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Are you a fool?

December 11, 2013 5 comments

Mark Shuttleworth thinks you’re a fool. It’s up to you whether you prove him right or prove him wrong.

Yesterday, C|Net posted a story about how Ubuntu Touch OS has found its first smartphone partner, complete with a photo of a fully bearded (about time) Mark Shuttleworth beaming from ear to ear.

Fantastic. Which carrier/partner/vendor would this be so I can line up and get the hardware? From the article: “He wouldn’t say which company has agreed to use the Linux-based OS, but said it will be offered on high-end phones in 2014.”

Oh. He won’t say. OK. This, of course, would elicit from the most skeptical of us this simple demand: “Partner, or it didn’t happen.”

It goes without saying that we’ve heard this before — grand announcements from Canonical which are only that and nothing more. A huge fanfare at CES in 2012 for Ubuntu TV and nearly two years later, just in time for next year’s CES, it’s not here yet. Two more words: Ubuntu Edge.

And with every grand announcement from a self-appointed leader in the FOSS world, you have to ask yourself how this plays to the wider world outside the Open Source paradigm. If — as some people claim — Canonical/Ubuntu is the “leader” of Linux promotion to the wider public while consistently failing miserably in producing on the projects it proposes, what are folks left to think? One takeaway is that FOSS is a failure because Canonical/Ubuntu can’t or won’t deliver.

Shattering credibility, in large part, is Canonical’s profound “contribution” to Linux and FOSS as of late.

Speaking personally, I’ll just pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, and I’ll get on my knees and pray . . . .

What will it be? Are you a fool?

See you Sunday, if not sooner.

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!

Getting the show on the road

December 9, 2013 2 comments

While we’re approaching mid-December, it would be prudent for me to point out that preparations have been under way for several weeks now for the Southern California Linux Expo, known this year as SCALE 12X.

You’ve heard me brag about the fact that SCALE, now in its 12th year, is the largest community-run Linux/FOSS show in North America. You’ve heard me repeatedly state that it’s the first-of-the-year Linux/FOSS show on this continent as well. I could say that I do it because I’m the publicity chairperson of the event. But even if I didn’t hold that position, I’d still say it.

It’s by far the one Linux/FOSS event of the year I look forward to most and the one around which I plan my year. It’s like in NASCAR, the biggest race of the year — the Daytona 500 — is first and kicks off the season. Going forward, I should also give fair warning to shows and expos east of the Rockies: I plan to submit presentations and make it to as many shows as possible in 2014, even if — gasp! — I have to get to second base with TSA agents and actually board an airliner to accomplish this.

But let’s put that tortuous visual aside for now.

As the SCALE Team starts putting together the 12th annual show, I should point out to readers that the Call for Papers closes six days from today’s writing — we’re at Dec. 9, by my calendar, so that means at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Dec. 15, your proposal will turn into a pumpkin if you haven’t submitted it. And you should — with the wide range of topics proposed in this informational link, you should have no problems finding an audience for your talk.

Want to be a sponsor at SCALE 12X? Easy enough: Send an e-mail to sponsorship-at-socallinux-dot-org (not using an e-mail link because, well, you know) and someone will help you out with that. Are you a dot-org and/or a nonprofit and want a booth? Gareth Greenaway is your man at gareth-at-socallinuxexpo-dot-org — drop him a line and say that Larry the Free Software Guy sent you.

Maybe you’re not presenting and maybe you’re not sponsoring and/or hosting a booth of your own, but there are two other things you can do.

The first thing you can do is attend. Yep, like life itself, 90 percent of attending SCALE 12X is just showing up — and, like life, it’s what you do with the other 10 percent that counts. Registration is now open by going here.

Want to help? We can always use it and we can always utilize a wide range of talents. Tell us what you can do and there’s a good chance we can find a place for you on the SCALE Team. E-mail us at staff-at-socallinuxexpo-dot-org

It’s a huge team effort every year that makes SCALE, and all the other shows around the continent (or, for that matter, the world), work.

You’ll be hearing more about SCALE on this blog going forward. And I look forward to seeing you all in February.

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!

