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some time and Ubuntu Release Cycle

For the 1st time in about two months (I know I took statistics to BarCampMKE) my citing down to write isn’t being rushed by the need to do statistics.  It is being slightly rushed by the need to pack, and I could certainly be making statistics flash cards for my final next Monday (14th), but I have a pretty good grasp of the content on the final and I’ve got today, next weekend and the week nights to do that.  Taking time off from my soccer team means that my weekend nights are free for a while and moving MadLUG meetings to the weekends is definitely going to be a stress relief for me.  We still need a permanent spot, but no more rushing to the meetings after work.

Right now, Ubuntu’s Release Cycle has the most votes for my next post.  I encourage you to continue to vote (but don’t vote for Ubuntu…that’d just be silly now.)

Also, how do I change the name of my blog?  I did it once before, but can’t remember…

Ubuntu’s Release Cycle

I say Ubuntu’s release cycle because I think it’s the most mainstream (is their argument on this? not the easiest for n00bs, but the most mainstream), but there are some other interesting release cycles I’d like to mention.  I can’t remember what Debian decided to do with releases, but I seem to recall them going to a release schedule, though they won’t ship hell-or-high-water like Ubuntu does.  Fedora does 6 month also.  OpenSUSE “recently” decided to go to an 8 month release cycle.  Between learning about the release cycle of OpenSUSE on FLOSS Weekly and Ubuntu UK’s discussion of the release cycle on what I think is the linked episode (it’s the only one I’ve listened to the whole thing and the other two I’ve started are not at all far into the podcast…a review of the podcasts to which I listen could be another show), I thought I should weigh in.

First off,  8 months is dumb, at least for a mainstream distro.  People need something that falls on a year; monthly, bi-monthly, tri-monthly, quarterly, 6 months or some integer of years (those are the things that divide into 12, if you didn’t catch that…8 doesn’t).  I know very little about the OpenSUSE community, but I think it’s fine for them if that’s what they want to do.  The idea with them was that 6 months is too short, which I’m beginning to agree with.  One point that was brought up in the Ubuntu UK discussion was that the non-LTS releases are seen by some developers as technology previews.  If that’s the case, it’s not being marketed properly for that.

All of this has made me think maybe I should move to something with a rolling release schedule.  Are there any Arch derivatives that give you GNOME out of the box?  I know there are some Gentoo derivatives such as Saboyon (note: their website looks like the 90s had a bastard child with a modern website), but I don’t think I want to spend coal burning time compiling stuff.  Now, if I were to move to Arch, I’d still want to keep up with Ubuntu development, and I could pretty easily do that (except graphics stuff) with VMs.  Right now, the dual booting is pretty lame and I’ve discovered (as one might expect) that there’s often problems in the alpha releases that make it unusable as a primary machine.  Just like the bug I filed last night.  Now, I’m happy to help out, but stuff like that is going to keep me from writing blog posts.

But, enough about me, what does Ubuntu lose with 6 month release cycles and why does this not matter for Fedora?  First off, Fedora is a distro for developers.  It has the lastest packages, which break things like Cisco AnyConnect and while I love much of the things about Fedora, upgrades are a pain in the ass (though perhaps had I used their GUI tool, I’d have found it easier, but they don’t make it obvious how to do that).  I’ve had trouble with every Fedora upgrade I’ve ever done.  I finally pulled one off successfully last night with some help from #Fedora on freenode, and that’s fine for Fedora’s community, but not for Ubuntu’s.

I think Ubuntu should move to yearly releases.  The longer beta period would allow more people to feel comfortable testing and there wouldn’t be so many problems right at release.  Yes, the new features generate a great buzz, but the problems generate just as much negative buzz.  One problem is worth 10 good reviews (maybe more…I just pulled that number out of my ass).

The one major problem I see with this is that the power users may move away, and if that happens, who is going to push the community and evangelize.  Maybe Ubuntu needs to work on a better backport system, or push information about it.  I don’t really know how backports work.  I don’t like waiting for a new Firefox version…certainly not for a year.  Maybe PPAs are the answer, because clearly power users can handle PPAs, and other than knowing where to go to get them, it’s not hard for n00bs either.

I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t know as much about the Ubuntu community as many, especially since I’ve spent so much time with Fedora, so I’d love to hear some reasons why yearly might not work.  I’m not sure who in the Ubuntu community/Canonical has the power to make such a decision, but if someone with Jono’s eyes could point him to this post, I’d love to hear his reaction to it.  I’m sure he listens to Ubuntu-UK and heard their thoughts on it.  The year of the Linux desktop is approaching.  Let’s not let our geeky need for new toys get in the way.


