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We’re everywhere

August 3, 2014 1 comment

My good buddy Ken Starks is never at a loss for a good Linux tale.

A master at putting Linux boxes in front of underprivileged kids in Texas through Reglue, Ken is also a master of weaving a folksy story in the tradition of other Texas wordsmiths like Jim Hightower (oooh, he’s going to hate me for that), and his latest installment on FOSS Force is one shining example.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait. As is usually Ken’s standard fare, it’s a good story.

LJ-Extremist-red-stampKen’s FOSS Force item puts the exclamation point on the fact that Linux users are everywhere, whether any of us have had direct involvement or not in introducing someone to it. Not only that, it accents the fact that the general reach of Linux is much further than the arm’s length we expect it to be when we hand someone a live disk or live USB stick and give them some instructions on how to use it.

Many of us who advocate for the adoption of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) have been waiting for the day when we can say, “Yeah, we’re ready for prime time.”

So, yeah, we’re ready for prime time.

When the Felton Linux Users Group hosted the table promoting FOSS as “organic software” (no artificial additives or preservatives, all natural 1’s and 0’s) at the Felton Farmers Market in the past, we would encounter many Linux users who were introduced by friends or neighbors. These were people we know from our town — it’s not very big — and for whatever reason they had for not coming to meetings, they used Linux and were happy with it.

It’s not perfect. You still have to pay attention to your hardware and software when using Linux, much in the same way you pay attention to your house as a do-it-yourselfer who frequently haunts Home Depot or Lowe’s. As mentioned with mantra-like frequency in this blog, Linux and FOSS work best for those who consider hardware as more than just a toy or a diversion, and paying even a marginal amount of attention to it, not to mention learning some of the most basic maintenance practices, pays huge dividends.

So we’re everywhere.

ONE MORE THING: Speaking of friends, Don Marti posted an interesting blog item where he asks if you’re seeing buttons on his page. Are you? If you are, you need to get Disconnect or Privacy Badger (Shameless plug: I use Privacy Badger and I think it’s fantastic — thanks, Electronic Frontier Foundation).

As a Privacy Badger user, I get a small button saying “Privacy Badger has replaced this button.”

Good exercise, Don. Thanks for posting it.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, Fosstafarian, Larry the Korora 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!

Making do with the iguana

November 4, 2013 1 comment

Ken Starks, my good friend in the Lone Star State, was firmly plopped into a predicament recently when SolusOS sadly suspended operations. We’ll look at Ken’s solution in a minute, but I wanted to give the passing of SolusOS its due: I tried it, liked it, I thought Ikey Doherty was on the right track and, sadly, I find it incredibly unfortunate that there were not enough hands on deck to keep the distro going.

So Ikey suspended operations. Perhaps someone will pick up the ball and run with it, but that remains to be seen.

On several occasions, I’ve given this assessment of how distros thrive or die: In short, I’ve said that distros live and die by their quality and what they have to offer; the better ones keep going, and the not-go-good ones atrophy to varying degrees before becoming obsolete.

I was wrong, and I apologize now, when I said only bad distros go by the wayside. I’ve changed my tune accordingly.

Sometimes good distros get suspended in the limbo of closing up shop due to various reasons — life changes by the lead developers and/or higher-ups, a shrinking community that cannot maintain the distro because, well, there are only 24 hours in a day, or any other reasons that a distro stops moving forward.

SolusOS falls under this category, just as Wolvix did several years ago (shortly after I reviewed it here — hopefully that is a coincidence). Wolvix, a Slack-based distro, was developed by a single lead developer and had, for all intents and purposes, one of the best control panels I’ve ever seen in a distro — an excellent control panel I haven’t seen since.

Anyway, back to Ken’s predicament: I know that Reglue, the Austin outfit that keeps Ken out of trouble while he supplies underprivileged kids with Linux boxes in the area, was planning to use a verison of SolusOS for its hardware, along with the educational respin of Linux Mint 13/Cinnamon by Randy Noseworthy (no, he and I are not twins, as someone suggested recently, though we have never been seen in the same place at the same time) and also with the Zorin 6.4 educational spin.

