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More miscellaneous ramblings

May 1, 2010 Leave a comment

In honor of Mailman reminder day — and I know everyone got their monthy reminders today from the various mailing lists that you all belong to — I thought I’d shock everyone by not going six months before blogging again.

Since my mailing list memberships are a smorgasbord of different Free/Open Source Software topics, I’m just going to take this opportunity to catch up on a few — OK, several — topics which I should have touched on over the past few months. Like:

It might work better this way: One day while Mirano and I found we had some time to kill and found ourselves close to a Best Buy (lucky us), we got to give the iPad a try. As some of you know, my distaste is legendary for netbooks and any other technology that’s, well, hard to physically handle. Such is the case with the iPad and, at one point, I was unable to clear the screen. So I instinctively shook it like an Etch-a-Sketch, but bear in mind that doesn’t work. Darling daughter came to the rescue, pushing a big-as-life button on the front to get back to the desktop. I still like the prospect of shaking it like an Etch-a-Sketch to bring it back to the desktop, but I am sure that this is not forthcoming from Apple.

Small, but informative: I didn’t comment on this either way, but the MySQL conference earlier this month in Santa Clara — held under the ominous shadow of the purchase of Sun by a huge database conglomerate whose CEO is also named Larry — was a lot smaller than in years past. Nevertheless, it was a pretty informative event. Working the Entrance booth with Tod Landis and Chris Busick, a few laps around the floor garnered an education in the latest database developments — but don’t ask me to repeat them. It was great to see MariaDB’s Kurt von Finck once again, as well as to talk to the MariaDB folks about their project, now that MySQL may be in peril.

The definition of insanity . . . : SCO’s at it again. They lost by judge (Dale Kimball’s summary judgment ruling) and they lost by jury just recently. Groklaw reported last week that SCO is behaving in the same way expecting a different result by filing papers that, according to The Register’s description, “saying the jury hearing its case over whether SCO owned the Unix copyright, and that found for Novell last month, was either too stupid, too confused or too distracted to grasp the compelling power of its evidence.” Puh-leeze.

Visiting an old friend: When I first converted to FOSS back in 2006 (has it been that long?), I was a regular visitor to Distrowatch; regular visitor as in my morning ritual would include coffee, boot the computer, go to Distrowatch (and then LXer.com), read and sometimes download. I went to the site again for the first time in several months to find it comfortably familiar in look, but with a number of distros I hadn’t heard of before, like Chakra, EasyPeasy, blackPanther, moonOS and ZevinOS, for starters. If ever I have time again, I should download some of them and give them a shot.

More to follow. Watch this space.

[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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Road Trip of the Penguins: Epilogue

February 23, 2009 2 comments

A thousand pardons — while Sunday at the Southern California Linux Expo was less busy, it was easier to spend more time in more lengthy discussions with visitors who came by the booth at SCaLE. However, while I should have updated this running blog on SCaLE, I didn’t. Further, I had the Paso Robles-to-Santa Cruz leg of the driving chores, and I didn’t get home until late (which explains why I missed the Fedora Weekly News deadline).

So now that the mea culpas are out of the way, I have to say on the whole the SCaLE weekend — from Fedora Activity Day to finish — was an unqualified success.

From Friday’s face-to-face get together where we were actually able to sit in a room with people we talk to on a daily basis on IRC or by e-mail to carrying on two- and three-conversation talks at the Fedora table during Saturday’s “rush hour” (which, essentially, was a better part of the day), I would hope that more regional events have as many attendees as SCaLE did.

Several points about the weekend:

