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Adjective plus animal equals . . .

August 18, 2010 2 comments

The naming conventions for distros can be entertaining. Whether it’s Debian’s “Toy Story” connection or Fedora’s less than simple formula — $CURRENT_NAME is a ___________ and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_NAME — code names for the current or future versions of distros can be entertaining at the selection stage.

Ubuntu’s naming convention is fairly simple: Take an animal and throw before it an adjective beginning with the same letter.

So after Maverick Meerkat, which is the name set in stone for Ubuntu 10.10, we have the name already foisted on the FOSS public for Ubuntu 11.04.

OK, it’s an N, right? So how does Natty Narwhal float your boat?

There’s a trend here according to the thesaurus, pointed out by Akkana Peck: Synonyms for “natty” include dapper and jaunty. Where have we heard those before?

The letter O, methinks, would be more challenging. Good thing they have awhile to think about it.

[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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OSCON: The epilogue

July 25, 2010 2 comments

OK, so I lied. I had planned to write this yesterday, but after an all night drive which consisted of drinking about two gallons of coffee, sleeping that off (ironically) on Saturday morning and then going to work, time became unavailable until now.

At first glance, OSCON was a huge success on several levels. First, it appears that as much as I’d prefer to have the event in San Jose for my own personal and selfish reasons, OSCON is at home in Portland. It’s a tough concession for me to make, but it’s true. Also, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that attendance is up — from the traffic on the floor and the amount of swag that flew out of the Fedora booth, I’d say it is way up.

People I forgot to mention: The first familiar friendly face I saw once the doors opened on Wednesday was that of Akkana Peck, GIMP guru without peer and my “neighbor” from over the hill in the Silicon Valley. Amber Graner, with whom a Linux expo would not be a Linux expo, was also on hand, with cameraman in tow for podcasts. My good friend and Gidget Kitchen chef Mark Terranova was also splitting time at OSCON between the Ubuntu booth and taking pictures on the expo hall floor, among other events at OSCON. There are more people I know I’m forgetting, but I promise to come back to you.

The city that really knows how: The motto “the city that knows how” is normally attributed to San Francisco — and it’s a very accurate one — but the City by the Bay could learn a thing or two from Portland. A free downtown train for starters would be nice in San Francisco. Plus, people are generally very easygoing and polite in Portland, making it a great place to visit. Coupling my affinity for Corvallis with a growing affinity for Portland, the state of Oregon is rising on the charts as one of my favorite places.

Honorable mention in the swag department: While giving out the best in swag awards, I failed to mention that Code for America handed out what I think are the greatest posters that have happened along in quite some time. These posters are historic American quotes from U.S. government “system architect” James Madison and “accessibility expert” Susan B. Anthony written in binary. Go take a look here — I’ll wait. I have the Madison and Anthony posters on the wall at the office in Felton. For printed matter, it definintely edges out the excellent Linux Journal calendar.

Thanks again, O’Reilly, for hosting such a great show year after year, and we’ll see you again in 2011.

[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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Making the grade

May 13, 2010 1 comment

The Guide to Computer Training listed its Top 50 Open Source blogs on Tuesday, and included in the 50 — at number 20, no less (though I realized later that the list is in alphabetical order, so I didn’t really finish way ahead of Slashdot) — is yours truly and this blog.

After I picked myself up off the floor, I have to say I am beyond honored. It’s good to be in the company of these folks who regularly write about FOSS, GNU/Linux and Linux, especially Bruce Byfield, whose essays masquerading as blog posts appear thanks to Linux Magazine.

However, there are several blogs which stand head and shoulders above this one that deserve to be on that list which, for whatever reason, didn’t make make the cut.

So if you’re here from the Guide to Computer Training site, welcome, first of all; second, you need to add these five blogs — five which come immediately to mind, though there are many more — to the list that the previous site provides (as well as other blogs which readers are urged to add to the list in comments below):

Click, by Steven Rosenberg: This blog, which appears on the Los Angeles Daily News’ site, is always chock full of information as Steven traverses the Free/Open Source landscape using both GNU/Linux and BSD. Most, if not all, of his Debian/Ubuntu adventures are very informative and I’ve learned something from all of his blogs, even when I’ve disagreed with him (which, to my knowledge, has only been once).

Shallow Thoughts by Akkana Peck: Don’t be misled by the title — this is far and away the most educational blog over a wide variety of FOSS programs and issues that I have ever read. And it’s not the blog so much as Akkana writes about — and links to — her tutorials in the blog. All her tutorials are absolute gems, and our Christmas cards last year were produced, in large part, thanks to her GIMP tutorial. Since I live just “over the hill” from the Silicon Valley, I get the bonus of hearing her speak when she addresses local LUGs. But if you can find talks she has done, like her presentation on “Make Your Old Laptop a Ferrari” she gave at the Southern California Linux Expo earlier this year, it’s time well spent.

Blog of Helios by Ken Starks: To say that working with Ken is an honor would be a gross understatement. I met Ken when I gave him $10 toward putting Tux on the nose of an Indy car during the 2007 Indianapolis 500. Ken came to California during Lindependence in 2008, where we invited the entire town of Felton, California, to a church hall to see Linux and take home a Live CD or two. Now, Ken is giving underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area a leg-up in providing Linux boxes to them through the HeliOS Project. Ken’s blog points out the highs and lows of bringing FOSS to the world, and his down-home humor that’s reminiscent of fellow Texan Jim Hightower — oooh, he’s going to hate me for saying that — is always a plus.

Dissociated Press by Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier: Zonker’s claim to fame, other than a nickname he picked up in college, is that he was the OpenSUSE Community Manager for the last couple of years. But what’s probably more interesting — and thankfully more important to those of us promoting FOSS — is that Joe’s talent and skill as a journalist precede, and thankfully now follows, his gig at OpenSUSE. He could be writing for any publication on any topic, but thankfully he’s writing about FOSS.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols‘ Computerworld Blog: More times than not, Steven is first out of the gate with FOSS news and developments, which alone would make his blog a must read. What’s more — and I mean this as a compliment — Steven’s not afraid to “go off the reservation” and write about non-FOSS issues as well. Everything on the blog is written with an artesian depth of understanding that points to his wide experience, and I get the sense that he embraces, Mencken-like, being FOSS’s resident curmudgeon. But I could be wrong . . . .

There are others that deserve to make the cut as well, and I’d urge you to add them to the comment list below.

And thanks, Guide to Computer Training — I will try to live up to your standards in being one of the Top 50.

[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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