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by Mark Stone on March 30, 2009 04:15pm
We should never forget that a key motivator for open source developers is fun. For student developers -- where open source really starts -- this is especially true.
We’ve been looking at several potential student projects in Croatia, and for the past several months have been lending some support to the PlugBlog project.
In many ways this is a classic open source story. Croatia is not a large country (population 4.5 million), nor does it have as highly developed a technology sector as, say, Scandanavian countries of comparable size. Combine that with a distinctive language of Slavic origin, and you have an environment in which there is very little motivation for commercial software providers to offer Croatian localization. Thousands of languages and dialects world-wide struggle with this same problem: they simply lack the critical mass and market opportunity to warrant commercial software localization.
Into this breach steps open source. Several local blogging sites in Croatia do, of course, post blogs in Croatian. But bloggers would like to have the client tools to compose in Croatian as well. Given the popularity of Windows Live Messenger as an instant messaging client, there was a natural opportunity for open source development to create a localization pack enabling Live Writer composition in Croatian. This is precisely what PlugBlog aims to do.
One of the interesting twists on life in the era of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is how enabling SOA is of open source. Plugins for Live Writer can easily be open source independent of the source code status of Live Writer itself, because these plugins need only make web services calls to the Live Writer API. Indeed, a quick search of Codeplex shows more than 60 open source projects dealing with Live Writer. This is the kind of thriving little sub-community that SOA makes possible.
The developers working PlugBlog are students, and they are doing this work as a student project. As such, it has a clearly defined project plan and specific milestones for the project. The work they are doing will provide a valuable localized tool to Croatian bloggers, but it will also serve as an example of how other languages could integrate localization with Live Writer. This is all great, but you can’t stop developers from doing something just because its fun.
So I was surprised to see a check-in on this project that creates a connector for passing data from Skype to Live Writer. This wasn’t on the project plan. Talking to project coordinator Boris, he mentioned this was an extra they threw in in their spare time. Given the huge popularity of Skype in Eastern Europe this shouldn’t have been surprising, and indeed if anyone had mentioned it during project planning it almost certainly would have been part of the original design.
But this too is part of the beauty of open source: user-driven innovation fills the gaps overlooked originally. I look forward to more Skype integration and more pleasant surprises from the Croatian team.
by MichaelF on September 14, 2006 03:15pm
We've received numerous inquiries regarding the Windows Vista Beta program so I wanted to make sure anyone subscribed to our RSS feed who also happens to be interested sees this before the program fills up.
In order to download the bits (3.0GB's for the 32-bit version to be exact) you will need a Windows Live account.
by MichaelF on September 12, 2006 07:25pm
It has been a while since I posted a blog, and I really have no other excuse than that I have been very busy. I have had a whole bunch of blog ideas percolating in the back of my mind, and I will be writing them down soon.
When we started port25 and the OSSL it was met with great skepticism. But there have been a lot of changes going on around us here at Microsoft. And one of those I wanted to bring to your attention.
A few years ago the mere thought of Open Source at Microsoft was ridiculed both inside and outside of the company. But I am starting to see small and sometimes not so small changes. This blog describes a very positive change.
As you might all know, I went to the 2006 OSCON conference in Portland. And there I met another Microsoft employee, Sara Ford. She works in the Visual Studio and Power Toys area. She has been a very active blogger in the past (unlike myself, working on it though!) And you can find her page here.
We got to talking at the conference and I have worked with her a little since then and found her to be a very energetic person greatly interested in OSS. But why is this interesting??? Well she attended a session at OSCON given by James Howison. (See his OSCON session info here ) And his presentation was on open source communities.
She was so impressed by it that she is currently working on Open Sourcing the Power Toys. I had the pleasure to sit in the training she gave the team, you can see more of the training she gave (unfortunately I was there as well and probably messed up the whole video by opening my mouth. So ignore me!) here.
In any case, who would ever thought Microsoft would open sourcing anything. But it is happening, and in future blogs I will give you all more insight on my first 4 or so months here and the changes I am seeing both internal and external.
by hjanssen on May 03, 2007 07:01pm
Here we are, day two of the Apache Conference in Amsterdam.
I have been attending less tracks today, I seem to be ending up talking to a lot of people.
