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Getting out the vote

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Yes, I know LinuxCon has come and gone, and I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing, the gala party, and with Linus being there and all. The buzz is still going, and that’s good. But if you’re going to a Linux show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting — along with Jon “maddog” Hall — so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!).

With the upcoming deadline for the Linux Journal Readers’ Choice 2011 Awards upon us — it closes this Saturday — other bloggers have been been taking to beating the drum and holding the phone for their favorites.

Not to be outdone, of course, there are a few candidates on the LJ ballot that deserve special mention. If I were campaigning for them, I’d definitely cast votes for items in the following categories (note, however, the list of categories and software on the ballot is long, and they’re not all here):

Best Linux Distribution: No question, hands down. Fedora. Judging which is the best distro is akin to picking the best ice cream flavor — each of us has our own favorites, and hopefully you’ll vote for yours. Mine comes in blue, is based on Red Hat, has the best desktop background release after release (the Design Team at Fedora is the best in the FOSS realm, period), it’s always rock solid, and even if I can’t use the default GNOME 3 desktop, Fedora runs great under KDE or Xfce. Fedora is reaching a point now where the myth that it’s “only for experience users” is falling by the wayside, and if a lack of confidence in your skills has kept you from using Fedora, you should give it a try.

Best Desktop Environment: Oh, look! A minefield! Let’s skip through it! You all know how I feel about GNOME 3; the aspect that I can’t use it due to older equipment moreso than anything else (if I could vote for GNOME 2.32, that would be great). KDE? I like KDE though — truth in advertising — I’m a post-KDE 4.x user and not familiar with the way things used to be (and not familiar with why there’s such a hubbub about it). I don’t know why Openbox and Fluxbox, both windows managers, are in this category, and why isn’t there a separate WM category? How did I vote? I’m cast a vote this year for Xfce, because I’m using it on Fedora 15 and will be using it again on Fedora 16, and while it’s reputation is a lightweight environment, I’m finding there’s a significant degree of tweakability to it. Also, if you really like WMs, I’d vote for OpenBox.

Best Web Browser: Konqueror. Just kidding. While there are some advantages to Konqueror that do not involve Web browsing, for getting on the information superhighway I usually go with Firefox, though on the Windows box at the newspaper I use Chrome. It’s a toss up between those two.

Best E-mail Client: Another minefield and another tough call. What I use most is Thunderbird, because everybody knows the ‘Bird is the word, and it’s always worked well for me. What has always worked well for me in the past, too, and something I’ve always thought was one of KDE’s stars is Kmail, which deserves a vote if you’re so inclined. Claws is something I’m looking to try and haven’t yet, so maybe if it wows me, it can be a leading candidate for 2012.

Best IRC client: Simple — it’s irssi. It’s what the cool kids use, once they graduate past Xchat. Konversation gets high marks, too, and readily available on KDE. But I voted for irssi.

Best Office Suite: OK, here’s where we get to make history. Vote for LibreOffice — it’s OpenOffice as it should be. It would be outrageously cool if LibreOffice took home the prize in this category, for starters because it deserves it, and it would be a good nose-thumbing to Oracle as well.

Best Graphic Design Tool: All of them. I’m serious. If there’s ever been a category where each of the candidates deserves to win, it’s this one. GIMP finally gets a single window, I’m told, thank $DIETY, but I ended up voting for . . . Inkscape. I’m not the artist in the family; that title goes to my daughter Mimi, but having drawn a little, I do like Inkscape a lot.

Best Audio Tool: Audacity. If Carla Schroder uses it and writes a book about it, then I’m there.

Best Kid Friendly Application: Another easy one — Tux Paint. I should be ashamed to admit this, but I’m not: Ever since Mimi was younger and we used Tux Paint together when she was learning her way around a computer, I have always loved this program and I still fiddle with it from time to time when I’m not doing anything else. Also, I count Tux Paint as one of the main influences in cultivating the artistic talent Mimi has shown.

Best Game: As bad as I am at it, I still think Super Tux gets the nod here, as it’s a very creative game. Truth be told, I’ve never played any of the games on the list, except for Tux Racer, and I know my good friend Ken Starks over at the HeliOS Project is a fan of World of Goo.

Best Database: Our first heart-versus-head conundrum. If MySQL were the best, I may not vote for it on principle, but fortunately other databases have knocked MySQL from its perch at the top. I’ve only used two other databases and have liked them both: PostgreSQL and MariaDB. I really want to see MariaDB do well, but PostgreSQL is clearly the best of the bunch.

