When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

There was a time when Google was the shining beacon of geekdom; when tales of their crazy interview process, fancy chefs, and 20% time were spoken of in reverent whispers.

I’m realizing now that I held onto that fantasy for a lot longer than was realistic.

While I love my freakishly good job at OpenNMS (work from home lots, open-source software, good people), Google is the one place I’d always thought I’d at least entertain if the right thing came along.

Last week, I got an email from a Google recruiter (I get one every year or so, just checking in). I told him the usual, that I wasn’t looking to move, but am always interested to hear about opportunities from Google. He responded back a few days ago, asking when we could talk.

Then they announced Google Reader was going away.

When I realized I was losing something that I spend at least 60% of my web browsing time in, I finally consciously reevaluated my feelings on Google. And then, I responded to the recruiter:

Hey, sorry it’s taken a bit long to . . . → Read More: When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

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Microsoft, Why Do You Treat Me Like A Pirate?

Do you see that picture on the right? I bought Windows XP when it came out. An actual legitimate copy of Windows XP Home Edition. It promised a lot of things that it eventually pretty much delivered after a couple of service packs. It’s moved from machine to machine as I’ve updated hardware. I’ve gotten rid of basically all of my old PC hardware and now it lives on my Macbook Pro. I’ve been reasonably happy with it. Except…

With such a long history, I’ve long-since passed the time when Microsoft accepted my key without question through internet activation. Do you know what happens when you pass that time? Painful crushing phone activation.


First, you have to call a number, and enter 9 sets of 6 digits (they’re kind enough to let you use the touch-tone phone to do it, instead of braving their voice recognition system). Then, on the 9th set, it always complains that it didn’t understand the last set of digits, until you’re forced to tell it to forward you to a human without finishing the automated input.

Then, since it didn’t . . . → Read More: Microsoft, Why Do You Treat Me Like A Pirate?

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When “Do No Evil” Is Not Enough

I’m in the lucky position that I get to work on open-source software for a living. Not only that, but I work with a group of people who really believe in open-source software as more than just an alternate business strategy — it’s a philosophy that benefits everyone involved.

OpenNMS is completely open-source. There’s no whacky $50-per-node “enterprise” version with extra features — we put it all out there, and we stake our reputations on being the people you contact when you need something more than community support on the mailing list. The code is open, and anyone can become an OpenNMS consultant if they want. To survive as a services company, we have to be good at what we do, and not just keep the code hostage and force customers to go through us to get things done. We have to work our butts off to remain the go-to experts on OpenNMS.

That’s what makes it frustrating when we see our code, and the code of lots of other contributors appear to be misused. The whole point of the GPL is that everyone benefits from improvements made to the . . . → Read More: When “Do No Evil” Is Not Enough

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It’s Official, Motricity Lays Off… Durham

My former employer, Motricity, finally officially announced laying off a boatload of people this morning.

I’ve weighed in quite a bit on Motricity and their baffling business strategies on the MocoNews post that talked about rumors of layoffs; going by what most of us former employees have said, this has been expected for a looooooong time.

Best wishes go out to all of those affected by layoffs; I still know a few folks who have stuck around this long; they should be at least expecting a nice severance package and some time to look for something new. I worked with plenty of very talented people there who I expect will be able to get back on their feet pretty quick.

Good luck to all!

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On the Potential of GPL Violations

So Tarus posted about Cittio and their potential GPL violations last night, and it made Slashdot this morning. Once again I was reminded why I haven’t read Slashdot comments for a number of years. 😉

It all boils down to a bunch of people saying:

“OMG Get a lawyer!!!!” “It’s the GPL, you’re not a customer, they don’t have to tell you anything! Shut up!” …and… “DUDE. They totally say they use OpenNMS RIGHT HERE!”

Yes, they do mention OpenNMS on that page. They also say they use OpenNMS 1.0.2 which is either unfortunate for them, or very likely modified in a way that doesn’t appear to be communicated to customers.

By the time I posted a response clarifying things, it was too late and it’s buried way deep in the comments, so I would like to reiterate it here:

So what’s all this then?

Well, that link says they’re running OpenNMS 1.0.2, which, given the questions Cittio employees have asked on the OpenNMS mailing lists in the past, seems very unlikely (although technically possible). If they *are* using 1.0.2, they very . . . → Read More: On the Potential of GPL Violations

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SourceForge “Services”

So I used to think the folks at SourceForge were just overworked and under-appreciated. They’ve worked really hard recently to show me this is not the case. Sure, it’s a “free” service, but it’s there to sell their premium services, and they get a lot of exposure being the place to go for open-source development.

They’ve been having growing pains for a while; a few months ago, they had a major CVS outage. Open-source development the world around ground to a standstill for days while they worked to get hardware up. Since then, they’ve been planning on transitioning folks to subversion, and to a new CVS infrastructure. Did I mention that in the meantime, the anonymous CVS has been frozen and out-of-date since March? This outage was only “repaired” for developers; user access has been broken all this time.

Since then, we’ve been planning on moving to our own server (donated by xs4all). As you’ve seen in previous posts, I’ve made progress towards that end. In the meantime, our expectation was to get in on the “new CVS” beta. We’ve been preparing versions of Fink that can “phone home” to figure out . . . → Read More: SourceForge “Services”

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Thank You, Nikon, For Your “Support” (updated)

So I got a sweet new camera and went “wow, even comes with up-to-date Mac software!” Little did I know what I was in for. (Read on for the rest.)

. . . → Read More: Thank You, Nikon, For Your “Support” (updated)

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