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Archive for March, 2008

WWJR: What would Jesus run?

March 28, 2008 6 comments

You would think that during the 13 years of Catholic school I proudly survived (one, interestingly, in which Bill O’Reilly was my 10th grade American History teacher at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in suburban Miami), I would have remembered the part about Christianity and capitalism being one and the same thing.

Yet, over the last couple of days, I’ve had interactions — I wouldn’t necessarily call them “conversations” — with a Christian blogger who posted comments on my last two blogs, and who seems to think that those of us who are advocating FOSS are a bunch of pot-smoking, porn-surfing “librals”(his word, not mine) who are part of a communist plot to overrun the U.S. Not only this, it appears his beliefs run along the lines that Christianity and capitalism are synonymous, inseparably joined at the hip.

[As an aside, there is a great song by Todd Snider, “Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males” and the YouTube watch is well worth it.]

Nevertheless, the false theory that capitalism and Christianity are one and the same — the CEO Jesus Version 1.0 that this blogger seems to deify — started me thinking about a couple of things, namely:

  • He’s wrong about Jesus being a hardline capitalist, and I’ll just point to Matthew 21:12 for starters (other examples abound in the Bible), where ” . . . Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves . . . .” Of course, that would give Jesus something in common with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the furniture tossing department, but I digress; and
  • If Jesus were a computer user, he’d definitely use GNU/Linux and not BSD, for clearly symbolic reasons. But what distro would he run?

Someone already beat me to the second part of that thought, actually. In the blog openjesus.org, Jesus “wrote” last May the following item:

“In my office I have a few machines, none more important than my Ubuntu box called king. I recently upgraded it to Feisty Fawn, so like some of you I’m going through a bit of an adjustment with some little things. Beryl quit working right, for instance. I could throw a miracle at it or fire up the old omniscience to just know how to fix it, but sometimes even Jesus likes to work things out. I’m a pretty good troubleshooter in my own right, I’ll have you know, and as a recent convert from Gentoo I sort of need something to be broken a little bit to really feel like my Linux desktop is dialed in. I’m sure some of you understand.”

As I wait for the laughter to die down, I have to say that this site could very well be the best satirical site ever (and the line about Gentoo — very true!). No, I’m not just saying that to curry favor with the author.

But it may answer the question what Jesus would run on his desktop. I would have voted for Ubuntu Christian Edition, but never mind. Now His laptop . . . I would be willing to bet Debian is somewhere in the mix, whether it’s Etch or a distro in the Debian family.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Felton Diary: Chopping wood, carrying water

March 26, 2008 3 comments

March 25-26, 2008 — Felton, California

During my Zen training in the early to mid-1990s at the San Francisco Zen Center, there was an expression that still revolves around these Buddhist circles that one has to take the responsibility of chopping wood and carrying water. The meaning here — in case you ever find yourself facing a wall in meditation or, gasp, facing a Zen roshi, or master — is that life is filled with mundane tasks that need to be done.

Lindependence 2008 lately is filled with chopping wood and carrying water, although sometimes the work seems like chopping water and carrying wood. But I digress . . . .

In the last diary installment, I mentioned that I was a little taken aback by the response — or lack thereof, mostly — of distros and FOSS programs to come running to participate in this project. To me, this project is a natural — bringing their distros and programs to a community and having both the community, and their software, flourish.

However, I discounted the human factor where human contact plays a significant role. So out with solely using the ether of the Internet, and in with making my contact with potential participants a little more personal.

Discussions with OpenOffice.org and PCLinuxOS point to probable support going forward, and that’s heartening. So, in sending out a second wave of e-mails, I may start to make calls as well asking for support — just to remind you that there is a human behind the words that grace the screen in front of you.

Incidentally, if you haven’t heard from me and want to participate in Lindependence 2008 — or if you want your favorite distro or FOSS program to participate — e-mail me immediately at lcafiero-at-fixedbylinux-dot-com and I’ll get the process started.

There’s only a little over three months left, which may seem like a lot of time, but looking at the amount of work ahead of the team, it’s not a lot. The earlier people get on board, the faster the bandwagon goes.

Clear and cool, as late March tends to be, a mile down the road from the Bigfoot Museum in the HeliOS Solutions West office in Felton.

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

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It’s official: Microsoft’s concerned about GNU/Linux

March 25, 2008 32 comments

Without fanfare (as expected), Microsoft filed its 10-K form to the Security and Exchange Commission.