Best Programming Language: Again, the ice cream comparison comes into play and in my limited programming experience, I vote for what I know best. That would be Python.

Best scripting language: bash — accept no substitutes (OK, ksh if you need to).

Best IDE: Emacs in the hands of someone who really knows what they’re doing (and sadly, that’s not me) is simply an amazing tool. But I’m voting for vim. I can get more done using it, and I’m never backed into a corner, as I am sometimes with Emacs. Sorry, RMS.

Best Package Management Application: If it sounds like it tastes good, you have to go with it: yum. Honorable mention goes to Synaptic.

Best Content Management System: I’ve used Mambo and Joomla! in the past, and those happen to be my CMS roots. However, having used Drupal over the last few months, I have to say that I’ve made the switch. Drupal gets my vote this year.

Best Linux Laptop Vendor/Best Linux Desktop Workstation Vendor/Best Linux Server Vendor: I’m lumping these three categories together because the vote is the same in each category — ZaReason. The Berkeley, Calif., outfit makes outstanding, dependable hardware that’s Linux based (or if you’d prefer, no operating system) and the service is top notch. You’ll have to write in ZaReason in the Best Linux Desktop Workstation Vendor category, but you can mark the ballot in the other two.

Best Linux Book: A real page-turner, especially if you’re into audio — “The Book of Audacity,” by Carla Schroder. Buy it now.

Again, there’s a plethora of other categories that I haven’t touched on. Polls are open until Saturday. Vote early.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software 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.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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Hello, Columbus

August 29, 2011 2 comments

Yes, I know LinuxCon has come and gone, and I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing, the gala party, and with Linus being there and all. The buzz is still going, and that’s good. But if you’re going to a Linux show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!) Oh, look! It’s a blog item having to do with OLF below.

With the Utah Open Source Conference off the table this fall — rumor has it is coming back as a spring event starting in 2012 — one of the last chances to get in a Linux conference in 2011 is to head to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend for the Ohio Linux Fest.

Ohio Linux Fest runs from Sept. 9-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus. For the ninth time in as many years, OLF opens its doors again for Open Software professionals, enthusiasts, and everyone interested in learning more about Free and Open Source Software.

That, I hope, includes you.

OLF has three outstanding keynoters this year: Bradley Kuhn, a free software advocate with portfolio, is director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Cathy Malmrose is a cofounder and CEO of ZaReason, an optimized-for-Linux computer company. Cathy also is a founder of Partimus, an organization which supports computers in education by setting up and maintaining Linux-based computer labs in San Francisco Bay Area schools. Last, and certainly not least, is Jon “maddog” Hall, who of course needs little introduction, but for the record he is the executive director of Linux International, an association of computer users who wish to support and promote the Linux operating system (which accompanies a resume of digital accomplishments too extensive to go into here).

Friday features sessions, an all-day Medical track focusing on the use of Linux and open source software in the health care field, and an all-day Ubucon presented by the Ubuntu project. The day closes with maddog’s keynote.

Saturday opens with Cathy’s keynote followed by a full slate of talks on four different tracks and company demonstrations on the Open Source Solutions Stage. A talk by Bradley will focus on the issues of freedom with software as a service (SaaS). And maddog wraps up Saturday’s talks with a look forward 20 years to free software in the year 2031 before music by Dual Core ends the day.

On Sunday, sharpen your No. 2 pencils: The Linux Professional Institute will host exams, and the Diversity in Open Source workshop takes place on Sunday as well.

Were I to go to this event, naturally I’d catch all the keynotes — especially Cathy Malmrose’s — and this would be my so-called Linux expo “dance card” for the weekend:

On Friday, Three must-see talks would be Mark Terranova’s presentation on “So What Kind of Cult is Linux, Anyway?” — and wondering aloud whether Mark’s going to dress up in the penguin suit — and follow it up with Edward Cherlin’s “Linux for All” before going to Ruth Suehle’s “Off Your Linux Machine and Into Your Doctor’s Office.”

After some stiff coffee Saturday morning, I’d make a point to go to Mel Chua’s “Level-up with Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: turn your life into a data-driven video game with FOSS” (and anyone who can say that in one breath wins), followed Karlie Robinson’s “The Business of Linux – How Individuals Can Get in the Game,” and later in the afternoon I’d catch Paul Frields’ “Graduating to GUI: PyGObject for Beginners.”

