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Back in the saddle again

September 22, 2013 6 comments

A few of you e-mailed me and/or pinged me on IRC last week and said, “Hey, Larry the Free Etc., where’s the blog?” Sad to say, a variety of things kept it from happening last week — apologies all around — so I hope to make up for it with the outstanding piece of literature that currently graces your screen.

Included in these happenings that kept me from doing a lot of things I normally do, like blog for example, are the following: Software Freedom Day went off without a hitch around the planet, and I’m going to touch on that next week as the tales of great feats filter in and will be regaled at that time; and we started the AFE School’s first Python for Web Development class, which went well.

But more importantly, getting to this week’s more important announcements and observations, we have this:

Game on! The SCALE 12X Call for Papers is open. Last year, we turned it up to 11. This year, it’s an even dozen. The 12th annual Southern California Linux Expo – SCALE 12X – takes place on Feb. 21-23, 2014, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

The first-of-the-year Linux/Open Source software expo in North America – and the largest annual community-run Free/Open Source Software conference on that continent – SCALE 12X expects to host more than 100 exhibitors this year, along with nearly 100 sessions, tutorials and special events (if memory serves, there were 96 last year).

You have options at SCALE 12X, like presenting — see CFP above — or attending, with the same hotel discounts available this year as every year (registration opens tomorrow); or sponroring and/or exhibiting, with sponsors and corporate exhibitors contacting sponrship@socallinuxexpo.org, and dot-orgs contacting gareth@socallinuxexpo.org. Also, you can get involved by volunteering — e-mail staff@socallinuxexpo.org

But if you can’t wait until February . . . .

SeaGL flies in Seattle: Silly Pacific Northwesterners . . . it’s not enough to have one great show in the region in Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington. Nope, there’s an encore — FOSS advocates in Seattle want to bring that springtime Bellingham goodness down to the Puget Sound area by forming their own second regional show for a FOSS-starved area in Microsoft’s backyard. It’s called the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, or SeaGL (I’m going out on a limb and assuming that’s pronounced “seagull”). Yours truly will be giving a talk there on Friday (on CrunchBang, of course), and thanks to these guys and gals for wrapping up the expo year with a show in my favorite area of the country.

If you’re nearby, come on over to Seattle Central Community College on Oct 11-12. Even if you’re not, come anyway.

Thanks, Gabe: “It feels a little bit funny coming here and telling you guys that Linux and open source are the future of gaming,” said Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell said at LinuxCon in New Orleans last week. “It’s sort of like going to Rome and teaching Catholicism to the pope.”

According to various reports, including this one from Ars Technica, Newell acknowledged that while Linux gaming generally accounts for less than one percent of the market by any measure, Valve is going to do its best to make sure Linux becomes the future of gaming by extending its Steam distribution platform to hardware designed for living rooms.

Wow. Now that’s a huge boost for wider acceptance of Linux, clealry eclipsing by a light-year or two a nonexistent, community-funded super-ultra-mega-smartphone. Further, no Indiegogo donations were harmed in the making of this revelation.

See you next Sunday, if not earlier. Honest.

(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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Never too early for SCALE

October 7, 2012 4 comments

Now that Ohio Linux Fest is in the books and now that the only thing really left on the Linux horizon is LISA in San Diego just after Thanksgiving — but then, LISA is not for us mere mortals, but for the hallowed and revered system administrators. So we get to set our sights on Linux/FOSS events for next year.

Starting in February, we get to turn it up to 11.

The Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 11X takes place in February again — thank goodness — and is scheduled for Feb. 22-24, 2013, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel. As you might recall, SCALE 10X was moved to January, the weekend after linux.conf.au in Australia. While this caused a moderate amount of hue and cry, it proved that two major Linux events could be held on consecutive weekends on two separate continents.

Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with that exercise again this time, with SCALE 11X returning to its usual Presidents Day weekend schedule in February.

