I've gotten some feedback on my post on fielding common questions at your Eucalyptus talk since it came out nearly 2 weeks ago, and have updated the text accordingly -- check it out if you're curious. I was actually urged (by EuCa employees) to put pricing information there - a level of transparency that surprised even me.

I'd also like to give a shout-out to Dr. Karl Wurst, who some of you have seen around the Eucalyptus IRC channels recently. Karl chairs the CS department at Worcester State University and is a long-time member of the Teaching Open Source community who's been getting his students involved in open source projects since 2010. He's taking his junior/senior Software Development class into Eucalyptus as their spring term project, and they have taken on the challenge of testing eutester against the new 3.0 release - no small feat, considering that they're testing new test software against newly-released software with no prior experience with the platform.

I predict the readability of Eucalyptus getting-started documentation will dramatically improve over the coming weeks as they progress - which is incredibly important if we want new folks to pick up on the project. Most people fail silently; if they can't get something to work, they'll quietly give up and go away, and you'll never be the wiser. By committing to fail publicly and loudly, Karl's class is taking a vital role (and one that requires no small amount of bravery). They speak for the people who won't. And as newcomers, they'll be able to write better explanations for other newcomers than all the old-timers out there. Fresh eyes are an asset; if you have them, use them.

His students are blogging as they go along, and it's interesting to see their take on the project from a newcomer's perspective. If you see them on IRC or the mailing lists, say hello and introduce them to whatever you're working on - and if you see something interesting on their blogs, drop by and leave a comment. Those sorts of small contacts with the "real world" are ordinary everyday things to those of us who are used to the open source world (or heck, industry in general), but trust me; they're absolutely magical the first time you start getting them as a student. (I still remember being awed as an undergrad that people were emailing me about things that weren't homework.)

So welcome, Worcester State! Welcome to the wild and wooly wide, wide world of Eucalyptus. Glad you're here.