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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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Last, but not least, in Linux shows

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

During the course of the year, the FOSS traveling salvation show in North America wends its way around the nation to end up, finally, at the Utah Open Source Conference (UTOSC) in Salt Lake City in October before taking a hiatus for the holidays. Then of course the new year, FOSS-wise, starts with the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in February.

There’s only one word for those who might want to skip the last-of-the-year Linux expo: “Don’t!”

Quietly and with little fanfare, UTOSC has been building up to a top-notch, not-to-be-missed show that is beginning to draw deserved attention — and people — from outside immediate Utah area. In fact, in the last four years it has grown to become the best community computer conference in the Mountain West.

UTOSC will be held from Oct. 7-9 at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City. Attendees who register before Saturday can save 30 percent on the price of admission to the three-day event. Regular admission to UTOSC is $70 for a full-access pass, $25 for an expo pass with entrance to try-it lab workshops and $15 for an expo pass.

For registration information, visit the registration page and those who register before the Early Bird registration deadline Saturday can use the code OPEN to get the discount.

This year’s lineup of keynotes — Jared Smith, the Fedora Project’s new project leader; Howard Tayler, creator of creator of Schlock Mercenary; and Karsten Wade, of Red Hat’s Community Architecture team — highlight the more than 60 presentations scheduled for the three-day event.

Two scheduled events at UTOSC other shows should look at deserve special mention. UTOSC is a very family-friendly show, meaning kids are welcome — in fact, the trio of junior high girls who talked about their involvement in FOSS at SCALE earlier this year are going to give an updated presentation at UTOSC — and there are activities for them as well. Second, there’s a huge game night at the end of the show, and I’ve honed my Munchkin skills over the year with the intention of not being trounced this year.

In addition, of course, Larry the Free Software Guy will also be giving a presentation on User Groups 2.0 — Noob Morning in America. Never one to be accused of false modesty, I have to say that one is not to be missed.

See you in Salt Lake City.

[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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Showtime

August 20, 2010 2 comments

No, I’m not referring to the cable channel of the same name: Two shows (plus a third on the far horizon) deserve special mention. One of them I can’t make because, well, it’s too far to drive/Amtrak/bus/walk and you know Larry the Free Software Guy doesn’t fly unless thrown by someone larger than him (fat chance). The other, I wouldn’t miss for the world.

The show I’ll miss, but naturally I urge you to go if you can make it: Ohio Linux Fest from Sept. 10-12 in Columbus, Ohio. Stormy Peters of GNOME kicks it off with the keynote, followed by five tracks of talks from open source and Linux experts like Tarus Balog, Amber Graner, Catherine Devlin, Dru Lavigne, Paul Frields, and Jon ‘maddog’ Hall. This year’s OLF also features a special medical track for those interested in the use of free and open source software in medicine — readers of this blog (thanks, Mom) will note that I rant often about the need to develop medical software that is free/open source and it’s good that OLF has taken the ball and run with it.

Then if you want to meet me at the next expo I attend you’ll have to go to the Utah Open Source Conference from Oct. 7-9 at Salt Lake Community College in — where else? — Salt Lake City, Utah. This growing show, which I like to call “the fall classic” because it’s fast becoming a standard in the West between the Southern California Linux Expo right before spring and OSCON in the summer, will have Jared Smith of the Fedora Project giving the keynote. Oh, and yours truly gives a presentation on User Groups 2.0 dealing with the ups and downs of forming a LUG in this age of a new generation of Linux users.

Speaking of SCALE, they’ve moved to bigger digs — namely down the street to the Los Angeles Airport Hilton — and the call for papers should be made fairly soon. For those who want to mark their calendars way in advance, it’s Feb. 25-27, 2011.

See you at the show.

[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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