On Sunday, I would take the LPI exam — I should have taken it at SCALE but I was so swamped with double duty in the Fedora booth and in the SCALE front office (I’m co-chair of publicity) that I didn’t have time to put pencil to paper. Next year, count on it.

If you live within driving distance of Columbus — and my definition of driving distance means if you can drive there in a day — you should attend this event. Of course, you can fly there as well if you live further, but get there to be at what has become Linux’s must-attend fall event.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software 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.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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Road Trip of the Penguins, Chapter 3

February 22, 2009 Leave a comment

A couple of notes as we head into Sunday:

  • Everyone in the Fedora booth has done a herculean job during the course of the weekend. Hats off to Karsten Wade, David Nalley, Jon Stanley, Tom Callaway and Clint Savage.
  • Speaking of heculean, the staff at SCaLE has also done a great job in putting on an excellent show so far. Congratulations and thanks go to a tireless staff and crew that puts on this first signficant GNU/Linux event of the year.
  • Great swag (schwag?): Despite an economic downturn, much of the promotional material has been top notch. Red Hat’s red caps — a.k.a. red Red Hat hat (say that three times fast) — went so quickly that the booth was out by noon. CDs and DVDs flew out of the Fedora booth, and T-shirts also are finding their way onto bodies (with the proviso that those who get T-shirts have to wear them right then and there).

    More to follow.

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  • Road Trip of the Penguins, Part 2b

    February 21, 2009 2 comments

    . . . or not 2b, that is the question . . .

    SCaLE day one, officially and expo-wise: Doors opened at 10 and throughout the course of the day it was a constant blur of people stopping by wanting to talk Fedora, wanting to talk GNU/Linux, wanting to talk about just about anything. Prior to the doors opening Tom Callaway and Jon Stanley had the booth in order when I brought down the Event Box and media, though I know that David Nalley and Clint Savage also had a hand in getting the booth ready on Friday.

    Malakai, Saskia, Mirano and Shaun had an assignment that they performed flawlessly: That was to promote the Fedora and Red Hat presentations that were going on, their mission was to hand out fliers and go around the exhibition area and guide people to the Fedora booth. This is an assignment the four of them tackled with gusto. In fact, the girls came up with a chant:

    The best thing about Fedora is freedom,
    If you have a computer, you definitely need ‘em.

    And clad in Fedora shirts, the four of them circulated the expo floor handing out fliers and chanting the newly coined phrase.

    Prior to SCaLE, I had made arrangements to meet folks with whom I had a long professional relationship but have never met in person. One person fitting that bill is Scott Ruecker of LXer.com, whom I finally had the chance to meet and have a lengthy conversation with — GNU/Linux user to user and journalist to journalist. Not only this, it was good to see those I see often, like Frank Turner, a regular at Cabrillo GNU/Linux User Group and Felton LUG meetings who made the trip from Santa Cruz County.

    Also on hand in SCaLE is ZaReason, the hardware specialist from Berkeley. Cathy Malmrose of ZaReason presented a talk on Friday on women in FOSS which I wish I could have attended, and Earl Malmrose, ZaReason’s CTO, got a Fedora 10 live CD and installed it on one of the ZaReason laptops. Would this be a sign of things to come? I don’t know.

    The press stopped by the booth as well. Karsten Wade had a lengthy interview with Steven Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Daily News about the Fedora community, and also Nathan Willis from Linux Weekly News stopped by for a lengthy interview as well.

    Media and stickers flew off the table during the course of the day, and as soon as I can process more of the blur that occupied most of the day, I will have more to say, which will probably come tomorrow.

    [FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West/Felton Linuxworks in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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    Weighing in on SCaLE

    February 18, 2009 2 comments

    OSCON is months away. LinuxWorld — excuse me, Open Source World — might as well be an eon or two away. What’s a person to do in the meantime?

    If you have the misfortune of living outside the Golden State, hop a plane and make your way to Los Angeles this weekend for the Southern California Linux Expo.

    If you’re within walking or driving distance, by all means you should be able to get your fix before the summer at the Westin Los Angeles Airport from Friday through Sunday.

    The seventh annual edition of this first-of-the-year GNU/Linux show is growing by leaps and bounds. With its unique placement on the calendar, its importance in the grand scheme of the Linux year grows also.

    While both Bradley Kuhn and Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier are delivering keynotes, the lineup of speakers at various sessions this year are top notch.