  • I swear on a stack of O’Reilly “Intro to Linux” books that my spilling a cup of coffee at the OpenSUSE booth was a complete accident on Sunday afternoon. If Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier hadn’t been handing me iguanas to give to the kids, then that wouldn’t have happened. And, I think it’s fair to say that I did clean up the mess . . . .
  • Muchissimas gracias a Maria Luisa de KDE para el refresco, y cuando tiene la foto de tu y yo, yo quiero una copia de la foto.
  • I spoke more Spanish at SCaLE than I have on any two days since I left Miami 22 years ago, and because I lived in Japan 7 years ago, I kept mixing up Spanish and Japanese in conversation — which probably made me sound like a bigger lunatic than most people think I am.
  • One of the funniest things was to see Mirano, Malakai and Saskia sitting around the hotel room on Saturday night emptying their bags and going through the swag as if it were Halloween candy.
  • Happy Birthday again, David Maust (CTO of Tall Umbrella, our neighbor at SCaLE) — any company that give you two birthday cakes on your birthday is worth mentioning.
  • Press: We had our share of media visitors at the booth over the weekend, who spoke to Karsten Wade about matters Fedora: In order of appearance — Nathan Willis of Linux Weekly News; Kata Tanaka Okopnik of Linux Gazette; Steven Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Daily News; and a guy whose name I didn’t get. Not only this, press photographers were all over the fact that we had XOs at the booth and one child per laptop using them.
  • Cool things about SCaLE: The guys who organized it (all of them) who hosted an excellent show; the XOs at the OLPC booth, the Earth Treasury booth and, of course, at the Fedora booth; ZaReason’s CTO Earl Malmrose installing Fedora 10 on one of the company’s laptops and keeping it displayed during the course of the show (thanks, Earl!); FSF’s larger GNU stickers (as well as some of the new swag at their table); the constant activity at the KDE booth; finally meeting (after corresponding at length with) David Nalley, Clint Savage, Jon Stanley, Tom Callaway, Joseph Smidt, Scott Ruecker, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, Joe Smith, Nathan Haines, Jono Bacon, Gareth Greenaway, Stuart Sheldon, Orv Beach.
  • I’ll blog on this another time, but what is it with people who stop by the booth — any booth, and not just ours — just to waste time in meaningless “let-me-tell-you-why-your-distro-sucks” one-sided conversations? I’m serious — where do these people come from, and don’t they have anything better to do? As far as I’m concerned, these are mostly one-sided conversations — I just smile and nod while I wait for a valid point to arrive in the conversation (which, in more cases than not, never has the courtesy to show up).

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

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    Road Trip of the Penguins, Part 2b

    February 21, 2009 2 comments

    . . . or not 2b, that is the question . . .

    SCaLE day one, officially and expo-wise: Doors opened at 10 and throughout the course of the day it was a constant blur of people stopping by wanting to talk Fedora, wanting to talk GNU/Linux, wanting to talk about just about anything. Prior to the doors opening Tom Callaway and Jon Stanley had the booth in order when I brought down the Event Box and media, though I know that David Nalley and Clint Savage also had a hand in getting the booth ready on Friday.

    Malakai, Saskia, Mirano and Shaun had an assignment that they performed flawlessly: That was to promote the Fedora and Red Hat presentations that were going on, their mission was to hand out fliers and go around the exhibition area and guide people to the Fedora booth. This is an assignment the four of them tackled with gusto. In fact, the girls came up with a chant:

    The best thing about Fedora is freedom,
    If you have a computer, you definitely need ‘em.

    And clad in Fedora shirts, the four of them circulated the expo floor handing out fliers and chanting the newly coined phrase.

    Prior to SCaLE, I had made arrangements to meet folks with whom I had a long professional relationship but have never met in person. One person fitting that bill is Scott Ruecker of LXer.com, whom I finally had the chance to meet and have a lengthy conversation with — GNU/Linux user to user and journalist to journalist. Not only this, it was good to see those I see often, like Frank Turner, a regular at Cabrillo GNU/Linux User Group and Felton LUG meetings who made the trip from Santa Cruz County.

    Also on hand in SCaLE is ZaReason, the hardware specialist from Berkeley. Cathy Malmrose of ZaReason presented a talk on Friday on women in FOSS which I wish I could have attended, and Earl Malmrose, ZaReason’s CTO, got a Fedora 10 live CD and installed it on one of the ZaReason laptops. Would this be a sign of things to come? I don’t know.

    The press stopped by the booth as well. Karsten Wade had a lengthy interview with Steven Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Daily News about the Fedora community, and also Nathan Willis from Linux Weekly News stopped by for a lengthy interview as well.

    Media and stickers flew off the table during the course of the day, and as soon as I can process more of the blur that occupied most of the day, I will have more to say, which will probably come tomorrow.

