[OpenAFS] Re: [OpenAFS-announce] fin

Rich Sudlow rich@nd.edu
Fri, 25 Sep 2015 10:33:29 -0400

On 09/25/2015 12:01 AM, Daria Phoebe Brashear wrote:
> It's been two years, today, since one of the defining moments in my recent life.
> As I picked myself up from my toppled bicycle, some folks pulled up, and shortly
> I was speeding across the city. I couldn't see what was passing outside, but I
> knew where I was every inch of the way. This is my city. A friend jokes that the
> person I used to be died in the hospital that night so I could be born. He is
> not far off the truth. Not all such defining moments in my life have involved
> broken bones and being bandaged like a mummy, though:
> I've never seen a computer with such a large monitor, I thought, as I sat down
> in front of a 19" monochrome display. Just a hair over twenty-four years ago, I
> found myself sitting at a DECstation 3100, typing the username and initial
> password of the form all students received, and having an unfamiliar graphical
> user interface come into view. Until that point, the single Macintosh with
> System 7 at my high school was the extent of the GUIs I'd come in contact with.
> I don't remember what I first typed up, but the custom-built computing
> environment that had preceded me at Carnegie Mellon by only a few years offered
> its own rich text editor. I'd become quite familiar with it while doing
> assignments over the next few months. I saved my file, and logged out. Curious
> as to what would happen, I logged in again immediately to confirm that things
> looked the same as they had moments earlier. But it was time for work, and I
> again logged out so I could go into a back office in the library and spend
> several hours cataloging new books. Later that day, though, I chose a different
> computer, and tried again. My files were there, too. The concept was completely
> new to me.
> By my second year as an undergraduate, I was well-acquainted with AFS. I had
> acquired a workstation of my own, a Sun 3/160, and had set it up as a hybrid
> between the university's computing system and standalone. AFS was a commercial
> product, but I was able to find binaries the university had licensed that I
> could use. Weeks later, in a moment that would presage work I now do in helping
> to improve security and usability, I realized that source code probably could be
> found in a readable place somewhere in this giant global filesystem, and soon
> had something only slightly obsolete that I could build myself.
> My first full time job was with the university's academic computing
> organization. When the previous Transarc/IBM site contact left for a job
> elsewhere, AFS became my responsibility. By this point, I knew how the pieces
> worked, even if I was not familiar with every detail of the internals. So, six
> years from when I discovered the wonders of a distributed filesystem, I found
> myself in a position to push to legally develop for what was essentially a
> closed source commercial product for most of the world. The community grapevine
> suggested the DARPA grants used to fund some early work on the product could be
> used to obtain public domain copies of some of the source, and I used my
> new-found role as site contact to ask hard questions. After all, I had been
> given a bully pulpit.
> The first piece to be thus freed was Rx, the RPC system layered above UDP. A
> copy of the letter I received from the corporate attorney describing what was
> legally available has been online since shortly thereafter. I passed the source
> along, and a group of developers at a university in Stockholm picked it up for
> their project: an AFS protocol-compatible client called Arla. I soon found
> myself working on it, but at the same time I still had access to the
> fully-functional closed source product, so I had to exercise care in what I did.
> Just a couple years later, after increasingly-scattershot support of the
> product, IBM announced their intended end-of-life for AFS. I was one among many
> voices who started nagging immediately. And so, when in summer 2000 I was at an
> academic computing forum in Seattle, the call we received from IBM provided news
> that was welcome and relieving: AFS would be open-sourced just a few months
> hence. My peers at other institutions that used AFS and had source licenses
> joined with me to help create an organization which would be ready to take the
> code drop and do something great with it. I proposed an organization modeled
> roughly on the one that had hosted the forum where the call had been taken. To
> insulate against member organizations trying to sink the product, their
> employees would be individual members of our board, and represent the interests
> of their employer in the way they felt best captured it. For better and for
> worse, the open source organization I proposed then is the one we have had ever
> since.
> OpenAFS, as it would come to be called, was released just about the time
> Subversion was. Transarc had built their own version control on top of RCS, but
> our code drop would not include that. We got code representing a distinct point
> in time, and had to build a new means of managing it. Again I drew on what was
> familiar, and built a partial toolset above CVS to mimic the best parts of the
> way in which Transarc had managed their source. Among the first things that
> happened was the need to apply the IBM Public License to the code in a way that
> correctly represented what rights could be ascribed to which files. There,
> again, I can tell you that the group of us who did the work made some
> unfortunate mistakes. We did the best we could in the face of limited
> accommodation from IBM's legal staff, who felt they'd spent too much time
> already in getting to the point we were at.
> In hindsight, the license OpenAFS was saddled with has been its biggest issue.
> IBM never used that instance of the license again. Ongoingly, its
> incompatibility with the GPL has combined with other factors to make Linux
> support a heavy burden: sometimes free isn't *free enough*.
> In spite of the issues facing us and the bare shoestring of resources available,
> we were able to support and improve OpenAFS on a variety of platforms. The
> common ones, Solaris and Linux, got more love than the exotic enterprise System
> 5 variants, to be sure, but we released and supported platforms including AIX,
> HP/UX, and IRIX. We added support for NetBSD and eventually MacOS X. Just under
> a year into the project, I found myself on a train to Boston. Over the course of
> the long ride, I built the first autoconf support OpenAFS ever had. Mobile
> internet was not in my grasp, and laptop drives were considerably smaller. I
> took some documentation and examples with me, and learned as I went. It was
> characteristic of my experiences getting to that point: my formal education was
> in engineering rather than computer science.
> Over the course of the next several years, there would be a community to grow
> and sustain in addition to simply caring for code. The community was comprised
