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Once again the Shadowcat team will be in Brussels for the FOSDEM 2016 event. Matt, Mark and Tom have booked places in the centre of Brussels from the 29th January to the 1st February and will travel to the conference each day.

Representing Perl

This year Mark will be travelling in his role as Marketing Chair, Advocacy Committee member and Steering Committee Member for the Perl Foundation and will spend his days at the Perl booth or in the Perl Dev room with Wendy and Liz. Mark will be on The Perl Foundation time for the whole weekend and will be happy to talk to people about the great news in the Perl world and the shape of the Perlverse in 2016.

Representing Developers

For Matt and Tom it is a much more personal event. FOSDEM is one of the best places to mix with the best minds in Open Source. To catch up with what is new in the communities and groups who thrive in the alternative commercial space that pure OS occupies.

As always the Shadowcat Staff will be more than happy to spend time chatting or to bend an ear or three over a delicious amber brew from the -very- wide selection on offer in Belgium. If you are going to be at FOSDEM give us a shout to meet up or alternatively visit Mark on the Perl booth.


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General Orders

One year ends and another comes rushing in to replace it and here at Shadowcat we wave a sad fare the well to our General Manager. Ian will be leaving us in early january 2016 after three years in the Shadowcat fold, he goes with a tear and a hope that he will find some new challenges to conquer.

During the latter part of 2015 Ian decided that the pressures of Consultancy and a desire to do more System Administration work led him to only one possible conclusion. It was therefore with regret that he decided to leave his position in the Shadowcat team and return to admungulating Linux Servers.

The whole of the Shadowcat team will miss Ian and we wish him great luck in all his new endeavours. Thankfully he is not going far and will no doubt be in close touch with us and will still be a member of the mixed communities the local team have. We will certainly be seeing him at regular LAMM events.

Our Gumby Ian will be missed (his brain hurts) Our Gumby Ian will be missed (his brain hurts)


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London Perl Workshop 2015

The London Perl Workshop, which is also known as the United Kingdom Perl Workshop, is just a week away and will take place on Saturday, 12th December 2015. The event, held yearly, is hosted by the Department of Computing at the University of Westminster's Cavendish Campus.

Here at Castle Shadowcat things are in a manic stage as we are finalising elements such as the Schedules, Signs, Banners, Booklet, Toys (electronic to add to the fun), liaising with sponsors, thinking about badges, drinks, pre-event bookings, whether we drive into London for the day of the event so we can carry more of the epherma and trying to remember what we missed from the preparations.

As we are writing this the attendance count is slowly creeping towards the 200 people registered figure making us once again the largest Perl Workshop that is held yearly a title that surprises and elates the organising team.

If you are going to the event please take the time to Register, remember to come pick up your badges from us at Reception. Drink the coffee/tea/light drinks that are supplied by the sponsors, and while you are at it, take the time to talk to the sponsors even if it is just to thank them for their generosity. A number of them will have tables on the day and will be happy to speak with you.

We look forward to seeing you all there, in the meantime you can look at highlights from last year in the following video and finds the talks on YouTube in this playlist.

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FLOSSUK Spring 2016

Shadowcat will once again be involved in the FLOSSUK Spring Conference with both Mark keating and Ian Norton on the FLOSSUK Council and members of the organising team. Mark has been busy working with Kimball Johnson, and other Council members, on the Call for Papers, media and websites.

Last week the council announced its call for papers:

“The FLOSSUK UK Council are now accepting submissions for presentations and workshops for our main annual conference event. In recent years we have evolved into the UK's primary support organisation for Free/Libre Open Source Systems (FLOSS) supporting Free and Open Technology.

The Spring conference is the UK's longest running event supporting systems and network administrators. But as FLOSS UK has evolved to support open networks, software, hardware and data so our primary conference has become open to submissions on these areas.

