Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Hat Assisting In Introducing Open Source Into University Curriculum

Red Hat is expanding its program of introducing open source to leading universities and colleges to include in their curriculum. This is all accomplished through their POSSE (Professors' Open Source Summer Experience) workshops. Full details of the announcement can be found here.

In all honesty, I was not aware that these workshops started at Red Hat's campus a little over a year ago. I have always felt strongly that in order to achieve relevance again in university curriculum, the utilization of open source methods in their teachings was a great base platform. If your goal as an academic institution is to provide your pupils with the greatest chance of career success, why not have them work alongside leading technologists on projects that have real world implications. It has always seemed like a no brainer to me. And, I am glad that Red Hat is putting their weight behind this. I am also glad to see that the Seneca College professors have played a key role in getting this off the ground. I wrote about them last year, and they truly have been trend setters in this arena.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

RHCSA Supplants RHCT

Red Hat has just announced that starting with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6, the base certification will shift from the RHCT to the RHCSA. The RHCSA will be awarded to individuals who can show their ability to perform key tasks of RHEL 6 in today's IT environment. The press release of this change in their certification program can be found here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Hat Establishes Academy in Middle East

Red Hat has just established an academy in Egypt. It will be offering the curriculum that is part of Red Hat's certification program. Students are able to attain their RHCE at the academy. Details of the program can be found here.

A smart move on Red Hat's behalf to set up these academies internationally. They continue to gain widespread adoption of RHEL by international enterprises, and this is a great way to create a talent pool that ensures qualified candidates for these companies.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Open Source Developers More Satisfied in Their Jobs?

There is a very interesting conversation that has been taking place on the Apache mailing list over the last week. Grant Ingersoll is trying to collect feedback from engineers that either develop or utilize open source software. He is interested in learning whether or not they are happier in their position than engineers that are working with closed sourced software. Therefore, do open source engineers gain more satisfaction from their accomplishments? Do they have a feeling of contributing to the greater good? As a result, are they more engaged than their counterparts working with closed source software? It is a very interesting question to say the least. And, one that companies should pay attention to in the recruitment and retention of their employees.

One of the responses that summed it up best was from Michael McCandless. Ultimately, he stated that even though he has worked with both open and closed source software, he inherently felt greater satisfaction from his work with open source software. He went on to post a link to a YouTube video that puts together a nice illustrated story of why people that contribute to open source software are more satisfied in their job. It is very entertaining, and the artist is quite good.

Ultimately, I concur with the videos assessment. If you empower your employees and their work results in assisting other people achieve a goal, it is an uplifting experience for the developers. It becomes a commitment as opposed to a job. The end result is more satisfied employees that contribute to a successful organization.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Staffing Firms Lose H1-B lawsuit

I had written a post about this lawsuit when it was first filed. It appears that these technology staffing firms have lost their battle to continue utilizing H1-B visas for contract work that they have available. A full update of the ruling can be found here.

This ruling will play a significant role for the future of contract staffing. What will happen with the positions that these contractors have to vacate? Will they be filled by U.S. citizens or Green Card holders? Will the positions move offshore so the current contractors can continue in their positions? It would be very interesting to know the end result.

As much as I disagree with the way that some of these consulting firms have operated, whereby they take up the allotment of H1-B visas without having suitable work for each visa participant; I am also fearful of another wave of positions potentially moving offshore. And, the possibility exists of losing much needed technical workers that prefer to remain in the United States. I know this can be a sticky subject depending on which side you fall on, but it goes without saying that in future years we will need to continue to import talent that we lack internally in the United States.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interesting TidBits From Accenture Survey About Use of Open Source

In a recent survey compiled by Accenture, it was found that 29% of companies that utilize open source software actually contribute code back to the open source community. Meanwhile, a survey done by Zenoss found that 98% of companies utilize open source software in some capacity. A good overview of the results can be found in a PCMag.com article found here. From my vantage point, both numbers are a little interesting. I am a little surprised that the number of companies that utilize open source software is as high as 98%. There is no question that adoption of open source software continues to thrive, but 98% is a very large number. At the same time, I am surprised that 29% of companies actually contribute back. That seems high to me as well. In a majority of our searches, much greater than 71%, these companies have no plans of contributing back to the open source community. Thus, the ongoing challenge that has persisted for years. Without question, more companies have realized the benefits of contributing back to the open source community over the years, but there is still a long way to go.

Where this gets interesting, from our perspective, is in recruiting. I do not believe companies are fully aware of how their lack of contribution back to the community affects their attraction and retention of candidates. Of the most talented engineers that we come across, a majority make it a stipulation of their job search that the position allow them to contribute code to the community. Therefore, does the company that disallows such contribution put it at a competitive disadvantage? From my standpoint, it is a definitive yes. Therefore, I believe that companies will continue to wise up and realize this phenomenon, but there are still many hurdles to get over . Meanwhile, the companies with a progressive open source contribution game plan will continue to gain a competitive advantage over their counterparts in the attraction of the most talented engineers in the marketplace.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

CIO's to Increase Hiring

CIO Update just came out with a summary of the hiring trend for the third quarter. The data was collected by Robert Half Technology. That was my old stomping ground years ago, albeit on the financial side, and their data is usually spot on for the most part. You can find the summary here.

