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Archive for the ‘SCaLE’ Category

It’s Friday, I’m in love

August 13, 2010 4 comments

Ah, love! The Cure’s song that carries today’s blog title bounces gently off the walls of the office while I think about the things I love about GNU/Linux (or Linux, if you’re so inclined).

Like . . .

  • A multiplicity of distros: Oh, 350-odd (and some not so odd) active Linux distributions in their wide range of uses, even though about 50 of them are relevant and regularly used by the GNU/Linux-using public. Some think that’s too many, but I would disagree: Distros are like ice cream, and you pick the flavor that suits your taste (not to mention your needs) and use it. I’d prefer to have hundreds to choose from rather than have a Baskin-Robbins limitation to 33 flavors. [Those who know me know I'm a Fedora guy, but the boxes at Redwood Digital also run Debian (especially on the Macs), Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and a PII box with AntiX Mepis.] To appreciate the amount of choice we have, a visit to DistroWatch might be in order.
  • A variety of desktops: Who’s limited to what environment appears on our screens? We’re not. Thanks to the big daddies — GNOME and KDE (the former which I use most often and the latter which I’m growing to like more over time) — and to those desktop environments which leave the processor’s horsepower to more important digital matters — take a bow Xfce and LXDE — we have a wide range of options. Of course, if four isn’t enough, throw in IceWM and Flux and . . . .
  • The busy Beavers at Oregon State: The crew at Oregon State University deserve special mention. Chances are when you download a FOSS program or a distro, it comes to you directly from beautiful downtown Corvallis, Ore., home of the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (well, OK, perhaps OSU isn’t downtown per se, but you get the point). Kudos to OSL operations boss Jeff Sheltren and infrastructure architect Lance Albertson, as well as the rest of the OSL’s staff, for keeping the FOSS programs available. In addition, the OSL’s efforts hardly pale in comparison with the dedication and commitment to FOSS in OSU’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, which is responsible for the Oregon State Wireless Activity Learning Device (or OSWALD). A tip of the hat — a Fedora, of course — to EECS faculty professors Tim Budd and Carlos Jensen for the OSWALD, and great work, all.
  • Showtime: The various Linux/FOSS shows and expos throughout the year are great to attend — the ones I can make, like the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) and OSCON are the ones around which I plan family vacations. Throw in other shows into the mix like the Utah Open Source Conference in October and the other standards like Southeast Linux Fest, the OLFs (Ohio and Ontario Linux Fests), Calgary Open Source Systems Festival (COSSFEST), while tossing in new shows like Texas Linux Fest, and the calendar is full of opportunities to promote FOSS and learn a thing or two if you aren’t careful.
  • My peeps: You all know who you are, and don’t think for a minute I’m going to try to name all of you because I’ll forget someone and then they’ll feel bad and I’ll hate myself for forgetting for years to follow. Thank you to those who make everything work across distro, desktop and program borders — you are truly the heroes of FOSS and have my undying respect, gratitude and love.

    [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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  • Weighing in on SCALE 8x

    February 21, 2010 1 comment

    Now I know what people mean when they say, when they’re exausted, that “it’s a good exhaustion.”

    After two days of the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 8x, attendance has been nothing short of phenomenal. Although the folks at registration will have the final number once registration has closed, but it inching past 1,500 as of Saturday.

    It showed: Traffic on the Expo floor has been so heavy that several of the vendors had run out of their giveaway items by midafternoon Saturday.

    Karsten Wade’s keynote speech Saturday morning had an overflow crowd; between the Westin theater and the overflow into the Kennedy room, we counted about 275 people listening to Karsten talk about being a catalyst in communities. Not only this, most of the other sessions were some of the more popular sessions were standing-room only.

    Has it been flawless? No. Bandwidth out to the Internet has been a problem, but when you have 700 licenses across the network, things are bound to bog down — Of course, no realistic amount of bandwidth would be sufficient for such a geekfest (it appears that four bonded DSL lines just don’t cut it). SCALE is discussing how to improve that next year.

    At the Fedora booth, I got to meet several teachers — folks who attended the Open Source Software in Education sessions on Friday — who attended Saturday, new to Linux and FOSS and full of curiosity. The folks staffing the booth — Ben Williams (Southern_Gentleman), Clint Savage (herlo), Karsten Wade (quaid), Scott Williams (vwbusguy), and me (lcafiero) — have been doing an outstanding job.

    A recap of the event will follow. Watch this space.

    [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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    Playing catch-up

    December 6, 2009 1 comment

    No excuses: I have been incredibly busy and with not a whole lot to say until now.

    “Incredibly busy” means getting the Redwood Digital Research machine pointed and driven in the right direction — anyone who needs small business/home office work with FOSS solutions, RDR is for you — and working at the short-staffed newspaper.

