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O’Reilly, you missed two

July 22, 2012 1 comment

I don’t want to take anything away from the winners of the O’Reilly Open Source Awards for 2012, given out at the big corporate FOSS Kumbaya in Portland known as OSCON this past week. All are very deserving of O’Reilly’s accolades — especially Elizabeth Krumbach, whose work I see on an almost regular basis — and I won’t go into listing the winners or their accomplishments here because O’Reilly has seen to that already.

But there are two — at least two — that were nominated and that O’Reilly missed. The misfortune that these two have been omitted arguably borders on tragic, too, because each of the following folks mentioned below have made significant contributions to FOSS in ways that equal, if not eclipse, those made by some of the this year’s recipients.

Here are two you missed, O’Reilly. Maybe next year you can rectify this.

The first O’Reilly oversight is Bill Kendrick. If you have children, you have probably happened upon Bill’s software opus Tux Paint somewhere along the line. If you don’t, then you may have seen it anyway. In its 10th year, Tux Paint is an award-winning art program for K-6 kids that not only teaches art, but also computer literacy. A long list of schools use it. It’s been open source ever since its inception, and is made for a variety of platforms — the usual suspects of Linux, Mac and Windows. Tux Paint alone should garner Bill the award, with an oak-leaf cluster, but he is even more deserving of the award for developing other educational software like TuxTyping — helping kids learn to type — not to mention Tux, of Math Command — which “lets kids hone their arithmetic skills while they defend penguins from incoming comets,” according to the website. Or, in other words, think of the ’80s arcade game Missile Command, only with math problems instead of incoming nuclear missiles.

[Blogger's note: Bill Kendrick straightens out the personnel lineup for the aforementioned projects here, and a full list of authors and contributors can be found here and here.]

The second oversight is Ken Starks. As those of you who regularly read this blog know, Ken and I go back a ways, back to the days when Ken successfully — miraculously — raised enough money to get Tux on the nose of an Indy car at the Indianapolis 500 back in 2007. The car crashed early in the race — irony of ironies for Linux — and finished last. As long as I’ve known him, Ken has been the most tireless advocate for Linux and FOSS for years. With the HeliOS Project — now REGLUE, an acronym for Recycled Electronics and Gnu/Linux Used for Education — Ken and his merry band of fossketeers get refurbished Linux-based computers into the hands of underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area. Ken was also one of the co-founders of the Lindependence Project, which brought Linux to a small town back in 2008. Currently, Ken’s battle with larynx cancer is limiting his activity, but he is still doing what he can with the hand he’s dealt.

So, how about it, Tim?

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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Back to the drawing board, kids

July 26, 2011 2 comments


OSCON 2011
OSCON is going on now, and while I’m not there this year, you can give them my regards :-(

Larry the Free Software Guy, cashing in another grammatical chip in order to refer to himself in the third person, has a choice: He can wallow in self-pity for not being at OSCON this week (it’s not the same without May Munji there at the helm, anyway) or he can talk about one of the best contests of the year, assuming you’re a kid (or you have one) and you want to win an OLPC or other cool prizes.

We’ll definitely go with the latter today.

Wordlabel.com is sponsoring the Tux Paint Kids Summer Drawing Contest, which is open to all children from ages 3 to 12 who live anywhere on the planet Earth.

The contest allows kids a chance to show off their talent “using a great drawing program made especially for kids,” according to the Wordlabel.com site — an understatement if there was one. Over the years, I’ve raved about what a great program Tux Paint is, and my daughter Mimi was essentially raised on it; arguably the artistic talent she now possesses as a teenager was honed using Tux Paint in her younger years.

But officially and for promotional purposes, Tux Paint is an award-winning drawing program that was recently awarded SourceForge.net Project of the Month. It runs on all versions of Linux, Windows (including Tablet PC), Mac OS X 10.4 and up, FreeBSD and NetBSD.

And, of course, it’s free.

Here’s what you get, kids: Prizes will be given to 10 winners, with first prize being an OLPC notepad computer, Sugar-on-a-stick loaded with Tux Paint, a Tux Paint T-shirt and button. Second and third prize winners get an OLPC computer, Sugar-on-a-stick and a T-shirt. The remaining seven that round out the top 10 will receive a Sugar-on-a-stick and a Tux Paint t-shirt.

