Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lay Down Your Arms

I need to get something off my chest. Recently, I feel as though there has been too much distro bashing going on. I admit my guilt in having participated wholeheartedly. I have also come to a realization that it has been, thus far, relentless, childish, foolish and immature. Consequently, it has proven contrary to the spirit of the greater community and clearly not productive.

We are all (well, mostly) reasonable people just looking out for the community and for each other. A difference of opinion shouldn't constitute a declaration of war. More importantly, we all have the same long term goals.

Don't get me wrong, I will still be the first to call out any iniquity on the part of anyone. I can never turn down a good fight--its just not my nature. However, I think that everyone needs to act more diplomatically, myself included, and pursue more savory discussion in an effort to create and coact better policy and solutions.

We need to work better together as a community, have more open dialogue and work in a concerted effort to disenfranchise the real enemies here. Unforgivable are the actions which desperate entities such as Novell take. Likewise, Microsoft is also clearly in our sights. Do I even need to mention SCO?

Sun on the other hand seems to have turned a new leaf. I don't think any of us views them as the bad guy any more. The same goes for IBM. Adobe seems to be opening their clamshell slowly. We really need to get on them. Ubuntu, by all accounts has been a run away success and has done much to forward the cause. Given they have all had some missteps, but then again, who hasn't. It just goes to show you how far competent management can take an organization.

The olive branch has been extended. Onward to victory.

Riddled with Metaphors

I would like to take a moment here to thank Novell for providing me with countless hours of priceless comedy. No matter how insanely terrible the weather outside might be, and no matter how crappy my day might be going, I can always look forward to getting an awesome laugh out of the latest story about the Microsoft/Novell deal.

I still don't understand how some people are so easily fooled. Look at what Novell's good friend Steve Ballmer said today.

"I would not anticipate that we make a huge additional revenue stream from our Novell deal, but I do think it clearly establishes that open source is not free, and open source will have to respect the intellectual-property rights of others, just as any other competitor will."

So thanks for selling not only yourselves out, but everyone else, as well. We live in an age where the senselessness of one person or group is amplified and causes a definite domino effect.

To me, the above says that two things. First, Novell might as well fold up today, they're done. Second, the higher ups at Microsoft believe that the only way they can effectively compete with Open Source is via litigation. That's sad news because I know that there are smarter people at Microsoft who understand exactly how Open Source dramatically changes the value proposition for the customer, and are trying to reform that corrupt culture. Who knows, they might one day be successful. After all:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Speak the Truth or Make Your Peace Another Way

I feel like I have to respond to the bigillion emails I received over the weekend with regard to my prior post. I am assuming that I owe most of the traffic to Matt Asay quoting me in his InfoWorld blog. Matt is one of that rare breed of people who bring delight with every word they write. If you're not reading him, you should be.

First, to make this blatantly, unequivocally and unmistakably clear--I do not hate neither Mark Shuttleworth nor Ubuntu. We should all be jealous. Mark is a stand up guy. After all, how many people do you know that have invested $10 Million in a true Linux company? I am also very appreciative of all the great work he has done with Canonical/Ubuntu, penetrating into markets which would have otherwise never heard the word Linux. I also have interminable admiration for his awesome humanitarianism. After all, is that not what we fight for day in and day out? To create a culture which values both physical and intellectual freedom and transparency so that future generations can have a freer existence?

Second, with regards to what I said last time, I meant every word of it, although I will admit it was said, somewhat, in the heat of the moment. I will however further explain the context within which I wrote it. I couldn't believe what I read because I believe that what they are doing is such a bad idea. Ubuntu is choosing to act pre-emptively, by providing users a means to access software, which although they might know they want, they don't understand why it is so bad for them to have. The fact that they want it so badly proves the point exactly; it's like an illegal drug.

Now I'm not saying that the users are idiots, which they are clearly not, but what I am saying is that if you are going to target the mainstream desktop and the whole wide world user base which comes along with it, odds are that people are going to be none-the-wiser. The same thing happened to us with fossil fuels and look at the sorry state we are in now, trying with all our wonderous ability to break its suffocating grip.

