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Posts Tagged ‘Canonical’

Walking away from the fray

December 10, 2012 6 comments

I had written something about last week’s Richard Stallman-Jono Bacon dustup over the weekend, but then realized that it would just be more-of-the-same on a topic upon which too much attention was being spent.

The tl;dr version of what I wrote, and then deleted (you’re welcome), is this:

Richard Stallman — who is a great programmer and thinker, but who exhibited again why he’s not fit for a leadership role in anything — once again threw diplomacy and tact under the bus, even though he is, to a significant degree, right on the shopping lens issue. But shunning Ubuntu, at its core, flies in the face of freedom — people should be free to use whatever they want as an OS, even if it allows others to see what one is doing (though smarter folks would realize how bad this is).

Meanwhile, Jono Bacon — rather than doing the smart thing by ignoring Stallman’s blog post — drags out the tired Ubuntu policy of ad hominem response to any and all criticism, throwing in a FUD accusation for good measure, before — wait for it — offering what he considers an “olive branch.”

Yawn. Wake me up when Ubuntu decides to make the shopping lens issue an opt-in rather than an opt-out.

The best writing I’ve seen on this comes from Benjamin Kerensa in his blog here. So I’ll let Benjamin drive for now while I go take care of some more important things.

UPDATE: Jono Bacon writes an apology here.

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!

Was it something I said?

October 18, 2012 21 comments

Leave it to Ubuntu/Canonical’s Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life Mark Shuttleworth to completely ruin a perfectly good release day for Ubuntu 12.10 and its arguably superior derivatives like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Edubuntu.

Don’t take my word for it. I’ll let this article from TechCrunch with the headline “Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth Tires Of Critics, Moves Key Ubuntu Developments Out Of Public Eye” tell the tale.

Was it something I said?

Of course, there’s something both fundamentally and tragically wrong — bordering on criminally wrong — about any Free/Open Source Software project moving their “developments out of the public eye.” But let’s put that aside for a moment, because Shuttleworth writes in his blog that ” . . . we thought we would extend the invitation to people who trust us and in whom we have reason to trust, to work together on some sexy 13.04 surprises.”

So, not only is Shuttleworth throwing out the FOSS baby with the bath water, he also wants to provide a caste system that either patterns itself after the Inner Party/Outer Party in George Orwell’s “1984,” or takes a page from Orwell’s “Animal Farm” where, to paraphrase, “All developers are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

If you’re an Ubuntu contributor, how can you be sure you’ll be one of “the chosen ones,” and if you’re not, then why not?

To take a step back, the more fundamental question is this: Is this really how a Free/Open Source Software project should conduct itself?

I would say the answer to this question is an unequivocal “no,” and I would also add that, at this point, the direction that Mark Shuttleworth has taken Ubuntu is light-years off course from its original mission.

This goes beyond burying “Linux” on a second- or third-tier page on the Ubuntu site. This clearly goes beyond Shuttleworth’s treating current Ubuntu users as second class citizens while he chases the elusive Holy Grail of converting “the new users.”

This is betrayal.

So while the Ubuntu Apocalypse lines up to march, zombie-like, to take their shots below in the comments, I’d like to ask them to first look in a mirror and ask themselves if this is truly what they bought into when getting involved with FOSS. And while admiring what you see in the mirror, I’d like to offer a solution to right this ship that’s listing under the weight of gross misdirection.

To right this ship, the principled and noble thing to do would be for Mark Shuttleworth to turn over the keys to Ubuntu to Jono Bacon, the Community Manager for Ubuntu, and make Jono the Ubuntu Project Leader. Mark should resign from all Ubuntu community-related posts and concentrate on the corporate side of things, where he excels.

I don’t always agree with Jono, but his commitment to FOSS is nothing short of impeccable, and his commitment to these principles is completely unimpeachable. He has the wisdom and experience to bring Ubuntu back to where it should be.

Though this wouldn’t happen in either Mark’s, Jono’s or my lifetime, it would be a step that would go a long way in restoring my faith in Ubuntu’s commitment to FOSS.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to install Xubuntu 12.10 and put it through its paces.

