London: Day 6 – Twofer!

The last day of the show was a little busier than I thought it would be, but still pretty slow. I met a couple of interesting people, especially one little boy who fell in love with our dart men handouts. Since I didn’t want to have to haul them back on the plane I gave him half a bag. I let Jeff off at noon so he and Mandy could spend some time together in London, and I myself left around 4pm.

One of my favorite days of the year is when the clocks move back an hour for Daylight Saving Time. I am always wishing I had more time and the 25 hour day is pretty much a dream come true. It turns out that British Summer Time (the UK version) occurs this weekend but the one in the US is next weekend, so this year I get to do it twice.


London: Day 5 – Sign Fail

The second day of the show was much slower than the first, but it picked up a little toward the end of the day. Alan Pope from the Ubuntu-UK Podcast came over and asked if I wanted to talk about OpenNMS.

Silly man, of course I want to talk about OpenNMS. (grin)

Then he told me I had about ten minutes, which caused the other guys in the booth to laugh, since most think I can’t finish telling people my name in ten minutes.

In any case it went pretty well (I thought). It hasn’t been posted yet but I’ll be sure to mention it when it does.

Nasty Cuisine

That evening Dr. Gallen took us out to the West End and Leicester Square where we had a nice meal at a Chinese place (not the one pictured above). It was much quieter than the last time we came down there.

London: Day 4 – Me Tarus, You Jane

Today was the first day of the Linux Live show. The exhibition hours are pretty long, from 10am to 6pm Thursday and Friday, and 10am to 5pm on Saturday. Working a booth can be a bit tiring, so since this schedule is about an hour longer each day than I’m used to I expected to be exhausted by the end of the day.

Jeff, Me, Jonathan and Dr. Craig

Luckily the crowds were much larger than I thought they would be and we were kept very busy. The exhibition opened at 10am and when I first checked the time it was already 2pm.

I also got to meet Jane Curry. She’s an old-school network management consultant who recently reviewed a number of network management products including OpenNMS.

Me and Jane

Although OpenNMS did not come out on top on her list, we were a close second and as we are addressing most of her issues in the new releases I expect that if she re-evaluates it again in a year the outcome will be different.

Speaking of new releases, OpenNMS 1.5.99 is out. The guys back home have been working like mad to meet our 1.6.0 release deadline of next week, and I have a good feeling about this release candidate being the one that makes the grade. Please test it out and give us feedback.

London: Day 3 – Hoogerhuis is a bot

After my insane schedule during my European tour last May I decided to plan for one pretty much “down” day this trip. I needed to catch up on mail and some other projects, and this was also the day that Jeff and his wife Mandy were showing up (Jeff has to work this week but Mandy gets to run around London).

They were pretty tired from the flight, but after lunch Jeff decided to stay up as long as he could to help adjust to the time change. That was cool with me since I needed to run some errands in town.

The first stop was the convention center in Olympia to check out our booth and hang the new banner. I based it on our large booth, and it turned out pretty well (the image is a rather high resolution since it is something like 300 dpi and ten feet long). The geek ghetto at this show was smaller than I was used to and once again we were off in a corner by the restrooms, but hey, that’s how we roll (grin).

On the way we passed the office for Bristol Cars. These are pretty exclusive, hand built English cars, and I got a picture of Jeff in front of the gullwing “Fighter” model.

After we got everything sorted at the convention center we had enough time to run down to Warrs Harley Davidson. I needed to add a London shirt to my collection.

Finally that evening we decided to have a small UK OpenNMS meet up. Alex Finger, who is based in Geneva, happened to be in SAP training near Heathrow this week, so he met up with me, Jonathan Sartin plus Jeff and Mandy. We wandered around Piccadilly Circus but most of the restaurants were very crowded so we ended up in this trendy bar called Revolution. The food and drinks were nice but man it was loud.

Once again Alex Hoogerhuis was supposed to meet up with us but he cancelled. Before I actually met him this happened about three or four times, so much so that we considered him to really be a bot, since we only ever saw him on the IRC channel as “_snd”. Once we got an actual bot in the channel, we christened it “_sndbot” in his honor. Since I am the only one to have met him Jeff still thinks he doesn’t exist.

Maybe next time.

London: Day 2 – Going Native

My second day in London started out as many Londoners do with a trip on the tube.

Craig and I were taking a trip downtown to visit with a large telecommunications company, and the trains were quite crowded. I’m not sure I could do this every day. However, I did feel like a native with my new oyster card:

This is a prepaid card with an RFID chip in it that lets you into and out of the underground quite easily, and it can be the most economical way to use the trains.

After our meeting we had to stop by Kinkos to get a new banner printed, as I learned this year that banners would not be provided as in the past, and then we headed down to the Borough Market area to check on possible facilities to host some OpenNMS training in the near future [Let me know if you are interested].

I wanted to do some sight-seeing, but I had way too much work to do so I went back to the hotel and Craig was off to Southampton.

London: Day One

The GPS tells me I am 3904 miles away from home. The flight was uneventful, although I wasn’t able to sleep on the plane.

I arrived to a pretty grey day in London, and due to traffic it took awhile to get to the hotel. Due to a misconfiguration I thought it was an hour later than it turned out to be, so I raced toward central London for a meeting with Rod Montgomery, thinking I was late. Turned out I was pretty much on time, which was wonderful since I really enjoyed our conversation.