In essence, it appears that CIO's are slowly looking to bring on more IT staff. This has not been a V-shaped recovery that a lot of people like to talk about. Instead, it appears more U-shaped if you ask me. And, it follows in-line with what we have been seeing. Since the first of the year, we have seen an increase in positions. But, one must remember where we were coming from, which was pretty much nil. Therefore, any increase is an increase no matter its size.

The trend is upward, and at this point that is all we can ask for. On average, a 6% increase in hiring in the technology field for the third quarter. At the end of the day, it is not time to dance in the street, but hopefully it brings more people out of the street and back into the employment market. Let's hope this trend continues.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canonical Going Solo For Their Ubuntu Certification Program

Canonical has decided to go it alone in unveiling their new certification program. Up until this time, they have collaborated with LPI. The full press release can be found here. It will be interesting to see if this will eventually increase corporate demand for this certification. Up until this time, not surprisingly, the RHCE reigns supreme. Let's see if Canonical can put a dent in Red Hat's domination of this market.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Companies Grapple With How Much Leeway to Provide Outside Developers

A very interesting article was recently published by BusinessWeek. In it, Dr. Joel West and Dr. Siobhan O'Mahony share their research on the difficulty companies have had in creating a rich open source community based upon projects that have been initially developed internally.

On the surface, putting code out in the public domain sounds like a great idea. Take code that was written internally, release it, and then have engineers from far reaches of the world fine tune and enhance it. What could be better than that? It is the ultimate way of efficient engineering.

In general, the model works. Plenty of companies allow their employees to contribute mightily to a number of leading open source projects. That has had a profound effect on how we have been able to get to where we are today. However, the focus in this case is the success of projects developed internally with the hopes of being a success externally. That has posed a great challenge to a number of organizations.

So, why is it rare that there are so few successful projects that have originated within a company's four walls? As they discuss in the article, it is all about control. Even though there are a lot of companies that will market themselves as open source believers, and many of them may be, they still have difficulty when it comes time to provide developers freedom to tinker with their code.

Whether this is due to them following the advice of their legal departments, one can only determine that on a case by case basis. However, one thing is for sure; as great as the open source development model is, it still faces challenges from the inherent proprietary nature in which businesses have primarily been built.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Open Source Companies Hiring As The Tide Turns

Here is yet another article detailing the strength of open source companies as we slowly climb our way out of the deepest recession in decades. Bill Snyder, of InfoWorld, details the gains in hiring amongst a number of open source based companies.

As the landscape continues to thaw, it is open source companies that are benefiting. Granted, it helps that they are relatively small companies. This affords them the luxury of being much more nimble than some of their larger enterprise brethren.

One important point that Mahau Ma, of MuleSoft, makes is the lack of talent available as the rebound begins. We have witnessed this first hand. Even though the number of open positions that we are trying to fill is down in comparison to a couple of years ago, those searches tend to be difficult in locating the right talent. Therefore, the demand/supply equation is still leaning more toward the demand side.

All in all, this information is just another sign that the rebound is beginning. After a brutal 18 month stretch, that is something to get excited about. And, within it, the open source employment landscape continues to shine a bright light.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Startup Visa

I was just reading TechCrunch, and I noticed the piece by Erick Schonfeld discussing the startup visa. It can be found here. I was unaware of this idea being floated around until reading this. I realize the bill was just introduced yesterday.

Visas are always a hot topic in the field of technology. And, this bill is a great way to reward individuals with green cards that are successful in getting their startup off the ground. There is always fear of us losing our entrepreneurial edge. This helps keep that spirit alive. It is what differentiates us from many other nations around the globe. In addition, immigration is what built this country. Therefore, you add immigration to rewarding individuals with being successful entrepreneurs, and we get back to the core values of this nation.

Let's hope this bill gains momentum. Nice to see potential progress on some issues in Washington, instead of watching both sides of the isle bicker back and forth at one another.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mobile Area Is Surging - Open Source Leading The Way Within It

Developers with mobile experience are seeing a surge in opportunities available to them. Not surprising given the success of the iPhone. But, within the sector, open source is thriving. The number of devices running the Android OS has assisted greatly. And, according to this RCR Wireless article, web development is the leading subcategory in the mobile space. The language that dominates that area just happens to be PHP.

Therefore, if your interest lies in the hot mobile market, having an open source background can prove to be very beneficial.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Importance of Corporate Open Source Activity

A lot has been made recently about Twitter having a page on its site that lists the open source projects it has released or contributes open source code to. A list of those projects can be found here.

One of the more interesting blog posts on this came from Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet. It can be found here. In it he contemplates whether or not, by Twitter having a page on its open source contributions, it assists in recruiting top-notch engineers to the organization. It is a very interesting question, and one I am sure a lot of corporations think about.

