Originally, I was going to write about something else — Microsoft’s “love” of open source, where invariably Mr. Godwin’s theorem would have definitely come into play, and probably very early on — but I decided to shelve that blog post in favor of this one.
Yesterday, Bruce Byfield’s essay — er, blog — is entitled “Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha: Slouching Toward Ubuntu GNOME.” During the course of a pretty good look at the upcoming Maverick Meerkat, Bruce points out that the desktop is beginning to stray further from the original GNOME to something that Ubuntu is developing on its own. Which is fine, and kudos for the efforts, even though (in my opinion) it would be better if they went upstream in GNOME with whatever they produce, which doesn’t seem to be happening.
So, stop me if you’ve heard this before. Bruce writes:
“These changes in Ubuntu GNOME inspire mixed feelings in many. Some think that Ubuntu should be praised for making innovations in the desktop, and probably some, such as Multitouch, will eventually find their way into mainstream GNOME and other desktops.
“Still others note that Ubuntu is introducing these changes unilaterally, rather through the GNOME project, and — even though the changes are available under free licenses – the company is not being a good community citizen by acting in this way.”
So while firmly in the camp of “still others,” I’ll just wait patiently while the Ubunteros from the top down line up to either a.) make valid arguments against what Bruce wrote, or b.) start in on ad hominem attacks that have little, or anything, to do with the issue at hand. Or weigh in with something in between.
Also, I should start cleaning up the office for an upcoming visit by the celebrated Colonel Panik, who will be gracing Northern California in an upcoming trip in the near future.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
No, I’m not referring to the cable channel of the same name: Two shows (plus a third on the far horizon) deserve special mention. One of them I can’t make because, well, it’s too far to drive/Amtrak/bus/walk and you know Larry the Free Software Guy doesn’t fly unless thrown by someone larger than him (fat chance). The other, I wouldn’t miss for the world.
The show I’ll miss, but naturally I urge you to go if you can make it: Ohio Linux Fest from Sept. 10-12 in Columbus, Ohio. Stormy Peters of GNOME kicks it off with the keynote, followed by five tracks of talks from open source and Linux experts like Tarus Balog, Amber Graner, Catherine Devlin, Dru Lavigne, Paul Frields, and Jon ‘maddog’ Hall. This year’s OLF also features a special medical track for those interested in the use of free and open source software in medicine — readers of this blog (thanks, Mom) will note that I rant often about the need to develop medical software that is free/open source and it’s good that OLF has taken the ball and run with it.
Then if you want to meet me at the next expo I attend you’ll have to go to the Utah Open Source Conference from Oct. 7-9 at Salt Lake Community College in — where else? — Salt Lake City, Utah. This growing show, which I like to call “the fall classic” because it’s fast becoming a standard in the West between the Southern California Linux Expo right before spring and OSCON in the summer, will have Jared Smith of the Fedora Project giving the keynote. Oh, and yours truly gives a presentation on User Groups 2.0 dealing with the ups and downs of forming a LUG in this age of a new generation of Linux users.
Speaking of SCALE, they’ve moved to bigger digs — namely down the street to the Los Angeles Airport Hilton — and the call for papers should be made fairly soon. For those who want to mark their calendars way in advance, it’s Feb. 25-27, 2011.
See you at the show.
The naming conventions for distros can be entertaining. Whether it’s Debian’s “Toy Story” connection or Fedora’s less than simple formula — $CURRENT_NAME is a ___________ and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_NAME — code names for the current or future versions of distros can be entertaining at the selection stage.
Ubuntu’s naming convention is fairly simple: Take an animal and throw before it an adjective beginning with the same letter.
So after Maverick Meerkat, which is the name set in stone for Ubuntu 10.10, we have the name already foisted on the FOSS public for Ubuntu 11.04.
OK, it’s an N, right? So how does Natty Narwhal float your boat?
There’s a trend here according to the thesaurus, pointed out by Akkana Peck: Synonyms for “natty” include dapper and jaunty. Where have we heard those before?
