My ApacheCon Roundup

Back from ApacheCon!

I’ve got to say, I found it really useful this year. Last year, I was pretty new to the ASF, and found that my expectations of ApacheCon didn’t quite match reality; it wasn’t a rip-roaring success exactly, for me, as a result.

However, many details of how the ASF works — and how the conference itself works and is organised — are much clearer after you’ve spent some time lurking and absorbing practices in the meantime. (The visibility one gets into the process as a member of the ASF makes this a lot easier.)

Result: it was much more of a success for me this time around. Plenty of networking, putting faces to the names, hanging out, and discussing many aspects of our work.

The hackathon really worked out, too; while we didn’t produce a hell of a lot of code per se, it made for a good ‘developer summit’ and I think we established solid agreement on SpamAssassin’s short-term directions and goals. (summary: rules, and faster).

On top of that, I got to meet up with Colm MacCarthaigh and Cory Doctorow for discussion of Digital Rights Ireland. Looks like I’ll be spending a bit of time on that next year ;)

Finally: Solaris. On Monday night, I got to sit down with Daniel Price, one of the kernel engineers behind Solaris Zones, work through a quick demo of a bug I was running into with chroot(2) and zones on our rule-QA buildbot server, and watch as he visually traced it through the OpenSolaris kernel source on the web. From this — and from talking to Daniel — it’s pretty clear that things have changed at Sun. Pretty much the entire Solaris operating system is now a full-on open-source project; it’s not just a marketing gimmick. The source is up there on the web, that’s the source for the code they’re running now, and there’s no half-assed ‘freeze it, cut out the good bits, and throw it over the wall’ fake-open-source tricks.

The concept of getting this level of access to Solaris source code and engineers, would have blown my mind when I was Iona’s sysadmin back in the 1990s ;) I’m very impressed.

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