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OSL Newsletter - August 2010

OSL Newsletter - August 2010

OSL Newsletter

This newsletter contains updates of recent events at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab. We will continue to publish newsletters every 3-6 months in the future. Newsletters will be posted to our website as well as sent out to an email list. If you'd like to receive newsletters via email, please sign up at


We were very excited to have OSCON back in Portland this year! Not only did this mean we got to share our wonderful city with many of our open source friends (Three OSLers live around Portland!), but Portland is also close enough to campus that we could bring up a number of OSL student employees and OSU CS students. It was great seeing our students meet people in the expo hall and share some of their experiences.

The OSL was represented in a few different sessions at OSCON. Lance Albertson joined Justin Erenkrantz (Apache Software Foundation) and John Hawley (Linux Foundation / for a talk on scaling open source project infrastructure on a shoestring budget. Deb Bryant opened up the Health IT Track and led a panel on open source voting solutions as well.

OSL Wine TourDeb didn't stop at simply participating in sessions. She also received one of five O'Reilly Open Source Awards in recognition of her work in getting open source software into state and local government agencies. Please join us in congratulating Deb on this exciting award!

We ended the week at OSCON with a small bus tour which took a group down to Corvallis to see our data center, and then stopped on the way back at Willamette Valley Vineyards for lunch and wine tasting. The wine was great, and the company on the bus was even better. We even did a network boot of Linux over the bus's Wi-Fi using We've got pictures up on Flickr! Our thanks go out to Aruba Networks for sponsoring the tour.

New projects

We've brought in a number of new projects during 2010, including CONNECT, OpenEFS, Meego and OSGeo, just to name a few. For further information on projects hosted at OSUOSL, please see our Communities page.

Donations update

Give 6 program ends successfully -- We raised over $350,000 during the 6 for 6 program. Thank you all for your support! For more information on the Give 6 program and our future funding plans, please see our recent news story.

Virtualization Migration Complete

We have migrated all of our hosted virtual machines onto new hardware and management software. We are now using ganeti for VM management on top of KVM virtualization. We are currently running 65 virtual machines on four physical servers using DRBD to replicate disks between them for failover. The hardware is much faster than the previous virtualization hardware we had in place, and many hosted projects have noted a nice performance increase after the migration.


This year, GOSCON returns to Portland, Oregon on October 27 & 28. The conference venue is the Nines Hotel, located at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. Early registration and the call for speakers are now open, and program tracks have been announced! More info on GOSCON, including a sign-up for the conference newsletter, can be found at

Picture by Deborah Bryant

Give 6 Program Ends Successfully

Give 6 Program Ends Successfully

Give 6The Give 6 fund raising program which was launched last year has completed with great success. Friends of the Oregon State University Open Source Lab were invited to make a gift in honor of our sixth anniversary. Responses came from 88 unique donors representing 27 U.S. states and 17 different countries. Many donors added words of appreciation: "The support we've received, in hardware, bandwidth, and from the volunteers and employees of the Open Source Lab, have been outstanding." "By supporting efforts like the Open Source Lab, the university is helping teach, innovate, and support our future."

We are happy to see such a great outpouring of support from our hosted projects, as well as individual and corporate donors. Thanks to all your support, we surpassed $350,000 in donations during the seven month duration of the program (December 2009 through June 2010). We exceeded $650,000 in cash donations for the entire fiscal year (July 2009 through June 2010) – this does not include the many in-kind donations that we received such as bandwidth and hardware.

A huge thanks from all of us at the Open Source Lab goes out to those who supported us last year! We continue to rely upon donations to support our activities at the Lab, however we are working to establish other means of income so that we are able to continue providing services to the open source community without being completely reliant upon external donations. For example, we are experimenting with grants, paid development on open source projects, and other such endeavors which allow us to remain focused on supporting open source software around the globe.

To make a donation to the OSU Open Source Lab, please see our donate page. Our supporters are listed on our members page and friends of the OSL page.

OpenConferenceWare-Android Launched for OSCON

OpenConferenceWare-Android Launched for OSCON

We are happy to announce that we've completed work on our OpenConferenceware-Android application to make it available for OSCON 2010. You can download the app to your Android phone to get access to OSCON schedule, maps, and more.

Peter Krenesky, the lead developer of the Android application, has written a blog post with more details about the application including links to the code. You can also learn more from the OSCON blog post.

Developers may want to jump straight to the OpenConferenceWare-Android project site.

