Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Percona Live Santa Clara 2013 tutorial schedule out

Planet LCA 2009 - November 20, 2012 - 15:33

I didn’t participate in 2012, but in 2013, I’m back on the conference committee for Percona Live Santa Clara. We have an awesome Program Chair in Shlomi Noach, and after much deliberation & commentary, we have a tutorials schedule out now. Expect that the rest of the conference content to be awesome too. Remember, April 22-25 2013 are the magical dates, so register now!

Related posts:

  1. MariaDB at Percona Live Santa Clara
  2. More MariaDB after Percona Live Santa Clara
  3. Percona Live London 2011

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: MySQL-related events & the ecosystem

Planet LCA 2009 - November 20, 2012 - 15:25

I had an interesting conversation with Sheeri (who I’ve known for many years, so consider this friendly banter) on Twitter about my recent blog post titled: once again, a split in events.

Disclaimer/Bias Warning: For those that don’t know me, I write this as a perspective of a community member. I was the first ever Community Engineer at MySQL, followed by being a Community Relations Manager right up till I left Sun Microsystems. I now work on MariaDB which is a branch of MySQL, so naturally we are in competition for user base. But I’m writing this as a community member at large who cares about MySQL & the ecosystem.

First of, this is a focus on the user ecosystem. I think the MySQL developer ecosystem has never been healthier than it is today – so many branches, forks, features, development trees, etc. Developer ecosystems are for another post, this is all about user ecosystems.

On events during similar timeframes

Sheeri started with calling BS on my post. Great way to start a conversation. I for one didn’t say that Oracle split the community or that Percona did so. I’m not in the job of pointing fingers. I’m just looking at past evidence: London 2012 (Percona, UKOUG), September/October 2012 (MySQL Connect San Francisco, Percona NYC), April 2011 (MySQL Conference Santa Clara, IOUG Collaborate Florida). There may be more events but I can only think of these.

I’ve heard that the April timeframe is bad for Oracle to send engineers to conferences because they have a busy release month. Yet Collaborate in Florida was ok?

Yes, MySQL may be the most popular opensource database today. This is great for the ecosystem that I am in. We can & should have many events, so I totally agree with Sheeri. But do they have to be at the same time? Do they have to ensure that attendees have to choose one or the other?

On spreading MySQL

I am happy that free events now happen in places that previously had no events, like Nairobi & Kenya. MySQL presence was almost unheard of in South America (many users, but we never made it out there to meet with the grassroots), but I’ve seen great amounts of activity there. I’ve even written about this before: a tale of two conferences. London in 2011 was awesome for MySQL all spread by a week – Oracle and Percona had 2 events and there were 2 different audiences from what I could tell.

I was at MySQL Connect this year as well as Percona Live NYC. The amount of intersection in attendees was sparse. In fact, Oracle managed to gather an interesting new crowd for Connect, so all kudos to them!

My wish as a community member (on events)

I wish to see Oracle MySQL employees show up at all events. This includes Percona Live events. I mean a talk from someone developing InnoDB, for example, would be great. It seems that the official line though is: “Oracle is not willing to help other companies’ marketing“. Fair enough. Percona Live is a great marketing event for Percona.

In the same vein I wish to see non-Oracle employees, even those from competitors, show up at Oracle MySQL events. MySQL Connect had 2 talks from Percona. That’s a good start.

I also wish that I get the best MySQL & ecosystem related content at one event. Many people can only make one event (especially when they happen during the same time at different locations). As a busy DBA, I want “the one event to learn it all”. That’s what the MySQL Conferences in Santa Clara used to do. This was a home for people to meetup once a year. This is no longer the case, it would seem.

Keeping MySQL relevant

Another wish that is unrelated to events: I wish MySQL was still spreading.

I speak to many MySQL users. From humble developers to large enterprises.

Oracle’s enemy isn’t MariaDB or Percona Server or the ecosystem at large. MySQL’s enemy is the growing use of other databases. NoSQL solutions are a popular choice; when people realize they want something relational, they don’t think about MySQL as a migration path. Pretty much every migration story I’ve seen suggests it is a migration to PostgreSQL.