So how do you, as a 3- to 12-year-old, enter?

Here’s how you do it, kids:

  • Download Tux Paint (assuming, of course, you don’t already have it, and if you don’t already have it, shame on you)
  • Make your drawing in Tux Paint and save it in png format
  • Send your finished drawing, in a png format, to wordlabel@gmail.com and include “Tux Paint” in the e-mail subject line
  • In the email submission include: 1) the artist’s’ name 2) the artist’s age 3) the title of drawing 4) the country where the artist lives
  • All artwork must be the contestant’s original work created on Tux Paint, and only one entry per child. Entries must be received by midnight USA Eastern time on 12 September 2011 to be eligible (that’s 0500 GMT 13 September 2011, for those of you keeping score at home).

    As I’ve said ad nauseum over the years, Tux Paint has been one of my all-time favorite programs. I’ve used it at home, and Mimi and I have had years of fun with it while she was growing up. I’ve used it in a classroom environment as well. Bill Kendrick and the team that produced this program are nothing short of wizards, and my hat has always been off to them. It’s good to see they’re getting some wider recognition through this contest.

    And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t end this blog about Tux Paint without saying, “Nah-nuh-NAAAAA!”

    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.

    [FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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    Administrivia Miscellanea

    February 10, 2011 2 comments

    Registration is now open for SCALE 9X — register now by clicking on the winking penguin. More on SCALE below.

    [Note to "Anonymous" who posted a very valid comment to my last blog that has yet to appear: I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that Anonymous is not on your birth certificate, and as a matter of policy I don't post responses without names attached to them, let alone those that come with what I think are false e-mail addresses. So I'd be glad to post your comment if you want to repost it with a real name and a real e-mail address, but until then, sorry. We now return you to our regular blog, which is already in progress.]

    A couple of things on the front burner to tie up loose ends on a beautiful morning in Felton that I hope will last:

    Girls in tech: In Stormy Peters’ blog this morning, she speaks about an event just over the hill from us in Felton called Dare2BDigital. It’s being held Saturday at the Computer Science Museum in Mountain View, and for $35 for the kids (and $45 for the adults), it sounds like it’s well worth the price of a ticket. It’s a pity I didn’t know about this earlier, as I would have done more, but while there’s a good chance Mimi and I will attend, I should probably get more involved next year.

    Tux Paint banned in Syria?: Horrors upon horrors! In a conversation with Tux Paint developer Bill Kendrick — an all-around good guy and the one who puts the “god” in LUGOD — he said someone in Syria asked him for an updated version of Tux Paint, but the person who requested it is in Syria and they couldn’t get it. Stop me if you’ve heard this one already: Sourceforge is following the letter of U.S. law and not allowing software to go to banned countries like Libya, Cuba, Iran . . . and Syria. If I remember correctly, software is considered a “weapon” when it comes to export regulations, and Tux Paint is, well, software, and could be wielded like — oh, I don’t know — a paintbrush against the United States. Sourceforge did its part, and I would not suggest that Sourceforge do otherwise, but it speaks to a bigger issue: How much of a threat to U.S. national security can programs like Tux Paint be? Is some Syrian or North Korean kid going to design a nuclear weapon using Tux Paint? Interestingly, this same conversation came up in Fedora Project circles a couple of years ago when Fedora couldn’t send the OS to Fedora Ambassadors in Iran for the same reason; in that case, despite being a remarkably far stretch in my opinion, I could see why the government would want Fedora not to send an OS to a country on that list. But Tux Paint? Nah-nuh-NAAAAA!

    Be there or be square: The ninth annual Southern California Linux Expo — that’s SCALE 9X to you — is coming up in a couple of weeks — specifically Feb. 25-27 — and the $109 per night deal at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, where the expo is being held, is being snatched up by attendees. If you’re going, don’t miss out. Register now at the SCALE site and take advantage of staying at the Hilton. Tell them Larry the Free Software Guy sent you, and if you go to SCALE, stop by the Fedora booth to say “hello.”

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