As the program manager of the Kubernetes community at Google, Sarah Novotny has years of experience in open source communities including MySQL and NGINX. Sarah sat down with me at CloudNativeCon in Berlin at the end of March to discuss both the Kubernetes community and open source communities more broadly.
Among the topics we covered in the podcast were the challenges inherent in shifting from a company-led project to a community-led one, principles that can lead to more successful communities, and how to structure decision-making.
Today, supporting Linux is as critical to Microsoft as it is to Red Hat and SUSE.
On April 18, Docker founder Solomon Hykes made a big announcement via a pull request in the main Docker repo: "Docker is transitioning all of its open source collaborations to the Moby project going forward." The docker/docker repo now redirects to moby/moby, and Solomon's pull request updates the README and logo for the project to match.
Reaction from the Docker community has been overwhelmingly negative. As of this writing, the Moby pull request has garnered 7 upvotes and 110 downvotes on GitHub. The Docker community is understandably frustrated by this opaque announcement of a fait accompli, an important decision that a hidden inner circle made behind closed doors. It's a textbook case of "Why wasn't I consulted?"
Ubuntu 17.04: Unity's swan song?
For the most part, not much has changed on Ubuntu's Desktop edition in the past year. Unity 7 has more or less remained the same while work was progressing on the next version of the desktop, Unity 8. However, now that both desktops are being retired in favour of the GNOME desktop, running Ubuntu 17.04 feels a bit strange. This week I was running software that has probably reached the end of its life and this version of Ubuntu will only be supported for nine months. I could probably get the same desktop experience and most of the same hardware support running Ubuntu 16.04 and get security updates through to 2021 in the bargain. In short, I don't think Ubuntu 17.04 offers users anything significant over last year's 16.04 LTS release and it will be retired sooner.
That being said, I could not help but be a little wistful about using Unity 7 again. Even though it has been about a year since I last used Unity, I quickly fell back into the routine and I was once more reminded how pleasant it can be to use Unity. The desktop is geared almost perfectly to my workflow and the controls are set up in a way that reduces my mouse usage to almost nothing. I find Unity a very comfortable desktop to use, especially when application menus have been moved from the top panel to inside their own windows. While there are some projects trying to carry on development of Unity, this release of Ubuntu feels like Unity's swan song and I have greatly enjoyed using the desktop this week.
While there is not much new in Ubuntu 17.04, the release is pretty solid. Apart from the confusion that may arise from having three different package managers, I found Ubuntu to be capable, fairly newcomer friendly and stable. Everything worked well for me, at least on physical hardware. Unity is a bit slow to use in a virtual machine, but the distribution worked smoothly on my desktop computer.
FOSS in European Public Services
In October 2016, the association Droit des Lycéens, which represents French high school students and helps them assert their rights, finally obtained the source code of an algorithm that influences students’ choice of university after the Baccalauréat exam. This puts an end to a conflict lasting more than seven months between the association and the Ministry of Education, which until then had refused to publish the source code of its tool.
The opening of algorithms and calculators is a flagship measure in the French law for a digital republic that was passed in 2016. Since then, France has started to publish some source codes, such as the personal tax calculator in April 2016. This may have created a precedent for the present case, according to the association.
The algorithm in question forms the core of the APB (Admission Post-Bac) online platform, which is used by all students in France. It allows them to enter their preferences in terms of universities and syllabus, and helps match applicants to available places. But Droit des Lycéens believes that the calculation method has been kept secret by the Ministry, and lacks transparency.
The OpenForum Europe (OFE) think tank welcomes the publication of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). This document continues to emphasise the importance of openness, the organisation writes on its blog.
A data visualisation application developed in 2015 by the Czech Ministry of Finance, is helping to promote the publication of open data, and is making the case for open source software development across the government. The tool, called Supervizor, was one of the winners of the European Commission’s Sharing and Reuse Award. At the Sharing and Reuse Conference in Lisbon (Portugal), on 29 March, Supervizor was awarded EUR 15,000 - to help the project expands its reach.
After attempting to gain access to Eidos’ original source code for Tomb Raider, a couple of developers have started to completely rebuild the game from scratch as part of a browser-based project.
OpenRA is easily one of my favourite open source projects. It allows us to play early Westwood RTS games like Red Alert and Dune 2000 in a modern engine on Linux. The latest release is a good one too.