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Don't Skeumorph your Containers, Use Microservices Instead

The genesis of this article was a financial industry luncheon in New York City a couple of years back at which I was invited to speak. The topic was this new "containers" thing: what it was, where it was going, and how it could best be used. Of particular interest was how containers related to virtual machines (VMs).

At this point, it's worth remembering the context in which server virtualization and its VMs became such a popular technology, fundamentally changing how many datacenters were operated and spawning a mini-industry of complementary vendors and products. Although initially introduced as primarily a tool for developers, virtualization rapidly became instead a way to carve out multiple virtual servers from a single physical server. This server consolidation was initially driven by cost-cutting, a popular pasttime after the dot-com bubble popped.

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Celebrating Software Freedom Day and 30 Years of GNU

SFD Logo September 19 is a significant day for those of us who work and play in the world of free and open source software (FLOSS). Software Freedom Day, a global celebration of FLOSS falls on this date, with this year being even more significant, because this month also marks the 30th anniversary of GNU!

It is, at a certain level, pretty amazing: the choice to share software and see it built freely for its own sake has influenced innovation within IT for three decades. Technologies like cloud computing, big data, containers… these all were successful not in spite of FLOSS, but because of it. Free software has has a personal effect on its practitioners as well.

To celebrate Software Freedom Day, we put out the request here at Red Hat: what was your first experience with free software? The answers were full of tech, but also touched on a lot of positive emotions. Free software, lest we forget, means something, as the answers to our question certainly suggest.

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Welcome to the New oVirt Community Lead

oVirt logo The OSAS team is excited to have another new community lead on board, welcoming Mikey Ariel, the new Community Lead for the oVirt Project.

Mikey's journey to oVirt started over two years ago, in the earliest weeks of 2014, when a busload of Red Hat and Fedora team members made the 13-hour January trek from Brno, Czech Republic to the biggest free-software conference in the world: FOSDEM, in Brussels, Belgium. Among the passengers was Mikey, a new Red Hat employee on her way to her first tech conference, at the start of her professional journey into the world of free and open source software.

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Community Profile--CentOS Project

CentOS Logo Community Profile: CentOS Project
Name: CentOS [Community Enterprise Operating System] Project
Initial release: May, 2004
Project Lead: Karanbir Singh
Upstream: Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Downstreams: Various
Governance: CentOS Governance Board
Web Site:
Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, G+ Page, G+ Community
Software: Download, Source Code
Description: A free software project primarily responsible for the creation of the enterprise-ready Linux distribution CentOS.

The Open Source and Standards (OSAS) team at Red Hat helps support a number of diverse projects and their communities, and that number is growing alone with the responsibilities of the team. To highlight the projects with which OSAS works, a new series of community profiles will highlight the projects and the people who work with them. To start the series, we'll examine the CentOS Project–likely the most unique project within the OSAS ecosystem.

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Setting Up oVirt? Watch These New Videos

oVirt logo One of the really great things about working with communities is when you wake up one morning and find someone has generously donated their time and effort to deliver something that benefits all.

In this case, oVirt has Wesley Morais de Oliveira to thank for releasing a set of 10 videos detailing the basic steps for setting up and configuring oVirt. This includes the oVirt Engine as well as oVirt Node.

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Event Report--Flock 2015

Flock logo Did you miss the Flock to Fedora conference, or just want to relive the greatness?

With many workshops, presentations, and over 200 attendees, it's safe to say that Flock 2015 was a huge success.

This year's location at the Rochester Institute of Technology was quite the compatible fit. Fedora is quite popular among RIT students and faculty alike. One RIT researcher, Jon Schull, even started the e­NABLE Community Foundation ­­ a non­profit organization that creates prosthetic upper-limb devices for children in need. These limbs are created with a 3D printer as well as open source software running on the Fedora platform. Flock attendees had the opportunity to learn more about e­NABLE from Schull himself.

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Introducing the “fedora-tools” Image for Fedora Atomic Host

Project Atomic logo Borrowing from the developerblog entry, here's an introduction the fedora-tools” image for Fedora Atomic Host.

When Red Hat’s performance team first started experimenting with Atomic, it became clear that our needs for low-level debug capabilities were at odds with the stated goal of Atomic to maintain a very small footprint. If you consider your current production environment, most standard-builds do not include full debug capabilities, so this is nothing new. What is new, is that on RHEL you could easily install any debug/tracing/analysis utility, but on Atomic:

-bash-4.2# dnf bash: dnf: command not found

Whoops! What’s this now??? If you haven’t played with Fedora Atomic yet, keep the first rule of Atomic in mind:

You don’t install software on Atomic. You build containers on RHEL, CentOS, or Fedora, then run them on Atomic… sysadmin tools are no exception.

We always knew we needed an equivalent for Fedora… and we're happy to announce today the availability of the fedora-tools image.

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Event Report--LinuxCon NA 2015

LF logo Pretty much going to go out on limb here and make the call: if you didn't find something that interested you at this year's pantheon of LinuxCon North America events, then you may want to start using Windows. Except Microsoft was there too, so you're out of luck. And Apple, so just settle down.

The list or speakers and sponsors was varied, to be sure, no less so than the visitor roll call. But the real variety was marked by the sheer number of events the Linux Foundation hosted in the Seattle Sheraton during the week of August 16.

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Lies, Damned Lies, And Downloads

Download Icon Most people who went to school learned to count, a skill basic enough to be mastered by everyone. Yet, we often forget to use the necessary amount of critical thinking with counting, which leads to some problems–especially in free software.

Working for a company that started as a Linux distribution provider, it will surprise no one by saying that my team is often asked to acquire some statistics about the downloads of packages in order to estimate community engagement and the number of users of the project.

Though my job is not a community liaison, I work with enough of them to understand they need a way to measure the growth of their respective communities and the impact of their work. The professionalization of the community metrics field has even spawned its own mini-conference. Similarly, my colleagues working on the commercial side of the company have long since embraced the use of metrics and KPI offered by numerous CRM software platforms that provide reports to the upper management and enabling them to have a synthetic view and much-needed feedback on their initiatives.

But when people ask me for such statistics, I often explain why this is not the best idea. While download statistics are good for trends in community growth, they are not the sole sign of community health. This is due to three points I will now explain in detail.

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Event Report--EuroPython 2015

EuroPython logo Here is a report about some of the talks I've attended at EuroPython this July. The conference had nine tracks running in parallel, the recordings of which are available online.

The conference was opened with a keynote by Django Girls organizers about the power of community, the progress made in just one year of Django Girls' existence, and their future plans. The slides for the presentation were illustrated with hand-drawn paintings and overall the keynote was quite inspiring.

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