The Light At The End Of The Tunnel May Not Be An Oncoming Train

digital 6 Comments

Today we at Monty Program Ab and our dear friends at Percona announced the Open Database Alliance. Click the name for the full press release.

If you are a MySQL hacker, user, documentation writer, or just an interested bystander, we’re ensuring the database software you have come to know and love, and with which you (quite rightly) feel a sense of shared ownership, stays Free and open. Not only are we going to keep the same development and participation model with which you are familiar, but we are going to open the project even wider. Got patches? We want them! Got questions, comments, or other issues? We want to hear them, and we will respond in meaningful ways! Got production deployments of MySQL? We will keep you up and running without labyrinthine licensing and high expense! We’re lowering the bar for participation and raising the bar for what a Free and open database can do.

And the point of the Alliance is that we’re not doing it alone. The MySQL ecosystem has a large number of stakeholders, and we want them all to consider the value in being part of a community of like-minded individuals and organizations. The Alliance is here to ensure that your transition to MariaDB is painless, and offers you a more robust and healthy world of code.

We’re just getting started with the Open Database Alliance. If you have built a business or beloved hobby on MySQL, I encourage you to contact us and join the Alliance. We’re here for you if you’re here with us.

Think positively. With the Oracle acquisition of Sun, doors may close. But we have just removed a wall from the side of the house. In Free and open source software, doors are for chumps. :)

Apizza In Albuquerque

analog 4 Comments

If you’re from New York or New Haven, you know there are precious few places to find real Neapolitan style pizza in the US. Before you folks from Chicago get upset, let me say that Chicago-style pizza is a great pie, but it is not traditional pizza Napoletana.

I lived in New Haven for a number of years, which allows me to debate the merits of pizza (called “apizza” in New Haven) with New Yorkers without getting my nose broken. Conversely, if you’re from New Haven, you know that New Yorkers are the only other folks who can truly claim to have traditional pizzerias.

Think I’m exaggerating? Let Wikipedia tell you about New Haven style apizza and New York style. There is a friendly rivalry between the two, only interrupted to make sure outsiders sit down and shut up about what they consider “pizza.” It’s like two siblings fighting, but making sure no one messes with the family. :)

When Kristine and I left New Haven in 2000, apizza Napoletana was something we knew we were going to miss. And for the past nine years we sure have.

Last year we considered moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and we did just that, arriving last Friday. During a scouting mission in August of 2008 we discovered Giovanni’s Pizza. I’d be lying if I said it did not factor into our decision to move here.

If you live in Albuquerque, please realize how fortunate you are to have a pizzeria of this caliber in a city this size. During our six years in Portland, OR we found nothing that comes close. Same for our three year stay in Montreal. I’m not sure what Albuquerque did to deserve this, but I’m sure as heck not complaining!

Rosario and Dana Zito are your hosts (and excellent hosts they are). Their parents, Giovanni and Joanne, bring the authentic Italian kitchen experience to bear. The family are Brooklyn transplants. Their pizza is piping hot, the crust slightly carbonized, and the toppings are fresh. Mama Joanne’s cannoli taste like an angel cried into a pastry shell. The marinara should come with an IV drip.

New Havenites and New Yorkers, if someone from Albuquerque says they “know good pizza” ask them where they eat. If they say Giovanni’s, let them keep talking. They’re part of the family.

Damn, I missed good pie.

Call 1-800-THIS-IS-THE-21ST-CENTURY

digital 24 Comments

The days of asking people to dial a phone number by associating letters in your nifty, branded phone number (I’m looking at you, Key Bank and Compass Bank) to digits on my telephone keypad are over. Why? I have a Blackberry Curve. Here’s my keypad:

curve-keyboard

My wife has the Blackberry Pearl. Here’s her keyboard:

pearl-keyboard

Uhhhhhh ….

Asking me to dial 1-800-KEY2YOU or 1-800-COMPASS without giving me the actual digits basically shows your entire marketing team thinks this is the 1950s, and all telephone handsets look and behave exactly alike.

In our home, we only have cell phones. The only POTS phones we own are packed in a box in the garage. I could look up an old-fashioned telephone keypad with a Google image search, but … seriously? And what if I’m in my car? Pull over and find a pay telephone so that I can figure out what number to dial? Ridiculous.

