Open Source Bridge hackathon on Sunday

Igal just posted to the osbridge-technology list:

Join us to work on one or more of these for Open Source Bridge this weekend:

1. Code: Add features and specs to the OpenConferenceWare conference
app. Join in if you’ve got Ruby on Rails coding experience, such as
contributing code to Calagator.

2. Text: Compose documents for outreach to user groups, educational
institutions, open source projects, and the like.

3. Outreach: Contact user group leaders, educators, open source
projects, mailing lists, etc to encourage them to spread the word about
the conference and submit proposals.

We’ll meet up at Ristretto[1] at 10am, then move on to a working lunch
nearby at the Lompoc 5th Quadrant[2]. Some members will leave as soon as
2pm, but others will stay on later. Join us for however much of this you



[1] Ristretto Coffee: 3808 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97213
[2] Lompoc, 5th Quadrant: 3901 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR

Join us! First three people to make it to Ristretto in the morning get one of these open source nerd merit badges.

What are you waiting for? Get your PgCon talks in now!

Yes, that’s me, with Tom Lane. You, too, might be able to get your picture with Tom!

Like Josh Berkus said yesterday:

As of today, you have 2 weeks left to submit talk proposals to PGCon.

You know you want to. PGCon is the international conference for PostgreSQL hackers, sysadmins, application developers, SQL geeks and other Smart People. Submit your talk! Be a Smart Person too!

PGCon will be happening May 21-22 in Ottawa, Canada, with tutorials on May 19 and 20. Some financial help is often available for speakers, but none is available for non-speakers. So submit, submit!

We particularly could use some talks on the new 8.4 features, really creative PostgreSQL applications, massive Postgres scaling, PostGIS, BioPostgres, and a few case studies. This means you.

I attended PgCon last year for the first time. Not only were the presentations top notch, but Dan Langille‘s hospitality set the groundwork for yet another fantastic community-building experience PostgreSQL community members experienced during the 2006 Anniversary summit in Toronto, again in 2007 at the first PgCon.

We had plenty of outstanding socializing and hacking opportunities. Last year’s conference started with a gathering of committers that was fodder for great pub and hallway track conversation all week. Great talks I saw included Andrew Sullivan’s Idle thoughts on PostgreSQL Project Management, Greg Sabino Mullane’s Bucardo talk about this multi-master replication tool, and Magnus Hagander’s walk through how was implemented.

Ottawa was beautiful last year, and I can’t wait to go back this May!

Open Source Bridge

wordle rocks

There’s going to be a new conference in Portland next July.

We’re calling it Open Source Bridge.

Our goal is this:

Create a completely volunteer-run, community conference to connect developers working with open source.

Let me explain with a little background:

My first tech conference was LISA in San Diego in 1997. I ran into Linus Torvalds in the hallway with my friend Steve, and we were both star-struck. I was still a student at the time, and loved every minute I spent rubbing elbows with people that were the pop-stars of the UNIXy world.

Since then, I attended LISA a few more times, OSCON, countless user group meetings for Perl, PostgreSQL. The last two years have been filled with local unconferences (BarCampPortland and WhereCampPDX to name just two) and travel to incredible community conferences like PgCon, LUG Radio Live, SCALE, Northwest Linux Fest, the Linux Plumbers Conference and last weekend’s Mentor Summit. And while on the board of the Legion of Tech, I’ve met and connected with more people than I ever thought I could know in Portland.

I love conferences. And I love Portland. Maybe you can guess what’s coming next.

During an intense brainstorming session at Side Project To Startup, a group of concerned Portlanders drew together a plan for a new conference. We packed a tiny room, and had a heated discussion about what we wanted, what Portland needed, and how we might do it. By the end of the session, Audrey Eschright and I agreed to co-chair. And with the support of Portland’s incredible tech community, we knew we could make it happen.

We called a few people, and I invited everyone over to talk about what to do next. We were: Audrey, Reid Beels, Professor Bart Massey, Rick Turoczy, Jake Kuramoto, Dawn Foster, Kelly Guimont, Adam Duvander.

