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Posts Tagged ‘GNU/Linux’

When Indiegogo works . . .

December 9, 2013 1 comment

There’s a scene at the end of the film “The Candidate” where Robert Redford, the newly elected Sen. McKay from California, corners his campaign manager and says, “What do we do now?”

I can imagine that Andrew Gregory, Mike Saunders and Ben Everard, clearly three happy men right now, might be asking the same thing. Their magazine — Linux Voice — was fully funded thanks to contributions garnered in their Indiegogo campaign, crossing the 90,000-pound threshhold two weeks before the deadline.

The trio of former Linux Format writers now will follow through to produce Linux Voice, scheduled for a February 2014 release.

As I outlined in an earlier post, the unique twist for what the three plan for Linux Voice is the following:

Half the profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities, and our readership will choose where the money goes. As it says on the site, “We want to sponsor projects, events, developers, and evangelise the cause. We want to build long-term relationships with the people we sponsor, so there’s less uncertainty for projects year-on-year.”

Content will be published for free after 9 months, and they aim to use an open source/Creative Commons licence. “We want to create a library of our tutorials, interviews, features and code that is accessible to everyone, whether that’s a Python tutorial for a 10 hour flight, or a Raspberry Pi class guide for a school club. We don’t believe in charging several times for the same ‘evergreen’ content,” the proposal says.

So come February, we’re expecting great things from Messrs. Gregory, Saunders and Everard. Congratulations, guys, and remember — on your cover mock-up, you have an article on CrunchBang. It would be great to see that in your inaugural edition (also, I know someone who can cover the U.S. stories for you . . . :-) )

There is still a fortnight left on the campaign, and if you want to contribute, click on the item below.

linux-voice

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!

Getting the show on the road

December 9, 2013 2 comments

While we’re approaching mid-December, it would be prudent for me to point out that preparations have been under way for several weeks now for the Southern California Linux Expo, known this year as SCALE 12X.

You’ve heard me brag about the fact that SCALE, now in its 12th year, is the largest community-run Linux/FOSS show in North America. You’ve heard me repeatedly state that it’s the first-of-the-year Linux/FOSS show on this continent as well. I could say that I do it because I’m the publicity chairperson of the event. But even if I didn’t hold that position, I’d still say it.

It’s by far the one Linux/FOSS event of the year I look forward to most and the one around which I plan my year. It’s like in NASCAR, the biggest race of the year — the Daytona 500 — is first and kicks off the season. Going forward, I should also give fair warning to shows and expos east of the Rockies: I plan to submit presentations and make it to as many shows as possible in 2014, even if — gasp! — I have to get to second base with TSA agents and actually board an airliner to accomplish this.

But let’s put that tortuous visual aside for now.

As the SCALE Team starts putting together the 12th annual show, I should point out to readers that the Call for Papers closes six days from today’s writing — we’re at Dec. 9, by my calendar, so that means at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Dec. 15, your proposal will turn into a pumpkin if you haven’t submitted it. And you should — with the wide range of topics proposed in this informational link, you should have no problems finding an audience for your talk.

Want to be a sponsor at SCALE 12X? Easy enough: Send an e-mail to sponsorship-at-socallinux-dot-org (not using an e-mail link because, well, you know) and someone will help you out with that. Are you a dot-org and/or a nonprofit and want a booth? Gareth Greenaway is your man at gareth-at-socallinuxexpo-dot-org — drop him a line and say that Larry the Free Software Guy sent you.

Maybe you’re not presenting and maybe you’re not sponsoring and/or hosting a booth of your own, but there are two other things you can do.

The first thing you can do is attend. Yep, like life itself, 90 percent of attending SCALE 12X is just showing up — and, like life, it’s what you do with the other 10 percent that counts. Registration is now open by going here.

Want to help? We can always use it and we can always utilize a wide range of talents. Tell us what you can do and there’s a good chance we can find a place for you on the SCALE Team. E-mail us at staff-at-socallinuxexpo-dot-org

It’s a huge team effort every year that makes SCALE, and all the other shows around the continent (or, for that matter, the world), work.

You’ll be hearing more about SCALE on this blog going forward. And I look forward to seeing you all in February.

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!

Random Tuesday thoughts

December 3, 2013 2 comments

Not being one to let the calendar get in the way of when I post, I had a few random thoughts after visiting the normal digital hangouts and haunts during the course of an increasingly cold Tuesday. Like . . .

