My updated GPG keys: 0x61AFA27B


I have just updated my GPG keys.

The fingerprint is: 0x61AFA27B

And my public key is:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
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=mauj
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

You can check my keys at any of the key servers. Here are two:

a) https://keys.fedroraproject.org

b) https://pgp.mit.edu

I am updating my keys to 4096 bits and that is the reason for doing it now.

You can also use keybase.io if you prefer – this still has my previous key, and it will be updated to the new one.

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Seeking a board seat at OpenSource.org


I’ve stepped up to be considered for a seat on the Board of the Open Source Initiative.

Why would I want to do this? Simple: most of my technology-based career has been made possible because of the existence of FOSS technologies. It goes all the back to graduate school (Oregon State University, 1988) where I was able to work on a technology called TCP/IP which I was able to build for the OS/2 operating system as part of my MSEE thesis. The existence of newsgroups such as comp.os.unix, comp.os.tcpip and many others on usenet gave me a chance to be able to learn, craft and make happen networking code that was globally useable. If I did not have access to the code that was available on the newsgroups I would have been hardpressed to complete my thesis work. The licensing of the code then was uncertain and arbitrary and, thinking back, not much evidence that one could actually repurpose the code for anything one wants to.

My subsequent involvement in many things back in Singapore – the formation of the Linux Users’ Group (Singapore) in 1993 and many others since then, was only doable because source code was available for anyone do as they pleased and to contribute back to.

Suffice to say, when Open Source Initiative was set up twenty years ago in 1998, it was a formed a watershed event as it meant that then Free Software movement now had a accompanying, marketing-grade branding. This branding has helped spread the value and benefits of Free/Libre/Open Source Software for one and all.

Twenty years of OSI has helped spread the virtue of what it means to license code in an manner that enables the recipient, participants and developers in a win-win-win manner. This idea of openly licensing software was the inspiration in the formation of the Creative Commons movement which serves to provide Free Software-like rights, obligations and responsibilities to non-software creations.

I feel that we are now at a very critical time to make sure that there is increased awareness of open source and we need to build and partner with people and groups within Asia and Africa around licensing issues of FOSS. The collective us need to ensure that the up and coming societies and economies stand to gain from the benefits of collaborative creation/adoption/use of FOSS technologies for the betterment of all.

As an individual living in Singapore (and Asia by extension) and being in the technology industry and given that extensive engagement I have with various entities:

I feel that contributing to OSI would be the next logical step for me. I want to push for a wider adoption and use of critical technology for all to benefit from regardless of their economic standing. We have much more compelling things to consider: open algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc. These are going to be crucial for societies around the world and open source has to be the foundation that helps build them from an ethical, open and non-discriminatory angle.

With that, I seek your vote for this important role.  Voting ends 16th March 2018.

I’ll be happy to take questions and considerations via twitter or here.

This is quite a nice tool – magic-wormhole


I was catching up on the various talks at PyCon 2016 held in the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon last month.

There are lots of good content available from PyCon 2016 on youtube. What I was particularly struck was, what one could say is a mundane tool for file transfer.

This tool, called magic-wormhole, allows for any two systems, anywhere to be able to send files (via a intermediary), fully encrypted and secured.

This beats doing a scp from system to system, especially if the receiving system is behind a NAT and/or firewall.

I manage lots of systems for myself as well as part of the work I at Red Hat. Over the years, I’ve managed a good workflow when I need to send files around but all of it involved having to use some of the techniques like using http, or using scp and even miredo.

But to me, magic-wormhole is easy enough to set up, uses webrtc and encryption, that I think deserves to get a much higher profile and wider use.

On the Fedora 24 systems I have, I had to ensure that the following were all set up and installed (assuming you already have gcc installed):

a) dnf install libffi-devel python-devel redhat-rpm-config

b) pip install –upgrade pip

c) pip install magic-wormhole

That’s it.

Now I would want to run a server to provide the intermediary function instead of depending on the goodwill of Brian Warner.

 

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur 2012


It is wonderful to see the Fedora Users and Developers Conference kick off in Kuala Lumpur today, May 18 2012. The plan was for me to attend, do a keynote and also pitch a talk for the barcamp. But, Murphy was watching how everything was coming together and pulled the rug from under me on Wednesday. I experienced what I found out later to be “tennis calf”

The symptoms were 100% spot on; felt something hit my calf followed by a pull. Quickly arranged to visit a sports doctor and he advised me about what needs to be done and recommended that perhaps I should not travel for the next two to three days. Bummer. I was so looking forward to being among the Fedora community flying in from Europe, Australia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc.

