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
Of course the weather being what it is -- winter came in with a bang -- our turnout last night at http://clojure.mn/ was light....
But we had a small, enthusiastic group that discussed the recent Clojure Conj by editorializing the fine blog bost by Logan Linn.
We also introduced the ClojureBridge effort to the group and everyone sees nice synergy between this and our recent success in November with "beginner's night" (which we plan to repeat every other meeting).
As a software development consultant I often co-work at CoCoMSP -- a melting pot of entrepreneurial energy. I have introduced the idea of hosting ClojureBridge at CoCoMSP with the founders and they are considering it (fingers crossed)!
Now we need to recruit more volunteers to help organize our local ClojureBridge Minnesota workshop next spring!
Askhow you can help!
- Presentation as PDF: clojurebridgemn.pdf
Legal Issues at FOSDEM 2014
This is the third year that I've been lucky enough to collaborate with some leading practitioners of Free Software and Open Source licensing and community leadership to organize this intense event on the topic of what makes FLOSS possible and what are the key issues facing FLOSS today. I'm joined by my friends Karen Sandler, Bradley Kuhn, and Richard Fontana.
I have been fascinated by the intersection of law and technology because it is the clever use of copyright that makes Free, Libre and Open Source Software possible. We hope to stimulate discussion on topics such as:
- Copyleft vs. permissive licensing: What is a policy case for copyleft? If so what form should it take?
- How is software freedom important in ensuring privacy and security?
- What defines a Free Software and/or Open Source project?
- Do traditional Free Software values face some level of cooption from for-profit corporate interest? If so, how?
- Copyleft licensing models and how they relate to business models. Are there some business models that are license-permissible but bad for community building? On the other side, does your license choice limit or expand your community?
- Eroding software freedom in the proliferation of closed computing devices such as mobile phones and tablets
- Copyleft enforcement and compliance planning from a developer perspective. What is the future of GPL enforcement? Is it working?
- What is its impact on adoption of copyleft?
- How does the 'so-called' software patent war impact Free Software and Open Source?
- Copyleft license compatibility. What are the challenges of code base merges when various licenses are in use? How does a compatibility analysis between licenses work?
Please submit your talk idea before December 1st and plan to join us in Brussels on February 1st and 2nd!
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).
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