Microsoft Windows Goes Open Source!

Would you imagine this kind of headline could appear one day in the media? You say “impossible”? I say “why not?”. In the end, Microsoft is known as one of the biggest open source contributors.

Logo of Windows and Open Source

Lately, I was spending quite some time digging some info about Microsoft and I was very impressed to discover that the corporation strongly committed itself to the open source movement.

1) The Good Bad Old Days

Back in the days Microsoft and Bill Gates were, probably, the most fierce open source haters. Of course, the OSS community loved them back with the slogans like “Windows Must Die”. But the things have changed since then.

Here is an interesting quote from the article “Who really contributes to open source”, which describes pretty well the mind shift of the company: “For those of us that were around when Microsoft castigated open source as a “cancer” and “anti-American,” this is a remarkable change of heart (or, as I’ve argued, a change of business model).”

2) Contributors vs. Products

What’s the right way to measure the level of contribution of a company to the open source community? Microsoft is very proud of being the #1 company by the number of engineers involved in different open source projects. Google is the #2 after Microsoft with quite a big gap. But is it the best metric to measure the impact of a company? I don’t think so.

A better way to measure the impact is, in my opinion, by counting the amount of highly popular open source projects initiated and maintained by the company. There are four projects attributed to Microsoft, which I would call popular: Visual Studio Code, TypeScript, .NET Core and PowerShell. Let’s count Google’s popular projects: Android, Angular, Chromium, Go, Kubernetes, Polymer and TensorFlow. Google clearly wins here.

Now, imagine how close to Google Microsoft will come by releasing the products like Windows, Internet Explorer, Skype and Office under an open source license…

3) Your Choice

Does Microsoft have much choice? Not really… if you consider that one of their main rivals in the OS business Apple has released the core of their operating system Darwin years ago under an open source license. Another rival, Google, launched Android from the very beginning as an open source product.

Will this move cannibalize Microsoft’s income streams from the OS business? Very unlikely! As their main Windows income is from enterprise customers and businesses, they can keep charging commercial usage of Windows and make it free for private usage and non-profits.

4) New Opportunities

By moving into the open source business model Microsoft will be forced to be more creative about the ways how to make money. Today’s world is moving more from products to the services. Products are playing more the role of platforms and the services are the ones that add value and bring the main income to the company.

5) Better Quality

Popular open source projects are known to be of very high quality. The main reasons behind it include the “many eyeballs” effect and the diversity of the developers. This effect is well described in the Linus’s Law. The law states that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”; or more formally: “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.”

6) Win-Win

This move would be a clear win-win for everyone. Microsoft will show its commitment to the open source community like no other. The company will discover new service-based revenue streams. It will be able to identify and hire the best open source Windows contributors. The quality of Windows will increase dramatically because of the “many eyeballs” effect. Maybe this move will also contribute to the return of Microsoft into the smartphone business and become the 3rd major player along with Android and iOS.

7) Conclusion

The future is open. Whether you embrace it or not only shows how visionary or short-sighted you are. Microsoft is already on a good way.

This article was published also on LinkedIn and Medium.

Why Xing Sucks

Probably, most of you don’t even know what I mean by “Xing” and why it sucks. If it wouldn’t suck you would definitely know it. Because it has a huge potential to become one of the biggest (if not the biggest) professional social networks in the world.

Why Xing Sucks

What is Xing? It’s a professional network available at xing.com, popular among some professionals in German speaking countries, primarily in Germany. It’s a “Made in Germany” project, whatever advantage or disadvantage this label might suggest. There are, indeed, some professionals in Germany who prefer having a profile at Xing but don’t have a LinkedIn profile. The reasons are different, but the most popular one is, probably, the higher security of their personal data with the German Xing, than with the American LinkedIn. This statement might be true, but, in my opinion, it is very doubtable. At the end of the day, you don’t keep your bank account details there.

Speaking from my personal experience, more and more professionals in Germany prefer to use LinkedIn only and don’t bother to have an account with Xing. This is especially true with international German companies having subsidiaries outside Germany.

My main problem with Xing is their poor feature set and lack of vision and I have a feeling that they are stuck somewhere in the past and don’t develop themselves anymore.

