Tom Marble's Blog
- Tom's background
- E-mail Tom: tmarble (AT) info9 (DOT) net
- Tom's identi.ca microblog (repeated on twitter)
- A blast from the blogs.sun.com past (sniff)
- Free Software on gitorious and github
Clojure: Designed for Performance
I mixed giving an overview of why I think Clojure offers the advantages of Common Lisp and Java without the disadvantages of either along with live coding on the REPL. There were several great questions and I am really pleased that many delegates told me that the were going to give Clojure a close look!
Later this evening we have the Emacs BOF and I know I'll find a number of friendly eLisp hackers.
If you have a chance to attend LCA I would highly recommended it... This is among the best organized conferences I've attended and comprises a fantastic group of enthusiastic contributors.
Below you will find links to the presentation. Very soon the video of this talks (and all the talks) will be available.
Crowdsourcing Upstream Refactoring
I consider myself very lucky to attend Linux Conf Australia 2013. LCA is the the premier Free and Open Source conference in the southern hemisphere and collects an unique batch of code hackers, Free culture enthusiasts and maker practioners. I've wanted to attend LCA since Jeff Waugh told me about it in 2006. This year has been my chance to get to the land of Oz!
Today Bdale Garbee and I have just given a talk called "Crowdsourcing Upstream Refactoring" in the Cross-distro Mini-conf. We wanted to talk about our experiences in packaging (especially Java applications) and brainstorm on how upstreams and distros can collaborate on addressing our very different goals and share efforts.
I would like to thank Stefano Zacchiroli for providing insight, ideas and pointers to his research on the "Upgrade Problem". I also want to thank Bruno Cornec -- organizer of the Cross-distro Mini-conf -- for accepting our talk.
Below you will find links to the presentation (we were unable to display due to my laptop and the projector not getting along). Before too long the excellent volunteers of Linux Conf Australia will make video of the talk available.
Setting Up MediaGoblin
This is a very quick and dirty post to document my basic MediaGoblin setup. Realize my snapshot of the software is from early September (is in serious need of updating!). This certainly does not represent anything close to MediaGoblin best practice, but I hope it will be useful.
I'm running on Debian Wheezy with Apache2. Here are the critical config files:
Yes, this python virtualenv thing is wonky. I tried to root MediaGoblin at URI underneath / (e.g. info9.net/media/) without success (MediaGoblin really wants a virtual host, thus media.info9.net/). I hope to post an update when I've refreshed my MediaGoblin install!
Puissance de Clojure
IRILL is an unique organization comprised of computer science researchers from several leading European universitities and organizations collaborating to create a vibrant FLOSS ecosystem. It was an honor to present my view of how Clojure combines the advantages of Common Lisp and Java without the disadvantages of either. This was a tough crowd, experienced in functional programming and very critical of dynamic typing... There were many good questions and we had an active discussion.
I combined talking points with live hacking while presenting from within Emacs You can download my "presentation" here:
Grazie Mille et Merci!
Yo voy a ir a la DebConf12
I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and improving my Español at DebConf 12!
A Hug is Symmetric
An embrace is warm when two are pulled together. A one arm hug is a patronizing squeeze that makes for a (bad) photo op.
This little blog post is my > 140 response to my new friend @dberkholz's post The Story Of Data: Whither the GPL? Why we don’t need it anymore. I met Donnie at FOSDEM this year just after he joined RedMonk -- the analyst firm that is essential for anyone in software development to follow. (Full Disclosure: RedMonk and Informatique, Inc. do not have any business affiliation).
While I acknowledge that permissive licensing has become fashionable I think it is a grave disservice to suggest that restrictive licensing in FLOSS is withering, unneeded or for the uneducated.
This recent dust up is a result of an ongoing meme of "the Decline of the GPL" started last year by Matt Aslett. To which fuel was added by a recent BlackDuck analysis also asserting the the decline of the GPL. In precious few seconds of research I was unable to to find the BlackDuck report itself, but only mention of it. Ultimately the approach of the BlackDuck study is one of the problems. The data and methodology have not been made available for peer review -- the basis of the scientific method which defines progress in every academic discipline.
