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All Things Open

Join The Linux Foundation at All Things Open; check out conference highlights below. (Image: All Things Open)

Going to All Things Open in Raleigh? While you’re there, be sure stop by The Linux Foundation training booth for fun giveaways and a chance to win one of two Raspberry Pi kits. Two winners will be chosen onsite on the last day of the conference, Oct. 24, at 3:05pm.

Other booth giveaways include The Linux Foundation branded webcam covers, The Linux Foundation projects’ stickers, Tux stickers, Linux.com stickers, as well as free ebooks: The SysAdmin’s Essential Guide to Linux Workstation Security, Practical GPL Compliance, A Guide to Understanding OPNFV & NFV, and the Open Source Guide Volume 1.

Be sure to check out these featured conference talks, including the Linux on the Mainframe session where John Mertic and Len Santalucia discuss how they’ve worked to create an open source, technical community where industry participants can collaborate around the use of the Linux and open source in a mainframe computing environment. And don’t miss ODPi’s session on the simplification and standardization of the Big Data ecosystem with common reference specifications and test suites.

Session Highlights

  • Accelerating Big Data Implementations For the Connected World – John Mertic
  • Advancing the Next-Generation Open Networking Stack – Phil Robb
  • Flatpak: The Portable, Secure Distribution of Desktop ApplicationsOwen Taylor
  • Intel: Core Linux Enabling Case Study and Demo
  • Integrating Linux Systems With Active Directory Using Open Source Tools – Dmitri Pal
  • Linux On the Mainframe: Linux Foundation and The Open Mainframe Project – John Mertic & Len Santalucia
  • Polyglot System Administration AKA: Don’t Fear the Other Language – Jakob Lorberblatt
  • The Next Evolution of The Javascript Ecosystem – Kris Borchers
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Distributed – Michael Hall
  • You Think You’re Not A Target? A Tale Of Three Developers – Chris Lamb

ODPi and Open Mainframe will also a have booth at All Things Open. Get your pass to All Things Open and stop by to learn more!

 

Join the Apache Mesos community in Prague for town halls, MesosCon university, and a full-day hackathon.

Get the latest on Apache Mesos with Ben Hindman, Co-Creator of Apache Mesos, at MesosCon Europe taking place October 25-27, 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic. At the conference, you’ll hear insights by industry experts deploying Mesos clusters, learn about containerization and security in Mesos, and more.

This annual conference brings together users and developers to share and learn about the Mesos project and its growing ecosystem. The conference features two days of sessions focused on the Apache Mesos Core and related technologies, as well as a one-day hackathon, town halls, and MesosCon University.  

Highlights include:

  • SMACK in the Enterprise keynote panel: Hear how the SMACK stack is impacting the data analytics landscape at large enterprises. Panelists will be announced soon.
  • MesosCon University: Tutorial-style sessions will offer hands-on learning for building a stateful service, operating your cluster, or bootstrapping a secure Mesos cluster.
  • Town Halls: A community gathering to discuss pressing needs and issues. The town halls will begin at 7:00pm after the onsite reception on Thursday, and will include drinks and appetizers sponsored by Mesosphere. Have a town hall you think we should run? Reach out to events@linuxfoundation.org.
  • Hackathon: Come and work on new Mesos features, new demos, new documentation, and win great prizes! The Hackathon will take place on Wednesday, October 25, and is included with your conference registration.  

View the full schedule of sessions and activities here.

Get a preview of what to expect at MesosCon Europe. Watch videos from MesosCon North America 2017 here.

Register now and use discount code MCEULDC17 to save $25 off your pass to MesosCon Europe.

Is your organization looking to build out an open source program? If so, you’re not alone, but not every organization has a holistic sense of the available tools that can help create a healthy program. A simple charter document and a few spreadsheets for tracking projects won’t cut it anymore in managing a truly robust open source program. That’s where the new Tools for Managing Open Source Programs guide comes in. It can help any organization launch and maintain a thriving open source program.

“If you have more than 100 code repositories or 100 people that you’re trying to manage, you really can’t have someone doing it manually with spreadsheets anymore,” notes Jeff McAffer, Director of the Open Source Programs Office at Microsoft, in the guide. “Obviously, people still do it that way. But it starts to become ad-hoc and laborious. That’s where tools come into play. They allow you to scale.”

While launching and maintaining an open source program does require dedicated, task-specific tools, it is a mistake to assume that your organization must necessarily build its own tools from the ground up.