Here’s the lowdown: The call for papers opened about a month ago, and the deadline for submissions is Dec. 10. You’ll be notified by Christmas if your talk has been accepted. A complete run-down of what to do and how to do it can be found here.

Registration? If you’re ready to register, go ahead. You can go here and sign up now.

Matthew Garrett is giving one of the two keynotes at SCALE 11X, and his talk is entitled “The Secure Boot Journey.” He plans to detail his work over the past year – technical, political and diplomatic – in getting Linux to run on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface — more commonly known as UEFI — Secure Boot systems. He will outline the scenario where Linux users could not only be assured that they can run Linux out of the box in UEFI-based systems, but also how Secure Boot can be used to enhance security.

The second keynote has yet to be decided.

The usual tracks will be present as well as the celebrated UpSCALE talks and the legendary Games Event on Saturday night. More information on the keynote and other SCALE 11X developments will be released, of course, as they are confirmed.

Watch this space, or visit the SCALE 11X page at http://www.socallinuxexpo.org

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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No predictions in 2012, except . . .

January 3, 2012 1 comment

Normally, I take the time at the end of the year to be a complete goof (and that differs from the rest of the year . . . how?) and write some predicitions for the following year, like I did for 2009 and for 2010. I didn’t make any predictions for 2011 at the end of 2010 — rather, I wrote what I thought I’d like to see in 2011, followed by a Moment of Zen. For 2012, I decided to forego this practice altogether, if for no other reason than I can’t seem to fit a “year of the Linux desktop” joke into the mix.

But there are a couple of things we might see in 2012, like . . .

SCALE 10XLinux Expo Numbers Will Be Up: Don’t let the early curveball fool you: The Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 10X, held in January this year (as in about three weeks from now) in Los Angeles, kicks off the roster of Linux/FOSS expos for 2012, which stands to be the “Year of the Linux Desktop Expo” (See? You knew I’d get the Linux desktop in there somewhere). I’d be willing to bet that it has been obscured on people’s radar because of recently concluded the holiday season, so mark your calendars — and get yourself over to the registration page to sign up if you haven’t done so already. Also, the $109/night deal for SCALE attendees at the Hilton still stands as well. Because a.) what better way would it be to kick off this year and b.) how could you resist a weekend in L.A. with nearly 2,000 of your best friends?

That’s followed by Linux Fest Northwest (I’ll be there), Texas Linux Fest, and a slew of others. Which reminds me . . . .

I’ll be at more shows. Yep, I think I’m going to be heading east of the Rockies this year and submitting papers and venturing off to other shows where I have not yet been. This would include many, if not all, of the Linux expos on the other side of the Continental Divide. That could be an announcement or a warning — you decide.

One more thing: I heard this from more than one person. It could be a rumor, speculation, wishful thinking, acid flashback or whatever form these kind of statements take. I have no proof, just a gut feeling that it’ll happen. I could be wrong, but if I’m not, it’ll change the face of FOSS a little. OK, maybe it will change the face of FOSS more than a little.

It is this: Dell buys Canonical sometime in 2012.

Remember where you read it first.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research, in the cozy confines of his home office.)

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That’s my name, don’t wear it out

December 30, 2011 6 comments

Katherine Noyes put together a brief piece for PC World today about Linux release names which, overall, she seems to consider “silly.” In the process, she omits a great bit of detail on the “what” and “why” aspect of distro communities and how they come up with these “silly” names.

Digitally speaking, from a purely anthropological standpoint it is far from silly, and actually it’s quite an interesting topic, though Noyes seems to race through it without giving much detail.

So let me help out here.

SCALE 10XDebian: Release names come from “Toy Story.” As humorous as it is simple, this naming convention is one of the best. An interesting corollary to this is the Debian-based CrunchBang naming convention mirrors the first letter of the current Debian release, but matches it with a character from “The Muppet Show.” So Debian “Squeeze” is translated in CrunchBang to “Statler. “Wheezy” begets “Waldorf.” Statler and Waldorf, of course, are the two old guys in the balcony in “The Muppet Show.”

