[OpenAFS] Re: [OpenAFS-announce] fin

Jason Edgecombe jason@rampaginggeek.com
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 09:58:37 -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 to you for all of your hard work and dedication. I wish you luck 
and happiness in the future.