It is very enjoyable to see the reaction when I tell people that I am from Microsoft, and I work at the open source software lab at Microsoft.
So far nothing but positive reactions to me being there.
I had the pleasure of talking with, among others, Lars Eilebrecht, Roy Fielding and William Rowe. They are of course very active in the core foundation. Very enjoyable, and there seems to be synergy for future collaborations.
Okay, before I go into what all took place today, I wanted to finish up yesterday’s events. And I am going to severely reduce my long winded writing (yeah right).
Two tracks I went to that were of interest yesterday were ‘ mod_rewrite’, which finally had some more technical content in it. I would love to see more of these talks. How and when to use which mod_*.
The second one was given by Rebecca Hansen of Sun Microsystems. She talked about ‘Best practices for incorporating open source code in Commercial Production’. I did not think she spent that much time on what the subject seems to imply. Much more time was spent talking about how Open Source is now viable and you can and should switch to it because large companies are now going to provide you support and services for it; so you will be safe using it.
She also said that companies are much more willing to pay for support to get what they want instead of paying for a license and being stuck with a product.
I have to say that these comments where met with some skepticism from the audience. And the questions that followed clearly showed this.
General audience response was that they are very well aware that OSS exists because of a community, not because of a company. So without the community there is no product/service. Which made the statement that you now can switch to open source because large companies will provide you service on the community software is kind of odd. Several people I spoke with afterwards seemed to share my views of it.
I think there is a place for service orientated opportunities for companies. But they better realize that without a healthy community for the projects they are trying to provide service to there is no business opportunity. Community comes first.
Okay I will write some more about what happened today. But I ended up talking to a lot of people and did not attend all the tracks I set out to. And since it is late here on the other side of the planet, I am stopping here for today.
Well, at least it is a little shorter this time :)
by jcannon on October 31, 2007 03:22pm
It's been awhile since we've featured any books or authors on Port 25 - you may remember Jeremy Moskowitz on Windows/Linux Integration, and then Linux in a Windows World with Rod Smith. That doesn't mean our library shelves have gone empty though ~ so today we're going to run a small giveaway of some extra copies of .NET and J2EE Interoperability Toolkit we came across. It's a great book on how to open .NET to work with Java and comes with some useful tools on CD - including the The Mind Electric GLUE web services. GLUE provides developers that want to build Java Web services with an easy-to-use, compact implementation of all of the core Web services standards, including XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. It allows any Java object to be instantly published as a Web service and third-party Web services to be consumed as if they are local Java objects. To Win: All we ask is that you submit the best example of open source interoperability on Windows. It can be a project running on Windows (like Apache), a language (like PHP or Java), or a commerical application - like MySQL. Send them directly to email@example.com and we'll pick the best 6 stories. We'll close the competition next Friday, November 9th at 12 noon EST. Good luck!
About the book: Discover how to build applications that run on both the Microsoft .NET Framework and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)—and extend your customer reach and system shelf life. Whether your background is in .NET or J2EE, you’ll learn to implement many of the interoperability technologies available today, including Microsoft, Sun, and third-party compatibility tools. Interoperability expert Simon Guest takes a balanced look at the pros and cons of each cross-platform technology presented, including best practices, workarounds, and examples of interoperability solutions in action. You also get interoperability software on CD—plus a wealth of code you can use in your own solutions.
Discover how to:
by Brett Shoemaker on February 01, 2008 08:51pm
As an open source business strategy lead here at Microsoft, I am particularly interested in community reaction following acquisition waves like the one we have seen recently (Sun/MySQL, Nokia/Trolltech, SpringSource/Covalent, etc.). While I am interested in reaction to each announcement individually, I find those that attempt to extrapolate what the event says about the broader OSS landscape especially interesting. This time around, one question that keeps surfacing is whether open source companies have sold out. Put differently, does selling mean selling out? My answer is no.
First, let me quickly point out the obvious. This recent wave of open source acquisitions is nothing new. Over the last 3 years, we have seen a number of open source companies sell to traditional ones (e.g., Zimbra to Yahoo, XenSource to Citrix, Gluecode to IBM). There is also a continuum of “ownership” and participation at the project level as well from company-driven to community-driven projects (e.g., from IBM’s influence over Geronimo to Zend’s PHP involvement to community-driven projects on Sourceforge or CodePlex). And, there is a continuum of opinion on it.
