One of the good things about having a blog is that I get to set the rules here. Like ‘em or not, they’re the rules. Don’t like ‘em? Don’t read the blog. It’s pretty simple.
I bring this up because lately there has been a person who has commented on several items, and on a couple of them he’s resorted to name-calling and other behavior not welcome here. Other than the one where he called me a “jerk,” which I left — I’ve been called much worse, chances are by much better people — I have deleted the others that were pretty much unacceptable.
So, “Ryan” — if that’s your real name — and everyone else who cares to read this blog, commit this to memory: You want to discuss and debate issues here? Fine, go at it. Want to participate in name-calling and other trolltard behavior? Get the fuck out. Now.
It’s pretty simple, folks. Rule 1: Keep it civil and you’re welcome to stick around. Rule 2: No name-calling, period. Rule 3. I have the final say because it’s my blog, period. When you have a blog of your own, you can make up whatever rules you want.
I’m glad we had this little talk.
(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.)
When Ken Starks and I put together Lindependence back in 2008, one of the things that I had hoped would come of it would be bigger and better Linux events. Of course, this is not to say the current crop of Linux/FOSS events are lacking — on the contrary — but permit me to dream big.
A couple of events I’d like to see in the future include:
Tuxstock (or Fossapalooza): Three Days of Peace & Music . . . and FOSS. I have the farm picked out in Bonny Doon, California, on a sunny hillside where we can set up a stage for music — with his band Severed Fifth backing him, Jono Bacon can play the “Star Spangled Banner” a la Hendrix — as well as areas downhill for hackfests, demonstrations, presentations and the like. Connectivity? Satellite, obviously. Solar power for electricity? Check. Details, of course, would have to be worked out — like transportation from Santa Cruz up to Bonny Doon (buses: lots, running all day), and camping would probably be an option. If it rains, there’s always a mud-sliding competition that can go with the Steve Ballmer chair toss event.
Then there’s . . . .
Expanding Linux Venues In the South (or ELVIS): A FOSS event fit for The King, this one would be held in Memphis, as close to Graceland as possible. Everyone would be required to wear blue suede shoes. We could have Elvis impersonators demonstrating various Linux distros and FOSS programs. Shoot, we could have Linus impersonators doing the same thing. And Stallman impersonators doing the same thing. And Jon ‘maddog’ Hall impersonators . . . you get the idea. This is definitely something worth planning, and I’m so far from Memphis. Is someone closer that could take the reins?
Meanwhile, here’s something that I can say with some certainty will happen, and remember you heard it here first . . . .
The Larry the Free Software Guy North American Tour 2012: While it is yet to be named (got one?), you’ll have a chance to hold aloft your lighters and get your T-shirts, backstage passes, etc., for the event of the year (at Linux events, anyway). Scheduled events include FUDCon at Virginia Tech, the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest in Calgary, Utah Open Source Conference (in the spring next year, guys?), Texas Linux Fest, OSCON and Ohio Linux Fest. Got an event? We can add it to the tour.
Of course, I have to fit all this in when I’m not opening the musical portion of Tuxstock playing the acoustic Theremin, but I digress.
After perusing the Linux sites all weekend for something to write about, I didn’t really find anything that jumped out at me and went “Blaaaaaaaaaagh!” in my face, to say nothing of fielding assorted questions about my writing, my philosophy and my sanity. Nevertheless, as I try not to write when I don’t have anything to say — I hate to write for the sake of hearing myself speak — it was suggested to me that now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm of writing a lot on this blog, I should keep it up.
It’s a tough business, this blogging.
So I thought I’d address a few things that came up over the past several days. But first, an apology to the Felton LUG on Saturday, since the archaic projector didn’t work for anyone, including me, and I was unable to give a presentation that I would think most everyone in the room is glad they were spared. It was on the Linux Family Trees, and it came before the birthday party for Linux we held. Great cake, great group.