We looked at the giant pieces of paper we’d scribbled notes on a few weeks before, and ate dinner together on a warm fall evening. And we decided to have a Town Hall.

town hall meeting, Oct 30, 2008, 7.30pm, Cubespace

Since then, we’ve been joined by Ward Cunningham (AboutUs), Irene Schwarting (Companies By Design), Harvey Mathews (SAO) and Clay Neal (City of Portland).

But enough with the history lesson!

Open Source Bridge will bring together the diverse tech communities of the greater Portland area and showcase our unique and thriving open source environment.

Open Source Bridge
will have curated, discussion-focused conference sessions, mini-conferences for critical topics and will include unconference sessions.

We will show how well Portland does open source and share our best practices for development, community and connectedness with the rest of the world.

Lots of ideas are buzzing around in our heads, and we’d love to talk about them with you! If you’d like to contribute to the effort, stop by the town hall event October 30, 2008 at Cubespace. We’ll have another meeting November 6th, and it will be announced on Calagator.

At the town hall, you’ll have a chance to meet the members of the core organizing committee, and pick up a responsibility or two. We’ll be breaking off into teams for each of the major areas requiring organization, and distributing the work across many people. We will create a mailing list after this first meeting for those who just want to hear about what we’re up to, or participate in some other way.

Thanks for your interest, and we hope to see you tomorrow night!

Pluggable architecture, not just for code


photo from Chris Zakorchemny

One OSCON session that made me think was “Does Open Source need to be organic?” The panel contained Brian Aker (MySQL), Rob Lanphier (Linden Lab), Stephen O’Grady (Redmonk), Theodore Ts’o (Linux Foundation). The session was less about business vs. community, and more about how to increase community involvement in your projects.

Brian Aker mentioned Launchpad, and the way that it handles code forks. Forks are integrated into the system using a new revision control system – Bazaar. The forks are front and center – allowing all developers on the project to add forks and update them, incorporating them in with the primary code distribution point. This model reinforces the idea that forks are natural and can be positive evolutions in open source projects.

My big take-away: If you want to increase community contribution to open source projects, provide public and easy-to use interfaces. Publish your API early and create pluggable interfaces! Let developers add functionality and publish their add-ons easily, both in your project’s development space and on their own.

The same principal can be applied to the people side of open source projects. In your organization, make roles, tasks and responsibilities transparent. Let everyone – inside AND outside the project – know what they could be doing to get things done. The mistake that many projects make is assuming that people know what they could be doing.

Think of the people-side of projects the same way as you think about the code. Documented APIs are the same as public mailing lists, blog entries and wikis that reveal what your organization is actually doing, and how new people can get involved. Roles and titles that are meaningful let people know who they should bring their ideas to. And that lowers barriers to participation.

Leadership is not just telling people what to do – it’s inspiring, facilitating and then getting out of the way of people who are willing and capable of doing things on their own. Community grown from inspiration, and then fed by encouragement, fun and recognition of accomplishment, are the ones that last. And these communities are the ones that I want to be part of.

Calagator, Ignite Portland, new PUGS site, geek2geek, SCALE — whew!

I’ve been filling my time with some community and open source work.

First, I’m working with Audrey and some other fabulous community members on Calagator, open-source calendar aggregation with teeth! Our next codesprint is coming up on February 2. Everyone is welcome!

Ignite Portland is coming up on February 5, aka Super Tuesday. We’re up to 400 RSVPs. I’m hoping for a rowdy, fun crowd.

The new PUGS site is coming along. I just got some patches to plug a wiki in there, and I got a pre-release of the PostgreSQL theme used by the Italian PostgreSQL site. Looking forward to digging in this evening.

Michael Schwern’s geek2geek has been a taking off. I wrote a guest post about the Pickup Artist. We’re riffing on the idea of social engineering, and the Pickup Artist focuses on manipulation and physical cues.

Finally, I’m leaving for SCALE on February 8th. Lots too do before then!