On Difficult Conversations in Community

gluster Before I moved into community full time, I was a project manager working on a lot of different things. As a project manager, you tend to have a large portion of your day tied up in difficult conversations, and what I learned through is: always deliver bad news over the phone. Deliver over the phone, follow up in an email, but give people space to be able to react in person or as near to in person as you can, and have that hard conversation together.

Since I started this practice, video conferencing has gotten a ton better, and that ‘near enough’ is sometimes good enough! (I have other thoughts on what to do in days of amazingly bad connections, which is more common than you might think these days!)

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Online Communities Meeting Face to Face

gluster One of my favorite things about working in online communities is that you can spend nearly all your time with someone online but have no idea what they look like. I went out to dinner with a friend that I’ve known for ages from the DevOps community, and he went up to order and put it on the tab I had open—and he couldn’t remember what my real name was. He came back to the table and we had a good laugh about it—how we’ve known each other for some time, we’re good friends, but there’s some things that you just miss out on.

The face-to-face meetings are really important because you get to know why someone reacts a certain way to ideas that are proposed—in person. It’s really hard to hug it out over video chat, even though you can indicate a lot in email, in chat, and mailing lists.

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Encouraging New Contributors

gluster Open source projects survive off new contributions and new contributors, bringing new ideas and new focus to their work. A new project starts with one person or a few people putting code out for other people to use and contribute to, a successful project creates a pathway for contribution.

In Gluster, we’ve focused the past two years on making our infrastructure effective for contributing, and inviting more contributors into our infrastructure. Open source isn’t just about opening up your code—it’s about building a supporting infrastructure that invites people to contribute. For projects to be successful, the community needs to be able to participate in the governance, the documentation, the code, and even the hosting. Said another way, a healthy project can attract more diverse skillsets with more transparency.

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Announcing Gluster 3.10

Gluster logo The Gluster community is pleased to announce the release of Gluster 3.10.

This is a major Gluster release that includes some substantial changes. The features revolve around, better support in container environments, scaling to larger number of bricks per node, and a few usability and performance improvements, among other bug fixes. This releases marks the completion of maintenance releases for Gluster 3.7 and 3.9. Moving forward, Gluster versions 3.10 and 3.8 are actively maintained.

The most notable features and changes are documented here as well as in our full release notes on Github. A full list of bugs that has been addressed is included on that page as well.

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Open Branding for Open Source Projects

One of the really interesting things about working for Red Hat is the company’s attention to detail. Everything about the way the company is presented to the world is decided upon. You can’t just toss out any old picture of a guy in a red fedora… Shadowman’s gotta have the exact look and feel. To help with that, there’s an actual cool little branding book Red Hat’s marketing department worked up that I use for lot of things: even camera angles on video interviews.

Such things are not just fun for the control freaks among us… consistency in the way things are presented help reduce friction and make it easier for any project–commercial or otherwise–to get their messaging out. The last thing you need is a lot of inconsistent look and feel in the materials you present to your community.

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Gluster Goes to FAST

Gluster logo We hosted a small meetup/birds of a feather session at USENIX’s FAST conference. FAST is a conference that focuses on File And Storage Technologies in Santa Clara, California.

Vijay Bellur, Gluster Project Lead, did a short talk on Gluster.Next, our ongoing architectural evolution in Gluster to improve scaling and enable new use cases like like storage as a service, storage for containers, and hyperconvergence.

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Managing the World of the Small

ATO 2015 Logo There is a growing discussion in the IT world about the ways in which we, as information technologists, will approach managing the world of the small.

There are two aspects of current technology that fall into this category of "small"–containers and the Internet of Things. Both technologies were the subject of two intriguing keynotes at the opening session of All Things Open yesterday.

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Introducing the OSAS Community Dashboard

Red Hat’s Open Source and Standards (OSAS) group, working with Bitergia, is capturing interesting data from some of the upstream projects with which Red Hat is deeply involved. On this page, you’ll find various vital signs from projects like oVirt, RDO, ManageIQ, and Gluster.

It’s useful for folks who are familiar with an open source project to be able to see, at a glance, the general trends for things like mailing list activity, IRC discussions, or how many bugs/issues are being opened and closed.

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Welcome to the New Gluster Community Lead

Gluster logo The Open Source and Standards team in Red Hat is very pleased to announce the addition of a new team member: Amye Scavarda, who will be taking the role of GlusterFS Community Lead.

Amye’s journey to the GlusterFS Project could arguably be said to have started when she turned away from Dreamweaver web technology in 2008 while working on large Department of Energy cleanup sites as a technologist. A Portland, OR resident, Amye was invited by a friend to look for solutions at the annual Open Source Conference. It would be at OSCON that Amye would learn about the Drupal content management system.

GlusterFS is a scalable network filesystem that is the upstream for Red Hat Gluster Storage. With its broad and global community, GlusterFS has been a powerful voice in the storage ecosystem for quite some time. Amye’s steps into the role of Community Lead is a strong fit for the skills she brings.

After becoming a website consultant focusing on Drupal-based solutions, Amye soon learned the attraction and strength that an open source community could provide to a project like Drupal. Embracing the open source way through project management and analysis, Amye was able to work on projects for a wide variety of clients including the United Nations and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Her previous work at Acquia had her working with user communities of various skillsets, which enabled her to immediately see the impact of her work, something she enjoyed immensely.

Amye’s background in project management will serve her in good stead as the GlusterFS Community Lead, as she sees herself as a facilitator for the project, not a manager. Some of Amye’s more immediate goals will include revitalizing the GlusterFS board, increasing community contributions, and helping the project figure out where it needs to go in a future that is ever-changing.

With the skills and energy Amye possesses, there is little doubt that GlusterFS’ immediate future is looking much brighter.