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Archive for June, 2012

Linus to Nvidia: Yawn

June 18, 2012 9 comments

The commentary lately coming from some normally eloquent tech writers — and from some in FOSS circles — has had the distinct taste of chicken. This commentary ranges from “Chicken Little,” where the sky is falling thanks to Fedora shelling out $99 to work on UEFI lockdowns, to chickenspit in the hubbub over Linus Torvald’s f-bomb to Nvidia.

The latter, of course, is a classic case of the molehill becoming a mountain thanks to commentary which takes the bigger picture and trades it all in for sensationalism.

While commentators who took the bait are now being reeled in, the reality here is that Linus is just being Linus — and I mean that in a good way — and to take a tiny slice out of context in a hour-long presentation that is, on the whole, an excellent one is a rank amateur move.

To say nothing of the fact that Linus is right about Nvidia, too — a point maybe escaping those who risking injury jumping on the Linus-is-hurting-Linux-by-being-nasty bandwagon. So while I called him out on his printer rant a while back — and I stand by that — I stand with Linus here in flipping off Nvidia.

In this instance, Linus T. speaks for me.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

A tale of two tablets

June 16, 2012 6 comments

On Monday, Microsoft is supposed to make an earth-shattering announcement in Los Angeles in a press conference so secret that not even the press knows where to go yet. Apparently, they’ll find out where they need to go on Monday morning for this ultra-mega-super-secret “announcement.”

My bet is that they’re buying Nokia. After all, they’ve already planted one of their executives as Nokia CEO, who essentially and for all intents and purposes scorched the Nokia earth below his feet and trashed the company, making it ripe for the picking.

Of course, there’s an outside chance, too, that the conventional wisdom may be correct and they’re going to be releasing their own tablet with Windows 8, which is what the New York Times thinks.

Or Microsoft is merging with Canonical to become Canonisoft. OK, so maybe that’s a stretch.

But I digress. Regardless of what happens in Los Angeles on Monday — tablet or Nokia, or both — let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it has to do with one or both of these two topics.

Buying Nokia? Yawn.

Tablet? Oh, good luck with that. Sarcasm alert: Redmond is a hallmark of product quality and customer service. But seriously, if the tablet is as bad as the software Microsoft has put out for the last, oh, generation or so, coupled with their customer service which is the gold standard of awful, arguably releasing a new tablet with Windows 8 could be one of the biggest disasters since the Hindenberg.

Meanwhile, since we’re on the topic of tablets, let’s come up the coast a bit from the shrouded mystery of Los Angeles to sunny Berkeley, California, where ZaReason is busy putting together the final touches on their own tablet. If the activity in the IRC channel is any indication, they’re pretty close to having something ready for prime time fairly soon.

I had a chance to use the Android version of the tablet — rumor has it that the ZaReason tablet is being engineered with Ubuntu OS in mind — since I was entrusted with some of the ZaReason hardware that was shown at the joint ZaReason-CrunchBang table at Linux Fest Northwest.

Truth in advertising: I’m not a tablet guy by anyone’s definition of the phrase. But that said, many folks are drawn to the smaller form factor, and if that works for you, you should give the ZaReason tablet serious consideration once it’s released. It’s a solid machine, and the Android version we got to display at LFNW was met with a lot of enthusiasm by those attendees who are tablet and Android aficionadoes.

Also, when the ZaReason tablet is released, chances are it won’t be in some sort of secret press conference. And it won’t have Windows 8.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

News flash: Sky NOT falling

June 8, 2012 9 comments

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this issue because it was really is not the huge, Chicken Little-esque matter some people — some people I once held in high esteem — are making it out to be. I’ve commented on this on social media outlets and in e-mail exchanges, and frankly I’m a little surprised at how this infinitessimally innocuous development has caused some in our happy little FOSS circle to become Harold Camping.

Actually, I’m going to let Brian Proffitt drive here, since he explains the whole Fedora/UEFI issue pretty well. In his blog, Brian points out that it is hardly an ideal situation, but it’s a trade-off. Not a very palatable one, but nonetheless a trade-off.

In fact, we can summarize Brian’s blog in a few words: The situation sucks. He’s absolutely right. But it is what it is, and it’s the most immediate of several upcoming ways around the UEFI lockdown for those who buy new machines and want to dual-boot (of course, the real solution here is not to buy UEFI-based hardware in the first place, opting for a Linux-based provider like ZaReason, but I digress).

Contrast that blog post with a hyperbolic rant on LXer.com, where the writer takes a corpo-babble press release from Red Hat writtin on behalf of Tim Burke and focuses in, laser-like, on probably the biggest non-sequitur wrapping up the missive.

Are you kidding me?

For the benefit of those who might need a team of proctologists to find their heads, let’s recap, shall we? No one does more for Linux and FOSS across the board — developing software and pushing it upstream, for starters — than Red Hat and Fedora. They do it pretty much thanklessly and while much of their efforts have made Red Hat a billion-dollar entity, they give back substantially to the FOSS community. Essentially calling Microsoft’s bluff on UEFI with this particular action is not capitulation, it’s just yet another thing Fedora and Red Hat are currently doing in order for people to be able to use UEFI-based hardware going forward.

[Which, of course, brings up a laughable e-mail exchange where someone wrote to me, in effect, "If Canonical did this, you'd be all over them." Actually, I wouldn't. First, if Canonical ever tore itself away from admiring itself in its own corporate mirror to do something to contribute back to Linux/FOSS in a substantial way, I'd probably die from the shock. Assuming I survive the shock, I'd give them credit for it once I regained consciousness.]

So while no one has said this yet, I will: Thank you, Fedora and additional thanks to Matthew Garrett, who has pretty much on top of this from the outset.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge GIMP Scribus Linux Mint Kororaa Salix OS Fluxbox Conky Thunderbird LibreOffice Crunchbang Bodhi Linux PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Brian Proffitt, Fedora, Red Hat
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