warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33.

Heading to New Job at Barracuda Networks

I've accepted a contractor position at Barracuda Networks as a Cloud Network Engineer.  I'll be starting pretty much immediately.

What does this mean for Mozdev?  Well, a mix of things.  I'm not going away will be the first thing I can assure everyone.  I've really enjoyed my time here and I feel that I've been able to bring a lot of great features to the community.  Of course, Mozdev itself is going through some changes which I plan on being a part of.

Moving to a new position is exciting for me.  Doubly so because I get to work with my friends again (even if remotely).  I'm looking forward to working with a team of people again and getting back into sysadmin.  My divergence into development the past 4 years has been very enjoyable and I've learned a lot about proper development techniques and design and I think my experience there will help out a lot as I move forward.

My big tasks at Mozdev right now are trying to slim down our server infrastructure; mainly getting rid of any servers that we pay for (AWS and our development server).  My other big task is documenting my day-to-day activities and try to organize tasks in a way that others can easily jump in and help out.

If you're interested in helping out at Mozdev, please let us know.  We're really hoping Mozdev can continue supporting the Mozilla community.

As for my new job, I'm excited to be starting a new career with some old friends.  I'm sure it's going to be a blast!

New Site and Domain - silfreed No More

While I've owned (and will continue to own) for about 9 years now, I think it's time I reasses my online personality.

"silfreed" will probably be a part of me for a long time, but more and more in online and open source circles I'd like people to know who I really am, not some pseudonym.  This will make it easier to communicate with people and make connections.

So, as of today, I'm beginning my migration away from  I'll probably the old domain for a long time, but I'm looking forward to the new personality I can offer from the new one.

As usual with these things, please let me know if you know anything broken.

7 Things Meme

I've been tagged by Brian.

Seven things:

  1. I was completely new to the Mozilla community when I started at Mozdev.  I barely even used Firefox (gasp! I used konqueror, so it wasn't all bad).  Now I know my way around a bit, but still seem to be too involved in Mozdev-dev to get to know the larger community much.
  2. I was a band geek in high school.  I marched snare drum and went along with our band to the Atlantic Coast Championship for the Tournament of Bands in Group 2 my senior year.  We were also quite successful in our Indoor Percussion group both my junior and senior year.  I also played clarinet, bass clarinet, and dabbled in the basoon in concert band and played electric bass in jazz band.  I was also ran the lighting side of our high school "tech crew" since I was a freshman for all plays, musicals, and presentations and knew all the ins-and-outs of the massive light box and spot room we had.  Man I wish I had some pictures of those times.
  3. I met my wife in band in high school and we started dating my senior year (over 11 years ago).
  4. I've been working with computers since 1988, web technologies since 1997 (first web company - in 1998, first blog on tripod in 1998), and Linux since 1999.  This stuff just facinates me and I sink way too much time into trying to Do It Myself.
  5. My first computer was a Commodore PC10 w/ an 8088 processor running MS-DOS 3.2.  I learned programming by transcribing programs for GW-BASIC from a 3-2-1 Contact magazine.
  6. I'm an Air Force Brat, but have now lived in the same area for 20+ years now.  The South-Central PA area may not be very tech-savvy, but does seem to have a small group of us that know better.
  7. I'm an introvert. Wait; maybe you knew that.

The rules:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

I think most of the people I'd prefer to know more about have been tagged and I don't want to spread this disease to other circles.

CPOSC Pictures

My photos for CPOSC are now online as well.  Now to just work on transcoding video..

Ooo.. Look at me! [1] [2] [3]

CPOSC Slides

Here are my slides for the talk I did at CPOSC 2008.  The title of my talk was Architecting a Community: How Mozdev Runs and Grows and had the unfortunate conflict with the Git Sucks talk which drew in almost all the attendees.

The event was great and I'm glad I was able to attend and particpate.  I hope that the guys do it again next year.

Speaking at CPOSC in October

I'll be speaking at CPOSC this October in Harrisburg, PA.  I will being giving a talk about Mozdev's architecture and history; about how it has grown over time from an all-volunteer effort to my current employment with Mozdev and where Mozdev is going.  I plan to go over some of the architectural changes that have come about through its lifetime and how we've tackled certain challenges.

Registration at CPOSC is limited to 100 people and seats are going quickly.  The conference is being held Sunday, October 19th in Harrisburg, PA; if you're interested in coming I'd recommend signing up soon!

Thanks for Moz08!

Thanks for having us at the Mozilla Summit (called moz08)!

Here's some pics of us here:

Jay saying thanks in MozCafe

Me saying thanks for the people manning the registration area and swag

More pictures from Moz08

OSCON 2008 Session Day 2 for Mozdev

My second day at OSCON was also terrific. I continued to meet new people and got to spend more time talking with others. There were two sessions that I wanted to see, and they were:

  • Integration Testing PHP Applications - this was a little more overview that I had hoped, but it did go over Selenium and when it's best to use that vs. your own HTML parser (which should hopefully be in PHPUnit 3.3).
  • Top 10 Scalability Mistakes - After some of the "overview"-like talks I had been to, I was pleased to see this one get into a good bit of detail that allows you to plan for specific situations better by giving you some context. I recommend checking out the slides.

I spent most of the afternoon helping out at the Mozilla booth and helping break down the booth when the expo was over. In the evening there was the SourceForge Community Choice Awards at the Jupiter hotel and an after-party called BeerForge at the Bossanova. The Bossanova was a really nice venue (whereas the DJ wasn't amazing) and getting to hang out and talk to various people was great.

I looked through Stephen Lau's photos and selfishly picked out the ones that had myself in it (if only to prove that I'm here):

My own photos from the past couple days are uploading; hopefully I can update the post soon w/ the pictures.

