Tuesday, March 27, 2007

OGB Election results are in!

For the last couple of weeks, the community has been voting on two important issues:
  1. The ratification of the OpenSolaris Constitution; and
  2. The members of the new OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB).
There are 268 Core Contributors which means that we needed at least 135 affirmative votes to ratify the constitution. I'm very happy to say that we received a thumbs up from 145 people, so the Constitution is officially ratified—hurrah!

As for the OGB elections, there were 18 candidates running for 7 seats. Even though the voting finished at 24:00 Pacific yesterday (Monday March 26), the results are already in. With no further ado, the members of the 2007-2008 OGB (in alphabetical order) are:
  • James Carlson
  • Alan Coopersmith
  • Casper Dik
  • Glynn Foster
  • Stephen Lau
  • Rich Teer
  • Keith Wesolowski
Many congrats to all, and note that I seem to have the somewhat dubious honour of being the only non-Sun employee on the OGB...! :-)

More seriously, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to vote in this important poll, especially those who voted for me. I'll do my best to live up to the task to which I've been elected.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

OGB Elections—Have You Voted Yet?

We (that is, the community) are in the midst of the first OGB election to take place since the one in the Pilot Program, which elected the inaugral CAB community members.

If you're eligible to vote (i.e., you're an OpenSolaris Core Contributer), and haven't done so already vote now! I'm one of the candidates up for consideration, so I won't try to sway your vote. But I do strongly recommend that you vote "Yes" to ratifying the Constitution. It's not a perfect document (and it was never intended to be), but it is an excellent set of rules and procedures by which we can bootstrap ourselves.

Why are you still reading this? ssh to polls.opensolaris.org now and vote! :-)


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Recruiting firms that just don't get it

I was bemused, yet disappointed, to receive the following (trimmed) details for a job in Vancouver, from an individual from Globaltech who shall remain nameless to protect the clueless^Winnocent.
Job ID Job Title Job Type Location
Job-0564 Junior Desktop support/Office Technologies Analyst Permanent Downtown Vancouver

Please send your resume as a word doc.


You have 1-3 years experience supporting users.

o Hardware Support
o Intel Pentium Class workstations, laptops and servers
o LAN technologies (fiber, CAT5, Ethernet hubs and switches)
o Tape backup systems
o Software and Software Platform Support
o Microsoft Windows Workstation and Server (NT 4.0/2000/XP and up)
o Microsoft Office Products (including Project and Visio)
o Microsoft Exchange 5.5 and higher
o VirusScan Enterprise 7.0 and ePolicy Orchestrator 3.0.1 or higher
o ARCserve 2000 Advanced Edition or higher
o Partition Magic and Norton Ghost for configurations
o Redhat Linux
o Voice
o Nortel BCM PBX and voice sets
o Asterisk PBX and voice sets
o PDAs
o Palm Pilot Versions III and up.
o Blackberry all models
o Web Application Developing Skills (Optional)
o Microsoft Front Page and Macromedia Dreamweaver
o HTML and ASP/JSP preferred. PHP (an asset)

Look at all those Windoze skills in there! I mean, don't these people even read the skill suammaries of people on their books?! I intimated as much in my reply:
On Tue, 20 Mar 2007, XXX wrote:

> Below you will find a list of immediate job openings.

I appreciate the email, but why on Earth is Globaltech asking me to
consider Windoze positions? One glance at my resume would indicate
that I'm a senior UNIX admin/developer, with 0 interest in Windoze!

> Please send your resume as a word doc.

Sorry, I don't do closed, expensive, proprietory formats. I suggest
you guys switch to ODF (OpenDocument), which is free, open, and platform

What really made my day, though, was the one-line reply to the above email: "Are you applying?"! You can't blame 'em for trying, but I think these people would be doing themselves and their clients a favour by actually reading the CVs/resumes they have on file, thereby increasing the odds that they'll find someone qualified for the positions they're trying to fill...

In case any recruiters/head hunters are reading this: yes, I am interested in talking about job opportunites (preferably contract), especially in my neck of the woods. But in case it isn't obvious, I'm an guy; I don't do Windoze, and I don't send out resumes in Word format. Send me an email (plain text, please)!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sun's new Chief Operating Platforms Officer

I read with interest today that Ian Murdock has joined Sun as Chief Operating Platforms Officer. Despite not being intimately involved with the Linux community, I thought I recognised his name. It turns out that Ian founded Debian and was at the Linux Foundation.

I wish him well in his new position, but some statements in his blog give me pause. For example, "... I’ll be advocating that Solaris needs to close the usability gap with Linux to be competitive...". Given that both and Linux use GNOME (and KDE et al), I'm not sure what Solaris needs to do to improve. (Apart from, I guess, more multimedia capability (e.g., playing DVDs) out of the box, which might be hard given the US' laws.)

Even more disquieting for me was this: "[A]s I believe Solaris needs to change in some ways, I also believe deeply in the importance of backward compatibility; and that even with Solaris front and center, I’m pretty strongly of the opinion that Linux needs to play a clearer role in the platform strategy." (emphasis added). I can't believe this. A few years ago Sun almost blew it by embracing Linux at the expense of Solaris x86, and it seems now that history might repeat itself.

