Archive for February, 2010

LXer Article

I was going to just cover the 2nd and 3rd days of SCALE 8x but after getting back home and sitting myself down in front of my favorite compy and started thinking about it, I figured I might as well go all out and give you a full recap of my road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles for SCALE 8x and back.

So there I am on a beautiful Thursday late afternoon on my way up ‘the hill’ between Palm Springs and Indio on the I-10 west and what to my displeasure do I find? A tire, with the rim still on it, and air still in it lying in the middle of the lane in front of me..and my car at 75 miles an hour heading straight for it. BAM! I hit it and instantly it split my drivers side front tire from the center of the tread to the rim like a lemon.

Needless to say it wasn’t only my mouth that was puckered in the moments I hit the tire and made my way to the side of the freeway before dying a grizzly metal encrusted death. There is something to be said for having checked the air in the spare “doughnut” in the days before my trip and so after getting the car jacked up and the spare on I made my way into Los Angeles. In case you missed it, here is a link to my article of Day 1 – Friday at SCALE 8x.

Day 2 – Saturday

Coming from Phoenix any weather is a lot of weather and all weekend it was rainy and windy which of course made me want to stand outside the Westin in it..its a Phoenix thing.


So after the opening keynote speech by Red Hat’s Karsten Wade everyone started to hit the expo floor in waves. I sat in the corner and for once in my four times coming to SCALE, just took in the start of the Expo as the room filled with the sounds of people.



Along the walk in there was an OLPC booth amongst others and just inside the door I came across the Komputer 4 R Kids and Qimo booths. K4RK takes recycled computer parts and gets them to kids in the L.A. area who would otherwise not have one. I wish there was something like them in Phoenix. Qimo is a really cool version of Linux for kids of all ages. A good friend of mine’s daughter has been using it on her computer for a year now and she loves it.

One of my goals at this years conference was to get my lappy working again. I had a thoroughly botched Mandriva install that in my attempts to fix was not even letting me boot into it. It was sharing 80 gigs with XP and to make a long story short, I have a driver issue that is not easily fixed it seems and my now fairly old HP laptop will not read CD ISO disks, DVD ones are iffy too and I hoped to find a cool new version of Linux to install on it cleanly so I wouldn’t feel ‘dirty’ any more by having to boot into XP if I wanted to use my lappy.

After perusing the expo floor a while I came across Larry Cafiero, and his two young booth-mates Clint and Scott at the Fedora booth who happened to have new Fedora 12 disks and I figured why not give it a try and I grabbed a disk. Later in the afternoon in the e-mail garden I sat down and installed it..

Let me tell you a story about a Scottish guy named Neil Wallace (Not related) that I met last year at 7x. He is a Dentist who also happens to be a Linux geek. As the story goes, he was listening to a podcast and happened to hear Orv Beach and Ilan Rabinovitch in an interview talking about how the Expo was going to start that weekend and upon hearing this what does Neil do? He intermediately books a flight to L.A. and sits on a plane for 18 hours. Just to come and check it out, just to find some community, just to not be the only Linux geek in town. That’s the kind of dedication you get from a Scottish geek, and his very entertaining talk late Saturday afternoon entitled Get Developing – it’s easy. was to a standing room only crowd as well.

Day 3 – Sunday

Later Saturday night after I left the Expo I was trying to work some of the wrinkles out of my shiny new Fedora 12 install on my now ‘clean’ lappy. After trying to get codecs installed and such I quickly ran into a update problem I had no idea how to fix so when I got to the Expo Sunday I made my way over to the Fedora booth and begged for help. Clint, a Fedora Ambassador and organizer of the Utah Open Source Conference and Scott (guys named Scott have to be cool don’t they?) were happy to help and after getting them logged in as root I left them to their devices and disappeared onto the Expo floor.

I got a chance to talk to Mike Dexter of the Linux Fund and he told me about their expansion into the U.K., Patrice Albaret of Revolution Linux talked about their specialized large scale projects. I sat and talked about all things geek with some cool cats at the PostgreSQL booth for a while. Have I told you how much I love coming here? I went by the Arin booth and had my mind blown by how many IP addresses will be available once the change to IPv6 comes.

Upon my return to the Fedora booth Clint and Scott presented me with my now fully functioning and updated lappy and I will again say a hearty “Thank You” to both of them because in the days since I have used my laptop more than in the last 6-8 months. Last but not least I want to give a big shout out to Alex Colcernian and Erick Tyack of Diskless Workstations who sponsored the SCALE 8x E-mail Garden where I spent an inordinate amount of time and got to know them both. They put up with my banter and were still nice and talked to me even. 😉 It was a lot of fun hanging out with you guys and watching the Expo go by. I hope to see you two again next year.