The letter O, methinks, would be more challenging. Good thing they have awhile to think about it.
Recently — I think it was Sunday — Debian turned 17. While not yet quite old enough to drink or be drafted, it has still matured well and has been a standard bearer for GNU/Linux for a better part of its lifespan; arguably it has been the standard bearer for its entire life. Further, Debian can be blamed for allowing just about anything to run on Linux — Mac 68K series, PowerPC, Sparc, toaster ovens, electric toothbrushes, even Atari and Commodore 64, so I’m told.
My first exposure to Debian was on a PowerPC-based Indigo iMac, which I still have and which is still running upgraded versions of Debian. In a FOSS world where six-month release cycles are the unfortunate norm, Debian stands out by providing updates to the system when it’s good and ready.
My hat — a Fedora of course — is off to Debian. Thank you, guys and gals, for all you’ve done and for all you do.
Go here to wish Debian a happy birthday and share your experiences with them. If you like, tell them Larry the Free Software Guy, who cut his teeth on Debian, sent you.
Now get out your natty clothing because tomorrow we’re going to a couple of shows.
. . . what have you got to lose?
If you’re looking for a good Sunday read, Pamela Jones of Groklaw — who could be an outstanding journalist masquerading as a paralegal, or a paralegal who is one of the best journalists ever — outlines the Oracle-Google dustup in her Friday post here.
There’s a lot here and there’s more to it that what most folks, me included, have speculated. Have a read and we’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Amid the recent — and completely minor — hubbub around politics injected into Linux User Group discussions on the Berkeley LUG mailing list, it’s interesting to see how FOSS and GNU/Linux can bring people of different political stripes together.
Exhibit A: Ken Starks and me.
Ken and I put together Lindependence 2008, an effort that brought Linux and FOSS to Felton, California, through a series of miniature GNU/Linux and FOSS expos at the Felton Presbyterian Church hall in July of 2008. Various distros — Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu and Debian, to name four — had tables set up at Lindependence, as well as FOSS programs like OpenOffice.org. Representatives from each of the distros and programs had representatives on hand, and the idea was to convert the town to Linux and FOSS.
Ken, a Texan, is an Operation Desert Storm vet and as Rebublican as you can get; a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. Those who know me know that I’m an unapologetic lefty no longer affiliated with any political party, and many of you are already tired of hearing me tell of my Green Party candidacy for statewide office in California (for those who aren’t keeping score at home: In 2006, I was the Green candidate for Insurance Commissioner and got the most votes of any Green statewide that year — 270,218 votes, 3.2 percent).
But recently, I was looking at some clips from video that a San Francisco filmmaker, the Digital Tipping Point’s Christian Einfeldt, shot on Lindependence 2008 featuring Ken and me, and thinking about how despite our differences, those of different political views can work together for FOSS and GNU/Linux, even though each is approaching it from different directions — ranging from either from a purely libertarian (small “l” to describe the philosophy, not the capital “L” political party) perspective to from the anti-corporate, anarchist (in the true sense of the word) paradigm.
[Ken and I, of course, fall somewhere in between, far from either end, of both extremes.]
In watching some of the clips that Christian had shot at Lindepdence 2008, I found one where I said something to the effect that I would never talk to Ken if it weren’t for our shared passion for FOSS and Linux, as he would say (GNU/Linux as I would say), because of our political differences.
I’d like to publicly take that back.
Thanks to this experience, I have since been convinced that you can work across political divisions to achieve a common goal, i.e., Linux and FOSS adoption, and as a result I welcome the opportunity to work with those with whom I may not share a political philosophy.
Despite our political differences, Ken and I worked well in getting Lindependence 2008 going. Further, I’m proud to serve on the board of a project that Ken chairs, the HeliOS Project, which provides Linux-based computers to underprivileged kids in the Austin, Texas, area.
In conclusion, there’s a lesson to be learned here, for the observant.
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 . . .