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New Study to Investigate Use of Open Source Software for Securing the Energy Industry

New Study to Investigate Use of Open Source Software for Securing the Energy Industry

Energy Sector Security Consortium and the Oregon State University Open Source Lab Partner to Establish Effective and Inclusive Collaboration and Governance Models


CORVALLIS, Oregon - The Energy Sector Security Consortium (EnergySec) and Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab (OSUOSL) announced today that they will partner to perform strategic research on the current use of open source software in the energy sector, especially as it relates to computer security. OSUOSL will perform case studies looking at leading and influential organizations or projects, the tools they use and the challenges these groups have faced in adopting open source software.

“We are excited to be working with Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab on this project.” said Steven Parker, Vice President of Technology Research and Projects for EnergySec. “With their earned reputation as a trusted, independent institution with expertise in open source software, we expect their findings will provide us with objective information regarding the use of open source technology in the energy community. This will allow us to better inform and serve our member organizations.”

The project is designed to provide EnergySec with baseline data on the use of open source software in the energy sector, especially within the area of cybersecurity, and to produce an inventory of the experienced companies and groups in this space. The aim is to build up a significant body of knowledge regarding how and why energy companies and groups participate in open source, both as users and as contributors.

“It is exciting for us to extend our research agenda and explore how open source software may offer new and exciting solutions to this vital sector” stated Curt Pederson, OSUOSL director. Pederson, whose early career included work in the energy industry, will guide the project team as it also explores ways to use open source practices to build a more cohesive community for solving the energy industry’s shared challenges.

The studies are funded through the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization, an EnergySec program partially funded by the Department of Energy and will be conducted over the next ten weeks with findings to be published this Fall. Organizations interested in participating may email Deborah Bryant, OSUOSL Principal Investigator, at More information on the project is available on the study website at

About Energy Sector Security Consortium

The Energy Sector Security Consortium is a private forum of information security, physical security, audit, disaster recovery and business continuity professionals from energy industry asset owners. Participation is national, including all regions through North America, with members from most states and provinces. In addition to its primary website, the group hosts a secure information exchange portal and meets on a regular basis to discuss current security issues, events, tactics and strategies relevant to the energy sector. EnergySec is incorporated as a non-profit organization and is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity. For more information, visit

About Oregon State University Open Source Lab

The Oregon State University Open Source Lab is the home of growing, high-impact open source communities. Its world-class hosting services enable the Linux operating system, Apache web server, the Drupal content management system and more than 50 other leading open source software projects to collaborate with contributors and distribute software to millions of users globally. Through custom software development, vendor partnerships and industry events like the Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON), the Lab's staff and students encourage open source adoption in education, government, health care and other sectors. For more information, visit


The National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization (or NESCO) is the first public-private partnership of its kind in the electric sector. NESCO serves as a focal point bringing together utilities, federal agencies, regulators, researchers, and academics. This group, along with domestic and international experts, developers, and users help to focus cybersecurity research and development priorities, to identify and disseminate effective common practices, and organize the collection, analysis and dissemination of infrastructure vulnerabilities and threats. NESCO works to identify and support efforts to enhance cybersecurity of the electric infrastructure. This program is being partially funded by the Department of Energy.

Media Contacts

Stacy Bresler, Vice President of Vendor and Industry Outreach, EnergySec, 503-789-5515

Leslie Hawthorn, Outreach Manager, OSU Open Source Lab, 408-480-2918

A Little Love for the LUG

A Little Love for the LUG

The Oregon State University Linux Users Group (LUG) exists to promote free and open source software on campus. Its members and moderators turn to events like OSCON to find support from premier open source affiliates to help boost the group’s reputability at Oregon State University, and last week some OSU Open Source Lab (OSL) students —also LUG members— were treated to mass donations.

An incredible 23 organizations and companies —listed below— opened their booths and handed the students boxes of t-shirts, books and other great gifts to help the LUG’s development this coming year.

The OSU LUG Cannot Live on OSL Goodies Alone

“At the start of the school year, you have a bunch of freshmen coming in being pulled left and right by all these different organizations,” said Emily Dunham, a sophomore developer at the OSL and LUG member. “We want to give the students more encouragement to try the Linux Users Group; see if getting involved with open source is something that interests them. We picked up quite a bit of stuff in that interest.”