Random Tuesday thoughts

December 3, 2013 2 comments

Not being one to let the calendar get in the way of when I post, I had a few random thoughts after visiting the normal digital hangouts and haunts during the course of an increasingly cold Tuesday. Like . . .

FOSDEM’s seeking a few good distros: Joe Brockmeier passed along to me a message about FOSDEM hosting a cross-distribution miniconference on Feb. 1-2, 2014, seeking submissions of talks, Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions, or round-table discussions from any interested representatives of Linux distributions or individuals who have a topic of interest related to Linux distributions. Got a proposal? Go here and submit it through Pentabarf, the FOSDEM proposal system (though it would be a good idea to check with Joe first — Joe outlines all of this here on his blog). Good luck in Brussels!

Test, test . . . is this thing on?: Chris Smart, the lead developer at Korora, is looking for a little help in testing Pharlap, a new driver manager for Fedora and a replacement for Jockey in the next version of Korora. Pharlap is shipping with Korora 20, and Smart hopes to get it into RPMFusion down the line, but it needs some testing. He talks about it in his blog, and if you have the time, the skills and the inclination, you might want to help out.

Unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, Ubuntu TV: One of these things is not like the others. Oh, wait: They’re all alike. Christopher Tozzi, whom many of you know as The VAR Guy, talks to Canonical in his latest item, “Canonical: Ubuntu TV Lives, But Linux Smartphones Come First.” The definition of “life” being broad as it might be, yours truly still would like to call shenanigans with impunity on the folks from the Isle of Man. Why? Simple: Canonical featured Ubuntu TV last year (2012, for those of you keeping score at home) at CES — not a small, inexpensive venue for a coming-out party — and now Jono Bacon follows up with a quote in the article that Ubuntu TV is “still not as complete as we liked it to be” nearly two years after the fact. If Ubuntu TV lives, that’s really not much of an existence, is it?

One more thing: The Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards are out. Not a lot of surprises, but something that deserves special mention is Aaron Seigo reflections on KDE’s excellent showing — a leader at 30.6 percent, putting together votes for KDE and KDE Plasma — in the Desktop Environment category.

See you Sunday, if not before (and Felton LUG members, bear in mind there’s no meeting this Sunday. Enjoy the yuletide holiday instead and see you in January).

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!

Apoplectic? Moi?

November 10, 2013 6 comments

I can imagine that in the wake of, um, events over the past few weeks regarding Mark Shuttleworth’s and Canonical’s, um, behavior, many of you might think that I was apoplectic about it; green-enraged, up-the-wall-and-across-the-ceiling furious about being tagged a Teabagger by The Mark, to say nothing of the cease-and-desist letter sent by Canonical to Micah Lee regarding fixubuntu.com.

Nope.

Shuttleworth needs to learn a lot of things, one of which is a closer look at the American political system, not to mention how the closely the playbooks of Canonical and the right-wing Tea Party are related. Also, we already know that The Mark has offered a non-apology apology — akin to the “non-denial denials” we used to get from the White House during the Watergate scandal — where he says, among other things, he might have offended the Tea Party with his remarks (note FOSSForce.com — no smileys here, so I guess he was serious) and he says our framework may vary when judging Canonical’s behavior.

You nailed it on the last one, Mark.

But the big picture? It’s saddening moreso than maddening.

One thing from this whole situation that bears pointing out is that when long-time Ubuntero Aaron Toponce leaves Ubuntu, it’s a serious matter. Aaron’s blog item is worth a read, as are the comments. Especially the comments: What’s monumentally ironic is that Jef Spaleta — with whom I run neck-and-neck for the title of Canonical/Ubuntu Public Enemy No. 1 — actually urges Aaron to rethink leaving Ubuntu and sticking it out, trying to change Ubuntu from within. Jono Bacon? He waves and says “good luck.”

There’s a conclusion to be drawn there, but I’ll leave you to make your own.

Actually, what has kept my attention is looking at doing some more testing now that I have some more hardware to test upon. The two distros I’m going to give a test-drive this week — wait for it — are VSIDO Raptor Fluxbox because, well, it looks like Terry Ganus has been going great guns on his Debian Sid-based distro and he just released this guy at the end of last month, and Korora 19.1, now coming in Cinnamon and MATE flavors.