When I hear the question raised of whether open source companies are selling out, my reaction is “Why should OSS companies be held to a different standard than that of traditional ones?” What I mean is that I expect companies, whether open source or not, to do what is in the best interest of their customers and provides the best opportunity for future growth. The question should not be are OSS companies selling out, but rather are OSS companies selling to the right companies and in what ways will it further the company’s purpose.
Furthermore, the approach that an OSS company takes—IPO, acquisition, VC backing, or go-at-it-alone—doesn’t particularly matter. Today, we see more acquisitions and not IPOs because these traditional companies place higher valuations on these OSS companies than the market does. While the market focuses more on revenues, these traditional companies price in other variables (competitive impact, benefits to existing complementary offerings, etc.).
Does this acquisition trend mean that the terms open and closed source will no longer be relevant in the future? Maybe. Maybe not. To me, it’s minutia compared to the overall trend. I expect to continue to see convergence between the traditional and open source business models, and I expect to see Microsoft and other traditionally proprietary companies’ involvement continue to grow, as it is in the best interest of customers, partners, and shareholders. The heterogeneity of the technology landscape will continue to grow and consist of multiple source approaches so as to deliver the most value to customers. So, for me, this wave of acquisitions is nothing more than the next logical step on that path, and I’m excited to be a part of figuring out those next steps.
by admin on May 25, 2006 12:56pm
The Future of IdMU, help us help you...
I would like to thank everyone who posted comments in my Identity Management for UNIX intro web session. While I am keen on getting your feedback on Windows 2003 R2 and Longhorn Beta releases, I am also interested in getting your views on the direction you feel that this product should take for future releases. I have received good feedback so far on topics such as: expanding IdMU feature-set to support authentication over LDAP, and providing a Kerberos based solution that knits well with AD.
I would like to hear more ideas and request your opinion on what direction you feel IdMU should take next.
Please take a moment to comment below or submit mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: IdMU Ideas. I will be responding to comments and email and look forward to a productive discussion.
by admin on July 25, 2006 11:56am
More Updates (8/1):
Update, 7/25: We just wrapped up the O'Reilly Executive Day here at OSCON after two days of what many would call record heat in the Pacific Northwest. With many of the Port 25 folks having commuted from larger cities across the US, Portland is a welcome break from the office. For those who haven't been before - the pic this morning from the Willamette River might give you an idea of how beautiful this place really is.
Tuesday started with a panel - The Ghost in the Machine: The Impact of Open Source on Web 2.0 - with Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, Jim Buckmaster, President and CEO of Craiglist, and Jeremy Zawodny, Technical Manager at Yahoo. The panel was moderated by Tim...an interesting discussion of how these companies, to varying extents, work with the open source community and continue to evolve their blended business models to satisfy the complex needs of both the community and their shareholders. Sorry the pics aren't great - the lighting was somewhat dark.
Bill was up next for an unscripted Q&A with Danese Cooper, Open Source Diva, Intel and OSI. We're trying to get the video so we can post the discussion on the site, but for those that were there.....you already know how unscripted it was. Bill answered questions about everything from the new ODF/OpenXML Plug-in Project to our continuing work on Shared Source licensing. Stay tuned for the video....
Some additional pics on questions fielded from the audience, ranging from general interoperability concerns between open source and Microsoft, to questions about how to grow & educate developers on Web 2.0 platforms.
We wrapped the day around 8 tonight - with the beautiful weather comes some great views of the mountain peaks surrounding Portland. Not pretending to know for sure, but I believe this is Mt. Hood from downtown Portland
We'll have more to come throughout the week - but our first day at OSCON was great! It's also worth mentioning that we met with a very interesting partner, Mindtouch, and had the fortunate luck to talk to Steve Bjorg, President & CTO. Steve recieved some positive coverage on C|NET today around the work they're doing with Wikis- but more on that later this week, as well as some additional interviews that Bill was lucky enough to conduct.
For those in attendance - welcome feedback, comments & love to hear what you thought of the tutorials & sessions so far. If you'll be there tomorrow, swing by the Expo Floor to pick-up a Port 25 tee-shirt :) Anandeep and Hank will also be roaming OSCON throughout the day.....