Many years ago, you deployed on MySQL first. Today, is it still the first choice for the developer? Is it the second choice?

What about enterprises migrating from the Oracle database? They are well aware whom the new owners of MySQL are.

I saw this published on Josh Berkus’ blog: MySQL-to-PostgreSQL migration data from It is worth a read.

I have had many conversations with experienced MySQL DBAs who I would consider rockstar DBAs in the Valley who are now beefing up their MongoDB knowledge. Some job offers are now asking for more than just MySQL knowledge. The naive way to look at it is if you’re getting 2-3 job offers for MySQL work per week. That is today. What about next year? I would like to put on a long term view here.

One more thing

I am truly independent in this. I want to see MySQL succeed. I need it to succeed as I am an ecosystem participant (via MariaDB).

I have heard many people call Oracle ACE/Directors Oracle apologists. I know pretty much all the Oracle ACEs as friends and respect their opinions, so in no way am I going to refer to them as apologists or shills. 

Celebrate the Oracle ACE/Director like you would the old/defunct MySQL Guilds.

Let’s work together to make the MySQL user ecosystem healthy!

Thanks to Sheeri Cabral, Giuseppe Maxia, Henrik Ingo & Ronald Bradford for pre-reading this.

Related posts:

  1. Once again, a split in events
  2. MySQL across two coasts
  3. A Tale of Two Conferences

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: My Kickstarter experience

Planet LCA 2009 - November 20, 2012 - 05:28

In may 2012, I went on a little shopping spree on kickstarter. The intention wasn’t to invest in a project but back it. Its clear many people get confused with the concept. Backing a project isn’t like going to a store to buy or pre-order a product either.

Backing a project is rooting for its success. With money, one can only presume that projects execute and whatever was promised gets delivered. It seems however that my kickstarter hit rate is so far a mere 50%.

I backed a project that successfully delivered the goods in September 2012. I was rather thrilled because it clearly made someone’s dreams come true. Another project that I had backed should have delivered on the goals by the end of July.

Sadly, its November and many of the backers haven’t heard back from the project owner. Many comments from concerned backers are posted in the comments section.

Me? I backed what I consider a small amount. In funding, sometimes things fall thru, and in backing projects, sometimes things don’t work out even when the funding goal is reached. Money alone doesn’t make a product!

Is this however a problem? Will someone that has been burnt by a negative backing consider using the Kickstarter platform again? Will it ruin crowdfunding for them?

I don’t have the answers. I will continue perusing the site, backing interesting projects, ensuring people’s dreams can be achieved. Let’s see if my success rate improves over time.

Related posts:

  1. pitchIN, the Kickstarter for Malaysia
  2. Does open source need to be “organic”?
  3. Is open source the bubble 2.0 waiting to happen?

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Once again, a split in events

Planet LCA 2009 - November 20, 2012 - 00:14

Percona Live London 2012 happens December 3-4 2012. Naturally Oracle has decided to back UKOUG in Birmingham with interesting talks as well, happening December 3-5 2012. This is akin to the recent San Francisco/New York split for MySQL Connect & Percona Live NYC 2012.

Lucky for us, Birmingham’s “MySQL day” seems to be December 5 2012, and by estimates, it takes about 1.5 hours for one to attend both events and see 3 days of MySQL related content.

That aside, I’m hoping this doesn’t happen in 2013. Splitting the community is never a good idea.

Related posts:

  1. MySQL-related events & the ecosystem
  2. More MariaDB after Percona Live Santa Clara
  3. MySQL across two coasts

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Handset for my mobile phone

Planet LCA 2009 - November 18, 2012 - 19:38

I was recently in Japan and picked up in-store a Native Union Authentic Retro POP Phone Handset for Mobile Devices and Tablets. It is a nifty little device that is great when you have to make long calls (think group meetings, conference calls, etc.). It also means I don’t keep my phone to my ear. The audio quality is pretty good as well, and you can hang up on the call from the phone.

It isn’t something I’m carrying when I travel, but it is a welcome addition to the office. Best thing about it? It uses a regular headphone jack, so no worries about it working on my Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry.

