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T-minus 96 hours and counting

January 16, 2012 6 comments

Those who know me well know that, among other things, I really don’t like ice hockey. Oh, I root for the San Jose Sharks in the National Hockey League because they’re the “home team” here, just over the hill in the Silicon Valley (Edit: One thing about hockey I do like is The Green Men at the Vancouver Canucks games — very funny performances outside the visitor’s penalty box). But to be honest, it’s a sport that makes me grind my teeth. The truth of the matter is that I don’t like it because I can’t play it.

SCALE 10XSkating on ice is hard enough. Canadians, Scandinavians and Russians: I know you all have a gene that allows you to turn pirouettes on the ice straight from the womb, and that’s great. But I can’t stay perpendicular for very long while on skates on frozen water. Add to this that I’d have to stay perpendicular on the ice and keep a rubber disk in front of me with a stick; difficulty squared. The clincher? Keeping perpendicular on the ice while keeping a rubber disk in front of me with a stick while people are trying to knock me down (which, of course, would anger me to bodily harm on the ice, and I understand that you can’t legally hit people with your stick, unfortunately).

“So,” you ask, “are we going to get to the point of this blog anytime soon, Larry?”

Yes.

While I don’t like hockey, currently my favorite article of clothing is my SCALE hockey jersey, which is now packed and ready for SCALE 10X. SCALE 10X is being held Friday to Sunday of this week, a mere four days from today, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

A little history: At SCALE 9X last year, the powers that be at the show figured there should be some way to identify the staff on the floor of the show — something that would make them stand out. The result: SCALE hockey jerseys, with the name of the staff person across the back. If you were a speaker, a vendor, an exhibitor or anyone else at the show and you needed something, you needed to give a hip check to the person you saw running around with a hockey jersey.

Or you could find me: I’d be the one in the hockey jersey taking five steps and immediately falling down, but I digress.

I’m giving two presentations at SCALE 10X this year — “User Groups 2.1: Noob Morning in America” (a reprise of last years “User Group 2.0″ talk) at 10 a.m. Friday in the hotel’s beautiful Catalina D room, and “On Beyond Zenwalk” on Saturday at 3 in the hotel’s Los Angeles B room. I’m also your host for the CrunchBang GNU/Linux “Birds of a Feather” event on Saturday evening as well.

Just don’t ask me to shoot and score.

More on SCALE 10X coming this week in this blog. Watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing 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!

A response to a FOSS skeptic

January 10, 2012 3 comments

Don Parris wrote a book a while back called “Penguin in the Pew.” The book is an outstanding guide for nonprofits — aimed at churches, but it can apply to any other nonprofit — in the way to use Free/Open Source Software, which Don like to call “libre,” but you know it’s the same thing.

SCALE 10XWhile the book is due for an update (I say, nudging Don . . .), I also have to confess that I’ve used the points the book makes to apply to the for-profit business advantages of using FOSS in a business environment. This is important to me in my work at Redwood Digital Research, where a great part of our business is to provide small businesses and home offices with FOSS solutions instead of the closed-source proprietary software they are, for the most part, forced to use.

But I digress. Don wrote a brilliant blog item this morning in crossing verbal swords with a FOSS skeptic. It starts out as follows:

“Someone I know well and admire greatly recently sent me a question about the premise of my book, ‘Penguin in the Pew.’ His question, I think, reflects the mindset of many who remain outside the realm of the libre software domain. It has taken me some time to get around to answering his question, but I thought I would expand on my response to him here on my blog.”

And that he does, in a very complete, civil and concise way. It’s definitely worth a read.

Meanwhile, I have two presentations (three if you count the UpSCALE talk I’m doing with my daughter Mimi), a tsunami of press releases and other media work to do for SCALE 10X before next weekend (not to mention studying for the LPI-1 exam), so posts are going to be a little sparse over the next two weeks; unless, of course, they’re about SCALE. That could be disappointing to some and a relief to others.

But, as always, watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing 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 kids are all right

October 17, 2011 1 comment

Gareth Greenaway, the tallest of the SCALE team running the Southern California Linux Expo, proposes to help out the smallest of the Linux/FOSS users.

How? For the first time ever, the Southern California Linux Expo will host the SCALE Kids Conference on Gareth’s watch, a free and open source event where the community leaders of tomorrow will be able to spotlight their talents and ideas.

According to a recent SCALE release, the goal of the conference is to be as “kid driven” as possible. The event offers a unique opportunity for kids 10 to 16 to see and experience the inner workings of planning, determine the content, and help to steer the direction that the conference will take.

The SCALE Kids Conference will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 in parallel with the main SCALE 10X conference.

For those parents and kids interested in helping to plan the event, Gareth and the SCALE team (and that includes yours truly) encourage you to join the scale-kids mailing list here.

Don’t forget: SCALE 10X will be held from Jan. 20-22 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Call for papers is open. Mark your calendars.

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 has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Draw your way to LA

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Want a free trip to the Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 10X — in Los Angeles in January, with accommodations, airfare and admission to the expo all paid?

In marking 10 years of the Southern California Linux Expo and 20 years of Linux, the SCALE team announced today it wants to incorporate an open-source approach to this year’s expo logo designs for publications, signage and swag.

