Warning: Before I launch into another blog that will outline what I would like for Christmas — not what I would like personally (an early ’70s vintage Porsche 911 would be nice, if you’re listening, Santa) so much as what I’d like to see for the holiday and the future in the FOSS realm — I wanted to point out a couple of things that have come across the ol’ radar lately. Like
It’s “kim-o,” not “chemo”: I had a discussion on world history’s biggest time sink — I mean, on Facebook — about the kids’ distro Qimo, and someone chimed in that it’s unfortunate that it’s a homonym for the shortened version of “chemotherapy.” Well, that’s wrong: Actually, Qimo is pronounced “kim-o,” not “chemo,” and is pronounced like the last two syllables of “eskimo.” As the story goes, courtesy of the FAQ, the developer’s son is Quinn and, if you’re over 50, you’ll immediately identify that name with the Bob Dylan song “Quinn the Eskimo” made popular in the ’60s by Manfred Mann. You’ll not see nothing like this mighty distro.
Get your paper in? Well, the deadline extension that wasn’t, but really was (thanks in large part to an overzealous co-chair of the publicity committee who will remain nameless), is finally over for the Call for Presentations for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9X. The deadline passed at midnight last night, so if you submitted, we look forward to reviewing your submittal. If you didn’t, we look forward to seeing your proposal next year.
Mark your calendars: I haven’t gotten to this yet, but with more Linux events slated for 2011, it’s now going to require keeping track of them on a scheduler instead of the way I normally do (i.e., remembering which is which and when they are).
Now to work on that list mentioned above.
Larry the Free Software Guy — who doesn’t really like to refer to himself in the third person, but would rather do that than start this a blog post with “I” — gave you all a gift with a blog-free November.
Sorry to yank that out from under you, because there’s a lot going on in the FOSS world as we race into the commercially driven holiday season.
First things first:
Support Partimus: Six schools (so far) in the San Francisco Bay Area run GNU/Linux labs thanks to the efforts of Partimus, a nonprofit organization that provides repurposed computers running free software to students and schools which need them. Partimus is holding its first fundraising event on Dec. 15 from 5-7 at the Creative Arts Charter School, 1601 Turk St., in San Francisco. Register here, and even if you can’t make it, donate anyway — be a benefactor and fill in what you can afford — since it’s the kind of project that lifts FOSS and makes it more ubiquitous.
Sharpen your No. 2 pencils: In a little over a week, the Call for Presentations for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9X closes. December 13 is the deadline and if you’re inclined to give a talk, submit your proposal here. Judging by the resounding success of my presentation at the Utah Open Source Conference, I have submitted an updated, new-and-improved version of “User Groups 2.0: Noob Morning in America” for SCALE. The laser show introduction is something that is not to be missed.
[Note: OK, so there’s no laser show, but the presentation is a good one, in my humble estimation.]
Back home again in Indiana: Another expo that has arrived on the FOSS scene is the Indiana Linux Fest, which recently announced its dates and location. The inaugural Indiana Linux Fest will take place on March 25-27, 2011 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel near the Indianapolis International Airport. The growing number of shows is a testament to FOSS’s strength and growth, and for those in the area — or even if you feel like heading to Indianapolis in a month other than May — you can race on over for ILF.
Saluting the kernel: The Linux Foundation released its report on development of the Linux kernel, and Red Hat still leads on the corporate side of things. Red Hat contributed 23,356 changes to the kernel since the release of version 2.6.12 on June 17, 2005, according to the report amounting to 12.4 percent of the total. Among corporate contributors, Novell was next with 13,120 changes (7 percent), followed by IBM (13,026, or 6.9 percent) and Intel (11,028, or 5.8 percent). But the greatest number of changes, the report notes, was made by people who were classified as being of unknown affiliation (35,663, or 18.9 percent). Another category of developer, of “none” affiliation, also made a sizeable contribution – 12,060 changes or 6.4 percent.
[A certain corporate entity based in Malta seems to be missing from this report, and you can read the PDF verison of the report here and determine which one that might be.]
So, did you miss me?
There’s a lot more where that came from and a lot of developments going forward. Watch this space.
During the course of the year, the FOSS traveling salvation show in North America wends its way around the nation to end up, finally, at the Utah Open Source Conference (UTOSC) in Salt Lake City in October before taking a hiatus for the holidays. Then of course the new year, FOSS-wise, starts with the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in February.
There’s only one word for those who might want to skip the last-of-the-year Linux expo: “Don’t!”
Quietly and with little fanfare, UTOSC has been building up to a top-notch, not-to-be-missed show that is beginning to draw deserved attention — and people — from outside immediate Utah area. In fact, in the last four years it has grown to become the best community computer conference in the Mountain West.
UTOSC will be held from Oct. 7-9 at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City. Attendees who register before Saturday can save 30 percent on the price of admission to the three-day event. Regular admission to UTOSC is $70 for a full-access pass, $25 for an expo pass with entrance to try-it lab workshops and $15 for an expo pass.
For registration information, visit the registration page and those who register before the Early Bird registration deadline Saturday can use the code OPEN to get the discount.
This year’s lineup of keynotes — Jared Smith, the Fedora Project’s new project leader; Howard Tayler, creator of creator of Schlock Mercenary; and Karsten Wade, of Red Hat’s Community Architecture team — highlight the more than 60 presentations scheduled for the three-day event.
Two scheduled events at UTOSC other shows should look at deserve special mention. UTOSC is a very family-friendly show, meaning kids are welcome — in fact, the trio of junior high girls who talked about their involvement in FOSS at SCALE earlier this year are going to give an updated presentation at UTOSC — and there are activities for them as well. Second, there’s a huge game night at the end of the show, and I’ve honed my Munchkin skills over the year with the intention of not being trounced this year.
