reason they’re not going to be dishonest and sign this too.
You could also never make it about people – just make it about your company.
#2 Make it all about the company, and never about the project
People are not going to show up, do free work for you to make your company big, huge and yourself rich.
People are self serving. They see software they want only a few patches away, they see software that serves their company only a few patches away. They see software that is an excellent starting point for something totally different.
I’m not sure why this is down at number three… it’s possibly the biggest one for danger signs that you’re going to destroy something that doesn’t even yet exist…
#3 Open Core
This pretty much automatically means that you’re not going to accept certain patches for reasons of increasing your own company’s short term profit. i.e. software is no longer judged on technical merits, but rather political ones.
There is enough politics in free software as it is, creating more is not a feature.
So when people ask me about how I think the OpenStack launch went, I really want people to know how amazing it can be to just not fuck it up to begin with. Initial damage is very, very hard to ever undo. The number of Open Source software projects originally coming out of a company that are long running, have a wide variety of contributors and survive the original company are much smaller than you think.
PostgreSQL has survived many companies coming and going around it, and is stronger than ever. MySQL only has a developer community around it almost in spite of the companies that have shepherded the project. With Drizzle I think we’ve been doing okay – I think we need to work on some things, but they’re more generic to teams of people working on software in general rather than anything to do with a company.
http://www.lca2010.org.nz/ and get those proposals in before time runs out!
We’re looking for all sorts of talks, so get yours in while you still can!
(Database stuff is damn cool, kernel is kewl, app development is awesome and web is wonderful)
It’s no secret that I love linux.conf.au. My first was linux.conf.au 2003, in Perth and I’ve been to every one since (there are at least two people who’ve been to every single one, including CALU as it was called in 1999).
I’ve been on the board of Linux Australia for some insane proportion of the years since then (joining in 2003). Linux Australia is the not-for-profit community organisation that puts on linux.conf.au. It’s all volunteers and amazingly enough we have more than one group of people wanting to put on linux.conf.au each year!
This year, we Marched South to Hobart.
Here I detail what I saw, what I wish I saw and whatever else comes to mind.
Sunday – Before the conference
Ran into Bdale while checking in. Short flight down. A million and one people on the plane and on the ground that I knew. It must be linux.conf.au.
Seeing way too many awesome people I know, checking into accommodation (oh my, what a hill), registering for conf, beer and then off to a “ghosts of conferences past” dinner – where a few people who had organised previous linux.conf.au’s were hastily gathered together to chat to part of the 2010 team.
Monday – Open Source Databases Miniconf Day 1
Oh, that’s right – I’m running the OSDB Miniconf :)
First up, Monty Taylor spoke on “NDB/Bindings – Use the MySQL Cluster Direct API from languages you actually like for fun and profit”. Possibly taking the prize for the longest talk title of the conference. The NDB API is not SQL, it’s what the MySQL server (and one day, when Monty and I get around to it, Drizzle) translates SQL into for NDB. That being said, you can (pretty much always) write NDB API code that dramatically outperforms equivilent SQL (for a variety of reasons). Monty maintains the NDB/Bindings project that lets you use languages other than C++ for the NDB API.
At the same time as Monty was speaking, I wish I’d been able to fork() and go and see “Is Parallel Programming Hard, And, If So, Why?” by Paul McKenney and Michael Still talking about MythNetTV (pull RSS feeds of video in as MythTV programs).
After morning tea, we were meant to have “InnoDB scaling up and performance” by Bruce Huang, but he was a no-show. Hint: if you don’t want bad things to be said about you by conference organisers, either show up or let them know you’re not able to make it.
Instead, we led a crazy Q&A type session around the room which was a whole lot of fun. Really a “ask the experts” meets running up-and-down stairs with a microphone.
Next up, Arjen Lentz who runs Open Query spoke on “OurDelta: Builds for MySQL”. The best way to describe OurDelta is a “distribution of MySQL”. It’s the MySQL server plus a bunch of patches provided by various people that haven’t yet made it into the main source tree (for any number of reasons).
At the same time (if you’ve never been to linux.conf.au, you’ll find that you often want to be in at least 3 places at once) I would have really liked to see “MythTV Internals by Nigel Pearson” (I co-wrote Practical MythTV with Michael Still, which is having a “second edition” in wiki form over at http://www.mythtvbook.com/) as well as the panel on geek parenting as this may be something I’m one day faced with.
Up next: Russell Coker filled in for Kaigai (same talk, different speaker) to talk on The Security-Enhanced PostgreSQL – “System-wide consistency” in access controls. I found this quite interesting and different approaches to database security are worth looking at. Modern applications (read: web applications) don’t map their uses to database users at all. There are usually two users on the database server: the super user and the user that the app uses. It would be nice to have a good solution for those who want it.
Monty Widenius (blog here – and yes, we have two Monty’s now… which does cause confusion) talking about the Maria storage engine. Maria is based on MyISAM, but adding crash safety and transactions (among other things).
Again, if I was able to be in several places at once I would have also seen Rusty‘s “Large CPUmasks”, Nathan Scott talking about “System level performance management with PCP” and Bdale’s “Collaborating Successfully with large corporations”.
An awesome start to the conference.
- tweaking my talk
- preparing for Open Source Databases Miniconf (should be awesome)
- Writing my Linux Australia President’s report
- Preparing LA AGM Agenda items
I still need to:
- go over talk a few more times
<sarcasm>Because I had nothing else on this month.</sarcasm> I’m currently reviewing linux.conf.au papers. This is fun, brutal and hard.
For those of you who submitted: never be disheartened by not having it accepted: there are so many good papers for linux.conf.au we could probably hold two conferences and they’d both be excellent.
We do, however, only have one conference – so good papers get left out.
P.S. since I just bought a house the only forms of bribes currently being accepted are large contributions towards my mortgage.
P.P.S. smaller contributions probably accepted too.
P.P.P.S. I’m not the only reviewer you need to bribe… but if you’ve got a spare few hundred thousand dollars, you probably have enough to bribe enough.