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.

(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!

Paul Venezia and Etienne Perot nail it

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Well, I didn’t write this, but it bears repeating. In an InfoWorld blog item, Paul Venezia pretty much explains why the Amazon thing is not Ubuntu’s biggest problem. Rather than paraphrase, I’ll let you read it on your own:

http://www.infoworld.com/d/data-center/ubuntu-has-bigger-problem-its-amazon-blunder-203467

Best quote: “But the biggest problem I have with the Amazon debacle is another comment by Shuttleworth: “Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already.” That level of hubris from the founder of Ubuntu, in the face of what is clearly a bad idea badly implemented, should leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. If this idea can make it to the next Ubuntu release, then what other bad ideas are floating around? What’s next? Why should we maintain that trust?”

Indeed.

Further, and quoted in the blog above, Etienne Perot outlines what a mess this is — and how to get out of it — in a post from a few weeks ago here:

https://perot.me/ubuntu-privacy-blunder-over-amazon-ads-continues

One of the solutions: See “Step 3: Make it opt-in, rather than opt-out”.

Canonical, white courtesy phone . . .

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Eliminate DRM!

Fools one and all

April 1, 2011 6 comments

Linuxfest Northwest 2011 - April 30th-May 1st I’ll be there. You should be there, too.

[Update: OK, WordPress, very funny: When you go to look at your blog stats, the real number is on the bar chart, but the bar on the bar chart it set at astronomical heights.]

So far, the pickings began somewhat slim on the tech news front regarding har-de-har-har April Fools’ Day joke news, but it seems to be picking up as of around 9 a.m. Pacific Time — and by this time, which is dusk or later in Europe and night in Asia, the stories should be out and read by now.

The best of the tech so far are these two:

— That KDE is the prize in a raffle, outlined on the KDE site here. I’m just wondering if those who are “offering” are clear on the concept of “prize.”

– Marcel Gagne gives us probably the best written one of the day with his Microsoft buys ReactOS for billions, which you can read here. It had me going before the first cup of coffee this morning.

One that would get a thumbs up except it glosses over an issue that Canonical/Ubuntu would just as soon hide in the dungeon and make believe everything is just peachy is the real identity of “Canonical/Ubuntu critic extrordinaire” Jef Spaleta — according to Jono Bacon’s blog, it’s Jono Bacon himself.

While tongue was planted firmly in cheek and while there was snickerable material in the blog — even the real Jef himself and Mrs. Jef responded to the blog — it makes light of the issue that Jef rightfully and, to his credit, consistently raises: For example, that of Canonical/Ubuntu’s contribution, or lack thereof, to kernel development and other aspects of FOSS where they reap the benefits without putting in the work.

I replied to Jono’s blog, paraphrasing the late Sen. Lloyd Bensten, who said this to then Vice President Dan Quayle in the debate in ’88: “I served with Jef Spaleta. I know Jef Spaleta. Jef Spaleta is a friend of mine. Jono, you’re no Jef Spaleta.”

One blog falters to the point of faceplanting: Sam Varghese writes on ITWorld — not linked here in principle — that the Linux kernel will be released under the BSD license. This would be a good one in theory, but in execution it tends to go off on a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” tangent that makes it implausable from the start. Secret meetings in Tegucigalpa? Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

There are also trappings of mirth in some Facebook statuses: The Rude Pundit (warning: though politically appropriate in my opinion, foul language abounds), a liberal blogger who is on top of my list of non-tech reads, gets an honorary degree from Bob Jones University. Also, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier throws up his hands and goes over to KDE — ha ha, funny guy, that GNOME media guru.

It’s still early in these parts, so maybe a Hail Mary pass will find its way to a receiver during the course of the day. Or not. Just bear in mind that it’s April 1, and that your shoe is really not untied. Or worse.

[Another update, pointed out by Juan Rodriguez below in the comments: Juan, aka Nushio, gets high marks for his "Fedora Cheat Ball." Link is in the comments -- go take a look.]

[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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Watching a pot boil

March 8, 2011 1 comment

Linuxfest Northwest 2011 - April 30th-May 1st I’ll be there. You should be there, too.

