Recently — I think it was Sunday — Debian turned 17. While not yet quite old enough to drink or be drafted, it has still matured well and has been a standard bearer for GNU/Linux for a better part of its lifespan; arguably it has been the standard bearer for its entire life. Further, Debian can be blamed for allowing just about anything to run on Linux — Mac 68K series, PowerPC, Sparc, toaster ovens, electric toothbrushes, even Atari and Commodore 64, so I’m told.
My first exposure to Debian was on a PowerPC-based Indigo iMac, which I still have and which is still running upgraded versions of Debian. In a FOSS world where six-month release cycles are the unfortunate norm, Debian stands out by providing updates to the system when it’s good and ready.
My hat — a Fedora of course — is off to Debian. Thank you, guys and gals, for all you’ve done and for all you do.
Go here to wish Debian a happy birthday and share your experiences with them. If you like, tell them Larry the Free Software Guy, who cut his teeth on Debian, sent you.
Now get out your natty clothing because tomorrow we’re going to a couple of shows.
. . . what have you got to lose?
If you’re looking for a good Sunday read, Pamela Jones of Groklaw — who could be an outstanding journalist masquerading as a paralegal, or a paralegal who is one of the best journalists ever — outlines the Oracle-Google dustup in her Friday post here.
There’s a lot here and there’s more to it that what most folks, me included, have speculated. Have a read and we’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Amid the recent — and completely minor — hubbub around politics injected into Linux User Group discussions on the Berkeley LUG mailing list, it’s interesting to see how FOSS and GNU/Linux can bring people of different political stripes together.
Exhibit A: Ken Starks and me.
Ken and I put together Lindependence 2008, an effort that brought Linux and FOSS to Felton, California, through a series of miniature GNU/Linux and FOSS expos at the Felton Presbyterian Church hall in July of 2008. Various distros — Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu and Debian, to name four — had tables set up at Lindependence, as well as FOSS programs like OpenOffice.org. Representatives from each of the distros and programs had representatives on hand, and the idea was to convert the town to Linux and FOSS.
Ken, a Texan, is an Operation Desert Storm vet and as Rebublican as you can get; a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. Those who know me know that I’m an unapologetic lefty no longer affiliated with any political party, and many of you are already tired of hearing me tell of my Green Party candidacy for statewide office in California (for those who aren’t keeping score at home: In 2006, I was the Green candidate for Insurance Commissioner and got the most votes of any Green statewide that year — 270,218 votes, 3.2 percent).
But recently, I was looking at some clips from video that a San Francisco filmmaker, the Digital Tipping Point’s Christian Einfeldt, shot on Lindependence 2008 featuring Ken and me, and thinking about how despite our differences, those of different political views can work together for FOSS and GNU/Linux, even though each is approaching it from different directions — ranging from either from a purely libertarian (small “l” to describe the philosophy, not the capital “L” political party) perspective to from the anti-corporate, anarchist (in the true sense of the word) paradigm.
[Ken and I, of course, fall somewhere in between, far from either end, of both extremes.]
In watching some of the clips that Christian had shot at Lindepdence 2008, I found one where I said something to the effect that I would never talk to Ken if it weren’t for our shared passion for FOSS and Linux, as he would say (GNU/Linux as I would say), because of our political differences.
I’d like to publicly take that back.
Thanks to this experience, I have since been convinced that you can work across political divisions to achieve a common goal, i.e., Linux and FOSS adoption, and as a result I welcome the opportunity to work with those with whom I may not share a political philosophy.
Despite our political differences, Ken and I worked well in getting Lindependence 2008 going. Further, I’m proud to serve on the board of a project that Ken chairs, the HeliOS Project, which provides Linux-based computers to underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area.
In conclusion, there’s a lesson to be learned here, for the observant.