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Paul Venezia and Etienne Perot nail it

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Well, I didn’t write this, but it bears repeating. In an InfoWorld blog item, Paul Venezia pretty much explains why the Amazon thing is not Ubuntu’s biggest problem. Rather than paraphrase, I’ll let you read it on your own:

http://www.infoworld.com/d/data-center/ubuntu-has-bigger-problem-its-amazon-blunder-203467

Best quote: “But the biggest problem I have with the Amazon debacle is another comment by Shuttleworth: “Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.” That level of hubris from the founder of Ubuntu, in the face of what is clearly a bad idea badly implemented, should leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. If this idea can make it to the next Ubuntu release, then what other bad ideas are floating around? What’s next? Why should we maintain that trust?”

Indeed.

Further, and quoted in the blog above, Etienne Perot outlines what a mess this is — and how to get out of it — in a post from a few weeks ago here:

https://perot.me/ubuntu-privacy-blunder-over-amazon-ads-continues

One of the solutions: See “Step 3: Make it opt-in, rather than opt-out”.

Canonical, white courtesy phone . . .

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The vision thing

July 25, 2012 5 comments

The Linux Foundation posted this on Facebook this morning: “TODAY’S NEWS: Torvalds, Shuttleworth and other Linux/OSS visionaries to be in Barcelona Nov 5-7. Will you be there?” Of course, it links to the press release here.

I would grant you that Linus Torvalds is a visionary — perhaps, arguably, an accidental visionary in the sense that he never expected the kernel he developed would grow into what it has become. But fortunately for everyone involved, Torvalds is a visionary who has kept a significant degree of humility amid the vast contribution to society he has made.

Looking at the lineup in the press release, I would have put Marten Mickos on the release as a “Linux/OSS visionary” instead. Mickos is the MySQL guy, despite the fact that it has gone through a couple of, um, changes since he sold it to Sun in 2008, and is now in the evil clutches of Oracle. Regardless of what it has become now, MySQL is an important piece of FOSS history, and Mickos deserves the visionary label, along with a degree of gratitude for fostering such an important project.

But Shuttleworth? I’m not so sure how he ranks as a visionary. Doing great work in promoting Linux/FOSS in financially backing Ubuntu is commendable and worthy of praise, but this is hardly “visionary.” Add to this going off on his own to develop things that are generally not used by the wider FOSS community — Unity and HUD come immediately to mind — and arguably he has done more to stifle progress in the wider FOSS world rather than contribute to its advance. How this is visionary remains to be seen.

Further, I think I can put Shuttleworth’s contributions to the wider FOSS paradigm better in perspective with a little help from The Oatmeal here. If Linus Torvalds is Nikola Tesla, then Mark Shuttleworth is Thomas Edison.

No, Linux Foundation, I won’t be going to Barcelona for the European version of LinuxCon. But thanks for asking.

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!

On the radar

May 16, 2012 2 comments

Without going into minute detail, the last several days have been busy ones where I have been unable to get to a blog post. While this may be refreshing news to some, the proverbial deck has been cleared — almost — and I have a few items upcoming this week and a couple that, to be honest, I’ve been chomping at the bit to talk about.

Like . . .

What the hell, Dell? One of the many bad things about being so busy this weekend and earlier this week is that I missed the bus on giving Dell the slicing-and-dicing and drop-kicking they deserved, and still deserve.

Don’t take my word for it: This is what happens at a Dell conference, attended by Michael Dell, in Copenhagen: “Damn! I did not know the dress code was blue tie and male. I am at Dell’s big summit with Michael Dell in Copenhagen. Here we learn how to say ‘shut up bitch’ and that women don’t belong in tech.” Which, as an aside, prompted this excellent commentary by Molly Wood on C-Net.

Michael Dell, apparently you did nothing here, and you missed a great opportunity. This is what you should have done: a.) taken the Dell employee responsible for organizing this event, slap him on the back of the head and then tell him he has 20 minutes to clean out his office and leave the Dell corporate premises; b.) if the person in charge of Dell Denmark is not the same person as the one involved in the previous step, repeat process on him as well with the same instructions; c.) apologize to the women staff at Dell, women programmers in general, and women everywhere in general for such an arrogant display of misogyny sponsored by your company.