Among the things I wanted to talk about at FUDCon KL was the following:

  1. A demo of the plugable USB2.0 docking station that turns a Fedora 17 machine (server, desktop, laptop – does not matter) into a multi-seat Linux environment. I bought a pair from Amazon. I received it on Wednesday (shipped to Singapore via vpost.com.sg) and it worked exactly as stated – plug the USB to the laptop’s USB port, have a VGA monitor, USB keyboard and mouse plugged into the docking station, and viola, a fresh GNOME login screen. Amazing. You can even do an audio chat and watch streaming video via this setup. Really good stuff and kudos to the developers for main streaming the code into the Linux kernel and working with the Fedora devs to make this workable out of the box on Fedora 17.  What was really amazing from my point of view was the this works even when a machine is booted from a Fedora 17 LiveCD/USB. While this would suggest that the idea of the K12LTSP project is no longer needed, I think there are clear areas where they complement.
  2. My journey in OpenShift.redhat.com. I wanted to share my learnings about OpenShift and Git and all the associated stuff. More importantly, the fact that OpenShift is a technology that is being used for a 24-hour programming contest in Singapore called code::XteremeApps was important to share as well to encourage international participation in the contest.  I am hopeful that this blog post will trigger interest.

I guess all is not lost. The show has to go on and I am glad to have facilitated a lot of it.  But the main kudos has to go to the Malaysian Fedora Ambassadors who managed to pull this off in the 8 weeks when they were awarded the hosting rights!

Microsoft’s “open technology” spinoff


While I would like to stand up and cheer Microsoft on them setting up the “Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc”, I am not convinced that they are doing this in good faith.

Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, said in 1991 – 21 years ago – that

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

only to have all of that conveniently forgotten years later when they themselves started patenting software and suing people all over. These are the kinds of actions taken by a company who cannot innovate or create anything that is new and valuable.  It is also the same company whose CE goes around saying things like:

“Linux violates over 228 patents, and somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property,”

Too many of these statements and blatant lies from a company that has lost its ethical compass. This is the same company that is now pro-CISPA even after backing down from being pro-SOPA. Do read this statement from EFF about what’s wrong with CISPA.

Never mind all that. Clearly, Microsoft sees money in FOSS. It is business as usual for them in creating their new subsidiary.

If they are really serious about FOSS being part of their long-term future, I am sure they will be reaching out to many people in the FOSS world to join them. Thus far, all I have seen is a redeployment of their internal, dyed-in-the-wool MSFTies.

I think Simon’s commentary on the plausible reasons for Microsoft setting this new entity up is a good set of conspiracy theories, but I think Simon gives Microsoft too much credit.

What does it take?


I am an organizer of a programming contest that will be using some really cool technologies (HTML5, Python, OpenShift, just to name three). This will be a contest open to anyone but we would need whoever takes part to be in Singapore for the duration of the contest.

This contest will also involve children 12-years and below (in their own category using Scratch as the tool) as well as an open category covering everyone else.

This contest covers the entire gamut of users – children (the next generation coders), cool technologies, innovation, solving society’s problems).

What I would like to do is to find a way to have the President of the Republic of Singapore to be the guest of honour to present prizes to the winners when the contest is all over. President Tony Tan, in his earlier career, we a champion of education (as Minister of Education), headed up the National Research Foundation (as champion of innovation and entrepreneurship) and is the current patron of the Singapore Computer Society.

My challenge is that everyone I talk to says that “inviting the president is hard; too much protocol; too many security related issues etc”. Really? Is it so hard to invite the head of state to be the chief guest of an event focusing on things that he had championed earlier in his career?

Please tell me how I can cut to the chase and get him as the Chief Guest. Anyone? I will send an email to him directly, but I shall put this request out in public now.

Cool tech tip


Saw this on identi.ca feed:

“@climagic youtube-dl -q -o- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zscrs94_pFc | mplayer – cache 1000 – # Watch youtube streaming directly to mplayer”

So, do yum install youtube-dl mplayer on your Fedora machines, then you can pull in youtube videos with the youtube-dl command and then pipe it (the “|”) to the video player, mplayer and watch it immediately. No need for a browser and this is really cool.

Naturally, if all you wanted was to download the youtube video and keep a copy, just use youtube-dl [URL].

You can replace mplayer with vlc as well so the one above would look like this:

youtube-dl -q -o- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zscrs94_pFc | vlc

Change and Opportunity


Change and evolution are hallmarks of any open source project. Ideas form, code gets cut, repurposed, refined and released (and sometimes thrashed).

Much the same thing happens with teams of people.  In the True Spirit of The Open Source Way, people in teams will see individuals come in, contribute, leave. Sometimes, they return. Sometimes, they contribute from afar.

Change has come to Red Hat’s Community Architecture and Leadership (CommArch) team.  Max has written about his decision to move on from Red Hat, and Red Hat has asked me to take on the leadership of the group.  We have all (Max, myself, Jared, Robyn, and the entire CommArch team) been working hard over the past few weeks to make sure that transition is smooth, in particular as it relates to the Fedora Project.