Let’s break down what’s actually wrong with Xing:

  • Poor publishing capabilities, i.e., you can’t publish articles with rich media, attach pictures or videos to your text messages, and the only things you can share are plain text messages and links;
  • In text messages you can’t link to a Xing page of any person, group or company by using, for instance, the at (“@”) symbol, whereas this is a normal practice on all other networks;
  • The amount of open contact requests is limited to 100. Why in the world do you limit it, in the first place? Why 100 and not, for instance, 300 or 500? My queue is constantly full, and in order to send new requests, I have to delete some other requests;
  • The design and the layout are ugly and outdated.

I am sure there are even more things to mention, but I don’t want to spend much time on researching or recalling them. If something else in Xing bugs you, please mention it in the comments.

I am biased. I hate when there is a brilliant idea and a big potential, but the company behind the product just can’t make it a success.

The project Xing has a huge potential. Let’s start with the name. The word “xing” or “x-ing” is a shortcut of the word “crossing” and is used in some countries like Australia on the road signs to warn the drivers of the road sections where you may encounter animals crossing the road. In relation to the social media, the idea behind “crossing” means that people always cross each other’s way. In my opinion, the name itself is much better than LinkedIn’s name.

If I remember correctly, at some point they moved away from the German domain .de (xing.de) to the more international .com. That was the right move and shows their ambition to be a global player instead of being just a German social network. But they have never managed to become popular globally and they never will with the current approach.

Everything they need to do to be successful is becoming a modern social network by simply applying the best practices of other networks. They should let people share stuff and be more permissive, than restrictive (this might be a general problem with Germans). And when you have done so, then start listening closely to your customers and introduce the culture of innovation within you company. The most interesting ideas might come from unexpected places or people, but then, by implementing them, you may gain an edge or a competitive advantage in relation to other networks.

Xing, I know that you can do better than that! Don’t become another fail like Myspace or StudiVZ. If you need help, then ask for it. I think many enthusiasts out there, including me, can provide you tons of feedback and give you a hand.

This article was published also on LinkedIn and Medium.

Disclaimer: the picture’s source is https://www.nyharbornature.com/blog/-slow-down-turtles-crossing-roads-to-lay-eggs

Edge + Fog + Cloud = Dark Matter

Herewith I want to announce the official launch of the open source project Dark Matter. In essence, it’s an effort to create a framework, which would allow to seamlessly distribute the apps, services and storage on nodes and devices on all three levels: on edge devices, on fog nodes and also in the cloud. It should be also possible to operate the system completely without the cloud (headless).

The following recording should give you an idea what the Dark Matter is all about.

LFD232 Cloud Foundry for Developers

It took me some time to complete the Linux Foundation’s course “LFD232 Cloud Foundry for Developers”. While the course was good, I still have a bad gut feeling about the Cloud Foundry technology in general. It feels kind of clumsy to me. The fact that it was there before the whole containers boom and that they have a hard time catching up with containers says a lot. Seems like the future of cloud-native apps belongs primarily to techs like Kubernetes + Docker etc.

Overview of the chapters:
1. Introduction
2. CF Motivators
3. Basic Definitions
4. Technical Overview
5. Core Themes
6. Logging & Metrics
7. Resiliency
8. Services
9. Twelve-Factor Applications
10. Log Drain Review
11. Manipulating Routes
12. App Execution & Security Groups
13. Staging & Running
14. Microservices
15. Route Services
16. Docker
17. TCP Routing
18. UAA and OAuth2
19. Cloud-Native
20. Cascading Failure
21. Distributed Tracing
22. Application Lifecycle
23. Non-Breaking Changes
24. CI/CD & Automation

Disrupt Yourself!

We are living in the age of re-thinking. The rapid technological development gives us the tools to rethink and redo the old stuff in a new, optimized and lean way. “Digitalization” is the word that is frequently used to designate this trend. Some of its extreme forms are called disruptive innovation.

The new ways to solve the old problems usually cause collateral damage. People will be laid off, shops will close and established companies and institutions will go bankrupt or become irrelevant. No surprise, it is the price of innovation. Those, who do not embrace the innovation and won’t dare to disrupt themselves will be disrupted from outside. This is only a matter of time.