If you would like to offer a forum or half-day workshop that might interest our target audience, please submit a proposal. If you have a novel solution to a problem, experience of a particular application or hardware platform, tips and tricks for fellow open source delegates, or a favourite tool you could talk about, use of open data, please submit a paper for consideration by the programme committee.

There will be a prize for the best conference talk. Bursaries may be made available for accepted speakers who are unable to afford travel costs, subject to Council approval with all bursaries being fixed in advance. All accepted speakers receive a complimentary conference place and a ticket for the conference dinner.

We are also seeking lightning talks for the event – please contact us if you have something you want to schedule in the programme – Lightning Talk speakers who offer no other presentation are not eligible for free conference places or dinner.

Significant Dates:

  • Initial closing date for abstracts: 30th December 2015
  • Speakers notified by: 20th January 2016
  • Conference: 15th-17th March 2016
  • To submit a paper, please email”

The conference will be held at Mary Ward House in London next Spring and it is a great time to become involved with FLOSSUK and the growing positive effect it hopes to bring to the Open Technology scene in the UK.


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OUCE 2015

The schedule for the OpenNMS User Conference (OUCE) has recently been announced and it contains the information of the talks being presented by Shadowcat staff, Mark, Ian and Tom.[1]

The team will be all presenting on the same day and are discussing different aspects of our new service ShadowNMS which was recently launched and uses OpenNMS as one of its underlying technologies.

The talks are all on Wednesday 30th September, at the main event in Fulder, Germany.

Mark starts our presentation trio with his talk The Shadow of NMS. According to his abstract:

Yeah though I walk through the Shadow of NMS I will not fear no ill What was the business case for building a service based on a popular network monitoring system. We will take a look at the ShadowNMS project and the advantages and pitfalls of using an established underlying technology. ShadowNMS is a Cloud-Based monitoring solution, when we decided to build the system we had a number of very difficult choices to make. One of these was the choice of a strong, and versatile underlying Network Monitoring Software.

This talk will cover the discussions and arguments that led to us basing a core product on an existing enterprise-grade solution. What we were offering, how that differed, and why we chose to use OpenNMS. We will look at the issues of working with community software and with communities. We will look at the interaction between Shadowcat Systems, the OpenNMS group and the OpenNMS Foundation and community.

We will also take a brief look at the software itself. What were we trying to achieve? How were we trying to achieve it? What were the obstacles? What part did OpenNMS play in this.

A small amount of time will be devoted to the schoolyard crush that Shadowcat has for communities and how we have found working with the OpenNMS people.

This is followed later in the day by Tom who will discuss Running with Scissors which is based around deploying OpenNMS and Ansible:

There are many ways to go wrong with a deployment of OpenNMS. You forget this package, you forget that config file, and eventually you end up with a working system. And then you need to do it again. Enter Ansible, meaning you only have to get it wrong once... A bit like running with Scissors.

The final Shadowcat talk is by Ian Norton who wants us to be Dancing on the Head of a Ping:

Building a scalable Software as a Service platform using Open Source software How do we build a scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) monitoring solution using Open Source software?

This talk will discuss the architecture of the Shadowcat ShadowNMS SaaS platform, how it was implemented and what fun we had along the way! Some of the things covered will be Ansible, OpenNMS, OpenNMS PRIS, Apache, PostgreSQL, Perl, Angular JS and Phantom JS*

/* Other buzzwords may be included, please check with your operator for a full list * - Buzzword bingo cards available on request - * Not really, but feel free to bring your own ;)/

If you are at the event we would love to say hello and share some stories about using OpenNMS and ShadowNMS.

If you are interested in using cloud-based network monitoring to continuously check service, giving assurance from your customers view, then feel free to contact Shadowcat.


[1] This is a slightly unusual way of announcing that the team from Castle Shadowcat will be speaking at the OUCE in Fulder, but we thought we’d copy the manner in which the OUCE chose to announce it, just in case it was a precedent for this event ;).

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