Wake up, suits!

Super Troopers?

digital 14 Comments

Seen the movie? Very funny fiction about the Vermont State Police.

So a week or so ago I was pulled over on I-89 in northern Vermont for speeding. The officer exhibited behavior and judgment so poor and so unprofessional I will not sully the reputation of his peers by discussing it here. I have raised my concerns with his supervisor.

However, that does not negate the fact I was, indeed, traveling at a rate of speed higher than the posted speed limit. So I’ll pay the ticket. And when I went to do so, I noticed that “You can now pay your tickets online at the VT Judiciary Branch website.” Click the URL for some head-scratchin’ fun!

I’m aghast. WTF are they smoking in Vermont?

Vermont Judiciary webpage

The Delphic Oracle Embraces the Sun-God Apollo

digital 1 Comment

Big events today, and the MySQL User Conference is all abuzz with news, speculation, and even some concern. Oracle has acquired Sun, which again brings the light of Apollo to Mount Parnassus. :)

Of course, this raises all kinds of questions about the whys and hows. I’m happy to publicly speculate, as I am not in an insider’s position with either Sun or Oracle. Of course, I do work for Monty Program Ab, which makes me somewhat less than a wholly dispassionate bystander. And please, before you read my humble musings on the subject, please read my boss’ thoughts.

Without further ado, here some possible reasons I can see for this move by Oracle:

- Oracle now has a hardware business, something I think they have craved for a very long time.

- Oracle now has their very own trusted server operating system. Not to disparage what must have been some very hard work, but Oracle’s Linux platform has been and will be an also-ran. I predict that Solaris as a commercial product will soon disappear, and that Oracle will concentrate their efforts on OpenSolaris. I think Oracle wants an operating system, but I (perhaps naively) believe they see the folly in closed, commercial OSes in 2009.

- And of course, MySQL. I think it almost certain that we will begin to see MySQL used as a sort of “gateway drug” to Oracle’s flagship DB products.

Of course, this begs the question “Why would Oracle continue to pay attention to and improve a product that is solely used as a carrot to their flagship product?”

I’m not quite sure I know the answer to this. However, I do know that it is nigh impossible to “own” a Free or open source project in the same sense that Oracle “owns” their database. Patrick Galbraith spoke to this point quite eloquently in a recent blog post. I think Monty paraphrased it perfectly when he said “that ‘ownership’ of Free and open source projects has more to do with who provides the best stewardship of the code, rather than who owns a trademark.” Amen, brother.

That having been said, I hope Oracle realizes that they have taken their first big step into the Free and open source software world with their acquisition of Sun. Their track record in this field is non-existent, as they have traditionally been quite opposed to the ideals and values that make Free and open source software viable. They now stand at a crossroads. They can continue to play the closed, proprietary, commercial game they have been playing (quite successfully, mind you) for many years. However, if they do this, they almost guarantee the success of competitors (including Monty Program Ab). I cannot say I’m opposed to this, but it decreases users’ choice, and this is never good.

Alternatively, Oracle could choose to engage and interact with the open source community in ways that Sun never did (e.g. viewing each developer with meaningful patches as a full partner in their success). Should they choose this route, I have every confidence that they will succeed where Sun did not.

When Sun was the principle owner of MySQL, Monty liked to think of Monty Program and the Maria Project as the MySQL Fedora to Sun’s RHEL. Now that Oracle is in charge, I see three possibilities:

1). The Maria Project continues to be the MySQL Fedora to Oracle’s RHEL.

2). Oracle completely fails to understand the open model and Maria becomes the Linux to Oracle’s Windows.

3). Oracle really and truly understands the landscape in which they now live, and the Maria Project becomes the Ubuntu to Oracle’s Debian.

As I said, there is palpable concern amongst the conference attendees. I think there are some easy tasks Oracle could undertake to alleviate these concerns to some degree. I’ll post my ideas in the next few days, once I’ve a a bit more time to process today’s events.

Fasten your seatbelts and return your tray table and seat back to their upright and locked positions.

Drabble contest: Uninvited Guests

analog 2 Comments

Oooo! Keybuk meme! I’m in!

