Happy Birthday CentOS!

Today, CentOS turns 15 years old. It’s had hard times and good times, and gone through a number of big changes over those years. We feel that we’ve landed in a really great place over the last five years, as part of the Red Hat family of projects, and we’re very excited about what’s coming with CentOS 8, and the years to come.

Right now, we want to look back at how we got where we are now. We did that by going back and talking with some of the people that were involved in those early years, as well as some that joined the project later on. (more…)

Five Surprising Things When Open Sourcing Proprietary Software

When a piece of proprietary software that has been developed for a few years is being open sourced, there is often a perception in the engineering world that it should be quick and painless. After all, what’s involved besides picking a license and making the code repositories open?

Here are a few things that come up when moving from a proprietary to an open source development model for a project. (more…)

Three Tips for Running a FOSDEM DevRoom (Or any Single-Track Event)

(With Leslie Hawthorn)

For the past three years, we’ve run the FOSDEM Community DevRoom, welcoming speakers from the ranks of open source maintainers, community builders, FOSS non-profit organizations, and agile coaching. We’ve also been fortunate enough to get great reviews on our program curation and DevRoom facilitation, so we’re sharing a few tips to help people who’d like to run a DevRoom at FOSDEM.

This list isn’t just for FOSDEMers, though; it’s good for anyone who needs some getting-started advice on running a single-track program at any event!

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The Illusion of Control

One of my favorite sayings is “If you want to make God laugh, tell Them your plans.”

It’s not my favorite by making me feel good, since it’s usually something I’m reminded of after one of my own plans has gone kablooey and I’m sitting in a pile of smoking ruins wondering what the heck just happened. Then I remember: God just had a chuckle.

Your own belief system may differ from mine, but there is a lot of evidence in any worldview that Life, The Universe, and Everything is highly resistant to many (if not all) forms of control.

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Balancing Open and Productivity

The adage “knowledge is power” is usually a very good one. After all, the more you know about what’s going on, the more you can usually make a better decision about the things you need to get done.

In an open, collaborative environment, methods such as more transparent processes can lead to more efficient knowledge sharing. which in turn can lead to more effective decisions and outcomes.

But such systems also have people involved, and when that happens, sometimes the most ideal open framework can be thwarted from its intended goals.

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Building Snakes to Learn Code

On Saturday, February 2, Red Hat Brno hosted a “Snake workshop” for PyLadies CZ.

Before I begin describing the event, let me first write a bit about the concept.

PyLadies CZ is an informal group of people that (among other things) organize three-month Python courses for women (mostly beginners). These courses have been going on for about five years in Brno, and have heavily influenced the workshop.

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