Update 2008-07-26 00:15
Photos of my first three days at OSCON are up:

OSCON 2008 Session Day 1 for Mozdev

Big day at OSCON today. I got into town at 01:00 this morning and taking the cab to the hotel wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (but more expensive than I had planned).

I was able to get a hold of and meet Brian King and David Boswell later in the morning (at normal waking hours) and we met up with Eric Jung as well.

The day was a blur of meeting tons of people; some for the first time, some putting faces to names (or IRC nicks); I attended a number of sessions, also got hang out with a lot of great people from all walks of the Mozilla community.

The sessions I ended up going to were:

  • The Internet is an Ogre: Finding Art in the Software Architecture - this one was pretty good overview of how the Internet is a hard thing to develop for but how a proper architecture can make your life easier
  • PHP Taint Tool: It Ain't a Parser - I was interested in learning about the work done in static analysis for PHP, but it ended up being too technical for me and I tuned a lot out
  • White beautiful code (in PHP) - I really enjoyed Laura's talk and her insights on what can be done to make your code, well, beautiful. I'm hoping to be able to discuss more with her next week at the Summit about some code-structure problems Mozdev has (such as how to architect a good test suite) as well as how Mozdev could integrate with AMO (and thanks for the encouragement on my blog last week!)
  • Firefox Delivered: OSS Infrastructure for the Masses - Justin's talk on Mozilla's infrastructure was great and went over the steps Mozilla has taken to be able to scale to its needs. This was a nice overview of the problems Mozdev might face in the future as it continues to grow.
  • Give Your Site a Boost with memcached - Ben Ramsey's talk on memcached was very helpful for me to solidify questions I had about how memcached can be best integrated into an application without writing a ton of code to handle the interactions between your db layer and caching layer; it was a big help to see some of that in practice

I also participated in the Mozdev-led BoF on Tools and Other Resources for Mozilla Extension Development. This turned out to be a great discussion on what tools are available for extension developers and what we can possibly do to improve things (such as better chrome debuggers, implementing dependency resolution in the update process, and having support for multiple update repositories).

The day ended at the Montage with MoCo and a couple other members of the community. A big thanks to MoCo for allowing us to tag along; it was great to be a part everything that's going on!

Mercurial at Mozdev

We're happy to announce the availability of Mercurial for hosting project sources at Mozdev.
Documentation can be found here:

The biggest caveats:

  • CVS is still necessary for maintaining the website and downloads (fixing this is on our roadmap)
  • Projects' source information page needs updated by the PO to include information on Mercurial
  • We weren't planning on removing the old sources from CVS and we don't have a mechanism for locking CVS, so it might slightly confusing to new users or contributors as to where to get the canonical source for a project if they switch to from CVS to Mercurial

If you're interested in having Mercurial setup for your project, head over to the documentation page and click the link to request a new Mercurial repository.

[repost from Mozdev blog last week]

Upcoming OSCON/Firefox Summit trip for Mozdev

In 8 days (next Tuesday) I'll be heading to Portland for OSCON 2008. Several days later I'll be heading up to Canada for the Firefox Summit.

This is simultaneously awesome and scary. Awesome parts:

  • Meeting my colleagues and board members from Mozdev for the first time
  • Being able to attend sessions and meet/brainstorm with so many people from the open source community, and more specifically, the Mozilla community

Some of the scary parts:

  • I haven't flown in a long time. I have no idea what to expect from the experience, and have some gaps in some basic logistical processes (How do I get from the airport to the hotel? Taxi? How's do I get a taxi? What's the typical interaction between taxi driver and drivee (never taken a taxi, either))? What do I do for 7 hours in the air? Are my neighbors in coach going to call me a terrorist for playing with my laptop and GPS? Will I be able to use my GPS? Am I carrying too much/little gear/clothes/etc?).
  • I'm an introvert, and thus don't really talk unless being spoken too; even then, if it's a topic I'm not familiar and/or interested in with I don't do a great job at "chit-chat"
  • I don't have a very, um, "cultured palate". I plan on trying to broaden that a bit.
  • I have no idea what I'm doing at either event - oh, in general I know I'm going to help grow the Mozdev/Mozilla community (they're very symbiotic) and learn what I can from the sessions being offered at both, but there's a lot of "unknowns" about what I should be doing.

So most of the "scary" parts are probably just personality quirks and I really think I'll be fine, even if I don't have all my minutiae in order. It'll definitely be an big experience for me.

Mozdev status updates and meeting minutes moved

I'm going to be doing my Mozdev status updates and sysadmin meeting minutes over on the Mozdev blog now (rss feed). Hopefully this will be picked up by PMO soon.

Version controlling my home dir

For awhile now I've noticed that things in my home dir aren't setup optimally for my work flow. I've been trying to run with SELinux enabled and I run into development problems when I try to run web applications out of my home directory. Various parts of my home directory are version controlled separately due to the software projects they're part of, but not as a whole.

What I'd like is to setup some other place for "projects" (Mozdev code and docs, other software projects, RPM building, etc) and then version control my home dir.

The problem is I'm not sure how much this helps me. Things like IM clients still are going to want to log things to ~/.somedir/log which is evil. SELinux contexts for files in /home/myprojects is still going to be wrong; I'm not going to be able to run webapps out of there, either. Moving my docs out of my home dir might be a pain due to xdg-user-dirs needing to be setup correctly to point at the document dir

I'd really love to have a lean, mean homedir that is version controlled that I can port around between boxes. Have people attempted this before? What about the above problems?

Mozdev status update for W27-2008

This week I'm going to be trying to get Mercurial released into full production (available for all projects) as well as iron out some annoying bugs that have been neglected recently w.r.t. the secure update.rdf generation. If all goes well I'll get back to the fckeditor plugin and get my patch working better to be imported upstream.