Although I haven’t seen a thoroughly researched study, I figure there must
be at least 250,000 FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) tools available to
every systems administrator on the planet (230,000 at SourceForge + 15,000 at
Launchpad + 12,000 at CodePlex + 5,000 at Google Code and that doesn’t
count the Linux kernel or any of the myriad other self-hosted projects).
These 250,000+ resources comprise the full “toolbox” that admins can use
for building solutions with FOSS; they represent the FOSS equivalent of COTS
(Commercial Off-The-Shelf). Of course, if you add open source but non-free or
commercial tools, the problem explodes combinatorially.
How can a systems administrator support the largest possible subset of these
“on the shelf” resources to best service the next need from a stakeholder
(like the boss or a new client)?
First let me emphasize the difficulty... (more)
Open Source Journal
Welcome to our new blog.
This blog is part of a new educational initiative to foster a deeper
understanding of the capabilities and issues involved with administering FOSS
(Free and Open Source Software) to deliver concrete business benefits.
Although our subject will sometimes become technical, we will strive to
address the business benefits at the beginning of each and every post.
Therefore, we are confident that this blog will prove interesting and
understandable to a broad variety of leaders, managers, and technicians.
We look forward to an engaging discu... (more)
Open Source Journal on Ulitzer
The November 2009 issue of Communications of the ACM (CACM) has a very
interesting article by Paul Stachour and David Collier-Brown entitled “You
Don’t Know Jack About Software Maintenance”. The authors argue
energetically for using versioned data structures and “continuous
upgrading” to improve the state of the art of software maintenance.
The piece got me thinking about FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and
“continuous upgrading”. Here are seven observations on FOSS software
maintenance that occurred to me as I reflected on the CACM article:
At first glance, the ecosystem in the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
world can seem a bit complicated. There are several ways to get software:
project websites where you can download it directly, use a software
management tool that your Linux distribution provides, or you may also be
able to install a Linux distribution that includes everything you need right
out of the box! Once you understand this ecosystem, you can find where your
contributions would be most useful, and why contributing is beneficial to
your organization and the FOSS community.
So, where does this all b... (more)
Open Web Journal
Last weekend I had the pleasure of presenting at the Central Pennsylvania
Open Source Conference on the topic of Contributing to FOSS (slides available
In the talk I explored the many ways individuals can get involved in FOSS
(Free and Open Source Software), briefly covering everything from programming
to artwork to documentation. As diverse as these contributions are, the
common thread is close collaboration with the project itself. In particular,
following the procedures in place for contributing to the project is
essential. The talk also reviewed some... (more)