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Ask Slashdot: Where Should a Geek's Charitable Donations Go?

gchaix OSU Open Source Lab (263 comments)

The OSU Open Source Lab is a donation-funded organization that supports the open source software community by providing project hosting, development, and mirrors for many open source projects. Apache, the Linux Foundation, Drupal, Busybox, Plone, PHPbb, Sahana, OpenMRS, and many others rely on the OSL for some or all of their infrastructure. Full disclosure: I work for the OSL.

about 2 years ago
top Compromised

gchaix Re:How did they hack it? (312 comments)

How did the so called user account compromise result in root access? Care to explain?

I'm not privy to the details, but I expect disclosure will be forthcoming as soon as they've traced and patched whatever vulnerability was exploited.

about 3 years ago
top Compromised

gchaix Re:How did they hack it? (312 comments)

The post on states that it was possibly due to a compromised user account. They stated that they discovered it through some errors related to Xnest /dev/mem and that they captured some of the exploit code. I believe they're still looking at everything to figure how how the intruders got in and what they touched.

Kudos to the team for their prompt action and immediate disclosure.

about 3 years ago

Inside Oregon State University's Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:So... hosting? (55 comments)

(keep in mind, they have a mirror in the midwest provided by (I think) TDS)

That is correct. We have two FTP mirrors hosted by TDS (Chicago and New York) in addition to the systems we have on campus in Crovallis.

about 3 years ago

Inside Oregon State University's Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:Huskies Rule! (55 comments)

Quack like the open source ducks you are, Oregon! ;->~

Umm. Wrong school. OSU Beavers, not those silly Ducks down the valley. :-)

about 3 years ago

Managing Young Sys Admins At Oregon State Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:How do you find a young sys admin?? (141 comments)

99.99 of sysadmin'ing comes from experience

Right ... which is why we here at the OSL give them the opportunity to gain that experience in a real-world production environment while providing the mentorship they need. It dovetails nicely with the theoretical knowledge they're getting in their CS classroom work.

more than 4 years ago

Managing Young Sys Admins At Oregon State Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:Especially if they are training developers (141 comments)

Two OSL staff have created and taught a system admin course at OSU: The content is available under Creative Commons.

We're actively working with the EECS faculty to incorporate both system administration and open source topics into the course offerings.

more than 4 years ago

Managing Young Sys Admins At Oregon State Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:Heh, they aren't admins (141 comments)

I beg to differ. I've been a sysadmin for 15 years. The professionalism and quality of the work done by the students here at the OSL is quite often indistinguishable from many of the people I've worked with over the years. Many of the people working on our hosted projects can't tell whether they're working with our professional staff or student workers.

We teach them to be sysadmins. They may not be sysadmins when they come to us, but they sure as hell are professional sysadmins when they leave.

more than 4 years ago

Managing Young Sys Admins At Oregon State Open Source Lab

gchaix Re:single point of failure? (141 comments)

I work for the OSU OSL.

Actually, we're more than a mirror. While mirroring is a major part of the services we provide, we also provide hosting for many projects' core infrastructure - Apache, Linux Foundation, Drupal,, etc. Google is a major supporter of the OSL because we provide a place for projects whose needs have outgrown the more "off-the-shelf" structured hosting provided by Google Code or Sourceforge and need a more customizable environment.

As to the single point of failure concern - I disagree for several reasons:

  • We are not funded by the university. The OSL's activities are funded almost entirely by donations (both personal and corporate) and agreements with the projects we host. While we are all university employees, our wages are not paid using university dollars. Also, as part of the administrative computing organization at the university (as opposed to part of an academic department), the OSL falls under the university's CIO instead of a dean or department. The financial independence and organizational structure provides us with a significant amount of autonomy and insulation from the vagaries of university politics.
  • OSU President Ed Ray has stated time and time again that the role of a land grant university in the 21st century is to provide leadership and assistance in information technology - much the same way the land grants provided support to agriculture and industry in past centuries. The OSL helps OSU fulfill that goal.
  • On the FOSS community side, the OSL provides a vendor-neutral environment. We're not tied to any one distribution or manufacturer - we work with Dell, HP, and IBM all equally. The same goes for SuSE, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Red Hat, etc. IIRC, our neutrality one of the reasons and the Linux Foundation reside at the OSL. We (and the university) consider that neutrality a very valuable asset.

It would take something more than a "pissed off dean" to summarily shut the OSL down.


more than 4 years ago



US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau embraces FOSS, publishes on github

gchaix gchaix writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gchaix writes "The US Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has publicly embraced open source software and has begun posting its code to GitHub.

From the fine article:

Until recently, the federal government was hesitant to adopt open-source software due to a perceived ambiguity around its legal status as a commercial good. In 2009, however, the Department of Defense made it clear that open-source software products are on equal footing with their proprietary counterparts.

We agree, and the first section of our source code policy is unequivocal: We use open-source software, and we do so because it helps us fulfill our mission.

Open-source software works because it enables people from around the world to share their contributions with each other. The CFPB has benefited tremendously from other people’s efforts, so it’s only right that we give back to the community by sharing our work with others.

This brings us to the second part of our policy: When we build our own software or contract with a third party to build it for us, we will share the code with the public at no charge. Exceptions will be made when source code exposes sensitive details that would put the Bureau at risk for security breaches; but we believe that, in general, hiding source code does not make the software safer.

More coverage here:"
Link to Original Source


Inside Oregon State University's Open Source Lab

gchaix gchaix writes  |  about 3 years ago

gchaix writes "Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier peels back the cover to reveal the inner workings of the Oregon State University Open Source Lab:

Many people use Linux in many ways, often totally unaware that they're depending on Linux. Likewise, those of us in the open source community depend heavily on Oregon State University's Open Source Lab (OSUOSL), but may not even realize just how much."

Link to Original Source

Supercell: free test VMs for FOSS projects

gchaix gchaix writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gchaix writes "Funded through a grant from Facebook, Supercell provides free on demand virtualizaton and continuous integration testing for open source projects. It's built on an open stack (Linux, Ganeti, Django) and is hosted at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab."
Link to Original Source


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