Let me be clear: I've no problem with Sun ensuring that their products run on Linux and vice versa, but I strongly disagree with the notion that Sun needs to make Linux play a clearer role in their platform strategy. Sun has the best OS on the planet--Solaris--and there's no need for it to be distracted by Linux again. It's not for me to second guess Sun's executive managament, but if you ask me, someone with more of a Solaris bias should have been appointed to this position. And isn't Debian the Linux distro that refused to allow any CDDL licensed stuff in, on the grounds that the CDDL isn't "free" enough? Obviously one can't blame one person with the position of a community, but it just doesn't feel right.

That said, I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, so I'm not writing Ian off yet. I wish him all the best, but I doubt I'll be the only one watching what he does very closely...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MOHI at the Penticton home show

Last weekend (March 9 - 11) my new business, My Online Home Inventory, exhibited at its first home. The show was in Penticton, a sleepy little retirement town about 50km south of Kelowna, on the southern shore of Lake Okanagan.

It's the first time I've exhibited at a show, so I was glad it was a small one. The show was quite successful: we spoke to many people about MOHI, including a handful of insurance agents who were very interested. We even made a sale or two! :-) The next step is to attend a larger show, either here in Kelowna, or perhaps Kamloops. More people, with better demographics (hopefully) means more sales!

The only downside was the live entertainment (Elvis impersonators and the like). Great for the punters, I'm sure, but not so great for us exhibitors who had forked out a lot of cash to be there...

Bruce (my business partner) and I stayed in the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Casino, in a room facing the lake (their web site is pretty lame; it doesn't even work with Firefox on ...). When we arrived on Friday afternoon, the sky was a beautiful blue, so I took a few photos to show off the view to Jenny. Good job too, 'cause not long after, the clouds rolled in and it was overcast the rest of the weekend.

Check out MOHI's web site and sign up today because the only thing worse than losing everything you own is not knowing what you've lost...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My new business venture

For the last year or so, I have been hard at work implementing my latest business idea. It's a web site where one can manage one's home inventory, and is called My Online Home Inventory (MOHI for short).

I got the idea for MOHI back in 2003, when a third of Kelowna's ~100K population was evacuated because of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. My mum was one of the evacuees, and we quickly ran round her house grabbing the most important stuff. One of those items was a notebook containing a rudimentary inventory. A great idea, I thought, but keeping it on a piece of paper ain't so great: paper tends to burn when the house in which it is is on fire, it's hard to update, and it's just too fragile a medium for storing so important. Being the geek I am, it didn't take long to come to the conclusion that storing one's inventory on a secure web site was ideal. (Don't talk to me about those inventory programs you install on your computer: what are you going to do when that computer is destroyed or stolen?)

Before you say "it'll never happen to me", check out this photo:

If this was your home, would you be able to remember everything that was in it, especially when you're trying to cope with the grief such an event would engender? If you have contents insurance (and who in their right mind doesn't), doesn't it make sense to have an accurate inventory so that you can replace everything you're paying to insure? The only thing worse than losing everything you own is not knowing what you've lost...

I was busy writing my book, Solaris Systems Programming at the time, so the idea got put on back burner. But in November 2005 I started thinking about MOHI again, and started writing a business plan. I started writing the code in February 2006, and we launched on March 1 this year. Tomorrow we're exhibiting at our first home show, in Penticton.

I'll spare you the heavy sales pitch, but I invite all my readers check out
www.myonlinehomeinventory.com. Take the online tour, or try the read-only interactive demo account (log in as the user "demo", using "demo" for the password too) which I used to create the tour and help pages.

Techie notes: the site runs on a Sun Fire X4200 running (of course), and makes use of Solaris' many innovative features, including Zones and ZFS. Yep, I put my money where my mouth is: as far as I was concerned, Solaris on Sun hardware was the only sensible option!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Saw Meat Loaf in concert last night

Last night (March 6), Jenny and I went to see Meat Loaf in our local concert arena, Skyreach Place. We were expecting a good show, butit was even better than we thought it'd be! Sure, he's gettin' on a bit (aren't we all?), but what a showman!

He performed for about two hours, singing numerous songs: old favourites as well as material from his latest album, Bat out of Hell III. He came back for not one, but two encores, doubtless to the chagrin of the impatient people who left after the main show or first encore. :-) The only (minor) complaint I had was that the sound mix wasn't that great. Meat Loaf's vocals were often lost in the mix.

It's the 3rd time we've been to Skyreach for a show: we've previously attended gigs by Bryan Adams and local comedian, Herb Dixon. We had a great time, though our throats and heads are a little worse for the wear!

Friday, March 02, 2007

OGB Nomination

It's been far too long since I last updated my blog. I've been feverishly beavering away on a new business, more of which anon...

The OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) elections will soon be upon us, and after much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to nominate myself for a position on the board. I am a long-term [Open]Solaris advocate, and was among the first dozen or so people to join the OpenSolaris pilot (Jim invited the Solaris Cabal to participate in the pilot sometime in September 2004 IIRC).

I'm the author of the Sun Press book, Solaris Systems Programming, and numerous articles about Solaris, a Solaris developer and sys admin, and I was one of two community members elected by the Pilot participants to the inaugral CAB (Al Hopper being the other). I think it would be useful if at least one current CAB/OGB member was on the new board, if only for the sake of continuity.

I don't work for Sun (though I did do some consulting for Sun UK a few years ago): I'm an independant consultant, and I've recently launched a new business called My Online Home Inventory. I've also built my own kernel. :-)