Six Months at Progress Software

April 21, 2014


I’ve now been at Progress Software for six months and its been fun.  It’s very nice to work again with old friends like Karen (she is, again, my boss), Tom and Ryan, to make new friends, and to play with plenty of new technology.

The job has also been very busy – which I like – and it has involved a fair amount of travel.  The travel is partly because HQ is in Boston and the company also has a strong team in Morrisville (and in Hyderabad, although I’ve not gone there yet), partly to visit partners and customers, and partly to attend conferences and developer events.  On that last front I’ve visited so far Brussels (EMEA PUG Challenge), Boston (Progress Exchange), Las Vegas (CES), and LA (DAQRI’s 4D ExpohackTECH and LAhacks).  Ah, and San Francisco (EclipseCon)… I’m not sure if I forget any event.

I’m starting to plan for the summer and the fall, and as part of that I want to write more regularly about events like these.  Some will be at Progress’s official channels, like ViewFromTheEdge, and some will be here and at twitter. I’ll start with summaries of some of those earlier trips and I also want to do technical overviews of some Progress technologies like Rollbase, DataDirect Cloud, OpenEdge, Corticon and Easyl.

Trying Out BBM Channels

May 25, 2013

I started playing around with the new BBM Channels (announcement, betazone).  The offering is still evolving but it can be seen as a micro-blogging site leveraging the BBM delivery machinery.  BBM Channels is currently supported on the BBOS smart phones (from BBOS 5 til BBOS 7.1) and will also be supported on iOS and Android.  I have two channels, C000D71DD for Open Source activities from BlackBerry, and C0007CC8C as a personal channel.

I just started using it but the experience so far is very positive, but more on that later in the summer.

Tweeting Since…

October 28, 2012

I just spent some time trying to retrieve my earlier tweets, just because but …  Unfortunately, Twitter does not provide an archive of a person’s tweets and they have been clamping on tools recently.  Hopefully this will change at some point, but, in the meantime, this is to record that my first tweet was on December 10th, 2008.

PS. And always appreciative that WordPress provides good export and import tools.

7 inches are not 10

March 24, 2012

One of the things I like about my BlackBerry PlayBook is its size; I find the 7 inches really convenient.  Here are some picts:

At Work

Here is my work arrangement: a raised Mac, with an external screen, a stand for my BlackBerry 9930 and a charging dock for the PlayBook.

The PlayBook works as a dedicated PIM device, the PIM apps on the PlayBook 2 are as good, or better, than those in my Mac.  The 7inch PlayBook neatly fits in the space below my external monitor.

At Home

Similar arrangement, except that I have I have dual keyboards, top is a bluetooth keyboard for the PlayBook, bottom is my Leopold, for the Mac.

On the Road

I got a Timbuk2 Eula for Christmas; I have plenty of other bags, but I wanted to try a small size, and I really like it.  Its small:

but has space for all the essentials:

… which in this case means several PlayBooks, a Moleskin Notebook and cables:

I don’t need all those micro-HDMI to HDMI cables but they all fit in that Eagle Creek Quarter Cube.  And my experience with connectors is that whichever I leave out I’ll need, so I carry one of each.  The DisplayPort is for the Mac, just in case.

Everything fits well in the Timbuk2, a tad over 5lbs, which is not bad considering the amount of electronics in there…

Open BB News

December 27, 2011

A few weeks ago I started a group news blog to cover RIM’s Open Source activities.   Open BB News (and  @openbbnews) discusses and expands on activities at and, as well as other RIM OSS activities.

Some of the articles at Open BB News will be cross-posted to official RIM channels like the BlackBerry Developer’s Blog.  And, time permitting, I will continue to write about non-RIM topics here.

Keyboards – Laptops

December 27, 2011

I started this post a long time ago, shortly after I joined RIM, but the story didn’t have an ending until very recently…

When I joined RIM I got a “new” unibody MacBook Pro 15′ (I missed thunderbolt by a few weeks) and a Lenovo ThinkPad W510.  I liked most everything about the unibody MacBook Pro except the keyboard: I wished it had the keys from the previous MacBook Pros rather than the new flat, short-stroke, keys.

