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Concession speech

August 26, 2013 Leave a comment

We ran hard, and we ran long. We ran a campaign of which everyone should be proud. I salute my opponent on his well-deserved victory, and . . . .

37vjkPfffffft. Forget all that nonsense. The FOSS Force Best Personal FOSS or Linux Blog Contest is over for 2013, and Alien Pastures has won. Good call, voters, and congratulations Eric Hameleers. Honestly, it was an honor to make the finals — twice in my case, with this blog and Larry the CrunchBang Guy — and we’ll see if either (or both) of us can do better in 2014.

What’s more important is I had a blast “campaigning” to try to win the poll. I’m sorry if some of you were put off by my asking for you to vote for me, but it was a lot of fun, and it was a pleasure introducing folks to FOSS Force, if they weren’t already aware of it.

Yet what’s most important, when all is said and done, is that FOSS Force did all of us on the poll, starting from the beginning and through two rounds to the finals, a monumental favor in giving us a lot more exposure than we would normally get.

So thanks for that, FOSS Force. Also, thanks for the FOSS news coverage and commentary you provide on your site.

Like the rest of the group on the ballot, I don’t get paid to do this. This commentary is part of my personal commitment to promoting both Free/Open Source Software in general, as I do in this blog, and promoting my distro of choice in the Larry the CrunchBang Guy blog. Sure, I’d like to be able to make a living writing this type of commentary for an on-line publication, but I don’t (actually, for those of you who don’t already know. I’m a “print guy” — a wire news editor at the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper in Santa Cruz, California).

None of us you voted for on this poll earn their keep writing about FOSS. Yet it doesn’t make our blogs any less important than those who do. My hope, as I am sure is one I share with the rest of the candidates, is that you were able to get a new perspective and, heck, find a new source or two (or three) of news and commentary going forward.

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!

The new cool

August 25, 2013 2 comments

[First things first: Some consider today the 22nd "birthday" of the Linux kernel, or at least the anniversary of the legendary e-mail from that Linus guy holed up in his room somewhere in Helsinki. What started with that announcement, augmented by subsequent kernels coupled with various GNU tools added to the mix over time, brings you today to the operating system most, if not all, of you are using right now. So feel free to take some time to keep this in mind today.]

While much of the FOSS world over the past few weeks was either spellbound or insulted by a doomed-to-fail crowdfunding campaign by a large company for a concept smartphone/computer combo, a significant event took place earlier this month that, for all intents and purposes, flew under the radar.

That may have been by design, for reasons I’ll get into later. But various birds-of-a-blue-feather flew in to Charleston, South Carolina, a few weekends ago for Fedora Flock.

For the last eight years, Fedora users and developers have gathered at the Fedora Users and Developers conference, or FUDCon. As an aside, this acronym always grated on my nerves — I get the concept of Con = anti, thus the anti-FUD, but I always thought it sounded goofy.

They’ve taken the concept of gathering together to uplift FOSS a step further at Fedora. Flock is essentially FUDCon 2.0, a brand new conference where Fedora contributors can come together, discuss new ideas, work to make those ideas a reality, and continue to promote the core values of the Fedora community: Freedom, Friends, Features, and First. But in this manifestation of the event, Flock opened up not only to its own community, but also opened up to a growing open hardware community in an effort to create better things together.

Clearly, a gathering of this magnitude only helps to promote FOSS development which in turn helps the wider FOSS community when the results of its development are readily available for use. In addition, the face-to-face aspect should never be discounted, and there’s clearly much in the way of value when you can talk to a team member in person rather than through the ether of an IRC “developer conference.”

That’s where Fedora’s coolness comes in; a cool that’s always been there, but one that should be getting the recognition it deserves.

One of the telling aspects about the increasing coolness of Fedora (and one that made me regret not being in attendance) was this tweet, from Michael DeHaan (the retweet arrow, of course, is mine):

flock

As I mentioned earlier, how did this happen to fly under the proverbial radar?

What used to drive me up the wall and across the ceiling when I was a Fedora Ambassador years ago was the fact that Fedora has never trumpeted its accomplishments as much as it could; in complete contrast to the me-first, us-uber-alles, history-rewriting distro with too many of the same vowel in its name. My guess is that it’s not ultimately important to Fedora to self-promote, but rather it seems what’s important to Fedora is to get things done.

