CategoryFree and open source software (FOSS)

This category broadly covers any and all topics to do with free and open source software (FOSS). Topics include software, open source, sustainability, community management, experiences from specific communities, contemporary issues, and more.

CHAOSScon EU 2020: play by play

CHAOSScon EU 2020 took place on Friday, 31 January, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium (the day after Sustain OSS 2020):

Learn about open source project health metrics and tools used by open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their community work. This conference will provide a venue for discussing open source project health, CHAOSS updates, use cases, and hands-on workshops for developers, community managers, project managers, and anyone interested in measuring open source project health. We will also share insights from the CHAOSS working groups on Diversity and Inclusion, Evolution, Risk, Value, and Common Metrics.

chaoss.community/chaosscon-2020-eu/

This is my second time attending CHAOSScon. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent our engagement with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and the Innovation Fund. For CHAOSScon EU 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about effective metric collection strategies for open source communities and also get a deeper understanding of the technology behind GrimoireLab.

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Sustain OSS 2020: quick rewind

The 2020 Sustain Open Source Summit took place on Thursday, 30 January, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium:

Sustain Summit events are led by a facilitator. There are no keynotes, talks, or sponsor demos. Your undivided attention is required. Phones and laptops should not be used throughout the day and you will be asked to put devices away if they are a distraction to you or anyone else.

When we talk about sustainability, we are talking both and equally about the sustainability of resources and the sustainability of its people. We hope you can join us for the conversation.

sustainoss.org/summit-2020/

This is my second time attending Sustain OSS (see my 2018 event report). I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent the sustainability efforts at the RIT [email protected] initiative, but also to represent myself as an individual and sustainer in the open source movement. For Sustain OSS 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about community-first governance models. I left with a lot of notes and the first blueprints for Principles of Authentic Participation.

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DevConf CZ 2020: play by play

DevConf CZ 2020 took place from Friday, January 24th to Sunday January 27th in Brno, Czech Republic:

DevConf.CZ 2020 is the 12th annual, free, Red Hat sponsored community conference for developers, admins, DevOps engineers, testers, documentation writers and other contributors to open source technologies. The conference includes topics on Linux, Middleware, Virtualization, Storage, Cloud and mobile. At DevConf.CZ, FLOSS communities sync, share, and hack on upstream projects together in the beautiful city of Brno, Czech Republic.

devconf.info/cz/

This is my third time attending DevConf CZ. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps for professional development, before a week of work-related travel. DevConf CZ is also a great opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from across time zones. This year, I arrived hoping to better understand the future of Red Hat’s technology, see how others are approaching complex problems in emerging technology and open source, and of course, to have yummy candy.

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Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

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HPC workloads in containers: Comparison of container run-times

Recently, I worked on an interesting project to evaluate different container run-times for high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. HPC clusters are what we once knew as supercomputers. Today, instead of giant mainframes, they are hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of massively parallel systems. Since performance is critical, virtualization with tools like virtual machines or Docker containers was not realistic. The overhead was too much compared to bare metal.

However, the times are a-changing! Containers are entering as real players in the HPC space. Previously, containers were brushed off as incompatible with most HPC workflows. Now, several open source projects are emerging with unique approaches to enabling containers for HPC workloads. This blog post evaluates four container run-times in an HPC context, as they stand in July 2019:

  • Charliecloud
  • Shifter
  • Singularity
  • Podman
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Write more accessible Markdown images with this one simple trick

Sometimes the people we exclude are the ones we did not realize were there. Screen readers are an essential tool for blind and visually-impaired people to use software and browse the Internet. In open source projects and communities, Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to format text. It is also used in many other places. Often you need to embed an image into whatever you are writing (a picture, a diagram, or some useful visual aid to get your point across). One of the lesser-known and used features of Markdown are alt tags for images.

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TeleIRC v1.3.1 released with quality-of-life improvements

On April 20th, 2019, the TeleIRC development team released TeleIRC v1.3.1, the latest version after the final development sprint for the university semester. This release introduces minor improvements in order to accommodate heavier work-balance loads on our volunteer contributors. However, it gave us an opportunity to reduce technical debt. This blog post explains what’s new in TeleIRC v1.3.1 and also offers a retrospective into how this last sprint went.

Special thanks and appreciation goes to Tim Zabel and Nic Hartley for their contributions this release cycle.

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Roadmap for TeleIRC v1.4

The RITlug TeleIRC developer team celebrated the v1.3 release on March 3rd, 2019. Looking ahead, the team is mapping out next steps for quality-of-life improvements in v1.4.

What’s coming in TeleIRC v1.4

TeleIRC v1.4 is the next feature release of TeleIRC. The targeted release date for v1.4 is by the end of April 2019 (i.e. the end of the academic semester for students involved with the project). Following v1.4, the project will likely enter brief hibernation until Fall 2019 when the RIT academic semester begins again.

At the developer meeting on March 23rd, we discussed the scope of this sprint and what we felt is realistic for project maintainers to work on:

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TeleIRC v1.3: Developers map out next release

On Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, the TeleIRC community in Rochester, NY held the first developers’ meeting. Starting this month, weekly meetings are held to discuss blocking issues and plan ahead for the future of the project. Current project lead Justin W. Flory met with Tim Zabel and Nic Hartley to finish planning the v1.3 milestone for TeleIRC. Notably, this marks the next feature-release of TeleIRC since v1.2 in October 2018.

Read on to learn more about what’s coming in TeleIRC v1.3.

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Why did Fedora Modularity fail in 2017? A brief reflection

For the ISTE-430 Information Requirements Modelling course at the Rochester Institute of Technology, students are asked to analyze an example of a failed software project and write a short summary on why it failed. For the assignment, I evaluated the December 2017 announcement on Fedora Modularity. I thought it was an interesting example of a project that experienced initial difficulty but re-calibrated and succeeded in the end. And it is a project I am biased towards, as a Fedora user and sysadmin.

I thought sharing it on my blog might be interesting for others. Don’t read into this too much – it was a quick analysis from a single primary source and a few secondary references.

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