Laptop Keyboard

The compact design of the flat keyboard allows light, thin designs like the new MacBook Air (my wife has the cute 11′ one – with even worse keys!), but I type much better in the keyboard of the ThinkPad.

The curved keys in the ThinkPad are self-centering, and the slightly longer stroke feels much better for my long fingers.  Compare the picture above with that from the MacBook:

Compared with other laptops, the keys on my old Toshiba Tecra were non-contoured, but they had a stroke similar to that of the ThinkPad.  Looking at other pictures of other manufacturers, the laptops from Sony have keyboards similar to the MacBook, while those from Dell are similar to those from the Toshiba.

I see the MacBook keyboard as yet another example of Apple placing style and form above functionality and durability (although a worse example were the hinges in the titanium macbooks), but there is not much I can do about that.  But most of the time I use the laptops with an external keyboard, mouse and monitor – at work both laptops connected via a KVM switch, and at home just the mac – and there I can do something.

External Keyboards

At work we have a standard issue MS 200 wired keyboard, which is not really bad, but it means I had different key layouts at home and at work…

Next I tried some external Apple keyboards. I bought an A1242 because the mac is my main laptop, I never use the numeric keypad and I liked the idea of being able to take the keyboard with me.  Unfortunately this keyboard worked very poorly; actually, worse than the keyboard in the laptop.

It’s not like Apple does not know how to make keyboards; Apple has a long history of keyboards (Wikipedia), with some very nice examples, like the Apple Extended Keyboard (we had one years ago).  I still have a Apple Pro Keyboard (M7803), so I tried that, after some clean up:

This was a reasonable keyboard when we got it but it really is quite old and didn’t feel much better the MS keyboard, so it went back into a storage box.

Things stayed like this for a while but a few weeks ago I bumped in to a keyboard lying around at work, an Adesso ACK-595UB, and I tried it.

This is a compact design that I can carry it back and forth from home and it had a reasonable feel, so I used it for a bit, but it was too compact.  Still that got my keyboard ich back again, and since the Holidays were getting close, I resurrected an old idea of getting an actual mechanical keyboard, like the old Model M.

Searching the web mostly found reviews from a gamer’s perspective – turns out that they still care about keyboards – and a number of keyboards, some focused on gamers and some on typists.  Some examples of these keyboards are Das Keyboard, Matias TactilePro 3, Siig Keyboard and SteelSeries 7G.

Finally, I ended up purchasing a Leopold Tenkeyless Tactile Touch from Leopold International, a Korean manufacturer.  The keyboard feels very solid and this particular model uses brown Cherry Switches that feel good without being too noisy.  I got them at Elite Keyboards - the keybard is more pricey than a standard keyboard but cheaper than some of the alternatives mentioned above, and I feel I got a very good product.  It was a nice Holiday present :)

Additional Readings

While searching for all of this I was surprised I could not find articles comparing the ergonomics / typing speed and accuracy between the two types of keyboards.   My feeling is that Apple (et al.) is succeeding in resetting the expectations of people to the new keyboards, despite their shortcomings – maybe the gamers will save us!

For additional readings, check the keyboard technology page at Wikipedia and these two posts at OverClock:  Survey and list of Keyboards by Switch Type.

Open Source Myths

October 2, 2011

In a couple of weeks, at BlackBerry DevCon Americas 2011, I will be giving a talk on “Open Source Code: Understanding the Options and Implications”.  I’m planning to cover the basic components of Open Source projects: License, Copyright, and Governance (and Trademarks – let’s not forget trademarks!), and I will use a few open source projects as examples of how all these pieces work together.  One of the motivations for the talk is RIM’s increased presence in the Open Source community, so I will also briefly cover that.

Time permitting, I want to include some “Open Source Myths”: misconceptions about that must, can or cannot be done in Open Source.

