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Monday, Monday

August 9, 2010 2 comments

One of the more peculiar items I find when checking my blog stats is that I still get hits for a blog item I wrote in 2008 — 2008 — about Microsoft’s 10-K report that year and how it implies how good the open source paradigm might be compared to its own software and its own business model.

Bear in mind that one of the purposes of a 10-K report — somewhat like the medical disclaimers you hear on drug commercials that, after listening to it, would make any normal person avoid the drug at all costs — is to outline any potential pitfall in buying stock in the company you’re considering so you can’t sue them if, well, the stock goes south; way south.

Why the blog item keeps getting hits is beyond me, but for those who keep reading it, thanks.

A brave man: My friend Steven Rosenberg, who writes a tech column for the Los Angeles Daily News, wades into uncharted territory in his column today, where he outlines dual-booting a Lenovo with Fedora and . . . wait for it . . . Windows 7. As always, Steven’s blogs are always informative and instructional, and the reasoning behind his using the Xfce spin of Fedora is something that hadn’t occurred to me before. Steven says in the blog that he “prefer(s) the Xfce tools over those in GNOME. I like the Thunar file manager, the way you can ‘minimize’ a window but keep it visible on the desktop, I like the look (and speed; these helper apps are super-quick) and functionality of the Xfce terminal and Mousepad text editor. The Xfce configuration apps all work great, and there are plenty of them.” Nice work, as always, Steven. Keep us posted on this dual-boot adventure.

Survey says: Ken Starks over at the Blog of HeliOS has a fairly interesting survey to be taken, if you have several minutes. Tell Ken how you use GNU/Linux or Linux and help him out.

Now, who wants more coffee?

[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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Down on the farm(ers market) with Linux

July 17, 2010 1 comment

Colonel Panik, my good friend and constant commenter to this blog, asked me to give you all some insights about what we’re finding at the Felton Farmers Market every Tuesday.

An order is an order, and Bob does outrank me.

So here’s what we’re finding in Felton:

More people are using Linux than come to the Felton LUG meeting: We’ve encountered roughly a dozen people in two weeks who live in Felton who use Linux who we’ve never seen at a meeting. My oft-echoed question, “Have you heard of Linux?” has been met with a constant “Yes,” and many of the people who have, and who have used (or are using) it are already using Ubuntu. I like to think this has something to do with the Lindependence events back in 2008, not to mention the Software Freedom Day events we’ve had here since 2007, but there’s no hard evidence to back this up. It’s just a hunch.

Most people are looking for digital alternatives: There are only a handful of people — I can only think of two in two weeks that we’ve had the table — that have no interest in FOSS after explaining what it is. In fact, a lot of people are looking for alternatives to the laundry list of maladies that accompany their daily Windows experience. In fact, easing them into FOSS with the OpenCD is a good way to introduce them to programs like OpenOffice.org and GIMP, and eventually we can get them to change operating systems to something — oh, I don’t know — free as in freedom and price?

“. . . I haven’t used it, but my $FAMILY_MEMBER has”: This is a common response by those who have not used Linux/FOSS themselves. This is a promising sign. Even though they may not be using it, at least they’re aware of it. Those who went home with a disk hopefully will know more about it and come back the following week with questions.

There are other things that amaze me: The Google engineer who stopped by the table — “Oh, I’d better know what Linux is.” — and others who work “over the hill,” as we call the Silicon Valley, who would stop with strawberries in hand to take a look at what we had, and take a disk or two to try out. Also, what amazes me is that a lot of youngsters — teens, of course — who have used FOSS and don’t mind spending their time at the table talking about things like “Will GIMP ever have only one window?”

Thanks for helping at the booth so far go to: Bob Lewis, my partner in Felton LUG organizing, who is one of the most sensible and passionate Linux evangelists I know; Karsten Wade, who brings his vast knowledge and rapier-quick wit, and OpenSource.com swag, to the table; Frank Adamson, the Ubuntu-using octogenarian who took his daily mile-walk to come to staff the table; and to Peter Belew, for making his talents available at the table.

See you next Tuesday. Coming up next: Reports from OSCON.

[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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Pass the coffee

June 14, 2010 3 comments

Monday mornings are not as toxic to me as to others, to hear them tell it. In fact, I have a healthy indifference to Mondays; on a work-week landscape where my first day of the work week at the newspaper is a Thursday, Mondays essentially are my “Fridays.” All of which is to say, that’s not so bad.

Still, coffee would be nice, and while sipping a Kona blend, we can review some of the recent past’s events and articles, like . . .

It’s dead, Jim . . . finally: Novell came up the winner in the SCO case, according to Groklaw, and it looks like this is the end of the line for a one-time tech company turned litigation machine. Judge Ted Stewart ruled that Novell’s claim for declaratory judgment is granted; SCO’s claims for specific performance and breach of the implied covenant of good fair and fair dealings are denied. Denied. Did I mention it was denied? Also SCO’s motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial: denied. Deeee-nyed! So that’s game, set, match. Also, on a personal note, as a MoFo — as in a Morrison & Foerster alum, having worked for the firm in Tokyo — I have to say I’m proud of their work in this case.

Well, duh! Chapter One: Dell, which offers Ubuntu (if you want to wait for it — more on this in a minute), gives those thinking about ordering an Ubuntu machine some reasons for making the switch. While those ordering Ubuntu Dells wait — ask me about ordering one for a client and getting a shipment date in about a month, versus a few days for an identical Windows machine — they can take a look at Number 6 on this list: Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft Windows. You think? Sheesh.

