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2013: The year of . . .

January 6, 2013 3 comments

. . . oh, never mind. No, it’s not the year of the Ubuntu phone, so let’s not even start that nonsense.

Instead, let’s talk about a few things coming up on the proverbial FOSS radar, like:

SCALE 11X: The Southern California Linux Expo turns Linux/FOSS up to 11 this year at the first-of-the-year North American expo in February. If you want to take advantage of the half-price early-bird discount (worm optional), you must register by Tuesday, Jan. 8. Then admission prices kick back up to the regular rates. The speakers are set and much of the SCALE team, of which I am one, has their collective shoulders to the wheel. It’s going to be a good show this year — watch this space.

Almost Fedora 18: A few days ago, I made a joke — OK, so it wasn’t an unforgettable knee-slapper — that some folks took as an insult to the Fedora Project. What I said was this: They (meaning the Fedora Project) should just skip Fedora 18 and just release Fedora 19 in May on schedule. Ha ha. Just kidding, guys and gals. You know I have nothing but love and admiration for the Fedora Project, which does things right (like, for example, not releasing Fedora 18 when it’s not quite ready — better to release when it’s done rather than on a timetable). Yet, this fell into an e-mailbox today and it shows that Fedora 18 is closer to release than I had anticipated.

Warming Up to Your Distro: A woman in Michigan named Shandell Gager is knitting scarves by hand in the colors of your favorite distro. The cost for each of these scarves is $30, with $5 going to the distro as a donation. I’ve already ordered my CrunchBang scarf, and it sounds like a good way to fight off the cold and show your support for Linux/FOSS.

That’s all for now. More to follow (especially on SCALE 11X) soon.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang 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!

Wait. What?

October 12, 2012 1 comment

A few days ago, someone — I won’t divulge a name here, but this person truly is a piece of work — was bemoaning the fact that Fedora has delayed yet again its release of Fedora 18; as if getting it out right the first time — getting it right, right out of the gate — is a bad thing.

Personally, I’m OK with getting things right as a priority to getting stuff out on time.

Contrast this “tardy release” complaint to Ubuntu having things like this pop up as bugs in their software nearly six months after its release:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1066108

Poor Amber, whomever she is. You also have to love that stock response.

Update: Apparently Amber figured it out and it seems to be a Pidgin/Google issue because she writes in the comments in the bug report above:

“Okay. After finding and removing the png from pidgin’s files in /home/amber/.purple/icons, and restarting a few things, I’m pretty sure the offending photo is permanently gone. Thank you!”

Categories: Fedora, Ubuntu Tags: ,

Doing things right

July 12, 2012 Leave a comment

A couple of days ago, I had read — but hadn’t confirmed — that Red Hat’s Jaroslav Reznik had been chosen to be the Fedora Project Manager, finally filling the unfillable shoes left empty by Robyn Bergeron when she was given the glorious burden of becoming Fedora Project Leader. So now that this has been confirmed by those who know, I’d like to say to Jaroslav: “Suit up.” And congratulations, of course, are in order. It’s a great choice.

This should come as no surprise. If any entity in the FOSS realm knows how to do things right, it’s the Fedora Project.

Their methodology of engineering and organization — tying together what may seem to be outlying tangents of promotion, design and documentation into a unit which never seems to fail in firing on all cylinders — should serve as the textbook by which all distros should be run.

What often gets lost in the grand scheme of things is that the Fedora Project produces this array of great accomplishments without seeking fanfare or demanding the spotlight, the way some other vowel-laden distros do. They just get things done the way they’re supposed to be done — developing code, pushing that code upstream and providing the organizational trappings that help get it out, releasing every six months, and all for the benefit the greater FOSS community.

Naturally, it helps to have a sponsor that’s the first billion-dollar FOSS corporation. But bear in mind that Red Hat doesn’t get that important and historic designation without the Fedora Project — without Fedora, Red Hat isn’t Red Hat. Each knows the symbiotic relationship one has with the other.

Even in the face of adversity — when people who should know better were doing their best Chicken Little imitations in the face of a UEFI lockout — the Fedora Project simply started working on a fixing the problem. The first solution they have come up with may not be the most ideal, and I’d be willing to bet it’s not the last one, but it’s a start. But then, that’s what industry leaders do — they encounter the problem and fix it.

Without fanfare and without grabbing the spotlight.

As many of you already know, I had the honor of participating in the Fedora Project from 2008 until last summer. In July of last year, I started using CrunchBang, a Debian-based distro originating in England which uses the Openbox window manager. After finding it suited my needs and after using it exclusively for nine months, I finally joined that community earlier this year, determining it to be a better fit for my varied, and hopefully growing, skill set. Naturally, I bring with me all I learned from the Fedora Project, which is much, and naturally I value the friendships and relationships garnered while a Fedorista (I know, I know — it’s “Fedoran,” which of course sounds like an alien, but never mind).

One more thing: It’s nice to be able to say something positive for a change; to be able to write something without having to pry the palm of my hand from my face in order to type. Trust me, the only thing worse than having to point out things gone wrong in FOSS that no one else wants to write about is this: having to take the time to put these wrongs in pixels here in this blog. So with that, even further thanks should go to the Fedora Project.

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!

Enjoy the quiet?

July 10, 2012 2 comments

Well, judging by the standing level of eyeballs that WordPress tracks on my behalf and passes on to me regarding this blog, it appears most everyone has enjoyed the quiet during the time there has been neither a hue nor a cry about anything — FOSS related or non-FOSS related — on this blog for the last three weeks or so.

