Hey, Red Hat - Open-source help still lousy?

"Zealots" wanted


OSBC It's been exactly a year since former Delta Airlines vice president turned Red Hat chief executive Jim Whitehurst criticized open-source vendors for doing a lousy job of getting customers involved in the community and projects.

Twelve months on, how are things looking?

Little has changed, judging by the general level of hand-wringing at this year's Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), but Whitehurst has kick started an effort inside Red Hat to find ways of getting customers to participate more actively in his own company's Linux and middleware projects.

Whitehurst told The Reg he's given one of Red Hat's former heads of learning services and global support the task of recruiting a team of "zealots" and building a program of customer engagement around its Linux and middleware.

The thinking is for a set of informal channels for ordinary system administrators in major customers such as Bank of America to contact the company and engage without needing to pick up the phone as, say, Bank of America's chief information officer (CIO) might.

It's a work in progress Whitehurst said, and - as yet - there's no date for delivery.

"It's how do we scale an engagement model that's not 'call somebody on the phone,' so when somebody wants to get involved there's a way to get involved," he said.

Meanwhile, Whitehurst said, there's a growing level of participation in Spacewalk, Red Hat's Linux systems management project.

"The majority of customers aren't engaged," Whitehurst had told the OSBC moments before speaking to The Reg. "Having a less programmatic way to engaging customers is something we are working on."

Whitehurst is taking a "softly softly" approach to engagement. He doesn't necessarily want a rash of code committers, rather cultivate feedback and contributions at different levels on a range of areas, such as that least loved of all subjects - writing documentation for code.

"I want to encourage people to get a little bit involved: give feedback, understand what's going on, help influence. Areas where you get code commits can come well down the path," he said.

Whitehurst reckoned that following last year's comments he'd "got a lot" of phone calls from people working on code who wanted help in building a community around it.

Such projects require a huge effort, but can happen.

Next page: Why bother?

Other stories you might like

  • Why should I pay for that security option? Hijacking only happens to planes

    But if I give him my bank details, I'll be rich!

    On Call Friday is here. We'd suggest an adult beverage or two to celebrate, but only if you BYOB. While you fill your suitcase, may we present an episode of On Call in which a reader saves his boss from a dunking.

    Our tale comes from a reader Regomised as "Ed" and is set earlier this century. Ed was working as a developer in a biotech lab. He rarely spoke to the director, but did speak to the director's personal assistant a lot.

    This PA was very much a jack of all trades (and master of... well, you get the drift). HR? He was in charge of that. Ops? That too. Anything technical? Of course. Heck, even though the firm had its very own bean counter, one had to go through the PA to get anything paid or budgets approved.

    Continue reading
  • UK, Australia, to build 'network of liberty that will deter cyber attacks before they happen'

    Enhanced 'Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership' will transport crime to harsh penal regime on the other side of the world

    The United Kingdom and Australia have signed a Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership that will, among other things, transport criminals to a harsh penal regime on the other side of the world.

    Australian foreign minister Marise Payne and UK foreign secretary Liz Truss yesterday inked the document in Sydney but haven't revealed the text of the pact.

    What we do know is that the two nations have pledged to "Increase deterrence by raising the costs for hostile state activity in cyberspace – including through strategic co-ordination of our cyber sanctions regimes." That's code for both nations adopting the same deterrents and punishments for online malfeasance so that malfeasants can't shop jurisdictions to find more lenient penalties.

    Continue reading
  • Japan's Supreme Court rules cryptojacking scripts are not malware

    Coinhive-slinger wins on appeal

    A man found guilty of using the Coinhive cryptojacking script to mine Monero on users' PCs while they browsed the web has been cleared by Japan's Supreme Court on the grounds that crypto mining software is not malware.

    Tokyo High Court ruled against the defendant, 34-year-old Seiya Moroi, on charges of keeping electromagnetic records of an unjust program. That unjust program was Coinhive, a "cryptojacking" script that mines for Monero by pinching some CPU cycles when users visit a web page that includes the code. Moroi ran the code on his website.

    Coinhive has been blocked by malware and antivirus vendors as it slows down other processes, increases utility bills, and creates wear and tear on your device. But in many ways Coinhive's Javascript code acts no differently to advertisements.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022