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All Things Open: A Look at Copyleft

I have a somewhat embarrassing admission: I've been working in (or at least near) open source software for a little more than two years and, before All Things Open last month, I didn't really understood the subtleties around different types of open source licenses.

I wasn't a total IP ignoramous. I even took a graduate-level class in media law while I was in journalism school and we covered copyright in great detail. So, I understood that according to US law, everything was copyrighted upon creation (or more accurately, when fixed in a set medium). And I understood that there were open source licenses that essentially released works from copyright.

But (here's the admission) I thought "copyleft" was a specific license. I learned otherwise when Andrew Hall, a lawyer with Fenwick and West, LLP, who specializes in IP law, explained in his Open Source Licensing & Business Models talk that copyleft is not a specific license, but rather a term that describes all licenses that allow derivative works, but require derivates (if distributed) to use the same license as the original work.

Ahhhh! Now that makes more sense. He went on to explain that not all open source licenses are copyleft – there are permissive licenses (like the BSD and MIT licenses), which mean that software released under that license can be used in programs that are distributed under any other type of license, including proprietary ones. The whole talk was similarly enlightening, and he covered copyright in great detail. Fortunately, Hall's talk was recorded:

To learn more about the concept of copyleft, visit, a new site the Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Foundation announced earlier this month.

If you'd like to see what else happened at the event, the All Things Open YouTube channel now has video archives from many of the talks, including:

  • The Culture of Open Source panel:
  • Introduction to PaaS for Application Developers (by Steven Pousty)
  • OpenStack + OpenShift ^ xPaaS (by Burr Sutter):
  • Women in Open Source Keynote (by DeLisa Alexander):
  • Women in Open Source Panel (moderated by DeLisa Alexander, featuring Dr. Megan Squire, Elizabeth Joseph, Erica Stanley, Estelle Weyl, and Karen Sandler)
  • OSAS Open Standards Panel:
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Fedora Council Elections Start Today

The Fedora Project recently changed its governance model and has begun to set up a Council that will replace the Fedora Board.

As John Rose noted on Fedora Magazine, the Board is working on an orderly transition from the old model to the Council model, and part of that is electing two new members for the Council.

The nomination period concluded last week, and elections began today and run through November 25th. (Voting closes at 00:00 UTC November 26th.)

The candidates are:

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NFV and SDN at the OpenStack Summit Paris

My first dilemma was at 11:40AM on Monday, right after the morning keynotes on the first day of the OpenStack Summit, which was held November 3-7 in Paris, France. I had to decide between a design summit session for OpenDaylight Neutron plug-in design, and three main track sessions: IPv6 in OpenStack Juno in the Networking track, Open Networking and SDN for Next-Generation OpenStack Clouds in the sponsored sessions, and Orange: A Leading Operator of the Internet Era Leaping to Cloud in the telco track. In the end, IPv6 won out, but the dilemmas continued all day.

Throughout the conference, finding two, three, or four networking or SDN sessions occurring at the same time was not unusual. In the main conference, there were 15 sessions specifically on NFV and related topics, many to standing-room-only audiences, and another 30 or so on networking and SDN. In the developer conference across the street, the OpenStack Kilo Design Summit, two sessions were dedicated entirely to NFV and telco needs. In addition, it was a prominent theme all week in design summit sessions related to OpenStack projects Nova (compute), Neutron (network) and Congress (policy).

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Upcoming Events and Calls for Papers

Doing exciting work with open source cloud, containers, virtualization, or other interesting technologies? Want to show it off to other folks in the FOSS community from around the world? Then don't miss these opportunities to get the word out about your work! Clouds, Containers, and Orchestration Miniconf is consistently a fantastic event. Year after year it delivers a great selection of talks and miniconferences. This year I'm running the Clouds, Containers, and Orchestration miniconf, and looking for presentations by November 25th. Here's the short synopsis:

"Software-defined everything," DevOps, and cloud are driving open source further and faster than we might have imagined possible just a decade ago. Most recently, Docker containers and orchestration have opened up all kinds of new opportunities to develop, deploy, and manage software from the developer's desktop well into production.

Find out more on the main page for the miniconf, and get the full details for the submission template.

FOSDEM: Virtualization and Infrastructure-as-a-Service Devrooms

This year, FOSDEM will have a one-day devroom for Virtualization, and a one-day devroom for Infrastructure-as-a-Service(IaaS).

Important dates:

  • Submission deadline: December 1, 2014
  • Acceptance notifications: December 15, 2014
  • Final schedule announcement: January 9, 2015
  • IaaS Devroom: January 31, 2015
  • Virtualization Devroom: February 1, 2015

Please read the CfPs on the main FOSDEM list, and submit your proposals in Pentabarf no later than Monday, December 1st.

Note that we're also looking for volunteers to help staff the Devrooms and manage video recording. If you'd like to help, please drop a note to iaas-virt-devroom at

You can see all the Devrooms on the main FOSDEM site and see the CfP deadlines for each, along with the announcements with all details. Some of the other notable Devrooms include the ever-popular Distributions Devroom, Network management and SDN, Legal and policy issues, configuration management, testing and automation, and many more.

