[Apology: Thanks to a work crisis of biblical proportions, I could not make SeaGL this past weekend. My apologies go to anyone who was expecting to see me — for reasons good or ill — and I promise you that I will be there next year.]
You have to hand it to Rwanda. Not only does the East African nation put its money where it’s mouth is when it comes to educating its children using the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, they also put the XO on their money, shown above on the 500-franc note.
In talking to San Francisco State University’s Sameer Verma, one of the leaders of the OLPC-SF group which organizes the annual OLPC summit this upcoming weekend in San Francisco, he says that the Rwanda project is at 220,000 machines and growing, and they are doing it well.
In fact, they’re doing it so well that the government of neighboring Kenya is taking a look at the program that the Rwandans have already established in an effort to emulate it, which they plan to do next year, according to the linked article.
Meanwhile, back in the states, the OLPC Summit is scheduled for Oct. 18-20 at the SFSU Downtown Campus on Market Street. You can register here, and if you can’t go and want to help someone else to go, you can donate there as well. But if you have a chance to go, you should make it there.
Also on the radar this week:
Rumors of its demise . . . : Jim Lynch of IT World wrote an item mentioning the demise of Medibuntu with the click-grabbing headline, “A harbinger of doom for Ubuntu?”
Pffffft. Seriously, who’s writing the headlines over there?
First, I had to look up Medibuntu — is it an Ubuntu spin for medical professionals? — before finding that it’s a spin for “media, entertainment and distractions.” In his defense, Lynch also writes in the article that it would not make much of a difference to Ubuntu if Medibuntu goes away, since most of what is found on it can also be found Ubuntu itself.
But let’s be careful with that “harbinger of doom” thing, OK? Had it been a *buntu that begins with an X or a K, then we’d have to call all hands on deck. But this? Nope. Not even close.
Larry l’uomo Software Libero in italiano: For those of you who speak Italian, there’s a new Free/Open Source Software blog called Magliettabianca which presented me the honor of an interview — a two-part interview, no less! — this week on their site. Part two comes up next week, hopefully, and if you don’t speak Italian, not to worry: The English translation (or I should say the original English interview) can be found here (yes, I know it’s “wide range,” not “ride range” — my typo). Let me say to the team members I know, Edoardo Maria Elidoro and Marco “Milozzy” Milone — and to the rest of the team: Alessio “Alfierenero” Perona, Davide Cipolla, Diego Pi, Elisa Peroni, Enrico “Magliettabianca” Bastelli, Fanfurlio Farolfi, Federico Di Pierro, Gaetano Di Bari, Mario Calabrese, Massimiliano Donini, Stefano Bergamini — “grazie mille a tutti” for the honor of appearing on what looks like an excellent new on-line publication for Italian FOSS advocates. Keep up the great work!
Off to Felton LUG. See you next Sunday, if not sooner.
From the “Oh-wait-before-I-forget” desk: I mentioned in yesterday’s blog item that we were free of any events leading up to SCALE 11X in Los Angeles in February. Well, let’s back up a little bit, because there’s one more FOSS event that bears mention and, if you’re up to it, your presence.
The OLPC San Francisco Community Summit takes place — where else? — in San Francisco on Oct. 19-21 at the San Francisco State University downtown campus at 835 Market Street.
The summit brings together educators, technologists, anthropologists, enthusiasts, champions and volunteers to share stories, exchange ideas, solve problems, foster community and build collaboration around the One Laptop Per Child project and its mission worldwide.
There are few endeavors in the FOSS realm — or any realm for that matter — which are more noble than the One Laptop Per Child project, and it should be on everyone’s radar.
The event is in its fourth year and is becoming an important part of the XO and OLPC year. Kudos to Sameer Verma of SFSU and the others who make this happen, and I’ll try to make it up for the Sunday sessions.
No one is more surprised than I am that in my predictions last year, I actually got one right (namely, Number 9, about Fedora 11 being a great release). But one out of 10 is not a good average and, arguably, I can’t really top last year’s list this year, due to not enough inspirational events on the horizon.
But will I let 2010 pass without a several timely predictions? Hardly. As 2009 was a banner year for potential happenings that didn’t quite come to pass, this year lacks the inspiration that last year carried. But that would never stop me from delving into a preview into the new year, done again in David Letterman-list style:
10. 2010 will absolutely, positively, without a doubt be the year of the Linux deskt . . . oh, never mind. The year of the Linux desktop will come along around the same time that there’s a definitive, agreed-upon answer to the question, “What is cloud computing?”
9. MySQL gets a name change: With the purchase of Sun by Oracle, MySQL won’t be yours, or mine, or anyone else’s SQL for that matter. If anything is certain, it is the Oracle CEO’s now, which is why in 2010 the name of the world’s most popular open source (until recently?) database becomes LarrySQL.
8. Mr. T tosses his last grenade for World of Warcraft, converts to Battle for Wesnoth: Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a transcript of his side of the phone conversation — “Of course, sucka . . . Mr. T really is a hacka, fool, when he ain’t doin’ cookin’ shows . . . Ah pity the fool who plays World of Warcraft now that I’m into Battle for Wesnoth . . . Sure, I brought along my Mr. T grenade, ’cause I make this game look good!” Murdock!
7. OpenSUSE changes reptiles: The GEICO gecko replaces the long-standing lizard as the OpenSUSE symbol, and becomes its reptilian spokeslizard. The German distro gets an Australian native in an effort to foster true internationalism.
6. Linux Mint goes upscale: Having gotten tired of the minty freshness and looking to appeal to more cosmopolitan tastes, Linux Mint will change over the course of the year to something a little more contemporary. It becomes Linux Merlot, with a bouquet that resonates from the north side of the vineyard slope. The distro will go a lot better with most cheeses.
5. Also, Linux Mint forks into a smaller distro: Linux Mint developers who don’t drink wine, or anything else alcoholic, will fork the distro and make a version that will only run on thin clients, making it . . . say it with me . . . Linux Thin Mint. Monty Python fans continue to roll on the floor at the mere reference.
4. A farm version of the OLPC XO is developed: The One Laptop Per Child project provides a new version of the nearly indestructable XO laptop that is specifically geared toward those children who live on farms. Rather than calling it the XO, this version is called the EIEIO.
3. Mandriva creates an educational version: I missed by a mile last year on the prediction that Mandriva would explore its feminine side and release a more sensitive, nurturing distro called Womandriva. So shoot me. This year, Mandriva releases an educational version called Childriva. Count on it.
2. Sugar on a Stick expands: Sugar on a Stick, otherwise known as the Sugar Learning Platform, leaves the realm of simple USB sticks and thumb drives, and will provide its desktop atop Fedora on other types of “sticks,” like hockey sticks, incense sticks and fish sticks.
1. The Free Software Foundation expands, finally, into brewing: Walking the walk after talking the talk for so many years, the FSF has always had free software covered, so finally they brew Free Beer (cc) in 2010, a fine Boston lager with a recipe that is released under the GPL. While free as in freedom only — it’s comparably priced with other fine beers — all those free-as-in-freedom microbreweries can fork the brew under their own label, so long as they release their recipes under the GPL.
Happy New Year to all.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)