But no. Instead, here’s what we get as a lukewarm apology from Dell via Google+ — not exactly the best outlet for this, by the way. This apology is lacking in several ways: a.) the ratio of “we’re sorry” to “we’re so awesome” should be completely flipped in this apology; b.) Michael Dell was in the room at the time and heard it for himself, lending every reason that c.) the person responsible for arranging for this speaker should be fired, to say nothing of d.) that this apology had to be dragged out of Dell as opposed to them being proactive about it.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest, so I can continue with . . .

Watch for CrunchBang Waldorf: The CrunchBang Waldorf development builds have been out for a couple of weeks now and I have it running on a ThinkPad T30 — as ancient as it is dependable — and the build is running flawlessly. I can’t imagine that there’s much wrong with it at this point. At least I haven’t been able to break anything on it . . . yet. Philip Newborough has done a great job on the Debian Wheezy-based version of the distro and I’m hoping there’s going to be a new release soon.

Fuduntu, too: As promised in the last blog item where I apologized to Fuduntu project leader Andrew Wyatt (and not to Ubuntu’s self-appointed etc. Mark Shuttleworth, just to quell the rumor spawned by those who didn’t actually read the last blog item), I’m currently running Fuduntu on another laptop, and I’ll be talking about it later this week as well. So far, so good.

The Alto 3880 Honeymoon: A few months ago, I did a review of the ZaReason Alto 3880 laptop and I liked it so much, I got one of my own to use on a daily basis. Over the past few months, I’ve grown to really like the machine to the point where I use it daily (which I’m sure annoys some of the desktops in the lab). I will write about using the Alto over the last few months, and how much I like this machine. And the keyboard thing I mentioned? Not a concern — it’s just as tough as the ThinkPad’s.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m officially changing the acronym SaaS to Sarcasm as a Service and opening for business.

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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An apology is owed

May 11, 2012 22 comments

It has been brought to my attention that I have been somewhat hard on a particular Linux distro and its esteemed project leader. I am told that I have said some mean and unfair things about this distro and its leader, and that I should take some time to rethink my position on said distro and the person in charge.

I have called this person some nasty names, mostly in private but sometimes in public. I have called him out in on these pixelized pages of Larry the Free Software Guy for what I think — or at least now I realize, I mistakenly thought — were ridiculous moves and questionable motives in making his Linux distribution.

It was arrogant, mean and stupid of me to be so unwaveringly rigid on my criticism over all this time, and I realize now that an apology is owed.

So please accept my heartfelt and sincere apology Andrew Wyatt, lead developer and project leader for Fuduntu, for all the things I’ve written and said about you and your project. Anyone who takes the time to create a Linux distro to push forward the wider FOSS paradigm — in the spirit of community and not with a me-first agenda — deserves much better than the shallow criticism I’ve heaped on you and Fuduntu in the past.

I’m very sorry.

Allow me to make it up to you by giving the latest version of Fuduntu a test drive for a review on this blog in the next few days.

Also, Andrew, I hope we can work together going forward for the betterment of the FOSS paradigm.

[You didn't really think I was going to apologize to The Mark and the Ubuntu Apocalypse, did you?]

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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Sentinel’s Media Lab and GIMP (no, not related)

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

A shout-out for the job: As some of you know, I am not only a FOSS advocate, but I am also a newspaper editor; the latter of which pays most of the bills. As such, I’m also part of the Santa Cruz Community Media Lab that is run by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which is hosting a gathering at Cruzio at noon on Thursday (that’s tomorrow). It’s a sign-in affair with only a few seats left, so you have to RSVP to the Media Lab or e-mail on-line editor Tom Moore at tmoore-at-santacruzsentinel-dot-com.

In my position as big kahuna of tech blogs, if you have a tech blog and you live in the Santa Cruz area, you’ll want to participate in the Media Lab. You can do that by contacting me at the Sentinel at lcafiero-at-santacruzsentinel-dot-com, I’ll be there, waiting by the Windows box.

Single-window GIMP: GIMP 2.8, with its long-awaited single-pane set up (oh, thank God!), is finally here. I haven’t yet put it through its paces, but I did want to mention before I do that this is a welcome improvement. Many folks have gotten used to the multiple windows in GIMP. I have never gotten used to them. In fact, they mock me every time the come up because, invariably, I get lost. That’s an operator error, I’ll be the first to admit, however having just one window to deal with will certainaly help the GIMP-challenged among us. A review is forthcoming.

