Yes, it only comprises a half of a percent — that’s 0.5 percent, if you’re keeping score at home — of all the Linux users. Yes, that translates to a microcosm of Linux users within a microcosm of overall computer users. So I understand if Linux on PowerPC does not apply to you.
But it might.
Regular readers of this blog know I have a soft spot for PowerPC architecture. I was a Mac guy before I was a Linux guy, and I became a Linux guy using Linux on PPC architecture before I finally — finally — warmed up to Intel, AMD and others. You’ve probably read here how well this processor works, and how fondly I remember Steve Jobs doing the Adobe Photoshop demonstration during every Macworld keynote while the PPC processor kicked Intel’s sorry butt time and time again.
While major distros have been making a bee line away from developing for the PowerPC architecture since Apple dumped the processor for the Intel one now in newer Macs, Fedora skipped its development of a PowerPC version of it’s current release, Fedora 14. They joined OpenSUSE in recently saying a hasty “adios” to an architecture that, sadly, is being used less in the hardware world.
[Currently, I have two iMacs at Redwood Digital -- a flavored G3 333MHz and an iMac G4 "desk lamp," both running Debian. Of all distros, Debian has remained consistent in its commitment to updating its PowerPC version of their distro. They also remain committed to developing for Commodore 64 and Atari architectures as well, while we're at it, but I digress.]
But there is good news for those who use the PowerPC: Fedora will be back in the PowerPC fold with Fedora 15, scheduled for release in May.
On behalf of the microcosm within the microcosm, thank you Fedora.
Now that I have finally disengaged myself from the what is commercially and socially — and for some, spiritually (and God bless you, every one) — known as “the holiday season,” I have been giving a lot of thought to how good a year 2010 was, the Sun purchase by Oracle and the Novell deal notwithstanding, and what 2011 has to offer.
It looks like 2011 will be the year of the Linux deskt . . . I’m sorry, what? Oh. Well, never mind. Let’s skip that one
Looking back at 2010, most recently we had both Russia and Cuba going to FOSS, which must prove Steve Ballmer right about Linux being Communist. After all, I think a young Linus Torvalds was able to see Russia from his house a lot better than Sarah Palin could from Wasilla. Meanwhile, Red Hat — oh, what’s in a name anyway, comrade? — became poised to be the first billion-dollar Linux company and stats show that they are gaining market share in the corporate server world. Go, Shadowman! And there’s that little green space cadet Android making gains in the various markets where it now works. So despite an Apple/Microsoft shell company buying Novell and the other — and more evil — Larry essentially killing open source at what was once the Camelot-esque Sun, 2010 was a good year.
Of course, 2010 would not be complete without the introduction of Chux, the Linux distro developed by Chuck Norris — A Linux designed by Chuck Norris would require no backups, as it would be too scared of Chuck to fail, and the CPUs run faster to get away from Chuck Norris. You don’t boot it, it boots you. Go here to take a look here.
What would I like to see in 2011? Glad you asked. What would be nice would be:
Digital pundits not saying that 2011 is the year of the Linux desktop, because it’s won’t be. And that’s OK. Believe me, until this year when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, I know the “wait-’til-next-year” drill very well. The year of the Linux desktop will come someday — as it should — but with all the advances Linux is making in server and smaller formats — yes, I’m looking at you, Android — we don’t have to put all our eggs in that basket to determine Linux a success. We don’t have to thump our proverbial chests and say “this year . . . the desktop,” and then when the end of the year rolls around and it isn’t, there’s not a whole lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. To say nothing of garment-rending . . . . The fact of the matter is that Linux and FOSS are as healthy as they have ever been, Novell and Sun sale notwithstanding.
Go to the show: Linux shows and expos are popping up all over, so you really have no excuse in 2011 not to go to one. The established ones, like the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 9X this year) and OSCON, are now being joined by a whole host of other events throughout North America. Most recently, Indiana gets its own Linux festival in March, aptly titled the Indiana Linux Fest. It joins, in order of appearance (off the top of my head — and forgive me if I forget your expo), SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest in Calgary, Texas Linux Fest, Southeast Linux Fest (in the GNU South), OSCON, Ohio Linux Fest, and Utah Open Source Conference. You’ll find me at SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest (hopefully — if they let me out of the country), OSCON and Utah Open Source Conference on an annual basis.
Oh, and one more thing: Lindependence 2011 will be held in early July, around Independence Day, in Felton, California — where Lindependence started a couple of years ago.
Last, but certainly not least:
Large distros carrying their weight in the FOSS realm: First it was the GNOME study by David Neary that had Red Hat, Novell and others carrying the developmental mail for GNOME — Red Hat and Novell with 10-plus percent each — while Canonical came in at, wait for it, 1.03 percent. Fine. That’s been hashed out already both on these pages and elsewhere. But the Linux Foundation released its annual report on Linux kernel development late in the year — go ahead and get the PDF file here — and while you’re at it, you might want to do a search for Canonical to see how often it shows up. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t. And I’m just going to leave it at that, hoping that Canonical and/or Ubuntu shows up on next year’s report.
