On a quiet Sunday

October 20, 2013

The weather is starting to cool off and the sky was an incredible blue today, so much so that I was taken away from today’s digital dealings — not the least of which was this blog and installing Salix OS on a Dell Insprion D610 (wicd, my mortal enemy, we meet again!) — so I did the install and I confess I went outside and enjoyed the day.

So that’s why you’re getting this blog on Sunday evening. Apologies to those expecting it earlier in the day.

Nevertheless, last week the Italian blog Magliettabianca published online the second of its two-part interview with Larry l’uomo Software Libero (the original English from which the interview is translated into Italian is here). Bear in mind that I’m not used to being on the other side of the questions, so when I was asked who true leaders of FOSS were, I booted what was a routine grounder.

The first thing I thought was, “Oh, crap — I’m going to forget someone,” and I did; a lot of folks.

In answering, after talking about Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, I started with the people I could think of right off the top of my head that I’ve respected and admired: Jon “maddog” Hall, Aaron Seigo, Patrick Volkerding and Bill Kendrick, before shifting genders to include the women who make FOSS work: Dru Lavigne, Robyn Bergeron, Deb Nicholson, Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph and Selena Deckelmann. I knew there were others that I couldn’t think of and I said so in answering the question.

So I feel bad for leaving out a whole battalion of folks who could easily be considered FOSS leaders: Lance Albertson at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab; Usenix’s Julie Miller as well as her Usenix colleague Rikki Endsley, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, San Francisco State University’s (and OLPC advocate) Sameer Verma, Amber Graner at the Open Compute Project, Ken Starks of Reglue, Ilan Rabinovitch and Gareth Greenaway at SCALE . . . the list is almost endless.

More importantly — and I’m sorry I didn’t make this point in the interview — what makes FOSS work is everyone who chops wood and carries water, so to speak. Leadership is fine, but it’s getting the mundane things done that counts, so to all who do the work for whichever FOSS program you’re involved in, our gratitude is boundless.

I wish I had thought to say that during the interview. Next time . . .

One more thing: Mark Shuttleworth seems to have ruffled some feathers in KDE circles with his latest blog post, which of course won’t be linked here (but rest assured it is easily found). Shuttleworth, who has often displayed a tell-tale estrangement from reality, makes a couple of bizarre assertions, like saying that Canonical’s critics twist the English language (like he never does that . . . ) and likens Ubuntu/Canonical critics to the Open Source Tea Party — painfully ironic since the playbook of both the Tea Party in the United States and Canonical are strikingly similar.

Nevertheless, the beef revolves around Mir, of course, and rather than outline the hubbub, I’m going to give the keys to the blog now to KDE’s Martin Graesslin and his blog and let him drive. I have a rule that whenever someone says something far better than I can, I let them have the soapbox. And Martin speaks for me here.

Have a great week and see you next Sunday, if not sooner. Now to tackle this install and see if I can prevail over wicd.

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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  1. October 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Mitchell Baker helps make FOSS work 🙂

    • October 21, 2013 at 6:15 am

      That she does, Benjamin. Clearly a good addition to that list.

  2. October 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Next time?
    Whenever you want, Larry 🙂

    • October 21, 2013 at 6:15 am

      Grazie, Marco! 🙂

  3. October 21, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I left an install in progress last night when I came home. It was a custom spin of Linux Mint on an old D610…in almost museum condition. We’ll see when I get to the shop this morning. The live CD picked up the wireless immediately. However, that doesn’t mean the hard installation will.

    • October 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Yeah, the install was fine, but Salix comes with Wicd native on its Xfce version and I think it has a personal vendetta against me 🙂 Something else will go on this hardware, which is a test machine that has seen many a distro.

  4. Colonel Panik
    October 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Larry said, “… what makes FOSS work is everyone who chops wood and carries water, so to speak. Leadership is fine, but it’s getting the mundane things done that counts, so to all who do the work for whichever FOSS program you’re involved in, our gratitude is boundless….”

    Thank you Larry. Heros both sung and unsung abound in the Linux/FOSS community.
    When you say “…our gratitude…” you mean the communities gratitude I am sure.

    We can even say thanks to some of the leadership, at least the leaders who respect
    our community.

    Peace, Bob

    • October 21, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Yes, the gratitude of various communities is exactly what I mean. And even in the far-flung FOSS outposts of, say, Portales, New Mexico, there are heroes that deserve a salute 🙂 Thanks, Bob.

  5. Bruce Byfield
    October 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

    “Tell-tale estrangement from reality” — that’s a really pithy turn of phrase. I’m very likely to quote it some day (with credit, of course)

    • October 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Sure, Bruce. Go for it. 🙂

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