I have been with Red Hat, working out of the Asia Pacific headquarters based in Singapore, for the last 8 years or so. I have had the good fortune to be able to work in very different areas of the business and it continues to be exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

The business ethics and model of Red Hat resonates very much with me. Red Hat harvests from the open source commons and makes it available as enterprise quality software that organizations, business big and small can run confidently and reliably. That entire value chain is a two way chain, in that the work Red Hat does to make open source enterprise deployable, gets funnelled back to the open source commons to benefit everyone. This process ensures that the Tragedy of the Commons is avoided.

This need to Do The Right Thing was one of the tenets behind the establishment of the Community Architecture and Leadership team within Red Hat. Since its inception, I have had been an honorary member of the team, complementing its core group.  About a year ago, I moved from honorary member to being a full-timer in the group.

The team’s charter is to ensure that the practises and learnings that have helped Red Hat to harness open source for the enterprise continues to be refined and reinforced within Red Hat.  The team has always focused on Fedora in this regard, and will continue to do so. We’ve been lucky to have team members who have had leadership positions within different parts of the Fedora Project over the years, and this has given us an opportunity to sharpen and hone what it means to run, maintain, manage, and nurture a community.

The group also drives educational activities through the Teaching Open Source (TOS) community, such as the amazingly useful and strategic “Professors Open Source Summer Experience” (POSSE) event.  If the ideas of open source collaboration and the creation of open source software is to continue and flourish, we have to reach out to the next generation of developers who are in schools around the world. To do that, if faculty members can be shown the tools for open source collaboration, the knock-on effect of students picking it up and adopting is much higher. That can only be a good thing for the global
open source movement.

This opportunity for me to lead CommArch does mean that, with the team, I can help drive a wider and more embracing scope of work that also includes the JBoss.org community and the newly forming Cloud-related communities.

The work ahead is exciting and has enormous knock-on effects within Red Hat as well as the wider IT industry.  Red Hat’s mission statement states: “To be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.”

In many ways, CommArch is one of the catalysts. I intend to keep it that way.

Now all machines at home are on Fedora 15!


I spent 30 minutes this morning upgrading my sons’ laptops to Fedora 15. I used a Fedora 15 LiveDVD (installed on a USB) that I had created that included stuff that the standard Fedora 15 LiveCD does not because of space. Tools like LibreOffice, Scribus, Xournal, Inkscape, Thunderbird, mutt, msmtp, wget, arduino, R, lyx, dia, and filezilla. I’ve thrown in blender and some games into the mix as well.

The updates of the systems went super quick (20 minutes to first boot) and then on to Spot’s Chromium repo:

  1. su –
  2. cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
  3. wget http://repos.fedorapeople.org/repos/spot/chromium/fedora-chromium.repo
  4. yum install chromium

Following that, on to rpmfusion.org to get the free and non-free setup RPMs to get to the tools that are patent encumbered and otherwise forbidden to be included in a standard Fedora distribution.

  1. yum install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm
  2. yum install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
  3. yum install vlc
  4. yum install thunderbird-enigmail

[Update, June 19, 2011 0050 SGT] Based on the comment from Jeremy to this post, I’m updating the instructions]

The last bit is flash from Adobe – the 64-bit version:

  1. wget http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashplayer10/flashplayer10_2_p3_64bit_linux_111710.tar.gz.
  2. tar xvfz flashplayer10_2_p3_64bit_linux_111710.tar.gz
  3. cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/
  4. chmod +x /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so

Installing a 32-bit version of Adobe Flash for a 64-bit Fedora installation:

  1. Go to http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Flash#Enabling_Flash_plugin
  2. Installing a 32-bit wrapped into a 64-bit version
  3. ln -s /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so /usr/lib64/chromium-browser/plugins
  4. These steps should be sufficient for flash to be enabled for both Firefox and Chromium

Once done, restart your browser and you will have flash enabled.

Yes, I am aware that I’ve had to compromise and load up non-free software. It is less than ideal and I am looking forward to GNU Flash maturing as well as MP3 and related codec getting out of patent.

Printer/cups tip


Every time I update the OS on my laptops, I have to add the CUPS printer settings for the in office systems. It used to be that there was an internally usable RPM to do this, but I always thought that it was not really a clean enough solution.

So, this post is more of a reminder to myself that all I need to do is the following:

echo “BrowsePoll cups.server.domain.com” >> /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

service cups restart

And, viola, like magic, the printers get discovered and all is well. Nice.

Open Source Java all the way


I am really pleased to see that the IcedTea project doing so well that for all the sites that need Java enabled in the browser, icedtea is more than sufficient.  It used to be the case that I needed to download from java.com the RPMs for my installations before I could get access to http://www.dbs.com, http://www.cpf.gov.sg and more importantly, for my sons, http://www.runescape.com.