Here is an initial list, to give you an idea of what I have in mind:

  • Open Sourcing means you have to let anybody commit code into your code base
  • If I use open source, I have to open source all my code.
  • If I use a GPL license, I can’t charge any money for my apps.
  • I can limit who can use my open source code by “hiding” the code
  • Trademarks and Brands don’t matter in Open Source
  • ASL2 is much more cumbersome to satisfy than BSD
  • I can save a lot of Development $$s by Open Sourcing my project

If you have your favorite myth, add it to this blog as a comment. The DevCon audience is not very familiar with Open Source, so, don’t be shy, even simple myths can be very useful to the audience.

And, if interested in my session, it is DEV34 – Wed, October 19th. 10:15 AM – Yerba Buena Ballroom 1-2, in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis (nice photo, btw, it’s the hotel from the reflective pool/waterfall in the MLK at Yerba Buena Garden’s)

Jenkins, an SPI Associate Project

June 26, 2011

Jenkins is now an official “SPI Associate Project”.

SPI, Software in the Public Interest  (see wikipedia and website, but not is one of the main Open Source Foundations.  Like the Software Freedom Conservancy (wikipedia, website) the SPI is an umbrella organization that provides services to projects and organizations from the free software community.  Unlike the Apache Software Foundation, the projects in SPI (and SFC) retain high flexibility in how they run their projects, and, unlike the Eclipse Foundation, the SPI has no Strategic Members.

The framework for Associate Projects was last updated in 2004.  From the introduction to resolution 2004-08-10.iwj.1:

Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (‘SPI’) is an umbrella organization which provides legal and formal services, including the ability to manage legal property, to various projects and organizations (‘Associated Projects’, or simply Projects’) which form part of the wider community working on free software and related activites (the Community’).

SPI takes the view that the political and technical decision making for a Project is a matter for the people who participate in it. Accordingly, SPI does not normally control or manage Projects.

Some other facts about SPI:

SPI Associate Projects include well-known projects like (full list):

The Jenkins resolution is 2011-04-26.mzh.1 (minutes):

2011-04-26.mzh.1: Jenkins as associated project


1. Jenkins is a substantial and useful open source project.

2. The Jenkins developers would like SPI's support and assistance,
   including taking donations.


3. Jenkins is formally invited to become an SPI Associated Project,
   according to the SPI Framework for Associated Projects, SPI
   Resolution 1998-11-16.iwj.1-amended-2004-08-10.iwj.1, a copy of
   which can be found at

4. Kohsuke Kawaguchi is recognised by SPI as the current
   authoritative decision maker and SPI liaison for Jenkins. He is
   acting on behalf of the interim governance board. Successors will
   be appointed by the said governance board when need be.

5. This invitation will lapse, if not accepted, 60 days after it is
   approved by the SPI

Becoming an SPI Associate Project is just one, but very important, step in the process that formally startyed with the January Vote.  Next steps include transferring of trademark and formalization of the CLA contributions.

All Jenkins decisions are taken during the, always public, meetings held on IRC.  Minutes are available at in 2 versions (full and summary) and 2 formats (HTML and TXT).  Summaries are created automatically via meetbot; I recommend checking the summaries and then scanning the full logs.  For example, the summary from last meeting accurately recorded the trademark action but only the full minutes recorded the comment about the CLA.

Congrats to Jenkins and SPI, and a wish for the continued growth of the Jenkins community!

GlassFish v3 Community Poster

June 23, 2011

Last year I put together a community poster for the GlassFish Community Events before JavaOne.  The original post (from Sep 20th, 2010) is at TheAquarium, but below I’m including the poster image, in the spirit of “where did I put them”?

And, if I find the source for the actual list of people, I’ll add that too.

GlassFish v3 Community Poster

Jenkins – 4 Months and Going Strong

June 6, 2011

The Jenkins/Hudson vote happened a bit over four months ago, on Jan 29th; a good time to check on the health of the Jenkins community.

Below are adoption indicators based on activity on Mailing Lists, Twitter, GitHub, and Web sites.  All these indicator are consistent with those published by Kohsuke a couple of weeks ago (post, slides) and show a very healthy project backed by a wide community.