Again, for the 40th or 50th time, I don’t usually write something unless inspired or provoked, somewhat like a wasp (which also doesn’t write unless inspired but usually provoked, but that’s another matter). Also, if you add into the mix the fact that I get busy sometimes with the mystery of life and the trappings that surround it, then you’ll have to just forgive me if these blog items are not more forthcoming.

Nevertheless, since I wrote last about the 20-second F-bomb the Linus offered in what was an outstanding one-hour-plus presentation — if anyone cared to watch the whole thing instead of getting persnickity about the offending clip — there have been a couple of items of note that crossed the radar. Like

Jon maddog Hall comes out: As I give him a tip of the hat, it’s hard to imagine that I could think any more of Jon maddog Hall than I did before his recent essay on Alan Turing. But I do, and I think his essay is pretty remarkable — worthy of his choice of lager, should I have an opportunity in the near or distant future to buy him one. To some, this is not a big deal, and yet for others it is a big deal, and I can see both sides. It’s not a big deal in the sense that his sexual preference neither adds nor subtracts from the great guy and outstanding contributor to FOSS that he is and has always been. Yet it is a big deal because it makes gays both less invisible and also shows that it’s a lot harder to hate someone you know who’s LGBT. I’m not doing the essay justice here, so read it yourself at the link above (worth the read — stop reading this blog and go there now, if you haven’t read it already). I should also mention that he wrote the essay on the 100th birthday of Alan Turing who, if he did nothing else (and he did much), saved England, and the world for that matter, from the Nazi uprising in the 1930s and 1940s, and was thanked by the British government with imprisonment and chemical castration which essentially forced him to suicide.

Higgs Boson, brought to you by . . .: Winston Churchill — or was it Vikings running back Adrian Peterson? — once said that a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth can put on its pants. Or words to that effect. In any case, someone posted on reddit that CERN used Scientific Linux — which CERN developed (a fun fact about this Red Hat-based distro I did not know) — and, wait for it, Ubuntu. Meanwhile some in the FOSS press who should have better journalistic skills — Katherine Noyes for starters — ran with it because, well, someone on reddit said it, so it must be true. Well, having been in journalism since the day Jimmy Carter was inaugurated, I put my skills to work — something every reporter would do — to find a.) it was mostly Scientific Linux that gave physicists a leg-up on making this remarkable discovery, and b.) Ubuntu had little, if anything, to do with it. Proof? Linux @ CERN only mentions Scientific Linux and another blog item in German (incidentally, Google Translate speaks excellent German) outlines OS use at CERN.

What’s missing? Ubuntu, of course.

Funny thing is that apologists for the Ubuntu Apocalypse brush this inaccuracy off as none of their concern. One response to me on social media was, in effect, “Well, did Canonical say it?” Actually, they didn’t. But that doesn’t make it any more accurate, and of course the right thing to do would be for either an Ubuntu advocate, or Canonical itself, come out and say, “Um, hold on a minute.” But then doing the right thing may not be in the proverbial playbook for Ubunteros, but playing fast and loose with facts might be. At least it seems that way, a lot more often than not.

That’s about all from here — as if that’s not enough. I’m trying to confirm that Jaroslav Reznik from the Czech Republic has been named the Fedora Project Manager, taking the place of Robyn Bergeron who became the Fedora Project Leader, but for some reason, I can’t seem to confirm that. So rather than offer congratulations, I’ll just wait until that’s confirmed or denied.

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!

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!

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.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Brian Proffitt, Fedora, Red Hat

Being Precise on Unity

May 24, 2012 8 comments

Those who have the great fortune, or have made the great sacrifice, of befriending me on Facebook and/or Google+ have already been alerted to this, um, development.

So let the word go forth that I am using Precise Pangolin — Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, for those of you keeping score at home (though I don’t know why you would) — complete with Unity until Saturday. The reason I am giving it a few days, rather than just one as I did in an earlier blog post extends from a conversation I had with Scott Dowdle on #ubuntu-montana, where he made the poignant observation that it would take more than one day for me to make a fair assessment.

Good point, Scott (and this point, it should be noted, comes from a Fedora guy, for all intents and purposes. Hope that doesn’t blow your cover, Scott!). After a considerable amount of pixels spilled on the miraculous game-changing improvements to Unity and Head-Up (something?) Display that a flock of bloggers and some in the tech press are parroting after being spoon-fed from Canonisoft’s PR department, I am giving it another look to see if I had missed something somewhere along the line.

To be frank — and Frank doesn’t mind — after about eight hours of use yesterday, I’m not seeing anything I didn’t see last time I took Unity for a spin, except for one thing: The welcome relief afterward to get back to another laptop running CrunchBang was beyond description.

Earth-shattering, game-changing improvements — they’re here somewhere, right? I don’t see any, at least not yet. In fact, what I do see is what I saw when I used it originally: the one-size-fits-all desktop environment which arguably doesn’t fit quite right on any of them, coupled with a lack of improved utility that I didn’t already have using other desktop environments or FOSS programs. To say nothing of a desktop environment that insults my intelligence by bending over backwards to do things for me that I have been doing easily on my own since — oh, I don’t know — birth.

What am I missing, Ubunteros?

See you again Saturday.

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!

Categories: Fedora, Ubuntu, Unity Tags: , , , ,
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