I’ve just moved to the latest Fedora 15 on my Dell Vostro V13 laptop and my well-worn practise, check that I could get access to DBS, CPF and runescape. And they all worked.

How does one know if Java is installed on the machine?

Start the browser (Firefox or chromium), type in “about:plugins” in the URL section.  On Chromium, you will see among other plug-ins, a section that says:

IcedTea-Web Plugin (using IcedTea-Web 1.0.2 (fedora-2.fc15-x86_64))

The IcedTea-Web Plugin executes Java applets.
Name: IcedTea-Web Plugin (using IcedTea-Web 1.0.2 (fedora-2.fc15-x86_64))
Description: The IcedTea-Web Plugin executes Java applets.
Version:
Location: /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.6.0-openjdk-1.6.0.0.x86_64/jre/lib/amd64/IcedTeaPlugin.so
MIME types:
MIME type Description File extensions
application/x-java-vm IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.1.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.1.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.1.3 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.2.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.2.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.3 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.3.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.4 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.4.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.4.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.5 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;version=1.6 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-applet;jpi-version=1.6.0_50 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.1.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.1.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.1.3 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.2.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.2.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.3 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.3.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.4 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.4.1 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.4.2 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.5 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;version=1.6 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-bean;jpi-version=1.6.0_50 IcedTea
.class .jar
application/x-java-vm-npruntime IcedTea
.
If that section does not show up, you do not have Java enabled for the browser. In which case, in Fedora, for example, you can choose the Add/Remove Software option, search for icedtea and install it. Once the icedtea is installed, you should restart your browser in order for the browser to pick up the new plug-in. That’s it. Open source Java FTW!

Cloud for Academics


I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak from both a Red Hat and an open source presective about cloud technologies to the academic community in Malaysia.  

Clearly there is a lot to convey and I am hopeful that they have an appreciation that they can and are welcome to participate in cloud-related projects.  I hope that they’ve understood that projects such as Delta Cloud and related projects that they could direct their students (undergrad orgrad) to participate.  
For the benefit of all, here are some links that would be good to explore:
I was also asked about what Red Hat does for academics and was a prefect shoe-in to introduce both POSSE and Red Hat Academy.  Hopefully I will be run a POSSE in Malaysia really soon.

NASA’s inaugural Open Source Summit


I missed the live streaming of the NASA OSS Summit but it is mostly all captured and available on ustream.tv.  These are the links to the recordings:

Day One:

Day Two:

And a great post on OSDC.

Enjoy.

Taking the higher ground


I am disappointed with the kinds of ad hominem attacks being made at the person from the PAP who is being labelled as the PAP’s youngest candidate to be introduced this time around.

It is one thing to comment on how the MSM covered her introduction with a “Ring”-like photo on the front page – the criticism is about how the MSM made the classic editorial mistake of a bad photo, and it is another to do character-assassination which seems to be what is being done. Give the lady a chance. Everyone deserves a chance. Yes, even though I will never vote PAP, I will still want to hear them out.  I am sure she has some sincerity and clearly would want to serve. She says that she has been working on the ground in the Ulu Pandan area for 4 years. Kudos to her then.

The vitriol that is being made is with regards to her husband being the principal private secretary to Lee Hsien Loong (the Prime Minister). That there is nepotism and/or cronyism in play could be a fair comment; but that is a field that is well oiled with the ruling party, so one should not be surprised.

The scenario that would will disappoint my fellow citizens will be if she is grouped in the GerrymandeRed-Constituency-scheme and that GRC does not get contested. In that case, she walks into parliament without being actually voted in.

Remember – in 2006,  only 34.27% of all voters VOTED for the PAP who went on to get 97.6% of seats in parliament! An unaccountable parliament could again be in place in 2011.

So, let’s take the higher ground. Let’s show the world that Singaporeans are fair and passionate people.  See Cherian’s post on this topic.

Unfiltered feed from Al Jazeera


If you are running Fedora or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you can watch the raw feed from Al Jazeera using this script:

======>8=====cut here=============
#!/bin/sh
rtmpdump -v -r rtmp://livestfslivefs.fplive.net/livestfslive-live/ -y “aljazeera_en_veryhigh” -a “aljazeeraflashlive-live” -o -| mplayer –
======>8=====cut here=============
Save the preceding into a file called for example, aljazeera.sh and change the permissions to x (chmod +x aljazeera.sh) and then you can run it as ./aljazeera.sh
Enjoy.

Virtualization and the Internet


I had the privilege of speaking to a great group of network operators as part of the South Asian Network Operators Group conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from Jan 11-18, 2011. The topic I spoke on was entitled “Virtualization and the Internet”.

This is what thought leadership is an example of!


I am pleased to see this note by Michael Tiemann, President of Open Source, Inc.  As 2011 opens up, I would not be surprised to see the CPTN Holdings LLC, begin to play the game that their founders want – to go after people, groups, projects that might infringe software patents. It is universally agreed that software patents are an abomination (and by someone no less than Bill Gates). I am troubled that all of this maneuvering will continue to confuse and complicate FOSS development.