Now, would I get away with driving in a car with this? :-)

Related posts:

  1. On the mobile data business, and iPhones
  2. Finding people from cell phone base stations
  3. The Android User Experience

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: thoughts on e-mail backlog

Planet LCA 2009 - November 17, 2012 - 20:39

I had the pleasure to chat with my former CEO, Marten Mickos, at LinuxCon Barcelona on his birthday. Marten is prolific on Twitter (@martenmickos). I’ve always encouraged him to blog, so I’m glad that he now has two blogs: CEO blog at Eucalyptus, as well as another on Wired’s Innovation Insights.

We spoke about many things, but one of them was email. Marten always replies to emails very quickly and it has always impressed me. He told me he felt bad that now he might take up to a week to reply to an email. He jokingly blamed it on age catching up.

It got me thinking about my email backlog. Across all accounts, I am embarrassed to say I have 3,821 messages that I have to process. I’m sure quite a number of those will require replying (even at 10%, that is quite a number).

There is no better time than now to take over my INBOX. I have the next couple of weeks to be home and a little more relaxed, so I’m going to tackle this email backlog. Once I’ve paid off this debt, I plan to answer emails fashionably quick. I mean if Marten, CEO of Eucalyptus, board member at several firms, can do it, so can I.

Thanks Marten for continuing to inspire me to be better.

For additional inspiration, I plan to listen to Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself. I’m sure it is one of Marten’s better inspirational talks!

Related posts:

  1. The 1Malaysia E-mail Project
  2. The 1Malaysia E-mail Project Revisited
  3. Support Management Escalation

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Which one are you: Confident? Arrogant? Smug?

Planet LCA 2009 - November 17, 2012 - 20:16

Confidence is the honest belief that you’re highly capable of helping others. Arrogance is the honest belief you have nothing more to learn yourself. It’s a fine line, but walk right up to it. (Smugness is arrogance without the talent—these are the people “coaching” others who have never done what they’re coaching.)

Quote from Alan Weiss. Totally read the book: Million Dollar Consulting.

Related posts:

  1. Alan Knott Craig, Mxit & African mobile tech
  2. On fuel subsidies, and earning/spending power
  3. Books: The No Asshole Rule, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Categories: Aligned Planets

LCA2009 News: Chumby Co-Inventor to Keynote Linux Conference

Planet LCA 2009 - November 16, 2012 - 15:22, Australia’s premier open source conference, have announced the first of four keynote speakers for 2013. Andrew "bunnie" Huang is best known as the lead hardware developer of "Chumby", a device designed from the ground up as an open source gadget, complete with open source hardware, and whose designers encourage hackers to get into the device and make it their own. He is also the author of "Hacking the Xbox", a book about reverse engineering consumer products and the social and practical issues around doing so.

bunnie is currently a Research Affiliate of the MIT Media Lab, technical advisor for several hardware startups and MAKE magazine, and shares his experiences manufacturing hardware in China through his blog. He takes what he calls a "push-and-pull" approach to open hardware. He contributes original open designs, as well as liberating closed designs. He recently released an open implementation of a man-in-the-middle attack on high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP), a method of copy protection used by many media outlets, which enables overlays on encrypted video without circumventing copyright controls.

The keynote, titled "Linux in the Flesh: Adventures Embedding Linux in Hardware", embraces the idea that Linux is not just for desktops and servers, but exists, in one form or another, in millions of smartphones, routers, set top boxes, and other hardware appliances that we encounter in everyday life. bunnie will share some his experiences with embedding Linux in various hardware clients, the interplay between hardware and software architecture, system planning for embedded applications, and the challenges of hardware manufacturing and building a business selling physical goods.

For more information on the talks scheduled to be presented at this year, visit .

About showcases the best of open source and community-driven software and hardware, and it’s coming to the Australian National University from 28 January to 2 February, 2013. The conference provides a great opportunity for open source developers, users, hackers, and makers to share their ideas and further improve their projects.

