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Posts Tagged ‘OSCON’

It’s Friday, I’m in love

August 13, 2010 4 comments

Ah, love! The Cure’s song that carries today’s blog title bounces gently off the walls of the office while I think about the things I love about GNU/Linux (or Linux, if you’re so inclined).

Like . . .

  • A multiplicity of distros: Oh, 350-odd (and some not so odd) active Linux distributions in their wide range of uses, even though about 50 of them are relevant and regularly used by the GNU/Linux-using public. Some think that’s too many, but I would disagree: Distros are like ice cream, and you pick the flavor that suits your taste (not to mention your needs) and use it. I’d prefer to have hundreds to choose from rather than have a Baskin-Robbins limitation to 33 flavors. [Those who know me know I'm a Fedora guy, but the boxes at Redwood Digital also run Debian (especially on the Macs), Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and a PII box with AntiX Mepis.] To appreciate the amount of choice we have, a visit to DistroWatch might be in order.
  • A variety of desktops: Who’s limited to what environment appears on our screens? We’re not. Thanks to the big daddies — GNOME and KDE (the former which I use most often and the latter which I’m growing to like more over time) — and to those desktop environments which leave the processor’s horsepower to more important digital matters — take a bow Xfce and LXDE — we have a wide range of options. Of course, if four isn’t enough, throw in IceWM and Flux and . . . .
  • The busy Beavers at Oregon State: The crew at Oregon State University deserve special mention. Chances are when you download a FOSS program or a distro, it comes to you directly from beautiful downtown Corvallis, Ore., home of the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (well, OK, perhaps OSU isn’t downtown per se, but you get the point). Kudos to OSL operations boss Jeff Sheltren and infrastructure architect Lance Albertson, as well as the rest of the OSL’s staff, for keeping the FOSS programs available. In addition, the OSL’s efforts hardly pale in comparison with the dedication and commitment to FOSS in OSU’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, which is responsible for the Oregon State Wireless Activity Learning Device (or OSWALD). A tip of the hat — a Fedora, of course — to EECS faculty professors Tim Budd and Carlos Jensen for the OSWALD, and great work, all.
  • Showtime: The various Linux/FOSS shows and expos throughout the year are great to attend — the ones I can make, like the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) and OSCON are the ones around which I plan family vacations. Throw in other shows into the mix like the Utah Open Source Conference in October and the other standards like Southeast Linux Fest, the OLFs (Ohio and Ontario Linux Fests), Calgary Open Source Systems Festival (COSSFEST), while tossing in new shows like Texas Linux Fest, and the calendar is full of opportunities to promote FOSS and learn a thing or two if you aren’t careful.
  • My peeps: You all know who you are, and don’t think for a minute I’m going to try to name all of you because I’ll forget someone and then they’ll feel bad and I’ll hate myself for forgetting for years to follow. Thank you to those who make everything work across distro, desktop and program borders — you are truly the heroes of FOSS and have my undying respect, gratitude and love.

    [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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  • OSCON: The epilogue

    July 25, 2010 2 comments

    OK, so I lied. I had planned to write this yesterday, but after an all night drive which consisted of drinking about two gallons of coffee, sleeping that off (ironically) on Saturday morning and then going to work, time became unavailable until now.

    At first glance, OSCON was a huge success on several levels. First, it appears that as much as I’d prefer to have the event in San Jose for my own personal and selfish reasons, OSCON is at home in Portland. It’s a tough concession for me to make, but it’s true. Also, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that attendance is up — from the traffic on the floor and the amount of swag that flew out of the Fedora booth, I’d say it is way up.

    People I forgot to mention: The first familiar friendly face I saw once the doors opened on Wednesday was that of Akkana Peck, GIMP guru without peer and my “neighbor” from over the hill in the Silicon Valley. Amber Graner, with whom a Linux expo would not be a Linux expo, was also on hand, with cameraman in tow for podcasts. My good friend and Gidget Kitchen chef Mark Terranova was also splitting time at OSCON between the Ubuntu booth and taking pictures on the expo hall floor, among other events at OSCON. There are more people I know I’m forgetting, but I promise to come back to you.

    The city that really knows how: The motto “the city that knows how” is normally attributed to San Francisco — and it’s a very accurate one — but the City by the Bay could learn a thing or two from Portland. A free downtown train for starters would be nice in San Francisco. Plus, people are generally very easygoing and polite in Portland, making it a great place to visit. Coupling my affinity for Corvallis with a growing affinity for Portland, the state of Oregon is rising on the charts as one of my favorite places.

    Honorable mention in the swag department: While giving out the best in swag awards, I failed to mention that Code for America handed out what I think are the greatest posters that have happened along in quite some time. These posters are historic American quotes from U.S. government “system architect” James Madison and “accessibility expert” Susan B. Anthony written in binary. Go take a look here — I’ll wait. I have the Madison and Anthony posters on the wall at the office in Felton. For printed matter, it definintely edges out the excellent Linux Journal calendar.

    Thanks again, O’Reilly, for hosting such a great show year after year, and we’ll see you again in 2011.

    [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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    The Wizard of OSCON – Day 2

    July 23, 2010 3 comments

    First things first: There is a Wizard of OSCON. I’ll reveal that person’s identity — without having to go behind the curtain — at the end of the blog (and no fair going straight to the bottom).

    The second day followed the same playbook from most large shows. Following a tsunami of people on day one of the exhibition, the second day of the exhibition is more tempered and there are less people. But there’s an up side to the latter, specifically that we’re able to talk at length about matters Fedora.

    Being chained to the booth — and I say that as if it’s a bad thing, but it’s not — I was unable to go to any of the sessions. Not a problem there, since talking to people in the booth is a lot more enjoyable. So dealing with questions about Fedora, introducing the distro and talking to people about FOSS suits me better.

    The people come in waves, thanks to the sessions, no doubt. The folks who visited the booth for the past two days, as they do at all large shows, come in a wide range of experience levels. Fielding questions from “What is Fedora?” to the most detailed questions about the kernel — passed off to someone more experienced, of course — the range of questions and the ever-increasing number of people reflect that FOSS is gaining a healthy glow in the grand scheme of things.

    Best SWAG: Overall, the SWAG at the event has been good. Three items stand out and I’ll rank them from third to first. Finishing third would be the Firehost playing cards, and you might ask why the Firehost toilet paper wouldn’t rank until you actually used it (nice idea, bad execution, Firehost).

    Finishing second, and most would consider this the winner, would be the tattoo sleeves from Rackspace. You put this sleeve on your arm and, assuming you’re skin tone is a range of pink to white, you have an arm covered with Rackspace tattoos.

    The best swag of the event goes to Chisimba, a South African outlet at the show. Since South Africa just hosted the World Cup, they brought Chisimba.com vuvuzelas. Orange vuvuzelas.

    And now we’re off to meet the wizard: The one person who always makes OSCON work for us — the one who pulls administrative rabbits out of hats and who is a textbook go-to person — would be O’Reilly’s May Munji. Thanks, May, for making the shows a great experience for those of us toiling in the booth trenches.

    Tomorrow: The OSCON epilogues.

    [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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