Was SCALE 8x a success? Yes it was. Confirmed registrations at SCALE 8x were just over 1,500, that said the numbers for both 6x and 7x are flat at right around 1,300 registrations apiece. This statistic alone tells me everything I need to know about the health of Open Source. If for all intents and purposes the economy the last two years has tanked and SCALE has seen its numbers stay steady and now in 2010 actually grow then I know for a fact that things are on the up and up.

So I mentioned that all weekend it was rainy and windy and as I made my way home Monday afternoon I took a couple of pics out the window of my car of the snow the storm dumped on the San Jacinto Mountains outside of Palm Springs, right about where I blew my tire out too..




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February 24th 2010..

The Day Curium’s music hit the stores on the Internet..

Itunes US, UK, Japan, Amazon mp3, Rhapsody and Bandcamp.

Tunecore Page

iTunes Page

Amazon Page

Bandcamp Page

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LXer Aricle

The big stories this past week included Intel and Nokia announcing that they are going to merge their mobile Linux efforts and call it MeeGo , the top 25 programming errors list gets updated, Eric Van Haesendonck says what he thinks is wrong with Android and Miguel de Icaza gives an update on what his team at Novell has been up too. Also, a list of 20 computers you will probably use in the near future, five great Netbook operating systems, Twitter shares their open source with the world and a whole lot more in This week’s LXWR.

Five Best Netbook Operating Systems: Netbooks—the low-power and lightweight mini-notebooks that have surged in popularity—practically beg for some tweaking and customization to increase the functionality of their diminutive screens and relatively wimpy processors. Find yourself the perfect netbook operating system from this fine selection. Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite operating system for giving your diminutive mobile-computing companion a boost. You shared your favorite netbook OS, and now we’re back to highlight the five most popular options.

Something Happened: Where’s Microsoft?: In the last few weeks the tech world has had a flood of exciting stories: Buzz, Google’s gigabit fibre network, Apple’s iPad, Nexus One. But conspicuous by its absence in all this is Microsoft, which seems to have dropped out of the news completely. Perhaps this is the way its empire ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

Intel, Nokia aim to unify mobile Linux ecosystem with MeeGo: Intel and Nokia are teaming up to tame mobile Linux fragmentation. During a presentation today at Mobile World Congress, the companies announced that they are bringing together their respective Linux-based operating systems under a single banner. The combined platform, called MeeGo, supports multiple architectures and will be suitable for use across a wide range of mobile and embedded form factors, including netbooks and smartphones.

Open source against piracy: There are a few good reasons why open source fans should support the Business Software Alliance. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I dislike the Business Software Alliance (BSA). It’s questionable statistics and its sweeping generalisations make for annoying reading at the best of times. But recently I’ve been thinking that perhaps open source advocates should get behind the BSA.

8 Of The Best Linux Dockapps: How much functionality can you pack into a 64×64 square? That’s the basic question behind many dockapps – utilities that can be run on the “dock” of many popular desktop environments. While most of them are designed for Step-type window managers such as Windowmaker, these dockapps can also run in things like XFCE, Fluxbox and Openbox. They include system monitors, volume controls, program launchers, email checkers and more. Today we’ll check out some of the more useful dockapps out there, and each will include screen shots, descriptions, and any little notes that might help when it comes to usage. All of the dockapps below are available in the standard Ubuntu repositories.

20 Computers You WILL Own Within 5 Years: The convergence of ubiquitous connectivity and cloud computing has one simple and very exciting output: the explosion of hardware gadgets we will use to access information anywhere and anytime. Here are 20 computers you’ll be using within the next 5 years.

Top 25 Programming Errors list updated: Just as they did last year, over thirty international security organisations have come together, to publish a list of the 25 most dangerous programming errors leading to vulnerabilities that can be exploited for cybercrime and espionage. The 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors has been updated with a number of improvements to how the errors are graded, prioritised and categorised. For example, new “Focus Profiles” allow readers to quickly see the listed errors sorted for particular professionals’ interests.

What is wrong with Android: I recently purchased an HTC Magic, my first device running Android, Google’s Linux-based mobile operating system. Although there are a lot of things I like about Android, I also quickly realized that there are also a lot of things that either require urgent improvement or are going wrong altogether. Below is my not-so-small list of Android issues. A lot of them are related to the Android market because it is in my opinion the part of Android that requires the most urgent efforts.

