Wrap-up post OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong

Back from busy days in one of the most exciting cities I’ve ever visited, I needed some time to put thougths back in order, recover from jet lag and deal with my irremediably broken WordPress installation (will probably blog about this later, too). Hong Kong was a blast in many aspects. The Summit itself started with lions dancing at the sound of drums in front of over 3,000 people:

And then we saw that Bejing is the first city by total number of contributors to OpenStack in the whole world:

There has been an incredible growth inside and around OpenStack, the project is growing fast. Growth is good, it’s what we wanted so we have plenty of reasons to celebrate. The second edition of the User Survey brought us more insights about usage of OpenStack around the world. We announced our first OpenStack Ambassadors, people who will help the OpenStack Community team get closer to many communities around the world. It was great to meet personally more women from the Outreach Program for Women of OpenStack. we’ve been doing this for over a year now, it’s a thing.

IMG_20131111_204451Growth also brings challenges and some of them were evident in some of the conversations had at the Summit, around it and after. A few signals I caught during and around the Design Summit sessions highlighted that we may need to start taking new steps to reinforce the culture of collaboration inside the project. The challenges highlighted go from lack of reviewers (not core reviewers, just developers who pay attention and help others), PTLs getting overloaded, the high traffic on the Development mailing list (which leads to loss of information), the increasing number of questions on Ask OpenStack with no interactions (no up/down votes, comments, etc) and little engagement in its Chinese version, the challenges inside the Internationalization Team with processes and tools. We’ve also heard of a very few Design sessions where it was too hard to have a productive discussion because of one or two uncollaborative people.

Since we’re getting so many new developers in the project we’re probably getting to the point where we can’t assume they are accustomed to contributing upstream first. The founders and first members of OpenStack all had a brilliant pedigree of open source contributions and collaboration. New members of the OpenStack Foundation may need some help to succeed. I enjoyed the session Getting Your Blueprint Accepted Quicker: the VPNaaS Use Case so much that I’m proposing the Upstream University training as an official program at the OpenStack Foundation to help new members. I’ll write more about this in the future.

The next six months will continue to be super exciting and full of things to do. If you have missed Hong Kong go watch the recordings of the sessions  keep watching this space for more news.


Ubuntu is getting closer to Windows and Mac (in a dumb way)

I’ve always thought that the Ubuntu team “got it right”: I found Unity beautiful, the whole integration of different pieces among different projects, the simplifications and removal of unnecessary options was good. Then I started noticing the over-removal of things. First went CTRL-Alt-Backspace, the very useful combo that kills the windows server. I almost never need it but when I needed I realized it was disabled by default some time ago. I didn’t complain too much as the feature is pretty advanced and I have found myself killing the session unintentionally hitting the combo with fat-fingers a couple of times. So I thought the choice made sense. But today the line between simplification and dumbification  has been crossed: Ubuntu Raring Ringtail 13.04 has disabled the virtual workspaces by default.

Today I upgraded to Ubuntu 13.04. At reboot I wanted to start my apps in the usual workspaces : 1 for the browser and mail, 3 for xchat… but OMG! CTRL-Alt-DOWN doesn’t work… Quick search first to learn what the heck those things are called then the sad truth: workspaces are disabled! What a moronic choice to disable them by default. Guys, come on! I understand making things simple, but dumbing down on Mac and Windows on their limitations is a stupid choice.

To enable them again there is a settings in the panel as described on Ask Ubuntu. I feel like my respect for Ubuntu’s team is at its lowest point ever and this makes me unhappy.

I think removing the workspaces is the dumbest idea ever, on par with grouping windows from the same app in the Alt-Tab cycle. Please somebody explains why. Is this because Microsoft doesn’t have workspaces, so we should copy them, right? Wrong! What’s next? Disable paste with middle-click? I might as well go buy a Mac then or learn how to live with Windows if I have to learn and live with moronic systems.

Car dashboards are ready for disruption

The Wheelmate Laptop Steering Wheel Desk on Amazon seems like a joke but I believe it highlights how bad the dashboards of current cars are. I drive rarely but when I do I realize that in normal cars there is no easy way to take a fast note on a laptop *while parked* after a meeting. There is a place to put your travel mug, all sort of electric outlets and adapters but no retractable desk, not even for the passenger/shotgun seat. I think dashboards are ready for disruption.

PS comments and pictures on Amazon are hilarious


Pencil Project for GUI prototyping

I was looking for a GUI prototyping tool that I could use to draft a new skin for a website and also for an Android application. I knew of Balsamiq but I prefer not to use non-free software when possible. I found Pencil Project, an awesome open source prototyping tool built on top of Mozilla’s XUL runner.

The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use.

It seems to be working just fine for my needs. Awesome!