So while I download the Fedora 15 Alpha and stare out the window, I’m reminded of the adage that a watched pot never boils, or something along those lines. A watched download never loads, too, so it would probably be a good time to catch up.

What’s in a name? It’s about that time again. Where Ubunteros have no say in what their release name is — Mark Shuttleworth seems to get that distinction, and with more money than God and a trip into space, that by itself would give him more rights than simple Ubuntu naming — The Mark handed down the latest $ADJECTIVE_PLUS_ANIMAL=SAME_FIRST_LETTER for Ubuntu 11.11. The winner of the “O” derby is Oneiric Ocelot. Oneiric — look it up.

Meanwhile, on the Fedora side of things, the nominations are open for the release name for Fedora 16 (that’s the one that comes out in November). There are several good choices nominated — my personal favorites are Neuromancer and McLuhan (it’s Marshall McLuhan’s centennial this year, and McLuhan coined the term “the global village;” for those of you under 50, you’re going to have to Google his name) — but a choice that’s gaining traction, thanks to what I consider to be blatant bribery (just kidding, Max), is Beefy Miracle. Long story there, but if you want a look at the nominees, you can find them here.

But vote for McLuhan when the time comes.

Wishing and hoping: Speaking of pre-release goodness, GNOME 3 is available for those who wish to give it a test drive, and I downloaded it last night and put it through its paces for a couple of hours. Granted, it was on a USB stick and on a ThinkPad T30 and, as they say in the car ads, your mileage may vary, but it appeared unwieldy at first, despite the fact it’s “made of easy.” As I said at the beginning of this item, I’m downloading the F15 Alpha, so I’ll have a better chance at getting a handle on this, but I really, really want to like this version. But so far, I’ve had a lukewarm experience with it. Unlike other bloggers — one in particular in Europe — who reviewed the desktop before it was out (akin to saying how good cake will taste by only trying the batter), I’m going to reserve judgment until I’ve had a chance to “floor it,” as it were, on the digital autobahn. Until then, I have my fingers crossed.

Thirty-one more minutes until the download finishes. Time for some more coffee.

[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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SCALE 9X: It’s a wrap

March 1, 2011 2 comments

Yeah, it’s over, but it was an absolutely great show. Visit the site for some of the details, and see you next year in L.A.!

Just call me the ADD Poster Boy: After winning a Palm Pre 2 from the HP booth, I am finding that I now own a phone that is smarter than me. While I search far and wide regarding its hackability — like, Google: “Can I install Android?” (heh heh heh) — I have to say much of the Sunday/Monday learning curve has taken me away from this blog.

But now that I’ve figured it out, I can report back about Sunday, the weekend and everything else SCALE 9X. Like:

More people: SCALE had been flirting with overwhelming success all weekend. Friday’s “problem” at registration was that the folks in that department faced a lot more people than normally come on a Friday, to the point of where 800 of the attendees for the weekend came on Friday. The final tally — 1,802. So 1,002 folks came over the weekend to make this a record year for SCALE, and as a result, it makes the outlook for FOSS this year really robust. So get out there and FOSS it up, folks.

Better venue: The Hilton went above and beyond to help SCALE be a success. The larger venue made for easier traffic flow in the aisles to the point where it appeared that there were less people at times due to the fact that there were less human jams, save for booths holding raffles (like the HP booth, where yours truly won a Palm Pre 2. Did I mention that?). Most booth folks I spoke to said they were incredibly happy with the event, as were many attendees.

Better connectivity: The wireless, which was choked last year, performed well after a small hiccup on Saturday morning. Bear in mind that when you get 1,800 geeks in the same area at the same time, your wireless performance may be . . .. how can I put this tactfully? . . . taxed. But the SCALE communications staff nailed it this year and there were few, if any, of the holdups that the show suffered from last year.

But at this point, you’re probably asking, “But Larry the Free Software Guy, what about Sunday?”

