Festina Lente

FestinaLenteCorrect

On Wednesday morning I learned that my long-time friend Nóirín Plunkett has just suddenly passed away.

Update: It’s been mentioned that Nóirín stated, on their Twitter profile, a preference for the personal pronouns they/their. It’s been mentioned that I should update the below post to reflect that preference. Grief is a weird thing. We remember people as we remember them, not as other people want us to remember them. I knew Nóirín in an earlier chapter of their life, and I don’t intend any disrespect by how I recount those memories. Nóirín influenced different people in different ways. To me, Nóirín was a grammar geek, a friend, an unstoppable force, and a deep enigma. I miss the Nóirín that I knew, and I’m aware that Nóirín grew into a different person in their later years. Grief is both a very public thing and a very personal thing. I mean no disrespect of either Nóirín nor of their other friends and family. I just remember Nóirín differently than you do, and that’s probably ok.

I first “met” Nóirín on the Apache httpd documentation list, where they helped in the process of making the documentation into a literate manual, with consistent grammar, reasonable organization, and a more professional face. I then met them, in person, for the first time, at the ApacheCon planning meetings in Dublin, where they arrived with Colm and whipped things into order, imposing a great deal of organization on what had been a pretty chaotic process in previous years. I also had the great privilege of spending time in their home with her family while we were there, and these are some of the happiest memories I have of our friendship.

Nóirín contributed a great deal to the Apache Software Foundation over the years in a number of places. They continued her work on the httpd docs for a while, but began to move into community-facing things, such as ApacheCon, where they served as Conference Committee chair for a few years. They were  instrumental in making the ASF more clueful about diversity issues. They also served a year on the board of directors.

In recent years, Nóirín has been more involved with the larger effort to improve the plight of women in technology, and their direct involvement in Apache has faded, and we’ve missed them. We will now miss them even more.

Nóirín’s motto was Festina Lente – Hasten Slowly, and this embodies their approach to life. They considered things carefully, and rushed to get things done, because life is too short to get everything accomplished that we put our minds to. In the end, theirs was far, far too short.

It’s also a jarring reminder that you may never have another chance to resolve that disagreement, so you’d better do it now, before it’s too late.

Goodbye, friend.

noirin_small

If you knew Nóirín, or benefited from her work, please consider donating to St John Abulance in their name.

Asimov

I’m reading Isaac Asimov for the first time in at least 25 years. The stories hold up really well but his assumptions about technology are amusing. Films are still on reels. Star charts are in thick books. He invented positronic brains that fit in robot heads, but didn’t imagine digital storage of data or email. I wonder how today’s Sci Fi will hold up in 25 years.

RDO and CentOS

Continuing in the series about the RDO Meetup in Vancouver, in this recording we have Karsten Wade, of the CentOS project, talking about CentOS’s relationship with RDO, and with OpenStack in general. He talks about the CentOS build infrastructure, CI, package repos, and the CentOS Cloud SIG.

(If the player below doesn’t work for you, you can listen HERE.)

 

Geocaching at OpenStack Summit

Well, I *planned* to go geocaching at OpenStack Summit, but it really didn’t work out. Almost every moment that I wasn’t working the expo hall, I was in my hotel room, in bed. Yes, I spent most of OpenStack Summit week sick, and didn’t get out of the hotel much.

However, I did get out to go Geocaching one morning on the way over to the convention center, and I found Canada Place Cache, my first cache in many moons, and my first cache in Canada.

I also looked for Barrel of Trees, which I didn’t find because the place was overrun with muggles and I never got a chance to go back.

What was really cool, though, was how many OpenStack enthusiasts approached me either at the event, or online, saying that they were also  planning to go geocaching, and thanking me for making them think of it. I always like to find out the *other* hobbies of the people I know in the geek world. That is, their hobbies outside of the particular technical discipline we share. It makes people more human, and way more interesting.

So, stay tuned, and come geocaching with me at Red Hat Summit, and at OpenStack Summit in Tokyo.

The Angel’s Game

A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.

– The Angel’s Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Geocaching in Vancover

Coming to the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver?

Like Geocaching?

It looks like there’s a lot of caches around the summit location. This map shows the 500 closest.

vancouver

 

I keep meaning to spend a little time at conferences walking around the area and geocaching. Perhaps if I have a few folks with me I’ll see more of it, and meet some interesting people as well.

If you’re interested in Geocaching in Vancover, let me know, and we’ll try to set something up. I’ll be there from Sunday night (May 17th) through Thursday night (May 21st), and although I know it’s an incredibly busy week, I expect we can find an hour or two free in there somewhere.

I’ll also bring my new CryptoCard travel bug to drop off somewhere, since all of my other travel bugs have long since vanished.

cryptoI’m also hoping that by the time Red Hat Summit rolls around, I have some special Red Hat community project geocoins to accompany our geocaching outing. If this works out, I’ll try to make it a regular feature of my conference trips. So, here’s hoping.

 

 

Twine

This week we did ApacheCon in Austin. I shipped the original Apache feather to the venue for 20th birthday of the Apache web server project, and it hung above the stage for the keynotes.

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It’s an item that we’re very proud of, and of some historical significance.

The conference producers treated it like it was the Declaration of Independence or something. They handled it carefully and reverently.

At the end of the event the guy in charge of A/V came to me with some twine.

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He said he had removed it from the hanging hooks on the feather in order to use black nylon that matched the stage dressing, and which would hang more securely. But he saved these scraps of twine because he knew how significant the item was to us.

Now, it’s not that the twine mattered – it was something I added years after the original was made. It’s that he cared enough, and respected our heritage enough to save it and track me down, that impressed me so very much. It really put a wonderful final touch on an almost-perfect event.

And this is why, among many other reasons, we love our conference production company, The Linux Foundation.

The Margin Is Too Narrow