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Group buying sites & their false advertising

Planet LCA 2009 - November 15, 2012 - 12:58

I just read that Coupang, in South Korea, has been fined for using false information by the Korean Fair Trade Commission to sell beef.

What’s amazing is that there was 117 million won (~USD$108,000) worth of beef sold at a 50% discount. The fine for false advertising, which is common in group buying sites as they beef up copywriting, was 8 million won (~USD7360).

Guess they’re big, but everyone’s got to play by fair rules. I wonder how many other trade commissions look into whacky copywriting in other countries.

Related posts:

  1. Thoughts on group buying sites
  2. Advice from David Ogilvy about group buying
  3. ChurpChurp alcohol advertising on Twitter

Categories: Aligned Planets

Anthony Towns: On Employment

Planet LCA 2009 - November 13, 2012 - 04:40

Okay, so it turns out an interesting, demanding, and rewarding job isn’t as compatible as I’d naively hoped with all the cool things I’d like to be doing as hobbies (like, you know, blogging more than once a year, or anything substantial at all…) Thinking it’s time to see if there’s any truth in the whole fitness fanatic thing of regular exercise helping…

Categories: Aligned Planets

Jonathan Oxer: Walktime Blog #27: Electronics design as an online team sport

Planet LCA 2009 - November 12, 2012 - 12:18

Electronics design has traditionally been a solo activity. Some high-end packages have a degree of collaboration using shared libraries and synchronisation tools, but Upverter is the first project I've seen that allows real-time online collaboration. Multiple engineers can be working in the same project simultaneously, and the project updates live so all participants can see changes as they happen. Now with Upverter's latest release they've extended their initial schematic tool to include PCB layout, which may just tip it over the edge to being a major contender as design tool of choice for many engineers.

Check out Upverter at I'd love to know what you think.

View or comment directly on YouTube:

Categories: Aligned Planets

Jonathan Oxer: SuperHouse Ep 4: Making home automation gear run quietly

Planet LCA 2009 - November 10, 2012 - 17:08

I put up SuperHouse episode 4 a while ago, and forgot to blog about it! Slack.

Anyway, it's up now so please check it out!

I have another 2 episodes partly filmed, and work done for a couple more after that so hopefully they'll begin coming through more regularly.

Categories: Aligned Planets

Jonathan Oxer: Walktime Blog #26: The Big Red Button

Planet LCA 2009 - November 10, 2012 - 16:28

When IVT started using Scrum as a development methodology I wanted to put the power to approve or reject software releases into the hands of the product manager. Combining an Arduino-compatible board from Freetronics, a WiFi shield, the JIRA issue tracker, the Git source code management system, a custom web service, and some flashing lights, this is the result.

View or comment directly on YouTube:

Categories: Aligned Planets

Mary Gardiner: Now Wikivoyaging!

Planet LCA 2009 - November 5, 2012 - 17:26

It’s amazing how many people I meet who got en-wikied by Wikitravel, the freely licenced worldwide travel guide founded by Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins. I was always a bit sad that it wasn’t a Wikimedia project (once I knew there were Wikimedia projects aside from Wikipedia). I was a heavy editor in 2004 and 2005 and became an administrator in 2006, and still (well, as of yesterday) held that role on the website although I haven’t been very active since 2007.

For entirely separate reasons, I ended up keynoting Wikimania this year, which was great and terrible timing as far as wikis for travel went. Great, because it was at Wikimania that part of the discussion about founding a Wikimedia Foundation travel wiki was going on (Internet Brands owns the Wikitravel trademark and domain name), and I was told about it by one of the people active in it. Terrible, because I was so exhausted and overwhelmed after AdaCamp and my keynote that I didn’t do nearly enough at Wikimania. (The evening of the keynote, I went to my hotel at 4pm and ordered room service dinner. Thank you, room service crème brûlée, for getting me through that night.) I did meet someone who was among those spearheading the proposal to have a WMF travel wiki, but I didn’t attend the travel wiki meetups, nor log in anywhere to express an opinion among the various proposals.

