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Postcards from Laughlin

September 29, 2010 2 comments

Just to clear something up, I am not writing this from the southern Nevada community of Laughlin, known more for it’s annual motorcycle rally than anything else (save for a BBC series that, I think, was not as successful as they would have liked).

The next Fedora release — by number it’s 14, by codename it’s Laughlin — is named after the Nobel laureate physics professor Robert B. Laughlin, now teaching just over the hill at Stanford.

The code name is just Laughlin, not Lucky Laughlin, or Leery Laughlin. It’s just Laughlin, named with the Fedora convention that $PREVIOUS_RELEASE_CODENAME is a (blank) and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_CODENAME. Fedora 13 was named Goddard, the rocket scientist and physicist, so Goddard is a physicist and so is Laughlin. Simple, no?

For the last month or so I’ve been running Fedora 14 Alpha on one of my laptops because I could. So while the Fedora 14 Beta installs on it to continue my foray into pre-release fun, I thought I’d give you my first impressions of the first wave of the new Fedora release.

First things first — what you’re hearing on the FOSS media regarding Fedora 14 about the changes being mostly behind the curtain are essentially true. Many of the coughs and hiccups that I encountered were things that normally do not affect the outward performance of Fedora, and while I did not document them other than to file bug reports, they were few and far between.

Despite the improvements under the hood, this is not to say that the functionality and outward appearance are lacking. Quite the contrary: The design team — probably the best of any distro on this planet, if not the solar system or galaxy — nailed the desktop yet again, and it looks outstanding across desktop environments. KDE allows a test drive of version 4.5.1 those who want to try F14 Beta.

Once I get the beta version going I’ll give an update.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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Last, but not least, in Linux shows

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

During the course of the year, the FOSS traveling salvation show in North America wends its way around the nation to end up, finally, at the Utah Open Source Conference (UTOSC) in Salt Lake City in October before taking a hiatus for the holidays. Then of course the new year, FOSS-wise, starts with the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in February.

There’s only one word for those who might want to skip the last-of-the-year Linux expo: “Don’t!”

Quietly and with little fanfare, UTOSC has been building up to a top-notch, not-to-be-missed show that is beginning to draw deserved attention — and people — from outside immediate Utah area. In fact, in the last four years it has grown to become the best community computer conference in the Mountain West.

UTOSC will be held from Oct. 7-9 at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City. Attendees who register before Saturday can save 30 percent on the price of admission to the three-day event. Regular admission to UTOSC is $70 for a full-access pass, $25 for an expo pass with entrance to try-it lab workshops and $15 for an expo pass.

For registration information, visit the registration page and those who register before the Early Bird registration deadline Saturday can use the code OPEN to get the discount.

This year’s lineup of keynotes — Jared Smith, the Fedora Project’s new project leader; Howard Tayler, creator of creator of Schlock Mercenary; and Karsten Wade, of Red Hat’s Community Architecture team — highlight the more than 60 presentations scheduled for the three-day event.

Two scheduled events at UTOSC other shows should look at deserve special mention. UTOSC is a very family-friendly show, meaning kids are welcome — in fact, the trio of junior high girls who talked about their involvement in FOSS at SCALE earlier this year are going to give an updated presentation at UTOSC — and there are activities for them as well. Second, there’s a huge game night at the end of the show, and I’ve honed my Munchkin skills over the year with the intention of not being trounced this year.

In addition, of course, Larry the Free Software Guy will also be giving a presentation on User Groups 2.0 — Noob Morning in America. Never one to be accused of false modesty, I have to say that one is not to be missed.

See you in Salt Lake City.

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