But that’s for next week. See you then, if not sooner.

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!

On a quiet Sunday

October 20, 2013 10 comments

The weather is starting to cool off and the sky was an incredible blue today, so much so that I was taken away from today’s digital dealings — not the least of which was this blog and installing Salix OS on a Dell Insprion D610 (wicd, my mortal enemy, we meet again!) — so I did the install and I confess I went outside and enjoyed the day.

So that’s why you’re getting this blog on Sunday evening. Apologies to those expecting it earlier in the day.

Nevertheless, last week the Italian blog Magliettabianca published online the second of its two-part interview with Larry l’uomo Software Libero (the original English from which the interview is translated into Italian is here). Bear in mind that I’m not used to being on the other side of the questions, so when I was asked who true leaders of FOSS were, I booted what was a routine grounder.

The first thing I thought was, “Oh, crap — I’m going to forget someone,” and I did; a lot of folks.

In answering, after talking about Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, I started with the people I could think of right off the top of my head that I’ve respected and admired: Jon “maddog” Hall, Aaron Seigo, Patrick Volkerding and Bill Kendrick, before shifting genders to include the women who make FOSS work: Dru Lavigne, Robyn Bergeron, Deb Nicholson, Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph and Selena Deckelmann. I knew there were others that I couldn’t think of and I said so in answering the question.

So I feel bad for leaving out a whole battalion of folks who could easily be considered FOSS leaders: Lance Albertson at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab; Usenix’s Julie Miller as well as her Usenix colleague Rikki Endsley, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, San Francisco State University’s (and OLPC advocate) Sameer Verma, Amber Graner at the Open Compute Project, Ken Starks of Reglue, Ilan Rabinovitch and Gareth Greenaway at SCALE . . . the list is almost endless.

More importantly — and I’m sorry I didn’t make this point in the interview — what makes FOSS work is everyone who chops wood and carries water, so to speak. Leadership is fine, but it’s getting the mundane things done that counts, so to all who do the work for whichever FOSS program you’re involved in, our gratitude is boundless.

I wish I had thought to say that during the interview. Next time . . .

One more thing: Mark Shuttleworth seems to have ruffled some feathers in KDE circles with his latest blog post, which of course won’t be linked here (but rest assured it is easily found). Shuttleworth, who has often displayed a tell-tale estrangement from reality, makes a couple of bizarre assertions, like saying that Canonical’s critics twist the English language (like he never does that . . . ) and likens Ubuntu/Canonical critics to the Open Source Tea Party — painfully ironic since the playbook of both the Tea Party in the United States and Canonical are strikingly similar.

Nevertheless, the beef revolves around Mir, of course, and rather than outline the hubbub, I’m going to give the keys to the blog now to KDE’s Martin Graesslin and his blog and let him drive. I have a rule that whenever someone says something far better than I can, I let them have the soapbox. And Martin speaks for me here.

Have a great week and see you next Sunday, if not sooner. Now to tackle this install and see if I can prevail over wicd.

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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On the money

October 13, 2013 2 comments

[Apology: Thanks to a work crisis of biblical proportions, I could not make SeaGL this past weekend. My apologies go to anyone who was expecting to see me -- for reasons good or ill -- and I promise you that I will be there next year.]

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You have to hand it to Rwanda. Not only does the East African nation put its money where it’s mouth is when it comes to educating its children using the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, they also put the XO on their money, shown above on the 500-franc note.

In talking to San Francisco State University’s Sameer Verma, one of the leaders of the OLPC-SF group which organizes the annual OLPC summit this upcoming weekend in San Francisco, he says that the Rwanda project is at 220,000 machines and growing, and they are doing it well.

In fact, they’re doing it so well that the government of neighboring Kenya is taking a look at the program that the Rwandans have already established in an effort to emulate it, which they plan to do next year, according to the linked article.

Meanwhile, back in the states, the OLPC Summit is scheduled for Oct. 18-20 at the SFSU Downtown Campus on Market Street. You can register here, and if you can’t go and want to help someone else to go, you can donate there as well. But if you have a chance to go, you should make it there.

