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News, blues and reviews

December 13, 2007 Leave a comment

For some reason, I can’t recall whether being a student was an incredible chore while I was doing it back in the disco era, or whether things have changed — or I have changed — to make modern-day matriculation a hell of a lot of work.

I would put my money on the fact that I may have lost an intellectual step or two over time.

But studies in general — and a shell script project that is both intriguing and harrowing — have kept me from the hallowed halls of this blog until now; not to mention life in general as well.

But there have been some developments of note over the past several weeks that deserve mention, like

Two Koreas, One Distro: According to this Information Week article, folks in South Korea speak of folks in North Korea more as lost brothers than bitter enemies. Over the years the two have made various rapprochements, but now it looks like North and South are teaming up on a whole new kind of joint project: a Korean-language GNU/Linux distribution called Hana Linux. And the GNU shall lie down with the penguin . . .

Pirates have standards, too: So maybe it’s not just paying customers who aren’t happy with Vista — even pirates are shunning it, according to this blog item. Microsoft gleefully reported Tuesday that the rate of piracy of Vista compared to XP is about half — the mandarins in Redmond claim this is because of their anti-piracy features in Vista — the one that accusses paying customers of being thieves when it doesn’t work quite right — but some of us know better. Pirates have standards, too, and Vis-duh just plain blows on a variety of levels.

[In a related item, 90 percent -- that's 9 out of 10, for those of you keeping score at home -- of IT professionals would rather eat plutonium than foist Vista on their companies. Okay, so I overstate it, but 90 percent of IT professionals have concerns about Vista that are strong enough to shun it, and more are migrating away from Winblows. Don't believe me? Here's the Slashdot article].

Distros I like: The more I use the Fluxbox desktop environment, the more I like it on whatever distro I’m using (oh, and my distro polygamous ways have been documented here and elsewhere — there’s a 12-step program for it somewhere, no doubt) . I have been using Fluxbuntu on a Pentium II and it works pretty well. But more recently, I salvaged a Dell Inspiron 5000e laptop from certain doom at the hands of my employers and have given it a new home and a new distro that I particularly like: Mepis AntiX 7.0, code named Lysistrata (the name enough — from the play of the same name by Aristophanes — is reason to give the distro some attention), which absolutely flies on this machine.

Example: 48 seconds to boot. That’s not a typo — 48 seconds. I’ve never had a computer boot that fast.

More to follow. In the words of the renowned Helios, “All righty then.”
[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

It’s official

October 10, 2007 Leave a comment

It’s official:

Steve Ballmer is an world class, Olympic-caliber asshat: Most of us already knew this, of course. But if you’re the CEO of what’s supposed to be the largest software company on this planet, if not the galaxy, shouldn’t you be more concerned about how your newly-released-but-in-the-toilet Vista operating system is (under)performing rather than raising, once again, the laughable specter of suing for patent infringements? Not Steve. Uh-uh. He’d rather talk about how Google reads your mail and how that McCarthyist list of 235 patent violations — which we haven’t seen yet, incidentally — are ready for prosecution. Have you no shame, Mr. Ballmer?

Ken Starks, a.k.a. Helios, is a hero: Most of us already knew this, of course. Apparently, it’s official now, as Carla Schroeder writes here in this LXer.com article praising Ken, whom I am proud to call a brother-in-arms in the FOSS wars, and with whom I am proud to be a partner in flying the HeliOS Solutions flag in the Wild West.

I’m a flake: Most of you already know that, of course (hey, wait a minute . . .). You would think that as editor and publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, I would take the time to meet with OSFSR New Zealand correspondent Penny Leach after she flew all the way to San Francisco — for her work at Catalyst, that is, not to see me (an aside: the days when women would fly great distances to see me are, sadly, long gone — and I’m at peace with that) — but noooOOOooooo. I completely blanked the dates that she was visiting to promote Mahara and Moodle (very cool, check them out), even after recording it on my page at jott.com. My sincerest apologies, Penny. Next time, I promise.

Ubuntu makes it to the NBA, sort of: Tom Krazit, of C|Net, writes here that the Boston Celtics have adopted “ubuntu” as their rallying cry this season. A bunch of 7-foot GNU/Linux users? Not quite. Celtics coach Doc Rivers apparently chose that word “ubuntu” after learning of it while reading about Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For those of you keeping score at home, “ubuntu” has its roots in the Bantu languages of southern Africa as meaning “a philosophy of life that promotes the greater good rather than individual success.” Of course, with the upper case U, Ubuntu is a damn good GNU/Linux distro, and a slam-dunk for anyone using GNU/Linux.

Bonnie Raitt was born to sing ‘Angel From Montgomery’: No, this has nothing to do with FOSS, but there is no one more more suited to sing John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” than Bonnie Raitt. Period. Don’t take my word for it — see it on YouTube here, and hear a duet with Prine here (note, the latter is not a performance video, but a montage of photos with the duet in the background).

The phone is silent . . . for now: 831-335-7303 is the number for HeliOS Solutions West and for Tux Project in beautiful downtown Felton. When you’re here, don’t forget to grab a cup of joe at the White Raven.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Ground control to Major Bill

August 25, 2007 Leave a comment

If you’re a Vista user, the next two words are for you: “Uh oh.”

If you can get your Vis-duh back up and running — the big “if” in the next couple of days — chances are Microsoft will think you’re a criminal, or at least that’s what your pop-up screen will tell you.

Windows Genuine Advantage has gone down, suffering a worldwide outage causing problems galore, according to this article in Ars Technica. Not only is it down, but if you try to reinstall Vista or WGA, apparently you get a pop up saying that you’re a crook. Don’t believe me? Go to Microsoft’s Windows Vista Validation Issues forum.

Probably the best thread of the bunch starts off with “Everybody just calm down,” and you can see how, in the ethereal environment of the World Wide Web, Vista users are grabbing the pitchforks and torches and going after a guy named JohninTN, whose answer to this, um, problem is for those who spent their hard-earned money on the latest Windows operating system to “go out in the sun” and get away from their computer for awhile.

Whoops. Wrong answer.

Let’s assume for a moment that this is not the official Microsoft position on this, but some techs, according to the Ars Technica story, are telling people that WGA may not be working until Tuesday (Aug. 28).

Maybe going outside is the right answer after all.

Then, after enjoying the day, return to your desk, and if you’re able to use the Internet on your Vista box, you might want to go visit the Ubuntu web site and download the Live CD (or, in the alternative, ask them to send you one. They’ll do it, too).

P.S.: As a footnote, this has happened before . . . .

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vis-duh, Vista
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