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An apology is owed

May 11, 2012 22 comments

It has been brought to my attention that I have been somewhat hard on a particular Linux distro and its esteemed project leader. I am told that I have said some mean and unfair things about this distro and its leader, and that I should take some time to rethink my position on said distro and the person in charge.

I have called this person some nasty names, mostly in private but sometimes in public. I have called him out in on these pixelized pages of Larry the Free Software Guy for what I think — or at least now I realize, I mistakenly thought — were ridiculous moves and questionable motives in making his Linux distribution.

It was arrogant, mean and stupid of me to be so unwaveringly rigid on my criticism over all this time, and I realize now that an apology is owed.

So please accept my heartfelt and sincere apology Andrew Wyatt, lead developer and project leader for Fuduntu, for all the things I’ve written and said about you and your project. Anyone who takes the time to create a Linux distro to push forward the wider FOSS paradigm — in the spirit of community and not with a me-first agenda — deserves much better than the shallow criticism I’ve heaped on you and Fuduntu in the past.

I’m very sorry.

Allow me to make it up to you by giving the latest version of Fuduntu a test drive for a review on this blog in the next few days.

Also, Andrew, I hope we can work together going forward for the betterment of the FOSS paradigm.

[You didn't really think I was going to apologize to The Mark and the Ubuntu Apocalypse, did you?]

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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Eliminate DRM!

Sentinel’s Media Lab and GIMP (no, not related)

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

A shout-out for the job: As some of you know, I am not only a FOSS advocate, but I am also a newspaper editor; the latter of which pays most of the bills. As such, I’m also part of the Santa Cruz Community Media Lab that is run by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which is hosting a gathering at Cruzio at noon on Thursday (that’s tomorrow). It’s a sign-in affair with only a few seats left, so you have to RSVP to the Media Lab or e-mail on-line editor Tom Moore at tmoore-at-santacruzsentinel-dot-com.

In my position as big kahuna of tech blogs, if you have a tech blog and you live in the Santa Cruz area, you’ll want to participate in the Media Lab. You can do that by contacting me at the Sentinel at lcafiero-at-santacruzsentinel-dot-com, I’ll be there, waiting by the Windows box.

Single-window GIMP: GIMP 2.8, with its long-awaited single-pane set up (oh, thank God!), is finally here. I haven’t yet put it through its paces, but I did want to mention before I do that this is a welcome improvement. Many folks have gotten used to the multiple windows in GIMP. I have never gotten used to them. In fact, they mock me every time the come up because, invariably, I get lost. That’s an operator error, I’ll be the first to admit, however having just one window to deal with will certainaly help the GIMP-challenged among us. A review is forthcoming.

Remarkably clear and 63 among the redwoods in Felton.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

UDS: He did NOT say that . . . did he?

May 8, 2012 3 comments

For reasons mentioned in yesterday’s blog item, I’m not at the Ubuntu Developers Summit in Oakland. Oh, I could go up there and attend — it’s only 80 miles from the cozy confines of the Felton redwoods — but I value my life and I’d like to keep it, thank you very much.

This is not to say that I don’t hear about what’s going on there from friends, as well as from members of the Ubuntu Apocalypse, who are in attendance and are blogging, tweeting and communicating in some form or another (no smoke signals yet, sadly). I do hear a lot of what’s going on, and I thank everyone for posting the updates.

Of all the gems from yesterday’s presentations, which featured The Mark but not in a black turtleneck and jeans (I lose that bet), there is one quoted by a Web site called OMG Ubuntu where Canonical’s Chris Kenyon announced at UDS yesterday that Ubuntu is on course to ship on 5 percent of the world’s PCs next year.

Honestly? I hope this happens. Honestly? I think there’s a better chance of a squadron of pigs flying in formation over me while I set a world’s record for the 100-yard dash just before giving birth. To triplets.

Let’s put aside the fact that this is a significant backpedal from The Mark’s prediction that there are going to be 20 million new Ubuntu users this year. I’m going to let others handle that routine grounder.

Some are willing to move the goalposts for Canonical in order for them to succeed. A valid viewpoint there, though one with which I don’t agree. Pull the goalie if you want — I’m even willing to give that issue a pass as well.

I’m going to travel the more reasonable route, simply questioning their sanity, casting a suspicious eye at their motives and, most importantly, wondering aloud about their metrics. Rather, I’m going to rage against the machine, as I often do, and let a voice of reason, Jef Spaleta, drive here. In a post on my Facebook page relating to the OMG! Ubuntu article I posted, Jef makes the following astute observation on why this is not a “clear win” with these few paragraphs:

“Larry, Ship does not mean sold…generally speaking. And I have pretty much no information on China and India and other emerging markets. They could really have an upward trend there..but its not exactly easy to try to verify even in a ballpark sense.

“The real question I have is: If they did ship as many as they say last year… why isn’t that enough revenue to be self-sustaining? And if they get to 5% next year… will that be enough revenue to be self-sustaining at present expense levels? There OEM partners are going to throw them under the bus as soon as Canonical needs to start passing costs on to OEMs instead of eating them.

“I fear they continue to focus on the wrong metrics. Hitting 5% and not having a sustainable business model to service that growth is classic boom/bust business. Do OEMs value Ubuntu enough to pay an equitable share of the cost of its development? So far its not clear that the answer to that is yes. And until its clearly yes… this is not a clear win. The bigger Canonical gets and the longer this drags on, while servicing red ink there ledger, the harder it will be for them to steer the ship off the rocks.”

Well said, Jef.

OK folks in Oakland: Keep having fun and enjoy the Kool-Aid.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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