To help people along in their decision on voting for my next blog post, I thought I’d give a “quickcast” of sort for each.

Community Leadership Summit

Why XP needs to die.

I hated Vista when it came out.  However, while UAC annoyed me, I’ve come to realize that most users need to be protected from themselves.
Ubuntu’s release cycle

I think people talk about this kind of stuff, which is why I think Gabe’s suggestion that people don’t take is ridiculous.  He’s just not a part of the conversation, because he’s not a Linux developer/FLOSS advocate (I have my particular definition of that and if you’re not involved in the conversation, you’re not one).

Essentially, the real issue is what hinders adoption.  I’ve said for some time that anybody can run Linux and that it isn’t hard, and it isn’t.  But I think that’s the wrong question.  Why should people *want* to learn Linux?  I think most of us in the community enjoy a good flame war.  “As the Stallman Turns” and “Guiding Linus” are nice little soap operas for us.  I’m guilty of running pre-alphas of Ubuntu…twice now.  You don’t have to do that, but people in the Linux community do.  Linux guys switch distros and try out stuff because they love technology.  The arguments and all the scripting turn people off.  There’s a lot of it out there, but you don’t have to do it.  If Ubuntu’s cock, I mean CoC, is trying to solve one of these problems the Ubuntu getting rid of The GIMP is *trying* to solve another problem.

The “problem” is the developers are the ones developing and there is no “target audience” other than developers and other technology enthusiasts.  Microsoft and Apple developers don’t have to eat their own dog food.  Linux developers do or, for the most part, they wouldn’t be Linux developers.

That all brings us to the release cycle problem as discussed on the Ubuntu UK podcast.
The new MadLUG presentation structure

Why I hate Twitter (and specifically 140char limits)

This has been discussed already on identi.ca/brainbird.net.  Since omb “in context” doesn’t work all that great, I can rehash it here.
Why I hate statistics

I found the length of the Cante’s Inferno classes to be brutal, but it was fairly easy and actually I think about the class a lot.  I wish we had done more Marx and Marxian thought and less “philosophy” but it opened a new world.  Statistics is just brutal.  I can expound.

The Science of Global Warming and the discussion about the science

The Earth could be like Venus. That would be cool, right?

How I was convinced to move everything to BY-SA

Basically, the Software Freedom Law show convinced me.
My move

moving sucks.

freeloaders in FOSS

There’s a whole lot of complainers.  Either shut your mouth, show me the code, become a community leader or donate to projects.  Preferably a combination.  “I’m not a developer” is not an excuse.  Ever heard of this thing called Google?  Let me be clear, I am not talking about people coming into the community or “users”.  I’m talking about long-standing members in the community that want to bitch and moan in identi.ca or blogs and don’t get involved in the formal Ubuntu or Fedora teams, where their voice could be heard.

the NaNoWriMo disaster

I didn’t do it.

Sneak Peek into upcoming MadLUG events

I pretty already linked to this above.  There are some subtle differences though in the two potential posts.
the “disaster” that was the identi.ca upgrade to .9

brainbird had a lot of problems too.

Why hatred of the mainstream is hurting GNU/Linux adoption

Ubuntu is definitely at a crossroads.  I think a lot of their problems would be solved by simply having a DVD version like Fedora does.  I could talk more about why that will solve things and in general, as I’ve already touched on, how this pro-techie culture is hurting Linux adoption, even if it is, and has been, completely usable by those with the lest amount of technical ability among us.
Now playing: Cruachan – Unstabled (Steeds of Macha)
via FoxyTunes

Help me help you.

Several things are coming up and I need to know how best to help you and the Madison community.
October 20th is the next MadLUG meeting.  We don’t yet have a topic.  We could do something on Python or have a bit of a state of the union and really figure out what we want to do with the LUG.  LUG attendance has really been pathetic.  Should we move to Saturday meetings like they have in Milwaukee?

November 1st is the next Open Everything event.  We do not have very many people signed up.  We want to have this event in Pewaukee at a fabulous location, but if people don’t sign up, it’s not going to happen.

November 13th-ish we are going to have Open Music Madison.  We don’t have a firm date, because our 1st choice of venues fell through.  It looks like we may have to charge $5 a head.  I don’t like it, but doing something is better than waiting to have the perfect event I say.