During our first Legal Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM we had several talks touching on the impact of software (and other artifact) licensing on FLOSS. Of special note: John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation gave a talk "Is copyleft being framed?" and Richard Fontana, Red Hat's Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel gave a talk, "The (possible) decline of the GPL, and what to do about it". Slides for these and other talks are available . Sullivan's data and methodology are available for review and suggest that the use of GPL is vibrant.
I do hope that my friend and former Sun colleague Rich Sands -- who is now at BlackDuck -- can help shed some light on their analysis.
But I'm not here to quibble about the data. I want to talk directly to the assertions made from the data.
1. Compliance is complicated
In this era of continuous development and continuous deployment powered by tools like the uber awesome Jenkins you can't really say with a straight face that making a tarball and publishing it somewhere is hard. Even in the embedded space there are tools like Yocto make delivering "Complete and Corresponding Source" just one of the build products.
For the massive, commercial enterprise which is Java™ Oracle manages to publish the source code for OpenJDK. Under the GPL. And Oracle publishes it from a tightly intermingled source base comprising open as well as closed, proprietary components.
2. The collaborative development model is really all you need
Bruce Perens was right: collaboration is better. Yet collaboration is necessary, but not sufficient to build a community. As we have become more familiar with FLOSS models it has become increasingly clearly that copyright assignment or licensing agreements that put a corporation in asymmetric control of a codebase does not foster the healthiest communities.
When inbound == outbound licensing and everyone is symmetric footing collaboration and contribution thrive.
3. Commercial products == proprietary products
"Not to mention that copyleft licenses make it much harder to build proprietary products". Well maybe we should start with understanding there might be a difference between building products and making a biz model around them vs. the licensing of said products.
With Red Hat hitting the milestone of $1 billion in revenue I think we can put to rest the question, "can you make money with open source?" Certainly Red Hat has some proprietary licensed products, but the crux or their business model is based on restrictively licensed, copyleft software. Red Hat invests an enormous amount of developer time to give back to the community... And apparently they are not suffering for it. Apparently this isn't too complicated for them. And apparently the bottom line is doing just fine, thank you.
4. Restrictive licensing doesn't matter in Cloud
If anything the rise of "Cloud Computing" drives the need for an updated approach to restrictive licensing. This was the real motivation behind creating the AGPL. Why is this? It's because traditionally restrictive licensing kicks in when the software is delivered. In web services you get data, but not software (in any form).
(Secret: data is more valuable than code )
5. You can't build a business on restrictive software
Jeremy Allison has clearly articulated why the GPLv3 is essential for the commercial Samba marketplace to thrive. He talks about symmetry providing a necessary level playing field (and he spoke about this recently).
Evan Prodromou has built the StatusNet business on AGPL'd software and is selling the Decentralized Social Web into Enterprises.
Work with Me
So whether or not the GPL is in decline (or not) only scratches the surface of the how the FLOSS revolution has transformed information technology in the past 20 years. I bet the that Story of Data in the next 20 years will tell us that symmetric collaboration is the big win.
Ultimately the key thing is to remember that permissively licensed software is also Free Software.
Real World Clojure
Here you can download my presentation:
- as PDF: real-world-clojure.pdf
- as source (org-tree-slide): real-world-clojure.org
- as source (org-tree-slide with images): software-passion.zip
I'm very impressed at the organization and quality of the content at Software Passion -- a first time conference. Clearly the organizers have appealed to the innovative voices in Sweden's academic and entreprenueal communities.
And, of course, the best part of any conference is the "hallway track" and Software Passion has a lot of interesting geeks!
With Software Passion
Today I arrived in Göteborg, Sweden to take part in the first ever Software Passion conference.
I had a great time tonight at the Speaker's Dinner and look forward to the conference tomrrow.
I will post slides from my talk Monday here on my blog (along with other links/resources).
Comments on FaiF 0x22
I have some comments on today's episode of Free as in Freedom: 0x22: Elder's Methods of FOSS Activism. Obviously you should listen to it (and add FaiF to your favorite podcatcher. You will be the forth listener! ). This oggcast is the first in a series from the first Legal Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM which Karen, Bradley, Richard Fontana and I organized.