Just a few days from FOSDEM, and a hop, skip, and jump over to Brno – will be bringing about 1,000 developers, quality engineers, system administrators, and users from the Fedora, JBoss, and Red Hat communities.

The call for participation is open through December 1st.

See you there!

Even if you're not speaking at one of these events, we hope to see you at 2015, FOSDEM, and Keep an eye on this space for updates on the programs and other interesting events coming in 2015.

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OpenStack Summit 2014 RDO Report

Last week I had the privilege of going to Paris for the OpenStack 'Kilo' Summit. Now that OpenStack Juno has been released, the Kilo Summit is held to plan the roadmap for the next release, Kilo.

Releases are named in alphabetical order, after something near the location of the summit. In this case, the International Prototype Kilgram, which is stored in Sèvres, just outside of Paris.

This is the third Summit that I've attended - the first two being in Hong Kong and Atlanta - and I'm always impressed with the sheer quantity of content jammed into the time, the depth of those sessions, and of the questions that attendees ask. This is a deep technical conference, and the attendees are the people who are actually doing the work in this space.

Red Hat engineers were involved in presenting more than 20 sessions, which run the first three days of the conference. The second half of the event is the design summit, where the various project teams discuss features and enhancements that will be developed for the upcoming release.

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Up and Running with oVirt 3.5, Part Two

Two weeks ago in this space, I wrote about how to deploy the virtualization, storage, and management elements of the new oVirt 3.5 release on a single machine. Today, we're going to add two more machines to the mix, which will enable us to bring down one machine at a time for maintenance while allowing the rest of the deployment to continue its virtual machine hosting duties uninterrupted.

We'll be configuring two more machines to match the system we set up in part one, installing and configuring CTDB to provide HA failover for the nfs share where the hosted engine lives, and expanding our single brick gluster volumes to replicated volumes that will span all three of our hosts.

Before proceeding, I'll say that this converged virtualization and storage scenario is a leading-edge sort of thing. Many of the ways you might use oVirt and Gluster are available in commerically-supported configurations using RHEV and RHS, but at this time, this sort of oVirt+Gluster mashup isn't one of them. With that said, my test lab has been set up like this for the past six or seven months, and it's worked reliably for me.

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Open World Forum 2014 Report

Ah, Paris. While seemingly the rest of the tech world was in the City of Lights for the OpenStack Summit, a smaller and more intimate event took place the week prior: Open World Forum.

The Forum is a two-day event in the heart of Paris dedicated to exploring all things open. And I do mean all: open software, open hardware, open data… the concept of open writ large and on display in a cozy little venue near the Arc de Triomphe.

Small, intimate, cozy… you may be sensing a theme here. But the smaller size of Open World Forum actually works in the event's favor. This was a chance for students, developers, and business people to come together and share what they know. There wasn't a lot of overt excitement (these are the French after all, and they tend to be cool), but there was a sense of earnestness in the air in the sessions and hallways of this venue.

My own discussion on containers and virtualization was in much the same vein. The audience for the presentation was attentive and full of questions, and this, for me, was one of the best interactive discussions I have had to date.

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ApacheCon EU 2014: Budapest or Bust

Look for us next week, November 17-21, at ApacheCon EU in Budapest, where we'll be giving a variety of Apache-angled talks:

Monday, November 17

Tuesday, November 18

Wednesday, November 19

Follow ApacheCon on Twitter at @ApacheCon and with the #apachecon hashtag.

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PyCon Ireland 2014 Report

Now in its fifth year, PyCon Ireland is an annual conference organized by the Python Ireland community. Like the previous year, the weekend conference was held in Dublin and included a healthy mix of talks and workshops. Two days of sprints on projects such as Django and PyPy followed. Over the years, and most notably this year, the content has evolved from covering low-level implementation details, to higher-level applications of Python and the plethora of modules now available.

Many companies, including Red Hat, sponsored the event, and given the interactions at the booths and the various recruiter talks, the job market seems vibrant and competitive for Python developers. More than 350 people attended this year, and the conference once again sold out in advance.

The keynotes covered a variety of topics. On Saturday the opening talk by Ian Ozswald included a rant about how hard and annoying cleaning input data is, a sentiment echoed by multiple speakers who also complained about wrong units, badly encoded strings, and the fact the booleans can be True and False, but also Unreadable.

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Breaking Down Language Barriers in Open Source

According to the Bible, there was a time when all people on earth spoke one language, and people began building the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens, which was in open defiance of God’s wishes. To stop these efforts, God made everybody speak different languages so that no one could understand each other. Because of the new language barrier, work on the tower halted and it remained unfinished. As with the Tower of Babel, language differences can be a barrier in technology, as almost 95% of people in the world are non-native English speakers.

Two approaches to tackling the challenge of language barriers preventing knowledge decentralization are to force everybody to learn the same language, or change the technology to support different languages. In the world of free and open source, Fedora, GNOME, KDE, LibreOffice, and Mozilla are a few of the many projects working toward supporting different languages. A variety of projects are helping to create information- and communication-related tools and technologies in languages that diverse communities of users can understand. Almost all major open source projects are working with more than 100 languages. Thousands of volunteers around the world contribute to localization projects to help break down communication barriers.

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