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Miscellania missive

May 11, 2008 Leave a comment

First things first: Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, including my own as well as my wife, who is the mom of our daughter. Here’s a white carnation . . . .

Thanks, Congress: Most people, including me, thought Democrats were swept into both houses of Congress in 2006 on the wave of correcting the misdirection in which the nation found itself up to then and promote reform measures aimed at helping the people over corporations. Silly me. Unfortunately, this course remains unchanged, and Democrats instead have come up with starting-block totalitarian measures like H.R. 4279, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act (Note: Is there a Federal Bureau of Acronyms which has the responsibility to name legislation? Sheesh). This bill, passed by the House last week, creates a “top copyright cop” at the federal level and does the following, according to the bill’s author, Rep. John Conyers (who should know better): prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government; make changes to IP law to enhance the ability of IP owners to effectively enforce their rights; make it easier to criminally prosecute repeat offenders; and increase penalties for IP violations that endanger public health and safety. IP violations that endanger public health and safety? The only thing the House didn’t do is gift-wrap this for the RIAA and MPAA. Hats off to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who said ” The recording industry has made a business out of extorting money from students” whose computers are used by others for illegal downloading. “This could be the same type of situation.” More on the story here; and don’t forget to write or call your Senator, if you’re so inclined, since the legislation is bound for the Senate.

An aside: This has nothing to do with the digital realm, but it’s pretty awe-inspiring nonetheless. In fact, if this feat does not make your jaw drop, you’re either dead or you don’t follow baseball (which begs the question, “Why live?”). Yesterday, starting pitcher Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants struck out the first three Philadelphia Phillies batters on 11 pitches — three pitches to the first batter, four to the second and four to the third — in the top of the first inning. Wow. That’s what I call “dealing.”

Oh, and don’t forget: I’ve separated out the Felton stuff into its own blog here.

Sunny and clear, 58 degrees and rising — time to go to Mother’s Day brunch.

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

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Twin brothers of separate mothers

April 30, 2008 8 comments

One of us is a battle tested, recently retired career Army man who is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. The other is a former peace and social justice activist with portfolio who rose through the Green Party’s California ranks before taking up FOSS evangelism with a vengance.

One of us lives in Texas, where the stars at night are big and bright (clap four times here), while the other lives on the Central California coast, where — and it’s a law, I think — every sentence must end with the word ” . . . dude.”

One of us swears by KDE, the other prefers GNOME but really has an affinity for Xfce. One of us calls the operating system “Linux” out of laziness. The other makes a point of referring to it as “GNU/Linux” because the “GNU should get its due.”

Ken Starks and I have our differences. I would be willing to bet he doesn’t think Texas cheated in the Rose Bowl when they beat USC for the national championship a year ago (they did), nor do I think he would agree with me that the former Texas governor cheated in the 2000 election to win the presidency (he did ). Ken grew up a Cubs fan — anyone who knows me knows how much I detest the Cubs (’89 NLCS, anyone?) — but he now follows the Houston Astros, while I live and die, mostly die, with the San Francisco Giants.

Yet it’s safe to say that Ken and I are united in one thing: Promoting Linux (as he’d say) in the home desktop/laptop and small business environment; that, and making sure everyone knows they have FOSS options to their proprietary computing experience.

My introduction to Ken — I haven’t actually met him in person yet — came after what I thought was a slight in a Blog of Helios of one of my heroes, Abbie Hoffman. Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, Ken is the ever-outspoken helios. He and I started exchanging e-mails afterward, discussing — among other things — how to get GNU/Linux (thank you) in front of everyday people who would benefit from being out from under the thumb of Microsoft’s monopoly.

A result of these discussions is our partnership in HeliOS Solutions, where I do what he does in Texas on the West Coast, down to initiating a Komputers4Kids program in Felton. Another result is the project called Lindependence 2008, which we had discussed ad nauseum starting late last summer and had refined through the fliter of The Tux Project in the meantime.

So if you were to tell me a few years ago that I’d be teaming up with a Army vet on a project to save the digital realm for FOSS, I would have laughed myself into a new pair of underwear. If you were to tell Ken that he’d be teaming up with a tree-hugging, pony-tailed hippie, he’d probably have the same reaction.

Yet here we are, and that’s where we should be: United for the operating system, whatever we choose to call it, and united for the promotion of FOSS programs that work as well, and in some cases better, than proprietary software it should replace.

If our partnership is a testament to anything, it shows that promoting GNU/Linux and FOSS transcends background, upbringing and politics. In fact, it even transcends sports in general and, as much as I hate to admit it, baseball in particular.

(And, Ken, Texas did too cheat in the Rose Bowl . . . )

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

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Notes after recovery

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

First things first: I lied. In my last blog item, I said that I wasn’t going back to Linux World on Wednesday after a long, hard and profitable Tuesday. But with both San Francisco — the world’s greatest city — and Linux World being a two-edged bulb drawing this moth to its luminescence, I put aside home projects (remember the project having to do with rearranging the living room? Working on it . . .) and went back for another day.

Fortunately, I had my swag limiter on and didn’t end up with further arm injury. I know the stuff is free and I know that companies love to give the stuff away, but — hey — how many can insulators can you really use?

Let’s talk hardware: Something that I am woefully deficient in — both physically and mentally — is hardware. We don’t cover it enough at Open Source Reporter, and we plan to change that and increase our coverage. Without the hardware, the software isn’t worth much, now is it?

I spent the better part of the day getting schooled by some of the hardware manufacturers at the show; mostly by Fujitsu, which has a great selection and had very knowledgeable people working the show. Very patient people, too, because I think I should have won prizes — more T-shirts — for “dumbest questions of the show.”

Readers will be seeing more about hardware in OSR in the coming months — partially behind this effort, needless to say, is prodding hardware manufacturers to ideally open up their drivers to accommodate GNU/Linux or, at least, to get them to develop drivers if they don’t want to share the code — and we will devote a section to it in the print publication in January.

Creative Commons / Free Software Foundation / Electronic Frontier Foundation: You guys did a great job at the show, with CC providing the Fedora disks, FSF providing (as always) great information and some very cool stickers (thanks for the GNUs) and EFF having probably the best “join us” offer — a “SWAT-team” like cap in black with a stark EFF in white on the front. It’s great to work with and support these groups solely for the vital work they do; their swag is just icing on the cake.

They Might Be Giants: I got to see the San Francisco Giants game on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, hoping Barry would swing into history that evening. But it was not to be. However, I did see a great extra-inning game that the Giants uncharacteristically won. And Barry now holds the record anyway thanks to Tuesday’s swat, and the Giants are still numero uno in these parts, National League West standings be damned.

More to follow — with the exception of the Giants — on the pages of OSR and in this blog.

And as Helios likes to say: All-righty then.

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

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