So Flock was promoted within the Fedora community, and with a round of various reports on social media and a couple of stories in the FOSS press, that was the amount of the publicity.

But the real story was that work got done — important work, and work that will benefit everyone across the FOSS spectrum and across software-to-hardware boundaries.

And that, more than anything, is the ultimate in cool.

=====

Well, because I mentioned, at least indirectly, Ubuntu Edge at the beginning, it is my sworn duty to post this. Now that many of you are getting your money back from the failed Ubuntu Edge campaign, why not give a donation to a project that really makes a difference? Give instead to:

Reglue (especially Reglue, which is creating a new generation of FOSS users as you read this sentence)

Partimus (bringing Linux boxes to classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area, or any other project like it)

CrunchBang (or your favorite distro, if it accepts donations)

Tux4Kids (the folks who bring you Tux Paint and other educational FOSS programs across platforms)

Or even taking a look at the list of projects at Software for the Public Interest and choose one of those.

One more time, with feeling: The final round of FOSS Force’s Best Personal Linux and FOSS Blog poll ends tomorrow. So, if you haven’t done so already and are so inclined, vote here. It’s an honor to be in such great company on this ballot, and I hope when comparing blogs you’ll find this one to be worthy of your vote. Thanks.

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!

Zonker gets a new hat

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

There are few more likeable people in the FOSS realm than Joe Brockmeier. That’s probably the mildest of accolades, of course, that Zonker deserves; a wealth of accolades tied to a stellar career in various FOSS projects as well as in FOSS journalism.

This morning, Red Hat scored. On a brief note on his personal blog, Joe makes the announcement that he gets his own personal chapeau rouge after joining the folks in Raleigh.

So lift whatever you’re drinking (in my case coffee — if it’s something stronger, shame on you, so early in the morning! :-) ) and join me in saying, “Congratulations, Joe!”

Friendly reminder: The second round of FOSS Force’s Best Personal Linux and FOSS Blog poll ends today, with the final round starting once the votes are tallied. So, if you have a minute or two to spare and are so inclined, vote here. While I’d like to win, truly the best blog on the ballot is Akkana Peck’s Shallow Thoughts, but since you have two votes in this round, I’d be grateful for one of ‘em. Thanks.

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!

Thank you, FOSS Force

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

If you have been reading this blog over the past few weeks, you know that FOSS Force is hosting a poll in which I am a candidate. FOSS Force, which provides news and commentary on all things Free/Open Source, is seeking out the Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog — “personal” is the key word here — and there are some great blogs that deserve promotion.

Sure, I’d like to win (and I’d challenge any of the other candidates to state otherwise), but there’s a much bigger picture involved; a much greater good in play with this poll.

It is this: All of us on the second round of the ballot owe a huge debt of gratitude to FOSS Force for putting our personal Linux/FOSS blogs out there where folks can read them, giving us exposure that we may not normally get in the course of writing our blogs for love of the game, so to speak.

So, if you have a minute or two to spare and are so inclined, vote here. This round ends on Monday, and you can vote for up to two blogs. The final round, starting Monday, is a one-vote affair.

Also, I’d like to request that you take the time to read some of the blogs which advanced to this round. All of them are outstanding. In fact, I had no idea Eric Hameleers’ Alien Pastures existed until this poll, and I think it’s great — one I’m definitely going to keep reading going forward.

Others include:

Matthew Garrett’s blog: Matthew Garrett should probably win by virtue of the fact that he’s single-handedly done so much to help us overcome the UEFI hurdle.

Shallow Thoughts: At the risk of embarassing her, Akkana Peck is arguably the smartest person in the FOSS realm, and her blog has a wide range of observations and answers.

Blog of Helios: My good friend Ken Starks uses folksy prose and homespun wit to talk about the day-to-day workings of the REGLUE Project, which puts Linux boxes and laptops in the hands of underprivileged kids in Austin, as well as taking on some of the wider Linux/FOSS issues of the day.

Benjamin Kerensa’s blog: Straight out of Portland, these “sporadic ramblings of a beautiful mind” are usually filled with the latest info on Firefox and Ubuntu news and commentary.

Jim’s 2011: Yeah, it’s 2013, but my fellow CrunchBang user James Eriksen, who bills himself as “The Tech Guy at Office Depot” in North Richland, Texas, has a lot of interesting and offbeat observations.