Let’s all have a great 2011.
Larry the Free Software Guy — who doesn’t really like to refer to himself in the third person, but would rather do that than start this a blog post with “I” — gave you all a gift with a blog-free November.
Sorry to yank that out from under you, because there’s a lot going on in the FOSS world as we race into the commercially driven holiday season.
First things first:
Support Partimus: Six schools (so far) in the San Francisco Bay Area run GNU/Linux labs thanks to the efforts of Partimus, a nonprofit organization that provides repurposed computers running free software to students and schools which need them. Partimus is holding its first fundraising event on Dec. 15 from 5-7 at the Creative Arts Charter School, 1601 Turk St., in San Francisco. Register here, and even if you can’t make it, donate anyway — be a benefactor and fill in what you can afford — since it’s the kind of project that lifts FOSS and makes it more ubiquitous.
Sharpen your No. 2 pencils: In a little over a week, the Call for Presentations for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9X closes. December 13 is the deadline and if you’re inclined to give a talk, submit your proposal here. Judging by the resounding success of my presentation at the Utah Open Source Conference, I have submitted an updated, new-and-improved version of “User Groups 2.0: Noob Morning in America” for SCALE. The laser show introduction is something that is not to be missed.
[Note: OK, so there's no laser show, but the presentation is a good one, in my humble estimation.]
Back home again in Indiana: Another expo that has arrived on the FOSS scene is the Indiana Linux Fest, which recently announced its dates and location. The inaugural Indiana Linux Fest will take place on March 25-27, 2011 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel near the Indianapolis International Airport. The growing number of shows is a testament to FOSS’s strength and growth, and for those in the area — or even if you feel like heading to Indianapolis in a month other than May — you can race on over for ILF.
Saluting the kernel: The Linux Foundation released its report on development of the Linux kernel, and Red Hat still leads on the corporate side of things. Red Hat contributed 23,356 changes to the kernel since the release of version 2.6.12 on June 17, 2005, according to the report amounting to 12.4 percent of the total. Among corporate contributors, Novell was next with 13,120 changes (7 percent), followed by IBM (13,026, or 6.9 percent) and Intel (11,028, or 5.8 percent). But the greatest number of changes, the report notes, was made by people who were classified as being of unknown affiliation (35,663, or 18.9 percent). Another category of developer, of “none” affiliation, also made a sizeable contribution – 12,060 changes or 6.4 percent.
[A certain corporate entity based in Malta seems to be missing from this report, and you can read the PDF verison of the report here and determine which one that might be.]
So, did you miss me?
There’s a lot more where that came from and a lot of developments going forward. Watch this space.
Among the strawberries, nectarines, kettle corn and other fresh fruits and vegetables — and since when is kettle corn NOT a fresh vegetable? — the Felton Linux Users Group has set up a table offering Organic Software each Tuesday afternoon at the Felton Farmers Market; Linux, GNU/Linux and other Free/Open Source Software programs and information about FOSS, all with no artificial colors or preservatives, and software that’s healthy for the well-being of your computer.
In the first installment of this endeavor last Tuesday, we introduced Fedora, Ubuntu and OpenSUSE to a number of people who ranged from unenlightened to Linux-curious to the most experienced. We also had on hand the OpenCD from last year’s Software Freedom Day, which has Windows versions of FOSS programs on it.
Something significant occurred during the first tabling event last week: Most everyone curious enough to stop at the table knew what Linux is (one woman, an engineer for Google just over the hill in Mountain View, said that she had better know what it is. “Google . . . interesting name. What do they do?” I asked in mock curiosity). Those who were just curious — “How can software be organic?” — went away with a little more knowledge, at the very least, and some with a live CD to try out at home.
This was done a couple of times in 2008 and in 2009; in 2008 it was a lead-up to Lindependence 2008 that year in July. It seems the seeds sown in Lindependence 2008 are beginning to bear fruit.
Special thanks go to Bob Lewis for the table and for the time he spent; Frank Turner for the excellent signs, the Linux Journals and time he put in at the table; and Karsten Wade, who brought a significant amount of OpenSource.com items to help explain what it is we’re all about.
If you’re in Felton on Tuesday, come over to the Farmers Market at St. John’s Church, which is about a mile south of the light on Highway 9 (which is all the directions you need in Felton).
One of the great things about someone else writing something you wish you had written — other than the fact that you don’t have to write it yourself — is that now, thanks to the Internet, you can just link to an on-line written work and say, “Yeah, what he said.”
On the issue of getting started with a distro as a contributor — and I hope you are all contributors at some level (and if you’re not, here’s your chance to make up lost ground) — Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier nails it in his latest blog item on the topic.
