Another San Lorenzo Valley Sunday, charcoal burning everywhere . . .
A few items culled over an unreasonably hot week here in Felton — we’re talking the area being Miami with redwoods (but thankfully without humidity) — include:
Schrodinger’s Cat lives: After a go/no-go meeting last week which sided with the former, Fedora 19 “Schrodinger’s Cat” went gold and gets a non-radioactive green light for Tuesday, July 2. Curious about it, I downloaded the beta and put it on a Toshiba Satellite L455, ahem, “laptop” — a laptop if your lap is the size of, say, Andre the Giant’s — and the silver behemoth ran the beta flawlessly. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t review distro alphas or betas because it’s akin to sticking your finger in a bowl of batter and writing about how good (or bad) the cake will be once it’s finished.
I can tell you this: I do like what Fedora has done with the install process, so much so that it was worth the wait when Fedora 18 was delayed (and I could take this opportunity to launch into why a six-month release cycle leaves a lot to be desired, but I won’t, even though I just did). In addition, I think this one will be a good one, but you’ll have to find out when I write about it next week. Get more information, and take the living cat out of the box on Tuesday, here.
The best distros: Last week, I said that a FOSSForce.com write-up a few weeks ago about what constitutes a community distro was an “uncharacteristically ludicrous article posted by the usually right-on-the-mark” site for FOSS news and commentary. As a blogger, I live in the glass house known as FOSS commentary and, regardless, I still reserve the right to throw stones. I can also admit without reservation or apology that the history of this blog is strewn with dozens of blogged eggs laid over the past several years; enough eggs to feed omelets to a small army during the course of a military campaign.
That said, I should clarify that I thought the message, not the messenger, was sorely lacking. But Christine Hall makes up for the article I slammed, and gains extra yardage on the play, by writing a great “top five” distro article which concludes — spoiler alert — with this: “Just keep in mind, there really isn’t a best Linux distro, or even a list of five best Linux distros. There’s only a best distro for you, the job you need it to do and the equipment on which you need it to operate.”
Amen to that, Christine, and thanks for reciting the Larry the Free Software Guy mantra.
Widespread adoption of Unity? Not exactly: Like FOSSForce.com, LXer.com is also one of my daily stops on the web for news and commentary. Also, more entertaining is visiting the LXer.com discussion forums — yes, that’s a reflection of how exciting my life is; deal with it (I have) — and finding some interesting morsels.
One item has an original poster bemoaning the fact that people continue to beat up on Unity. While I find it hard to agree with his premise — for a variety of reasons on several levels, Unity deserves its reputation as the pinata it has become in the tech press, with little in the way of argument against — it did prompt me to think about this question: If Unity is such an outstanding desktop environment, why hasn’t it been widely adopted by other distros?
Think about it. Personal preferences aside, a metric which speaks to how good, or not, a desktop environment is would be its adoption by other distros. So you could describe Unity as having widespread appeal if you define “widespread appeal” as being adopted by 10 — count ‘em, 10 — distros other than Ubuntu.
If you’re keeping score at home, here’s the list of distros other than Ubuntu using Unity as a default desktop environment (with DistroWatch ranking in parentheses): DreamStudio (49), The People’s Republic of China’s Ubuntu Kylin (105), Hybride Linux (108), Vinux (110), Leeenux (165); Bio-Linux (174), Ubuntu Christian Edition (188), Oz Unity (195), iQuinixOS (261), and Baltix GNU/Linux (274).
OK, so I would argue that it’s not widespread adoption, for reasons I’ve mentioned in past blog posts — the posts you couldn’t scramble and serve with toast.
Oh, and one more thing: Lindependence rides again. We’re going to take Software Freedom Day in September and make it SFD-Lindependence Felton 2012, with all the trappings of the first one. More on this as plans develop. I would urge any group — Linux User Group, FOSS software-specific user groups, even the sectarian Ubuntu LoCos — to participate in Software Freedom Day by signing up here.
See you next Sunday, if not sooner.
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.)
Last week, Amber Graner did an interview with yours truly here. And when answering the question about my activities outside of Fedora — in which I am primarily involved when it comes to FOSS — I had a long, rambling answer about Lindependence 2008 and The Lindependence Project. But in tooting that particular horn, I mentioned Ken Starks but I neglected to mention two others who were — and still are — instrumental in the formation of The Lindependence Project and its ongoing maintenance.
Mea culpa, Stephen Rufle and Bob Lewis.
Stephen Rufle came up to Felton a few years ago from Phoenix, bringing his two boys and about a hundred stuffed penguins he makes at Open Animals. Using the GPL to license its patterns, Open Animals produces open source stuffed penguins — if you’re so inclined, you can fork the pattern to make the penguin, or animal, of your choice, providing you release your creation under the GPL That’s how it works. Anyway, Stephen and his sons were instrumental in making Lindependence 2008 a success back at its inception, and Stephen has, to date, hosted the lindependence.org site, which is currently undergoing a massive facelift. The reason for that is we’re holding Lindependence Hours at various locations in Northern California and, watch this space, we’ll be holding a Lindependence 2011 on or near Independence Day in Felton, California, at the Felton Presbyterian Church. Watch this space, and thanks very much for all you do for FOSS, Stephen.
I wish I had enough words that would be fitting for the superlatives Bob Lewis deserves. I met Bob at the Richard Stallman presentation at Cabrillo College in February 2008. Bob is a retired AT&T engineer who had also spent some time working at SCO — when it was the Santa Cruz Operation, based here in Santa Cruz, at a time when produced pretty good software before moving to Utah to become a litigation company. Bob was tireless in organizing and helping folks at Lindependence 2008, as well as being a spark plug in getting Felton LUG moving. Not only this, Bob is also an energetic evangelist for Linux and FOSS in the area, converting and helping many folks whom he has converted to Ubuntu. It would be nice to have a dollar for every time he comes to Redwood Digital and says, “Well, I have another convert.” If anyone deserves to be at the top of the list for credit in Lindependence’s success — the Felton Farmers Market Linux booth and the Felton LUG are offshoots of this success — it’s Bob, and again I apologize for not mentioning it in the interview.
Thanks again guys for all you do.
(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.)