Linux Mint: I particularly like the naming convention Clement Lefevbre has come up with for Linux Mint. It’s alphabetically a woman’s name ending in “a.” We’re at Julia now. I asked Clement once what he’d do when he got to “Zelda” (or whatever the “Z” name will be for Linux Mint when they get that far . . . and they will), and he said that it was simple: Start with a name beginning with “A” and end the name in “e.”

Ubuntu: We all know the drill here — SABDFL* Mark Shuttleworth comes up with an adjective and an animal with the same first letter and hands it down to a waiting community. Which is in complete contrast to . . .

Fedora: There is a formula here that the Fedora Project adheres to before all hell breaks loose and fistfights break out in the Fedora community while they vote on the release name. The formula is simple: “$CURRENT_RELEASE_NAME is a (whatever it is — i.e., city, body of water, person, thing) and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_NAME.” Looking at Fedora 15 “Lovelock” to the current Fedora 16 “Verne,” it goes like this: James Lovelock was a futurologist, and so was Jules Verne. Now how they got from Verne to Fedora 17′s “Beefy Miracle” is a mystery for the ages.

OpenSUSE: OpenSUSE’s naming convention . . . does OpenSUSE even have a naming convention for releases?

Got a distro that has a naming convention worthy of mentioning? Let me know.

*Self-appointed benevolent dictator for life, for those of you keeping score at home.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office.)

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Meanwhile, back at El Ranchito . . . .

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Whew. Now that that’s over . . . the second “that” being what’s nebulously called “the holiday” and all its trimmings, we can now get back to serious discussions on FOSS.

Or not.

SCALE 10XBut first things first: SCALE 10X. The Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 10X will be held less than a month from now — on Jan. 20-22 — at the beautiful Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel. In its 10th year, this first-of-the-year show in North America is shaping up to be one for the ages, and since it’s a month earlier this year — taking advantage of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend — I have the sneaking suspicion that it’s being obscured on people’s radar because of the holiday season and, heck, SCALE is not for another couple of months anyway, right? Well, not this year. Again, it’s January 20-22 — mark your calendars — and get yourself over to the registration page to sign up. Also, the $109/night deal for SCALE attendees at the Hilton still stands as well.

Now, how could you resist a weekend in L.A. with nearly 2,000 of your best friends?

Meanwhile, if you — for whatever misguided reason — have your domain registered on GoDaddy, today is the day to move it from the SOPA-supporting, arguably sexist domain registrant to another one that is more along the lines of your policies (unless, of course, you support SOPA and juvenile ads. Which of course begs the question: What are you doing reading this blog?). Here’s a story about it from ReadWriteWeb outlining that Namecheap will donate a dollar for every transfer to the Elecronic Frontier Foundation. Go to it, folks.

Also, the rumors are true: I’m now using CrunchBang GNU/Linux as my primary distro and I’m getting more involved with that community as well. While I might be saying, “So long, and thanks for all the fish” to Fedora, my experience with the Fedora Project has been overall both pleasant and an education, and I like to think that all the connections and friendships made during that time weather this transition. I bring that up because people are saying “goodbye” when they really don’t have to — I’ll be around in a FOSS sense and, regardless of what distro you might use, bear in mind we’re still essentially working for the same goal, albeit taking different paths.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office.)

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Five for Friday

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Whew. Wrapping up the week after a 24-hour power outage in the wake of 70 mph gusts here in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Wednesday and Thursday, we have the following tidbits:

Speaking at SCALE: The SCALE team has been busy putting together the Southern California Linux Expo — that’s SCALE 10X for those of you keeping score at home (and, as Giants play-by-play guy Duane Kuiper once added, “but why would you?”) — and they’ve finalized the speakers for the sessions in the three-day first-of-the-year Linux expo in North America. It’s a good lineup — yours truly had a talk accepted, and I know for sure that my neighbors over the hill Alison Chaiken and Akkana Peck are also in the lineup — and when the list has been finalized, we’ll announce it here as well. Of course, yours truly and darling daughter have planned another upSCALE talk which should not be missed at SCALE 10X. Registration is open — don’t wait: Click here to register. I’ll wait.