It seems that what was eventually decided was to immediately import content originally written for Wikitravel into an English language version of Wikivoyage, which had already assembled a German and Italian community to create a non-commerical wiki travel guide some years back. The edit history of Wikitravel as of early August has been imported (since August, Internet Brands turned off the API access to Wikitravel changes), with further edits being made by Wikivoyagers including many former Wikitravel (and current, perhaps?) editors. Wikivoyage is in turn being imported into WMF technical infrastructure very very soon (possibly Monday US time), but I finally happened to want to do some editing last night, so I jumped the gun and joined the live version of English Wikivoyage! If you remember me from Wikitravel, say hi.

It’s already possible to use Wikimedia Commons images on Wikivoyage, for which I’m very grateful. I’ve put all the research I’ve done for my upcoming trip to SEE A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE into the Solar eclipses travel article, a perfect use-case for Commons images, which has hundreds of shots of eclipses. I’ll see if I can find a good replacement for the very mediocre image from my 2006 trip to Cairns still used on that article.

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: An overheard conversation on jobs

Planet LCA 2009 - November 4, 2012 - 21:58

I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation today. It was in an airport bus, wheeling us to our plane. The dramatis personae involve folk that are from America.

Lady: “Where do you work?”

Man: Almost apologetically states, “I work at Oracle, that big database company. Well, until I find something else to do.”

A whiff of silence in the air.

Man: “I used to work for a small company but Oracle acquired it about a year ago”

Another man: ” When does your lock up period expire? Can’t imagine you’d enjoy working there.”

Man: “Soon, real soon.” Giggles

Lady: “Well in this economy, you don’t want to be out of a job. I guess no one leaves a company before having yet another job in the line.”

Everyone nods in agreement.

What can we learn from this?

  1. People apologise when they work at a big company? 
  2. The economy is terrible that it might be an employer’s market, and there is no longer ease of employee mobility

However, this would be in contrast to the hiring battle that is being faced in Silicon Valley. The FT is the latest to talk about this.

Related posts:

  1. Open source kills jobs?
  2. Keeping up with the conversation
  3. Fedora Jobs list and test notes

Categories: Aligned Planets

Tim Connors: Simple NFS bugs, not so simple to fix

Planet LCA 2009 - October 31, 2012 - 08:06
Could someone explain to me why the simple and obvious patch in kernel bugzilla 12557 to resolve an invalid filehandle being found by stat() when a file has been recently updated on an NFS server, causes more problems than it solves and thus will not be ever applied to a mainline kernel? "CLOSED DOCUMENTED" seems to be documented by saying "NFS is unreliable. Live with it". Yes, but couldn't it be *more* reliable?
Categories: Aligned Planets

Simon Lyall: Sysadmin Miniconf proposals close in 2 days for 2013

Planet LCA 2009 - October 29, 2012 - 20:57

Once again I’m helping to organise the Sysadmin Miniconf at . This time we’ll be in Canberra in the last week of January  2013.

This is a big reminder that proposals for presentations at the Miniconf close at the End of October. If you have a proposal you need to submit it now.

Even if you’ve not 100% finalised your idea let us know now and we can work with you. If we don’t know about it then it is very hard for us to accept it.

We have several proposals that have already been accepted but are very keen to get more.


Categories: Aligned Planets

Mary Gardiner: Support the Ada Initiative

Planet LCA 2009 - October 25, 2012 - 09:30

That time of year (a tradition has not yet been established) has come around again: the Ada Initiative is fundraising!

The what? The Ada Initiative is the charity that Valerie Aurora and I started in early 2011, supporting women in open technology and culture. Val and I have been working independently and together on supporting women in open source since circa 1999 (starting, in my case, when someone said something derogatory about my computing skills, in a university context*) and we were both at a transition point in our careers last year and decided to try and go pro. Everyone in open source is growing up and getting paid, the activists too!

