State of the Org: Website, Games, Summit, and More

I wanted to share a quick update on PowerShell.org, Inc.

First, a couple of Web designer friends of mine have volunteered to do a visual re-theme of the site. Below is some of their early work, and you're welcome to comment; I'll just remind you that they're volunteers and doing this as a favor. So be nice! You'll notice that one of these reflects the layout a smartphone would use, which trims much of the "chrome" in favor of the content. They haven't tackled the forums yet - that's harder, and will probably come last.

3-001 3-002 3-003

 

Second, in the last quarter of the year we're planning a move from our current shared hosting plan (my company is actually hosting the site for free) to a more dedicated plan - likely in Azure, since that offers us redundancy without the need to actually pay for two servers. We'll set up a 2-server system with one server dedicated to the database, and the other the Web site, which reflects what we have now under the shared plan. We'll remain on the current LAMP stack, just running inside Azure. That takes a lot of work to set up and test, and the schedule will depend largely on our volunteers' time, but it's in the works. The move should help a bit with some of the performance. It's crazy expensive compared to "free" (around $3600/year max, although obviously it's based on usage so that's kind of a worst-case guess), but we're growing to the point where we need it and it isn't any more expensive than a dedicated server. I love that the Azure folks are smart enough to offer a LAMP stack. Own the back end, who cares what people do with it!

Third, we've disabled a few site features that were really eating up page load times. Most you won't notice, but the "badges" functionality is presently turned off. We haven't deleted any data, so we can bring that back, but for right now it's unavailable.

Fourth... and off of the Web site... the PowerShell Summit North America 2014 is about 12% sold out. As of today, our 2013 alumni and shareholders no longer have a reserved block; our TechLetter subscribers still have a reserved block through September 15th, at which point everything goes on sale to the public. The velocity of sales has been good, and we should be able to hit our next scheduled payment to the event venue. We are still holding back about 50 slots for 2014Q1, for those of you who can't register until next year. But I wouldn't hold out for those if you don't have to. It does not look, at present, like we'll have many (if any) additional discounted memberships - in order to hit our numbers, it's likely everything will hold to full price. If we do offer any discounts, it'll be absolutely last-minute. Also, our team is getting going on content, and you should see a Call for Topics real soon, now.

Fifth, the PowerShell Summit Europe 2014 is coming along, but not really going anywhere. Ha! By that, I mean we're simply too far out (more than a year) for venues to be able to talk to us. So we're holding tight until September and October this year, when we can start checking pricing and availability. Madrid snuck on to our short-list of cities, along with Munich, Milan, and Amsterdam, due to the presence of a large MS conference facility there. If anyone lives in Europe and speaks Spanish, and wants to be our liaison to communicate with MS Madrid, please contact me (via the Site Info menu above). It'd be nice to have someone local who can contact the office and see what we can do there, or at least put us in touch with an evangelist over there who could work on our behalf.

Sixth, don't forget that Mark Schill has announced PowerShell Saturday 005 for Atlanta. Mark's also been tasked to help one or two other organizations put on their own PowerShell Saturday, so if you think you'd be interested, please contact him. Having done this four times already, he's got a good grip on how to go about it.

Seventh, we've got some great new guys acting as editors for the TechLetter, and the September issue will be their first go at it. Wish them luck and give them your support! We're also looking to launch free online TechSession webinars next month; I'll probably run the first one, and there will be a required (and free) registration process, and it may be bumpy. But we're going to try and do those monthly. They'll supplement the new MVA offerings from MS, and get back to the days with TechNet did a whole series of different free webinars. Once we start, please help spread the word - if we're not getting good attendance or recording views, we won't keep doing it.

Eighth, I'm unsure if we'll be doing a Winter Games event or not. We had someone volunteer to coordinate it, but I haven't heard any details from them, and I'm kinda getting overbooked on my end, which will make it tough to do up whatever Web site they might need. We're going to play this one by ear.

