Amanda at the UM-LUG

Tonight, I visited Amanda’s alma mater, University of Maryland at College Park. I spoke at the local linux users’ group, UM-LUG, about Amanda and Amanda development. The group is mostly college students and recent grads, and asked a lot of great questions on a range of topics.

I began with a quick overview of Amanda and its basic structure, then jumped into a look at the new develpoment in Amanda, hilighting the Device API, Application API, Transfer Architecture, and the perl rewrite, and looking at some of the exciting new features each of these projects will enable. The audience was hungry for something a bit more technical, so we dove into the details of Amanda’s new data handling model as an example of the interesting engineering problems we get to solve.

At this point, we transitioned to a discussion mode, and talked about open-source development in general, comparing the communities and development processes of a number of well-known open-source applications: Firefox/Mozilla, Gentoo, Linux Kernel, Python, PHP, and Apache, to name a few. We talked about some of the challenges posed by a commercial entity contributing to an open-source project, and some ways to attract new developers to a project.

Hopefully, some of the attendees will give Amanda a try for their backup needs — the ease and affordability of offsite backups with Amazon S3 was particularly attractive — and perhaps one or two will become Amanda hackers!

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