Mailing Lists

The USER and DEV mailing lists are hosted through Google Groups but can also be accessed through portals like Nabble, and MarkMail.   MarkMail can also be used easily for historical analysis because the mailing groups moved to Google before the split and the Hudson mailing list has been archived there for years.

Below is the traffic on USER, which has remained consistently high, around 800 messages per month, over the last 5 months:

Traffic on Jenkins USER

The volume of traffic on DEV depends on what new development efforts are occurring.  Peak traffic was over 900 messages, in February.  The use of GitHub has modified some of the exchanges between developers, and “pull requests” are possibly also affecting the volume.

Traffic on Jenkins DEV

Combined, the monthly traffic is around 1,2K per month, with a peak of 1800 in February.

Traffic on Jenkins USER & DEV

Jenkins’s mail traffic is comparable to that of the old Hudson’s ML (USERs, DEV and Combined) and is only lower to the all-high records in mid-2009.

Another useful Mailing List metric is the number of subscribers, which have been growing steadily, even despite the growth in other communication mechanisms like twitter and despite the mail volume.  As of this writing, USER has over 1650 subscribers while DEV has over 950:

Subscriptions to Jenkins USER

Subscriptions to Jenkins DEV

Hudson charts can be used as reference and are available here and here.


Twitter has become a very convenient way to keep with the activity of a project, so the number of followers is a good adoption metric, and @jenkinsci shows very good growth:

Subscribers to @JenkinsCI

Subscriber trends for @hudsonci and @jenkins_release can be seen here, as reference points.


Jenkins’s move to Git and GitHub has been extremely successful, simplifying the release and contribution flows and facilitating community development like the Hackatons.  The move started before the Hudson/Jenkins split and has continued to gain momentum since then.  Additionally, many (most?) of the plugins for Hudson and Jenkins have moved to GitHub.

The core of GitHub are the repositories, which, in Jenkins case, are organized under the JenkinsCI organization, which has over 105 members and over 510 repositories.  The main repository (JenkinsCI/Jenkins) has over 200 forks.

The growth has been steady, below are the charts for members, forks, and repositories.  As reference, the corresponding charts for Hudson are here, here and here.

GitHub Members in JenkinsCI Organization

GitHub Repositories in JenkinsCI Organization

GitHub Forks of JenkinsCI/Jenkins Repository

GitHub also provides a very entertaining and pretty “Impact” graph showing how the different forks and contributions of a repository interact.  Here is the one for JenkinsCI/Jenkins (and that for Hudson is here):

GitHub Impact Graph for JenkinsCI/Jenkins

Finally, for entertainment value, the “GitHub Game” for Jenkins is here (and that for Hudson is here).


At this point I’d normally point to Google Trends on term searches, but, like with Hudson, Jenkins is too popular a name for term searches and the web site is not popular enough for website trends.  The best I can provide is use Alexa ranking.

I am not a fan of Alexa because the data is based only on users of the Alexa toolbar, because the data is all about relative rankings (and thus influenced by news events), because its statistical data is only available in some combinations (groupings/time), and because I find their rankings very unstable, but, for what is worth, below are two ranking (smaller is better) graphs; the first one is World rankings, the second is US rankings.  Corresponding graphs for Hudson are here and here.

Alexa World Ranking for Jenkins

Alexa US Ranking for JenkinsCI

Other indicators

Tyler’s post on The State of Jenkins and Kohsuke’s Slides have many other good indicators, including JIRA tickets, GitHub pull requests, Download numbers, and percentages of people choosing Jenkins in upgrades from pre-split releases.

In addition, here are some other indicators

Future: The Foundation Decision

The next key decision is which Umbrella Foundation will host Jenkins moving forward.  This was already discussed in the first Jenkins community meeting (Feb 4th) and was visited again in its last meeting (May 24th).  Pretty much all the information needed to make a decision has been collected – I think the only pending one was whether Apache governance was compatible with using GitHub.

In Closing… Go Jenkins!

All indicators have limitations, but if they all are pointing the same way, that is the way how the adoption is going… and that is the case here… Jenkins is extremely active, and I’m looking forward to its continued growth for years to come.


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