Free Software is funded by Free People

published 31 May 2016 in community

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More and more security incidents in Free Software projects get publicized in a way that anyone & their grandma understand the impact. Some of these carefuly crafted "campaigns" even make it to the main stream media. This trend, among other things, has sparked a discussion about funding Free Software to sustain the infrastructure everyone is building upon. A discussion which, in our venture capital driven tech world, mostly evolves around financing as a means for getting resources. Who can/should pay whom, to develop Free Software and how. I would like to add another view at funding, one that in my opinion has way more to do with Free Software ecosystem than cold, hard cash: collaboration of free people.

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Mind the gap between platform and app

published 04 May 2016 in osem

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With the Open Source Event Manager (OSEM), one of the Ruby on Rails apps I hack on, we're heading down the road to version 1.0. A feature we absolutely wanted to have, before making this step, was an easy deployment to at least one of the many Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers. We deemed this important for two reasons:

  1. Before people commit to use your precious little app they want to try it. And this has to be hassle free.
  2. Getting your server operating system ready to deploy Ruby on Rails applications can be tedious, too tedious for some people.

So I have been working on making our app ready for Heroku which is currently the most popular PaaS provider for rails (is it?). This was an interesting road, this is my travelogue.

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10 Tips for Mentoring #FreeSoftware Development

published 16 March 2016 in community

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I believe that one of the most important tasks for a Free Software hacker is to bring new people with new perspectives, backgrounds and fresh ideas into the community. That's why I try to make contributing to my own projects as beginner friendly as possible, that's also the reason I frequently mentor people who take their first steps in developing Free Software with programs such as Google's, or Rails Girls Summer of Code.

Just recently I had the opportunity to implement a mentoring program (hey 101) for one of the Free Software communities I'm participating in (hey openSUSE) together with a couple of friends (hey Chris & Cornelius). That adventure required me to think about what I find important about the whole process. I'd like to share those thoughts with you. Here are my 10 Tips for Mentoring Free Software development.

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Distributing Free Software: Herding Cats

published 18 March 2014 in obs

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The basic challenge of distributing Free Software is compiling that awesome open source code into machine code for different Linux distributions so it's easily consumable for users. Sounds simple, but it isn't. If you look at the dependencies of a typical Free Software project you will find thousands of other projects in the stack. They build on top of each other, have functional dependencies, sometimes they are interdependent, they conflict with each other and what not. In short: Building Free Software is like herding cats. And rightfully users of the software expect a steady, well behaved, streamlined herd of cats! The Open Build Service (OBS) is the tool which makes this possible, it helps Free Software distributors to automatically and consistently build binary packages from free and open source code.

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