In it, however, we find that Microsoft bemoans the fact that their “business model,” well, might tend to suck in comparison to the open source business model. Not only that — and maybe you should sit down for this — all that, ahem, innovation stemming from Redmond might suffer because they would have to lower their prices to keep competitive.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Some of the more tasty, entertaining morsels are:

“Our business model has been based upon customers paying a fee to license software that we developed and distributed . . . . In recent years, certain “open source” software business models have evolved into a growing challenge to our license-based software model.

[And for this we are truly thankful.]

“Open source commonly refers to software whose source code is subject to a license allowing it to be modified, combined with other software and redistributed, subject to restrictions set forth in the license . . . . A prominent example of open source software is the Linux operating system.”

[Wait for it . . ]

Although we believe our products provide customers with significant advantages in security, productivity and total cost of ownership (emphasis added to highlight both the audacity and humor of this clause), the popularization of the open source software model continues to pose a significant challenge to our business model . . .

[When you stop laughing, I’ll continue.]

” . . .including continuing efforts by proponents of open source software to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of open source software in their purchase and deployment of software products.

[For this we are truly thankful.]

“To the extent open source software gains increasing market acceptance, sales of our products may decline, we may have to reduce the prices we charge for our products, and revenue and operating margins may consequently decline.”

[One can only hope.]

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

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Categories: GNU/Linux, Microsoft

Felton Diary: March 24, 2008

March 24, 2008 Leave a comment

[Note: This is the first of probably a plethora of installments around preparations for, and observations about, Lindependence 2008 in Felton.]

This typical Monday started with a flurry of e-mails sent to those I had e-mailed a couple of weeks ago regarding garnering support from various distros and FOSS programs for Lindependence 2008.

I have to confess, I thought support would be more forthcoming from all segments of what is nebulously referred to as the “Linux community” (I would call it the “GNU/Linux community,” but never mind). By Distrowatch.com’s count, there are about 360 distros and a few hundred FOSS software programs, but so far, here is who has responded positively to our request for support.

AntiX.

Mepis.

Wolvix.

OpenOffice.org.

Mandriva.

OpenSUSE and Kubuntu are discussing it and e-mails have been forwarded to whomever need to read them.

But after two weeks, that’s it.

I’m willing to cut wide swatches of slack here. For the most part, unless I actually have corresponded with someone or actually have an e-mail address of someone in authority in a distro or FOSS program, I sent the message to “Contact Us” and asked the recipient to make sure it gets to whomever needs to see it. Whether that actually happened, only the recipient knows.

(Also, there’s the issue of Debian elections, which excuses them from an answer, but not for long.)

So again, it’s back to the e-mails, mentioning again that this is a good opportunity for distros and FOSS programs to make inroads in Central California, and to see which distros and FOSS programs respond to this opportunity.

This event will go on regardless, and it remains to be seen whether people who talk the FOSS talk actually walk the FOSS walk.

Clear and cool in Henry Cowell State Park, and the rest of Felton.

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

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Lindependence in the starting blocks

March 19, 2008 2 comments

No, that’s not a typo. I meant “Lindependence,” as in Linux and independence run together to make what Lewis Carroll used to call a “portmanteau” (read “Jabberwocky” for a great selection of portmanteaus).

Lindependence, short for Lindependence 2008, is the project we have going here in Felton where we’d ideally like the people of the town to throw off their digital chains. More detail can be found here in this interview with nuxified.org.

Read the interview. Meanwhile, people in the area are talking, the groundswell is starting to rise.  It’s going to be an interesting few months in the San Lorenzo Valley.

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

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Categories: Lindependence 2008

The red Swingline gets a new home

March 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Finally.

After several months of working out of my house since “the fire” at the Felton Trading Post (not my fault, as I mentioned in earlier blogs), HeliOS Solutions West has new digs at 6116 Highway 9, Suite 4B, Felton, California, 95018 U.S.A. 1-831-335-7303.

Please make a note of it, as the recorded phone operator at directory assistance likes to say.

One of the projects of interest based in this office is Lindependence 2008. I’ll be talking more about this in the days to come.

[Oh, and for those of you who don’t snicker to yourself when reading the words “red Swingline,” the stapler in question is from the movie “Office Space.”]

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

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