Remarkably clear and 63 among the redwoods in Felton.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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UDS: He did NOT say that . . . did he?

May 8, 2012 3 comments

For reasons mentioned in yesterday’s blog item, I’m not at the Ubuntu Developers Summit in Oakland. Oh, I could go up there and attend — it’s only 80 miles from the cozy confines of the Felton redwoods — but I value my life and I’d like to keep it, thank you very much.

This is not to say that I don’t hear about what’s going on there from friends, as well as from members of the Ubuntu Apocalypse, who are in attendance and are blogging, tweeting and communicating in some form or another (no smoke signals yet, sadly). I do hear a lot of what’s going on, and I thank everyone for posting the updates.

Of all the gems from yesterday’s presentations, which featured The Mark but not in a black turtleneck and jeans (I lose that bet), there is one quoted by a Web site called OMG Ubuntu where Canonical’s Chris Kenyon announced at UDS yesterday that Ubuntu is on course to ship on 5 percent of the world’s PCs next year.

Honestly? I hope this happens. Honestly? I think there’s a better chance of a squadron of pigs flying in formation over me while I set a world’s record for the 100-yard dash just before giving birth. To triplets.

Let’s put aside the fact that this is a significant backpedal from The Mark’s prediction that there are going to be 20 million new Ubuntu users this year. I’m going to let others handle that routine grounder.

Some are willing to move the goalposts for Canonical in order for them to succeed. A valid viewpoint there, though one with which I don’t agree. Pull the goalie if you want — I’m even willing to give that issue a pass as well.

I’m going to travel the more reasonable route, simply questioning their sanity, casting a suspicious eye at their motives and, most importantly, wondering aloud about their metrics. Rather, I’m going to rage against the machine, as I often do, and let a voice of reason, Jef Spaleta, drive here. In a post on my Facebook page relating to the OMG! Ubuntu article I posted, Jef makes the following astute observation on why this is not a “clear win” with these few paragraphs:

“Larry, Ship does not mean sold…generally speaking. And I have pretty much no information on China and India and other emerging markets. They could really have an upward trend there..but its not exactly easy to try to verify even in a ballpark sense.

“The real question I have is: If they did ship as many as they say last year… why isn’t that enough revenue to be self-sustaining? And if they get to 5% next year… will that be enough revenue to be self-sustaining at present expense levels? There OEM partners are going to throw them under the bus as soon as Canonical needs to start passing costs on to OEMs instead of eating them.

“I fear they continue to focus on the wrong metrics. Hitting 5% and not having a sustainable business model to service that growth is classic boom/bust business. Do OEMs value Ubuntu enough to pay an equitable share of the cost of its development? So far its not clear that the answer to that is yes. And until its clearly yes… this is not a clear win. The bigger Canonical gets and the longer this drags on, while servicing red ink there ledger, the harder it will be for them to steer the ship off the rocks.”

Well said, Jef.

OK folks in Oakland: Keep having fun and enjoy the Kool-Aid.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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Welcome, race fans

May 7, 2012 4 comments

Throughout the South — or anywhere that holds a NASCAR race — you’ll see signs that say “Welcome, race fans” pop up with ubiquity. So it would be interesting to see if there’s a crop of “Welcome, Ubunteros” signs cropping up in Oakland for the Ubuntu Developers Summit, which starts today.

Have fun, guys and gals.

I won’t be there. I can hear the collective sigh of relief. Since I’m the Emannuel Goldstein of the Ubuntu/Canonical set, they’re just going to have to broadcast my picture during their three-minutes-of-hate session and leave it at that.

Rather than attend an event designed to line Mark Shuttleworth’s pockets with “coin” (pronounced kwan), I think I’ll do something more constructive. I’m teaching a class — it’s sort of a rolling head start into the next school year — on Python to homeschooled middle schoolers/high schoolers at my daughter’s base school. Using “Snake Wrangling for Kids,” we’ll get started on making some FOSS developers, hopefully, out of some of the students here.

So, benefit one or benefit all?

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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