Remember companies like Kodak, Nokia, RIM or Blockbuster, which were once leading their industries and are irrelevant or nonexistent today. Kodak is a great example because they were the ones who discovered the digital photography. They have hesitated to develop it further on a scale not to disrupt their analog photography business. Where are they now? Another example – Netflix. Started as a DVD rental by mail business, they have switched at the right time to the video streaming technology and by doing so cannibalized their main business. They were successful and led other fixed-mindset companies like Blockbuster into bankruptcy.

What if you are an old company with an established business, which you were milking for years and years? You know that it won’t stay forever this way, right? Once you got an idea how to improve your product or service to make it better or cheaper – go for it! Even if it will disrupt the sales of your legacy products. Because if you won’t do this, somebody else will. But then it might be too late…

Disclaimer: the article can also be found on LinkedIn and Medium.

Down With the Politicians

The world is changing dynamically and will be changing in the near future even more dramatically. Technology brings higher computational speed coupled with completely new ways to solve problems. Technology can reduce the physical work for people to the point that they don’t have to do it.

Politics is an artificial and unnatural construction. Every time people delegate their power or vote in favor of somebody, it is almost inevitable that the power would be abused and, in many cases, turned against the people. Then why to take risks, instead of avoiding them, to begin with? Never vote for anybody and never elect anybody! The whole system is designed for corruption. People who want to become politicians are mainly driven by egoism and pursuit of their profits rather than by altruism.

When people have access to objective and unbiased information, they don’t need someone to take decisions for them. Wiki is already there, other systems are emerging as well.

But who are the decision-makers making important resolutions on the economy and social life? We are. Nowadays it costs virtually nothing to cast a (digital) vote. Let people vote on EVERYTHING. Let people organize themselves.

Is the humanity going to immerse in chaos and wars then? No. Intelligent species like humans are self-organizing. There will never be another war again. No loving mother ever wishes to send her child to a war, unless brainwashed by propaganda or forced to do so.

The world is changing and there is absolutely no need to solve old problems by old means.

Disclaimer: the article was also published on LinkedIn and Medium.

Working Like an Artist 🎨

Ever wondered how to create state of the art products and services? The key is to be obsessed with your creations. Most of the products that are surrounding us are those, which were created using the 80:20 principle. It means that creators used 20% of their effort to create 80% of the product, which normally includes basic shape, functionality and branding (name, color etc.) What if you want to win customer’s heart by crafting great products and services and by doing this to go down in history as a great creator? Then you have to treat your product as a piece of art. A great piece of art.

Do you know how much it took Leonardo da Vinci to paint Mona Lisa? Whopping 4 years! And he eventually left it unfinished. Even was quoted as “never having completed a single work”. An “80:20 painter” would need just several days to paint a similarly looking picture. But then probably the world would have never heard about that artwork or that painter.

Creating a great product requires some time and passion. Attention to the details and inspiration. The creator goes back iteratively to his/her creation to adjust it, again and again. In the retrospective, if confronted with the question “are you satisfied with your creation?” he or she would often say that it still can be slightly improved.

Can you create art within the wage slavery wage labor framework? Sure, you can. But to be honest, the majority of the work out there is quantity oriented, not quality oriented. Still, it’s up to every one of us, which pill to take, red or blue.

Which next product or service will you create? Will it be a piece of art or will it be yet another soulless creation?

Everyone can be an artist. Work like an artist!

Disclaimer: also published on LinkedIn and Medium.

That’s Why a Corporate Job Might Be Not for You

All people are different. Majority of the people would be more than happy to have a well-paid job, lick their manager’s (and manager’s manager, and manager’s manager’s manager…) butt and fake their skills and knowledge to pretend to be something more… But among humans, there are sometimes these kinds of species, who cannot conform to the current status quo. After some time they begin to ask themselves questions like “What the heck am I doing here? Why am I spending my lifetime on that crap? Was I born into this world to do that?”

Here is a test. If you answer positively to most of the questions, then you are in a wrong job.

