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Posts Tagged ‘Amber Graner’

Mea maxima culpa

September 1, 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 — along with Jon “maddog” Hall — so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!).

My friend Amber Graner, an editor at Ubuntu User magazine, took Jim Zemlin out to the woodshed over the topic of yesterday’s blog item, saying yesterday in a Google+ post to me:

“I take issue with leaders in the community using the word ‘idiot’ to describe users who don’t give back. While I realize the article was pointing to business at first glance the casual end user may think, ‘I use Linux but I’m not giving back yet?’ ‘Am I an idiot because I don’t know how or where my skills are needed?’ But maybe that’s just me reading everything through the lens of an end user. I think this message could have been conveyed differently without the use of name calling.”

Granted, I’m not a “leader in the community,” but I’m sure this scolding was levelled at me as well. That’s OK, because Amber is right, and I’ll apologize before I clarify.

Mea culpa, folks.

The word “idiot” is a little over-the-top in this case. “Myopic” may have been a better choice for Jim Zemlin in the Network World article quote and, afterward, for me in my blog item. Though “Don’t be myopic” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, it’s probably more accurate. Also, while I agree with the sentiment behind Jim Zemlin’s quote, this sentiment is generally reserved for those who, for all intents and purposes, have been around for awhile and freeload on the FOSS paradigm’s dime.

Amber is right about the use of harsh words intimidating end users, putting them on the defensive; especially new users. I can’t speak for Jim Zemlin, but I think his quote was aimed at business users of Linux and I don’t think he meant to call out new users who have yet to contribute. Speaking for myself, it was not my intention to be off-putting; rather, I had hoped that my item would be a rallying cry to volunteer. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your distro can do for you — ask what you can do for your distro.”

The reason I wrote my blog item yesterday was to point out there is a lot to be done and, with an increasing user base, hopefully a lot more people to do it.

If you’ve been using Linux and FOSS for awhile and are comfortable in some area — graphics, documentation, “people” stuff — then step up. If you’re a new user and you don’t know where to go, take your time to get your proverbial feet wet in Linux and FOSS and, more importantly, get used to what’s generally known as “the community.” With the exception of some “bad apples” you’ll encounter from time to time (mostly in Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, channels), most people in the community are willing and able to help you along.

One thing new users can do immediately is file bug reports when you find something wrong or when you find a glitch in a program. Most distros have a vehicle — Bugzilla or something along those lines — where you can point this out. Try to be as complete as possible in your description, but if you feel you must contribute right away, that would be a good place to start.

Also, as Juan Rodriguez commented in the last blog, you can always donate money to those distros and/or FOSS programs that have a mechanism to collect donations (usually, there’s a “donate” button on their site). That’s always a useful resource.

So contribute where you can, how you can, when you can.

You’d be myopic not to.

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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Giving credit where credit is due

February 16, 2011 2 comments

Registration is now open for SCALE 9X — register now by clicking on the winking penguin.

Last week, Amber Graner did an interview with yours truly here. And when answering the question about my activities outside of Fedora — in which I am primarily involved when it comes to FOSS — I had a long, rambling answer about Lindependence 2008 and The Lindependence Project. But in tooting that particular horn, I mentioned Ken Starks but I neglected to mention two others who were — and still are — instrumental in the formation of The Lindependence Project and its ongoing maintenance.

Mea culpa, Stephen Rufle and Bob Lewis.

Stephen Rufle came up to Felton a few years ago from Phoenix, bringing his two boys and about a hundred stuffed penguins he makes at Open Animals. Using the GPL to license its patterns, Open Animals produces open source stuffed penguins — if you’re so inclined, you can fork the pattern to make the penguin, or animal, of your choice, providing you release your creation under the GPL That’s how it works. Anyway, Stephen and his sons were instrumental in making Lindependence 2008 a success back at its inception, and Stephen has, to date, hosted the lindependence.org site, which is currently undergoing a massive facelift. The reason for that is we’re holding Lindependence Hours at various locations in Northern California and, watch this space, we’ll be holding a Lindependence 2011 on or near Independence Day in Felton, California, at the Felton Presbyterian Church. Watch this space, and thanks very much for all you do for FOSS, Stephen.

I wish I had enough words that would be fitting for the superlatives Bob Lewis deserves. I met Bob at the Richard Stallman presentation at Cabrillo College in February 2008. Bob is a retired AT&T engineer who had also spent some time working at SCO — when it was the Santa Cruz Operation, based here in Santa Cruz, at a time when produced pretty good software before moving to Utah to become a litigation company. Bob was tireless in organizing and helping folks at Lindependence 2008, as well as being a spark plug in getting Felton LUG moving. Not only this, Bob is also an energetic evangelist for Linux and FOSS in the area, converting and helping many folks whom he has converted to Ubuntu. It would be nice to have a dollar for every time he comes to Redwood Digital and says, “Well, I have another convert.” If anyone deserves to be at the top of the list for credit in Lindependence’s success — the Felton Farmers Market Linux booth and the Felton LUG are offshoots of this success — it’s Bob, and again I apologize for not mentioning it in the interview.

Thanks again guys for all you do.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)
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Shameless self-promotion

February 11, 2011 1 comment

Registration is now open for SCALE 9X — register now by clicking on the winking penguin.

Amber Graner of Linux Pro Magazine took the time for an interview at FUDCon last month, and I hope I didn’t disappoint.

For everything you wanted to know about Larry the Free Software Guy — and there will be a test on this later — go here.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)
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