Well, duh! Part Deux: What’s the weak link in the national security in relation to cyber war? Easy question, according to a recent ars technica article: Microsoft Windows. Richard A. Clarke’s new book, “Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It,” is still making quite a splash. A quote from the article: “While it may appear to give America some sort of advantage,” Cyber War warns, “in fact cyber war places this country at greater jeopardy than it does any other nation.” The enormous dependence of our financial and energy networks on the ‘Net open us up to potentially devastating online attacks. “It is the public, the civilian population of the United States and the publicly owned corporations that run our key national systems, that are likely to suffer in a cyber war.” Yep, that sounds like Microsoft Windows all right.

What’s that? The sky is falling? It figures that the likes of PC World would take a story involving a relatively obscure IRC server, give said IRC server undue credit for popularity, exaggerate the seriousness of the situation and exaggerate how long it went unnoticed all in one article. But that’s what happened when — HORRORS! — an announcement was made on the Unreal IRCd forum that the Linux version of the popular IRC server Unreal IRCd was contaminated with malware in November 2009, without anyone noticing it. Of course, what the article conveniently fails to mention is that unlike the infections automatically started by the mere presence of Windows, this one had to be downloaded, installed, and configured. That point was glossed over. Another glaring omission: How many in the wild security breaches have there been due to this? I’m not linking to the article — PC World is not getting hits from me — but you can go to LXer and see the article, with responses, if you wish.

I need a refill.

[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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Not exactly a confidence builder . . .

April 7, 2009 1 comment

Either it’s a textbook case of CYA or a lack of confidence in the product, but Microsoft and its PC partners are going to allow Windows 7 users to downgrade not just to Windows Vista, but also to Windows XP, (the latter — definitely go with the latter) if they so desire.

So says Mary Jo Foley’s blog on ZD Net yesterday.

Let me see if I understand this: I want to buy a computer with the latest Windows OS on it (when, of course, it’s out) and if it doesn’t, um, “work,” I can always go back to an earlier OS? Am I supposed to be confident in Microsoft’s ability to deliver when they have these provisions?

Isn’t this like being handed a parachute as you get on an airliner, just in case the plane doesn’t, um, “work”?

Fear not, according to the blog: TechARP — the site that broke the still-unconfirmed-but-likely-true report that Microsoft is planning to offer PC buyers a free upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 if they purchase new systems starting this summer — is now reporting that users who downgrade to XP also will be eligible for free Win 7 upgrades via the Windows 7 Upgrade Option program.

Oh, rapture!

Or another solution on your new machine is to run GNU/Linux, but that’s a whole different story.

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

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Categories: Microsoft, Vista, Windows 7

I’m a PC . . . running GNU/Linux

September 25, 2008 1 comment

I don’t know if the same ad agency which made the obtuse Jerry and Bill ads is responsible for the current “I’m a PC” ad — frankly, I don’t really care — however the latter commercials are remarkably better than the former.

And, naturally because it’s advertising — and not only that, but advertising for Microsoft, which arguably can be considered redundant in the deception department) — it’s misleading. Shocking, I know, but still.

We could blame Apple for fostering the misconception that PCs equal Microsoft. After all they started this whole nonsense with their “I’m a Mac” ad pitting a cool guy, or so goes the perception, in comparison against a drone-like PC user. So the groundwork that PC equals Microsoft has been laid long ago.

However, the fact remains that PCs do NOT equal Microsoft. PC no longer really equals Intel, despite years of dominance by that processor.

Joe Panettieri reminds Microsoft that they are not necessarily “PC” with their PC ad in his blog at Works with U. Despite the fact I think Joe gives too much credit to Microsoft for making the personal computer available to all — items that are hashed out in the comments on his blog, so I won’t go into detail here — it makes the original point that — and I can’t stress this enough — (ahem) PCs DO NOT EQUAL WINDOWS!

Like Joe, I’m a PC. A GNU/Linux PC. I’m also a Mac, a GNU/Linux Mac if you must know.

[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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Three strikes, you’re out

September 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Apparently, spending $10 million on Jerry Seinfeld and $300 million on an ad campaign in which both Seinfeld and Bill Gates try to show off their “human” side isn’t paying off, and Microsoft is pulling their ad campaign tomorrow, according to this blog item.

In fact, in a classic case of advertising euthanasia, a third episode in the ad campaign may not see the light of day.

Pity.

Not.

The fact is when you compare this ad campaign — which was as mysterious as it was offensive — to others, whether it’s the current “I’m a Mac” or even the legendary “1984” ad, you can see an interesting parallel: Just as Apple blows Microsoft out of the water with its technology — OS X versus Vista? You decide — it also parallels its superiority in its ads. Conversely, Microsoft shows it’s ineptitude both in their inability to hire and execute an effective ad campaign in the same fashion that it produces inadqueate software.

[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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Strike two

September 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Arguably, you could maybe give the Jerry Seinfeld-Bill Gates a pass for not hitting one out of the park with their first ad, despite the fact that it was a bunt foul in the annals of advertising. And maybe I was a bit hasty with saying that the $300 million that they spent on this ad campaign is wasted

Or maybe not.

You be the judge of this, the next Microsoft ad in the series, which is probably as bad — no, it was as esoteric — as the first one. What’s even sadder is that it’s not funny.

Not only that, at least the Mac ads are humorous and — hey — the ads actually talk about computers.

It will be interesting to see what comes next. I could understand that you may not want to directly involve computers in an ad — it worked in this ad 24 years ago — but the way the current ad agency is handling Microsoft’s ad borders on criminal.

Good thing for us, too.

[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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