Robert Pogson’s blog: Perhaps the most prolific blogger in the group who clearly puts everyone to shame in the output department, Mr. Pogson’s blog holds a wealth of information.

Take a look at these and others before voting. Since you’re here, you already know what this blog is like — it’s a lot like its CrunchBang doppelganger, Larry the CrunchBang Guy.

Vote for the best ones and hopefully we’ll see you in the next round.

And thank you again, FOSS Force.

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!

Happy birthday, Debian

August 15, 2013 1 comment

A quick reminder: Despite the fact that it’s still about eight hours to midnight where I am, in many parts of the world it’s already August 16, which is Debian’s birthday.

So raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking (whatever it may be) and wish one of the Linux pioneers a happy and hearty 20th birthday.

Here’s the message from Debian on the occasion.

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!

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

August 10, 2013 1 comment

Tomorrow at the solar-powered Felton Fire Station at 1 p.m., the Felton Linux Users Group is holding its monthly meeting, and we’re having a speak from Canonical coming to talk to us.

As one of the founders of the group and usually the one who kicks off the meeting and introduces guest speakers, I get to introduce him to the group before he speaks.

It’s a free ride when you already paid. Anyway, it should be fun.

Meanwhile, some of you may have had my Lavabit address — I had a Lavabit account and used it for CrunchBang/FOSS related e-mails. Of course, you probably heard by now about how Ladar Levison took the site down for reasons he can’t talk about, but are somewhat tied to his protecting the privacy of the 350,000 users on Lavabit (one of whom, reportedly, was an Edward Snowden, of NSA contractor fame).

I’m currently looking for a replacement.

So tomorrow, watch for the weekly Larry the Free Software Guy tome. It’ll be here, right on time.

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!

When did you start?

August 5, 2013 4 comments

Here’s another poll — and no, I’m not in this one — that is somewhat interesting brought to us by our friends at linuxquestions.org.

It’s a simple question: In what year did you start using Linux?

I’m always curious about when people started. I know many greybeards and gurus who were there at the start. It’s one of those perks that come with living close enough to the Silicon Valley to be able to drive a half-hour and be at the center of the digital universe, or so it seems sometimes.

I also know folks who just started as late as a month ago — they’re members of the Felton LUG who have happened upon Ubuntu and have just installed it to dual-boot for now, and hopefully later on they’ll drop Windows and keep using a FOSS-based operating system.

And I know folks who fall between these two extremes.

My vote goes to 2006-07. I started in mid-2006 and the chance meeting with Linux was purely political. I had won an uncontested primary for the Green Party’s nomination for Insurance Commissioner of California and, as a Green, I didn’t take corporate contributions. Faced with the prospect of having to buy Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make campaign materials, the IT guy for the California Green Party asked me if I had heard of “Free/Open Source Software.” I hadn’t, but I was quickly brought up to speed: I didn’t need Adobe — there was Scribus and GIMP that would do the same thing. “Oh, and the Mac you have? It will run an operating system called Linux — try Debian and see how you like it.”

[Yeah, I had a Mac and for the longest time I was a big Linux-on-PowerPC guy.]

Long story short: I came up about 47 percent of the vote short of winning the election, no surprise there for a third-party candidate, garnering 2.3 percent (in California, that’s 270,218 folks who voted for me; the highest total for Greens that year). However, during the course of the campaign — driving around California during the campaign — I kept thinking about what a great concept the Free/Open Source Software paradigm is and how beneficial it could be for society in general.

So after the election, I gave up partisan politics to advocate for Free/Open Source Software instead, which is what I’ve been doing ever since.

When did you start? Go vote, and then tell your story in the comments below. I’d be interested to hear when and how you got started.

Oh, and one more thing: If you haven’t voted in the FOSS Force poll, you can do that here.

Oh, and one more other thing: Ubuntu Edge.

There. I said it. Now that I mentioned Ubuntu Edge, I have to post this.

Every time I mention Ubuntu Edge in a blog post, I am going to mention this. I still strongly advocate for folks to donate to the following groups instead of giving millions to Canonical. Give instead to:

Reglue (especially Reglue, for bringing Linux boxes to underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area)

Partimus (bringing Linux boxes to classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area)

CrunchBang (or your favorite distro, if it accepts donations)

Tux4Kids (the folks who bring you Tux Paint and other educational FOSS programs across platforms)

Or even taking a look at the list of projects at Software for the Public Interest and choose one of those.

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!

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