Category Archives: writing

Moments in History – Many is Man

Many is man, Prigozhin said. He chewed on a carrot stick, which had snapped off from its stem held in his right hand, his mouth gaped open, his thick underlip protruded sadly, the ring of his mouth opening and closing repeatedly, while with every bite he gently squeezed his buttocks together in tight harmony, as flighty words and sweet carrot mingled into half reason, half prime. Many is man, he repeated. The ring begins Prigozhin said, quiet, listen. The water of the Rhine rippled from its source, barely audible, quietly swelling, from the Lake Toma at the Oberalp Pass. You have to see to hear it, only then to rise to waves and flow around the castle of man. Prigozhin was a boor, but don’t be fooled by his simple, crude appearance, he was sophisticated. Many years later, I would think back of this scene, as Prigozhin had risen and he had long forgotten about me or the carrot he had chunked on quietly, but I remembered it indistinguishably like a great silent moment in history, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings.

Open Source driving Security, DevOps and Infrastructure Automation

If you are an Application Developer, DevOps engineer, Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) or otherwise interested in Cloud Native and application modernization, you will see a lot of action in the fields of security, automation and devops areas on Cloud Native. Venture Capital is investing heavily in devops automation and security, recruiters are aggressively hunting down talent, new job openings are being posted every day, new startups are funded, open source projects and Kubernetes extensions launched with no end.

There are also a lot of really boring companies and technologies, capitalizing on the surge in adoption of cloud native without inspiring vision, like anything with “data-driven”, “single-sign on”, “insights”, “utilizing AI to optimize”, “future of cloud engineering” or “AI driven” makes me fall asleep fast. But there are also some really exciting initiatives, especially in the field of “everything is code”, automation of infrastructure, security and Kubernetes extensions and standardizations.

One thing, that IBM always got right in my opinion, is the decades long strategy to lead innovation by open sourcing technologies and creating community governed foundations to govern the open source standards for it, from the Apache Foundation, the Linux Foundation, Node.js Foundation to the more recent Cloud Native Computing Foundations (CNCF), CD Foundation to Open Cybersecurity Alliance (OCA).

The technologies and startups that I am most excited about, and which I recommend to let your long term career choices and direction be guided by all follow the same model and objectives: to build a service organization, to open source their core technology and to aim to be promoted to foundation projects. Just to name a few startups:

  • env0, two rounds of seed funding in 2020 of 6.8M
  • Snyk, added 200M investments in September 2020 and went from Series A to a $2.6BN valuation in 2.5 years
  • Harness, added 60M in series B funding in 2019, acquiring in 2020
  • Pulumi, raised $37.5 million in Series B funding
  • Ambassador, formerly known as 4M funding in seed funding in 2019

Or some interesting open source projects,

  • Ansible. Ansible is too widely adopted and established to really mention here, but the reason why I include it here, is because it too keeps innovating to adept to the growing complexity of cloud native architectures and still driving and inspiring a lot of the above mentioned startups probably, for instance with Ansible Molecule and Ansible AWX.
  • OpenSCAP, I am personally very interested in the automation of so-called business controls and compliance with regulatory requirements. OpenSCAP is one of the best tools out there, especially with image, container and NIST scanning. But there are also super exciting developments in the field of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
  • kustomize, if you are used to Helm to configure your Kubernetes deployments, you will find Kustomize fun to play with. There are other tools like Source-to-Image (S2I) for instance that are similar.
  • skopeo, the longer I work on Cloud Native, the more I find myself drawn back to the basics of managing containers, skopeo is a great tool for this.
  • podman, also a bit out of line here, but if you are interested in security and hate to be stuck with only a single tool in the toolbox, Podman is a great alternative to Docker to build your images, and comes out of the SELinux corner with a much better security design.