PHP Developers Prefer Using Windows to Build Enterprise Apps: Study: The open source PHP dynamic language is one of the most widely deployed languages on Web servers today. But what operating systems are PHP developers using to develop and deploy their applications? It’s a question that has been asked before and now it’s being answered with a new study from Zend, one of the lead commercial backers behind PHP. The study surveyed 2,000 PHP developers in December and found that 85 percent reported that Linux was their primary operating system as a production environment for PHP.

What have we been up to?: I wanted to give my readers a little bit of an insight of the various things that we are doing at Novell in my team. This is just focused on the work that we do at Novell, and not on the work of the larger Mono community which is helping us fill in the blanks in many areas of Mono.

Twitter opens open source page: The Twitter microblogging service has created a Twitter loves open source page, listing the projects it has released or contributed to. The page lists programs written in Ruby, Scala, Java and C/C++ and some tools.

Will open source accept Microsoft leadership?: Microsoft is determined to be a leader of the open source movement. It will once again be a “platinum sponsor” at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco next month and its National Technology Officer for the U.S., Stuart McKee, will deliver a keynote. McKee, former CIO for Washington state, may be best known to open source advocates for admitting that “ODF won” the standards battle with Microsoft’s Open Office XML back in 2008.

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LXer Article

My review of the first day of SCALE 8x and the WIOS talks I attended.

Ultimate Randomness – Girl voices in open source

The first talk I attended was a great presentation by three very knowledgeable girls Malakia and Saskia Wade and Mirano Cafiero (on the left) who explained how they had learned to use GIMP and Tux Paint along with some examples of what they have done using the programs as well. At the end of the the presentation they showed a short stop motion film they made with their Barbi Dolls using OpenShot which to say the least was very cute..and very good too.


A Year NTEU the Ubuntu Community and FLOSS World

The next one I got to was Amber Graner’s talk on her first year in the Non Technical End User (NTEU) for Ubuntu. It was a great review of what it is like to be a total newbie to FOSS getting all jazzed to jump in and get started in participating in the ‘process’ as it were. She gave a ton of great examples and funny stories of her experiences in the NTEU. One of her great points was If you can dream it you and think it, if you can think it you can suggest it and if you can suggest it you can do it. I like that a lot. there is something to be said for just doing it if it means that much to you that really hits home for me.


Moving The Needle

Sarah Mei presented a talk on how the Ruby Community in San Francisco experienced a growth from 2% to 18% in the number of women involved over the course of just one year. She spoke of her and others efforts, in spite of past gender diversity failures, to get more women interested and involved in the SF Ruby community. She explained in great detail how they went about it and why it actually worked when nothing had worked before along with some expected and not so expected side effects that came about as a result of the projects success.

The three things they focused on were:

1. Set specific goals that could actually be met. – It is nice to have lofty goals but if your chances of ever reaching them are minuscule to none, then what is the point of even having them right? Their main goal was to increase the number of women who came to the monthly meetings, period. Whatever that number was, as long as it was an increase in participation, then the goal had been met.

2. Workshops for women. – The big difference between every other workshop for women that had never worked before was that Sarah and her group targeted former female programmers that had gotten out of the business for one reason or another and women who work in and/or with technical companies. By focusing on those areas the actual number of women who showed up to the workshops was noticeable along the number who returned for the monthly meetings was well.

3. In-person outreach and followup – This I believe was the biggest factor in the success of the project. Speaking only for myself (as a man) I usually know when I leave a talk, meeting etc. whether I am going to ever return but I know that for a lot of others actually having someone call or e-mail you personally, thanking you for coming and asking what you thought about it would have a large and positive impact on their continued involvement.

Some of the unanticipated side effects were the serious uptick in the quality of posts to and the quantity of traffic on the SF Ruby mailing list and more talks were proposed for the monthly meetings by both men and women. Also, the perception that you had to know more than everybody else in the room in order to make a comment on or speak in front of the group without looking like a dork completely dissipated and it resulted in much more participation by both men and women.

Another one of the great forward thinking aspects of the project was that the men in the SF Ruby community were involved in the entire process and included in the meetings so that there was no ‘enclaving’ in that over the course of several months everyone got a chance to meet everyone so there was no “us over here” and “you over there”. I for one am very impressed and I commend Sarah and all those who worked on the project for there hard work and deserved success.

Presenting You: How to Give A Lightning Talk

Emma Hogbin gave a very animated talk on how to easily get started on giving a lightning talk. She got the entire audience involved by having us tell another audience member about one or two of our passions in life and then showed how you can break that subject down into little chunks of time so that all of a sudden your done, it was good and the audience is still awake.