I believe that education about these social issues (and yes they are as much social issues as anything else), prior to opening these potentially hazardous channels is the only way to solve this problem. Like Matt Asay said in his blog, pragmatism needs to be balanced with advocacy. If we don't educate people then we are opening doors for the same travesties we suffer with to occur over and over and in other parts of the world as well. That being said, I view this as one whole big marketing mess, and while I do believe that the letter of the announcement was written in good faith, (providing value to the user base) it certainly violated the spirit of the values of the Open Source community.

On a final note, Linspire claims that they are going to unify packaging in the Linux world. They also claim the Click-N-Run source is open and available. I spent about two hour earlier today looking through various Linspire sites, wikis, and software repositories and was unable to find the code. Also, I think I sort of figured out they were saying was that the Click-N-Run plugin is Open Source but that the web service backend is not. I am dying for a member of the Linspire community to prove me wrong on this and point me the place where they offer the CNR code. And as for their claims that they will be the end all and be all of Linux package management, well, as they say in Missouri

P.S. I am in no way affiliated with the state of Missouri, either officially, unofficially or clandestinely. I had a friend who was a reporter there once, but he's moved on. In fact the St. Louis Cardinals of Missouri defeated my Mets in the NLDS this year. Boy did that suck. ;)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Have a Drink! They're Buying!

It's mighty funny how things come full circle, often out of the blue. I got back from FUDCon on Sunday and started digging through my collection of CDs and records, trying to organize everything since it was a terrible, hopeless mess. I happened to come upon a CD which I hadn't listened to for a while--Pearl Jam's Binaural. I used to think it wasn't that good for some reason, but then again I hold them to really high standards. Anyway, a review of a 7 year old album isn't the point of the story here.

FUDCon was great. Everything worked out well, we got tons of work done and things were looking up. The community was solid, stronger than ever and I was high on life and confident that we were making inroads, positive progress, in our battle for freedom and liberty. I was so happy and my outlook so positive that even in the frozen New York air I felt like was on a beach somewhere in the Bahamas perhaps. Then I read this and this. Oh crap! What the hell is this nonsense?

I would like to point out one very important part of this press release.

"Beginning with Ubuntu 7.04, Ubuntu users will be able to use CNR to access commercial programs and proprietary drivers with one click of the mouse. In subsequent releases CNR technology will be integrated to provide an even better desktop user experience for getting commercial software."

[Que sound of needle coming off record]

The timing of this was impeccable. Right as I was listening to Binaural, track 9, Grievance. I instantly began to think this song was a message from God or Shadow Man; no one else could have timed this better. Let me explain. It all goes along so well with the lyrics of the song.

Progress laced with ramifications; freedom's Big Blur.

Mark Shuttleworth claims that Ubuntu is "Linux for Human Beings" and that they are going to be the entity which is going to be the pioneer of Linux on the desktop, coming in with guns blazing and driving Microsoft out of Dodge. Yet, the only thing I've seen from Ubuntu is crap, crap, proprietary crap and now, CNR--so more crap essentially. Ubuntu being "Linux for Human Beings" is at this point the same as saying "The Flu is for Human Beings". Hey, we will even ship you up to 5 copies of "The Flu" for free through our proprietary online application.

While some of us in the community are fighting for liberation, fighting to prove that we have a substantial enough user base to warrant the opening of drivers, fighting to be free, apparently the folks over at Canonical and Linspire couldn't care less. They're more than willing to force the poison apple down people's throats. Hey, is the tree too high for you to grab that poison? Why here's a ladder! It's named Ubuntu.

Progress simply cannot be laced with ramifications. It's all or none in this battle. Canonical and Linspire are perpetrating the biggest blur of freedom. In this fight, you are either pure of heart or not. There is no middle ground.

For every tool they lend us a loss of independence.

This line of the songs is clearly talking about CNR and Launchpad. If you're going to be open, be open and enable openness. Don't introduce "solutions" into the community which are going to put people in shackles and then drag them into a hell. A proprietary hell. I just want to call out Eric Raymond here for encouraging this kind of rubbish specifically. Are we so freaking desperate to have Linux win the desktop war that we are willing to compromise our values in order to succeed? To Mark Shuttleworth, Kevin Carmony and Eric Raymond the answer is apparently, yes. Yes we are.

