2015 Dev-Jam: Day Two

I should mention that so far the weather in Minnesota has been outstanding. Highs in the low 80s (mid-20s for those of you in the rest of the world) and low humidity.

Too bad I spend most of my time indoors.

When we did our first Dev-Jam back in 2005, we learned a lot. The main issue was that people have different schedules, so being able to come and go whenever was important. That also applies for things like meals. While we strive to be together as a group for dinner (which often involves catering or pizza), everyone is on their own for breakfast and lunch. Since we want to cover all the expenses for the conference as part of the conference, we usually find some way to give people money to spend on food and sundries.

At UMN they have something called “Gopher Gold” which allows students to use their access card to buy things on campus. This works really well, but the problem is that if the funds are not used by the time the conference is over, they are gone. This usually resulted in a mad dash to the student store on the last day.

This year I got the idea of getting a custom pre-paid debit card. With the artistic talents of Jessica, we came up with Kiwi Kash:

Dev-Jam Kiwi Kash

So far it has worked out pretty well.

Day Two of Dev-Jam, for me, was spent working with a client. We don’t stop support during this week and I needed to get one of our customers up on Meridian. As it is a migration and not an upgrade, it took a little longer than usual, and we had to do some database optimization which took longer than I would have liked.

Everyone else, however, seemed to be having a lot of fun. Jesse did a presentation on some of the graphics work he’s been doing.

Dev-Jam Jesse Presentation

This includes the OpenNMS integration with Grafana as well as a new library written in Javascript to generate RRDtool-like graphs. This will help us get graphing into Compass as well as other things.

In the evening we all went to see the Minnesota Twins lose to the Chicago White Sox. The Twins are now 1-3 on OpenNMS Project night (sigh).

Dev-Jam Twins Sign

But everyone seemed to have a good time. I spent part of the evening trying to explain the game to the Europeans, and the stranger behind me pointed out I was doing it wrong, but still is was a great night to be outside with friends.

Dev-Jam Twins Gang

2015 SELF – Day Three

After a rather active night on Saturday, Day Three of SELF was more sedate. I took some time to take pictures.

As a sponsor we had a room named after us, which was cool:

SELF OpenNMS Classroom

The project booths/tables were set up in the hallway around the meeting rooms. There was a table staffed by Google:

Google at SELF

and I was able to get a “Google Cardboard” kit which I plan to review a bit later. The Ubuntu folks were there as well:

Ubuntu at SELF

and Spot was there representing Red Hat with his 3D printer. Mini-Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy seemed a popular choice.

Spot at SELF

Overall, while this conference wasn’t as heavily attended as, say, SCaLE, the average knowledge of the attendees was much higher and we had some great conversations. The people who stopped by the booth seemed genuinely interested in learning about OpenNMS versus gathering swag, although we managed to give most of the stuff we brought away.

OpenNMS Booth at SELF

Since we were monitoring the show network, we decided to leave when the number of associated devices dropped below 60, which turned out to be about an hour before the show was supposed to end. I always feel bad if I leave early, but we’ve been pretty slammed lately, so being able to get home a couple of hours early was nice, and now I have next year’s show to look forward to as well.

2015 SELF – Day Two

Day Two of SELF was a bit of a whirlwind. While I love going to conferences, “booth duty” can sometimes be a bit tiring, but for some reason the time just seems to fly at this conference.

Speaking of booths, I got to stop by the Rackspace table. I have a soft spot for Rackspace since they were our first major customer at OpenNMS and if it weren’t for them we probably wouldn’t be here.

They have a reputation for hiring top-notch people, and at the show they have a little “break/fix” challenge. You are given ten minutes to complete eight tasks, and like Spinal Tap the score goes to eleven.

I was a little disappointed with my score of seven, but I can always claim I was distracted by a couple of people coming by to say “hi” while I was taking the test. Not that it would have made any real difference, but what is a day without at least one good rationalization.

I asked Jesse to give it a shot and he score a more respectable nine, and I didn’t hear of anyone getting it completely right, but it was fun to do.

Monitoring the SELF Network

Speaking of fun (well, if you are a network management geek) we set up some more data collection on the show network. We added graphs for the number of people connected to each SSID, as well as the max and average association time between devices and APs. It was cool to see a dip around lunch time as a number of people left to get food, and then it came back up as they returned.

