open source

The Raspberry Pi makes a great USB webcam for $100

There are many Raspberry Pi projects where I spend a few hours (or dozens of hours) building something with a Pi, and realize at the end that not only could I have purchased an off-the-shelf product to do the same thing for half the component cost, but it would work better too.

But this is not one of those projects:

Pi Webcam on Tripod - Pi Zero W and HQ Camera

The Raspberry Pi and its HQ camera make a surprisingly potent webcam, and if you want to cover the basics, and rival the image quality of all but the highest-end dedicated webcams, you can do it for under $100.

Still frame grab from recording on Dell XPS 13 using Raspberry Pi Webcam

Above is a single frame from a recording I did with the HQ Camera on my Raspberry Pi Zero W connected as a standard USB webcam using the Camera app on Windows 10 on my Dell laptop.

Travis CI's new pricing plan threw a wrench in my open source works

I just spent the past 6 hours migrating some of my open source projects from Travis CI to GitHub Actions, and I thought I'd pause for a bit (12 hours into this project, probably 15-20 more to go) to jot down a few thoughts.

I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. For almost a decade, Travis CI made it possible for me to build—and maintain, for years—hundreds of open source projects.

I have built projects for Raspberry Pi, PHP, Python, Drupal, Ansible, Kubernetes, macOS, iOS, Android, Docker, Arduino, and more. And almost every single project I built got immediate integration with Travis CI.

Without that testing, and the ability to run tests on a schedule, I would have abandoned most of these projects. But with the testing, I'm able to keep up with build failures induced by bit rot over the years and review PRs more easily.

What went wrong with Travis CI?

From the outset, Travis CI was built to integrate with GitHub repositories and offer free open source CI. At one time it was showered with praise on Hacker News and elsewhere for its culture and ethos.

25K Open Source Pay-it-Forward Pi 4 8GB Giveaway!

This morning, my YouTube channel passed 25,000 subscribers, and that's only a couple weeks after I was amazed to see it pass ten thousand! I'm working on my next video on the Turing Pi cluster, and it will be out very soon, but I thought I'd try to do something special for 25,000 subscribers.

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The videos I make for my YouTube channel wouldn't be possible without me relying on the work of thousands of people, working on thousands of open source projects. I want to see how much I can pay it forward for them in this video.

End of April - #DrupalCares pledge matched, $3000 total raised!

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At the beginning of April, the Drupal Association announced a new #DrupalCares campaign to secure funding to keep the Association's lights on after DrupalCon Minneapolis was mothballed due to certain global events.

Very quickly, many in the Drupal community stepped up, increasing contributions, making one-time donations, or even pledging a generous 2-for-1 match. I decided to pledge $1 for every like on this video, and as of today, it had over 800 likes!

My DevOps books are free in April, thanks to Device42!

Last month I announced I was going to make my books Ansible for DevOps and Ansible for Kubernetes available free on LeanPub through the end of March, so people who are in self-isolation and/or who have lost their jobs could level up their automation skills.

The response floored me—in less than two weeks, I had given away over 40,000 copies of the two books, and they jumped to the top of LeanPub's bestseller lists.

Ansible for DevOps purchases - free and paid
Purchases (over 99% with price set to 'free') of both books spiked within hours of the announcement.

Enabling a stale issue bot on my GitHub repositories

For the past few years, the number of issues and PRs across all my GitHub repositories has gone from a steady stream to an ongoing deluge. There are currently over 1,500 open issues across my 194 GitHub repositories, and there's no way I can keep up with all of them.

Initially, I went through each issue in each project's issue queue on a monthly basis (mind you, this was—and is still—done on nights and weekends in my spare time). That slipped to a quarterly task... and has now slipped to only happening for higher-profile projects once or twice a year.

Probot Head from GitHub Probot project

Collections signal major shift in Ansible ecosystem

Every successful software project I've worked on reaches a point where architectural changes need to be made to ensure the project's continued success. I've been involved in the Drupal community for over a decade, and have written about the successes and failures resulting from a major rearchitecture in version 8. Apple's Macintosh OS had two major failed rewrites which were ultimately scrapped as Apple moved on to Mac OS X.

It's a common theme, and because change is hard, the first response to a major shift in a software project is often negative. Distrust over the project's stewards, or anger about a voice not being heard are two common themes. Even though it has nothing to do with the change (which was being discussed 3 years ago), the acquisition of Red Hat by IBM last year didn't do anything to assuage conspiracy theorists!

The Kubernetes Collection for Ansible

October 2020 Update: This post still contains relevant information, but one update: the community.kubernetes collection is moving to kubernetes.core. Otherwise everything's the same, it's just changing names.

Opera-bull with Ansible bull looking on

The Ansible community has long been a victim of its own success. Since I got started with Ansible in 2013, the growth in the number of Ansible modules and plugins has been astronomical. That's what happens when you build a very simple but powerful tool—easy enough for anyone to extend into any automation use case.

Saying 'No' to burnout as an open source maintainer

There's been a ton of writing about OSS stewardship, sustainability, funding, etc. in the past year, along with story after story of burnout. In this time, I've become very strict in my open source maintainership:

Unless it's generating income, it's for me and I'm not going to spend more than a couple hours a month looking at it—if that.

There are a number of projects that I maintain, which I'm not actively using on money-generating projects. I don't normally touch or even look at the issue queues on these projects until a CI test fails, or unless someone who contributes to my Patreon or GitHub supporters—or who I know from previous contributions—pings me directly about them. Every now and then I'll run through the list of PRs and merge a bugfix or docs fix here and there, but that only happens maybe once per repository per year.