Dev-Jam 2008 – Day 4

Things are really rolling now. We’re heading toward the 10,000th subversion commit since we migrated from CVS last year. That’s a lot of code changes.

I spent the day working on 1.6.0 bugs, and things look on track for a 1.5.94 release toward the end of next week.

For dinner, our perennial Dev-Jam sponsor Papa Johns Pizza stepped up with some free pie. I’ve written about Papa Johns before – they have sold more than US$1 billion in pizza over the internet and for most of that time have used OpenNMS to manage their network.

Plus, I think they make great pizza. Before you flame me, I’m not trying to compare their product with the handmade, oven fired pizza I had in Naples or your favorite pie from the neighborhood pizzeria, but for a large company their product is pretty darn tasty and consistent. They sent one of their Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato pizzas today and it is very nice.

Hats of to Chris in Louisville for getting it approved and Ray in Atlanta for arranging everything.

While I’m thanking sponsors, let me send a shout out to Chris and Leslie over at Google (second year in a row they’ve been a sponsor) and to Adam at NetRegistry in Australia who also helped make Dev-Jam happen this year.

Stupid HTTP Collector Tricks

I’m not sure why I like the HTTP Collector in OpenNMS so much. Probably it is because I’ve been struggling for 20 years to get custom data via SNMP and it is just so darn easy to write it to a text file, stick the text file the in webroot of the system’s web server, and then use HTTP to access it.

HTTP is TCP-based, usually on port 80, and most firewalls will allow it, so it is often easier than dealing with SNMP. Plus since there is so much data out there on web sites it can be fun just to grab it and graph it.

I blogged about this once before with my weather station.

Recently DJ asked me how many people were on the various OpenNMS Mailing Lists. I sent him to the Mailing List Summary page on Sourceforge and I mentioned that it looked like our numbers had gone down a little. He said “wouldn’t it be cool if we could track it” and the HTTP Collector immediately came to mind.

If you ever decide that you would like to monitor Sourceforge, be forewarned that they really don’t like port scans or high levels of requests, so I was sure to configure OpenNMS to only gather the data infrequently. This is not a problem since in the week I’ve had the collector running they only updated the values once.

So here is a nice collection of “stupid HTTP collector” tricks which should show off the various things one can do with it. Click on the link to visit the wiki page with the details.

The first is the collection of Sourceforge Mailing List Stats, which results in a graph like this:

I just realized that it might be cooler to store this as a counter instead of a gauge and just graph the deltas, but I’m going to leave it as is for now.

The second is a graph of the major US Stock Index Values over the last couple of months. Sad, I know.

Remember that you can always set thresholds, etc. for data collected this way, although I don’t think I’d base my future day trading aspirations on a system where the data is naturally latent (the website doesn’t update in real time).

Finally, here is an eBay Auction Price example. This is taken directly from our Basic Training Class (so those of you coming in September know where to go to cheat).

While these were created pretty much just for fun, the HTTP collector is a pretty useful and serious feature and it is just another way that OpenNMS can easily integrate data from diverse sources.

Dev-Jam 2008 – Day 3

Dev-Jam is more than half over, and things seems to be going well. At least we’ve fixed the issues with Rock Band synchronization by moving the Wii to the projector from the plasma television (which apparently isn’t fast enough to keep up).


I spent the day working support and doing triage on the outstanding 1.6.0 bugs. We have around 80 issues to address, but many of them are simply contributions from the community that need to be tested and committed.

We did get the unpleasant surprise of a Sourceforge svn maintenance last night which put us out of commission in the evening. Everything seems to be up and running now.

Dev-Jam 2008 – Day 2

The second day of Dev-Jam went smoothly enough. Everyone has settled in and gotten their development environments sorted. I’ve been running around in my role of cruise director as well as trying to keep our customers happy this week, but I managed to get a little bit more documentation done on the wiki.

In the afternoon Coté spent a couple of hours on Skype with a few people who came out for the conference. I’ll post a link when he gets the podcast up on his site. I was hoping he’d get to talk with everyone, but he was asking enough great questions that we just ran out of time.

It turns out that Monday was DJ’s 30th birthday, so we all went out to a churrascaria up near Marietta. I just think it is so cool that he spent such a landmark birthday with us instead of people he cares about (wide grin).

Dev-Jam 2008 – Day 1

Dev-Jam 2008 is officially underway. Monday morning I gave my “State of OpenNMS” speech, and then turned it over to Matt.

Since last year’s conference we’ve had ten releases of OpenNMS. This was mainly due to Ben’s repackaging of the application into the distro-specific bits (that rarely change) and the main Java code. Ben is an amazing packager (he is an admin with the fink project) and this took our release cycle from two days to about two hours. The best part is that anyone can build their own packages, since OpenNMS doesn’t require commercial packaging tools like Bitrock.

Speaking of releases, next week we hope to release 1.5.94 which will be the release candidate for 1.6.0. If all goes well, we should have a new stable by the end of August. We are then hoping to start work on 1.8 which will focus on capsd and notifications. The goal is a six month, focused release cycle.

We also took care of some overdue business by awarding two people their green polo shirts. Alejandro Galue joins us from Venezuela, and he has worked quite a bit on our thresholding system. Craig Gallen hails from the UK (although he is Irish) and has been instrumental in our work with NGOSS. He has also attended all four Dev-Jams. While they both were inducted into the OGP last year, I wasn’t able to get their polos made until now (I have to do some special stuff with Lands End to get the proper color green).

I then spent a lot of time chatting about the future direction of the application, as well as updating the team on some of the more private aspects of the project. While The OpenNMS Group provides financial support for OpenNMS, it is the OGP that is responsible for its governance, and even though we are open source that doesn’t mean we do everything publicly (grin). There are some amazing things on tap for the next year.

I then turned it over to Matt and we started setting up the projects to work on during the week. We’re using a format similar to barcamp, and we’re tracking it on the wiki. I’m focusing on writing the new OpenNMS book, which is also available on the wiki.

It looks like it is going to be a great week.