Someone suggested to me that I was not holding to the high journalistic standard of objectivity in my latest writings. He’s right. I’m not being objective, since most of what I write is commentary, not Linux/FOSS news. I don’t pretend to be a Linux/FOSS journalist — were I to be one, I’d certainly maintain the high standards of objectivity that I carry in my day job as a newspaper editor at a daily paper in Santa Cruz, California. But in this realm of Linux/FOSS and all the trappings that entails, I am not a journalist. I’m a commentator, with the emphasis on the root of that word, comment.
While I’m at it, let me address another observation I received in an e-mail. There’s a monumental difference between censorship and asking someone to stop making the same complaint repeatedly after hearing it, say, for the 37th time. In “Moving on,” I was not suggesting that people “shut up” — people should always speak up — but if you find you’re not making headway, you always have the option to look for alternatives. That was one of the main points in the item, for those of you keeping score at home.
Time for breakfast, and as they say on IRC, back later.
It was pointed out to me, by two people, that a.) the blog could use some snapping up and b.) posting a promo for $LINUX_EXPO, complete with .jpg, is playing havoc with RSS feeds.
So I’m going to take the advice of both, especially Allison Chaiken’s advice on the RSS feed (thanks, Allison), and change things up a bit.
What do you think? Keep this theme or go back to the Kubrick/Contempt based blue theme?
[BLOGGER’S NOTE: This comment from Simfox in Rwanda came last night around midnight my time. Rather than have this very poignant response sit in the comments section of the previous blog post, I’ve taken the liberty of reposting it to a new blog item, including my response to it. I have not changed any of the text, but I have changed the formatting to provide paragraph breaks to make it more readable. Thank you, Simfox, for this insightful comment to my blog. –LtFSG]
Submitted on 2011/07/20 at 11:59 pm
Generally agree with the sentiments re MS, and the logic upon which they are based, but disagree with the Nazi reference.
I work with Genocide survivors and perpetrators in Rwanda and view our human predilection to evil as both reversible and redeemable. We often encounter extraordinary instances of reconciliation and forgiveness here, but they are always (and I repeat, ALWAYS) based upon full and complete recognition of the wrong that was done, an attitude of contrition backed by consistent, long-term acts of restitution, and a humble, determined desire for forgiveness.
It is real, and it happens, so even a Nazi supporter can, with a genuine change of heart and mind, find himself a welcome guest in your local Synagogue.
Which brings me back to MS: what would they have to do to earn my trust as a long-term Linux user? Well, let’s see, where have I encountered this before? Step 0: recognition of wrong-doing. Step 1: acts that palpably demonstrate this change of attitude. Step 2: humble requests for forgiveness/reconciliation.
In my assessment MS can achieve this without GPLing their IP, but their latest actions vis Kernel contributions are no indication of incipient rapprochement
Submitted on 2011/07/21 at 8:22 am | In reply to simfox.
As I mentioned in the blog, this is a controversial position and I have received the same reaction that you make in your comment whenever I make the Nazi analogy. I don’t make it often, and I don’t make this assessment flippantly or casually. I understand the gravity of the comparison. But as hardline and dogmatic as it might be, I stand by it.
The Nazis in Germany called the Jews and Judaism “a disease” and, I would assume, that those who still advocate for Nazism still do. Microsoft calls Linux “a cancer” and hasn’t, to my knowledge, retracted that statement. Microsoft has made it clear in word and deed that they are out to exterminate Linux and any other competition. They have failed here on many fronts, thankfully. I find it hard to believe that they would change this policy no matter how conciliatory and how much repentance or restitution they might perform (and again, I’m not holding my breath for them to do this).
Further, my hat is off to you for your opinion that the “human predilection to evil as both reversible and redeemable,” especially since you lived through the recent horror in Rwanda. Perhaps you are right, but I find it very difficult — bordering on impossible — to forgive anyone who participated in genocide. As an aside, I think my capacity to forgive is wide, but not wide enough to include such blatant and horrible sins against humanity. I believe that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who have participated in genocide, no matter how much they admit their wrongdoing, how much restitution they make, or how conciliatory they are.
Which brings me back to the comparison: Is my comparing Microsoft to Nazi Germany “too much?” It could be. But the point I hope I’m making — the point that spurs this comparison — is that Microsoft, in a corporate and societal sense, is acting in a way that mirrors Germany in the ’30s and ’40s. By no uncertain terms do I mean to belittle or take away from the grave horror of the Holocaust or any other genocide.