If you have ever been to an OE Madison or to a MadLUG meeting, please leave your thoughts or e-mail me directly at douglasawhREMOVEFORREALZ@gmail.com

Creative Commons FTW…oh wait

I like to think I walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  You know, I don’t go downtown unless I must, I bike to work.  I buy organic foods. <rant>I use GNU/Linux and don’t sit behind my Mac talking about how great FOSS is (yeah, I’m calling you out).  I believe in compromise and personal priorities, but recently I’ve gotten more and more frustrated by people not getting out of their comfort zones and making excuses.  Personal priorities are often excuses.  If you don’t believe in FOSS, that’s fine, but don’t claim to like it and then not actually support it.  It’s like saying how you love the earth and then driving 30 miles to work. It’s CRAP (I’ll keep this family friendly, but, um crap isn’t exactly what I want to say).

But hey, I’m not a zealot. I’m really not. I just don’t want people fooling themselves and (potentially unintentially) fooling others. </rant>

That’s not the point though.  Last night we were talking about how “hippie” people were.  Look, I’m more comfortable with the word socialist than 99.9 or so people in this country.  I’m pretty left, but I’m way too angry to be a hippie.  I said, hey, I listen to punk and metal, not hippie music.  The retort was that I listen to “open” punk which is pretty hippie. I like the fact that people are accusing me of listening to Creative Commons music.  I do, actually, that feels like a great compliment…but is it true?  Now, I’ve been a Last.fm user for over 4 years, so there’s a lot of legacy data out there, but let’s take a look.  In the last 7 days, 3 of my top 15 artists were Creative Commons…only one over the past three months though and none in the last six months or the last year (unless you count NIN…sure, let’s count them).  If you look at the all-time stats, Severed Fifth (Jono Bacon’s “band”) rolls in at 347.  Holy Pain and Predator both roll in at 444.  And since we’ve been counting NIN, they roll in at 76.  After finishing the post (before publishing) I realized there might be a couple of other bands in the top 500 and sure enough Gråsuggorna and No Se both roll in at 304.  Obviously, this is all subject to change.

Also, I should note that many people believe that -NC (non-commercial) is non-free and by a strict definition it isn’t.  I, on the other hand, am much less cozy with -ND (no derivatives).  I’ve been meaning to post a blog on the -NC topic, but suffice it to say that while I believe in copyleft and freedom in software, software is a tool. Art is art…unless it’s marketing.  There’s a time and place for marketing, but let’s not confuse the two.

Back to the point, even though NIN is so high *because* of their new Creative Commons albums, it’s also so high because of a large back catalog of non-Creative Commons stuff.  Essentially, there are five bands in my top 500 (all in the lower half). This maks for some convenient math; 1%.  This hardly qualifies me as listening to “open” punk.  By the same logic, I listen to rap. Though there are only 4 bands (unless you include Limp Bizkit and maybe others), The Beastie Boys (88), Eminem (69), Dr. Dre (357) and Cypress Hill (226) have a *much* higher average. I have a total tracks played number so I could do some other stats, but I don’t want to beat this to death.

The point of all of this (including the rant) is to challenge us all to do a better job.  Fighting the good fight takes a lot of energy.  It takes energy I often don’t have after a long day at work.  We need to encourage each other and work together.  Is there something I can do to help you migrate to GNU/Linux? Is there something I can do to help your Creative Commons’ music?  Since we need all the help we can get, I guess I’ll work with you Mac fan boys too.

One last thing for music fans and Apple fan boys alike. If you think audio editing is just for the fruity among us, come see Tom Ray of Lorenzo’s Music give a presentation on audio editing in Linux on August 18th.  I’d love to give you guys and gals some more links, but like usual I’m running up against bed time and a long to-do list.

is a short blog on a blog a blog or a microblog?

This was going to be longer, but I’m exhausted…

I’ve been using Fedora 11 for about a month…ever since we determined we’d like to scale with our Linux program and Ubuntu doesn’t seem to give us that opportunity.  I am looking at OCS Inventory NG and GLPI (initialism is French) to stick with Ubuntu, but the set-up for OCS has been a pain so far.  I need to give it MySQL permissions, which will be a job once I’m home and remoted in or left for tomorrow.
Basically, we are looking for a Landscape replacement, so if you’ve got ideas, let me know.  eBox was previously suggested and that’s not going to work because it doesn’t do package management.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for helping out!