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Changing teams

August 16, 2008 3 comments

Growing up in the Maspeth section of Queens, my father grew up a New York Giants fan — the baseball Giants that played at the Polo Grounds, not so much the football Giants (although I believe he never forgave Frank Gifford for fumbling away the championship 50 years ago). If you fast forward to 1987, I moved to San Francisco from Miami (long story) and picked up where my father left off, being the second generation of Cafiero to live and die with the orange and black.

My father’s favorite Giant was Mel Ott, but then there were also Johnny Mize, Carl Hubbell, Eddie Stanky. And there was Bobby Thomson, who hit the legendary home run the year my parents were married. I got to San Francisco in ’87, the year Candy Maldonado lost a ball in the lights against the Cardinals in the playoffs which brought me, and the Giants, back to earth. Two years later, it was Will Clark acing the Cubs’ Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams in the league championship, sending the Giants to “Bay’s-ball” against Oakland and to the first World Series interrupted by a natural disaster.

In addition, I have five Croixs de Candlesticks — awarded to Giants fans who braved the elements at Candlestick Park during extra-inning games — on a cap which also bears the ’89 National League Championship pin.

What does this have to do with FOSS? The reason I’m waxing nostalgic about the Giants is because it looks like I’m going to have to leave them on Oct. 1: Microsoft attorney Bill Neukom takes control of the ballclub in October as president.

It’s impossible for me to support a team that is run by a shill who has made his fortune representing a company that has made its sole raison d’etre squelching any semblance of digital choice; all that while forcing on the public some of the worst software in the short history of personal computing.

This may not make a lot of sense to the Europeans reading this. But imagine a Manchester United fan having to switch his or her support to Manchester City; Real Madrid to Barcelona; Juventus to AC Milano; All Blacks to Australia. Change can be necessary because team allegiances should include principles and mean more than just root, root, root for the home team.

So once this season ends, I’m going to hang up my hat, hang up the jacket and shop around for another team to support. The Oakland Athletics, more than likely, will keep my heart in the San Francisco Bay Area. But perhaps I’ll take the winter off while hoping the San Francisco 49ers do something resembling anything (thanks, Pam) and also root for the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, since co-owner Bob Young is one of the founders of Red Hat.

Go Cats.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Microsoft goes for the blue

August 14, 2008 1 comment

Things weren’t exactly looking up for Team Redmond in Beijing during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Of course, if you weren’t looking up, you may not have noticed the notorious Blue Screen of Death captured by The Register here.

What’s more, some of the comments in the story that this was “shopped” defy reason — I don’t think the best of the best of the best in Photoshop can do it, let alone a superstar in Gimp. Apparently they used XP and not Vista for the opening ceremonies, so perhaps in a backwards sort of way it is a promotion of Vista by our friends in suburban Seattle.

Time will tell.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: China, Microsoft, Olympics

Lost in translation

August 11, 2008 Leave a comment

[Note: This item also appears in the Lindependence 2008: Felton Diary blog.]

I got into journalism for a reason: My math skills are not exactly stellar.

In my last blog item — and picked up in a blog item written by Katherine Noyes of Linux Insider — I said that in October, 100 towns in Italy were going to do a Lindependence-type project. Actually, according to the Linux Day 2008 site (reading Italian helps here, but not necessary), I was off by . . . um . . . 79 towns. They’re actually up to 21, so far.

In my defense, the 100 number came from a conversation with a Fedora ambassador from Europe, and possibly something was lost in translation. Naturally, I should have checked it out before going public with it, but I found the fellow from whom I got this information trustworthy. But still, the fault is mine for misleading you all, and I apologize.

Regardless: even though it’s not in triple digits, 21 is still a pretty good number of towns in Italy taking the plunge, and we’re behind them.

Meanwhile, back in Felton, Felton LUG is starting to get going, establishing the first Saturday of the month as the regular meeting date and finding a regular meeting place (the fire station). The seeds that have been sown here are being cultivated and we expect them to bear fruit. If you’re in Felton and are interested in attending/participating/contributing, drop me an e-mail at lcafiero-at-fixedbylinux-dot-com.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Linux World Day 2 (Wednesday)

August 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Best Swag: PCBSD is giving out devil horns to those who stop by their booth, so while no one has given out any penguin feet or gnu horns (is that in the future?), they win.

Another busy day: It’s been fairly busy in the morning, but it’s tending to taper off in the afternoon. We’ve had a wide range of people at the booth and, much to the delight of whomever has to bring all the swag home. And, I have to confess, I haven’t really gone too nuts in the swag department, being a little more selective in what I take. That’s for a couple of reasons — first, I don’t want to have to rent a forklift this year to take my stuff out of here, and also there’s a environmental component to the equation: If more stuff isn’t flying out of here, maybe they will make less.