The SCALE team is holding a contest, closing Nov. 4, to select the artwork for use on this year’s t-shirts, attendee bags, and other conference materials. The designer of the winning submission will win a free pass to SCALE 10X, including airfare within the continental United States, as well as a three-night stay at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport.

Here’s what you do:

– Grab Troy, the SCALE penguin. Files can be downloaded at the contest site – http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/blog/design-logo-scale-10x-win-trip-la

– Design a logo

– Send your submission by e-mail no later than 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Nov. 4 to contest@socallinuxexpo.org

But wait, there’s more. Make sure that

– Your design is in either a PDF, SVG or EPS format, 300 DPI or higher; and

– You include a caption/slogan to be used with the design.

Contest rules — and there are a lot of them (and the airfare covers only the United States) — and other information can be found on the contest page at http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/blog/design-logo-scale-10x-win-trip-la

SCALE 10X will be held from Jan. 20-22 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel. For more information on SCALE 10X, visit 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 has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

But wait, there’s more

August 8, 2011 7 comments

Yes, I know LinuxCon is next, and that’s in mid-August, but I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing and with Linus being there and all. But if you’re going to the next show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!)

Because there’s no proverbial hornet’s nest to stir up in the near vicinity, I guess I’ll just touch on a few topics and issues that have popped up on the radar as of late. Like

Ohio Linux Fest: There’s some big to-do up in Vancouver next week, something about twenty years of a widely used operating system that puts Windows to shame, a guy named Linus who doesn’t like GNOME 3 and other luminaries in the Linux constellation of stars, blah blah blah. But for those who can’t make that, you might want to head to Columbus, Ohio, to discover the Ohio Linux Fest next month. The event runs from Sept. 9-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus. The keynoters are Cathy Malmrose, of ZaReason fame, and Bradley Kuhn, of Software Freedom Conservancy fame. As this is the last big event of the year now that Utah Open Source Conference is in mothballs this year until next spring, it might be a good chance to get in a show before the year’s out.

But wait, there’s more.

Weighing in on SCALE: The folks at the Southern California Linux Expo — that’s SCALE 10X in January (that’s right, I said January) — plan to pull out a few stops for the show’s 10th anniversary. Rather than divulge what I already know, I can tell you they’ve moved up the show to Jan. 20-22, which is on the tail end of linux.conf.au — LCA2012 if you’re keeping score at home — which runs from Jan. 16-20. Can two different hemispheres handle two big expos back to back? Oh, easily.

But wait, there’s more.

Tails, you win: Another candidate for the distros-to-try-when-I-get-some-free-time list is called Tails, which stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. Michael Reed of Linux Journal writes a rather in-depth article about it on the LJ web site. While it sort of mirrors the latest OS offering from our own Department of Defense, it goes a few steps further for those who are not government workers and/or who want to take those few extra steps in the way of ensuring privacy.

With that, it’s time to hit the redwood trail.

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.

[FSF Associate Member] (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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SCALE 9X: Where ‘awesome’ starts in 2011

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Registration is now open for SCALE 9X — register now by clicking on the winking penguin. Better do it quick, though — SCALE 9X is about to start!

Truth in advertising: While I don’t really have a stake in what happens this weekend at the 9th annual Southern California Linux Expo — more commonly known as SCALE 9X — I actually co-chair the publicity committee. It’s an easy job because, quite frankly, this show more than any other really speaks eloquently for itself, and I just have to point at any facet of the show, smile and say “see?”

But even if I didn’t have a personal say in what gets publicized for the event, I’d still say that it’s an outstanding show.

SCALE 9X is where “awesome” spends the first part of the year before heading out to the other Linux/FOSS shows. It starts somewhere, and it starts in Los Angeles.

Two excellent keynoters — Leigh Honeywell and Jane Silber — will have their keynotes streamed live on 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Pacific Time. They lead a field of more than 90 speakers (one of which is me, of course) who begin with presentations on Friday morning at 9 (where you can hear “User Groups 2.0: Noob Morning in America” by yours truly in Los Angeles CD) and end Sunday afternoon. Throw in the mix an exhibit floor with more than 100 exhibitors and other pretty amazing things — laser tag on Saturday night — and you have a pretty solid expo.

The thing is, it’s all community-run. Unlike some of the larger shows which are put on by corporate entities — O’Reilly for OSCON and IDG for some of the others — the same group of guys have been putting this together, contributing their time and effort, and it’s a world-class show. I wear the “Hi, I’m Johnny-Come-Lately” nametag because I’ve only worked on the show for the last two years, but I can tell you that this is a pro-level operation. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with the SCALE 9X staff.

One of the highlights, personally speaking, will be the Fedora Activity Day, which Clint Savage so eloquently explains here. While other distros are partying hearty, Fedora is putting its nose in a book and helping the people who participate in its community to study in order to successfully pass the Red Hat Certified Engineer test.

There’s still time to register for SCALE 9X: Go here and click on the registration tab. You won’t be sorry.

And maybe the “A” in SCALE — now representing the latter part of the abbreviation for “California” — can be “Awesome” instead, making it the Southern California AWESOME Linux Expo. Why not? It would fit.

Larry the Free Software guy will report from SCALE 9X as time allows. 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. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)
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Looking back, looking ahead

December 29, 2010 3 comments

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.

[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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