Ninth... and before I make it to a full strike... I want to express my deep gratitude for everyone that's helping make this community work. The Forums are obviously a big piece, and it's been fantastic to see so many of you jumping in and volunteering your time to help answer questions. Truly, I feel that this whole thing is finally taking off and that it's a real community. Along those lines, in Q4 this year, we're going to announce (so start thinking about it) a PowerShell Heroes award. This will be for folks who have not already received some kind of recognition (like MVP) for helping out in the community, so that we can formally offer them a thank-you. Awards will be by nomination, and will carry no benefits whatsoever (grin). But start thinking of who you'd like to thank, and why.

OK - that's probably enough for the morning. Thanks for coming along for the ride, and have a great rest of the week!

Don

About the Author

Don Jones

Profile photo of Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft's). Power to the shell!

16 Comments

  1. PowerShell on Linux exists to help Windows admins to help them transition away from Windows Server. But In a decade, when > 75% of workloads running on Azure are Linux, the tools used to manage those workloads will be designed for and meet the needs of the Linux administrator mindset. Linux administrators have a great set of mature tools and it isn't entirely clear why they'd want to transition to using PowerShell. Linux has won. The growth of Linux on Azure shows that. It's time for Azure to be a Linux First environment - and PowerShell on Linux doesn't really fit because it's primarily trying to graft a new and unproven Microsoft way of doing things onto successful practices and culture. Sure they can do it - but they'd be better off retraining everyone to "Think Linux".

    If Microsoft has (apparently) given up on Windows Server and understand that only a few legacy holdouts will want to run it in Azure in 10 years time (with the majority of workloads being Linux), they are wasting resources trying to reinvent how Linux administrators do things as a way of placating legacy Windows administrators. Legacy Windows administrators should bite the bullet and go "all-in" and adopt existing successful open source administration paradigms. The clock is ticking on their relevance and if they spend precious time investing in a nascent administration technology instead of fully transitioning to an open source mindset, they'll be less employable in future.

    PowerShell on Linux would be a neat idea if Windows Server had a future. It'll remain around in the same way that mainframes are still with us - but Microsoft has no interest in making a compelling case for organizations to choose their product over the free alternative. The future of Windows Server is the current reality of Windows Phone.

    • Thank you SO much for contributing your perspective! I do think - and I'm not a Microsoft fanboy per se - that you're misinformed, or at least under-informed. Time will tell, of course, but I suspect you've brought some personal bias to your viewpoint.

    • Interesting perspective. But I think you missed the point why Microsoft is actually open sourcing PowerShell. If you followed the talks that Jeffrey Snover did the last few years, it became clear that they want to be able to support heterogeneous environments. And for what I've seen now from Microsoft, and especially the PowerShell team, is that they don't have a hidden agenda. Microsoft is not the Microsoft anymore from let's say, 5-10 years ago.

      I agree with you, that there's a lot of Linux on Azure. But many, many companies I come are mainly Windows based infrastructures. Also guys that I know that work for other companies almost only see Windows based infra's.

      Yes, Linux has it's place in this world, but according for Microsoft there's no battle between Windows or Linux. They're citizens in IT which Microsoft wants to support best. And PowerShell is not a tool per se, it's meant to be a management framework. A framework that operates with built-in tools or in the case of Windows, the .NET framework.

      Windows Server has a big future, just look at the developments Microsoft is doing on Nano server.

    • Do you really think in 20 years well be dealing with "OS war" ?

      Do you think well see linux or windows in 20-30 years ? I dont.

      Do you think there is a loosing side or a winning side ? There are never winners in any war.

      From my POV, the shift towards lean kernels to accommodate the cloud, will get us eventually to a unified kernel of some sort getting the best of breed of all OSes, giving developers and IT the option to focus on the tools and the frameworks and less about the underlying layers.