Go there now — it’s worth the read. Thanks, Zonk!
No one is more surprised than I am that in my predictions last year, I actually got one right (namely, Number 9, about Fedora 11 being a great release). But one out of 10 is not a good average and, arguably, I can’t really top last year’s list this year, due to not enough inspirational events on the horizon.
But will I let 2010 pass without a several timely predictions? Hardly. As 2009 was a banner year for potential happenings that didn’t quite come to pass, this year lacks the inspiration that last year carried. But that would never stop me from delving into a preview into the new year, done again in David Letterman-list style:
10. 2010 will absolutely, positively, without a doubt be the year of the Linux deskt . . . oh, never mind. The year of the Linux desktop will come along around the same time that there’s a definitive, agreed-upon answer to the question, “What is cloud computing?”
9. MySQL gets a name change: With the purchase of Sun by Oracle, MySQL won’t be yours, or mine, or anyone else’s SQL for that matter. If anything is certain, it is the Oracle CEO’s now, which is why in 2010 the name of the world’s most popular open source (until recently?) database becomes LarrySQL.
8. Mr. T tosses his last grenade for World of Warcraft, converts to Battle for Wesnoth: Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a transcript of his side of the phone conversation — “Of course, sucka . . . Mr. T really is a hacka, fool, when he ain’t doin’ cookin’ shows . . . Ah pity the fool who plays World of Warcraft now that I’m into Battle for Wesnoth . . . Sure, I brought along my Mr. T grenade, ’cause I make this game look good!” Murdock!
7. OpenSUSE changes reptiles: The GEICO gecko replaces the long-standing lizard as the OpenSUSE symbol, and becomes its reptilian spokeslizard. The German distro gets an Australian native in an effort to foster true internationalism.
6. Linux Mint goes upscale: Having gotten tired of the minty freshness and looking to appeal to more cosmopolitan tastes, Linux Mint will change over the course of the year to something a little more contemporary. It becomes Linux Merlot, with a bouquet that resonates from the north side of the vineyard slope. The distro will go a lot better with most cheeses.
5. Also, Linux Mint forks into a smaller distro: Linux Mint developers who don’t drink wine, or anything else alcoholic, will fork the distro and make a version that will only run on thin clients, making it . . . say it with me . . . Linux Thin Mint. Monty Python fans continue to roll on the floor at the mere reference.
4. A farm version of the OLPC XO is developed: The One Laptop Per Child project provides a new version of the nearly indestructable XO laptop that is specifically geared toward those children who live on farms. Rather than calling it the XO, this version is called the EIEIO.
3. Mandriva creates an educational version: I missed by a mile last year on the prediction that Mandriva would explore its feminine side and release a more sensitive, nurturing distro called Womandriva. So shoot me. This year, Mandriva releases an educational version called Childriva. Count on it.
2. Sugar on a Stick expands: Sugar on a Stick, otherwise known as the Sugar Learning Platform, leaves the realm of simple USB sticks and thumb drives, and will provide its desktop atop Fedora on other types of “sticks,” like hockey sticks, incense sticks and fish sticks.
1. The Free Software Foundation expands, finally, into brewing: Walking the walk after talking the talk for so many years, the FSF has always had free software covered, so finally they brew Free Beer (cc) in 2010, a fine Boston lager with a recipe that is released under the GPL. While free as in freedom only — it’s comparably priced with other fine beers — all those free-as-in-freedom microbreweries can fork the brew under their own label, so long as they release their recipes under the GPL.
Happy New Year to all.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
[A moment of silence, please, for my dearly departed laptop power brick. Anyone who has a brick for a Fujitsu Lifebook that they can spare, please contact me.]
Friday’s edition of the Utah Open Source Conference must have been good. Reason: The day flew by.
Traffic in the exhibit area flowing pretty steadily for the better part of the day and the swag was getting into folks’ hands. Some of the questions we were getting ranged from the basic (“So what is Linux, anyway?”) to more complex (“Why does yum suck?” — No, it doesn’t, but that’s been handled in a past blog). The usual suspects are here: Open VZ, GNOME, KDE, for starters, as well as the Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu — the interesting part about this is these three represent the three roots in the Linux tree: Fedora roots go back to Red Hat, OpenSUSE’s to Slackware and Ubuntu to Debian.
Both Ian Weller and Paul Frields presented yesterday — Ian’s presentation was filmed by Scott Dowdle and should appear on the Montana Linux User Group site sometime soon.
Stormy Peters of the GNOME Foundation gave the keynote yesterday, and it was quite informative. I wish I could have stayed for the entire address, but someone has to watch the booth.
Again, with the amount of traffic and the number of people who have visited the booth, the day went quickly. I went to get lunch and realized it was 4 p.m. Not much later was the geek dinner at Mama Spaghetti’s (I think that’s its name).
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)