Interesting to see me quoted


I was pleasantly pinged by someone who said that I was being quoted in an article saying: “The best moment for me was the launch of Fedora 14 (and subsequently Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) Enterprise 6) along with the deltacloud.org efforts,” wrote Harish Pillay in the TuxRadar comments, for example. “They augur well for 2011 and beyond.”


Well, it is true.  DeltaCloud is very critical so that corporates will not be straddled with the “mother of all lock-ins”. I cannot emphasize that enough. As more entities contemplate moving more of their operations to the cloud, it is crucialthat the cloud service provider provides a fully documented means to ETC (Exiting The Cloud).

National Convention for Academics and Researchers, Hyderabad, India


I had the distinct privilege of attending and speaking at the National Convention for Academics and Researchers 2010 in Hyderabad on December 17 and 18 2010. The event was held at the Mahindra Satyam Technology Center, an enclave of low-rise building that helps one get away from the horn-tooting noise of a typical Indian city. The settings were a pleasant park-like environment.

I arrived at the location at about 10:30 am on Friday Dec 17 and I was greeted by the nice cool weather (I reckon with a daytime temperature of about 20C).  There were about 4 low-rise building housing the conference auditoriums.  I particularly like the fact that those buildings were named after legendary Indian centers of learning like Nalanda  and so on.  Interestingly, I am not able to located a map that shows the names of those buildings (and the Mahindra Satyam website is horribly broken when viewed on Chrome but OK on Firefox).
I participated in a few of the talks, with my own contribution during the FOSS and Education session (sadly, there are no online references to the session – the site has not been updated; probably will never be). For what it’s worth, here’s my presentation.
I spoke for about 15 minutes and touched on POSSE, TOSW and threw out an invitation to the audience (90% of whom where faculty) to consider participating in a future POSSE to be run in India and thence to help run POSSEs themselves.  All I can say is that I have an overwhelmingly positive response and I think we have our collective hands full in making this happen in 2011 in India.
We need to urgently figure out how to scale POSSEs in 2011/2012 and I am inclined to look at the TEDx model to ensure consistency, quality and value.

FOSS.in Day 2 and feeling sick! Really sick!


Day two of the very last FOSS.in started a little late for me.  I was developing a cold, a really bad cold.  The one thing I always carry with me when I travel is vitamin C.  This time, I completely forgot it (all my fault, not The Wife’s). I have found that if I take at least 1000 mg daily, when I travel, I am functioning well and given the usual timezone challenges etc, I do not fall sick.  But that was not the case this time.