    “Not a whole lot to say” — a rarity for me, I know — means reading a lot, trying to get the hang of (in no particular order) Python, Gnucash and the intricacies of PHP, as well as coin-flipping between Drupal and Joomla to experiment with on our trusty server, Squidworks.

    But when I do get time, like on a quiet Sunday morning when I face the prospect of going to Mirano’s school a little later to network a second laser printer — ah, the joys of being the IT Dad — I do get to play catch-up.

    A couple of things on the proverbial radar:

    SCaLE: The Southern California Linux Expo 8x is in the starting blocks. As the first big Linux expo of the year, SCaLE is a must-go event. Papers are being called for, booths are being signed-up for, arrangements are being made. It’s in late February. Be there or be square.

    Fedora 12: Fedora 12, code named Constantine, is out. Go and get it. Sooner than you might think, you’ll see a review of 12, which I didn’t do right away because I wanted to put it through its paces before saying anything about it. In a nutshell, it rocks. And that’s a quote.

    Linux Dairy Council: OK, so it’s has nothing to do with dairy and even the lactose intolerant can participate, but the Linux Dairy Council — a temporary name relating to the industry consortium around which dairy products are promoted — recently got underway, organizationally speaking, to promote the Linux desktop.

    Oh, and I also took the time to clean up the buttons below to relate more to what I advocate/use/like/etc. More to follow.

    [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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    And now for something completely different . . .

    August 2, 2009 1 comment

    For those of you who follow this blog religiously — and that would be only about four of you — you know I don’t normally write anything unless I have something to say. Normally, I have lots to say, but having the time to put it down in this blog is a luxury that, sadly, escapes me.

    But I did want to put down a couple of things on this quiet Sunday evening, nearly Monday morning, while I’m still thinking of them. Like

  • Open Source and Free Software Reporter is making a comeback. Starting this week, a more streamlined version of my former news Web site will be released to the reading public again. You have been warned. Or not.
  • I’ve taken on some media responsibilities for the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 8x), which takes place next February. It’s an honor to be working with the crew that puts on what I used to say, in an unofficial capacity, was the best Linux show in the country. But now I can say, in an official capacity, that SCaLE is the first and most important show of the year.
  • It was great to see that the Oregon State University Open Source Lab taking a more proactive approach to tooting its own untooted horn at OSCON this year. They asked some folks who use the OSL if they’d post a sign at the booth — and we complied at the Fedora booth, of course — stating that this project uses the OSU OSL, and it goes without saying that they really didn’t have to ask. For all they’ve done for Fedora, and a variety of other projects, the debt of gratitude goes beyond posting a simple sign. You guys and gals have been silently behind much of the FOSS world for so long, and it’s about time you took some credit for your work.
  • I did some housecleaning below on the buttons. Some that have been there for years are now there no longer. You’ll have to figure out which is which, if you’re that interested.
  • It’s getting ready to be Monday and, perhaps, I may write more later.

    [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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    Road Trip of the Penguins: Epilogue

    February 23, 2009 2 comments

    A thousand pardons — while Sunday at the Southern California Linux Expo was less busy, it was easier to spend more time in more lengthy discussions with visitors who came by the booth at SCaLE. However, while I should have updated this running blog on SCaLE, I didn’t. Further, I had the Paso Robles-to-Santa Cruz leg of the driving chores, and I didn’t get home until late (which explains why I missed the Fedora Weekly News deadline).

    So now that the mea culpas are out of the way, I have to say on the whole the SCaLE weekend — from Fedora Activity Day to finish — was an unqualified success.

    From Friday’s face-to-face get together where we were actually able to sit in a room with people we talk to on a daily basis on IRC or by e-mail to carrying on two- and three-conversation talks at the Fedora table during Saturday’s “rush hour” (which, essentially, was a better part of the day), I would hope that more regional events have as many attendees as SCaLE did.

    Several points about the weekend:

  • I swear on a stack of O’Reilly “Intro to Linux” books that my spilling a cup of coffee at the OpenSUSE booth was a complete accident on Sunday afternoon. If Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier hadn’t been handing me iguanas to give to the kids, then that wouldn’t have happened. And, I think it’s fair to say that I did clean up the mess . . . .
  • Muchissimas gracias a Maria Luisa de KDE para el refresco, y cuando tiene la foto de tu y yo, yo quiero una copia de la foto.
  • I spoke more Spanish at SCaLE than I have on any two days since I left Miami 22 years ago, and because I lived in Japan 7 years ago, I kept mixing up Spanish and Japanese in conversation — which probably made me sound like a bigger lunatic than most people think I am.
  • One of the funniest things was to see Mirano, Malakai and Saskia sitting around the hotel room on Saturday night emptying their bags and going through the swag as if it were Halloween candy.
  • Happy Birthday again, David Maust (CTO of Tall Umbrella, our neighbor at SCaLE) — any company that give you two birthday cakes on your birthday is worth mentioning.
  • Press: We had our share of media visitors at the booth over the weekend, who spoke to Karsten Wade about matters Fedora: In order of appearance — Nathan Willis of Linux Weekly News; Kata Tanaka Okopnik of Linux Gazette; Steven Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Daily News; and a guy whose name I didn’t get. Not only this, press photographers were all over the fact that we had XOs at the booth and one child per laptop using them.
  • Cool things about SCaLE: The guys who organized it (all of them) who hosted an excellent show; the XOs at the OLPC booth, the Earth Treasury booth and, of course, at the Fedora booth; ZaReason’s CTO Earl Malmrose installing Fedora 10 on one of the company’s laptops and keeping it displayed during the course of the show (thanks, Earl!); FSF’s larger GNU stickers (as well as some of the new swag at their table); the constant activity at the KDE booth; finally meeting (after corresponding at length with) David Nalley, Clint Savage, Jon Stanley, Tom Callaway, Joseph Smidt, Scott Ruecker, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, Joe Smith, Nathan Haines, Jono Bacon, Gareth Greenaway, Stuart Sheldon, Orv Beach.
  • I’ll blog on this another time, but what is it with people who stop by the booth — any booth, and not just ours — just to waste time in meaningless “let-me-tell-you-why-your-distro-sucks” one-sided conversations? I’m serious — where do these people come from, and don’t they have anything better to do? As far as I’m concerned, these are mostly one-sided conversations — I just smile and nod while I wait for a valid point to arrive in the conversation (which, in more cases than not, never has the courtesy to show up).

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

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    Road Trip of the Penguins, Part 1a

    February 20, 2009 Leave a comment

    Whew. After jumping through a plethora of techincal hoops, the Fedora Activity Day got underway a little behind schedule, but with a group of people that far exceeded the number of folks who signed up.

    Throughout the course of the day the room varied from 12-20 people, working both on documentation and on font packaging during the course of the day. The morning and early afternoon was dedicated to docs, and the mid- to late afternoon want to font packaging. Yours truly stayed on the safe side of the street, continuing the documentation while other braver souls took on the font packaging.

    Mirano spent the day with the me as Malakai and Saskia went to Disneyland. Other than a quick dip in the pool and a few laps, she spent the entire time in the Fedora Activity Day working on her own version of documentation (i.e., Neopets correspondence, I think).

    On the whole, despite the fact that we got a late start, the Fedora Activity Day looks like a success so far. There certainly isn’t a shortage of people, and one of the interesting aspects of the entire event is the foot traffic that wandered in, some of whom we “put to work,” in a nice way of course.

    Dinner, sleep and the first day of the expo to come tomorrow.

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

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    Weighing in on SCaLE

    February 18, 2009 2 comments

    OSCON is months away. LinuxWorld — excuse me, Open Source World — might as well be an eon or two away. What’s a person to do in the meantime?

    If you have the misfortune of living outside the Golden State, hop a plane and make your way to Los Angeles this weekend for the Southern California Linux Expo.

    If you’re within walking or driving distance, by all means you should be able to get your fix before the summer at the Westin Los Angeles Airport from Friday through Sunday.

    The seventh annual edition of this first-of-the-year GNU/Linux show is growing by leaps and bounds. With its unique placement on the calendar, its importance in the grand scheme of the Linux year grows also.

    While both Bradley Kuhn and Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier are delivering keynotes, the lineup of speakers at various sessions this year are top notch.

    For starters, on Friday Edward Cherlin talks about Open Source Textbooks, Cathy Malmrose of ZaReason talks about women’s significant and understated contribution to open source, Stormy Peters tells us how things actually get done in open source and Joe Smith talks about College and Open Source.

    (Of course, the piece-de-resistance for the day is that all day Friday, Fedora is having its Fedora Activity Day in the Midway room — stop by. And that’s before the Fedora Birds of a Feather from 7-8 p.m.)

    If that’s not enough, Clint Savage tells us about Fedora Remix on Saturday — a very cool way to roll your own — along with Brian Che on a Real Time Introduction to Linux and for the legal eagles, you might want to catch Rob Tiller talking about Patents and Open Source After Bilski.

    Of special note on Sunday — other than Zonker’s keynote — are Nathan Haines presentation entitled Growing Up Free and Akkana Peck’s Bug Fixing for Everyone.

    Speaking of bug fixing, not only is Fedora spending Friday dealing with some housekeeping items on fonts and documentation, Ubuntu is holding a Bug Jam all weekend.

    Add this to the 82 exhibitors and you have yourself a great start to 2009.

    I’ll be spending most of my time in the Fedora booth, so feel free to stop by and say “hello.”

    [Also, to those in the Silicon Valley, I hear that the SVLUG booth may need a little help in the staffing department . . . . Now is the time to come to the aid of your LUG :-) ]

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

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