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Open Source Playground is Alive! (and other news and notes)

Ha! I started this draft on March 28th and never typed a word.¬† No reason to speculate why, but here I am, nearly a month later fixing that. ūüôā

We’ve got a StatusNet install, an OpenAtrium install, a Drupal install, a trac install and a news install up at what we are calling OSP for short.

We’ve contemplated updating the plan I have with DreamHost, but until AdBard revenue is higher, I can’t justify it considering I’m still looking for a roommate for my move and we’ll be paying $1100 a month for a couple months if I don’t find someone.¬† Ad revenue the first month was $0.20, but considering we got that going at the end of the month and it was only on one of our sites, I was ok with that.

Tom Ray of Lorenzo’s Music and I are starting a podcast called “Music Manumit”.¬† I’m dubbing Sunday’s episode “Episode -1” because it’s a test.¬† I’m going to see if Tom will let us release it though.

I’m finishing up my web dev class with P2PU this Sunday.¬† I haven’t done as much work on the class as I’d like, but on the upside that’s because I’ve started dating again.¬† It had been almost a year since I went on a date.¬† There were a lot of reasons for this, chief among them being the statistics course I took last semester.

So, I missed a potentially great talk on Linux because of user issues today.  It also reminded me that I need to fix the sound issue in my VM. I really hate VMs, but I have to use one until Evolution works with Exchange 2007.

Answers to a random email

So, I was going to just respond to an email and then I thought…maybe this info has Google Juice!¬† I believe I’ve taken out any information that would make the emailer identifiable.¬† If you think I left something in I should take out, let me know!

First short question:

I got your email from the Madison Linux User Group site. I have a school project and want to learn more about Linux. If you could give me a little feedback that would be greatly appreciated! I am wondering what methods people use to learn how to develop Linux?

My first response

Continue reading

It’s so freaking hot in Wisconsin!

NASA recently came out and said 2009 was the second warmest year on record and somewhere Glenn Beck is either getting his daily lobotomy, back in the mother-ship or getting advice from his scientific advisor, Mr. Magic 8-ball. ¬†It has been cold in Wisconsin, but fittingly, today it got up to 37 here in Wisconsin…actually, it still is at nearly 1am. ¬†Quite the heat wave (I’m not joking).

So, I thought I’d drop in and tell you a bit of what has been going on so you can fire away with questions.

1) falling out with the ex-girlfriend. It’s as over as over can be. I think we’re both very much at peace with that. No further questions, please.

2) I got FIFA 2010 for PS3. Now, I don’t own a PS3, but my roommate does. ¬†I suppose I like to enjoy some freedom-hating every once-in-a-while. ¬†My screen name there is douglasawhsport (just like on ESPN).

3) I had the worst abdominal pain the other day and ended up in urgent care. ¬†Doctors don’t have any idea what happened. Appendicitis and kidney stone (the two original hypothesis) were ruled out with blood and fluid tests. ¬†It caused me to miss my basketball game (which it sounds like we could have won), but it’s all better now. ¬†Maybe my guardian angel knew something about the drive to the game I didn’t.

4) heard about Debian wine. Sounds awesome.

5) Ubuntu Lucid is looking fast. Everything I use is working atm, except VBox additions.

6) fought with WINE trying to get ESPN360 to work.  Supposedly it can be done.

7) working on freshing-up my PHP.

8) got my grub issue fixed.

9) I got World Cup tickets. ūüôā Waiting on the travel agent to give me a call back about plane tickets.

Plenty more has happened with the move, time with the family and vacationing in New Orleans. ¬†The fact that I haven’t written should be an indication I’ve got a lot going on.

If you want details on any of those, just drop a line in the comments!

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

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.

My First Novel, Upcoming Events and Procrastination

It’s easy to be motivated with a deadline looming. ¬†I was able to finish up my Chapter 6 hw because it is due tomorrow, however, Chapter 7 and the take home test being due a week from tomorrow…well, it’s slow going. ¬†It is going though. ¬†In one of my many breaks, I figured I would tell you (I’m not sure who “you” is these days) about National Novel Writing Month and how I’m going to participate. ¬†Actually, there’s not a lot to say other than that I’m doing it. ¬†I have thought about the plot a bit, but I can’t tell you that! ¬†I do know that I’ll be dedicating the book to The Linux Outlaws and the title will be The Linux Outlaw (though the singularity/plurality of this is subject to change). ¬†I have not decided if I will release the Chapters on the blog, but I’m guessing not in case I want to go back and change things as the idea forms in my mind from start to finish. ¬†As usual, if there is outcry, I will do it…but there’s never been an outcry about anything on the blog.

The ever present Upcoming Events section!

Tuesday, October 20th, 7pm: MadLUG presentation on Nagios and SNMP. ¬†The one is probably not one you need to be a desktop Linux user to gain from. ¬†Nagios and SNMP are networking/sysadmin tools. ¬†If you’ve been to meetings in the past, please note that this event will be in Van Vleck, not Chamberlain. ¬†Details are on the link.

Saturday, November 7th, 7pm: MilwaukeeDevHouse4. DevHouses are essentially parties where people hack. ¬†I’m planning on writing a substantial portion of the aforementioned novel that night. ¬†If you’d like to carpool from Madison, please see this thread on the Web608 Google Group.

Halloween is coming up and I’ve been invited to three different parties. ¬†None of them are super-public, but if you’re looking for something to do, definitely hit me up.

I don’t talk about sports here too much. ¬†It’s supposed to be a technology blog (though the novel thing doesn’t really count either…). ¬†I do want to mention that “It was Kentucky‚Äôs first win over Auburn since 1966.” At Auburn. ¬†As a dual UK-Bama fan, it doesn’t get any better than this. ¬†UK really needs to exorcise the demons against UT too though. ¬†I couldn’t find the streak length of the Volunteers of the Wildcats but I wouldn’t be surprised if The Bear wasn’t the last UK coach to beat UT.

Ok, I’m done procrastinating.