I often talk about how important it is to not only be able to collect data about the network but also to understand why the data is what it is, and it was cool to be surrounded by other geeks who liked to look at the output from OpenNMS and to understand it.

SELF Cards Against Humanity

That evening there was a social gathering sponsored by Linode. I was able to hang out until a little after midnight and everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was the obligatory Cards Against Humanity game going on, and it was one of the largest I had seen. Not sure the game play works that well with so many people but those playing seemed to enjoy it.

2015 SELF – Day One

As I am fond of mentioning, I really like regional Linux conferences. This weekend we are proud to be a Platinum sponsor of the SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) which is being held at the airport Sheraton in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Usually the first day consists of classes with the weekend reserved for presentations, but this year my talk was on Friday afternoon. As I’ve been suffering from a sore throat for about a week, this worked out well, since I doubt my voice will make it through Sunday (hard to believe, I know).

I did my “Open Source is Dead” talk from SCaLE with a few revisions, and I was happy that only one person had seen it before. I made a few changes to the slides (Red Hat’s market cap is up a few hundred million from February and I removed my slide promoting the OnePlus One handset since I can no longer recommend them due to horrendous product support). I think the talk was well received. Christine Hall from FOSS Force wrote about it and even included my “Ché Stallman” graphic in her post.

OpenNMS Booth at SELF

We have a booth staffed by Jesse and Jessi (and me), and it’s right next to the GlobalVision table. GlobalVision is providing the network for the show and they are also a VoIP service provider. They had a cool phone from Ubiquiti. It looks like a sleek executive phone:

Ubiquiti Phone

but what’s cool is that it is based on Android. They’ve replaced the default phone app with a SIP client, but otherwise it is similar to any other Android device, and so it can do things like play YouTube videos:

Ubiquiti Phone and YouTube

Day One was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Hats of to the organizers, including Jeremy Sands, who needed a little break come Friday afternoon.

Jeremy Sands Napping

2015 Users Conference and Bad Voltage Live

Just a quick post to let everyone know that registration for the 2015 OpenNMS Users Conference Europe is now open.

As in past years we’ve opted for a four day format. The main conference will happen on Wednesday and Thursday, and will feature presentations from OpenNMS users from around the world on how they use the software. It will also have the usual “State of OpenNMS” keynote which will cover a lot of the new shiny that has been recently added to OpenNMS.

If you want a more in-depth look into the new stuff, come a day early as on Tuesday we will offer a full day of advanced training, including the Grafana integration, Newts, and the Minion distributed poller architecture.

For those of you new to OpenNMS come on Monday and I’ll personally try to squeeze a week’s worth of training into a single “Bootcamp” day. I’ll be sure to hit all of the concepts you need to get started with OpenNMS.

We have been having the OUCE conference for several years, and this will be the third year the conference has been organized by the non-profit OpenNMS Foundation. You can find information about last year’s conference as well as the one from 2013 on the website.

Since this is the third year, we thought it would be cool to bring in three fourths of the Bad Voltage team in to do their second ever Bad Voltage Live show, which I’m kind of thinking is more like “Bad Voltage: European Vacation“. We’ll be missing Bryan Lunduke, at least in person, as the next iteration in the Lunduke family is expected that week (plus, I think he secretly hates me) but Jeremy, Stuart and Jono will be there to deliver their own special brand of open source and technology commentary and humour.

And there will be beer.

The conference is not free, but it is reasonably priced and it is the main way the Foundation is funded. The Bad Voltage show is open to anyone, not just conference attendees, but since space is limited we did ask for a token 5€ registration fee which is cheap at three times the price (okay, twice the price). And did I mention there will be beer? The Bad Voltage team will be in Fulda for the entire conference, so for conference attendees there should be ample opportunity for you to meet the guys outside of the show.

We are also working on a live stream so that those of you who can’t make it can still watch, and as before it will be posted it to the YooToobz for posterity and maximum embarrassment.

Hope to see you at the OUCE, and if you missed the first Bad Voltage Live show, here it is:

OpenNMS at TMForum in Nice, France

Just a quick note to mention that OpenNMS will be at the TeleManagement Forum conference this week in Nice, France.

Dr. Craig Gallen, our lead with the TMForum, is working with Microsoft and others on a “catalyst” (basically, a working demo) called “Multi-Cloud SDN-NFV Service Orchestration“.