FOSDEM’s seeking a few good distros: Joe Brockmeier passed along to me a message about FOSDEM hosting a cross-distribution miniconference on Feb. 1-2, 2014, seeking submissions of talks, Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions, or round-table discussions from any interested representatives of Linux distributions or individuals who have a topic of interest related to Linux distributions. Got a proposal? Go here and submit it through Pentabarf, the FOSDEM proposal system (though it would be a good idea to check with Joe first — Joe outlines all of this here on his blog). Good luck in Brussels!

Test, test . . . is this thing on?: Chris Smart, the lead developer at Korora, is looking for a little help in testing Pharlap, a new driver manager for Fedora and a replacement for Jockey in the next version of Korora. Pharlap is shipping with Korora 20, and Smart hopes to get it into RPMFusion down the line, but it needs some testing. He talks about it in his blog, and if you have the time, the skills and the inclination, you might want to help out.

Unicorns, the Loch Ness Monster, Ubuntu TV: One of these things is not like the others. Oh, wait: They’re all alike. Christopher Tozzi, whom many of you know as The VAR Guy, talks to Canonical in his latest item, “Canonical: Ubuntu TV Lives, But Linux Smartphones Come First.” The definition of “life” being broad as it might be, yours truly still would like to call shenanigans with impunity on the folks from the Isle of Man. Why? Simple: Canonical featured Ubuntu TV last year (2012, for those of you keeping score at home) at CES — not a small, inexpensive venue for a coming-out party — and now Jono Bacon follows up with a quote in the article that Ubuntu TV is “still not as complete as we liked it to be” nearly two years after the fact. If Ubuntu TV lives, that’s really not much of an existence, is it?

One more thing: The Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards are out. Not a lot of surprises, but something that deserves special mention is Aaron Seigo reflections on KDE’s excellent showing — a leader at 30.6 percent, putting together votes for KDE and KDE Plasma — in the Desktop Environment category.

See you Sunday, if not before (and Felton LUG members, bear in mind there’s no meeting this Sunday. Enjoy the yuletide holiday instead and see you in January).

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!

VSIDO makes its mark

December 2, 2013 4 comments

Back in March, I had a chance to take a lap or two with Terry Ganus’ VSIDO and wrote about it here. I liked what he was doing — revealing that Debian Sid is not the monster some people make it out to be while proving that it could be used by the average user as a daily distro. Also, I liked the offering back then when it came out.

I gave VSIDO another shot last week, using the 64-bit Raptor, which features Debian Sid under the hood with the Fluxbox window manager on the surface. I ran it on a dual-core Toshiba laptop. Like in March, again I found it a solid distribution which would serve any user well.

A word about Fluxbox: It’s a good call to make this the default window manager. Like CrunchBang’s Openbox window manager, Fluxbox is very lightweight, however the advantage over Openbox is that it does not share Openbox’s starkness. For those who like a little color in their menus, not to mention a lot of flexibility in tweaking their window manager, Fluxbox is an outstanding option.

The lineup of software available also sets VSIDO apart. There’s the standard programs you’d find in Debian-based systems augmented by other programs which are not as well known but are adequately solid. For example, Audacity is present, but there’s also a video viewer called UMPlayer that gives any other player a run for its money. Ceni and WICD star as the network managers (more on this later). There are even a couple of things you may not find on regular distros — Filezilla comes immediately to mind, as well as menu-ized items like the htop command to easily keep track of what’s running on your system.

All of this shows that a lot of thought was put into what VSIDO users might want, and the choices are right on the mark.

One thing that I encountered last time that I encountered again, and I know this is PEBCAK moreso than a reflection on the distro: I have always fought a losing battle with WICD, and this time was no exception. This is not unique to VSIDO, because I’ve lost this battle on other distros as well. White flag, surrender — c’est la guerre. Ceni, on the other hand, came in handy and saved the day when using wireless. I don’t know what the logic is behind having two network managers — and I’m glad to be enlightened here by the VSIDO crew — but this redundancy saved the proverbial bacon this time.

A lot can be said for distros like VSIDO, most of which renders moot those ludicrous complaints about there being too many distros in the FOSS universe. There are currently the right number of distros — as many distros as the market will bear, to echo Adam Smith — and the good ones rise in direct proportion to their commitment to quality.

VSIDO is one of those rising in the Debian constellation. If VSIDO continues on its current course, it has a bright future.

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!