I decided that I will take a slow start to day two and fortunately, my colleagues in Red Hat India had arranged for interviews with a couple of journalists in the morning.  That suited me fine.  This meeting was to be a the Oberoi Hotel at 10:30 am, I found my way to the place well ahead of time (not wishing to be stuck in traffic for no good reason).  It was good that I did this, as the cold that was developing was really getting to be annoying and I was really glad that the concierge (a Mr Amit) at the Oberoi offered me at no cost a couple of paracetamol tablets. I took that with a couple of cups of hot tea with ginger and honey and I was slowly beginning to feel better, just in time for the journalists.
All I can say is that it was nice to be able to chat with the journalists, who, thankfully, understood Red Hat and it’s business, which gave me then the time and energy to explain why nurturing and growing the open source community is just as critical and foundationally important for the long term growth of the commercial open source business like Red Hat.
The interviews were over by about noon and that allowed me enough time to fight the noon Bangalore traffic and arrive at the FOSS.in venue by 1:30 pm.  After gulping down a nice vegetarian lunch (I guess all they had there was vegetarian lunches), it was time to proceed to Hall C for the Fedora MiniConf.
I must say that I was really pleased to see a number of people (40 perhaps) who began to fill out the auditorium, which I think is the smallest of the three auditoriums a the centre.  Rahul Sundaram, the team leader of the Fedora Ambassadors in India, kicked off the session and invited Amit Shah to speak about Fedora Virtualization: How it stacks up.  I enjoyed Amit’s talk and learned a few things about kvm which was nice considering that Amit is a core contributor to KVM! His talk was followed on by Aditya Patawari who spoke about “Fedora Summer Coding and Fedora KDE Network Remix“. The contents were good but I think Aditya needs to do a little less pacing on the stage for it tends to be distracting. A key lesson from Aditya’s talk, to me, was the need to greater modularization of packages without a massive penalty in the metataging of the package system.
The third talk, IMHO, was the most fun for me. As someone who has been spending most of his editing time using vi, with the occasional foray into emacs, this talk, by SAG Arun, entitled “Exploring EMACS in Fedora – tips and tricks, packaing extensions” was indeed refreshing. I think I shall now make the $EDITOR in my machine to be emacs instead of vi!
I realized that the GPG keysigning that I wanted to run was not going to happen (as I had only gotten one participant) and that my cold, that was being held back by the earlier paracetamols and ginger/honey tea, was now coming back with a vengeance.  Added to that, I now had to catch a flight to go to Hyderabad for another event – the National Convention for Academics and Researchers. So, reluctantly, I had to cancel the GPG keysigning. The next time then!
I got into the car and arrived at the really nice Bangalore Airport and when I got out of the car, there was a clear and distinct chill in the air which caused me to shiver. And boy was I shivering.  It has been a long time since I felt that bad, and it did not help that the temperature outside was around 16C and all I had on was a t-shirt and jeans and a really bad cold.  I am not sure if the shivering was due to the cold or to a fever which I felt I was having. I managed to make my way through the customary security and checked in and found a pharmacy.  The on-duty pharmacist recommended a fairly strong medication (in the form of tablets) that contained both paracetamol and anti-histamines. All for 200 rupees. Nice. That was OK but I really wanted to know if I was running a fever and asked the pharmacist if she could just take my temperature.  What she said was that “that would be considered a out-patient and we will have to charge you”. Huh? Just the temperature, ma’am. Nothing more. I told here, “that’s fine. I will figure this out”.
As the flight I was taking to Hyderabad would not be serving any meals (hey it’s a budget airline), I figured that I better get some grub in before taking the medication and the flight. The airport’s offerings of food was nice, the environment really posh (yes, I am a sucker for well laid out airports) and it made for the miserable cold/shivering situation a lot better to manage.
The flight on Jet Airways, was on time and arrived into Hyderabad about 1.5 hours later, again on time. Nice flight, nothing spectacular.  All I could feel was that the cold was making me feel weak and tired.
I did not know what I was to experience at Hyderabad Airport – it’s my first trip there. This was a spanking new airport! What a pleasant welcome for a weary traveller. Like the Bangalore airport, this Hyderabad airport is also built
on land some 30-40 km away from the city center and accessible via a set of multi-lane highways. Nice.  Eventually, about 1.5 hours after arriving into Hyderabad airport, I was safe in the hotel and took a quick shower and crashed out. I needed to get out of this cold/flu/crappy feeling. Sleep will help.

FOSS.in day 1 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 launch


FOSS.in in Bangalore (their Xth edition and allegedly their last), started off “in true FOSS.in style” – an hour late [this was what the MC said at the very beginning and is not an editorial comment from me.]

I listed to Danese Cooper, CTO of Wikimedia Foundation, deliver the openin keynote and I did learn a significant amount of details about Wikipedia.  Here are some nuggets:
  • Wikipedia is the 5 largest site on the planet in terms of traffic
  • They have about 450 servers serving out the Wikipedia pages
  • The data center is Tampa, Florida and in Amsterday, Holland.
  • They are looking for a 3rd data center somewhere in Asia – possibly in India or Singapore (any takers, National Library Board perhaps?)
  • They have about US$20 in revenue mostly from sponsorship and donations 
  • Are fiercely independent and are not looking for help or funds that can be construed as being biased
  • Have optimized their MySQL instance as well as many other tweaks to make the site extremely responsive.  As an aside, I think they are not even using Akamai for content caching.
  • When their site goes down for any reason, they will get calls from BBC, CNN etc as Wikipedia has become a key resource.
Danese’s talk lasted about 45 minutes followed by a lively Q&A session.  Watch the video when I get a chance to post it.
The FOSS.in day 1 was a good time to connect up with a whole lot of new folks.  OLPC’s Manusheel Gupta, an independent technologist, Arjuna Rao Chavala, Wikimedia’s Alolita Sharma and Eric and a whole slew of Fedora volunteers (for the Fedora Miniconference happening on Thursday).
The next talk I attended talk “Hardware Design for Software Hackers” by Anil Kumar Pugalia.  I thought it was a good talk focusing on using only open source tools (like avr, kicad etc) to create hardware that can then be fabricated and deployed.  It was a fun talk I felt.
 
Took a break from all of these talks and went over to Hotel Leela where Red Hat India was holding the launch event for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.  It was nice to see the RHI folks there. They had in excess of 1,100 registrations to attend the event and if we give a 50% attrition rate, that was still a number greater than the capacity of the ballroom.  So to a packed audience, Red Hat’s story was told in 4 parts and I think it was an overall success.
Looking forward to day two of FOSS.in

Participate in this info-comm survey


I think this survey, being run by the Nanyang Technology University and the Singapore Computer Society could use responses from across the world, not only Singapore.  So, please consider participating and making this survey results useful. Although I am not directly involved with the survey per se, I will post results from it here on this blog (and yes, I am trying to get the raw data on a CC-license).