Since then we’ve done a bunch of things:

  1. run two AdaCamps: cross-project summits for and about women in open tech and culture (to give an idea, at AdaCamp DC we had women who do GNOME programming, women who help run fandom organisations, and women from Wikipedia among many others)
  2. continued to work with conferences and communities to develop and promote the conference anti-harassment policies we developed in late 2010. Most recently a version was adopted by Google and linked from the Google IO 2012 homepage.
  3. developed our allies training workshop: we’re planning to develop a curriculum to train other people to run it
  4. worked with several companies and conferences to respond to sexist incidents or patterns in their community

I also appeared at Wikimania this year, to give a keynote on diversity ideals and strategies.

As for reasons to donate: let me share with you the argument that got me involved. They still motivate my work for the Ada Initiative. (I’ve been paid a salary for over a year now, but I donated my time through to July 2011.)

The basic reason is this: open technology and culture is changing the world. But all world-changing movements have problems with replicating the same old problems inside their communities: that the more boxes you check of Western, white, educated, male etc, the more you will find the community suited to putting you in leadership positions and the more you will benefit from it and change it to benefit you. Some areas of open technology and culture — famously, open source software development, but also, for example, Wikipedia editing — are notorious for low participation by women. For me the argument amounted to “I want to play too” but there are knock-on effects too: see Valerie’s Why We Need More Women In Open Source: The Founder Gap when it comes to employment.

At present this is do or die time: we have project experience and fundraising experience now. Our donation drive has 7 more days to run: if there’s not enough support out there for us to keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll need to re-think the idea that this is activism that it is possible to pay for.

I’d very much appreciate it if people who have benefited from open source, open knowledge, Creative Commons work and so on, especially people who have built a career from it or from having access to the community consider donating: it’s not a level playing field and it damn well should be!

* I don’t think it was the time that my tutor announced “oh hey, here’s our token woman” on the first day of semester, actually, but for the record: don’t do that.

Support the Ada Initiative‘s work for women in open technology and culture!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia.

Categories: Aligned Planets


Planet LCA 2009 - October 24, 2012 - 17:48

Yesterday we (Gerry, Lars, Serg) had a mini-MySQL’er reunion courtesy of us all speaking at HighLoad++. Much thanks to the organizers for bringing us out here so that we could all catch up :)

We had a chat about how SHOW CONTRIBUTORS got into the code of MySQL as we were giving ideas to HighLoad++ organizers to raise money for charity. I distinctively remember it had something to do with a charity auction at one of the older MySQL User Conferences in Santa Clara. This was when we had quiz shows! And it was at the UC in 2006 for a charity auction where all proceeds got donated to the EFF

I see than Ronald has it in a presentation, and Sheeri was just saving to get married but still shelled out. Someone who’s a little quieter in the MySQL community, Frank, has a distinctive writeup, who reminded me that I too talked about this back then.

A lot has changed since 2006. SHOW CONTRIBUTORS is now deprecated, just like SHOW AUTHORS. As of 5.6.8, it is removed.

It will not affect how the database performs, but it certainly affects the “community feel” around MySQL, further cementing the idea that this is now a product at a very large company.

Related posts:

  1. It’s nearly Mother’s Day, what a gift…
  2. Lightning talks with Community Contributors
  3. MySQL, with SHOW PROFILE and updated INFORMATION_SCHEMA, built from the Community tree

Categories: Aligned Planets

Colin Charles: Why do Mac & Linux users pay more for things?

Planet LCA 2009 - October 23, 2012 - 14:53

I just purchased The Humble eBook Bundle. I primarily use a Mac OSX based laptop (my MacBook Pro), and secondarily use Linux in various flavours (a Lenovo ThinkPad runs Ubuntu, various boxes run a combination of that and Fedora & CentOS, and virtual machines are growing).

It seems not only with regards to Orbitz showing better, more expensive, hotels to Mac users, even when it comes to the Humble Bundle, Mac and Linux users pay more. Are we just conditioned to pay more than Microsoft Windows users?

I’m glad to support DRM-free e-books & great content. Who knows, I might discover something new.

Related posts:

  1. O’Reilly to offer DRM-free ebooks…
  2. Main stream Ubuntu – bug reporting users that aren’t packagers
  3. Dell collaborates with Microsoft/Novell – 2007 is definitely the year of desktop Linux

Categories: Aligned Planets
Syndicate content