“Regarding existing tools and systems, my hope is that we’re quickly getting to a point where a company’s open source program office should not need to create any tools or technologies on their own,” said McAffer. “They should be able to find and use existing open source tools which can be used to manage their open source programs.”

Categorized Tools

The Tools for Managing Open Source Programs guide provides an exhaustive collection of categorized tools that any open source program can benefit from. These include Source Code Scanning and License Compliance tools, Bug Tracking tools, Release Management tools, and more. Are you familiar with FOSSology? It’s a Linux Foundation project that functions as an open source license compliance software toolkit capable of running license, copyright and export control scans from the command line. Have you heard of Docker Hub? It’s a cloud-based registry service that allows users to link to code repositories and build and test their images. These and many, many more useful tools are linked to and explained in the free guide.

Do you know how to answer questions like these?

  • How are your project APIs documented?
  • Have you laid out a Contributor Licensing Agreement that everyone can use?
  • Have you picked the right license for your project?

Various tools can help you determine the right answers to these questions, and the Tools for Managing Open Source Programs guide is a great way to surface them.

Methodologies

It’s important to understand that using open source for business strategy requires its own methodologies and processes which are very different than those needed when using and releasing proprietary software. As the guide notes:

“Nobody said it was going to be simple to move your company into the world of open source. But plenty of other companies, including giants like Microsoft and Google have done this before you and have provided detailed road maps, code, suggestions, and more to make your own journey easier. The creation of an open source program office and the selection of a package of critical tools to get your efforts started are within your grasp. By collaborating on open source projects and inviting others to collaborate with you, your company can gain immeasurable benefits and drive its progress forward with energy and innovation.”

The Tools for Managing Open Source Programs guide is one of a new collection of guides from The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group that are all extremely valuable for any organization setting up an open source program. The guides are available now to help you run an open source program office where open source is supported, shared, and leveraged. With such an office, organizations can establish and execute on their open source strategies efficiently, with clear terms.

These guides were not produced in a vacuum. Far from it. The advice you will find in them grew organically out of many interviews with some of the world’s leading open source experts. We encourage you to check out the guides and stay tuned for our continuing coverage of them.

Also, don’t miss the first article in this series, on How to Create an Open Source Program, which explores everything from the role of the open source program office to how successful open source programs at companies like Google function.

 

Concepts such as decentralizing strategy, delegating direction, and fierce transparency in communication are part of the backbone of successful open source projects. In my presentation at Open Source Summit EU in Prague, I will explore how these concepts are not only applicable to volunteer-run organizations but can also help growing corporations avoid some of the coordination overhead that often comes with growing teams and organizations.

We’ll look at some of the key aspects of how project members collaborate at The Apache Software Foundation (ASF). After that, we’ll take a closer look at German FinTech company Europace AG, which decided to move toward self-organization two years ago. We’ll highlight parallels between Europace AG’s organizing approaches and those of open source projects.

Let’s start with some of the core values of ASF projects.

Community over Code

One main principle is the concept of “community over code” — which means that without a diverse and healthy team of contributors to a project, there is no project. It puts the team front and center, as highlighted in the Apache project maturity model.

Meritocracy

Another core value to Apache projects is meritocracy — essentially meaning that there is no governance by fiat. There is no way to simply buy influence into projects — you have to invest time to gain influence. This directly translates to frequently given advice for how to get started with any given project: Focus on the things you are using yourself and fix what bothers you most essentially following a scratch your own itch kind of model. There is one level of indirection here: Committers and contributors can be paid either by their employers or as part of a consulting gig to increase their motivation to work on the topics that you are interested in.

Project independence

Be aware though that there is a strong principle of people participating as individuals on projects. That level of independence means that within an Apache project, there is no way to assign tasks to project members. Apache projects by design have a very flat organization with barely any hierarchy: Titles like Project Management Committee Chair (PMC Chair) are famous for coming with additional responsibility but no entitlement to task assignment. That means projects need a process for aligning people with potentially very diverse interests and itches to scratch. A key ingredient to coming up with workable decisions is making project goals and needs public and transparent — both in terms of asking for help and in showing appreciation and rewarding contributions that help the project. Another one can be found in an approach to integrating differing opinions and arguments in a “Yes, and” instead of a “Yes, but” fashion. This plays together very closely with the next concept.