GPG Keysigning at FOSS.in 2010


I will be attending the FOSS.in event from December 15-17 in Bangalore, India.

As part of the Fedora participation at the FOSS.in, I will be running a GPG keysigning party.

This will be the first time I am running a GPG keysigning event and I am following it all on the experiences of Matt Domsch and documented here.

For the FOSS.in session, please ensure that the following is adhered to (again, adopting the good work from Matt):

How To Participate (BOLD is mandatory, ITALICS is optional):


a) You need to pre-register for this.

b) If you do not already have a GPG keypair, get one done.

c) You may choose to add your USERNAME@fedoraproject.org ID into your key pair.

d) Submit your key before the keysigning party to subkeys.pgp.net keyserver. To submit, you will need your KEYID from your keyring. Run the following command:

gpg --list-secret-keys | grep ^sec

which in my case will return:

sec   1024D/746809E3 2006-02-20

What you need to do is to take the portion after 1024D and submit that to the keyserver.

e) To submit your KEYID, you need to execute the following command:

gpg --keyserver subkeys.pgp.net --send-keys KEYID

Make sure you replace the word KEYID above with the actual key.

f) Once the KEYID has been successfully submitted, email me your key fingerprint using the following command:

gpg --fingerprint KEYID | mail -s " key" harishpillay@fedoraproject.org

Just Before FOSS.in (all the following steps are mandatory)

a) If you did pre-register (ie, your emailed me the info requested above), please print out your key fingerprint ONCE and bring it along.

b) If you did not send it ahead of time, you might have to print out multiple copies of your key fingerprint. One copy per person at the keysigning party.  I cannot confirm how many there will be but do watch this blog for that number.

c) To print out your fingerprint, you can use the tool “gpg-key2ps” (found in the pgp-tools RPM – “yum install pgp-tools”).

gpg-key2ps KEYID > YOURNAME-key.ps

will generate on one page the fingerprint of your key. This document, YOURNAME-key.ps can be viewed using evince or if you prefer convert to a pdf using the ps2pdf command.

d) Run md5sum and sha1sum on the foss-in-keysigning-fingerprints.txt file.  The file, foss-in-keysigning-fingerprints.txt will be generated shortly before FOSS.in and you will be notified by email of it’s availability. Print out the results of running both the commands and bring along that piece of paper to the meeting.

e) Bring along a government-issued ID with a photo of yourself in it. This document can be a passport, a national ID card or a driver’s license. It is very important that this document has a photo of yourself that is relatively recent and that this document is government issued.

In summary, right before the kesigning event, you will have two pieces of paper (one with your key fingerprint and the other with the md5sum and sha1sum results of the foss-in-keysigning-fingerprints.txt file).

At the Keysigning Event

Since I am asking for people to pre-register, you will find the needed files on http://harishpillay.fedorapeople.org/foss.in/. We will be READING out thees values in the file to confirm match.

Post Keysigning

Once the values are read out, you will need to do the acutal signing of keys. For this, we will use “CA – Fire and Forget” tool called caff. Caff will be able to do bulk signing of keys and will then send off email  to all those whom you have confirmed. The recipients will then need to retrieve their signed key, import into their gpg keyring and also upload to the keyserver subkeys.pgp.net.

Please watch this space for the exact time and location of the GPG Keysigning event.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 launch in Singapore


Red Hat is launching the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 6, on December 3rd 2010 in Singapore at the M Hotel, Anson Road.  It starts at 9 am.  I would be sharing the RHEL 6 overview, features and roadmap.  Sign up here.

Agenda 

 

Time Programme
8.00am – 9.00am Registration & Welcome Snacks
9.00am – 9.15am Welcome Address
9.15am – 10.00am RHEL 6: Overview, Features, Roadmap

This presentation will provide an overview of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 product, covering product goals, new features and capabilities, and packaging. The presentation will be useful for CIOs and IT managers who wish to learn about this new, industry leading operating platform and how it can help them achieve their enterprise computing goals.

10.00am – 10.45am Cloud Infrastructure Matters: Virtualization, Linux and more

Virtualization is the foundational technology for cloud computing, but it is also an important technology in its own right for achieving operation efficiencies in a modern datacenter. Virtualization helps organizations expand their IT capabilities and simultaneously lower capital and operational costs. We will explore key functionality and use cases for server and desktop virtualization. We will also discuss how you can build a virtualization architecture using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and lay the groundwork for both internal and external Clouds using Red Hat technologies.

10.45am – 11.15am Tea Break
11.15am – 12.00pm PaaS, Present and Future: The Essentials for Building, Hosting, Integrating & Managing JBoss Applications in the Cloud

The ability to develop applications, seamlessly integrate them with existing heterogeneous environments and deploy them to a cloud infrastructure is what makes Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions so attractive. But, the benefits of rapid time to market, increased flexibility and lower costs are not guaranteed. How you design and implement the solution is critical.

