Back in the day — and that day was when I was a resident at the San Francisco Zen Center, robed and meditating in the early ’90s — I remember happening upon a couple of relevant descriptions regarding the nature of attaining enlightenment.
One of them I made up, and I’ll tell you about it personally because it’s too lengthy to go into here. The other one went something like this (and I’m paraphrasing here): Enlightenment is like walking in a mist and eventually finding, while you walk, that you’re soaked to the skin.
Now that you’re at the third paragraph, you’re asking yourself, “That’s . . . um . . . nice, Larry, but what does that have to do with Linux or FOSS?”
Simple: Yesterday, I wrote that 2011 was not the year of the Linux desktop, and that it would come eventually.
I was wrong about this.
The fact of the matter is that every year the Linux/FOSS community has been walking through the mist of the acceptance — arguably, approaching the embrace — of the Linux desktop until now we find ourselves soaked in it.
So the year of the Linux desktop is already here, just as it has always been here.
Now that I have finally disengaged myself from the what is commercially and socially — and for some, spiritually (and God bless you, every one) — known as “the holiday season,” I have been giving a lot of thought to how good a year 2010 was, the Sun purchase by Oracle and the Novell deal notwithstanding, and what 2011 has to offer.
It looks like 2011 will be the year of the Linux deskt . . . I’m sorry, what? Oh. Well, never mind. Let’s skip that one
Looking back at 2010, most recently we had both Russia and Cuba going to FOSS, which must prove Steve Ballmer right about Linux being Communist. After all, I think a young Linus Torvalds was able to see Russia from his house a lot better than Sarah Palin could from Wasilla. Meanwhile, Red Hat — oh, what’s in a name anyway, comrade? — became poised to be the first billion-dollar Linux company and stats show that they are gaining market share in the corporate server world. Go, Shadowman! And there’s that little green space cadet Android making gains in the various markets where it now works. So despite an Apple/Microsoft shell company buying Novell and the other — and more evil — Larry essentially killing open source at what was once the Camelot-esque Sun, 2010 was a good year.
Of course, 2010 would not be complete without the introduction of Chux, the Linux distro developed by Chuck Norris — A Linux designed by Chuck Norris would require no backups, as it would be too scared of Chuck to fail, and the CPUs run faster to get away from Chuck Norris. You don’t boot it, it boots you. Go here to take a look here.
What would I like to see in 2011? Glad you asked. What would be nice would be:
Digital pundits not saying that 2011 is the year of the Linux desktop, because it’s won’t be. And that’s OK. Believe me, until this year when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, I know the “wait-’til-next-year” drill very well. The year of the Linux desktop will come someday — as it should — but with all the advances Linux is making in server and smaller formats — yes, I’m looking at you, Android — we don’t have to put all our eggs in that basket to determine Linux a success. We don’t have to thump our proverbial chests and say “this year . . . the desktop,” and then when the end of the year rolls around and it isn’t, there’s not a whole lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. To say nothing of garment-rending . . . . The fact of the matter is that Linux and FOSS are as healthy as they have ever been, Novell and Sun sale notwithstanding.
Go to the show: Linux shows and expos are popping up all over, so you really have no excuse in 2011 not to go to one. The established ones, like the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 9X this year) and OSCON, are now being joined by a whole host of other events throughout North America. Most recently, Indiana gets its own Linux festival in March, aptly titled the Indiana Linux Fest. It joins, in order of appearance (off the top of my head — and forgive me if I forget your expo), SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest in Calgary, Texas Linux Fest, Southeast Linux Fest (in the GNU South), OSCON, Ohio Linux Fest, and Utah Open Source Conference. You’ll find me at SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest (hopefully — if they let me out of the country), OSCON and Utah Open Source Conference on an annual basis.
Oh, and one more thing: Lindependence 2011 will be held in early July, around Independence Day, in Felton, California — where Lindependence started a couple of years ago.
Last, but certainly not least:
Large distros carrying their weight in the FOSS realm: First it was the GNOME study by David Neary that had Red Hat, Novell and others carrying the developmental mail for GNOME — Red Hat and Novell with 10-plus percent each — while Canonical came in at, wait for it, 1.03 percent. Fine. That’s been hashed out already both on these pages and elsewhere. But the Linux Foundation released its annual report on Linux kernel development late in the year — go ahead and get the PDF file here — and while you’re at it, you might want to do a search for Canonical to see how often it shows up. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t. And I’m just going to leave it at that, hoping that Canonical and/or Ubuntu shows up on next year’s report.
