Archive for October, 2007

In a state of Flux

October 31, 2007 Comments off

In lieu of the meeting at Cabrillo College at which the Cabrillo College Linux Users Group was supposed to get the school’s blessing, I instead am in the computer lab. The ICC meeting was cancelled because it’s — surprise! — Halloween, so Cabrillo LUG gets to wait another week before the college give us their imprimatur.

So now I’ve got nothing to do for a couple of hours. Good time to blog, no?

This would be a good time to bring up a random set of thoughts, like:

In a state of Flux: Fluxbuntu released it’s version 7.10, and it’s a great system. The Fluxbox desktop environment is one that can grow on you, and it makes you wonder why the general populace has been brainwashed into expecting icons on the desktop as a standard. What’s more appealing — to me as well as the thousands (maybe millions?) of PowerPC Mac users abandoned by Apple — is that Fluxbuntu will also be releasing a PowerPC version shortly.

Nigeria picks Mandriva: Mandriva gets a pretty peachy account — powering school computers in Africa’s most populous nation. The Nigerian government has selected Intel-powered classmate PCs running on Mandriva Linux for educational use in nationwide pilot, with the project’s aiming to improve the quality of technology delivered to students — as well as to help teachers and parents. Mandriva’s a good choice in that regard. More on the story, as we say at Open Source & Free Software Reporter, from Mandriva can be found here.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: There, I said it — Marc DesJardins, the copy chief at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, has his Google news search set to the name of the paper for which we both work. This blog always pops up — thanks, Google! Since I’m on vacation from the paper, I’m just wondering if the news desk is enjoying the silence in my absence — so are ya, Marcus me ol’ buddy?

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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The blog you have reached . . .

October 28, 2007 Comments off

. . . is still in service.

A contemporary whom I admire and who will go unnamed (but he knows who he is) admonished me the other day for not updating my blog in a timely manner. Mea maxima culpa.

The thing is: I don’t blog unless I have something to say, however profound or trivial. So there may be days when I don’t post something, as many of you outside my family reading this blog might have noticed. But apparently, that’s not how things work in the blogosphere.

In the blogosphere, apparently, it’s not what you write, it’s how much you write. Of course, that’s why is kicking blog butt.

So taking my contemporary’s advice, I am going to blog more often; once a week, twice or three times maybe. Heck, maybe I’ll just write every day. Rather than make profound observations, I’ll just list a grouping of ramblings tied together by the common thread of FOSS.


Burn Free . . . as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass . . . ahem, er, sorry. I get carried away sometimes. But one of several things that make me burst into song is the availability of FOSS from a free vending machine, a concept being implemented in South Africa and funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation (yeah, that Shttleworth). The Freedom Toaster is a machine that is a “conveniently located, self-contained, computer-based, ‘Bring ‘n Burn’ facility.” The Web page introduction continues: “Like vending machines, preloaded to dispense confectionery (Note: That’s “candy” to North Americans south of Canada and north of Mexico), Freedom Toasters are preloaded to dispense free digital products, including software, photography, music and literature.” Instructions on how to make a Freedom Toaster are also included. Great stuff. Now, who do I know with power tools I can borrow . . . ?

Hail to the Treasurer: After a process that made herding cats seem like an effortless cattle drive, Cabrillo College Linux Users Group (Cabrillo LUG) has finally been established. An organizational meeting was held on Oct. 24, and yours truly was elected treasurer by consensus. Cabrillo College is located in Aptos, Calif., in Santa Cruz County.

Open for business: I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. HeliOS Solutions West, a division of HeliOS Solutions in Austin, Texas, is up and running in the town of Felton just northeast of Santa Cruz, Calif. It’s located at the Felton Trading Post at 6396 Highway 9, Felton CA 95018. Phone: 831.335.7303.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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It’s official

October 10, 2007 Comments off

It’s official:

Steve Ballmer is an world class, Olympic-caliber asshat: Most of us already knew this, of course. But if you’re the CEO of what’s supposed to be the largest software company on this planet, if not the galaxy, shouldn’t you be more concerned about how your newly-released-but-in-the-toilet Vista operating system is (under)performing rather than raising, once again, the laughable specter of suing for patent infringements? Not Steve. Uh-uh. He’d rather talk about how Google reads your mail and how that McCarthyist list of 235 patent violations — which we haven’t seen yet, incidentally — are ready for prosecution. Have you no shame, Mr. Ballmer?

Ken Starks, a.k.a. Helios, is a hero: Most of us already knew this, of course. Apparently, it’s official now, as Carla Schroeder writes here in this article praising Ken, whom I am proud to call a brother-in-arms in the FOSS wars, and with whom I am proud to be a partner in flying the HeliOS Solutions flag in the Wild West.

I’m a flake: Most of you already know that, of course (hey, wait a minute . . .). You would think that as editor and publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, I would take the time to meet with OSFSR New Zealand correspondent Penny Leach after she flew all the way to San Francisco — for her work at Catalyst, that is, not to see me (an aside: the days when women would fly great distances to see me are, sadly, long gone — and I’m at peace with that) — but noooOOOooooo. I completely blanked the dates that she was visiting to promote Mahara and Moodle (very cool, check them out), even after recording it on my page at My sincerest apologies, Penny. Next time, I promise.

Ubuntu makes it to the NBA, sort of: Tom Krazit, of C|Net, writes here that the Boston Celtics have adopted “ubuntu” as their rallying cry this season. A bunch of 7-foot GNU/Linux users? Not quite. Celtics coach Doc Rivers apparently chose that word “ubuntu” after learning of it while reading about Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For those of you keeping score at home, “ubuntu” has its roots in the Bantu languages of southern Africa as meaning “a philosophy of life that promotes the greater good rather than individual success.” Of course, with the upper case U, Ubuntu is a damn good GNU/Linux distro, and a slam-dunk for anyone using GNU/Linux.

Bonnie Raitt was born to sing ‘Angel From Montgomery’: No, this has nothing to do with FOSS, but there is no one more more suited to sing John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” than Bonnie Raitt. Period. Don’t take my word for it — see it on YouTube here, and hear a duet with Prine here (note, the latter is not a performance video, but a montage of photos with the duet in the background).

The phone is silent . . . for now: 831-335-7303 is the number for HeliOS Solutions West and for Tux Project in beautiful downtown Felton. When you’re here, don’t forget to grab a cup of joe at the White Raven.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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Eliminate DRM!