OpenNMS has positioned itself as a platform versus an application, and so it can respond quickly to changing technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). We are happy to be working at the TMForum with such great companies to demonstrate how we can monitor these emerging technologies.

Free Frontalot Concert at OSCON Sponsored by OpenNMS

Hey. Lots to catch up on in this post, but the TL;DR is that the OpenNMS Group is hosting a free concert to coincide with this year’s OSCON conference in Portland.

(Please read to the bottom to see how this ties in with the EFF and Ulf)

It will be held Thursday night, July 23rd, at Dante’s, which Google Maps describes as a “Hip, dungeonlike rock venue”.

Map of Dante's and OSCON

Lookie there – we’re “hip”.

The Concert (note how I capitalize it because it is just that epic) will feature MC Frontalot along with his band. This will be the first time I’ve ever gotten to see a Front show with the band (thus “epic”) and I’m really looking forward to it.

And just to throw a little whipped cream and a cherry on top of this huge nerdy/geeky sundae, the opening act will be the Doubleclicks. Yes, you read that right, Angela and Aubrey will be there bringing their unique brand of nerd-folk to the same stage as the man who invented nerdcore rap.

And did I mention it is free? Doors open at 8pm, show starts a little after 9pm.

Plus, for you free and open source software fans, there might be a little extra surprise. Be there to find out what it could be.

Now, the long version on how this all came about.

Chris Dibona once said that his job was to give money to his friends. While our budget here at OpenNMS doesn’t come close to his, I did take his words to heart and we strive at all times to support the FOSS community.

I consider part of that community to be the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). If it wasn’t for the EFF defending a free and open Internet, open source would have a much harder time existing. Usually we give a fairly large donation at the end of each year to support them.

Last year I didn’t. To be honest, 2014 kind of sucked for me for a variety of reasons, and we really weren’t doing well enough to support a donation.

A few months ago I got introduced to Chad Essley. He is the animator behind the MC Frontalot video for the song “Shudders”. While I had yet to meet him, he shared my love of the EFF’s work and decided to auction off some of the artwork from that video and to donate the proceeds. The “grand prize”, if you will, was to have a special remix of “Shudders” made to include some new artwork. Since 2015 is going much better than last year, we decided to bid on that prize and we won, so now I can present the new and improved “Shudders”, which includes everyone’s favorite kiwi, Ulf.

Note that about 1:25 minutes in you can see a pretty accurate rendition of the OpenNMS headquarters.

Anyway, I really enjoyed working with Chad, and I found out he lives in Portland, Oregon. Portland is also the usual venue for the O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON). While OSCON has definitely become much more focused on the latest Valley fads over FOSS, it is still the one place I can be sure to see all of my FOSSy friends each year, so I never miss a chance to go. Now I can add Chad to the list of people I get to see.

Then it dawned on me – why don’t we do a little guerrilla marketing and host a show? Thus after all the swag laden Docker parties are over, people can come by and enjoy some geek-centric music in a cool place.

So I approached Frontalot about doing a concert and, again, since we’re doing better this year, I felt we could spring for the whole band. He agreed, and then used his powers of persuasion to get the Doubleclicks on board. Dante’s is also helping us out, so be sure to come out and buy lots of beer in appreciation.

If you are new to the Doubleclicks, as I was, this is one of my favorite songs of theirs:

The show is open to everyone, so you don’t need an OSCON pass to attend. But I’ll be wandering around the OSCON Expo floor handing out some goodies that are just for conference attendees. I’ll post more when it gets closer to the date, and I’ll tell you how to find me.

I am extremely excited that we are able to do this. It promises to be a great time.

POSSCON 2015

POSCONN (or the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference) is a regional conference held every year in Columbia, South Carolina. It dawned on me that I travel too much, because when I mentioned to a neighbor that I spent some time in Columbia, she paused and then asked “oh, it’s almost winter down there”. I had to explain that I meant the Columbia that is three hours away and not the Columbia in South America.

I really like regional grassroots open source conferences, but for some reason I was never able to make POSSCON. This year I decided to change that and OpenNMS was even able to sponsor it.

Sponsor Sign

POSSCON is organized by IT-ology, a non-profit dedicated to promoting technology careers for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. I think they must know what they are doing since they really know how to organize conferences (they are also responsible for All Things Open held in Raleigh, North Carolina, each October).