Not anymore: Ken writes very eloquently, as usual, here and finds that the next candidate up for the kids in Austin with the Reglue hardware is OpenSUSE: Education-Life.

That’s a good call. OpenSUSE does not get the skylit, red-carpet adoration and accolades many think it deserves, but it consistently puts out a solid distro with a solid community. Also, since Ken is a keen observer on distro quality and ease of use (or lack thereof), it’s a great endorsement for OpenSUSE for Reglue to be at the top of the list.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang 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!

The Reglue $32,000 Campaign Challenge

July 29, 2013 14 comments

At this point, the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign for $32 million is just north of $7 million.

At this point, the Reglue Indiegogo campaign for $32,000 is just south of $4,000.

And that’s after Mark Shuttleworth kicked in $1,000 to the Reglue campaign (a sincere thank you for that one, Mark; sincerely and seriously — no snark).

If you do the math, $32,000 is 0.1 percent — one-tenth of one percent — of $32 million. But I hate fractions and decimal points, so I’m going to round up the figure to, oh, 10 percent by throwing out the decimal point and swapping the digits instead.

With this 10 percent factor, I hereby throw down the gauntlet to each and every Ubuntu Edge contributor.

Here’s the challenge: You bought an Ubuntu Edge phone for $600 or $800 already? Great. If you can afford to spend that much on a phone, you can kick in 10 percent of that to the Reglue Indiegogo campaign to help underprivileged kids around Austin, Texas, get Linux boxes, as well as providing the upkeep and day-to-day operations of nine computer learning labs in and around Austin.

You didn’t buy a phone, but you believe in Canonical’s project enough to place some money down? Fantastic. Now, how about about donating 10 percent of what you gave to them to a project that not only provides the aforementioned Linux boxes and computer labs, but also provides Internet connectivity to the most needy of their clients?

That’s all I’m asking, Ubunteros: 10 percent of what you gave to Ubuntu Edge.

[This is not to say that those who didn't donate to Ubuntu Edge are exempt. If you are a good Fosstafarian and want to see the good that Reglue does succeed, by all means donate.]

Bonus: Here’s your chance to make me eat proverbial crow, Ubuntu fans. I’ll sit in the digital sideshow dunk tank and let you throw baseballs to put me in the water. If you donated to BOTH Ubuntu Edge and Reglue — your Reglue donation must be at least 10 percent of your Ubuntu Edge donation — you have accepted the challenge, so post a comment to this blog with your real name and the amount of your donations to each. Upon my confirmation of both donations, I will comment back with a statement and/or observation to each and every comment about what Ubuntu is/has been doing right and/or something positive about Ubuntu.

Double bonus: Want to see me eat my words for an entire month? How’s this? If Reglue makes its goal of $32,000 — with or without the help of Ubuntu users and fans — I’ll write a month of Sundays of Ubuntu blog posts extolling the glory that is the adjective-and-the-animal-with-the-same-letter. That’s a month of Larry the Free Software Guy blogs, which run on Sundays, accenting the greatness that is Ubuntu. The top four Ubuntu Edge/Reglue donors (top Ubuntu Edge donors to Reglue, that is) each get to pick one of the four topics for four consecutive Sunday LtFSG blog items singing the glowing praises of Canonical, Ubuntu or both.

[Looking at the proverbial scoreboard, the top donor in this category so far would be Mark Shuttleworth. How about it, Mark? Think you can rally your troops?]

There you go, folks. You have a few weeks left. Feeling up to the task?

=====

Oops, I did it again: Every time I mention Ubuntu Edge in a blog post, I am going to mention this. I still strongly advocate for folks to donate to the following groups instead of giving millions to Canonical. Give instead to:

Reglue (especially Reglue, for reasons mentioned above)

Partimus (bringing Linux boxes to classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area)

CrunchBang (or your favorite distro, if it accepts donations)

Tux4Kids (the folks who bring you Tux Paint and other educational FOSS programs across platforms)

Or even taking a look at the list of projects at Software for the Public Interest and choose one of those.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang 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!

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