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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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Eliminate DRM!

Game on

October 24, 2012 2 comments

Those who reguarly read this blog know that I’m not a gamer. Well into my sixth decade, my strong suit includes games that involve letters etched on wooden tiles, and my hand-eye coordination is limited to waving arm movements to accompany a full-throated, “Get off my lawn!”

Regardless, I do recognize the contributions that games make to the digital performance of hardware, and the subsequent technological advances to hardware. It’s a lot like the technological advances and developments in auto racing finding themselves worthy by automotive engineers to be included in passenger cars somewhere down the line.

So back in August when Gabe Newell said that Valve was going to bring Left 4 Dead 2 — which to me sounds like a final score: Left 4 Dead 2, Left advances (but never mind) — to Linux and called Windows 8 “a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space,” I would say that he would know.

According to a blog item by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes back in the summer, Kinglsey-Hughes writes that “Newell believes that the roadblock keeping gamers away from adopting Linux as their operating system of choice is a lack of games for the platform, so his company plans to bring a selection of titles — including the popular Left 4 Dead 2 — in an attempt to lure gamers to the free and open source platform.”

OK, I’m with you there, Gabe.

Fast forward to today: PC Gamer has a story about Steam — another gaming software company with a monosyllabic name — bringing Team Fortress 2 to Linux.

Is it me, or are we seeing a trend here?

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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