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

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    Sue me first, Steve

    May 24, 2007 Leave a comment

    Sue me first, Microsoft — that’s Christian Einfeldt’s message on Digital Tipping Point for those of you (okay, those of us) who are tired of Microsoft’s rattling the patent sabers against FOSS. Or to put it another way, according to Christian, “Hey, Microsoft, put up or shut up!”

    The list of folks lining up for litigation is pretty interesting, but my favorite is Number 130. Eric Raymond (yes, that Eric Raymond) says, “Yes, Microsoft, the guy who’s been harshing your mellow since I wrote ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ in 1997. Linux user since 1993, so I’ve been violating your nonexistent patents for fourteen years. Sue me first. Please, oh please! Because I don’t think I’ve kicked your sorry asses enough yet, and I’d love another round with you chumps.”

    Go Eric!

    I got into the top thousand at 998, 23 names after Don Parris of LXer.com Linux News, trying to keep up with the other journalists in GNU/Linux land.

    Even if you don’t sign up — and whether you do is up to you — the list is worth a read.

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

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    Protect your freedom!

    Stop me if this sounds familiar . . . .

    May 16, 2007 5 comments

    So, stop me if you’ve heard this one already:

    In the 1950s — February 9, 1950 to be exact — Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin made a speech in Wheeling, W. Va., in which he said he had a list of 205 names of State Department employees “that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party.”

    Fast forward 57 years and we have “Tail Gunner Steve” Ballmer with Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, playing McCarthy’s Roy Cohn legal sidekick in this modern drama, saying that the GNU/Linux operating system violates 235 Microsoft patents. Which are they? Microsoft won’t say.

    McCarthy never named the names.

    See a pattern here?

    Sander Marechal writes an article on Linux News asking in an open letter to Novell to release the violating patents. While Microsoft may not be telling the public, they would be telling their GNU/Linux partner Novell. So Novell has the opportunity to come clean.

    Anyone holding their breath? Well, don’t.

    Here’s why: Tectonic, a South African open source news site, says in an article that Novell is distancing itself from Microsoft. From the article: “We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property.”

    Linus Torvalds has weighed in at Information Week, saying that Microsoft has gotten it wrong — they violate more GNU/Linux patents than the other way around. Linux News backs it up by bringing up an article by Hans Kwint they published in 2005 outlining the patents that Microsoft might have violated.

    So maybe the Washington Post is right when it says that this is all a smoke screen for the failures of Vista.

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

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    Eliminate DRM!
    Protect your freedom!

    A day in the life

    May 13, 2007 Leave a comment

    Invariably, someone will ask me, “How’s your day going?” Most of the time, it’s a family member, but whomever is asking, the answer is usually “great” because, for the most part, it usually is. But what I do during the course of the day, in my capacity as editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter can be revealing.

    Or not.

    For those of you keeping score at home (and I don’t know why you would, to quote a San Francisco Giants announcer), this is what I do:

  • Turn on Computers 1 through 3 (eMac running OS X version 10.4; Indigo iMac running Xubuntu 6.10 and PowerMac G3 minitower with Sonnet G4 upgrade running Yellow Dog 3.0).
  • From behind the iMac, visit — usually in this order — Linux News, Distrowatch, Free Software Foundation, Open Source Reporter, Mad Penguin, and News Forge, before visiting the forums at Ubuntu (for any developments on Xubuntu), Linux Questions to get most of my questions answered (mostly on GNU/Linux) and gNewSense (which is a distro I don’t yet have because I don’t have the hardware for it, but I like the concept of a completely “free-as-in-freedom” distro).
  • Repeat the previous step throughout the day and contribute where I can and pass on the information I find out on OSR.
  • On another note . . .

    While visiting the Fluxbuntu Web site, I noticed that they had a screenshot for an Old World G3 PowerBook Wallstreet, just like the one I just sold (argh!). So I asked when the PowerPC version of this distro would be ready and I was told that it will be ready within a couple of weeks. I also learned that when you’re in an IRC chat, you don’t have to ask “Can I ask a question” (Duh! Sorry guys, that was me).

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

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