Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A new project: Was open source inevitable?

Last fall, I listened to the episode Was the Protestant Reformation Inevitable? on the Tides of History podcast. It turns out to be a fascinating question both because of the importance of the event and the difficulty of giving a definitive answer. I encourage a listen.

However, for me, it turned out to be fascinating for another reason as well. It got me thinking that a similar question could be asked about open source. And this got me excited because I'm a big believer in how history and counterfactuals can shed a lot of light on current and future processes—such as those around how open source software (and other types of openness) might develop in the future.

My plan is to turn this into a miniseries within my existing Innovate @Open podcast. Although my podcasts are normally fairly straightforward one-on-one interviews, this three(?) parter will be more produced and feature edited interviews from a variety of guests interspersed with commentary and perhaps historical material.

I had originally planned to do most of the interviews at events and I had started to do so. But with essentially all travel shutdown at the moment I'm taking advantage of the relative lull to reach out to people.

If you think you have something to add, feel free to get in touch. I'm mostly interested in ways things could have played out in a materially different way. Perhaps not without open source at all but a materially different landscape.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Podcast: Hyperledger's Arnaud Le Hors on best practices for Technical Steering Committees

Arnaud Le Hors is the chair of the Hyperledger Project's technical steering committee (TSC). Earlier this month, I sat down with Arnaud at the Hyperledger Global Forum to talk about the role of technical steering committees and some of the things that they've learned with Hyperledger over the past few years.

The Hyperledger Project is a group of related enterprise blockchain projects under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. However, in this discussion, we didn't focus so much on the technology but, rather, on how best to manage a project from a technical perspective. Perhaps the most interesting part of this discussion related to how managing a project like this one is at least as much about process as it is about the core technology. Example. What could the TSC have done better? Document everything!

Some related links:
Hyperledger Project
Hyperledger TSC Home
Open governance insights from Chris Aniszczyk, VP of Developer Relations at the Linux Foundation
Blockchain reality check 2020: Challenges and winning applications (write-up from Hyperledger Global Forum 2020)

Listen to podcast [MP3 - 24:11]

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Favorite Science Fiction Short Stories: First Draft

I've been playing around with re-reading favorite science fiction short stories and seeing if there's anything that has managed to elude me over the years. (Or at least I've totally forgotten if I did read it.) It's not always as easy as it seems as if it should be to track down individual short stories--at least legally. But that's a story for another day.

Anyway, my initial list (sorted chronologically) is below. A few rules I set for myself:
  • One story per author. Certainly there are many on this list for which I could effortlessly reel off multiple deserving entries.
  • I didn't worry about exact definitions. There are stories here that are longer than the science fiction awards definition of a short story.
  • I didn't cut a lot of slack for popular older stories that require a lot of historical perspective to appreciate today.
  • I also didn't include authors who I like for their novels but don't have any short stories I'm aware of that really wowed me. 
  • I tried to pick stories that work well in isolation. For example, while I really like Larry Niven's Known Space stories, I think "Inconstant Moon" is probably his best standalone story.
Who am I missing? Are there any of my picks that you think are really off?

The Machine StopsE. M. Forster1909

A Martian OdysseyStanley G. Weinbaum1934

Microcosmic GodTheodore Sturgeon1941

The Weapon ShopA. E. van Vogt1942

Mimsy were the BorgovesLewis Padgett (pseudonym)1943

A Logic Named JoeMurray Leinster1946

The LotteryShirley Jackson1948

Scanners Live in VainCordwainer Smith1950

There Will Come Soft RainsRay Bradbury1950

Surface TensionJames Blish1952

It's a Good LifeJerome Bixby1953

Fondly FahrenheitAlfred Bester 1954
The StarArthur C. Clarke1955
The Last QuestionIsaac Asimov1956
All You ZombiesRobert Heinlein1959

Flowers for Algernon (short story)Daniel Keyes1959

A Rose for EcclesiastesRoger Zelazny1963
Repent, Harlequin!' Said the TicktockmanHarlan Ellison1965
Light of Other DaysBob Shaw1966
We Can Remember it for you WholesalePhilip K. Dick1966

Aye, and GomorrahSamuel Delany1967

Inconstant MoonLarry Niven1973

Ender's Game (short story)Orson Scott Card1977
SandkingsGeorge R. R. Martin1979
The Gernsback ContinuumWilliam Gibson1981
True NamesVernor Vinge1981
Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out TonightUrsula Le Guin1987

Bears Discover FireTerry Bisson1990

Even the QueenConnie Willis1992
Story of your LifeTed Chiang1998

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Podcast: Open hardware and firmware with Bryan Knouse of Project OWL

Project OWL (Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics) has developed a mesh network of Internet of Things (IoT) devices called “DuckLinks” that can be deployed or activated in disaster areas to quickly reestablish connectivity and improve communication between first responders and civilians in need. On March 10, the Linux Foundation announced that Project OWL’s IoT device firmware effort will be hosted at the Foundation.

In 2018, Project OWL was the global winner in the inaugural Call for Code Global Challenge, competing with more than 100,000 participants from 156 nations. The Call for Code Global Challenge encourages and fosters the creation of practical applications built on open source software, with a focus on immediate and lasting humanitarian impact in communities around the world. “Project OWL was our first Call for Code winner that went through the Code and Response incubation process, and we’re excited to see this solution grow closer to reality,” said Daniel Krook, IBM Chief Technology Officer for Call for Code and Code and Response.

Listen to the podcast [MP3 - 16:15]