      Running a business that creates OS is becoming very expensive. No one wants to be limited in the tools they want to use, thus the SQL on Linux is a huge huge thing in that sense and it will only get bigger with more such products going the same way. I have yet to see any major party offer anything similar things, coming from the Linux side because it takes money and effort very little companies have, so MS in that sense is helping transform the ecosystem again and its in a very good direction.

      Powershell on Linux exists so I, as a windows admin will have a lower barrier of entrance, if my boss decides one day to invest some our company assets on linux. If I can help my company get the right decisions that will save it money and achieve more and if that means going with a non MS way, guess what, I can still use my skills from the windows side without the hassle of the learning curve.

      For a long time I've been an advocate of learning both windows and Linux, no matter what I do mostly in my work time, as they are just tools to make the job, means to achieve a goal..they are not the goals themselves, and the movement to the cloud just emphasize it even more.

      I think your notion of what open source and free means is what's leading you in the line of thought and that's where I think you were wrong, imho.
      Not saying that my notion of what open source and free means is better, but its somewhat less biased. Nothing is free. Open source doesn't mean security (look at the horrible OpenSSL hole that's been there for two years and only recently been closed, or support-when-you-NEED it, that will always cost money, either by support contracts or having devs that know that specific language to deal with the bugs internaly (which by itself is even more limiting with the amount of languages and frameworks popping every second day).

      As for hidden agendas, you need to remember this is still a business. There's always money involved and business opportunities to be made. MS along they years was always good in creating those opportunities for itself and its partners and it continues to do so, the bottom line will be the tools. If you have ones that do the job for you, keep using them. If MS puts money and effort to create better tools with the community, who's the winner ? Everyone.

      I've seen this in the heated arguments on the PS repo the second it went public. The lack of broader vision some of the Linux base audience showed, the arrogance, the "Its mine, dont touch it" is somewhat alarming. I'm just happy to know that the sysadmins in 20 years, the ones born today well have a different starting point where they will choose the tools and be told what to use by old retiring sysadmins that are trying to hold to their precious seats instead of embracing change and supporting it in the evolving it world.

  2. If I have to copy files from installation folder to destination and I have to do exception handling because everything is automated, then how to do that? What all errors may arise and how to recognize and handle them? Please help.

  3. powershell ought to get the credit it deserves for enabling a developer to rapidly create rich output handling complex decisions based upon datasets gathered from various means and implementing a nearly infinite number of actions based on these. Simply put, it can be, and it is, much more than an admin tool, in the right hands.

  4. To start this is a thing of beauty in it's simplicity.
    Does anyone have experience with how much memory the results occupy and doing Get-job | Receive-Job at the end? If I run say a 1000 or 10,000 will this cause memory problems? I am thinking doing Get-Job -State Complete | Receive-Job & then |remove-job inside the loop (and logging it) would reduce the chance of running the host out of memory, or am I just over complicating it?

  5. a) Remoting
    The primary purpose of PS on *nix will be remoting to Win-Hosts, such as Bash on Windows vice versa.

    Due to the nature of *nix as document driven OS, an object based shell does not make that much sense. We're missing the API level. Jeffrey told us so, long ago.

    b) Religious affairs
    It's not about publishing the code (which is nevertheless great!).
    The GPL especially is the denial of the biz model that drives the revenue of Microsoft. So, indeed, haters will hate. Agree.

    But, in for a penny, in for a pound, PoSh is part of Windows which is an expensive, closed down product, increasingly incapacitating the user.

    c) The role of Community
    Sorry to say that, but the PS community is so much more than the few "Get-Expert -wellknown | Get-Random" MVPs. I know it's hard to see that inside the bubble.

    PoSh itself is gorgeous but - at the end - just a shell, such as Korn, C, Z and all the others.

    Far more important: the promise of a datacenter abstraction layer beyond the borders of specific vendors, automation and the refusal of a click UI.

    In this sense, publishing the underlying code is a statement which can't be exaggerated!

    Great Post, Don!

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