Let’s all have a great 2011.
Warning: Before I launch into another blog that will outline what I would like for Christmas — not what I would like personally (an early ’70s vintage Porsche 911 would be nice, if you’re listening, Santa) so much as what I’d like to see for the holiday and the future in the FOSS realm — I wanted to point out a couple of things that have come across the ol’ radar lately. Like
It’s “kim-o,” not “chemo”: I had a discussion on world history’s biggest time sink — I mean, on Facebook — about the kids’ distro Qimo, and someone chimed in that it’s unfortunate that it’s a homonym for the shortened version of “chemotherapy.” Well, that’s wrong: Actually, Qimo is pronounced “kim-o,” not “chemo,” and is pronounced like the last two syllables of “eskimo.” As the story goes, courtesy of the FAQ, the developer’s son is Quinn and, if you’re over 50, you’ll immediately identify that name with the Bob Dylan song “Quinn the Eskimo” made popular in the ’60s by Manfred Mann. You’ll not see nothing like this mighty distro.
Get your paper in? Well, the deadline extension that wasn’t, but really was (thanks in large part to an overzealous co-chair of the publicity committee who will remain nameless), is finally over for the Call for Presentations for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9X. The deadline passed at midnight last night, so if you submitted, we look forward to reviewing your submittal. If you didn’t, we look forward to seeing your proposal next year.
Mark your calendars: I haven’t gotten to this yet, but with more Linux events slated for 2011, it’s now going to require keeping track of them on a scheduler instead of the way I normally do (i.e., remembering which is which and when they are).
Now to work on that list mentioned above.
Larry the Free Software Guy — who doesn’t really like to refer to himself in the third person, but would rather do that than start this a blog post with “I” — gave you all a gift with a blog-free November.
Sorry to yank that out from under you, because there’s a lot going on in the FOSS world as we race into the commercially driven holiday season.
First things first:
Support Partimus: Six schools (so far) in the San Francisco Bay Area run GNU/Linux labs thanks to the efforts of Partimus, a nonprofit organization that provides repurposed computers running free software to students and schools which need them. Partimus is holding its first fundraising event on Dec. 15 from 5-7 at the Creative Arts Charter School, 1601 Turk St., in San Francisco. Register here, and even if you can’t make it, donate anyway — be a benefactor and fill in what you can afford — since it’s the kind of project that lifts FOSS and makes it more ubiquitous.
Sharpen your No. 2 pencils: In a little over a week, the Call for Presentations for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9X closes. December 13 is the deadline and if you’re inclined to give a talk, submit your proposal here. Judging by the resounding success of my presentation at the Utah Open Source Conference, I have submitted an updated, new-and-improved version of “User Groups 2.0: Noob Morning in America” for SCALE. The laser show introduction is something that is not to be missed.
[Note: OK, so there's no laser show, but the presentation is a good one, in my humble estimation.]
Back home again in Indiana: Another expo that has arrived on the FOSS scene is the Indiana Linux Fest, which recently announced its dates and location. The inaugural Indiana Linux Fest will take place on March 25-27, 2011 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel near the Indianapolis International Airport. The growing number of shows is a testament to FOSS’s strength and growth, and for those in the area — or even if you feel like heading to Indianapolis in a month other than May — you can race on over for ILF.
Saluting the kernel: The Linux Foundation released its report on development of the Linux kernel, and Red Hat still leads on the corporate side of things. Red Hat contributed 23,356 changes to the kernel since the release of version 2.6.12 on June 17, 2005, according to the report amounting to 12.4 percent of the total. Among corporate contributors, Novell was next with 13,120 changes (7 percent), followed by IBM (13,026, or 6.9 percent) and Intel (11,028, or 5.8 percent). But the greatest number of changes, the report notes, was made by people who were classified as being of unknown affiliation (35,663, or 18.9 percent). Another category of developer, of “none” affiliation, also made a sizeable contribution – 12,060 changes or 6.4 percent.
[A certain corporate entity based in Malta seems to be missing from this report, and you can read the PDF verison of the report here and determine which one that might be.]
So, did you miss me?
There’s a lot more where that came from and a lot of developments going forward. Watch this space.