20.000 minutes

 

20.000 minutes sounds like a lot but for sufficiently large projects with sharp deadlines it really isn’t.

Converted to a more manageable time scale it’s roughly two weeks or roughly how much time until the Open Source Days conference opens. As some of you might know this is the second year I’m involved in organising this big open source conference.

And just like last year it’s an awesome experience but also very stressful with all the small things needing to fall into place for the conference to run smoothly. And unlike last year I haven’t been sick so I’m getting to enjoy the full experience 🙂

Having only two weeks left means really long hours every day while we scramble to close all the outstanding issues. But it also means we get to see a huge amount of things fall into place each day.

Some of the things I’m excited about today:

  • Most of the talks are now announced on the website
  • The keynote talks are all confirmed. More on that later.
  • We’ve added several more sponsors

The next two weeks should be very exciting and I’m sure the conference is going to be even better this year.

See you all at the conference!

 

Pictures from Open Source Days?

 

This weekend saw yet another edition of the Open Source Days conference in Copenhagen. And despite a few small issues (most notably a large power outage taking out a big area of the city) most people really seemed to enjoy the conference.

I also saw quite a few people taking pictures of the event and we’d love to see those pictures. Please send an email to [email protected] or directly to me at [email protected] if you would like to share your pictures.

 

Being different

 

In Exherbo we like to do things a bit differently from everybody else. And today I got inspired by some recent experiences with users not quite reading all the documentation that Exherbo developers expected them to and wanting to change our documentation in a slightly different direction than we wanted to.

The usual solutions to such problems are either to reject patches, possibly marking them as invalid, or yell at people until they go away or start doing what you want them to. I went for a very different option though and tried to document what we expect from users (or developers as we prefer to see them) and the result of that is now added to our website.

All the feedback I’ve had so far has been very positive both from very experienced Exherbo developers as well as contributors very new to the project. I hope I can refine it a bit more over the next few days so feel free to add your comments. It’s supposed to help everybody no matter their level of experience as developers or with the Exherbo project so I’d like to hear from lots of people.

 

Announcing Exherbo!

Open source is said to be about scratching your particular itches – and I’ve
been working my butt off for the last several months along with a small,
select team of developers doing just that.

All our hard work have so far resulted in a very experimental linux
distribution
 that’s definitely not ready for users yet (or even developers)
but does have quite a few interesting ideas and features.

In particular we’ve been working on and continue to focus on:

Packaging format:

  • our current package format is somewhat similar in idea to Gentoos ebuilds  but is completely incompatible due to the many technical differences.
  • our naming of variables, phases and libraries describes the concepts much better compared to Gentoo.
  • we have several new phases allowing much better control of the build process.
  • our options handling is much improved compared to the USE flags of Gentoo.
  • the default functions provided for various phases removes the need for explicit phase functions from most packages.
  • we’re not afraid of huge changes to the package format.

Toolchain:

  • Most distributions sucks badly in the way they handle crosscompiling, multilib and other fun stuff
  • work is ongoing on this topic and there’ll probably be huge changes but we have a fairly decent idea how to handle all the multi stuff sanely.

Initsystem:

  • We’re writing a completely new initsystem free of all the weird, useless legacy stuff and based on user needs in the 21st century.
  • I’ll be talking about this at the FOSS Aalborg conference in Aalborg, Denmark on june 4th. Slides will be made available after the conference.

Management and politics:

  • we take a no bullshit approach to our work and aren’t afraid to tell each other when something sucks and take it at face value.
  • we keep the developer team small on purpose – there’s much less bullshit this way and we can all agree on the direction needed for  Exherbo.

Further plans:
We have lots of additional features and ideas for the future planned that we
haven’t even started on yet so Exherbo is expected to be in turmoil for quite
a while yet. That said I think we have an interesting base already and
interested people are encouraged to take a look at it. Just don’t expect
anything to work (seriously!). Ongoing development is pretty fast and we’re
still at a stage where we happily break everything without second thoughts to
installed Exherbo systems or users.

More info:
More info is available on http://www.exherbo.org. More specific questions can
be asked in #exherbo on the freenode irc network (point your irc client at
chat.freenode.net) or by /msg’ing me directly (I’m using the nick ‘kloeri’) or
emailing me at [email protected]. Please keep in mind that I’m usually fairly
busy and might take a little while before I’m able to answer your questions.