See you guys soon - Port 25
------------------------------- Here we go.....it's the Friday before OSCON and we're really excited about what we have planned for the show. For those of you attending, we hope you can join us for some of the planned agenda. For those who can't - keep an eye on Port 25 in early August for our wrap-up. This year - Port 25 is a Silver Sponsor of the event - and the theme of this year's OSCON is the growing influence of open source (and being open) on business. We couldn't think of a better theme to support! So here's a quick run-down of our plans.....if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us a mail at email@example.com.
There are a few other things in the hopper, so keep an eye out. We're looking forward to getting some face time with the community & listening more deeply to your concerns. We'll take them back to Microsoft and have follow-up blogs in August. See you next week!
by anandeep on August 17, 2007 01:35pm
My overall impression was that OSCON was lower key than last year. There seemed to be fewer booths in the Exhibition floor and less palpable excitement in the venue. A lot of people were complaining about the quality of the tutorials and the talks. Or it may just be that this was my second time around attending OSCON and it didn’t have the same quality of excitement for me compared to the very first time!
I attended two keynotes (that I remembered an hour after I attended them) – one involved Eben Moglen, the lawyer dude for the FSF, tearing into Tim O’Reilly. Tim O’Reilly was asking Eben questions about whether GPL V3 gave Google a free ride. Eben went into how he wanted to protect freedom and how the Open Source people had “wasted ten years” not making “freedom” the issue. But as persuasive and articulate as Eben is, I think he left the feeling with the audience that the FSF had given in to Google to get GPL V3 passed. Eben even used the words “diplomacy” to describe the process of building GPL V3.
Some dramatic moments such as Eben pointing to Tim and then to the sign behind him and saying,” Take down that sign with YOUR name on it and put “Freedom” there instead”. Tim even went to say to him – “I will ignore the personal attacks”. To which Eben said – “This is not a personal attack, it’s an invitation to diplomacy”. Wow! I could have watched a musical and not had so much drama.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire the FSF’s devotion to its cause. They have been consistently practicing what they preach. I am glad that there are people like them to keep even big companies like Microsoft honest. But I feel let down with their inconsistency with respect to Google.
The other keynote that I enjoyed was Bill Hilf. Bill is our GM, and we know all the stuff he said in speech. We try not to say one thing and practice another (surprise, surprise!). But he said it all so clearly, and so well in front of a largely skeptical audience. It was a masterful and engaging performance. Even when ambushed by Nat Torkington with questions that were not on the agenda, he didn’t lose his verve and kept on emphasizing what we do instead of what we say. It feels great to have a official place in the Microsoft firmament @ www.microsoft.com/opensource . Wait! Or was it nice to be the exclusive open source guys in such a big company? (From a purely selfish point of view)
I attended a few talks. One was Sam Ramji’s talk about our Interop efforts in virtualization, identity and management. To tell you the truth, I went because Sam is my boss. But I stayed because he did a great job of simplifying and presenting the information. I learnt and reinforced a ton about virtualization and the Interop challenges around it. I now have a firm grasp on the subject – not isolated chunks of information unconnected to each other. Ok Sam, when are you doing a talk on High Performance Computing? J
The other significant talk I attended was about Hadoop. Hadoop is an open source software platform that lets one easily write and run applications that process vast amounts of data. Or basically it implements Google’s MapReduce. According to Google’s original paper on MapReduce - “Programs written in the MapReduce style are automatically parallelized and executed on a large cluster of commodity machines. The run-time system takes care of the details of partitioning the input data, scheduling the program's execution across a set of machines, handling machine failures, and managing the required inter-machine communication. This allows programmers without any experience with parallel and distributed systems to easily utilize the resources of a large distributed system”.
Hadoop has been created by Doug Cutting, the creator of Lucene and Nutch. In order for him to do MapReduce effectively he had to do a “Google File System (GFS)” like system called “Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)”. HDFS was originally built as infrastructure for the Apache Nutch web search engine project.
Now, Yahoo is using Hadoop and HDFS for its back end. There is now an open source implementation of Google’s Open Source based proprietary stuff. If the community get’s behind it, it may be that the truly open source stuff may outshine the open source but proprietary stuff. Makes your head spin.