Rod and Me

Rod is the guy responsible for services at Digium. I’ve alway been a fan of that company (just search for Digium or Asterisk on this blog) and it was really nice to meet Rod in person, especially with two hours available to chat versus the hour I thought we had (those who have met me would say that it takes two hours for me to tell you my name).

Digium and OpenNMS share a viewpoint on the issue that open source software should be 100% free and open, and while some would say you can’t make money on a “pure play” open source strategy, it doesn’t seem to have hurt Digium any. There is also a lot of synergy between the two products, and we’re working to make them more tightly integrated.

Jonathan’s Network Operations Center

Speaking of integration, today we can announce that OpenNMS now supports the OTRS open source trouble ticketing system. After Rod and I parted ways I met up with Jonathan Sartin for lunch. Jonathan is an OGP member and he has spent a good part of the last year working on getting the OpenNMS Trouble Ticketing API to talk with OTRS. While the amount of code is not huge, the effort that went in to understanding the SOAP interface that OTRS uses was pretty large. His work resulted in a module that was contributed back to the OTRS project which was released today. The wiki has all of the necessary details.

Me and Jonathan

I then took the tube back to the hotel where I crashed for a couple of hours.

Craig and Me

Dr. Gallen (OGP) showed up about 8 and we went off to a really nice Indian place called Eriki. He’s up in London so we can go and visit a couple of potential clients tomorrow. Should be fun.

Back in the Magic Tube

In just a few short hours I will be an ocean away in London.

Sometimes the chore that air travel can become prevents me from seeing exactly how magical it really is. It is amazingly safe and fast compared to how my grandparents came to this country, and that was less than 100 years ago.

I like international travel. OpenNMS brings people from a large number of countries together through the magic that is the Internet. One forgets just how big this planet can be, and how wonderful its diversity.

See you in the tubes.

Update on Nethinks MONET and OpenNMS

As I wrote a couple of days ago, we were told about a product in Germany that looked heavily based on OpenNMS, although no acknowledgement was given in the article. Since a number of people involved with OpenNMS are German, we set about investigating, and I’m happy to report that it doesn’t appear that there is any license violation going on here.

Alex Finger, one of the OGP, contacted the company and talked with Ronny Trommer of Nethinks. I received this note from Herr Trommer today:

We sell no licenses. We have created a distribution of Open-Source Tools. One part of them is the MONET-SNM-module which uses OpenNMS. The MONET-Ticket module uses OTRS and the MONET-Reporting module uses JasperServer from JasperForge.

All our changes are completely GPL. We have build a NagVis-adaption to OpenNMS cause some customers want it. Additionaly i have created a JasperServer-Interface to get a better Report-Management with JasperServer. This is fully documented incl. source on The source is complete GPL and everybody can use it. If someone interested on the NagVis-Adapter we will give full source. We have posted it on the mailinglist.

I have instructed our webmaster to clearify the situation with a new product-description like here:

Our job is to do projects in network management, service desks and reporting for our customers.

All our installations on customers contains the following copyright

Distributed by NETHINKS GmbH – OpenNMS Copyright © 2002-2008 The OpenNMS Group, Inc. OpenNMS® is a registered trademark of The OpenNMS Group, Inc.

The about-page is not changed.

All our customers know, they use OpenNMS in MONET-SNM. They had never paid a buck for a license.

As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to the definition of “open source”, and especially its use and commercialization. It is exactly companies like Nethinks that we want using OpenNMS, and they have done an excellent job of contributing back to the community. While we have completed an OTRS integration directly in to OpenNMS, I plan to work to see that this JasperServer work gets integrated as well (giving Nethinks full credit, of course).

When I wrote the original article I tried to err on the side that Nethinks was indeed abiding by the license, and it is great to not only find out that they are but they have gone a bit beyond the required with their website changes and contributions.

Thanks to Alex and Ronny for getting this straightened out.

OpenNMS vs. Nethinks MONET 2.0

[UPDATE: It appears that Nethinks is using OpenNMS well within the boundaries of the license]

Today, Klaus Thielking-Riechert, one of our community members, sent me a link to an interesting story on the Network Computing (Germany) website.

It was on a product called MONET 2.0 by Nethinks GmbH. Their product looks really good. I especially like the user interface. It looks very familiar. For example, here is their front page:

(image taken from here)

and here’s one from OpenNMS:

The article talks about the device page as well, check it out:

(image taken from here)

and here’s one from OpenNMS:

Look familiar?


Now, I’m no lawyer and I don’t read German very well, so I’m not quite sure that they are in violation of any license. If they are just supplying this application over the web to their clients, then I don’t believe that violates the GPL.

However, they have including a map:

(image taken from here)

which means they have changed the code, so if they are selling this application then there is a probable GPL violation.

Look, we produce OpenNMS in the hopes that someone finds it useful. The only thing we ask is for a little recognition. If you like it, tell a friend. Send us a postcard. But please acknowledge the work of the community, especially if you rebadge it and, in the case of Nethinks, put your copyright on it. I may not be required but it is the right thing to do.

If Nethinks is trying to commercialize the software in violation of the license, then we will take whatever steps are necessary to correct it. In any case they are presenting a lot of our work as their own, and that’s just wrong.