I learned ruby last week

Time to give myself a little pat on the back.

Last week I sat down to work for a whole working day on “whatever I wanted to”, as part of the Canonical Server Team’s pilot “Fedex Day” program. Mathias Gug and I both looked at this idea from Dan Pink’s book “Drive” and thought it made sense to try it out.

Management approved, and we set about on a day of “work on one thing, make it go, and then show it off the following week”.

I was originally going to work on improving the search capabilities of the MoinMoin wiki software that we use at Canonical. But it turns out, somebody already did that by adding Xapian support, and so we really just need to backport that to whatever version of Ubuntu canonical’s servers run on.

So, I decided to tackle another issue that has been nagging at me. Continue reading

Love for my sponsors

No not New Deal Tobacco & Candy Company, nor Nike or Pepsi (though, I can’t wait forever guys, come on!)

No, I’m talking about my Debian and Ubuntu sponsors. Without you, all of my hard work would be sitting in a queue somewhere with no love.

You see, just because I work for Canonical, doesn’t mean I get an automatic berth in the Ubuntu Developer community, nor does it give me any clout with the Debian Developers. The beauty of the open source community, is that it is and probably always will be, a meritocracy. What have you done? What is your level of commitment? How well you can answer those questions at any given time defines how much people trust you, and therefore, your level of autonomy and leadership.

So, folks like me who have just entered the fray in Ubuntu, and who only dabbled in Debian, must prove ourselves. And, to whom will we prove ourselves? Why, sponsor developers.

So, without further ado, These are a few of the sponsors who have made sure that my work has gotten out there in the past few weeks and months, and a few who have made sure that my * shoddy* work has not. THANKS GUYS!

  • Chuck Short (zul) – Ubuntu uploads of bug fixes and warranted critiques of half-assed PHP solutions.
  • Dustin Kirkland (kirkland) – Ubuntu uploads of bug fixes.
  • Scott Moser (smoser) – merging changes for cloud-utils and uploading to Ubuntu
  • Chris Cheney (ccheney) – Upload of gearman-interface source package into Debian (my first debian upload!)
  • Bernd Zeimetz (bzed) – Reviewed first gearman-interface package and convinced me to upload a proper gearman-interface package w/ swig bindings
  • Piotr Ożarowski (POX) – Educated me on finer points of Debian Python Policy
  • Thierry Carrez (ttx) – Upload of various bug fixes into Ubuntu, and sparing me “The look”
  • Matt Zimmerman (mdz) – Instruction on proper maintainer script procedures for memcached
  • Mathias Gug (mathiaz) – Endless attention to detail while reviewing my merge proposals, and “SNAILS!”
  • Thomas Goirand – Responsiveness on crusty old packages like libdbi
  • Kees Cook (kees) – MIR reviews for Ubuntu, and convincing me to get on the metro back to the hotel instead of face the Prague deluge with my little 100Kč (about $5 US) umbrella
  • The people I’ve missed – I can’t remember everyone, but thank you if you helped me and Ubuntu, and Debian out!

I’ll try to do this more often, but I don’t know if I can really single everyone out. Its amazing how many people work together so smoothly, despite the group above being spread out over, by my count, at least 7 countries and 5 time zones.

The lost joy of LEDs

Today I realized that a quest I set out on long ago was achieved, and I don’t know how happy I am about it. As I look around my house, I see but one laptop running. The wife has a little Netbook, and you might count the Wii or evne the AT&T U-Verse cable boxes as computers, but when it comes down to it, the only thing I need is my 15″ laptop.

Back when I got into computers, I was cobbling together every little piece of funky hardware I could to build a pseudo-production network inside my house. I had an old AMD 5×86-133 based box that served as my firewall and router. I had a little AMD 900 with redundant cheap IDE disks that was my server. I ran Debian GNU/Linux on them because thats what all the smartest people I knew recommended, and it was incredible because it let me do everything I wanted to do my way, without making me do anything to get it working. Even though I had just a 56kbit modem connection, I used squid and heavy tuning to make it the best web browsing experience possible.. for.. me.

Oh sure, at work I had servers to play with and I definitely enjoyed work. But the autonomy of doing this my way, and learning new things, was what really made it a passion.

One of the most amazing things that came out of that exercise was the realization that while I had the most amazing modem based home network ever, I wasn’t always aware of what was going on. Sometimes I’d wonder, what the heck is going on? Continue reading