Well its on to day two of the conference Saturday. Expect more pics (and maybe even one of me) and more stories from the expo floor.

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The Curium Widget

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In honor of Valentine’s Day we have Ken Starks take on nerd mating rituals, Carla Schroder actually gets emotional about Ubuntu, Juliet Kemp espouses the goodness of Xfce and Computer Bob continues his Debian adventure along with Google Buzz, Scientists releasing code and more in this week’s LXer Roundup.

LXer Article

When Linux Nerds Choose Mates from the Linux Herd…: Look…let’s face this together. Dating can suck. Now when you are young, it’s an adventure. One has relatively little “baggage”, the emotional scars are few and the dating world is your oyster…so to speak. And you haven’t even begun to think about their therapeutic value yet. Ah, youth… But then you find yourself at midlife, choosing from a large pool of potential crisis’. So many to choose from. Maybe there is a divorce or two under your belt, some strong political or religious beliefs that are deeply ingrained, and oh yeah, there’s that messy incident with the hacking conviction… Those tend to narrow down the potential list of candidates for life-long bliss. Throw your use/obsession of Linux into the mix and what do you get? More than likely a room at your mom’s house and a NASA-level computer bank in her basement.

Ubuntu 9.10 and GNOME 2.28: Advancing Past Meh: Many eons ago, GNOME 1.4 still lived, and it was good. It was extremely configurable and hackable. You could use either Enlightenment or Sawfish as the window manager, and could customize it to your heart’s content. It was even friendly to homegrown GTK+ hacks. And then tragedy struck: the GNOME maintainers decided that 1.4 needed a ground-up rewrite, and thus GNOME 2.0 was born.

Xfce Desktop: Less Lard, Less Bling, More Usability: KDE and GNOME pile on the eye candy and grow ever-larger and hungrier of system resources. Thankfully, Linux users who prefer a lightweight desktop environment have a number of great choices. Today Juliet Kemp takes us on a tour of the attractive, nimble, and functional Xfce desktop.

My Debian Adventure 3: Squeeze & KDE4: Two days ago, I installed Debian Squeeze onto my new 64-bit PC, using ext4 partitions, KDE4 and grub2. Two nights ago, I was up until 3:00 AM, thanks to Debian Squeeze’s version of KDE4. My experience may surprise you. It certainly surprised me.

If you’re going to do good science, release the computer code too: One of the spinoffs from the emails and documents that were leaked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is the light that was shone on the role of program code in climate research. There is a particularly revealing set of “README” documents that were produced by a programmer at UEA apparently known as “Harry”. The documents indicate someone struggling with undocumented, baroque code and missing data – this, in something which forms part of one of the three major climate databases used by researchers throughout the world. Many climate scientists have refused to publish their computer programs. I suggest is that this is both unscientific behaviour and, equally importantly, ignores a major problem: that scientific software has got a poor reputation for error.

Google takes on Facebook and Twitter with network site: Google has taken the wraps off its latest social network known as Buzz. The service – integrated directly with its e-mail service Gmail – allows users to post status updates, share content and read and comment on friends’ posts. The site pitches Google directly against rival networks such as Facebook, which has amassed nearly 400 million users since its launch in 2004. Buzz will try to capitalise on the number of regular Gmail users, which is currently around 170 million people.

Intel taps student’s robot for processor demo: Cuteness aside, the hexapod bot has gotten some attention from high places. Two days after Bunting, a University of Arizona electrical-engineering senior, posted a YouTube video of his bot, Intel ordered two of them to promote its Atom processors at trade shows and engineering meetings. The robot uses Intel’s 1.60GHz Atom Z530 and US15W chipset. It runs on the Ubuntu open-source operating system.

Upgrade your Kernel the easy way in Ubuntu | LinuxMint: Few days ago Ubuntu announced that there is a serious security issue in the kernel from version 6.06, 8.04, 8.10, 9.04 and 9.10 . 7.xx versions are not affected. Canonical has been recommended as a solution to update the kernel of its various versions.Today i show you how to upgrade the kernel the safe way in Ubuntu and LinuxMint. I tested this tutorial on Ubuntu 9.10 karmic koala and LinuxMint 8 helena .

Google Buzz: First Impressions: I’ve been hearing a lot about Google Buzz lately and lo and behold, it shows up in Gmail this morning. Initially, I ignored it, but I visit my Gmail account quite often and so figured, “what the heck”. As I was going through the set up process (which isn’t really involved), I was inspired to open up Google Wave for the first time in more than a month. I saw a few new Waves, but nothing like the flood of unread messages I’d expect if I just ignored Gmail for about six weeks. I’ve written a couple of blogs on Wave, including an an initial review and an update called Why Hasn’t Google Wave Gone Viral? My interest in Wave has waxed and waned and now that Google has thrown Buzz into the mix, was I supposed to get excited?