> of the end-users of the product, the developers -- volunteers from the
> perspective of OpenAFS, and the organizations which deployed it. As with any
> mature technology, we had many people you'd consider to be 'characters'
> involved. Certainly at the time I was one of them. My personal life was one high
> in stress and low in happiness, and so anyone who perceived me as miserable
> probably wasn't far off the mark. It was made no easier by being, effectively,
> the provider of last resort. If no one else would do something that we
> absolutely needed, I marshaled the only resource I controlled: me. Still, I
> tried with varying success to be involved in positive change.
> Four and a half years into the OpenAFS project, I had reached a point where I
> felt that my relationship with Carnegie Mellon had reached the point of
> diminishing returns. We were bad for each other, even toxic. I moved on to a
> full time position with Sine Nomine Associates, for whom I had been doing
> contract work on OpenAFS for several years already. More personally, I took the
> largest leap of faith I'd ever done in my life. By the time I hosted the 5th
> birthday of the project at my house, I had unloaded much of the misery as well
> as about 90 of the pounds on my person, meaning the weight thus lifted was both
> literal and figurative. For the next 3 years, I continued to work on growing
> OpenAFS while also supporting a number of corporate and academic customers in my
> new-found role.
> Again, though, I felt the need for change, and moved on to try my hand
> independently. I considered again, as I had when I left CMU, if the time was
> right to do something else with my life. As previously, though, I felt I had
> more to give to OpenAFS, and I did not want to let the community down. So, I
> kept contributing, and ended up getting onboard at Your File System, Inc.
> Much as when things started with AFS, the global filesystem product we have been
> developing is just one piece of a suite, the fabric which can and will tie
> together many uses. Auristor was built from the start to be compatible with the
> AFS protocol shared with the original IBM product, OpenAFS, Arla and Linux kAFS,
> while still offering new security, reliability and performance features not
> previously available in any of the others. It has been an exciting time, again,
> to work on a distributed filesystem.
> As you have possibly also noticed, though, it has also been an exciting time to
> be me. Forty years into my life, I finally came to grips with something I knew
> but did not fully understand on the day I sat down at that DECstation so many
> years ago. I did not learn much of the reality of what it meant to be
> transgender until I found the Internet. Even in its primitive state, the indexes
> to information I was able to find when I was finally introduced to Gopher far
> dwarfed what I could learn simply from perusing the card catalog at the vast
> library across the ravine from me. What I learned, early on, contributed to the
> hopelessness that would continue to accumulate. So when at last I realized it
> was time for a second giant leap of faith in my life, I again jumped.
> My new epoch came just about when my unplanned hospital visit did. It was very
> trying to explain the situation repeatedly at the time. I had to carefully pick
> about in the world, ensuring I would find support to sustain me in the face of
> possible devastation, and it took many months to again patch together my life in
> a manner where I felt like I could safely just exist. And there would be damage
> unintentionally inflicted upon me even more often than when deliberate malice
> was in play.
> In spite of that, just weeks after beginning hormone replacement therapy, I
> found myself in a lecture hall at CERN with some of you, and spoke as I always
> had about the status of our progress. My self-awareness as I did so was
> certainly far greater, though, than it had been for any other time, and the
> blazing red dress that clothed me was a statement of self-embodiment I had never
> made in a public forum before. I had no idea what to expect, but what I got was
> pretty much the same as always: the respect you'd hopefully accord any peer.
> As I continued to work both on filesystems and on myself, I was afforded many
> opportunities to see shortcomings that I had managed to overlook before. The
> journey to becoming externally congruent with the person I always was inside
> lifted a lot of extra weight from my shoulders, and so unburdened I could take
> on things I might previously have glossed over. The OpenAFS community had never
> had much consideration for diversity, as in many ways we were not so much
> recruiting new members as trying to sustain and support the ones we already had.
> This is probably my greatest personal regret looking back. And while I was not
> and have not been made to feel unwelcome, I felt it best for others to ensure
> that going forward, a code of conduct for contributors was in place, something
> OpenAFS has just adopted. We also, for the first time, had a code of conduct for
> attendees at an AFS Workshop just weeks ago. To my knowledge, there was no
> inappropriate behavior, but having a framework in place to deal is like with
> anything else a good idea.
> My spouse, my colleagues, my family and my friends have all been wonderful and
> supportive regarding my transition, but it has imposed new needs in my life, as
> well as allowing me the opportunity to see new ways to contribute to the global
> good. I can honestly tell you that the present is the happiest I have been in my
> life. But there is still much work to be done personally, professionally and
> globally, and I am but one woman. I will have additional stresses in my
> transition. Auristor, our signature product, will require yet more of my time.
> And there are so many injustices in the world that I feel I need to help right.
> So it is with great regret that I now tender my resignation from the OpenAFS
> project as an elder, a gatekeeper, and a member of the foundation creation
> committee. It has been a great run over these past nearly 15 years, and as
> someone who works at a vendor supplying AFS-compatible technology I shall
> continue to be part of the community. However, I have been increasingly unable
> to devote sufficient time to OpenAFS, and rather than give far from the best I
> have to offer, I feel it is best to move aside and give those who might step up
> and do better the full and unburdened opportunity to do so. I hope to run into
> you at future AFS events, and please know that I will continue to contribute in
> the ways I feel I can.
> All the best,
> Daria Phoebe

	Thanks for all your work these past years - it was a pleasure to
meet you again at the 2015 AFSKBPW, and see you doing well. While I am
saddened by your departure as a elder, gatekeeper, I applaud your decision to
move the core AFS technology forward.

Your friend,


Rich Sudlow
University of Notre Dame
Center for Research Computing - Union Station
506 W. South St
South Bend, In 46601

(574) 631-7258 (office)
(574) 807-1046 (cell)