Full transparency in open source projects

“What didn’t happen on the mailing list, didn’t happen” is one of the mantras for those involved with Apache projects. A high level of transparency is what makes Apache projects so easy to participate in across boundaries — whether they are geographic, corporate, or other. At Apache, mailing lists are treated as the point of reference for any decisions made. Thus, there is full transparency into the historic record of all open source projects.

Of course, with that entirely open and transparent model comes responsibility: A lot of decisions can be taken in the open. People tend to show better behavior when under public scrutiny. However, discussions involving interpersonal issues are best kept out of public sight. This is particularly important in a digital age where deleting statements made online and mirrored worldwide is pretty much impossible.

Project autonomy

Technologically, Apache projects are very diverse. However, when unified under one organization with a common focus on community, meritocracy, and communication patterns, there is a lot of freedom and decentralized decision making.

One important piece in growing the ASF as a whole was giving autonomy to each project. Still there are a couple topics that each project has to deal with: It’s great having one central entity answering questions on, for example. trademarks, licensing, or software patents. However, these entities controlling each of the 300 or so top level open source projects won’t scale. Instead, Foundation-level services serve as guidelines for Apache open source projects to manage their own activities in these areas. As a result, each project is supposed to have some people knowledgeable in those topics.

Open source patterns in the enterprise

In the past decade, people in the open source space have successfully brought several of these concepts to their respective employers — either in the form of open development, inner source, or open organizations. Meanwhile, ideas of transforming traditional hierarchical organizations into self-organized, open organizations found their way into concepts like sociocracy and holacracy.

Europace AG decided to move toward self-organization roughly two years ago. Looking at what was established during these two years, we see quite a few similarities to how nonprofits such as the Apache Software Foundation and The Linux Foundation work with open source projects:

Decentralization and autonomy

Europace AG is a tech company experienced with XP and Scrum, and in 2015, they began a journey toward self-organization, looking into holacracy and sociocracy frameworks. Organizationally, there are roughly 200 people split into four fairly autonomous technical units, each one of which is responsible for one business product of the company. Units are autonomous in how they self-organize: Some chose fairly standard Scrum-based software development in iterations and standard rituals. Others went for sociocratic or holacratic models. By organizing in circles, employees are given more influence over how decisions are made that affect their daily work. Backing for this level of autonomy can be found in the company’s own principles, where self-organization and decentralization are outlined as one of the four important values and are actively supported by the board.

This is not unlike Apache, where open source projects operate independently and autonomously in how they develop their software and self-organize (that is, provided they make sure that project governance remains independent of one single player, security issues are being dealt with, and legalities like licensing, patent issues, and trademarks are taken care of).

Transparent decision making

Everyone working for and with Europace AG is located in one timezone, and Europace AG itself has only one site. Nonetheless, there are good reasons to look at how decisions are made in distributed open source projects: Establishing a remote friendly communication model can help support employees with family, and deal with long commute distances. Apart from these obvious benefits, there are a few effects that aren’t quite obvious:

While an asynchronous communication model won’t lead to decisions happening faster, it can help with reducing the amount of interruptions caused by face-to-face meetings: By sharing a proposal before the actual meeting happens and providing a means to exchange ideas around that proposal can help with understanding people’s opinions, issues and suggestions with respect to the proposal. It can help with making that understanding transparent to everyone interested in the topic up front. Combined with a “Yes, and” philosophy, this can help form consent in the team quickly.

Organizational Groups

Splitting roughly 200 employees into just four units creates groups that are bigger than typical “2 pizza sized teams” often deemed ideal for software development teams. As a result, each unit had to figure out how to create sub-groups that can work well as teams.

A common approach was to create cross-functional feature teams, comprising both software developers and people familiar with financial domain (and people with backgrounds in data analytics, UX, etc. as needed). Those are called feature teams in anticipation of the fact that they aren’t necessarily particularly stable: Each week, there is a check point people can use to decide to change feature teams depending on where they are needed most. Decisions related to governance as well as product strategic aspects are delegated to the team itself. As a result, team members need a good understanding of the current product direction in terms of features and usage.

For tasks and topics that tend to fall under the general topic of “organizational operations” or “decision making with dependencies,” people organize themselves in circles, which are essentially groups of people interested in participating in making a decision related to a specific topic. Despite a lot of communication still happening face to face, some circles also set up a Slack channel that is open for all to join and participate. This level of transparency is crucial in elevating trust people have in those decisions.