Regarding Microsoft earning our trust: Assuming they did take Steps 0 through 2 as you outline, history has shown that they have gone back on their word before, so to have them open their code and license it under any variety of licenses — having their remorse and restitution in writing in a legally binding document — seems to me to be the only way to approach this.
Further, I think this exchange probably deserves more than to sit here in the comments section of my blog, so I am taking the liberty of posting your comment — probably one of the best I’ve received ever — and my reply, verbose as it is, as the next blog item. Thank you, Simfox, for sharing these thoughts and I salute you for your candor and courage.
Larry the Free Software Guy
During her visit to Budapest where she was part of the Ubuntu Developers Summit, Linux Pro’s associate publisher Rikki Kite posted this on Facebook:
“My geeky friends who pronounce ‘gnome’ as ‘ga-nome’ and ‘gnu’ as ‘ga-new’ might appreciate this -> I saw gnocchi on the buffet at UDS and said, ‘Oh, good, ga-no-kee.’ I ka-new it sounded wrong as soon as I said it.”
To which I reply to Rikki: You mean that’s not how you pronounce it?
Personally, I blame Richard Stallman. It’s an affliction that affects geeks on our side of the proverbial aisle: The “G” factor, where a normally silent letter gets pressed into phonetic service, well, for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s there (and from an engineering standpoint, why would it be there if it wasn’t going to be used?), and secondly, because we’re used to the fact that GNU and GNOME have the “g” — how can I put this? — unsilent, and we’ve been trained, or brainwashed, into putting the “g” in there where it doesn’t belong.
It’s bad enough the little guys in the garden are guh-nomes — even after the recent movie “Guh-nomeo and Juliet” — but there are other places where this arises.
For example, I had to wail and gnash — pronounced guh-nash, right? — my teeth at the various grammatical and spelling errors (not to mention the Giants blowing a four-run lead to the Dodgers) while working at the paper last night.
Surfers in the area, as well as elsewhere, consider things “gnarly” without the “g” sound; except some in Santa Cruz who also use Linux/FOSS and say “guh-narly,” dude.
To say nothing of the fact that we have no pesky gnats — yep, there’s a “g” in there, making it guh-nats — flying around in these parts, but I used to have to deal with them elsewhere.
Anyway, while there may be a cure for this, or at least a 12-step program (“I’m Larry, and I’m a G-oholic” — “Hi, Larry”), I think the better course of action would be to alert the non-geeks around you that you’re going to be using all the letters in the words you use, save for the silent “e” and the silent “k” in “kn-” words.
First things first, before I forget (something, sadly, that is more commonplace these days — what was I saying again?); It’s good to see that the Utah Open Source Conference, now in its third year, is growing into one of the more established events on the annual GNU/Linux (or Linux, take your pick) calendar.
The reason I say that is because after a conversation with Will Smith — the UTOSC guy, not the actor — I was surprised that the event has come quite far in only three years. UTOSC is clearly one that I am going to mark on my annual calendar.
Day 1 at UTOSC — and this is from the perspective of the Fedora booth, where I am parked — started out quietly and as the day progressed, became busier with more visitors, questions and comments about the distro.
At 12:30 or a bit later, I was marshalling the forces for a Fedora Activity Day in one of the classrooms at Salt Lake City Community College, the venue for UTOSC. I say “marshalling” because the best part of organizing a FAD is letting people who know more than you take off with it after you introduce it. Such is the case at this event, with the FAD around Fedora Event Splash, or FES. After introducing it, both Ian Weller and Clint Savage — both of whom had been working on it for several months — took the reins and we had a productive meeting that Fedora folks will hear more about going forward.
Later in the day, Clint walked in and said “Here, you’ll like this,” and handed me a box. I looked quickly inside and noticed what I thought was a . . . tent? Actually, it was the vertical banners for the Fedora booth, a new addition to the event box.
Day 2, which starts in a few hours, appears to be shaping up to be another great day at UTOSC. More to follow.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)