Enjoy the quiet?

July 10, 2012

Well, judging by the standing level of eyeballs that WordPress tracks on my behalf and passes on to me regarding this blog, it appears most everyone has enjoyed the quiet during the time there has been neither a hue nor a cry about anything — FOSS related or non-FOSS related — on this blog for the last three weeks or so.

Again, for the 40th or 50th time, I don’t usually write something unless inspired or provoked, somewhat like a wasp (which also doesn’t write unless inspired but usually provoked, but that’s another matter). Also, if you add into the mix the fact that I get busy sometimes with the mystery of life and the trappings that surround it, then you’ll have to just forgive me if these blog items are not more forthcoming.

Nevertheless, since I wrote last about the 20-second F-bomb the Linus offered in what was an outstanding one-hour-plus presentation — if anyone cared to watch the whole thing instead of getting persnickity about the offending clip — there have been a couple of items of note that crossed the radar. Like

Jon maddog Hall comes out: As I give him a tip of the hat, it’s hard to imagine that I could think any more of Jon maddog Hall than I did before his recent essay on Alan Turing. But I do, and I think his essay is pretty remarkable — worthy of his choice of lager, should I have an opportunity in the near or distant future to buy him one. To some, this is not a big deal, and yet for others it is a big deal, and I can see both sides. It’s not a big deal in the sense that his sexual preference neither adds nor subtracts from the great guy and outstanding contributor to FOSS that he is and has always been. Yet it is a big deal because it makes gays both less invisible and also shows that it’s a lot harder to hate someone you know who’s LGBT. I’m not doing the essay justice here, so read it yourself at the link above (worth the read — stop reading this blog and go there now, if you haven’t read it already). I should also mention that he wrote the essay on the 100th birthday of Alan Turing who, if he did nothing else (and he did much), saved England, and the world for that matter, from the Nazi uprising in the 1930s and 1940s, and was thanked by the British government with imprisonment and chemical castration which essentially forced him to suicide.

Higgs Boson, brought to you by . . .: Winston Churchill — or was it Vikings running back Adrian Peterson? — once said that a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth can put on its pants. Or words to that effect. In any case, someone posted on reddit that CERN used Scientific Linux — which CERN developed (a fun fact about this Red Hat-based distro I did not know) — and, wait for it, Ubuntu. Meanwhile some in the FOSS press who should have better journalistic skills — Katherine Noyes for starters — ran with it because, well, someone on reddit said it, so it must be true. Well, having been in journalism since the day Jimmy Carter was inaugurated, I put my skills to work — something every reporter would do — to find a.) it was mostly Scientific Linux that gave physicists a leg-up on making this remarkable discovery, and b.) Ubuntu had little, if anything, to do with it. Proof? Linux @ CERN only mentions Scientific Linux and another blog item in German (incidentally, Google Translate speaks excellent German) outlines OS use at CERN.

What’s missing? Ubuntu, of course.

Funny thing is that apologists for the Ubuntu Apocalypse brush this inaccuracy off as none of their concern. One response to me on social media was, in effect, “Well, did Canonical say it?” Actually, they didn’t. But that doesn’t make it any more accurate, and of course the right thing to do would be for either an Ubuntu advocate, or Canonical itself, come out and say, “Um, hold on a minute.” But then doing the right thing may not be in the proverbial playbook for Ubunteros, but playing fast and loose with facts might be. At least it seems that way, a lot more often than not.

That’s about all from here — as if that’s not enough. I’m trying to confirm that Jaroslav Reznik from the Czech Republic has been named the Fedora Project Manager, taking the place of Robyn Bergeron who became the Fedora Project Leader, but for some reason, I can’t seem to confirm that. So rather than offer congratulations, I’ll just wait until that’s confirmed or denied.

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.

(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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  1. Colonel Panik
    July 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    maddog has just made the world forget that “F U” from Linus.
    Strange what things trigger these brave outpourings from folks.
    Open Source is open. I hope the few (very few) misanthropes
    in the Linux sphere just don’t bother to speak this time. Mr. Hall
    spoke in his article about heroes and one of the responders
    said the he was adding maddog to his list, +1 and I’ll add to mine.

    Ubuntu did not discover anything. Mostly they just take from
    the ones that do.

    Welcome back Larry, we all missed you.

    • July 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Let me be clear about something, in case it isn’t in the blog: When an anonymous someone posts on reddit something that’s incorrect and some — not all — in the FOSS press run with it, that’s bad — it’s just bad reporting. What’s worse is when people who know it’s not true remain silent and do nothing to correct the mistake. That’s pretty reprehensible.

      The reason I bring it up, and will probably keep bringing it up, is because a decade from now when people talk about Linux and Higgs Boson, some ignoramatard is going to say, “Yeah, Ubuntu was responsible for finding it. I remember the article.”

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