I think Bradley was critical of Ambjörn's talk not enumerating all the collaboration that has taken place in the FLOSS community. To be fair Ambjörn himself said he had tried to enumerate various examples (and has 196 or so pointers on his blog ... see thepage for blog links). Karen makes the point that it is precisely these sort of events where we can learn about activisim across a broad range of our communities.
I appreciate Ambjörn's view that we can develop and use various norms and legal tools to help promote Internet Freedom generally, but sometimes activism is necessary to educate and move public policy (e.g. the SOPA protests). Indeed we seem increasingly under threat of being limited to walled application gardens or even being literally firewalled from the open Internet.
The key takeaway, I believe, is we need to collaborate more between Free Software, Open Source, Free Culture and broader Internet Freedom communities generally. In a conversation with Mike Linksvayer after the DevRoom session we discussed the challenge from a FLOSS project level of designing the licensing of software and non-software artificacts such that both could evolve together over time. This is a tricky issue which involves "or later" (plus licensing) versions and software/non-software licensing compatibility. We shared the observation -- apropos to Ambjörn's talk -- that many humanitarian or otherwise public activisim efforts often don't make FLOSS part of their agenda (and, in fact, may not even be aware of it). We need to do a much better job at this collaboration and cross-community education.
As for the logistics of the DevRoom allow my to publicly express a mea culpa. I have been to FOSDEM before and I know how challenging it is to fit "a 20lb conference in a 10lb bag" (as @spot said). I knew that 30 minute sesssions would be short... We had so many great proposals that I was happy to hear from as many as possible. However it is true that this was ultimately too short and the format did not adequately allow for Q/A, discussion, time to change DevRooms and setup for the next speaker. And I especially want to apologize to anyone who was waiting outside the DevRoom that I steadfastly refused to let in . I didn't want the FOSDEM volunteer organizers to have the University withdraw support for future conferences due to violating fire codes.
I hope everyone will be able to check out theof the talks as they become available. And, yes, we'll hopefully get a bigger room and plan for more discussion time next year!
Inbjuden tillbaks till hemlandet: Sverige
Det är en ära för mig att ha blivit inbjuden att tala på konferensen Software Passion i Göteborg, Sverige. Det här är en stad med en mer än tusenårig historia och ett område (byn Forsheda) från vilket min gammel mormor en gång utvandrade till USA för över hundra år sedan. Jag hoppas kunna lära mig lite svenska innan min resa.
This will be an exciting challenge for me because I realize that most of my public speaking in the past few years has been very much in a FLOSS context. The program at Software Passion shows quite a diversity of technologies and topics -- including proprietary technologies that I know little about. In my talk I will cover some of the great fun I've had with the Clojure programming language. Therefore I will consciously make a point to highlight the importance of "standing on the shoulders of giants".
The productivity I have enjoyed would not be possible without the stack Free Software I count on, including, but not limited to:
- Clojure Contrib libraries
- The noir web framework
- The leiningen dependency management and build tool
- The Redis database
- The Jenkins continuious integration server
- And, of course, the bedrock of it all: Debian GNU/Linux
Several years ago I was able to travel to Norway on a project I had with the electric vehicle company Think Global. I was able to visit my aunt in Oslo and get very close to the border of Sweden while working at the car factory in Aurskog. Indeed many of the engineers I worked with were Swedes who commuted across the border each day.
My great-grandmother, Olga, immigrated from Sweden to the United States around 1900. She was from a fairly well-to-do family in Fosheda. After some careful investigation we learned that she had fallen in love with a servant, but couldn't marry him due to family pressure. A few years later after her mother died she came to the USA with her "little brother" and started a new life here. She was studying nursing in Boston when she was asked to accompany the Minneapolis Postmaster's wife back home on the train.
Much earlier than the "personal ad" era Olga mysteriously found my great-grandfather, Andrew, within 3 days of arriving in Minneapolis and married him soon thereafter (the Swedish mafia? ) . This is the background on my Nordic roots in Minnesota.
I realize that for non-Americans the obsession with immigration history seems a little silly. I'm proud of my mixture of German, Danish, Swedish and Bohemian roots. And I'm especially excited to finally set foot in Sweden!
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