Ultimately, I think it is a very wise move on Twitter's behalf to announce these contributions in plain view. Engineers that are involved with open source software tend to believe heavily in the principles behind the movement. They enjoy the fact that they can take existing code and continuously improve on it, and provide those changes back to the bevy of open source engineers that will continually do the same. In the end, it provides the best chance of building as solid a piece of software as possible. That is the idea at least in layman's terms. And, it seems to be working pretty well to this point.

Therefore, for a corporation to think and behave much like its engineers do is a benefit come recruiting time. You tend to see it time and time again. Much of the top open source talent that exists is employed by an organization that tends to view open source software favorably. Thus, they allow these engineers to continue to release code to projects in which they are active. In the end, it is a win-win for both parties. Engineers are happy that they work for an organization that shares their beliefs; and at the same time, the corporations are benefiting from the software that they are utilizing for their operations being continuously improved upon by the open source community.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Novell and Canonical Up the Ante

Novell and Canonical have updated their certification offerings. Novell has partnered with LPI (Linux Professional Institute), with the hopes that the collaboration will increase the number of Linux certified professionals. Canonical has increased its offerings to include hot areas such as Cloud Computing. A great review of these updates can be found in a summarization article by The VAR Guy.

It is good to see competition continually evolve in the certification space. There is no question that Red Hat is the market leader in this area. As I have mentioned before, we see more interest in the RHCE than any of the other Linux administration certifications. And, it is not even that close. As a result, I have always recommended the RHCE as the best way to get ahead, especially for less experienced administrators. With that being said, it would be wonderful to see others join the fray in a meaningful way. There have been a number of certifications that have been around for some time, but they have not been able to put much of a dent in Red Hat's armor. Perhaps with the moves that Novell and Canonical are making, that will slowly start to change.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Training News - This Time Qt

KDAB, the Qt experts, is extending the training courses it offers for Qt developers. If anyone is interested, a detailed press release with all the information can be found here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Training Offerings from Linux Certified

Linux Certified is offering training in different disciplines over the next month or two. A full detailed schedule can be found here. It appears to include everything from system administration to kernel internals.

I have not spoken to too many people that have utilized their training program over the years, so I am not able to give my opinion one way or the other on the value of it. They do have a student feedback section with some comments.

It would be nice if they would post who the instructor is going to be. I would hope that anyone that is interested can get that information prior to spending the money. I would want to make sure that the person is well versed in the subject matter they are speaking about. Linux Certified has been around for a while, so I would assume that they have some good instructors. And, they have some reputable company names listed that have taken part in their offerings.

If anyone has direct experience attending one of their programs, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

FREE Training Webinar Series at Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation has just launched a series of webinars that are free to the public. The press release can be found here.

The best part of these webinars, besides them being free of charge, is that they are being led by multiple luminaries in the open source community. Not too often can you go get a refresher on Linux Performance Tuning by someone like Ted Ts'o. Therefore, I credit the Linux Foundation with putting forth a list of talented individuals to educate more of the public on certain topics in open source software.

I am sure that the goal is to get people interested in taking part in the training programs that they offer. Whether that be the case or not, and it would not be a bad idea if it was, it is good that they are providing this wealth of knowledge back to the community. There is always a need for talented open source developers, no matter the economic situation. The more that are available will just continue to lead to more adoption throughout the world.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interesting Article on India's Contribution to Open Source

Sam Varghese of ITWire writes an interesting blog piece about India's contributions to open source. You can find it here. His claim is that given the amount of engineering talent that exists in India, it does not necessarily translate into meaningful contributions to open source software.

He makes a valid point to some extent, but at the same time I believe it is important to look at the entire picture. We get inundated with resumes from India on a daily basis. And, as the years have passed, there is no question that the talent level, as it relates to open source, continues to get better and better.

However, the most important point is that some of the best open source engineers from India tend to make their way over here. They generally will latch onto some consulting firm that will provide them with visa sponsorship, and then they start working on a project for a company in the United States. That is of course if they could not go directly to a technology company, which proved somewhat difficult during the economic growth years due to the consulting firms snatching up a lot of the visa allotment. But, I digress. Unfortunately for these engineers, some of the projects they get put on are not always relevant to their open source skills. Luckily, there are a number of companies that are willing to transfer an existing visa, and thus it gives them entry back into the world of open source if they have had to deviate from it for a short period of time. This has happened time and time again throughout the years.

Perhaps you do not always see the contributions in open source made by engineers from India, but that does not necessarily mean they are not happening. A large portion of the engineers we work with are from Indian decent, and their impact in open source software will be meaningful for years to come.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Linux.com Launches Job Board

It appears that Linux.com has launched a job board on their site. The press release can be found on Linux Today here .

I believe they have had their jobs section for a little bit of time (could be wrong), but it appears they are either relaunching this or putting more effort into it by utilizing the JobThread Network. It is a very interesting concept in the sense that you end up paying $.49 for each matching view.

It will be interesting to see how this does. As has been the case, the number of open source positions continues to increase. Perhaps they will be able to take advantage of this situation.