  1. Your company’s computer is full of pre-installed crapware and spyware, which, according to the company policies, you are not allowed to get rid of. You are not allowed to choose which computer and operating system to use — it is carefully decided for you.
  2. You find yourself to work in a secretive environment, where a lot of stuff happens behind the scenes. It is an exclusive environment, not inclusive. Collaboration and brainstormings are very seldom.
  3. The top management declares very high and right values, but behind the facade, quite the opposite is happening.
  4. Individual initiative and improvement suggestions are often met with irritation and anger and will be ignored in most of the cases.
  5. There are at least 3 individuals in your team or very close to the team, which you don’t like personally and whom you would prefer not to see in your life ever again. They are often liars and upstarts with a very egoistic mindset and no sense of fair play.
  6. Managers have no idea about the domain they are working in.
  7. People with passion are a minority and also struggling like you. You understand each other very well.
  8. Employees are often referenced with the word “resources” rather than “talents”.
  9. You should fight to be allowed to attend a new training or certification.
  10. That what they ask you to do — you don’t like. That what you like and enjoy to do — you are not supposed to do.
  11. You are enforced to spend a lot of time doing useless and stupid things, like writing useless reports, taking part in pointless meetings, frequently tracking hours in a manual and painful way.
  12. Hierarchy is more important than bright ideas.
  13. You feel that you miss on life and your family by working your butt off for a paycheck.

In the end, ask yourself one simple question: “If it were not for money, would I be doing it?” If the answer is “no”, then you know that you are in a wrong place and doing the wrong thing.

Somewhere out there your dream job is waiting for you. Go and chase your dream!

AWSome Day Roadshow 2018 in Munich

Today I’m participating in Amazon’s AWSome Day in Munich. The training starts at 09:00 a.m. and includes AWS Basics like Amazon EC2, Amazon S3 and Amazon RDS, before the day ends with a session about Serverless and Software development on AWS at 05:00 p.m.

Here is the agenda:

[09:00 – 10:00] REGISTRATION & COFFEE

[10:00 – 10:15] KEYNOTE

Learn about AWS history, why and how AWS Customers adapt the cloud.

[10:15 – 12:30] AWS Basics

This session includes:

AWS Global Infrastructure
AWS Management Console (Online-Demo)
AWS Infrastructure- Part 1

This session includes:

Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) Concepts, Instance Familiies and Types, AMI´s, utilization of metadata und userdata
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Basics, Sub nets, Security, VPN
Online Demo: Set up of a VPC and Launch of a web server
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) Concepts, Buckets, objects and S3 Simple Lifecycle Management
Amazon S3 Online – Demo

[12:30 – 13:30] LUNCH BREAK

[13:30 – 15:15] AWS Infrastructure – Part 2

This session includes:
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) Concepts, Volumes, Snapshots, Performance
Amazon EC2 Instance Store Concepts und differentiation to EBS
Security, Identity und Access Management

AWS Shared Responsibility Model
Security Measures by AWS
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Concepts, Users, Groups,
Amazon Dynamo DB Concepts
Online Demo: Set up of a RDS Servers and connection to a web application

[15:15 – 15:45] COFFEE BREAK

[15:45 – 16:45] AWS Elasticity & Management Tools

The session includes:

Auto Scaling Concepts, Launch Configurations, Auto Scaling Groups and Scaling Lifecycle
Elastic Load Balancing Concepts, Request Routing and Load Balancer Types
AWS Management Tools, Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Trusted Advisor
Online-Demo: Scaling and Load Balancing of a Web-Application
AWS Serverless Architectures

Amazon API-Gateway and Amazon Lambda programming
Amazon Cloud9 – Development Environment

[16:45 – 17:00] END AND NEXT STEPS IN CLOUD USAGE

Docker for Beginners Workshop

This Tuesday was a great rainy day to spend 4 hours at the University of Bayreuth attending the Docker for Beginners workshop organized by Govinda Fichtner of Paessler AG and Bastian Roth of indibit GmbH. The workshop consisted of theoretical (slides) and practical (hands-on CLI orgy) parts. The process was accompanied by tasty family-size pizzas and drinks.

The DevOps Academy certificate:

The content of the workshop:
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