OK, so with most of the rest of the curious digirati, I tried Windows 8 beta developer yadda yadda whatever version that was available yesterday from our, ahem, friends in Redmond.
I never thought I’d see a desktop that would make me appreciate Unity.
Windows 8 is the desktop equivalent of the old guy wearing a striped shirt with his plaid Bermuda shorts and white socks with his sandals.
To quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
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The new apartment has what is considered by my family a sort of study, but it’s quickly becoming the computer lab that I lost when I gave up my commercial space. That lab, of course, was dubbed “The Jungle Room,” after the man cave at Graceland. The study has been dubbed the same.
[Yes, if he had done nothing else, Elvis would have earned my respect and admiration for inventing the man cave decades before the concept existed on cable TV. Uhthankyouverymuch]
Before I continue, allow me a mea cupla: In my last item, I wrote about Openbox and referred to a “desktop” in the same paragraph. Technically, Openbox is a window manager, not a desktop environment, as I was so dutifully reminded by an astute commenter. True. However, when using the term “desktop,” I was actually referring to what one sees on their screen as opposed to a specific desktop environment — my bad for being unclear.
Nevertheless, as the last moving boxes are being punted out the door (Oh, I will take them down to the recycling bin shortly), I wanted to drop off in today’s blog a couple of items worth mentioning in FOSS news over the last few days, like . . . .
Mac hardware to get that shiny Chrome look? The VAR Guy drops an interesting hint in a column late yesterday outlining the proposition that Google’s Chrome OS has been compiled for the MacBook Air, thanks to a blogger/hacker named Hexxeh. “It’s a unique utopia, and one that won’t likely exist anytime soon,” he writes. “But the alleged smoothness in which the MacBook Air runs Chrome OS is worth watching.” Indeed, and the VAR Guy promises a review of Chrome OS in the near future. Watch that space.
Matt Hartley gives us the business: On a couple of rare occasions I’ve crossed proverbial swords with Matt Hartley, but for the most part his articles are informative and newsworthy. Special mention goes to yesterday’s Datamation item about choosing the right distro for your business. In the wrap-up, Matt writes that, “Everyone is going to have different needs. A company’s decision may range from weighing what type of support is needed down to selecting a community-based option over a highly specialized Linux distribution. With every example presented above, the common theme is that Linux offers plenty of choices.” Amen to that.
At ease, soldier: You find developers of Linux in the most interesting places; like, oh I don’t know, the U.S. Department of Defense, for example. The DOD brings us Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) Linux, which is a live CD focusing on privacy and security. It boots from a CD and executes from RAM, providing a browser, a file manager and some interesing tools. From the screenshots at Unixmen, it looks surprising like . . . Windows. Now if that’s not great camouflage, I don’t know what is. I haven’t tried it yet — I might soon — but if it runs off a CD and has all the tools I can use, it might replace the Ultimate Boot CD and Knoppix CD that I usually carry and often lose.
Last, but not least . . .
An extra chair at the dinner table: Until recently, Lubuntu was an independent project based on Ubuntu — Ubuntu with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, or LXDE for short. Starting with Ubuntu 11.10 in November, however, Lubuntu will join the Ubuntu family as an official variant, according to this article on the Liliputing site. Welcome to the family, Lubuntu.
Colonel Panik, my good friend and constant commenter to this blog, asked me to give you all some insights about what we’re finding at the Felton Farmers Market every Tuesday.
An order is an order, and Bob does outrank me.
So here’s what we’re finding in Felton:
More people are using Linux than come to the Felton LUG meeting: We’ve encountered roughly a dozen people in two weeks who live in Felton who use Linux who we’ve never seen at a meeting. My oft-echoed question, “Have you heard of Linux?” has been met with a constant “Yes,” and many of the people who have, and who have used (or are using) it are already using Ubuntu. I like to think this has something to do with the Lindependence events back in 2008, not to mention the Software Freedom Day events we’ve had here since 2007, but there’s no hard evidence to back this up. It’s just a hunch.
Most people are looking for digital alternatives: There are only a handful of people — I can only think of two in two weeks that we’ve had the table — that have no interest in FOSS after explaining what it is. In fact, a lot of people are looking for alternatives to the laundry list of maladies that accompany their daily Windows experience. In fact, easing them into FOSS with the OpenCD is a good way to introduce them to programs like OpenOffice.org and GIMP, and eventually we can get them to change operating systems to something — oh, I don’t know — free as in freedom and price?
“. . . I haven’t used it, but my $FAMILY_MEMBER has”: This is a common response by those who have not used Linux/FOSS themselves. This is a promising sign. Even though they may not be using it, at least they’re aware of it. Those who went home with a disk hopefully will know more about it and come back the following week with questions.
There are other things that amaze me: The Google engineer who stopped by the table — “Oh, I’d better know what Linux is.” — and others who work “over the hill,” as we call the Silicon Valley, who would stop with strawberries in hand to take a look at what we had, and take a disk or two to try out. Also, what amazes me is that a lot of youngsters — teens, of course — who have used FOSS and don’t mind spending their time at the table talking about things like “Will GIMP ever have only one window?”
Thanks for helping at the booth so far go to: Bob Lewis, my partner in Felton LUG organizing, who is one of the most sensible and passionate Linux evangelists I know; Karsten Wade, who brings his vast knowledge and rapier-quick wit, and OpenSource.com swag, to the table; Frank Adamson, the Ubuntu-using octogenarian who took his daily mile-walk to come to staff the table; and to Peter Belew, for making his talents available at the table.
See you next Tuesday. Coming up next: Reports from OSCON.