In addition, of course, Larry the Free Software Guy will also be giving a presentation on User Groups 2.0 — Noob Morning in America. Never one to be accused of false modesty, I have to say that one is not to be missed.
See you in Salt Lake City.
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.
No excuses: I have been incredibly busy and with not a whole lot to say until now.
“Incredibly busy” means getting the Redwood Digital Research machine pointed and driven in the right direction — anyone who needs small business/home office work with FOSS solutions, RDR is for you — and working at the short-staffed newspaper.
“Not a whole lot to say” — a rarity for me, I know — means reading a lot, trying to get the hang of (in no particular order) Python, Gnucash and the intricacies of PHP, as well as coin-flipping between Drupal and Joomla to experiment with on our trusty server, Squidworks.
But when I do get time, like on a quiet Sunday morning when I face the prospect of going to Mirano’s school a little later to network a second laser printer — ah, the joys of being the IT Dad — I do get to play catch-up.
A couple of things on the proverbial radar:
SCaLE: The Southern California Linux Expo 8x is in the starting blocks. As the first big Linux expo of the year, SCaLE is a must-go event. Papers are being called for, booths are being signed-up for, arrangements are being made. It’s in late February. Be there or be square.
Fedora 12: Fedora 12, code named Constantine, is out. Go and get it. Sooner than you might think, you’ll see a review of 12, which I didn’t do right away because I wanted to put it through its paces before saying anything about it. In a nutshell, it rocks. And that’s a quote.
Linux Dairy Council: OK, so it’s has nothing to do with dairy and even the lactose intolerant can participate, but the Linux Dairy Council — a temporary name relating to the industry consortium around which dairy products are promoted — recently got underway, organizationally speaking, to promote the Linux desktop.
Oh, and I also took the time to clean up the buttons below to relate more to what I advocate/use/like/etc. More to follow.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
I’m sitting in a room at HeliOS Solutions West/Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with computers running primarly Fedora. However, there are also boxes (going clockwise from where I’m sitting) running OpenSUSE, AntiX Mepis (it’s old), Debian, Xubuntu and Ubuntu.
“So?” You’re asking yourself, and that’s a valid question. This first-paragraph revelation will make more sense at the end.
Having said this, there are few things I like more than working a booth — usually dbEntrance or Fedora — at various shows, whether it’s a large one like LinuxWorld or the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE), or even talking up Free/Open Source Software in the minuscule venue of a LUG meeting.
Discussing in good faith the likeness and difference between distros, between desktop environments, and between FOSS programs is something that is part of the process; the process that helps uplifts all of us — those using different distros, different desktop environments and different FOSS programs — in this thing called the Free/Open Source Software community.
Helping in good faith people who ask — whether it’s something in Fedora that doesn’t work for a user or something in another distro that is not working — is a common and unavoidable occurrence at all show levels, and it’s good to be able to get someone’s problem solved, assuming you show him/her what’s wrong. It’s the teach-a-man-to-fish-and-feed-him-for-life concept in action.
In good faith: Those are the three key words here.
I bring up those three simple words because invariably at Linux shows like LinuxWorld and SCaLE you have some who don’t follow the “in good faith” part of this equation. You know who they are (and you know who you are): These are the folks who will come to any given booth and essentially tell you what’s wrong with your distro/software/hardware, without offering a shred of evidence, an inkling of cause, or the remote possibilty of a solution to their, um, “revealing discovery.”
They’ll continue by asking why your distro/software/hardware can’t solve world hunger, put astronauts on Mars and cure cancer, among other impossibilities.
In short, their schtick is simple: Your distro/software/hardware sucks and you’re pretty lucky I’m here to tell you why.
A word to those who persist in this behavior: Stop.
It may come as a shock to you that you — and you alone — are the only one impressed with your knowledge and self-importance. In reality, everyone else thinks you’re a world-class, Olympic-caliber annoyance. Rather than helping, you’re getting in the way of those who are trying to assist others who may not be as experienced, and certainly aren’t as arrogant, as you.
So either help us with your degree of knowledge without rubbing anyone else’s nose in it, or just step the hell aside.
Folks tried to spar with me at SCaLE last month, but I blew them off — different strokes for different folks. This issue, however, actually came to a head when Red Hat’s Karsten Wade and I were getting dinner to take on the road on Sunday evening and I was confronted by one of the dogmatards whom I had spoken to earlier in the day. Not being in the mood for hearing an additional litany of what was wrong with Fedora, I just nodded and shrugged while being “schooled” about what was lacking in the distro. But Karsten took a more proactive approach, which was described by Karsten’s response to an item in the previous blog post.
Now the reason I brought up Felton: I’m primarily a Fedora user and prefer Fedora over the rest of those mentioned in the first paragraph. However I use the other distros mentioned above. I’m also game to try others; the history of this blog bears me out — google “eight distros a week” and see what you get. Some of the machines here run GNOME, some KDE, some Xfce, and one on Fluxbox. I’m not an expert at any of them, nor am I married to any of them.
Naturally, I’m open to sharing what I do know with anyone who asks. With nearly three years under my belt on the GNU/Linux side of all things digital, I realize that I’m a relative “newb” at this. Surprisingly I’m at peace with that, despite the fact I continue to learn.
So while I’m always interested to hear the error of my ways, whatever they may be, I’m really not interested in matching wits for the sake of matching wits. You want to prove you know more than I do? If that’s the biggest challenge of your day, then let me make this easy for you: You win.
Like most others, I have more important things to do.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West/Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
A couple of notes as we head into Sunday:
More to follow.