Heard enough and want to install it on your phone already? Either search for 'OSCON' in the Android Market, or you can scan the QR code below with your phone.

OSCON Android QR Code

OSUOSL Open Bus Tour - OSCON 2010

OSUOSL Open Bus Tour - OSCON 2010

On Friday, July 23 (the last day of OSCON) Oregon State University will host a special tour for those who are interested in visiting the campus and touring the Open Source Lab. The day will include a chartered bus trip (with wireless internet on board) down the Willamette Valley from Portland to facilities in Corvallis, where we will take an OSU campus tour, and then a tour of the Open Source Lab data center. At the Lab you can meet the OSL team and see the hosting infrastructure for open source projects such as the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and After touring the Lab, we'll hop back on the bus and start back to Portland. But the excitement doesn't end there! On our return trip, we'll stop at Willamette Valley Vineyards for lunch and wine tasting.
Aruba Networks
Reservation required, seating limited to 30.

We have hit our registration limit! If you are feeling lucky and would like to be added to a waiting list, please email

Cost: Free! Please consider a $50 donation to the OSU Open Source Lab. We would like to thank Aruba Networks for sponsoring this event!


8:30 AM Pick up at Oregon Convention Center (Main Entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd. in “Loading Zone” area)

10:15 AM Arrive at Oregon State University for coffee and refreshments and your tour of the OSU Campus and Open Source Lab

11:30 AM Depart for Willamette Valley Vineyard

12:30 PM Arrive at Willamette Valley Vineyard for your tour of the vineyard as well as lunch and wine tasting.

2:30 PM Depart for Portland

4:00 PM Drop off at Oregon Convention Center (Main Entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd. in “Loading Zone” area)

Airport Drop Off:
The tour will conclude at the Oregon Convention Center. However, if you wish to be dropped off at the Portland International Airport for a departing flight after the tour, please contact us to make arrangements

For additional information:
For additional information related to the tour, please contact Jeff Sheltren at

OSUOSL Speakers at Open Source Bridge

OSUOSL Speakers at Open Source Bridge

We're always excited to see open source events happening, especially when they are in our home state of Oregon! Open Source Bridge will have its second annual conference June 1-4, and the Oregon State University Open Source Lab will be well represented at the event where five of our staff (plus one OSUOSL alumnus) will be speaking. We've got a lot of cool stuff going on at the OSUOSL and are excited to have a chance to share some of the things we've been up to.

Want to hear about how we are handling virtualization at the OSUOSL? Lance Albertson will be giving a talk titled "Creating a low-cost clustered virtualization environment using Ganeti" which describes our recent migration to a redundant and easily scalable virtualization setup using the open source project, Ganeti. Come and hear about the ups-and-downs and other juicy details of our migration from the old Xen-based setup with central disk storage to the new Ganeti setup which uses local storage on servers combined with DRBD for redundancy.

Maybe virtualization isn't your thing, but you'd be more interested to hear about interactive "touchscreen" displays such as the one we use in our data center to show network graphs, FTP downloads, and other general information. Peter Krenesky and Rob McGuire-Dale will talk about our Touchscreen application during their talk, "Building Interactive Displays with Touchscreen 2.0". This talk will show off some of the cool features of Touchscreen 2.0 which has been built using Django and jQuery.

At the OSUOSL we host a lot of high-traffic websites. From an open source project's point of view, the more traffic to your site the better! However, from a system administration point of view, more traffic tends to mean more headaches as you try to keep sites fast and responsive during a flood of traffic. This can be especially challenging when dealing with dynamic web applications such as Drupal. Rudy Grigar and Greg Lund-Chaix have a talk titled "Making Drupal Go Fast with Varnish and Pressflow" which describes how the combination of Varnish and Pressflow can be used to cache much more content than a standard Drupal install -- leading to faster websites and happier servers. They will get into details about Varnish and Pressflow and give some real-world examples of similar setups at the OSUOSL.

We're also very happy to see Alex Polvi, a former student employee at OSUOSL, come to give his talk: "libcloud: a unified interface into the cloud". Alex is the CEO at Cloudkick where they use libcloud to build their cloud management and monitoring services. libcloud is an Apache Incubator project which provides a unified interface into many cloud providers such as Amazon EC2, Slicehost, and Rackspace.

Hopefully you're as excited as we are to head to Open Source Bridge and check out these and many other great talks. See you there!