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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

less a jumble tonight

I’ve been thinking a lot about the discussion Pete and Gabe and I had leading up to and briefly after BarCampMilwaukee4.  I told them I was done talking and on to doing and this was in relation to making libre software better, but I actually think that’s not the case. I have evangelical fatigue.  The problem is I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  MadLUG is probably going to be having a State of the Union round-table (we don’t have addresses in the libre world, of course, that’s much too hierarchical) in November.  The date is still TBD, but I will be sure to post when the details are decided.

Some reasons for my fatigue:

  • My Linux cohort at work uses Windows at home.
  • Another guy who tries Linux at work occasionally has had trouble with ALSA because of Pulse Audio (see rant below).
  • Plenty of Linux users have iPhones.
  • Other than my brother, who uses Windows and Ubuntu, I haven’t convinced anyone in my family to give Linux a shot (not that I’ve tried that hard, because I don’t really want to support them…I’ve nudged, by getting my dad to post to the Ubuntu forums and such in their old Other OS section).  The problems with my aunt and my dad were probably the OEM situation where they were going to be tied to specific models and prices with Linux.

The list goes on, but you get the picture.

The promised rant: I’m convinced Pulse is the worst thing to happen to desktop Linux in a long time.  I really don’t understand why the major distros are hell bent on including it.  If you want it to work, make it work.  I understand that Fedora is a developer playground. Fine. Use what you want.  Ubuntu, on the other hand, is supposed to be Linux for Human beings.  Human beings don’t like brown and orange (seriously, look at Tennessee fans, are any of those people human? ROLL TIDE!) and more importantly, human beings just want their stuff to work.  It’s odd that Windows gives the impression of just working since a blank XP disk as so few drivers, but for people getting enterprise builds and OEM builds, it does just work…except we all know Windows doesn’t really work.  The devil you know, I suppose.  I hate Apple and their Steve knows best attitude, but they just work.  Jobs’ “benevolent dictatorship” has worked well for them.  If we learned anything from the Bush administration, it’s that Americans don’t actually give a sh*t about freedom. Give me convenience or give me death! Apple is the American way…not that there’s something wrong with a little convenience and not that the TSA guidelines are exactly convenient, but the point is, freedom is not high on a lot of priority lists.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had some successes.  I think before I left Chapel Hill, COSI was really getting somewhere.  I’m sad to say that doesn’t seem to be the case once I left.  I was able to convince my ex-girlfriend to use Firefox and Thunderbird and another ex-girlfriend whose brother worked at Microsoft to start using Firefox (you can see why that relationship didn’t last!).  I’m pretty sure on the home computer my parents (or at least my dad) use Firefox.  I haven’t seen my mom’s new laptop.  I hope my dad had the sense to put Firefox on it.  Maybe I was just living in a fantasy land in Chapel Hill, with Red Hat down the road.  I’m beginning to think that more every day, but I’d still like to do good 1000 miles away from the promised land.  With my current connections, I don’t see how I can really make any headway with the Wisconsin state government or the University of Wisconsin, the two organizations I think could really have an impact on the libre world.  With one of the largest employers in Madison being a proprietary software vendor and Microsoft putting their dirty paws on events like BarCampMilwaukee4 (I should just stop there at 666 words. METAL!), it’s not David vs. Goliath, it’s Doug vs. an phalanx of Goliaths.  In that statement, I think I see the biggest problem of all. In Chapel Hill, it was Red Hat, ibiblio, Doug and at least two battalions of fierce libre warriors.  In Madison, it’s just Doug, trying desperately to amass an army to storm the gates of software’s Mordor.

There are a lot of people sitting on the fence. I see them. I talk to them. They are staying on the fence, and here’s the upshot, talking isn’t going to get them off the fence. The grass may be greener but from their angle, it’s only slightly greener and the cows are all still on the other side.  We need to water the grass.

a jumble of thoughts and feelings about practicality and libre software

As I’ve written this, the thing I’ve struggled with is that everybody thinks they are being practical.  I’m sure the FSF thinks absolute freedom is the practical thing to do.  Sometimes I think the drawing a line in the sand is the practical thing and the Democrats could certainly take some queues from the FSF.  I wish I got paid by the words typed and not by the words submitted! (oh wait, I wish I got paid!)

Now, let’s talk about ethics. Let’s get one thing clear, aside from the fact that libre OSes (Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris, etc), I don’t care what you do.  The FSF is hung up on ethics; that proprietary software is somehow unethical.  Bollucks.  What is unethical is Apple locking people out of iTunes (Re: Palm) and tax payer money going to Microsoft or Apple.

It’s not just about ethics. I’m not super concerned about privacy, but mostly that’s because I don’t think people should be concerned about what they do…but clearly they have to be with the current legal climate in our country.  However, knowing that hackers would change grades or siphon funds, it’s pretty important that the IRS and any government agency handling large amounts of money have a secure system and libre does not guarantee security, but at least there are cases where you can guarantee security.  You can *never* *guarantee* security on a proprietary system.  Sure you *can* trust them. Diebold, Microsoft and Apple have given me no reason to trust them.

I’m happy to discuss the public money thing or the ethics thing, but what I want to talk about is practicality.  The main thing is Hulu. I was very intrigued by Boycott Novell on FLOSS Weekly, but the analogies between me and either Jono or Roy go back and forth.  I think it would be too difficult to follow for anyone that hasn’t listened to the interview.  If you want me to make a post about it, please let it be known.  Back to Hulu.  Recently there was a stir on identi.ca and the various omb offshoots about the Hulu desktop client coming to Linux.  The FSF crowd decries the proprietary software is bad; that it pollutes libre software.  Photoshop not being on Linux is one of the things Pete (and others) decry about Linux.  Others say the same thing about Final Cut Pro.  Perhaps if some of those people came to Linux they’d start helping the GIMP team, or maybe they’d start using OOo instead of Word.  The ecosystem is everything and the Linux ecosystem is one of libre software.  Yes, there is Flash and Opera and potentially Photoshop or Final Cut, but 95% of the software people use on Linux (or BSD or OpenSolaris) is libre.  How can this possibly be a bad thing?  Now, some smart people have argued that’s it’s a bad thing because people depend on it and then people won’t develop a libre alternative. I respect some of those people, but it’s simply ridiculous.  Linus did not start Linux because of some whack-off obsession with freedom.  My using a proprietary wireless driver does not make me want a libre one any less.

As I said at the beginning, this post was supposed to be about practicality and the upshot is I think having proprietary software available for Linux is simply practical.  The agnostics are never going to be sold on the religion of freedom. Stop trying to convert them.  Fighting the war of freedom is not a practical war. There are winnable wars.  We should fight the war against marginalization.  We should fight the war against unnecessary government spending. We should fight the war against monopoly power.  We should fight the war of availability.  We should fight the war of access.  If we fight the appropriate war, we will win.  Freedom is simply destiny.