More people who stopped by: David Eisenberg of Evergreen Valley College gave a brief show of Stolaria and Celestia to Pat Moloney, an astronomy professor at Santa Clara, while both were at the Fedora booth. Daniel Gimpelevich, Linux wizard extrordinaire, has been floating around the exhibition floor, and every time I have a chance to speak to him he’s speaking to someone, and every time he’s free, I’m talking with someone else. I might get a chance to talk to him soon. Grant Bowman, who diid yeoman’s work for Ubuntu at Lindependence, had a chance to stop by during the slowing afternoon as well.

Penguins on the deck: ZaReason has Open Animals’ penguins at their booth. The stuffed penguins were a hit at the Lindependence events in Felton in July.

More to follow.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Categories: GNU/Linux, Linux World Tags:

Linux World, Day 1 (Tuesday)

August 6, 2008 1 comment

First things first: If you’re at Linux World in San Francisco this week, feel free to stop by the Fedora booth and say hello. For those of you keeping score at home, I’m a Fedora ambassador and I’ve been staffing the booth at the exhibition. If you aren’t at the show, you’re missing a good one. More details to follow.

Without further adeiu:

Hopping: The word from the floor is that this is a more subdued Linux World than years past, according to those who stopped by the Fedora booth (where I essentially was stationed all day). I couldn’t disagree more — this place was absolutely hopping on Tuesday and materials and media flew off the Fedora table. A very healthy crowd traversed the floor of the exhibition throughout the day, tapering off during times when sessions were, well, in session.

The crowd on day one was also a huge cross-section of people with a wide range of abilities. Those who are new to GNU/Linux and FOSS — those are the folks whose eyes are a tad wider than the others — were very receptive to our neighbors and us (we’re bounded on the north by Creative Commons, on the south by Bay Area LUG). All were great — and I certainly hope that those who are new to this find the same passion and satisfaction in FOSS that most of us already share.

Observation: Those show-goers who have more experience in GNU/LInux and FOSS generally fall into three categories: uniters, dividers and whiners.

The uniters “get it.” — they understand that, for all intents and purposes, we’re all in this together. Those are the folks I’ve talked to who may not use the same distro or desktop environment that I use, but realize that what’s good for one is good for everyone — we all rise up together. Generally speaking, these are the open-minded folks who keep FOSS afloat, regardless of one’s preferences.

The dividers, well, just don’t get it. The dividers, of which unfortunately there are many, would rather talk about how great their distro is and not pay attention to what you — another distro user — has to say. They come in different levels and garden varieties, but let’s look what could be (could be) more than coincidental happenstance on Tuesday. Exhibit A presents several CentOS users who have come to the Fedora booth to, essentially, tell us how great their distro is in comparison to ours; some without the courtesy to me (or anyone else) to hear us out about why we prefer our distro.

[Note to CentOS users at the show or beyond: Feel free to flame here, but bear in mind that I think CentOS is an excellent distro. However, if the centerpiece of CentOS's marketing plan is to trash other distros, then you may want to try something else.]

While I’m not one to shy away from a debate (or worse), I do have my diplomacy hat on during the show, so you won’t hear any arguments from me.

The whiners: That’s pretty self explanatory, and in more than a few instances, the reason they’re whining has something to do with a facet of a distro — any distro — that’s sort of impossible to address, at least digitally; and if it is addressable digitally, it’s so far removed from the normal course of the average computer user that it’s not included in the release (which begs the question for those advanced users who also double as whiners: Want that feature? Ever think of contributing it?). But this is what we hear: “You’re distro won’t run on my toaster and won’t walk the dog in the morning. What’s wrong with you guys?” A shrug and a smile kind of sends them on their way, and I’m not convinced there’s much we can do about them.

Who’s here: While the usual cast of characters are here, a couple of folks who deserve special mention are here so far and have stopped by the booth. Cathy and Earl Malmrose have the ZaReason booth up and running great guns a few booths down from us — go guys! Tod Landis of dbEntrance also came up from Boulder Creek and spent some time in the booth. Christian Einfeldt of the Digital Tipping Point, camera always at the ready, also got yet even more footage around the Lindependence event from the floor of the exhibition.

[Again, let me emphasize, as I did on camera, that I am not a slob -- if it appears I haven't shaved in several days, it's because I haven't: I'm regrowing my beard so I look more like my picture here.]

More from the floor of the show on Wednesday as things develop, connectivity willing.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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