Dev-Jam 007: Days 2 and 3

Sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been pretty crazy around here.

Monday Dev-Jam kicked off in earnest. Robert Hanson passed around the GWT kool-aid, and several coding efforts got underway to use GWT for charts and maps. fastjay and vwdude started implementing a RESTful architecture into OpenNMS so that data could be more easily shared between instances of the application.

On Tuesday I finally got to meet in person someone that I’ve known for several years via e-mail: Ethan Galstad. For those who don’t know, Ethan is the creator of Nagios, one of the first open source management tools and one of the most popular.

Me and Ethan Galstad

Note the shirts.

I was happy to discover that Ethan is as cool in person as he is in e-mail, which is not always the case. In the last couple of years the management space has really taken off, and it was nice to get his take on the emergence of a number of so-called “open source” management options. Both Nagios and OpenNMS have been around for over seven years, so we’ve experienced some of the same issues, although the fame of Nagios far eclipses that of OpenNMS. We’ve both had to deal with trademark issues, as well as how to maintain and encourage a growing community without succumbing to help vampires. We got to chat for about six hours, and the gang probably would have kept him there longer.

Ethan will be coming out to LinuxWorld and I think it would be cool if he happens to be visiting our booth in the .org Pavilion when someone asks the invariable question of “How is OpenNMS better than Nagios?” in a tone that implies we are somehow enemies. They are different tools focusing on different things: Nagios on monitoring in depth while OpenNMS has a broader agenda. It’s all about what works for you.

True open source is a meritocracy, not a marketing exercise. Respect in open source can’t be bought and must be earned, and at OpenNMS we hope to one day have earned the respect that Ethan enjoys. We plan to do that by staying true to the ideals of free software, and we hope by example to show that people can work on free software and make money at it, and not at the expense of the community.