Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Robin Miller, Bob Gourley, XebiaLabs Blog, Yeshim Deniz

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
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit 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 ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit 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. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit 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. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...