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Waterloo or Alamo?

August 21, 2013 3 comments

Unless someone comes up with about $20 million in the next two hours — as I write this late on Wednesday evening — it looks like the Indiegogo campaign to raise $32 million fails.

mark_32milMuch will be made of this over the next several days in the FOSS press. But the marketing value aside, it’s hard to see how this campaign’s failure can be claimed as a victory for Ubuntu here, despite whatever spin the corporate masters at Canonical might produce as PR going forward. While it may have captured the imagination and while it may have inspired some to contribute, in the final analysis it failed — none of the money in the campaign will go to Canonical since it didn’t make its goal, and it begs the question of what happens to all those orders going forward.

Regardless, defeats are defeats. What remains to be seen is whether this is Canonical/Ubuntu’s Waterloo or its Alamo.

Those of you who didn’t sleep through History class will get the reference. Napoleon got throttled and was exiled after the battle of Waterloo in 1815, never to recover the greatness he once achieved. Meanwhile, 21 years later and a hemisphere away, 189 Texans took on a Mexican invading force of 1,800 at a mission near San Antonio — all the Texans died, but it inspired a remaining force to defeat the Mexicans a month later in San Jacinto.

It’s simple, really.

This defeat becomes a Waterloo if Canonical packs in this project and walks away. A speaker from Canonical a few weeks ago said he thought that, in his personal opinion, the company would drop the phone if the goal was not made.

But this defeat becomes an Alamo if Canonical rallies behind the Ubuntu Edge project despite the setback, and delivers the Ubuntu Edge next year as promised regardless of the Indiegogo campaign’s results.

Time will tell.

Friendly reminder: The final round of FOSS Force’s Best Personal Linux and FOSS Blog poll runs through Monday. So, if you have a minute or two to spare and are so inclined, vote here. While it’s a blessing and a curse, I’m on the ballot twice, for this blog and for Larry the CrunchBang Guy. I’d really like your vote for this blog, but the other one would be fine, too. Thanks. I’m Larry the Free Software Guy/Larry the CrunchBang Guy and I approve this message.

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!

Hold the phone

August 14, 2013 1 comment

First things first: I actually have a smartphone that, well, isn’t exactly used to its full intelligent potential. It’s old — an HTC G2 hand-me-down running Android — and it does for me only what a phone is supposed to do: Ring when there’s a call, stay connected while I’m talking (for the most part) and disconnect when I’m finished.

It’s a fairly feature-stocked phone. I could take pictures of, say, cats or what I’m eating and post them on social media, but I don’t.

You’re welcome.

Something that has been lost in the tsunami of Ubuntu Edge hype over the past several weeks is that an actual working smartphone with a FOSS-based OS will soon be available for about 10 percent of what you may have already paid for Canonical’s someday-to-be-produced-maybe product.

On Monday, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reported on ZDNet that a phone company called ZTE is making available a Firefox OS-based phone, which is supposed to be for sale on the company’s eBay store in the US for $80.

[However a visit to the ZTE U.S. eBay store has the phone up to just over $162 in bidding, so I am not sure who is right here.]

Regardless of what the real price is, I understand that it’s apples and oranges to compare the two. The ZTE is just a smartphone with Firefox OS, while the Ubuntu Edge concept, should it ever go into production, will be a computer that also acts like a phone.

Still, I’m not sold on the “revolutionary” aspect of Ubuntu Edge. I’m not sure how revolutionary it is to have your entire digital life on a device you can hold in your hand and, by accident, easily drop into a toilet; or as a news colleague did recently, drop her device irretrievably into a deep lake high in the Sierra Nevada.

I’m not convinced that spending $800 — OK, to be fair, marked down to $675 — on a not-yet-existing computer/phone that I stand a good chance of losing is prudent. But I would be willing to support Firefox OS and buy a ready-for-prime-time $80 smartphone — heck, even if it’s really $160.

We’ll have to see how this pans out.

Hey, Ubuntu Edge was mentioned again: This blog mentioned Ubuntu Edge and, of course, you know the drill by now.

Want to give some money to projects that really make a difference? Give instead to:

Reglue (especially Reglue, which is creating a new generation of FOSS users as you read this sentence)

Partimus (bringing Linux boxes to classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area, or any other project like it)

CrunchBang (or your favorite distro, if it accepts donations)

Tux4Kids (the folks who bring you Tux Paint and other educational FOSS programs across platforms)

Or even taking a look at the list of projects at Software for the Public Interest and choose one of those.

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 the radar

August 13, 2013 2 comments

Yep, I know we’re only a day removed from Sunday, but there are a couple of things on the radar that deserve addressing today, a beautiful Monday on which I don’t have to work.

Like . . .

mark_32milMissing the mark: Nine days left, $22 million and change to go. So it doesn’t look like the Ubuntu Edge campaign will make its goal next week, but Mark Shuttleworth is not deterred, claiming victory in a wide assortment of articles that are easily available across the tech news realm. Yet more importantly, and probably more telling, is a commentary by Fabian Scherschel — a European journalist/magazine editor who can be heard weekly on Linux Outlaws — which speaks to the issue so well, it is something I wish I had written. Take a few minutes to read Fab’s analysis — I’ll wait.

But after you’re done with Fab’s article . . . .

The polls are open: Vote early and often — Foss Force is into its second round of polling for their Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog Poll, and round two ends Monday, August 19. Thankfully, I made the first round, and my doppelganger on the Debian/CrunchBang side, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, also made it to the 19 candidates on the list.

The list of blogs that made the 19 finalists are outstanding and I’m honored to be in this group. To say the least, I could easily vote for many of these over my own with a clear conscience — Benjamin Kerensa’s blog or Matthew Garrett’s blog for starters — and my good friend Ken Starks’ Blog of Helios has been a fantastic read for years. My suggestion is to read ‘em all before you vote.

Anyway, vote for two in this round. The next round — the finals — are going to be a one-vote affair starting next Monday.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to FOSS Force for hosting this poll on behalf of those of us who blog for the love of FOSS and blogging, as opposed to picking up a paycheck for it (though, truth be told, many — me included, especially me — would gladly do it for a check). The poll is giving all of us on the ballot a huge amount of exposure, and I think I speak for all of the candidates when I say, “thank you!”

Oh, before I forget: This blog mentioned Ubuntu Edge and, of course, it’s time for the windup and the pitch.

Want to give some money to projects that really make a difference? Give instead to:

Reglue (especially Reglue, which is creating a new generation of FOSS users as you read this sentence)

Partimus (bringing Linux boxes to classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area, or any other project like it)

CrunchBang (or your favorite distro, if it accepts donations)

Tux4Kids (the folks who bring you Tux Paint and other educational FOSS programs across platforms)

Or even taking a look at the list of projects at Software for the Public Interest and choose one of those.

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.)

EFF Binary Freedom Dead button Wordpress button Xfce button dbEntrance button AntiX 7.0 fedora badge GIMP Linux Mint Kororaa Salix OS Fluxbox Conky Thunderbird LibreOffice Crunchbang Bodhi Linux PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Eliminate DRM!

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