Oh, and why the name Hadoop? Doug Cutting’s son’s favorite elephant was named Hadoop. A name that came from the son’s imagination. I love Open Source!
by anandeep on December 19, 2006 12:35pm
Archana Ganapathi is a Computer Science graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.
Archana has been working in the area of Empirical Computer Science (which relies on real data rather than theory or simulation) and some of her research is on computer crashes. She worked on collecting data on Windows crashes and is in general interested in the idea of using real data to advance Computer Science.
Here home page is http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~archanag/ . Her paper on Windows crashes is “Crash Data Collection: A Windows Case Study” and another interesting paper she has written is “Why do Internet services fail, and what can be done about it? “
The Open Data Repository link referenced in the video is </FONTUNDERLINE: single>http://institutes.lanl.gov/data/. This is a temporary link with a public data set as there is currently not an official link for the repository that will eventually be hosted by USENIX. We'll be sure to pass along the official link as soon as it is available.
by admin on June 19, 2006 02:28pm
I’ve been traveling in Brazil recently, one of my favorite countries, and meeting with various customers, developers, IT professionals, government officials and topping it off with a talk at Linux World Brazil in Sao Paulo. On my flight over I was reading a translated version of TEMA magazine which discusses the Brazilian federal government’s IT spending. An interesting statistic from a 2003 study by the Department of Logistics and Information Technology is that Microsoft is just barely on the ‘top spend’ list of commercial software providers to the Brazilian Federal Government. In terms of money spent by the government on software, Microsoft comes in at number eight. Many would believe or would guess that Microsoft is the ‘big gorilla’ in the Brazilian market, which is why the Linux/OSS versus Microsoft debate in Brazil always seems so dramatic in the press. But, alas, we are number eight, in terms of money spent by the state.
According to this study, the biggest software suppliers to the Brazilian federal government (in Brazilian Reals):
Of course, this is just software costs you can imagine what that IBM number looks like if you add in services and hardware.
The reason, I believe, for the misperception that Microsoft is the single ‘foreign’ vendor is because most people ‘see’ Microsoft everyday on their desktops. So Microsoft becomes a singular metaphor (or poster child) for commercial software. The misperception even carries to the academic world, such as Benkler’s Wealth of Networks from Yale Univ. Press, where he discusses the role of free software, giving governments, “freedom from reliance on a single foreign source (read, Microsoft)” – page 333. But if this is true, shouldn’t free software also reduce reliance from the other sources of commercial software in Brazil (players 1-7 above)? Of course it should, but that’s not the general perception because some of these others, such as IBM, have put on the cloak of ‘open systems’ to market themselves as free software loving champions. But if that were really true, I wonder where all that money is coming from and then going to? So the bigger question is: how much do these commercial companies generate for the Brazilian software economy relative to what they are profiting?
This is very important for Brazil, particularly as it relates to exporting to developing nations; for example, from 2002-2005 Brazil has increased total value of exports to Africa, Middle East, and Asian from US$13.4 billion to $28.8 billion (Ricardo Neiva Tavares, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Economist, 27/5/2006). Generating revenue to Brazilian companies through software exports will be an important part of future growth in this area.
From a Microsoft perspective, we are seeing real value for Brazil using our software to build their software ecosystem, a few statistics about Brazil and Microsoft:
In my time here in Brazil I will have an ear out for how people are using OSS and how they are interoperating with commercial software – the best lessons are always found ‘in the field’ – and it will be interesting to test how much ‘what you see everyday’ effects the perceptions and how this holds up to reality in the cold light of day (or maybe a little warmer light of day here in Brazil).
P.S. – adding to this on my return home, after I wrote the above. Indeed the veneer of ‘free’ has faded in Brazil like it has in most countries as businesses enter into their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th ‘wave’ of Linux/OSS usage and realize that there are certainly still costs with ‘free’ software, such as in management, integration, security, people, etc.
by jcannon on August 29, 2006 01:58pm
Last week, O'Reilly Media posted portions of two conversations that took place at the O'Reilly Radar Executive Briefing. One between Tim O'Reilly and Brian Behlendorf about lessons from Apache and CollabNet, and the onter between Bill Hilf and Danese Cooper of Intel about Open Source at Microsoft. O'Reilly was kind enough to allow us to re-post these discussions on Port 25 - we're hoping you enjoy the lively, and frank discussion as much as we did. Details below...