Larry in KDE Land

November 25, 2013 7 comments

This week’s blog was supposed to be a look at the newly released Raptor provided by VSIDO, and there is a version now on the soon-to-be-delivered-to-REGLUE ThinkPad T60 (sorry for the delay, Ken). I didn’t spend as much time as I should have with this release — you’ll see why below — and I didn’t want to provide a half-baked report on what is a very solid distro.

But one is forthcoming, I promise, and any delay should not be interpreted as any dissatisfaction on my part — Terry Ganus and his crew at VSIDO are doing great things making Debian Sid work for the average Joe.

However, I fell down the rabbit hole. For the most part last week I had been playing the role of the proverbial moth to KDE’s hypothetical flame. Having spent most of the week trying to plumb the depths of the K Desktop Environment — better known by its initials KDE — and the accompanying software (of which there is much; most of it remarkably cool and some of it undeniably sanity-testing), I think I’m beginning to understand its appeal across a wide range of users.

But first, how I got here. As outlined last week, I tried and liked Korora 19.1 KDE, so much so that I installed it on a fairly powerful laptop, keeping the other laptop that I always carry with me running CrunchBang. This gives me the best of both possible Debian/Red Hat worlds in an overstuffed backpack (the aforementioned T60 stayed at home). As it turned out, my forum account on KDE.org was still active even though I hadn’t logged in since 2009.

Having hardware that could easily pull the KDE load (a very important point here, since that is not common for yours truly), I went exploring.

There are things about KDE that I find mysterious. There are things about KDE that I find inconceivable (I keep using that word: I think it means what I think it means). There are things about the software that I find both compelling and unfathomable at the same time, and I find it a huge credit to the KDE community that they keep providing this software while keeping the cats herded and moving somewhat in the same direction. With enough time, I’ve fathomed things like Dolphin — getting a hold of what it does and nodding approvingly — and KWallet, which is something I don’t really need, but I can see how others with somewhat more complicated lives can utilize it. The stick-poking care in changing and re-changing icons and desktop patterns created, over time, a confidence that increased the more I did it.

So the basis for a quality desktop environment supported with a variety of software — heck, I’ve even made my peace with Konqueror and, this time around, I actually enjoyed using Konversation until finally breaking down and going back to Irssi, which is what the cool kids use — enjoys a comfortable home with KDE and it’s a testament to its far-flung community around the globe.

But there’s one thing I find I have to mention, and I did so on the forum (though I am told that I may be appealing to deaf ears). It is the “march of the icons” on the splash screen at startup, and it’s not so much the icons themselves as much as the different size of the KDE icon in the lineup.

Here’s an example from Fedora 19 (which looks a lot like the Korora startup screen with different branding):

kde2

So we have a hard drive icon, a tools icon, a globe icon, a desktop icon all the same size, and the piece-de-resistance is a twice-the-size-of-the-others KDE icon. It reminds one of Berke Breathed’s character Bill the Cat, who had one normal eye and one that was two or three times the size of the other. Also, if memory serves, the icons were all the same size in KDE 3.5, which is the last one that I used with any consistency before finding it too resource-intensive for my old hardware.

Trivial? In the grand scheme of things, yeah. I get that if KDE wants to make a statement because they’re proud of their work, go for it, dudes, and make it stand out (thought that would not be the way I’d do it). It still looks funny to me, and I would hope that there is some consideration in KDE’s higher echelons to make this KDE icon more in line, size-wise, with the rest of them.

Meanwhile, I will keep poking and probing this desktop environment and someday — someday — I will be enlightened to the true meaning of Nepomuk.

But before that, a VSIDO reports as promised. Scout’s honor. See you next week, if not before.

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!

A week with Korora 19.1 KDE

November 17, 2013 5 comments

I made a joke recently on social media — not a good joke, I’ll be the first to admit — that I had used Korora way back when it had two A’s at the end.

In an indirect way, Korora — minus the second A of the past, but inheriting the long-vowel line over the last A — crossed the proverbial radar again recently and, as it would happen, it got another one-week test drive from yours truly, this time in the driver’s seat of Korora 19.1 KDE “Bruce.”

In a word, “Wow.”

For those of you keeping score at home, Korora is a Fedora remix that “aims to make Linux easier for new users, while still being useful for experts.” It’s a noble effort, to say the least: Fedora, which as I’ve said on a million occasions, does everything right, especially building and maintaining the distro’s software, as well as building or maintaining the community supporting it. The principles driving Fedora are excellent ones to emulate, and to provide an option of a Fedora respin in which everything works right out of the box (*cough* Flash *cough*) is indeed a noble task.