    For starters, on Friday Edward Cherlin talks about Open Source Textbooks, Cathy Malmrose of ZaReason talks about women’s significant and understated contribution to open source, Stormy Peters tells us how things actually get done in open source and Joe Smith talks about College and Open Source.

    (Of course, the piece-de-resistance for the day is that all day Friday, Fedora is having its Fedora Activity Day in the Midway room — stop by. And that’s before the Fedora Birds of a Feather from 7-8 p.m.)

    If that’s not enough, Clint Savage tells us about Fedora Remix on Saturday — a very cool way to roll your own — along with Brian Che on a Real Time Introduction to Linux and for the legal eagles, you might want to catch Rob Tiller talking about Patents and Open Source After Bilski.

    Of special note on Sunday — other than Zonker’s keynote — are Nathan Haines presentation entitled Growing Up Free and Akkana Peck’s Bug Fixing for Everyone.

    Speaking of bug fixing, not only is Fedora spending Friday dealing with some housekeeping items on fonts and documentation, Ubuntu is holding a Bug Jam all weekend.

    Add this to the 82 exhibitors and you have yourself a great start to 2009.

    I’ll be spending most of my time in the Fedora booth, so feel free to stop by and say “hello.”

    [Also, to those in the Silicon Valley, I hear that the SVLUG booth may need a little help in the staffing department . . . . Now is the time to come to the aid of your LUG :-) ]

    [FSF Associate Member](Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West/Felton Linuxworks in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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    Press release

    September 2, 2008 Leave a comment

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    September 2, 2008

    CONTACT: Earl Malmrose / ZaReason
    510-931-6313 / earl@zareason.com

    ZAREASON RELEASES ULTRA-EFFICIENT, ATOM-BASED BREEZE 3110 COMPUTER FOR $299

    BERKELEY, Calif. – In keeping with its reputation of providing cutting-edge Linux-based computers, ZaReason introduced on Monday its latest desktop model which has a lightness, efficiency and quiet that lives up to its name.

    The Breeze 3110, utilizing the Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor, is a small and quiet computer that comes with 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a CD/DVD drive, Gigibit Ethernet and the latest Ubuntu Linux 8.04.1 operating system.

    What sets this model apart from others is its size: The Breeze 3110’s minitower desktop case is 9.5” by 2.5” by 12”, about the size of a box of cereal, and it uses a minimal amount of power – an unrivaled 30 watts of power while running typical home computer tasks.

    “Customers have been asking for ultraquiet systems and they have also been asking for the Intel Atom processor,” said Earl Malmrose, Chief Technology Officer of ZaReason. “And this system has proven to be exceptionally durable and has beat our expectations across the board. This makes it an ideal system for a home media server, a family home computer, or a small business office desktop.”

    With its Intel integrated video with accelerated 3D, the Breeze 3110 supports monitor resolutions of up to 1920 by 1200. The model also has a four-in-one card reader; rear ports include 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 VGA port, 1 RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O jacks; and front ports include two USB 2.0 ports, one speaker port and one microphone port.

    Optional upgrades by ZaReason for the Breeze 3110 include 2GB RAM; 320GB, 500GB and 1TB hard drives; a CD-RW/DVD-RW drive; and a choice between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Server operating systems.

    ZaReason also offers their innovative open hardware warranty on the Breeze 3110 which allows the customer to open and explore their system without voiding the warranty. ZaReason is located near the University of California at Berkeley campus and enjoys the benefits of being near the top tier hardware component manufacturers.

    The Breeze 3110 can be found on the Web at http://www.zareason.com/shop/product.php?productid=1618 and ZaReason can be found at http://www.zareason.com

    ZaReason Breeze 3110 Specifications

    • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor

    • 1 GB RAM standard (2GB RAM optional)

    • 160GB hard drive (320GB, 500GB and 1TB optional)

    • CD/DVD ROM drive (CD-RW/DVD-RW optional)

    • Ubuntu 8.04 operating system (Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Server optional)

    • Drive Bays: 1x 5.25″, 1x 3.5″

    • Front Ports: 2x USB 2.0 Ports; 1x Speaker; 1x Mic

    • Rear Ports: 4x USB 2.0 Ports; 1x VGA Port; 1x RJ45 LAN Port; Audio I/O Jacks

    • 4-in-1 card reader: SD/MMC/MS/XD

    • CF card slot internal

    • Mini PCIe card slot

    • Power Supply: 65W External

    • Color: Black

    • Dimensions WxHxD: 9.5” x 2.5” x 12” (240 x 65 x 300 mm)

    Categories: ZaReason Tags:
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