Also on the radar this week:

Rumors of its demise . . . : Jim Lynch of IT World wrote an item mentioning the demise of Medibuntu with the click-grabbing headline, “A harbinger of doom for Ubuntu?”

Pffffft. Seriously, who’s writing the headlines over there?

First, I had to look up Medibuntu — is it an Ubuntu spin for medical professionals? — before finding that it’s a spin for “media, entertainment and distractions.” In his defense, Lynch also writes in the article that it would not make much of a difference to Ubuntu if Medibuntu goes away, since most of what is found on it can also be found Ubuntu itself.

But let’s be careful with that “harbinger of doom” thing, OK? Had it been a *buntu that begins with an X or a K, then we’d have to call all hands on deck. But this? Nope. Not even close.

Larry l’uomo Software Libero in italiano: For those of you who speak Italian, there’s a new Free/Open Source Software blog called Magliettabianca which presented me the honor of an interview — a two-part interview, no less! — this week on their site. Part two comes up next week, hopefully, and if you don’t speak Italian, not to worry: The English translation (or I should say the original English interview) can be found here (yes, I know it’s “wide range,” not “ride range” — my typo). Let me say to the team members I know, Edoardo Maria Elidoro and Marco “Milozzy” Milone — and to the rest of the team: Alessio “Alfierenero” Perona, Davide Cipolla, Diego Pi, Elisa Peroni, Enrico “Magliettabianca” Bastelli, Fanfurlio Farolfi, Federico Di Pierro, Gaetano Di Bari, Mario Calabrese, Massimiliano Donini, Stefano Bergamini — “grazie mille a tutti” for the honor of appearing on what looks like an excellent new on-line publication for Italian FOSS advocates. Keep up the great work!

Off to Felton LUG. See you next Sunday, if not sooner.

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!

Things that make you go “hmmm”

September 8, 2013 5 comments

This has been an extremely busy week for yours truly — school has started and the curriculum for the Python for Web Development class is being finalized (class starts on the 20th for students at Alternative Family Education in Santa Cruz, and the loaner laptops have all had new installs of CrunchBang because, well, I’m the teacher) — and nothing terribly exciting jumped out in the FOSS realm that needed my immediate attention.

This is not to say nothing happened, of course, but not one topic will dominate the pixels on the screen you’re reading. But a couple of things popped up on the radar, like . . . .

Intel to Canonical — Go to hell: Phoronix reported Saturday that “the mainline Intel Linux graphics driver has reverted the patch to support XMir — the X11 compatibility layer for the Mir Display Server in Ubuntu Linux.” Hmmm. That seems to be a very quick 180 by the chipmaking giant which interestingly, as it turns out, is heavily invested in Wayland. From a practical standpoint, it just looks like Canonical is going to have to do the work itself; Alan Pope said something to this effect when he tweeted, “It just means more work for us (Canonical) to keep integrating xmir patches into x with each release/update.” But the subtext, as far as I can see, is that Intel is saying this to Canonical: You want to go your own way? Fine. Do your own work, and good luck. Maybe Ubuntu’s walled garden isn’t looking so good after all.

Better not pout, I’m telling you why: Well, he knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Yes, the previous sentences just scream out begging on bended knee for an NSA joke, but I’m not making it here (see, guys?). But I’m really talking about the jolly one in red — Santa Claus — who will not share a name with the Fedora 20 relase. The Fedora Project community has voted and F20 and the winner is Heisenbug, though I personally gave high ranking in range voting to Santa the Christmas Guy. Nevertheless, Fedora has released the schedule for F20: The alpha goes out in a little over a month on Sept. 17, beta on Oct. 22 with the final release scheduled for Nov. 26.

A must read: Bruce Schneider in The Guardian. Nothing else to say here, just read it.

One more thing: An interesting discussion is currently taking place in the LXer.com discussion forum regarding Katherine Noyes’ articles and how she quotes the same people repeatedly. I’m not going to add anything that I haven’t said already in this thread, but I think the original poster is right. I read Katherine’s items often, and I’m going to ask: Please, Katherine, mix it up a little bit and ask more people — different people — for their opinions.

Felton LUG meets in about an hour. See some of you there.

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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