Many PaaS offerings introduce a new, proprietary application development environment. Others deliver a PaaS based only on simple developer frameworks, limiting choice and application portability. When evaluating offerings, it’s important to consider portability and interoperability in both development and deployment, support for the programming models you choose to employ, the breadth of the middleware reference architecture, and the availability of tools to assist you throughout the entire application life cycle – from development through management.

In this session we’ll cover the essential requirements for Platform as a Service, and discuss how you can leverage Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Middleware today to build, host, integrate and manage applications in public or private clouds.

12.00pm – 12.30pm Red Hat Training and Services: Real-World Perspectives

Enterprise businesses across a variety of industries and sectors rely on Red Hat training and consulting services to address their critical business demands. Learn more about Red Hat’s enhanced training programme, which upskills IT professionals with the knowledge and proven hands-on skills to optimize the performance of Red Hat technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

12.30pm –12.45pm Question-And-Answer Session

 

Singapore files contradiction to the ECMA/MS OOXML proposal


It was an interesting evening today. As I arrived home at 6:30pm, I got a call from the chairman of the ITSC Council, saying that he had been hounded on the phone today by the rep from MS Singapore about the ITSC submitting a contradiction. Chairman told the MS rep that they should have participated in the XML WG earlier considering that the ITSC Council and a group of MS folks met to discuss the OOXML stuff on Jan 17th.

At that meeting, which I attended as well, the MS reps were informed that they should consider participating in standards activities and specifically in the XML WG and they agreed wholeheartedly.

As things panned out, they never did participate and at the last moment, probably getting wind that Singapore is going to file a contradiction, they asked for a session with the ITSC Council Chairman and the chairman/vice-chairman of the WG.

Council chairman made it clear that this is not the way standards processes work but we will make an exception and offered that we hold a conference call.

So at 6:50 pm SGT, we called in. The call had the ITSC secretariat, Council chairman, myself and two(?) persons from MS. The XML WG chair/v-chair could not attend as they had prior commitments and, in any case, they have already submitted their recommendations to the ITSC Council. It is the ITSC Council that can decide to modifiy, not submit or submit as is.

During the call, the MS rep was trying to suggest that he had spoken on the phone with the WG chair and suggesting that the WG chair was unclear as to what a contradiction meant and was apparently thinking that this was a balloting process, etc etc. The ITSC secretariat clarified that there was no misunderstanding and the report as presented to the council by the WG was specific about contradictions.

Then I asked the rep to help me understand what, in his words and from the MS angle, a contradiction would be.

He said that it would be something contradicting any existing ISO standard. I then suggested to him the date/time standard ISO 8610 is contradicted by OOXML. I explained what the problem is and then, quickly, he changed his definition to one of implementation. He tried to talk techie – “if you define date as an integer etc” – but I countered with a full on techie talk saying that the usual C libraries handle dates correctly but not OOXML on the same platform … . He did not pursue it further.

I made it clear to him that all we are filing is, a contradiction, and by his definition, the OOXML contradicts a pre-existing ISO standard.

Also, even if there was no other contradictions, the fact that there is only one is sufficient grounds to file a contradiction if we are to fulfil our ISO obligations.

He then went on to say that Singapore need NOT to be so rash as to put up a contradiction and that all of these can be resolved during the 5 month ballot period. I suggested that there is no reason Singapore should not file a contradiction when there is a clear one and, further, Singapore now has an opportunity to be an active standards community member. What could be so bad about that? We are not filing something that is incorrect. If the contradiction is trivial, then the ISO can resolve it before moving on to the 5 month ballot period. All we are doing is to respond to the ISO request.

He tried various other means to delay – “can we get an independent 3rd party to help define contradiction”[1], “no other country has filed”[2], “can we wait till tomorrow to file”[3] etc.

[1] The fact that Japan has filed and they are not exactly an English speaking country, what then for English speaking Singapore in understanding what “contradiction” means?
[2] List of countries – Canada, UK, Germany etc.
[3] The ITSC secretariat was not entirely clear what time the filing would be considered closed and I suggested that if we use midnight Feb 5 GMT/UTC, then we have until 8 am tomorrow SG time to resolve anything. What if the timing is wrong? What happens if we miss the close and we fail to file? As it turned out later, the closing time was 5 pm US EST, which is 6 am SGT February 6, 10 pm UTC.

He was basically trying to buy time until we miss the deadline. Council chairman was firm about this, repeating many times, that talking with a vendor for a standard at this late stage is an unusual situation and that the ITSC has gone over and above to accommodate a vendor’s request. In any case, since the WG has recommended filing contradictions, it will be so unless the vendor has some really convincing point which Council chairman made clear to the rep that there was none.

Case closed – at 7:55 pm. A whole hour of what was essentially begging!

Someone’s KPI is not going to be met!

What fun!