So in taking that route, it bears mentioning that the Korora lead developer, Chris Smart, is a man who lives up to his name.

As many of you know, I’m not stranger to Fedora, yet I threw caution to the wind and opted for KDE, given Korora’s choice of KDE, GNOME, Cinnamon and MATE. Here’s why: First, I haven’t used KDE in quite awhile and I wanted to see what’s new, and secondly, my friend Ken Starks at REGLUE is using it in the OpenSUSE machines he’s building for kids down in Austin, Texas.

On a Dell Latitude D610 with the touchpad turned off in the BIOS (due to the wandering cursor thing that Dell refuses to fix — which is why someone gave this hardware to me, I think), the install went flawlessly and any worry that the 1.5GB of RAM would labor under the weight of KDE was put to rest early. For the week I used the D610 on a daily basis, the only hiccup was in updating which, eventually, was traced back to the flaky wireless where I was rather than to the distro and/or desktop environment.

Other hurdles aside — “Why doesn’t apt-get work on this . . . oh wait.” — getting used to KDE was not as hard as I thought. Much of the habits in using a window-manager based distro like CrunchBang took some unlearning. KDE and I have always had a love-hate relationship, but casting aside any prejudices I had about the desktop environment, I found that the same things that bothered me still do (KDE Wallet – seriously?), but the other facets of KDE Plasma were very workable and spending an entire week tweaking it was both educational and fun. Plus, I think there have been many improvements to much of the KDE software lineup: Using Kmail and Konversation much of the time, they performed flawlessly during the course of the week.

On the whole, I like this distro a lot and I think Korora has a bright future. There is a clear comparison that can be made between Korora and Fedora that mirrors the relationship between Linux Mint and Ubuntu. Just as Linux Mint improves the user experience on that particular Ubuntu-based distro, so then can Korora enhance the user experience on this Fedora-based distro.

Trivial, I know: The naming convention is based on characters in “Finding Nemo” in the same way that Debian’s project names are based on “Toy Story” (or CrunchBang’s is based on “The Muppet Show”). It’s always a source of interest to me how projects are named, and you just have to bear with me on that. But a tip of the hat to Nemo, or in this case, Bruce!

So a word of warning, Kororans: I’ve signed up on your site and I’m going to keep Korora on the Dell for the forseeable future. See you around.

I promised last week to look at VSIDO and we’ll have to take that up next week. Apologies to those who were expecting that today.

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!

Lift up your Voice

November 11, 2013 5 comments

Some of you — especially those of you in the U.K. and in Europe — may have already heard this, but a trio of former Linux Format writers are banding together to produce a new monthly Free Software and Linux magazine called Linux Voice scheduled for a February 2014 release.

The three — Andrew Gregory, Mike Saunders and Ben Everard — are funding Linux Voice through an Indiegogo campaign that comes in well under Canonicalesque $32 million (though I’m sure these guys would take $32 million if they could get it). However, the most interesting part of this, the unique twist to their business plan, is outlined specifically in these two items:

Half the profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities, and our readership will choose where the money goes. As it says on the site, “We want to sponsor projects, events, developers, and evangelise the cause. We want to build long-term relationships with the people we sponsor, so there’s less uncertainty for projects year-on-year.”

Content will be published for free after 9 months, and they aim to use an open source/Creative Commons licence. “We want to create a library of our tutorials, interviews, features and code that is accessible to everyone, whether that’s a Python tutorial for a 10 hour flight, or a Raspberry Pi class guide for a school club. We don’t believe in charging several times for the same ‘evergreen’ content,” the proposal says.

This campaign happened across my radar while reading the CrunchBang forums. CrunchBang lead developer Philip Newborough (corenominal) posted it there, and he has a more-than-slight interest in this. The guys who are starting the magazine have been good to CrunchBang in the past, and if you look at the cover on the Indiegogo page, there’s already a review of CrunchBang seemingly slated for the edition. So corenominal has replaced the usual “be excellent to each other” forum fortunes with an ad to this campaign and he will leave the ads running for the remainder of the Linux Voice funding run, which ends near Christmas.

Well, two can play at this game, Mr. Newborough :-) I’ll do the same on this blog, keeping an ad or a mention for Linux Voice’s Indiegogo campaign until the campaign ends. It will run at the bottom of each Larry the Free Software Guy blog item, like this:

linux-voice

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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