The incessant sound of the proximity klaxon had summoned Qul’gkess from the dreamless sleep of the Second Molting. Unprepared for the relative cool of the embryonic chamber, she struggled to extend her sensory tentacles toward the communication pool. There was no doubt, there was life outside the chamber. And movement. During the Molting this was forbidden among the Spawn, and yet now, as the young were about to erupt from her ovipositor, something moved outside. She swirled the viscous horror of the comm-pool, allowing a distant voice to enter her mind.

“We’d like to share the good news about Jesus.”

Crew Reassignment

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HMS (His Mark Shuttleworth’s-ness) Ubuntu

Ship’s Log: February 2009

At six bells on the evening on February 6, HMS Ubuntu encountered the Monty, a vessel of Finnish registry transporting forked code to Open Source markets.

Per standing orders of Admiral Shuttleworth, the craft was hailed to determine her intentions. Monty‘s captain, an affable Finn named Widenius, satisfied the deck watch through semaphore that she was a craft in the Free Software armada, and was brought alongside.

Captain Widenius expressed interest in Ubuntu’s detachment of Marines, as their performance in both the user and paid support customer theaters is well known; having served with distinction through the recent Dell Campaigns. Widenius asked that Lieutenant von Finck be released from service aboard the Ubuntu to provide ground command services to the Monty, its crew of developers, and its users in port.

Admiral Shuttleworth having been consulted, the Lieutenant was re-assigned, and will begin organizing campaigns once the Monty and her code reaches safe harbor.

Lieutenant von Finck is hereby released from active duty aboard HMS Ubuntu and commended by his superiors to the service of the Monty.

Admiral Shuttleworth has expressed interest in completing the crew exchange expeditiously, as he plans to continue the hunt for the white whale.

—–

:)

So … yeah. I’m leaving Canonical and joining my friend Monty organizing the developer and user communities around the new Maria storage engine. My last day will be February 27.

I’m still in Free Software. I still use Ubuntu. I’m still an Ubuntu member, and plan to keep doing what small part I can to help. I’m not really going too far. Sorry ’bout that. ;)

Reset Your Password With Recovery Mode On The Dell Mini 9 Netbook

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Excuse the long title, but I want to make sure search engines get this one.

So, you bought a swell new Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu, ran through the first-boot account configurator, and promptly forgot your password? You’re not alone. Resetting it is done the standard way from a recovery mode kernel boot, albeit with a quirk. Here are the steps.

1). You’ll need your username. If you have auto-login enabled, open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories) and type whoami and that’s your username.

2). Reboot. When the Dell logo appears, begin tapping [Esc]. Continue tapping until the boot process stops, displaying a MBR 2FA: prompt.

3). The boot process is now halted. The GRUB bootloader has a 0-second timeout before booting, so sit quietly, prepare yourself, and reach out with your feelings and dominant Jedi hand and …

4). Press [Enter] and then [Esc] as quickly as possible. Note the “and then.” You must press one, then the other, not both at the same time. And you must be fast.

5). If successful, padawan, you will have a GRUB boot menu. Using the arrow keys, choose recovery mode. Press [Enter] to boot.

6). At the resulting prompt, type passwd $USERNAME (replace $USERNAME with your actual username). You’ll be asked to type a new password twice, and nothing will be displayed on-screen as you do.

7)). Type reboot and press [Enter]. The job is done.

No one endorses this procedure as actual Jedi training, and machines used for such may lose [Esc] and [Enter] key functionality as a result. Please only use this mind/hand exercise to reset your password.

Ubuntu And Your Money

digital 3 Comments

This is the subject of a session I’m conducting as part of Ubuntu Open Week. Many thanks to Jono, Jorge, and the Ubuntu community of developers and users for making this happen, and allowing me to be a part of it.

I plan to discuss how to make smart buying decisions as a user of Free Software, and Ubuntu in particular. I’ll cover hardware, software, support, services, etc etc.

So, do you plan to attend? If so, are there subjects you’d like to see covered, or specific questions you want answered? Please let me know via comments and I’ll do my best to work such issues and questions into my session notes.

Of course, you’re always welcome to ask questions during the session. However, you may get a more researched and thoughtful (and therefore cogent) response if you give me a little time to prepare. So, have at the comments and let me know what questions you might have.

See you all at 2200UTC on Thursday!

Delicious Irony

digital 5 Comments
Classic. Classy.

Classic. Classy.

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