This is why people like Richard Stallman and our very own Max Spevack are heroes. Sure, one of them might be conceived as a little crazy (I'm talking about Max there) but at least they know what is right and are unwilling to compromise the integrity of our community. While RMS actively advocates from freedom, people like Max are doing things to facilitate and further the cause, like collecting stats about our user base and shifting the burden of proof onto the hardware and software vendors. That, my friends, is the right combination, not the mixing of closed and open software. People like Mark Shuttleworth on the other hand might have their hearts in the right place, but they're drinking the wrong cocktail.

I pledge my grievance to the flag, cause you don't give blood then take it back again. Oh we're all deserving something more.

You heard that? You don't give blood then take it back again.

P.S. I mentioned the other two 8 times, so I need to make up for it. Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora. Fedora will set you free.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

N800 Envy

All these people posting rave reviews of the N800 is making me jealous. Someone send me a code. Please? Pretty Please?

Send me a code or the kitten gets it.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I was completely oblivious to the news today that Rudy Giuliani had officially announced his candidacy for president until someone sent me an email a little while ago. I must say that I am strongly inclined to vote for him, should he win the Republican nomination. Before anyone goes and freaks out, let me explain why I think he would be an excellent president. Only a true New Yorker could describe to you what a phenom Rudy truly is.

Rudy Giuliani is a true political centrist. The man has courage and conviction. Never have I ever seen another politician in my life who was so purely interested in making life better for people. His political ideology and decisions are based on solid logic and good common sense. He doesn't jump to conclusions, he exhibits thought and practices due diligence.

How do I know this? A proven track record. Giuliani is pro-stem cell research, civil unions, social programs and all the other progressive ideas our country seems to want. He doesn't consider them progressive though, he considers them necessary for the betterment of peoples' condition. Giuliani doesn't focus on "right and wrong" as so many Republicans foolishly do, he focuses on "good and bad." The man is a true centrist and a true fighter for the rights people.

When I was growing up, New York City was a terrible shit hole. The physical condition of the city was terrible, graffiti covered almost every square inch, the city agencies ran like crap, there was rampant crime to the point where people were scared to walk around the streets past rush hours. Poverty was everywhere, in every neighborhood, drugs and guns flowed freely on the streets and everyone in the city felt like we were on the verge of the apocalypse. Rudy Giuliani came in and turned all that around and restored New York to its pinnacle. He reformed social programs and city agencies to ensure that they could deal with the growing poverty rate effectively and basically all but stamped it out in New York. He cleaned up our corrupt ass police force and actually made the streets safe for parents and kids alike. Giuliani rehabilitated the MTA and other critical services which restored life to the city and drastically increased the quality of our lives. He pushed the city council to enact fair, thoughtful and useful legislation. Legislation which encouraged freedom and innovation. He works with all sides and pays service to none. New York was on top again, where it belongs. Then came 9/11.

It is what we do in our most trying of times that defines us. Those with natural character and ability will always triumph over any obstacle. The ignorant will fall by the wayside and true leaders emerge. When we were down late in the game, an unlikely hero, Rudy, got us back in it and back on our feet. We went on to win that game.

In a world where New York is a microcosm, a melting pot, a mirror of the country, and even of the world, New Yorkers already know--Rudy Giuliani is not only a president, but a king.

Lost and Found

I just want to report about the awesomeness that is Pam Andrews and Matt Miller at BU. I left my camera in the Computer Lab Room 307 and they helped me track it down and now have it in their posession and it's on its way back to me. Special thanks to Jim Bardin as well.

BU is freaking awesome. I honestly have never seen an institution run as smoothly and as coordinated as the team at BU does. I guess that what happens though when you've got Pam and Matt running the show. My younger brother is applying to colleges right now and BU is one of his top choices. I am most definitely making sure he ends up at BU. This is one relationship worth fostering.

Camera Left in Room 307

Did anyone who was at the hackfest on Sunday perhaps see or pick up a Canon Powershot S3 IS in a small Samsonite case?

I remember I took my camera out and took a couple of shots and then put it back down, not near my belongings. I forgot it wherever I laid it down and didn't pack it up when we were in the mad rush to leave. I just arrived home and realized it isn't in my bag.

If you have any information please email me at jaboutboul@fedoraproject.org .


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Undercover Agent

For those who frequently find themselves around a prominent and well wired coffee chain try setting your user agent to this:

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)
App Name: Microsoft Internet Explorer
App Version: 4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)
Platform: Win32

Restart your browser and there should magically appear a link to a Windows Vista Promotion. Enjoy your free wifi until April 30th.