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Archive for August, 2007

We interrupt this blog . . .

August 28, 2007 4 comments

. . . to bring you the following special announcement.

Larry the Open Source Guy has now become Larry the Free Software Guy.

[Thank or blame -- however you want to look at it -- this essay by Danijel Orsolic at Libervis.com.]

The blog written in the past by the blogger formerly known as “Larry the Open Source Guy” appears here, and the “Larry the Open Source Guy” site will discontinue.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog, which is already in progress . . . .

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: Uncategorized

Ground control to Major Bill

August 25, 2007 Leave a comment

If you’re a Vista user, the next two words are for you: “Uh oh.”

If you can get your Vis-duh back up and running — the big “if” in the next couple of days — chances are Microsoft will think you’re a criminal, or at least that’s what your pop-up screen will tell you.

Windows Genuine Advantage has gone down, suffering a worldwide outage causing problems galore, according to this article in Ars Technica. Not only is it down, but if you try to reinstall Vista or WGA, apparently you get a pop up saying that you’re a crook. Don’t believe me? Go to Microsoft’s Windows Vista Validation Issues forum.

Probably the best thread of the bunch starts off with “Everybody just calm down,” and you can see how, in the ethereal environment of the World Wide Web, Vista users are grabbing the pitchforks and torches and going after a guy named JohninTN, whose answer to this, um, problem is for those who spent their hard-earned money on the latest Windows operating system to “go out in the sun” and get away from their computer for awhile.

Whoops. Wrong answer.

Let’s assume for a moment that this is not the official Microsoft position on this, but some techs, according to the Ars Technica story, are telling people that WGA may not be working until Tuesday (Aug. 28).

Maybe going outside is the right answer after all.

Then, after enjoying the day, return to your desk, and if you’re able to use the Internet on your Vista box, you might want to go visit the Ubuntu web site and download the Live CD (or, in the alternative, ask them to send you one. They’ll do it, too).

P.S.: As a footnote, this has happened before . . . .

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vis-duh, Vista

Breaking the chains of ’same as it ever was’

August 23, 2007 1 comment

My 9-year-old daughter Mirano, a Linux Chick in training, is pretty astute when it comes to matters relating to GNU/Linux. For example, she is working on a review of Tux Paint, and she’s the one that pointed out that Iceweasel is the opposite of Firefox (ice opposite of fire, weasel opposite of fox). I’m convinced she gets her brains from her mom — from me she gets an innate sense of irony augmented by generations of cutting sarcasm for which the Cafiero family is historically known, but I digress.

Anyway, I bring up Mirano because after reading Carla Schroeder’s blog about an mysogynistic ad — yeah, let’s call it what it is: mysogynistic (but see for yourself here – that ran in Linux Journal, I have to say that this is my first encounter with sexism in the FOSS realm; not to mention a disturbing one at that.

Apparently and unfortunately, however, this seems not to be a singular incident, but rather a business-as-usual attitude for both the publication, as well as — depending on who you ask — an acceptable “behavior” in male geekdom.

Case in point: Caitlyn Martin writes in a blog item that the August Linux Journal ad is not new behavior for the magazine. Martin’s blog is a good read, but more immediately it points out a Linux Journal column by “Gnull and Voyd” — a man and wife team where the “woman” writes the column but the “man” is the one with all the answers on Linux issues “because he’s the smart one.”

Another case in point: A blogger named Mackenzie (and perhaps, like Sting or Cher, she doesn’t have a last name, but I’d be willing to bet she does) posted a blog item that deals specifically about the fact that women who program are not at events for boys and men who program to hit on.

[An aside: Tux Magazine's Mango Parfait, who is drawn like a Japanese manga comic book character, is also a bit much.]

I’m the last person to pull out the PC card (political correctness, not personal computer), but ads, columns and behavior like this insults women in general, insults women programmers/digital professionals directly and insults me indirectly as a male member of this widespread digital community.

The explanation in all cases, apparently, is “they do it because they’re nerds, and that’s okay” or “this is typical male geek behavior.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it anymore; and — hey, you guys who think with the organ between your ears — you’re as embarrassed as I am by being painted by the same stroke of this brush used to deservingly illustrate our less-sensitive bretheren, no?

The point here is simple: Women and men — both in the realm of the digital field as well as outside in society as a whole — should be treated equally and with respect. How that is even an issue among intelligent people in this field continues to be a mystery.

But the Linux Journal ad: Fail. Some of the Linux Journal and Tux Magazine columns mentioned above: Fail. Guys who turn into Pavlov’s dog at the mere sight of a woman at any computer event (and the computer industry entities that foster this behavior): Fail.

My wife Kyoko and I left Japan, in large part, because we didn’t want to raise a daughter in a culture that, for all its advantages, still had a very low glass ceiling — to say nothing of second-class attitudes — for girls and women (to say nothing of societal norms in Japan that are still, to put it diplomatically, systematically and structurally stacked against women being treated as equals to men). While the U.S. isn’t perfect on a plethora of levels (and don’t get me started here . . . ), it does provide for more equal opportunities for women than a place like Japan.

