Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Meet the Perens

Joe Barr catches up with former HP Linux strategist Bruce Perens

(LinuxWorld) — If you've kept one eye open watching industry news the past week or two, you've seen the stories about Bruce Perens and his open-source licensed book series with Prentice Hall. I'll get in a few words on that book series later in the column, but first I'll try to put things in context.

Bruce Perens is a fascinating individual, and he probably knows his way around the suit side of the house better than any other leading figure in the free/open-source software movements. I had the chance to visit with Perens for nearly an hour last week. I couldn't help but get off-topic. In addition to the books, I was supposed to be talking to him about his consulting work, grants and donations — you know, the things he has been doing to try to keep food on the table since his departure from HP.

However, as I mentioned, Perens is very interesting. The more I asked him, the more I wanted to hear his thoughts on other things. If he hadn't had to keep an appointment with the New York Times a half-hour after our interview was supposed to end, I might still be asking him questions.

Choosing his departure from HP last fall as the starting point, I asked Perens if he had any regrets about his HP experience. He said, "My two years at HP was just a great time, overall. My only regret is that it couldn't go on longer." Later, he added: "One of the very nice things about the HP position was that they gave me a reasonably nice salary and pretty much let me do what I felt like. It's harder now in that I have to go out there and sell my own services." Perens has a wife (Valerie) and a son (Stanley) to feed as well as himself. As many of you are intimately aware, the current economy doesn't make this the most affluent of times.

His consulting company is just getting off the ground. His clients (they must remain anonymous for the moment) are companies and industry organizations that want to get more involved with free/open-source software. His experience at HP, where he pretty much wrote the book on corporate guidance in this strange new world, can be translated easily for other environments. Perens invites all such firms who "don't want to fall into the pitfalls that might be obvious to us but not to them" or who might need assistance to successfully "negotiate all of this licensing quagmire" to contact him.

Perens is also working with the Cyber Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. I had to ask exactly what the Institute was all about. "The Cyber Security Policy Institute just does grant-based work and comments on government software security policies," Perens explained.

Why is that important? So that free/open source software isn't trapped by a Hollings-type bill requiring the use of Palladium in all government computers, for one. Such an eventuality would be a very bad thing for the free/open-source communities. Microsoft, of course, is adamant about the use of free/open-source software in government: they feel it shouldn't be allowed.

Microsoft and the Mitre Report

An example in near real-time: the Mitre Report (See Resources for a link to this 60-page report in PDF format). Perens told me "Microsoft got extremely upset about this report and actually caused the report to be held back for six months. It was very interesting. Microsoft actually had so many criticisms of the Mitre Report that their general counsel is now given first credit in the attributions of the report because he contributed so much text."

However, Microsoft could not change the report's conclusion: removing free/open-source software would be very detrimental to the Department of Defense. The study, by the way, was conducted at the request of DISA, the DOD's IT folk. Its genesis was concern over proprietary licenses, which might ban the use of free/open-source software at the DOD. The study not only found widespread usage (more than a hundred free/open-source projects) in the DOD, it also reached the following conclusion:

The main conclusion of the analysis was that FOSS [free and open-source software] plays a more critical role in the DoD than has generally been recognized. FOSS applications are most important in four broad areas: Infrastructure Support, Software Development, Security, and Research...

Taken together, these factors imply that banning FOSS would have immediate, broad, and strongly negative impacts on the ability of many sensitive and security-focused DoD groups to defend against cyber attacks.

Perens, by the way, is at work on a response to heavy criticism of FOSS by Microsoft's Software Choice campaign, which is desperately trying to persuade the unwary that freedom is a bad thing, at least when it comes to software.

The Cyber Security Policy Institute will give Perens an opportunity to earn money by writing grants and doing the grant work, but it has its limits. For one thing, because George Washington University is a 501(C)3 organization, it cannot engage in lobbying. That's where the Global Policy Institute comes in. It allows Perens to engage in that activity. The Global Policy Institute Web site also provides a vehicle for the community to help support Perens in his efforts through PayPal. Perens says this money doesn't go into his pocket, it just helps pay for travel expenses. He does travel a bit. Very recently, he went to Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Boston on a single trip to speak to various groups about open source.

Now, about those books. The Bruce Perens series published by Prentice Hall is already at Barnes and Noble. At least the first two titles are; the third will be there in March. The series is the first of its kind to be covered by an open license (it's not the first book to have an open license, but it's the first series).

"These are print books," Perens said. "Everything is treated exactly like any other print book at Prentice Hall. We pay people the same, we wholesale them the same, all the way through."

A few months after publication, however, the books go online in an open-source manner. "We don't think that most people read their books on the screen, so we don't see that as a tremendous revenue drain," Perens noted.

What's needed for the series? Just about anything to do with free/open-source software. If you want to write a title in the series, just send Perens an e-mail at [email protected]. Perens asks that you include a writing sample and a book proposal with an outline, if possible. The main thing is not to just sit on top of a good idea.

The hour passed too quickly. The conversation had wandered to such diverse topics as how a hot-headed journalist like myself (Perens, apparently straight-faced: "Oh, why would you say that, Joe?") could attract lobbyists like Perens to work their magic on the Texas state legislature, fraudulent practices by the Business Software Alliance, the debate over the use of a proprietary tool in Linux kernel development, who will be the first tier-one OEM to offer Linux desktop preloads in the US, and a final timely and incendiary topic: TCO studies. Those random subjects don't fit neatly into the category of "What is Perens up to now?" They do make for a great column all by themselves. That's what we'll be serving next week in the second half of this Perens extravaganza.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.