While LUG moderators will use t-shirts, stickers and the like to entice new members and create an eventful atmosphere during meetings, they also will utilize the large quantities of books and magazines organizations provided for educational means. No Starch Press, for example, donated critical material like How Linux Works, Book of Inkscape, Essential Blender and Ubuntu for Non-Geeks. MongoDB, ARIN, SourceGear and Linux Magazine also gave armfuls of useful resources.

“We so sincerely appreciate their commitment to helping our assistance to the community,” Dunham said. “These aren’t necessarily the biggest companies and don’t necessarily have a lot of stuff to give away, and yet they shared with us what they thought would help.”

The moderators are excited about this upcoming year. They hope to reenergize the LUG, and the donations will certainly play a major role in doing so.

From the OSL and the OSU LUG, thank you to the following organizations for their amazing contributions!

Ed. Note: This story was written by Anthony Casson, Student Writer for the OSL. Photo is his own.

Highlights from OSCON 2011: Summer Camp for Geeks

Highlights from OSCON 2011: Summer Camp for Geeks

Students at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSL) get into a project development groove, especially during the summer months. They’re happy to exit the groove, though, when major open source events roll into the region.

Expo Hall Floor at OSCON 2011, a.k.a. Summer Camp for Geeks

A group of them took a break from their daily routines and traveled to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland last week for OSCON, now in its 13th year. Amidst dozens of booths, each with its own ornamentation – simple and extravagant – they wandered, hunting for stickers, branded flashlights and other free promotional garb, when they weren’t tending to the OSL’s own booth.

Thousands of attendees flocked to the many sessions and tutorials. The OSUOSL’s Lead Systems Administrator and Infrastructure Architect Lance Alberson alongside Lead Software Engineer Peter Krenesky led one of each. The first was a tutorial, Hands on Virtualization with Ganeti, and Wednesday’s session was Ganeti Web Manager: Cluster Management Made Simple.

Meanwhile, the students jumped from booth to booth with the masses to learn about new projects, startups and open source initiatives within large companies like Facebook, Google and Intel. The Lab’s OSCON newcomers like freshmen Emily Dunham and Alan Sherman were surprised by the varied relationships between attendees and the open source community.

Alan Sherman and Emily Dunham Staffing the OSUOSL's OSCON Booth

“I found it a bit interesting to get an idea of what the end users are like,” Dunham said. “It was a much more corporate image than what I previously associated with open source, but it’s a good reminder that it really is for everyone.”

Alan Sherman and John Hawley Rocked the Softlayer Server Challenge
The challenge? Repopulate 20 drive bays and plug in 3 sets of 6 network cables into their respective switch in as short a time as possible.

Both Dunham and OSUOSL Outreach Manager Leslie Hawthorn attended a special part of the Google-sponsored lunch on Wednesday. It recognized women in the open source community.

“I got to meet some really cool people there,” Dunham said. “It’s always kind of nice to know that being in a minority doesn’t mean you’re the only one.”

For Corbin Simpson, one of the OSL’s veteran students and OSCON returner, the best part of the convention was the individual “birds of feather” sessions, held after hours.

“They provide good opportunity for community members to actually discuss things without the format of the expo hall or the tutorials,” he said. “It’s really cool that they provided that space and that time for that.”

Michael Downey, OpenMRS Community Infrastructure Lead, Sports a "This Project Supported by the OSL" Sign as He Walks the OSCON Expo Hall Floor

Little Known Fact: The Portable Booth with OSL Sign Motif Was Originally Popularized by John "Warthog9" Hawley, Systems Administrator for

When they weren’t migrating to different spots, the students helped operate the OSL booth, complete with Ganeti Web Manager for users to demo.

Candid as students often are, they admitted their Lab pitch to passersby became rather familiar. They appreciated the repetition, which in turn improved their knowledge of the Lab itself.

“Figuring out what aspects of the OSL people are interested, and seeing just how many people had heard of it before gives me a lot better perspective of our place in the community,” Dunham said. “There are aspects of it that are kind of surprising. It’s surprising how many people haven’t heard of us, but then again it was really nice to see how many of the booths had a little OSL sign on their table saying, ‘We’re hosted here.’”

The OSL’s impact on the community – the global OSCON community – was obvious. Students and professionals working together, in addition to supplying world-class services for projects of varying popularity levels and directions, the Lab held its own amongst large-scale corporations.

