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Giving credit where credit is due

February 16, 2011 2 comments

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

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.

[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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Linux World, Day 1 (Tuesday)

August 6, 2008 1 comment

First things first: If you’re at Linux World in San Francisco this week, feel free to stop by the Fedora booth and say hello. For those of you keeping score at home, I’m a Fedora ambassador and I’ve been staffing the booth at the exhibition. If you aren’t at the show, you’re missing a good one. More details to follow.

Without further adeiu:

Hopping: The word from the floor is that this is a more subdued Linux World than years past, according to those who stopped by the Fedora booth (where I essentially was stationed all day). I couldn’t disagree more — this place was absolutely hopping on Tuesday and materials and media flew off the Fedora table. A very healthy crowd traversed the floor of the exhibition throughout the day, tapering off during times when sessions were, well, in session.

The crowd on day one was also a huge cross-section of people with a wide range of abilities. Those who are new to GNU/Linux and FOSS — those are the folks whose eyes are a tad wider than the others — were very receptive to our neighbors and us (we’re bounded on the north by Creative Commons, on the south by Bay Area LUG). All were great — and I certainly hope that those who are new to this find the same passion and satisfaction in FOSS that most of us already share.

Observation: Those show-goers who have more experience in GNU/LInux and FOSS generally fall into three categories: uniters, dividers and whiners.

The uniters “get it.” — they understand that, for all intents and purposes, we’re all in this together. Those are the folks I’ve talked to who may not use the same distro or desktop environment that I use, but realize that what’s good for one is good for everyone — we all rise up together. Generally speaking, these are the open-minded folks who keep FOSS afloat, regardless of one’s preferences.

The dividers, well, just don’t get it. The dividers, of which unfortunately there are many, would rather talk about how great their distro is and not pay attention to what you — another distro user — has to say. They come in different levels and garden varieties, but let’s look what could be (could be) more than coincidental happenstance on Tuesday. Exhibit A presents several CentOS users who have come to the Fedora booth to, essentially, tell us how great their distro is in comparison to ours; some without the courtesy to me (or anyone else) to hear us out about why we prefer our distro.

[Note to CentOS users at the show or beyond: Feel free to flame here, but bear in mind that I think CentOS is an excellent distro. However, if the centerpiece of CentOS's marketing plan is to trash other distros, then you may want to try something else.]

While I’m not one to shy away from a debate (or worse), I do have my diplomacy hat on during the show, so you won’t hear any arguments from me.

The whiners: That’s pretty self explanatory, and in more than a few instances, the reason they’re whining has something to do with a facet of a distro — any distro — that’s sort of impossible to address, at least digitally; and if it is addressable digitally, it’s so far removed from the normal course of the average computer user that it’s not included in the release (which begs the question for those advanced users who also double as whiners: Want that feature? Ever think of contributing it?). But this is what we hear: “You’re distro won’t run on my toaster and won’t walk the dog in the morning. What’s wrong with you guys?” A shrug and a smile kind of sends them on their way, and I’m not convinced there’s much we can do about them.

Who’s here: While the usual cast of characters are here, a couple of folks who deserve special mention are here so far and have stopped by the booth. Cathy and Earl Malmrose have the ZaReason booth up and running great guns a few booths down from us — go guys! Tod Landis of dbEntrance also came up from Boulder Creek and spent some time in the booth. Christian Einfeldt of the Digital Tipping Point, camera always at the ready, also got yet even more footage around the Lindependence event from the floor of the exhibition.

[Again, let me emphasize, as I did on camera, that I am not a slob -- if it appears I haven't shaved in several days, it's because I haven't: I'm regrowing my beard so I look more like my picture here.]

More from the floor of the show on Wednesday as things develop, connectivity willing.

[FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Notes after recovery

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

First things first: I lied. In my last blog item, I said that I wasn’t going back to Linux World on Wednesday after a long, hard and profitable Tuesday. But with both San Francisco — the world’s greatest city — and Linux World being a two-edged bulb drawing this moth to its luminescence, I put aside home projects (remember the project having to do with rearranging the living room? Working on it . . .) and went back for another day.

Fortunately, I had my swag limiter on and didn’t end up with further arm injury. I know the stuff is free and I know that companies love to give the stuff away, but — hey — how many can insulators can you really use?

Let’s talk hardware: Something that I am woefully deficient in — both physically and mentally — is hardware. We don’t cover it enough at Open Source Reporter, and we plan to change that and increase our coverage. Without the hardware, the software isn’t worth much, now is it?

I spent the better part of the day getting schooled by some of the hardware manufacturers at the show; mostly by Fujitsu, which has a great selection and had very knowledgeable people working the show. Very patient people, too, because I think I should have won prizes — more T-shirts — for “dumbest questions of the show.”

Readers will be seeing more about hardware in OSR in the coming months — partially behind this effort, needless to say, is prodding hardware manufacturers to ideally open up their drivers to accommodate GNU/Linux or, at least, to get them to develop drivers if they don’t want to share the code — and we will devote a section to it in the print publication in January.

Creative Commons / Free Software Foundation / Electronic Frontier Foundation: You guys did a great job at the show, with CC providing the Fedora disks, FSF providing (as always) great information and some very cool stickers (thanks for the GNUs) and EFF having probably the best “join us” offer — a “SWAT-team” like cap in black with a stark EFF in white on the front. It’s great to work with and support these groups solely for the vital work they do; their swag is just icing on the cake.

They Might Be Giants: I got to see the San Francisco Giants game on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, hoping Barry would swing into history that evening. But it was not to be. However, I did see a great extra-inning game that the Giants uncharacteristically won. And Barry now holds the record anyway thanks to Tuesday’s swat, and the Giants are still numero uno in these parts, National League West standings be damned.

More to follow — with the exception of the Giants — on the pages of OSR and in this blog.

And as Helios likes to say: All-righty then.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Everything but the kitchen sink

August 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Let me start off, first, by saying that I have never been to a LinuxWorld Expo before. I’ve been to a MacWorld (whether SF or Tokyo, depending on where I lived at the time) every year since the mid-’90s, but I have to say that despite LinuxWorld’s smaller size, it was a much better show.

I say this while massaging my right arm. After carrying around a bag of swag — transferred into a larger bag since the smaller bag filled up geometrically — and not to mention some informational items, it goes without saying that the, um, generosity of Linux companies is unrivaled (especially in light of the downward sprial of free stuff given out at MacWorlds for the past several years). More on this in a moment.

Most — if not all — the vendors (especially the hardware vendors) were incredibly patient and went the extra mile to explain their wares.

And the swag: I will not go naked for the next several years, thanks to all the shirts I received. Same with pens, stickers, software and just about everything one could imagine (including a “decision maker” from a Unix organization which works like a sort of hand-held Magic 8-ball).

I was feeling so good about the show that I restrained myself while talking to the Xandros guy (although I didn’t realize it was a Xandros booth, and interestingly enough, it wasn’t clear that the Xandros booth is the Xandros booth, but then you might not have to wonder why . . . .).

So to recap . . .

Good: Extremely helpful vendors everywhere I went; a wide variety of stuff to try out and write about (and if I weren’t so blitzed from walking around all day, I’d write about them now), and some really interesting sessions.

Bad: Not much to report here; there was nary a bad exhibit (even the Xandros mail server was interesting).

Indifferent: Unfortunately, I can’t go tomorrow, but I will be going through the bag inside the bag to test some of the stuff I picked up.

Watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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