And what about in the digital world? Well, as if that needs saying, I certainly am not going to stand by and let the same attitudes hold her back in the digital realm.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Wearing your loyalties on your . . . bumper

August 17, 2007 11 comments

Phone bill for calls to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento: $5

Ordering a specialty license plate: $40

Promoting the best OS on the planet while behind the wheel: Priceless.

New license plate
[Photo by Anthony L. Solis, photographer extrordinaire and a damn good newspaper layout editor to boot.]

I would suggest all GNU/Linux (or Linux — call it what you want) advocates to look into this in your state. When you get down to it, the $40 extra a year comes out to less than $4 a month. Skip a sandwich once a month and you can afford it.

California has seven letters available; some states, like Texas, have six. So whlie I have GNU LNUX in California, California drivers can get LNUX ROX, TUX 1, etc. Be creative. We’ll know what you mean.

See you on the road.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Notes after recovery

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

First things first: I lied. In my last blog item, I said that I wasn’t going back to Linux World on Wednesday after a long, hard and profitable Tuesday. But with both San Francisco — the world’s greatest city — and Linux World being a two-edged bulb drawing this moth to its luminescence, I put aside home projects (remember the project having to do with rearranging the living room? Working on it . . .) and went back for another day.

Fortunately, I had my swag limiter on and didn’t end up with further arm injury. I know the stuff is free and I know that companies love to give the stuff away, but — hey — how many can insulators can you really use?

Let’s talk hardware: Something that I am woefully deficient in — both physically and mentally — is hardware. We don’t cover it enough at Open Source Reporter, and we plan to change that and increase our coverage. Without the hardware, the software isn’t worth much, now is it?

I spent the better part of the day getting schooled by some of the hardware manufacturers at the show; mostly by Fujitsu, which has a great selection and had very knowledgeable people working the show. Very patient people, too, because I think I should have won prizes — more T-shirts — for “dumbest questions of the show.”

Readers will be seeing more about hardware in OSR in the coming months — partially behind this effort, needless to say, is prodding hardware manufacturers to ideally open up their drivers to accommodate GNU/Linux or, at least, to get them to develop drivers if they don’t want to share the code — and we will devote a section to it in the print publication in January.

Creative Commons / Free Software Foundation / Electronic Frontier Foundation: You guys did a great job at the show, with CC providing the Fedora disks, FSF providing (as always) great information and some very cool stickers (thanks for the GNUs) and EFF having probably the best “join us” offer — a “SWAT-team” like cap in black with a stark EFF in white on the front. It’s great to work with and support these groups solely for the vital work they do; their swag is just icing on the cake.

They Might Be Giants: I got to see the San Francisco Giants game on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, hoping Barry would swing into history that evening. But it was not to be. However, I did see a great extra-inning game that the Giants uncharacteristically won. And Barry now holds the record anyway thanks to Tuesday’s swat, and the Giants are still numero uno in these parts, National League West standings be damned.

More to follow — with the exception of the Giants — on the pages of OSR and in this blog.

And as Helios likes to say: All-righty then.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Everything but the kitchen sink

August 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Let me start off, first, by saying that I have never been to a LinuxWorld Expo before. I’ve been to a MacWorld (whether SF or Tokyo, depending on where I lived at the time) every year since the mid-’90s, but I have to say that despite LinuxWorld’s smaller size, it was a much better show.

I say this while massaging my right arm. After carrying around a bag of swag — transferred into a larger bag since the smaller bag filled up geometrically — and not to mention some informational items, it goes without saying that the, um, generosity of Linux companies is unrivaled (especially in light of the downward sprial of free stuff given out at MacWorlds for the past several years). More on this in a moment.

Most — if not all — the vendors (especially the hardware vendors) were incredibly patient and went the extra mile to explain their wares.

And the swag: I will not go naked for the next several years, thanks to all the shirts I received. Same with pens, stickers, software and just about everything one could imagine (including a “decision maker” from a Unix organization which works like a sort of hand-held Magic 8-ball).

I was feeling so good about the show that I restrained myself while talking to the Xandros guy (although I didn’t realize it was a Xandros booth, and interestingly enough, it wasn’t clear that the Xandros booth is the Xandros booth, but then you might not have to wonder why . . . .).

So to recap . . .

Good: Extremely helpful vendors everywhere I went; a wide variety of stuff to try out and write about (and if I weren’t so blitzed from walking around all day, I’d write about them now), and some really interesting sessions.

Bad: Not much to report here; there was nary a bad exhibit (even the Xandros mail server was interesting).

Indifferent: Unfortunately, I can’t go tomorrow, but I will be going through the bag inside the bag to test some of the stuff I picked up.

Watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: LinuxWorld
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