SSHHHHHHHH: Carla Schroder wrote an excellent piece on tips and tricks for OpenSSH. For the uninitiated, OpenSSH is a powerful tool that lets you run applications remotely and allows you share files without having to set up a file server. If this interests you –and even if it doesn’t — it’s worth a look.

And they all came out and said “try me”: The last few weeks have seen a tsunami of releases. November saw a flurry that included Fedora 16, the rolling release of OpenSUSE 12.1 (which, of course, begs the question: What happened to plain ol’ 12?), Linux Mint 12 Lisa and CrunchBang’s Statler. I’ve written about the latter and I’m more enamored each day with it, and I’ll get around to the others next week. Cross my heart and scout’s honor. Meanwhile, if you wanted to visit them and get a copy for your own personal test drive, no one would be happier than me.

You animal: Rikki Endsley wrote this outstanding piece on Network World entitled “Everything I Needed to Know about Linux I Learned from My Pets.” The first line: “My relationship with my motley crew of cats and dogs is similar to my relationship with Linux. In both cases, I’ve learned that patience pays off, and life is better with than without them.” Indeed.

Thinking globally, acting locally: Mother Nature is being reasonable just in time for Felton LUG to meet. As those of you locals know, we had to move the meeting to the first Saturday for November and December because of the CERT training (they are the emergency responders in crises, so we thank them and let them have our spot whenever they want) on our usual second Saturday of the month. For those of you who are still awake, Felton LUG will meet tomorrow, 2-6 p.m., at the solar-powered Felton Fire Station behind the Felton Community Center. No program this month — run what ya brung — and there could be an installfest kicking off January 2012.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Make it so, SCALE

November 29, 2011 2 comments

A little history: Mimi Cafiero (yes, that’s my girl) and Malakai Wade, two teenage girls who are helping to organize SCALE 10X’s young people’s conference, staunchly proclaimed that, “We are not kids.” So the title of SCALE 10X Kids Conference was in peril from the start.

Yet in discussion on the mailing list on the name that shortly followed, Jenn Waterman had the perfect solution in a one-line e-mail:

“I would like to suggest ‘SCaLE: The Next Generation’ :)”

So after a little more discussion, the organizers for the event made it so. The SCALE Kids Conference became SCALE: The Next Generation.

Yesterday, the Southern California Linux Expo officially announced their conference for the next generation of free and open source (FOSS) community enthusiasts. SCALE: The Next Generation will be held Saturday, January 21, 2012, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

In their announcement, they invite the youth of the FOSS community to share their enthusiasm and excitement about FOSS projects with the other young people.

Talk submissions are reviewed by a committee of youths, parents, and volunteers planning the conference and evaluated solely on their merits. SCALE requests that submission dates be strictly honored in order to provide the committee enough time to choose the best set of proposals.

Presenters will have the opportunity to give a 20- or 45-minute presentation, and the desired time slot be mentioned in the submission.

The goal of both SCALE and SCALE: The Next Generation is to educate and encourage excitement about FOSS. Because of this, all presentations should be submitted in a free and open format, such as OpenDocument Presentation (ODP) or PDF formats.

Additionally the conference will also provide space where the next generation FOSS enthusiasts can see FOSS program and hardware projects in action. SCALE encourages those youths interested in showcasing a project that they themselves are involved in or simply excited about, to submit a one paragraph description about the project and what attendees can hope to see.

Submissions for both presentations and demonstrations should be emailed to gareth@socallinuxexpo.org

Important dates to keep in mind: Invitation for Participation Opens on Nov. 29 (yesterday); Invitation for Participation Closes on Dec. 19; and SCALE: The Next Generation takes place on Jan. 21, 2012.

Come on, kids . . . er, I mean, next-generationers — get those talks in and be a part of this historic conference.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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