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Posts Tagged ‘Linux Journal’

Looking out over the horizon

July 6, 2014 3 comments

The last couple of weeks have been filled with resume-sending, waiting by the phone for the resumes to do their trick, and a trip to Arizona for a plethora of family reasons (wife went to do some New Age thing in Sedona while daughter visited friends in Phoenix — heck, I even got a phone interview with a tech company there). But while I was driving around the Southwest, a few things crossed the proverbial radar that deserve special mention, like . . .

Congratulate me, I’m an “extremist”
: And give yourself a good pat on the back, too, because if you’re a Linux Journal reader, the NSA thinks you are an “extremist,” too. Kyle Rankin reports on the site on the eve of Independence Day — irony much? — that the publication’s readers are flagged for increased surveillance.

LJ-Extremist-red-stampThat includes — oh, I don’t know — just about everyone involved to some degree with Free/Open Source Software and Linux (and yes, Richard Stallman, that would also include GNU/Linux, too), from the noob who looked up “network security” to the most seasoned greybeard.

Rankin writes, “One of the biggest questions these new revelations raise is why. Up until this point, I would imagine most Linux Journal readers had considered the NSA revelations as troubling but figured the NSA would never be interested in them personally. Now we know that just visiting this site makes you a target. While we may never know for sure what it is about Linux Journal in particular, the Boing Boing article speculates that it might be to separate out people on the Internet who know how to be private from those who don’t so it can capture communications from everyone with privacy know-how.”

So, a quick note to our friends in the main office of the NSA in Maryland, where someone has drawn the unfortunate assignment of reading this (my apologies for not being a more exciting “extremist”) because . . . well, you know . . . I’m an “extremist” using Linux. Please pass this run-on sentence up your chain of command: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

That’s the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in case you hadn’t noticed.

One more thing: Linux Journal webmaster Katherine Druckman (sorry, the term “webmistress,” as noted on the LJ site, needs to be thrown into the dustbin of history) says that, yeah, maybe readers are a little extreme and asks readers to join them in supporting “extremist” causes like Free/Open Source Software and hardware, online freedom, and the dissemination of helpful technical knowledge by adding the graphic featured above (it comes in red, black, or white) to your site, your social media, or wherever you deem fit.

On a more positive note . . .

Introducing Xiki: Command-line snobs, welcome to the future. In a Linux.com article, Carla Schroder introduces Xiki, an interactive and flexible command shell 10 years in the making. It’s a giant leap forward in dealing with what some consider the “black magic” of the command line, but Carla points out another, more significant, use for the software.

Carla writes, “When I started playing with Xiki it quickly became clear that it has huge potential as an interface for assistive devices such as Braille keyboards, wearable devices like high-tech glasses and gloves, prosthetics, and speech-to-text/text-to-speech engines, because Xiki seamlessly bridges the gap between machine-readable plain text and GUI functions.”

It could be the next big thing in FOSS and deserves a look.

Another day, another distro: Phoronix reported last week a peculiar development which either can be considered yet another Linux distro on the horizon or a bad joke.

According to the article, Operating System U is the new distro and the team there wants to create “the ultimate operating system.” To do that, the article continues, the distro will be based on Arch with a modified version of the MATE desktop and will use — wait for it — Wayland (putting aside for a moment that MATE doesn’t have Wayland support, but never mind that). But wait, there’s more: Operating System U also plans to modify the MATE Desktop to make it better while also developing a new component they call Startlight, which pairs the Windows Start Button with Apple’s Spotlight.

The team plans a Kickstarter campaign later this month in an attempt to raise $150,000. A noble effort or reinventing the wheel? I’d go with the latter. Our friends at Canonical have dumped a ton of Mark Shuttleworth’s money into trying to crack the desktop barrier and, at this point, they have given up to follow other form factors. Add to this an already crowded field of completely adequate and useable desktop Linux distros that would easily do what Operating System U sets out to do, and you have to wonder about the point of this exercise.

Additionally, for a team portraying itself to be so committed to open source, there seems to be a disconnect of sorts around what community engagement entails. A telling comment in the article is posted by flexiondotorg — and if it’s the person who owns that site, it’s Martin Wimpress of Hamshire, England, an Arch Linux Trusted User, a member of the MATE Desktop team, a GSoC 2014 mentor for openSUSE and one of the Ubuntu MATE Remix developers.

Martin/flexiondotorg says this: “I have a unique point of view on this. I am an Arch Linux TU and MATE developer. I am also the maintainer for MATE on Arch Linux and the maintainer for Ubuntu MATE Remix.

“None of the indivuals involved with Operating System U have approached Arch or MATE, nor contributed to either project, as far as I can tell. I’d also like to highlight that we (the MATE team) have not completed adding support for GTK3 to MATE, although that is a roadmap item due for completion in MATE 1.10 and a precursor to adding Wayland support.

“I can only imagine that the Operating System U team are about to submit some massive pull-requests to the MATE project what with the ‘CEO’ proclaiming to be such an Open Source enthusiast. If Operating System U are to be taken seriously I’d like to see some proper community engagement first.”

Proper community engagement — what a concept!

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, Fosstafarian, Larry the Korora 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!

A ‘window’ I’d like to see

September 6, 2011 2 comments

OK, it’s crunch time. At the end of the week, you should be in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio Linux Fest — if you’re going to a Linux show before the year’s out, make it this one. This is the last big show on the North American continent until SCALE in January. At OLF, Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting — along with Jon “maddog” Hall — so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!).

When it comes to windows, this is one window I’ve been expecting for quite some time, and it looks like it’s almost here.

GIMP 2.7.3 adds the long awaited single-window mode, according to an article by Michael Reed in Linux Journal today.

At the moment, GIMP 2.7 is part of the development branch, so the feature won’t hit most distro repositories for a couple of months, according to the article. For the brave souls out there who want to try it now, this means that you’ll have to build it yourself (he says, backing away slowly).

“It’s a shame, in a way, because the new window mode might be viewed as a ease of use feature that less advanced users would appreciate,” Reed writes in his article.

Not to worry, Michael: I can wait until this single-window version is released for the mere mortals among us. According to Reed, a link in his article points to a page that has GIMP version 2.8 arriving sometime around November.

So, this is one window I can truly embrace. Thanks, GIMP folks.

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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