7 of the Best Free Linux Document Processors: A document processor is a document preparation system. Unlike a word processor, this type of application leads the author to concentrate on the structure of the document rather than its appearance. The author therefore focuses on what he/she wants to say, instead of fretting over page borders, font attributes, or formatting. Moreover, the author will be guided in the organisation, structure, and flow within the document.

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LXer Article

5 Linux Speed Tips: There are many ways to do the same tasks in Linux, which is a lovely thing because it means we can tailor our workflows to suit our own personal needs. Here are five of Carla Schroder’s favorite speed and efficiency tips.

The Great Oracle Experiment: For the first time, we get to see what happens when a company that has built up an immense global business empire on the basis of its proprietary software takes over some of the most important open source projects around. Does it destroy them through mutual incomprehension? Or is it *changed* by them, moving towards their approaches? That’s what we’re going to find out over the next few years in the Great Oracle Experiment.

Asus 9 inch Netbook: A few weeks ago I was chatting with one of our Clients, he owns a company that does hooks up for prospective Employers with prospective Employees in the Fitness Industry, and in the process makes a few bob. He was complaining about his Asus netbook, which had Windows XP loaded on it, and how it has been getting progressively slower over time and knowing I use Linux, in fact I had recommended last year that he get someone, or do it himself and install Ubuntu UNR. He asked if I would install Linux on his machine.

Android code removed from Linux kernel
: Greg Kroah-Hartman, the Novell developer who maintains the staging, USB and driver core for Linux, has announced that the driver code for Google’s Android operating system has been removed from the 2.6.33 Linux code base. Kroah-Hartman says that “I love the Android phone platform” but that the code for supporting Android has not been cared for, and as is his policy, uncared-for code is removed from the source code control system. The change was committed to the Linux source tree on December 11th, last year.

HipHop for PHP: Move Fast: One of the key values at Facebook is to move fast. For the past six years, we have been able to accomplish a lot thanks to rapid pace of development that PHP offers. As a programming language, PHP is simple. Simple to learn, simple to write, simple to read, and simple to debug. We are able to get new engineers ramped up at Facebook a lot faster with PHP than with other languages, which allows us to innovate faster.

Microsoft’s Creative Destruction
: An insiders view of the slow motion disaster that is Microsoft. Heart-warming stuff and proof that all bureaucracies private or public fail eventually without some kind of proper connection of their outcomes with the customers real needs.

Linus Torvalds named one of the 100 most influential inventors: The book “The 100 Most Influential Inventors of All Time”, part of a series from the Encyclopaedia Britannica titled “The Britannica Guide to the World’s Most Influential People”, lists the top one hundred most important and influential inventors since Cro-Magnon man. Linus Torvalds, creator and chief architect of the Linux kernel, is listed among the IT innovators for his contribution to open source software.

Hands-on: new single-window mode makes GIMP less gimpy: The venerable GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is undergoing a significant transformation. The next major release, version 2.8, will introduce an improved user interface with an optional single-window mode. Although this update is still under heavy development, users can get an early look by compiling the latest source code of the development version from the GIMP’s version control repository.

Is Google forking the Linux kernel?: Disclaimer: This post reflects my personal opinion and is in no way related to the company I work for. LWN tells us what is happening with the android kernel patches in upstream. The short version: They are gone

LXer@FOSDEM 2010: Anyone else going?
: Tonight FOSDEM 2010 starts with the beer event, and tomorrow the main conference starts. It’s held again at the University ‘ULB’ in Brussels south-east (near the embassies) in Belgium.
Just like last year, LXer will be there. I will try to go both days to cover some talks for you. The schedule promises some interesting talks like that of Greg Koah Hartman, another talk about the RepRap ‘cheap’ 3D printer that prints its own parts. There’s also a Mozilla-room, a distro-room, an embedded room. a KDE and a Gnome room, the Drupal room, the 20-minute Lightning talks which could be about anything and many more.

A fresher Linux desktop: Gnome 3.0 promises to give Linux the desktop polish it needs. It’s been a long time in the coming but this year Linux will get a makeover, thanks to the Gnome project. In September the Gnome team, makers of one of the most popular desktop interfaces for Linux, will release version 3.0 of their desktop environment and they are promising “big user-visible changes”.

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