The Sommelier

The sommelier was a light-black hispanic man in his mid-twenties, perfectly mannered and composed, quick to react to my teasing wit, while at the same time leaving no trace of composition in his smile, displaying an honest exuberance. The sommelier had been held up in the wine cellar while we picked our courses from the menu and had inquired for his advice on the wine pairing. He stood lightly stooped over our table, one hand behind his back and pointed with his hand, extended in a straight angle from his shoulder, at the wine choice, an Austrian Grüner Veltliner by Hirsch from 2013, that paired well with the Spanish octopus and the Japanese hamachi.
“You got locked up in the wine cellar by your co-workers, it seemed?”
“They tend to do that, yes,” he answered with a genuine and gentle smile.
“The Château de Pressac, Grand Cru Classé, from Saint-Émilion is a French wine with a very dark hue and berry that pairs excellent with the Wagyu Beef.”
“Excellent, I trust you.”
As the sommelier walked off, one of the middle-aged Indian backwaiters walked over, holding a dark wood woven breadbasket in front of his pelvis and a silver bread tongs in his right hand hovering above the whole grain, mini bread rolls and elongated berry bread sticks, ready to grasp a single roll with his tongs and transfer it to our plates.
“No, thank you.”
We had gracefully declined already at least 3 times prior.
Immediately following the bread runner, sensing another window of opportunity to prove his value, came the water runner holding a thin, chrome water dispenser, and carrying a white napkin folded over his wrist. I could hear the ice cubes dancing in the can, clinging against the metal sides of the dispenser, creating a wild, loud motion inside. Barely without pause, his arm stretched in one flow with his walk, as his legs came to a stop the dispenser moved steadily forward, being stretched out without delay to the rim of the glass. The glass was not even half empty yet, but water poured down like an avalanche or waterfall in one wholesome fall, everything passing so quickly it could not be helped. Drops of water splashed all over the table, the glass now refilled to the rim in a wild splatter of an instant, the base of the glass soaked in condensed water rolling down the bowl along the stem of the glass and being absorbed by the saturated table cloth. Seeing the refilled bowl of water, the Hispanic runner’s smile was equally full with satisfied content of a job well done.

A Critique on Judeo-Christian Populism and Islam

Too often, I hear the claim by populists that Islam is a Trojan Horse in Western society, that the Islam is an enemy to Western values. The theory of a fundamental clash of cultures between Judeo-Christianity and Islam is the very pillar of Islamophobic popularism today. This co-called Strauss–Howe generational theory comes from amateur historians and populist authors William Strauss and Neil Howe from the US, who both see a war between Islam and the West as the ‘fourth turning.’ I studied history and am an amateur historian myself, but I believe in facts rather than ‘alternative facts’, in truths rather than convictions.

The true foundation of Modernist Western ethics and current social values however is not religion but happiness. As a humanist, I believe that the pursuit of happiness is what drives man. Man advances through learning. Happiness, Epicurus says, is the absence of physical and mental suffering. Happiness is ensured in Freedom and Democracy, which are the legal form of this pursuit. This pursuit of happiness requires, according to Lucretius, the seeking of truth. It is science, not religion, that is the foundation of the pursuit of happiness, and therefor the true foundation of Western modernist culture.

With the rise of populism claiming to be the true defenders of our Western values, it seems that we Western humanists of the 21st century do not know whom to fight. The left is easily cornered by the right to be defenders of Islam, and out of instinct too easily accepts this role. But humanists should understand that the anti-Islamic populists are not worse but equal enemies as is Islam. The left has become complacent and overconfident in its fight against religion.

When I grew up however, it was not Judaism or Christianity that shaped my thinking and my values, but a series of Western thinkers whose works radically opposed Judeo-Christian culture. Western modernist culture instead of being Judeo-Christian or welcome to Islam, is instead radically anti-religious. Continue reading

Of Queen and Peasant

For majesty a throne
She stands in grace alone
Her smile equally dosed
Decisively composed

The peasant has his land
He stands to serve her end
His honor is to bow
and serve he is endowed

The moon is to the sun
Not his own that is done
But in the bigger light
He shines a little bright

Uncanny Love

Through this dark night
Your heart is bright
Like a fair moonlight
My soul you guide

Into your loving bed
To suckle your breast
And clamp your chest
Into your womb my head

So you sooth
me like a boy
To be a man

Thus looted
By a woman coy
love uncanny

Faces (52)

The tip of her nose was powdered thickly, round like a ripe plumb. She owned a pair of glazing, dark brown eyes, circumligned by a crisp, black border, like burnt pits hanging from a tree, above her pointy, white chin, cleaved by the sharp, blazingly red stripes of her thin lips.