Is cron really meeting your scheduling needs?

The folks over at Airbnb were frustrated with how good old cron was not really managing their scheduled jobs.  To limit the frustration they built Chronos.  This week they decided to open source it.  It’s built on a Java project from the Apache Project Incubator called Mesos and Maven as the backend.

For those who haven’t used it cron is about the simplest scheduling you can do.  Cron works great for kicking off things like backups and basic reporting.  Where cron starts to fail is when you want to do complex jobs that know to start things on a previous jobs success or manage the number of jobs that are running.  The logging and reporting of cron failures is generally pretty rough.  So facing these issues the team decided to write their own replacement.  They additionally needed it to be able to run on multiple machines. 

They started building the system, simple and with functional GUI to make management and reporting easier.  To be redundant a server is chosen to be the “Leader” which keeps track and hands out work to through their API.  If you do connect to a machine that isn’t the “Leader” your request is redirected to the “Leader”.  If the “Leader” goes down a new “Leader” is elected.  The jobs can have defences and can be run in parallel.  The jobs themselves are written in interrupted BASH Shell commands.  It tries it’s best to be flexible and not overly complicated.

If you are looking for a package to manage distributed schedules this one is defiantly worth a look.  Here you can find a good demo talk about how they got to where they are. There are closed source options but they tend to be very complex.  So this is a really nice addition to the open source world.

What really happened between Microsoft and OpenStack…

Check out this article that tries to put some context to the discussion about what went wrong with between OpenStack and Microsoft.  Assuming that the facts are correct the story explains a lot.  According to this Microsoft let Citrix work on it’s contribution to OpenStack.  When Citrix needed to re-task those developers the work on OpenStack stopped.  Instead of Microsoft stepping back in and picking it up they just let it stall.  Microsoft has committed to upping it’s efforts and get things back on track.  We can only wait and see but this is pretty much par for the course where there interaction with open source is concerned.

Open Source helps innovation thrive…

Simmon Phipps wrote a nice piece for his blog over on pointing out some great points about why closed source leads to less innovation.  One of the best ones is that closed source means that you always have to support it.  This keeps a lot of people from making the effort because they don’t want to the commitment.  Opening up the source code gives you the freedom to walk away or at least easily transfer management to another person.  Passing off the baton of leadership for your project so it can live on beyond you.  It’s a nice read with several nice points.

Linus takes aim several powerhouses in Tech…

Linus T. took some time in a speech recently to point out some of the failings of Closed Source.  In normal Linus style he points out things like this gem about Microsoft, “Technologies that lock things down tend to lose in the end. People want freedom and markets want freedom.”  He went on to compare secure boot to Apple’s DRM and how ineffective it was.  Check out this synopsis of the full speech over at

What in OpenSource are you thankful for?

For everyone in the US this past weekend has been a time of Thanksgiving, and shopping.  With that has brought a slew of stories about what people are thankful for in the world of Open Source.(If you want to know our list listen to the podcast 🙂 ) Here is one we tended to agree with over at  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think we should all be thankful for in the world of Linux and Open Source.

Is Open Source Illegal in your country?

Several countries still have laws on the books that actually prevent things like the GPL and CC licenses from being used.  The laws in at least a few cases are such that no open licenses will be leagal until they get changed.  The author does a great job of making it all make sense as best he can.


In other leagal news, the SCO Vs. Linux case may finally be done.  Let’s hope that no one else tries this.  It’s been years and lots of confusion with this case.  Support the FSF and Linux Foundation so that we all can enjoy the use of the open source tools we have gone to depend on.

Is your EMACS violating the GPL?

Richard Stallman himself owned up to the fact that in what we assume was an oversite forgot to include 8 files needed to make recent versions of EMACS compliant with the GPL. So should you stop using it now?  Probably not unless you are running the most bleeding edge versions of EMACS.  Which probably isn’t going to be in your favorite distributions repository for just this type of reason.  They probably have already updated the files though we haven’t verified it.