Archive for August, 2005

OpenNMS 1.2.4 Released

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Gang:

It is my pleasure to announce version 1.2.4 of OpenNMS. We are now in the process of creating packages for 1.2.4, and they will be available for download within the next 24 hours.

This is a maintenance release of OpenNMS, and we have taken great care to insure that it doesn’t introduce any new issues while providing bug fixes and a few, new, small features.

Probably the biggest new feature is the ability to use a URL parameter in the HTTP and HTTPS discovery plugins. This way you can discover and poll non-root URLs for those services that live in a sub-directory from the web root directory. This has been in the poller for some time – I’m not sure why it was not in the capsd plugin.

Also, for those of you that generate notifications on SNMP traps, you are now able to include the triggering event description in a notice – saving a lot of time cutting and pasting. The %descr% tag is all you need to put in the notification description now (if you like).

There are a number of new data collection configurations. Some of you have been using the 64 bit “HC” counters for those circuits that are very active. We now collect on them by default. Note that if you have a large number of interfaces, this will add two new .rrd files for each interface and may impact polling speed and disk space accordingly (only worry about this if you are doing data collection on thousands of interfaces). If you don’t want them, simply edit the datacollection-config.xml file and take them out.

Full release notes are available here:

https://sourceforge.net/docman/display_doc.php?docid=27506&group_id=4141

We have now been invited to host a booth at the .org Village at LinuxWorld Expo in the UK this 5-6 October.

http://tinyurl.com/bmt39

This will be our first conference trip outside the US, and I hope that those of you in Europe will be able to attend.

If you like OpenNMS and use it in a production environment, please consider purchasing OpenNMS commercial support and/or services.

http://www.opennms.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=26

Note that as part of a support contract, we’ll upgrade your configuration files for you. (grin)

We also have a wishlist on Amazon:

http://www.opennms.org/wiki/index.php?page=WishList

In another great open-source tradition, we’d love it if you send us a postcard:

http://www.opennms.org/index.php/WallOfCards

Thanks again for being a part of the OpenNMS community.

Mambo – Not the Dance

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

When I was at LinuxWorld Expo, I was able to meet Mitch Pirtle of the Mambo development team (they won the award for Best Open Source Solution) and I have been carrying on an e-mail correspondence with Brian Teeman, another Mambo developer and our host at the .org Village at Linuxworld UK. So I felt a more personal connection than normal when the Mambo developers posted a letter to the community.

From what I can understand, Mambo was started by a company called Miro. It managed to attract a large number of developers (larger than our own OGP) who worked outside of Miro, and those developers helped make the Mambo product what it is today. Now there has been a split between the non-Miro Mambo contributors and Miro.

I tried to find a history of Mambo, but the only link I came across via Google on mamboserver.com resulted in “The page you are trying to access does not exist.” Gotta love the revisionist history that is the web.

From what I can tell, Miro wants to retain tight control over the software known as Mambo. It is their trademark and they own the copyright. It also seems that they are moving to a more commercial revenue model, as evidenced by a recent name change.

This split has caused a lot of tension, and I empathize with the volunteers who gave up a lot of time and effort to support the application, and now at the very least seem to be marginalized and at the most, exploited.

I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about how this may impact OpenNMS.

I strive very hard to keep the .org and .com aspects of OpenNMS separate. Except for a small graphic on the right of the web page, we try not to tout that there is a small commercial institution behind the project. The business of the OpenNMS Group is to supply services and support – i.e. we sell time – and not to provide software.

It appears that Miro uses or wants to use the same dual-license scheme that MySQL uses. Since the GPL is based on copyright law, it is possible for a copyright holder to publish the same material under two different licenses. In other words, there can be a GPL’d “free as in freedom” version and a commercial “you pay us for it” version. Thus commercial software products can imbed MySQL, as long as they pay a fee.

This seems to work fine for MySQL, and the database is a nice one. Plus there is lots of good documentation and features that I am certain the commercial side of MySQL helped pay for.

But I have some reservations with the model. It tends to drive away contribution, as any contribution that gets included in MySQL comes with the caveat that MySQL gets the copyright.

With network management, the success of OpenNMS lies in the willingness of the community to add to it, to discuss the best ways for OpenNMS to work, and to tell the development community what’s most important. If the OpenNMS application was commercialized, I would bet that the enthusiasm to contribute would wane. It would make OpenNMS less of a solution than it could be.

It also helps that no one company owns the OpenNMS copyright. Up until version 1.0.0, the copyright was held by Oculan. Almost all of the considerable changes made in the last three years are copyright the OpenNMS Group. And the copyright only exists to keep the program under the GPL (we have no requirement that features added by other parties give up their copyright, as long as they are GPL or LGPL). There is no danger that OpenNMS will be published under a separate commercial license.

I also personally believe in the “spirit” of open source. People are always suspicious of “free” things, and I am constantly confronted by people who claim you cannot be successful if you don’t sell your software. They’ll say “open-source won’t be recognized until there is an open-source billionaire”. I always reply that there already is one: Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com.

The critics always sputter “but he doesn’t sell software”. Exactly. Open-source isn’t about selling software, but it’s about using the best tool for the job, and if Bezos had to buy Windows or Solaris licenses he would not be able to survive on his tiny margins. He would not exist without open-source, and thus I feel justified in calling him an open-source billionaire.

My own thoughts on the open-source community often center around a scene from “A Beautiful Mind”. This movie about the economist John Nash demonstrates some of his theories on cooperation. In the scene I always remember, several young men want to approach several attractive young women in a bar. Nash points out that by working together, they can all be better off than working alone (for details, rent the movie).

That’s the heart of my feelings toward OpenNMS. By having an open and cooperative community, we can all be better off. That’s why all software development done for hire by The OpenNMS Group is done on the Sourceforge CVS. We charge our customers a price they think is fair, and the community as a whole gets to benefit.

I think we are about to witness an interesting experiment with Mambo. Since Miro owns the Mambo trademark, the software that those 20+ developers create will have to be called something else, and six months to a year from now I will be curious as to who has the better product.

My money’s on open-source.

LinuxWorld Expo – Day 3

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

Well, LinuxWorld Expo San Francisco it now over. It was a trip.



For the second show in a row we had more people outside of opennms.com than in it (Thanks to Bill Ayres, Eric Evans and Mike Huot for being our “booth bunnies”).

We have a couple of more shows coming up:

LinuxWorld Expo UK is 5-6 October in Olympia (outside of London) in the UK. This will be our first show outside of the US.

Usenix LISA Conference in San Deigo. The Expo will be open 7-8 December.

Hope to see you all at one of these shows soon.

Linuxworld Expo – Day 2

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

Well, today lacked the excitement of yesterday, but it was still fun. We talked to a lot of people about OpenNMS, and met a lot of interesting folks. OpenNMS seems to not only be the only enterprise-grade open-source out there, but also the only one to combine monitoring, data collection and event management in one coherent package.



We also had the pleasure of a visit from Shane O’Donnell. Shane was the project maintainer before me and he had a lot of kind words and advice for us moving forward.

We Won! LinuxWorld Expo – Day 1

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

It’s been a crazy day at LinuxWorld Expo. The booth was full most of the day, I talked myself hoarse (quite a feat) and to top it all off, we won a Product Excellence Award!


me, Bill Ayres, Matt Brozowski and Mike Huot

We were competing against IBM and Novell among others. It just goes to show you what our community can accomplish.

Thanks again for everyone’s support.