“I think what the OSL does is remarkably important and is possibly the most important thing done at OSCON,” Simpson said.

OSL Student Employees Alan Sherman, Emily Dunham and Corbin Simpson Enjoy the Hallway Track

Ed. Note: This story was written by Anthony Casson, Student Writer for the OSL. You can see more awesome photos of the OSL in action at OSCON in Anthony's OSCON Flickr Pool. You can also check out more photos from OSCON from our Public Sector Communities Manager, Deb Bryant on Flickr.

Come See the OSUOSL at OSCON 2011!

Come See the OSUOSL at OSCON 2011!

OSCON 2011

It's that time of year again in Portland, Oregon. It's sunny and warm — well, it is today — and the annual OSCON conference is just around the corner. The OSU Open Source Lab team will be participating in several activities at the conference, and we hope to meet some new folks, introduce them to the lab and our offerings to the open source community, and catch up with old friends. Here's what we're up to at OSCON 2011:

Community Leadership Summit

Several team members will be attending the Community Leadership Summit this weekend, including our Director, Curt Pederson, our Lead Developer, Peter Krenesky, our Outreach Manager, Leslie Hawthorn and our Public Sector Communities Manager, Deb Bryant. We're looking forward to meeting up with our fellow attendees and sharing collective knowledge about effective community care and feeding. Registration is still open and admission is free of charge, so if you hadn't planned to attend, there's still time to change your mind!


Our dynamic duo — Lead Systems Administrator/Architect Lance Albertson and Peter Krenesky — will be holding two sessions at OSCON, one tutorial and one talk:

You'll need to have registered to attend the tutorial, but the talk is open to all those who have an OSCON sessions pass.

Expo Hall

Come visit us at Booth 218 in Expo Hall D. We'll be demoing our home grown open source project, Ganeti Web Manager, and giving the community updates about our Supercell testing cluster. Better still, we have awesome new OSL swag to hand out. But wait, there's more — our stellar student employees will be on hand to talk about their roles at the OSL, the projects they're working on and how the OSL has better prepared them for their future careers in industry. Make sure to stop by!

Puppet Labs Party

Our friends at Puppet Labs have graciously invited us to attend their party and tell attendees more about the OSL. Attendees will be treated to free libations served in OSL beer mugs. Join us at Puppet Labs' HQ in the Pearl District at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, July 26th. No registration is required to attend, and you can find full details, including address information, on the OSCON site. The best part? You get to keep the awesome mug. Thanks once again to Puppet Labs for inviting us to be part of their soiree!

We're looking forward to seeing you at these events or just hanging out with you in the hallway track!

OSUOSL Alum Eric Searcy Joins the Linux Foundation as IT Infrastructure Manager

OSUOSL Alum Eric Searcy Joins the Linux Foundation as IT Infrastructure Manager

Eric Searcy, a former three-year student employee at the Open Source Lab, has picked up a new role at the Linux Foundation as the organization’s IT Infrastructure Manager. He will be in charge of maintaining and deploying systems, systems security, and keeping the Foundation's IT infrastructure up and running.

Eric Searcy

In Spring 2008, Searcy graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Computer Science. He immediately began working for Corvallis-based InsightsNow, a market research company, as its Infrastructure Architect. He was hired by Jason McKerr, then InsightsNow's Director of Technology and one of two people who founded the OSUOSL. If you've been following the news from Oregon's tech scene, you may recall that McKerr recently joined Portland based startup Puppet Labs as VP of Development.

Taking the job at the Linux Foundation was an easy decision for Searcy. He gained valuable experience during his three years at InsightsNow and worked with some open software, but he says working for the Foundation means making an impact on the community he cares about.

"It wasn’t like being at the OSL, which is a key player in the open source sphere,” Searcy said. “Looking at this job [at the Linux Foundation], I see myself back to being able to be part of that."

“And it’s not just about increasing my industry exposure. It’s having more direct influence on helping open source.”

During his time at the OSL, Searcy headed a roll-out of the centralized configuration management system – a year-and-a-half long project. He was also responsible for the web servers for and the OSL's monitoring and authentication systems.

“It basically was three years of industry experience,” he said. “Being at the OSL was a larger experience than I would have gotten anywhere else. Even if I had gone into an internship [elsewhere], then you don’t get put in charge of the important things.”

The OSL hosts the Linux Foundation’s infrastructure including websites, email, and development machines.