Each of these circles can come with dedicated roles: Secretary being the one taking over meeting minute creation, a Lead Link making sure that “things will actually get done” and communicated to the people needing the respective information. While people can volunteer for these roles, at the end of the day these roles get filled through nomination by the team. This is not unlike Apache projects where new committers, PMC members, and even Foundation members are elected after nomination. On one hand, this kind of model shows a certain amount of appreciation for the work these people are doing. On the other, it helps with promoting people into these roles who according to their own self-assessment might not have confidence to take on the role.

Put the human first 

Much like Apache puts community development front and center with its open source projects, Europace AG puts team collaboration into a central position. This means that each employee is responsible for raising issues with team climate, and they are supported by a team of professional coaches, moderators, and mediators with a deep understanding of human communication.

Conclusion

When moving toward self-organization, corporations can learn a lot from how open source projects organize themselves. Europace AG is on the journey toward moving more power away from traditional formal structures, making it available for the people in purpose-driven, circle-based organization. It will be interesting to watch how Open Source project management, governance, and communication patterns can be applied within corporate contexts.

Isabel Drost-Fromm is Open Source Strategist at Europace AG Germany. She is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, co-founder of Apache Mahout and has mentored several incubating projects. Isabel is interested in all things FOSS, search and text mining with a decent machine learning background.

The Call For Papers (CFP) for MesosCon Europe is closing soon! Submit your proposal by July 28 for consideration.

MesosCon is an annual conference that brings together users and developers to share and learn about the project and its growing ecosystem. The conference will feature two days of sessions to learn more about the Apache Mesos core and related technologies. The program will include workshops to get started with Apache Mesos, keynote addresses from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.

Dates to Remember

  • CFP Close: July 28, 2017

  • CFP Notifications: August 28, 2017

  • Schedule Announced: August 30, 2017

Submit a proposal to speak at MesosCon Europe »

Suggested Topics

Here are a few examples of topics we would like to see:

  • Best practices and lessons on deploying and running Mesos at scale

  • Deep dives and tutorials into Mesos

  • Interesting extensions to Mesos (e.g., new communication models, support for new containerizers, new resource types and allocation models, etc.)

  • Improvements/additions to the Mesos ecosystem (packaging systems, monitoring, log aggregation, load balancing, service discovery, etc.)

  • New frameworks

  • Microservice design

  • Continuous delivery / DevOps (automating into production)

If you’re unsure about your proposal, or want some feedback or general advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to help!

Our events are working conferences intended for professional networking and collaboration in the Linux community and we work closely with our attendees, sponsors, and speakers to help keep The Linux Foundation events professional, welcoming, and friendly.

Not interested in speaking but want to attend? Linux.com readers receive 5% off the “attendee” registration with code LINUXRD5.

Register for MesosCon North America »

Register for MesosCon Europe »

Community manager and author Jono Bacon will provide tips for building and managing open source communities in a free webinar on Monday, July 24 at 9:30am Pacific.

In this webinar, Bacon will answer questions about community strategy and share an in-depth look at this exciting new conference held in conjunction with this year’s Open Source Summit North America, happening Sept. 11-14 in Los Angeles.

The Open Community Conference provides presentations, panels, and Birds-of-a-Feather sessions with practical guidance for building and engaging productive communities and is an ideal place to learn how to evolve your community strategy. The webinar will provide event details as well as highlights from the conference schedule, which includes such talks as:

  • Building Open Source Project Infrastructures – Elizabeth K. Joseph, Mesosphere

  • Scaling Open Source – Lessons Learned at the Apache Software Foundation – Phil Steitz, Apache Software Foundation

  • Why I Forked My Own Project and My Own Company – Frank Karlitschek, ownCloud

  • So You Have a Code of Conduct… Now What? – Sarah Sharp, Otter Tech

  • Fora, Q&A, Mailing Lists, Chat…Oh My! – Jeremy Garcia, LinuxQuestions.org / Datadog

Also, if you post questions on Twitter with the #AskJono hashtag about community strategy, leadership, open source, or the conference, you’ll get a chance to win a free ticket to the event (including all the sessions, networking events, and more).

Join us July 24, 2017 at 9:30am Pacific to learn more about community strategy from Jono Bacon. Sign Up Now »

This week in open source and Linux news, GitHub takes their Friday enthusiasm beyond casual Friday in creating a weekly “Open Source Day”, a new Linux Foundation Project was announced, and much more! Read on, stay open-source-informed.