We piled five of us into the Ulf-mobile and drove down Monday night. Ben came along even though Tuesday was his birthday, so we decided to go out on Monday night to celebrate. There are a number of highly rated restaurants in the downtown Columbia area, and with my penchant for vintage cocktails and Ben’s taste for whiskey we decided on Bourbon. It was a wonderful evening and for his birthday we bought him a flight of Pappy Van Winkle, an incredibly difficult to find bourbon. The verdict: it is worth the hype.

Pappy van Winkle bottles

The show officially started on Tuesday and spanned two days. The first day consisted of roughly hour-long talks like most conferences. Where it differed was that the talks were held in different buildings around downtown Columbia. While it made it a little harder to jump from one venue to another, the weather, for the most part, was good.

The opening keynote was held at the Music Farm. As a sponsor we had a table which was also in the auditorium and I really liked that. One of the issues with having any sort of booth is that they are often set off in a side room. If you have booth duty you can’t see any of the presentations, and traffic between presentations is light. This way we had some down time during the presentations and yet got a lot of foot traffic in between them. Seemed to make the day go faster. The mayor of Columbia spoke and claimed to be the only mayor in America who was into open source, but I know of at least one other mayor, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, who attends these shows (I should disclose that the City of Portland is an OpenNMS customer). I didn’t want to bring it up though, ’cause this is a good thing to be proud of.

POSSCON Keynote

My presentation on the Linux Desktop was held at the Liberty Tap Room (‘natch) and while it was cool, it wasn’t the best place for presentations. The projector screen was dim (more useful for sports broadcasting at night then for tech talks in the middle of the morning). During one talk I had to listen to the Miller Lite truck idling on the road outside the door as the driver made his delivery.

Mine was the last one of the day, but I wanted to check out the venue so I went early and stayed for a talk on open source licensing (by one of the other sponsors) and one by Jason Hibbets of opensource.com fame.

I thought the presenter of the law talk was pretty brave discussing licensing with Bradley Kuhn in the room, but while I enjoyed the talk I could tell it was over the heads of most of the audience (you have to have lived it to really enjoy the finer aspects of the GPL and enforcement). I liked Jason’s talk, which I had not seen before, on the tools and processes they use at opensource.com to build community.

Jason Hibbets

Toward the end of the day I saw a talk by Erica Stanley on open source and the Internet of Things. It was good but due to the lack of a sound system it was hard to hear everything. I presented after her and didn’t have that problem (grin).

I think my talk on using the Linux Desktop went well. Now three years after leaving Apple I’m still using it and still loving it.

Tuesday evening there was a reception back at Music Farm followed by a speaker/sponsor dinner held at Blue Marlin. Ben, Jess and I ended up at a table with Bradley Kuhn, Erica Stanley and Carol Smith from Google. We talked briefly about the Google Summer of Code. OpenNMS was involved for several years, but these last two years we were not accepted. Last year I was told it was because they wanted to give other projects a chance, and this year, to be quite frank, I don’t think our proposals were strong enough. Instead of complaining like some projects, I am hoping this will motivate the team to do better next year. I think GSoC is a wonderful program and I wish it was around when I was in school, as both the pay and work environment would have been better than the hours I put in at a non-air-conditioned plastic injection molding plant (although I will say the experience motivated me to finish my degree).

Wednesday’s format was a little different. Everything was held at the IT-ology offices, which was good since the weather was rainy all day. It was made up of workshops, and I did two and a half hours on OpenNMS. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Overall, it was a great conference. Over 800 people registered and I think they all got their money’s worth. It was also a great way to market Columbia (I know we spent some money there). It has made me look forward to this year’s All Things Open conference (note that the Call for Speakers is open).

OpenNMS at POSSCON, 14-15 April

#NotAprilFools

I love the fact that with the possible exception of OSCON (which has blacklisted me as a speaker for some reason), the main open source conferences all tend to be grassroots, regional affairs. I love going to them and find them to be much better than the commercial and corporate shows.

One I have never been able to attend is POSSCON. Although only one state away, my schedule has not worked out to allow me to go. I’ve heard a number of good things about it, so this year I was determined to attend and The OpenNMS Group is even a gold sponsor.

We will have be a booth where you can come by and see the new OpenNMS shiny, and I will be giving a talk on the first day about switching to the Linux Desktop, and on the second day there will be a workshop on using OpenNMS.

Hope to see you there.