From O'Reilly: Distributing the Future August 21, 2006: "Open Source at Microsoft" Total running time: 33:40
Production Notes The initial montage is from Tim O'Reilly, recorded at OSCON '04 in a phone interview with Doug Kaye of IT Conversations, and used with permission. "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet" is a quote from author William Gibson that Tim used with attribution.
Credits include special thanks to David Battino for composing and performing the theme music. David can be found at Batmosphere.com, and he also edits O'Reilly's Digital Audio site. David provided a lot of help and feedback getting this program launched. We used Soundtrack Pro, Bias Peak, and Audio Hijack Pro to put it together.
Daniel H. Steinberg is a developer, a longtime technical writer, and currently spends most of his time podcasting for O'Reilly.
by jcannon on January 23, 2007 02:47pm
This February 14-15, 2007, Port 25 will be a sponsor at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit - one of the largest Linux and open source gatherings on the East Coast. A number of folks from the lab will be attending - myself (Jamie), Michael Francisco, Bryan Kirschner and Anandeep Pannu, among others.
We're excited to be at OpenSolutions Summit - we're certainly available to meet up, discuss & engage with you if you're attending. Please feel free to shoot us a quick mail if you're going to be there. Also worth mentioning, if you're attending, we will be sponsoring a Valentine's Day Evening Reception the night of February 14th. No marketing, no sales - just a great chance to relax, talk with friends and colleagues and enjoy some free food and drink! Plus, some pretty amazing views of Manhattan. If you would like to attend, it's free, but you do have to register for the reception (and be a paid attendee of LWOSS).
As an offer to our community, if you would like to attend the event, feel free to use our discount code (N0126) when registering for 20% off the advertised price tag. The LinuxWorld folks also tell us you'll get some pretty decent seating at the keynote presentations, some registration benefits & special welcome gift. Good deal!
Stay tuned for more updates as the event approaches & coverage throughout. Looking forward to seeing you in New York City!
by admin on May 05, 2006 03:16pm
Sam interviews Shamit Patel, Project Manager for Identity Management for Unix (IdMU), to discuss the current state of the project and solicit feedback from the Port 25 community to help shape future versions of the project.
Format: wmv Duration: 17:56
Want to learn more? Check out Interop Systems: UNIX Tools for Windows - another great community site for UNIX users, sysadmin's and developers who find themselves needing to interoperate with Windows and Linux systems.
by admin on March 31, 2006 05:00pm
Welcome to Kishi’s Korner (for the record, I did not come up with this name.)
I wanted to take a moment and use my first blog entry to introduce myself. My full name is Harvinderpal Singh Malhotra and somehow “Kishi” was chosen as a nickname for me when I was growing up (don’t ask, like the name "Kishi's Korner", it’s a long story). Okay, so I am the Project Manager for the Open Source Software Lab. I’ve spent the bulk of my career in IT Operations as an Infrastructure Architect with Fortune 100’s such as Pfizer, United Health Care etc. and since 2003 I’d been with MSN Operations. While at MSN I was responsible for re-engineering the server deployment process and providing key infrastructure services including Active Directory, DNS, WINS, SecurID, TermServ, Domain Registrations, SMTP, and AntiVirus for the MSN Operations IS team, among other things.
While much of my life has been spent living IT Operations, one of my true passions is research and writing. That’s why I’m thrilled to be involved with the Open Source Software Lab and Port25. I look forward to sharing our work with you and more importantly learning from you on how we can improve our methodologies and perhaps come up with new projects that we haven’t thought of. This is a unique opportunity for myself and the community and I look forward to being a part of it.
If you are so inclined, please take a moment to shoot me some thoughts on things you’d like to see us work on in our lab. Moving forward I’ll be having some of my team of Open Source, UNIX, and Linux engineers share what they are working on. If you have comments on our methodology or suggestions on how we’ve scoped a particular project, please let me know.
OK, enough with the introductions, let’s talk projects! I look forward to hearing from you.