1) GitHub encourages companies to devote time every Friday for their employees to work on open source projects. 

GitHub Declares Every Friday Open Source Day– VentureBeat

2) New Linux Foundation Project focuses on centralizing security services orchestration for multi-cloud environments.

Open Security Controller: Security Service Orchestration for Multi-Cloud Environments– HelpNetSecurity

3) Linux Foundation Projects top list of open source networking projects

10 Most Important Open Source Networking Projects– NetworkWorld

4) “Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux explains how open source can be key to establishing future industry standards.”

The Linux Foundation Explains the Importance of Open Source in Autonomous, Connected Cars– Digit

5) Hackers have turned their attention towards attacking IoT devices running open-source operating systems.

Linux Malware Gaining Favor Among Cybercriminals– SCMagazine

This week in open source, blockchain technology, like that of Hyperledger, is being adopted by the insurance market, Cloud Foundry continues its steady incline of adoption, and more!

1) Blockchain tech like Hyperledger “is making inroads into the insurance sector.”

Insurance Industry Making the Leap to Blockchain– Business Insurance

2) Half of the Fortune 500 now use Cloud Foundry.

Cloud Foundry Makes its Mark on the Enterprise– TechCrunch

3) “Proprietary will have to either get on board or be left in the dust.”

Why Open Source will Overtake Proprietary Software by 2020– Computer Business Review

4) Google’s new Tensor2Tensor library aims to remove hurdles around customizing an environment to enable deep-learning models.

‘One Machine Learning Model to Rule Them All’: Google Open-Sources Tools for Simpler AI– ZDNet

5) As 5G changes the carrier landscape, technologies like OPNFV will bolster the shift

China Is Driving To 5G And IoT Through Global Collaboration– Forbes

At the recent Open Networking Summit, the SDN/NFV community convened in Santa Clara to share, learn, collaborate, and network about one of the most pervasive industry transformations of our time.

This year’s theme at ONS was “Harmonize, Harness, and Consume,” representing a significant turning point as network operators spanning telecommunications, cable, enterprise, cloud, and the research community renew their efforts to redefine the network architecture.

Widespread new technology adoption takes years to succeed, and requires close collaboration among those producing network technology and those consuming it. Traditionally, standards development organizations (SDOs) have played a critical role in offering a forum for discussion and debate, and well-established processes for systematically standardizing and verifying new technologies.

Introduction of largely software (vs. hardware) functionality necessitates a rethinking of the conventional technology adoption lifecycle. In a software driven world, it is infeasible to define a priori complex reference architectures and software platforms without a more iterative approach. As a result, industry has been increasingly turning to open source communities for implementation expertise and feedback.

In this new world order, closer collaboration among the SDOs, industry groups, and open source projects is needed to capitalize upon each constituent’s strengths:

  • SDOs provide operational expertise and well-defined processes for technology definition, standardization, and validation
  • Industry groups offer innovative partnerships between network operators and their vendors to establish open reference architectures that are guiding the future of the industry
  • Open source projects provide technology development expertise and infrastructure that are guided by end-user use cases, priorities, and requirements

Traditionally each of these groups operates relatively autonomously, liaising formally and informally primarily for knowledge sharing.

Moving ahead, close coordination is essential to better align individual organizations objectives, priorities, and plans. SDN/NFV are far too pervasive for any single group to own or drive. As a result, the goal is to capitalize upon the unique strengths of each to accelerate technology adoption.

It is in the spirit of such harmonization that The Linux Foundation is pleased to unveil an industry-wide call to action to achieve this goal.

As a first step, we are issuing a white paper, “Harmonizing Open Source and Standards in the Telecom World,” to outline the key concepts, and invite an unprecedented collaboration among the SDOs, open source projects, and industry groups that each play a vital role in the establishment of a sustainable ecosystem which is essential for success.

The introduction of The Linux Foundation Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) is a tangible step in the direction of harmonization, not only merging OPEN-O and the open source ECOMP communities, but also establishing a platform that by its nature as an orchestration and automation platform, must inherently integrate with a diverse set of standards, open source projects, and reference architectures.

We invite all in the community to participate in the process, in a neutral environment, where the incentives for all are to work together vs. pursue their own paths.

Join us to usher in a new era of collaboration and convergence to reshape the future.

Download the Whitepaper