What I Look For In An Open Source Project Web Site

Perusing new open source software projects has long been both a job requirement and a pastime for me. Over the past decade plus so I've come across a ton of open source project web sites, running the gamut from good to bad – with a healthy contingent of ugly in the mix.

Of course, it takes more than a sweet web site to make an open source project worth writing about or contributing to – a project that offers up a lousy solution to a real problem, or, worse, seeks to answer an unasked question has more fundamental issues to tackle. On the other hand, you could have a project ideal for scratching, elegantly, some global itch, but if the project does a poor job conveying its whys and hows, it could end up overlooked.

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Building My Own PaaS with OpenShift Origin

I'm working through the OpenShift Origin Build Your Own PaaS howto, which says:

Several of the cartridge packages have additional third party dependencies. These have not yet been resolved for the open source environment. Work is actively progressing.

On my Fedora 16 host, these are the cartridges that wouldn't install for missing dependencies:

  • cartridge-jbossas-7.noarch : Provides JBossAS7 support

  • cartridge-jenkins-1.4.noarch : Provides jenkins-1.4 support

These are the ones that would install:

  • cartridge-10gen-mms-agent-0.1.noarch : Embedded 10gen MMS agent for performance monitoring of MondoDB

  • cartridge-cron-1.4.noarch : Embedded cron support for express

  • cartridge-diy-0.1.noarch : Provides diy support

  • cartridge-jenkins-client-1.4.noarch : Embedded jenkins client support for express

  • cartridge-mongodb-2.0.noarch : Embedded mongodb support for OpenShift

  • cartridge-mysql-5.1.noarch : Provides embedded mysql support

  • cartridge-nodejs-0.6.noarch : Provides Node-0.6 support

  • cartridge-perl-5.10.noarch : Provides mod_perl support

  • cartridge-php-5.3.noarch : Provides php-5.3 support

  • cartridge-phpmyadmin-3.4.noarch : Embedded phpMyAdmin support for express

  • cartridge-python-3.2.noarch : Provides python-wsgi-3.2 support

  • cartridge-ruby-1.1.noarch : Provides ruby rack support running on Phusion Passenger

More to come.

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Run OpenShift Origin from LiveCD, and Make it Stick

The OpenShift Origin LiveCD will have you up and running with the code that backs Red Hat's PaaS in a flash, but installing the LiveCD to your hard drive requires a few workaround steps.

[UPDATE: Check out wiki-fied, updated version of this howto at the OpenShift Origin community site.]

Today, Red Hat delivered on its pledge to open the source code and development process behind its Platform as a Service offering, OpenShift. To help avoid confusion between the Red Hat-hosted service and the open source project and code base, the project is named OpenShift Origin.

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more test

In general, I prefer Google+ to Twitter. I like posting more than 140 characters, and I like editing my posts if I need/want to (there are other things I like about G+, but this test post is about those first two). I noticed, recently, how people who post wp.me links onto Twitter get their posts, or a portion of their posts, attached to the tweet behind a little photo-style view media link. I'm messing with that right now.

[tweet https://twitter.com/jasonbrooks/status/195676860632416256]

I should say, though, that I've been feeling increasingly grumbly about Google+ and its RW API-lessness, and I do like Twitter nonetheless, and, uh, yeah.

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Community Metrics Wrangling with MLstats and OpenShift

As loyal readers of this blog (if any such creatures did exist) might have noticed, I've been working with the oVirt project, which got a reboot last year when Red Hat finished open sourcing and porting to Java the previously .Net-based management for its enterprise virtualization product.

Given the new start for oVirt, the project has been keen to get a handle on its community metrics, such as mailing list activity: is it growing, what's the mix of people coming from companies on the oVirt board compared to other organizations and individuals, and so on.

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oVirt or No Virt: Notebook Edition

oVirt is definitely not intended to be run on your notebook, and running something oriented toward powering whole data centers on a single, portable machine seems like overkill, anyway. For a Linux-powered notebook machine like mine, virt-manager is a great tool for spinning up all manner of VMs, and–while I've yet to get it running properly – GNOME Boxes offers another promising option for taking advantage of the KVM hypervisor that's built into the Linux kernel.

However, since immersing myself in oVirt is part of my job now, and since I work with a lot of VMs on my work notebook, I wanted to see if I could come up with a notebook-friendly oVirt setup. The trouble with the single-machine rig that I described in my recent oVirt hotwo is that setting up the bridged networking that oVirt requires means disabling NetworkManager, the handy service that makes it easy to connect to VPNs and switch between WiFi connections. I wanted to avoid disabling NetworkManager.

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Spice Spice Baby

Last week, when I was getting to the "here's where you access your shiny new oVirt-hosted VM" portion of my super duper Up and Running with oVirt howto, I was a bit embarrassed to say that  you needed Fedora to access oVirt's console-launching automagic.

oVirt uses the spice protocol for delivering virtual desktop sessions, and while spice client packages are available for Ubuntu and for openSUSE, I wasn't able to find any up-to-date packages to provide the Firefox plugin, spice-xpi, that handles the hand off between oVirt's web admin console and the spice client application.

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How to Get Up and Running with oVirt

UPDATE: I've written an updated version of this guide for oVirt 3.1.

As a fan both of x86 virtualization and of open source software, I long wondered when the "Linux of virtualization" would emerge. Maybe I should say instead, the GNU/Linux of virtualization, because I'm talking about more than just a kernel for virtualization – we've had those for a while now, in the forms of Xen and of KVM.

Rather, I've been looking for the virtualization project that'll do to VMware's vSphere what Linux-based operating systems have done to proprietary OS incumbents: shake up the market, stoke innovation, and place the technology in many more people's hands.

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working for The (shadow) Man

Last month, I started work at Red Hat–a big career shift after spending 12 years in tech journalism in the Labs department at eWEEK magazine.

Turning in one's press badge for a set of company credentials is a bit like embracing The Dark Side. I do love a good heel turn, but I must say that working for a company that gives away what it produces dissolves some of that drama and robs me of figurative steel chair shot opportunities.

I'm part of a new team at Red Hat charged with helping the various open source projects and standards efforts with which Red Hat is involved be wildly successful. We're sort of a roving band of open source contributors within the company, working both with well-established projects like Fedora and JBoss.org, and with new projects like oVirt.

I'll be blogging here about the projects I'm working with, and about various other items of interest (to me).

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