Sunday was fairly uneventful, as they usually are. Jane Silber of Ubuntonical gave her keynote talk on “The Cloud and Human Beings,” which was well attended. Booths on Sunday took the usual breather since there were less people around — and this serves as a hint to those attending shows: Want to have a longer, more engaged talk with folks in a booth? The second day — in SCALE’s case, Sunday — is the best day to do this. At the Fedora booth, we were able to help some folks with Fedora related problems and got to take more time with issues that came up. Not only this, it allowed me a chance to go swag hunting and this year, rather than taking one of each and backing in the fork lift, I took things I was actually going to read and/or use.

A couple of notes:

Nexenta a server darling?
A couple of server vendors had booths at SCALE, one of which was Pogo Linux, and the server folks seem to have latched on to Nexenta, a Solaris-based OS, as their operating system of choice. Maybe it’s a sign of things to come, but it’s interesting that they’ve taken this Solaris based distro and made it their own.

Best swag: Rackspace didn’t have the tattoo sleeve at SCALE, so the best SWAG — stuff we all get, for those of you keeping score at home — goes to Softlayer for their flying rings. Honorable mention also goes to The Positive Internet Company for their giraffe toy.

The legend lives on: The borders on the OpenSUSE booth structure this year are black, where once they were grey. They were grey when I accidentally — accidentally, I swear — spilled coffee on it and possibly stained it when Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier gave me a stuffed lizard for Mirano that year and I spilled coffee on the booth. The legend of the coffee spill lives on and it has grown to become that I had spilled a pot of coffee on the booth, as well as I might have spilled a pot of coffee on Zonker himself in my zeal to trash the OpenSUSE booth. None of which is true, but it makes for a great story of which William Randolph Hearst (“never let the facts get in the way of a good story”) would be proud.

Meanwhile, 40 minutes later . . . .: For those of you still keeping score at home, I am told it took approximately 42 minutes for Jane Silber to say the word “Linux” in her keynote on Sunday. I wasn’t there — I had a couple of other things to do, so I’m never able to make keynotes — but this was relayed to me by someone who thought that was peculiar. Indeed.

Now it’s on to Linux Fest Northwest.

[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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Pages from playbooks

July 30, 2010 3 comments

Yesterday, Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote a blog item outlining Canonical/Ubuntu’s weak numbers in participating in development for GNOME.

Rather than address Greg’s blog item with a reply that addresses the issue, Mark Shuttleworth decided to take a page from the Fox News playbook — not to mention the Sarah Palin dictionary — in responding to Greg’s blog.

To recap, here is Greg’s blog item, and following it is Mark’s response.

Clearly, Mark can do better than this, and if I were a Canonical/Ubuntu advocate, I’d be a little sheepish about the response. Criticism can be handled by either addressing it or deflecting it, and clearly Mark chose the latter. To call someone a “hater” and calling them “stupid” because they present an argument with which you don’t agree — especially when the numbers are there to show that Canonical/Ubuntu does not pull its weight — is, quite frankly, a load of crap.

Rather than address the fact at hand, we get a liturgy of how “tribalism” (whatever that means) is bad — yes, that’s true, Mark, as you define what “tribalism” is — but how does that apply to the fact that Canonical/Ubuntu has only 1 percent of contributions upstream in the GNOME project? Without begging the question that if it’s 1 percent in GNOME, what is it for Xorg? For the kernel?

Does pointing out that the emperor has no clothes make you a “hater,” or does it just make you observant? Taking it one step further, if Greg is right — and I think he is — doesn’t that call for more intelligent response than “you’re a bad person for pointing this out, and anyone who thinks like you is a divider”?

A more honest response would have been, “Yes, we are lacking in contributing upstream. We have not been involved as long as others, like Red Hat, but we hope to be up to speed in the near future.”

But no: What we get is some of the mudslinging and divisiveness that, ironically, Mark himself rails against.

True leaders know that having shortcomings pointed out to them helps an organization grow, assuming the shortcoming is fixed. It’ll be interesting to see if the true “leaders” in Canonical/Ubuntu actually try to close the gap in contribution upstream, or if they hold fast to Mark’s dictum of “those who are not with us are against us.”

[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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