Back to Blogging

Posted on July 18, 2012

My blog has certainly suffered a slow down in the last 2 years… I thought I’d provide a little insight as to why, give you a little insight into where I’m at these days, and ask for your suggestions on the future.

Once upon a time, my blog was a predominately Solaris blog.  In fact it became over time the most read Solaris blog.  Thanks to Google it actually still is, because I have verify few active readers, the vast majority come to the blog via some Google search for this problem or that and find what they are looking for.  As a result, many people don’t even realize I stopped blogging about Solaris some time ago, which I find a bit funny.  At Velocity this year several people came up to me and thanked me for the blog, whom I then would ask “Does it bother you that I’m talking about DevOps now instead of Solaris?”  Each of them gave me a blank look and said “You stopped blogging about Solaris?” 🙂

I stopped writing about Solaris for several reasons.  The first was that I’d covered so much ground that I would start to write about something and realize I’d already done so a year before.  Another was that some of the things I wanted to write about where simply too large or complex for a blog, but not quite enough for a book.  Yet another is that sometimes, as a writer, you can start to take yourself too seriously and give too much thought to critics and thus feel that many things you want to write about are “too basic” or “too dumb” to write about.

Another big reason was of course Oracle taking over Sun and there being a very unclear future for the community at large.  The Illumos project brought OpenSolaris back to life, but given that so many people in the Solaris community are from the enterprise space (directly or indirectly) it was unclear whether Illumos would truly provide an alternative to Oracle Solaris.  And besides that, I had become far too involved in Sun and OpenSolaris internal politics and governance and other non technical crap which I feared becoming involved with again under Illumos… thankfully the Illumos community actively stamped out any of the old politics before it took root again, but I was happy to provide a wide birth while it sorted out.

Yet another reason was that for a long long time I’ve wanted to change formats.  For at least 6 years now I’ve wanted to move from “blogging” to producing screen casts.  For many topics there is only so much you can digest from a written entry, at some point its easier to just show you.  I’ve started down that road many times but never gotten it off the ground.  Maybe one day it will.

However the largest reason was that about the time OpenSolaris imploded I was pretty well burned out on the whole thing anyway.  Using Solaris was far less a challenge than managing and operating a large environment.  I became obsessed with the question “How do you run a cloud?”  That’s the question that drove me into learning all sorts of strange things.  I blogged about some of them in the last 2 years, but held back quite a bit because it was unusual fare for my Solaris audience.  I could write about Deming and Ackoff and Ford and Ohno all day long… but who would want to read it?  Lucky for me, DevOps came along about the same time and a community of like minded individuals formed around these same ideas.   I’ve been thankful for that community and how its brought so many of us together who were each on our own individual journeys.

And so, there are my excuses for being a bad blogger… not that I actually consider myself a blogger in the first place.  I just like to help people and this is the best vehicle to do so.

Now for how you can help.  What would you like me write about?  Should I go back to writing about Solaris features?  Should I write about all the new Solaris variants (SmartOS, OmniOS, etc)?  Should I write more DevOps nuggets?  Are there “old” topics that still should be discussed that no one is talking about anymore?  At the end of the day, I still fundamentally believe in SA’s helping SA’s.  How can this SA help you?  Its time for me to get back in the game.