screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-14-35-15How disappointing – one of my favorite childhood books lied to me. I’m 42 today, really, today I’m 42 – and yet, I still don’t have answers to the my own personal ultimate questions of life. I’m truly disappointed, I guess the universe just decided to play a really horrible joke on all of us geeks out there – when reaching the age of 42….

But, having said that, I do believe that I don’t have answers to the ultimate questions – I think I have answers to some other questions – mainly, these are more related to my own personal growth, personal acceptance, tolerance and the things I believe in and willing to stand for.

No, I’m not Superman or have any super powers – and while I’m a firm believer in the “American Way”, I can’t stay that I stand for it. What I do stand for, well, I would say in global that if one would try to describe the thing I stand for the most – that would be “Tolerance”. Tolerance is the thing that differentiates us from animals, from barbarians, from little babies that want something that another baby holds – and will stop at nothing to get it. Tolerance is the ability to look at things from a Macro level, not a Micro level. Tolerance is the ability to look at systems (technical, human, organizational, etc) and say: “Yes, that part seems a little odd in that place, but it seems that another part performs much better due to that part”. It’s the ability to accept that other people are different than I – and most importantly, being able to accept the fact that while I’m confident I’m right, it doesn’t mean someone else is wrong.

Ok, I can be as sarcastic as anybody else – sometimes sarcasm actually helps us move things forward. But I’ve learned that when I direct my sarcasm towards myself, this is when I actually yield interesting and positive results – not because I put myself down, it’s because I allow myself the benefit of the doubt of saying: “Seriously? like really, this is what you are thinking?”, the minute I do that – I come up with a better concept, which moves me forward – in other words, I’ve learned to judge myself in a more efficient manner.

Honestly, I have ZERO tolerance to the following things:

  1. People who just learned a certain technology and without even understanding it, try to superimpose it into each and every aspect of their work. This is like trying to screw in a philips head screw with a hammer, you’ll get the job done – but the result is messy.
  2. People who can’t listen to other people – if you are talking to me only to hear yourself talking, then get the f*** out of my face, I have no interest in what you have to say.
  3. People who say: “Oh, just give this to me and I’ll fix it” – and are saying it to be funny, you have no idea how annoying that is.
  4. People who say: “You just need to do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and you’re done”, without actually ever doing it themselves. If you can’t do it, or hadn’t done it with your own two hands, don’t tell me it’s simple and don’t tell me how to do it – because your opinion, as much as I value it, means nothing at that point in time – apart from irritating me.
  5. People who told me they took a class about something, then without even doing anything in that field of education, feel the need to give advice and guidance. That would be like taking a doctor fresh out of med-school, without doing any real time work in the ER or a medical facility – and letting him do open heart surgery. He may know the various theories and methodologies – but hell am I’m gonna allow that f*** wad to touch me with a scalpel.

So, am I turning into a crank guy? maybe, I guess age has its merits and its issues. So, here’s to myself, raising a toast with a wonderful glass of an 18 year old Irish Whiskey – the race has just began…

 

In a recent blog post by Tsahi Levent-Levi (Aka: bloggeek), he rants about the usage of plugins and various other pieces of software to enable web based video conferencing. And I say – HE’S GOT IT ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

Why do we really need anything other than WebRTC for video conferencing? why do I need 4 different plugins for WebEx and other bullshit tools on the net?

I suggest that you read his post – he’s got it smack on the dot – https://bloggeek.me/hate-video-conferencing-plugins/

 

As an Open Source consultant and evangelist, I’m sometimes amazed at the sheer GPL violations companies do, in the persuit of an exit. First of all, let us understand that general aspects of utilizing a GPL product:

  1. You are FREE to download, use and modify any given source code.
  2. In case you re-distribute your modified code, one of the following MUST apply:
    • You must re-distribute your code in source form to your customer, and/or
    • You must contribute your modifications to the main source code of the project, and/or
    • You must obtain a proper license/permission from the original author of the open-source code you are using.

These are more or less the basics, in lamen’s terms – without getting into the legal stuff that is usually some acustomed to these issues. So, in general, the basic limitations about using Open Source in a commercial products are mainly related to re-distribution. Modifications for personal-commercial usage (as long as no-distribution is performed) is permitted.

My work mainly involves the Asterisk Open Source PBX project. The world PBX market is a multi-billion dollar market, thus, for a company to infringe on the Asterisk GPL code may be a highly lucrative violation.

I’ve recently learned that 4 different comanies in Israel, all operating within the office PBX market, are violating the Asterisk GPL code. One company had embedded Asterisk as an auto-attendant and voicemail, while another had embedded it as a smart call-routing engine. Now, in general, if they would have used Asterisk as-is, that wouldn’t have been a problem. However, they had performed modifications to the Zaptel drivers, to work with their proprietary cards, they had modified the Asterisk code to work with various processors (mainly ARM) – and when asked for the modified code, their immediate claim would be: “Sorry, that is proprietary information”.

My main concern here is different, as companies will always be companies. All these modifications are performed by Open Source consultants and evangelists. Question be asked, why would an Open Source aware consultant enable this? the answer is simple, he needs to EAT! For the sake of making a living, sometimes (usually most of the times), a consultant will put aside his belives and idiology and will perform a violation knowingly. He would usually explain the violation to the customer, in such a way, that makes him feel good about himself and will pass the responsibility to the customer.

While the above may pass the responsibility to the customer, the consultant is as guilty (from my POV) as the customer. A consultant permitting the violation of GPL code can’t be considered a true Open Source conultant and Evangelist. Open Source is not only a way to earn some money, it is a way of life and a methodology of behavior – if one truely believes in it, one should stick to it all the time. If you know that a project you are about to take is a GPL violation, you should do the following:

  1. Don’t accept the project, till the customer had given you a written proof that they are aware of the GPL violation, and their commitment to contact the original authors to obtain a proper license to the code.
  2. Don’t accept the project, till the customer had given you a written proof that they are aware of the GPL violation, and their commitment to release the modified version of the code to the public or to the up-stream project.
  3. Don’t accept the project, till the customer had given you a written proof that they will re-distibute the modified source code to their customer.

 If one of the above is not met, simply DON’T TAKE THE PROJECT!