Linux Desktop!!!!!

February 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I think its time to start weeding the garden of bad info concerning “is Linux ready to dominate the desktop market”. Until someone makes and funds a distro in the right manner it will never be a reality in the way the public is expecting. Most Linux users especially Ubuntu users, of which I am one. I will say I’m not sold out to Ubuntu anymore then any other distro that you hear is the one that “just works”. Obviously Linux as a kernel is far beyond ready as a technology to dominate the market. Linux as a technology gets blamed for every wireless driver that stops working, every laptop display that will not allow you to brighten the back-light. Whoever compiles the distro makes the choice to put bits out in the public that are at the very least unpredictable. Then you see all the articles, and blog posts rolling about how Linux hosed their laptop or their Windows partition etc etc. As valiant an effort Ubuntu is and will be I still think until someone has a purpose to sink their teeth and money behind building a stable desktop environment with free software it will remain two steps forward and three back. Don’t get me wrong things have improved greatly but when three releases ago all your drivers were perfectly fine and now you upgrade or even do a clean install and blam, “what happen to my wireless, why dont my dimmer switch work for my laptop etc etc”. That is not Linux failing, it is the process failing of the distribution. I know Mark Shuttleworth has done great things for the reputation of Linux as an alternative desktop to Windows but some of his crusades he has gone on has to me been a a shot from left field. The worst part of the regressions that most users suffer through is that they are scripts that have been setup to suddenly blacklist your driver and off you go to the races finding out why your laptop is suddenly not Linux friendly. The kernel community has a part in this mess but no where near the blame they get. Ubuntu is a commercial product now, whether you use semantics to say it is totally free blah blah blah. No company or business will use an operating system without support. Someone has to be responsible for breakages and guess what Canonical is looking for a way to make Ubuntu profitable but not by selling it directly but selling you the service you can not do without, if your business depends on your computers working as expected. The way things are setup Red Hat is closest to what works for free software but Mark chose to condemn them as just another proprietary OS. I completely disagree. Red Hat understands that the bits their customers are using and paying service contracts on do not have to line up with every new kernel release etc. Fedora is there contributing heavily to the bottom line of free software while Red Hat’s business grade distro is kept stable by the team that understands what customers expect. That to me has been shown to be the business model that will move us forward. It’s not about a race to the newest and brightest untested kernel if your trying to satisfy “Joe Microsoft”. I know there are alpha releases and they beg for bugs but people are starting to see that as going through the motions for nothing. Developers are overwhelmed or just plain bad people persons (i know, its bad English). There are bugs open for years that were never bugs to start with. If you want to release something as your distro, then don’t blame, the new kernel, the newest gcc etc. You released it. It is a tremendous responsibility I’m sure to get this right but until we acknowledge what the problem is it will never be “The Year of The Linux Desktop”. Linux gets accused of not being ready to run a desktop yet is running super computers, ISP servers by the thousands, Google to name a few. Just stop the blame game. Even Ubuntu’s long term support release is plagued by the same system that is still broken. I don’t mind most of the time to make fixes but when you turn your computer on and want to get work done you don’t feel like playing joe hacker. Get this right and we’ll see Linux shine in the desktop market.

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My Macbook from Linux results

February 11, 2011 at 10:19 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Well after a few months I couldn’t take the muffled feel of the Macbook compared to my trusty old Ubuntu. I was dual-booting fairly early in the experience anyway but it just didn’t seem worth the extra dough to own the glamorous, what some make call trendy Mac. I went back initially to my two year old Sony which has been very trust worthy I might say for dual booting Linux and Windows (Windows since the streaming video still seems to need work on the Linux side of the fence). I watch alot of tech videos online if for nothing but to keep up with what is going on on the landscape of our world. That has lead me to Microsoft sights that require Silverlight, and no offence to Miguel but the Moonlight plugin sometimes doesn’t just install has hoped, not to mention you can tell they are chasing a technology around like a dog chases his tail and that it is not something I feel like getting behind since it’s future (Mono etc.) is still to me a bit shaky.

I did not like MacOSX plain and simple and the hardware is not any better then the new Samsung I just paid a quarter of the price tag as the Macbook. Mac used to have the supposed advantage because they “made” the hardware and the OS so things were much grander since they were made for each other NOT. Not to mention Apple showed the inability to keep up with Intel so the insides of the Mac are no longer any different, and as I see it better then the competition they for so long have made fun of. Good bye Mac OSX, good bye. Now I still haven’t answered the question of why Linux developers and open-source developers were parading their Macbooks at Gnome, and Lnux conferences (others as well of course). No things don’t “just work”, any better then using Cygwin on Windows “just works” for someone looking for the workflow and open smorgasbord that has become Linux’s hallmark. Please developers use what you are building in the way that will make our position stronger. The world sees this as someone who works for General Motors building the best cars GM has to offer, then leaves the plant to drive home in the comfort of his Japanese made automobile. Show the confidence in Linux and the available hardware for it, that you’re preaching by building it. If you do it for a hobby or do it for the money you make please stop making us all look like we are “talking out both sides of our neck” . As always just my two sense and I do not want to argue but good dialogue I look forward to.

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Rails3 on Ubuntu! (Can Linux be a first class citizen?)

August 14, 2010 at 9:29 am (Apple, Free Software, Linux, Mac, Microsoft, Open Web, Opensource, Programming, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Technology, Ubuntu) (, , , , , , )

I know there are people developing Ruby and Rails on Linux and probably a good number. I am a newbie to programming and while learning Ruby and Rails, besides being what I’m interested in, has become a good way for me to build real usable applications and not get bogged down in “hello world” land forever. Can anyone out there relate?

Anyway since I started using Linux about a year and a half ago I always hoped to eventually become a very active commiter to an opensource project(s). I just haven’t been able to get myself to a comfortable level to be helpful in the programming side of things and at times I get somewhat discouraged. Rails and Ruby has brought wind to my sails!

As I said I know there are Rails developers using Linux or more specifically Ubuntu. I also notice that at the very least the Mac is the primary platform being used by Rails and probably Ruby developers and I will admit I probably would do the same if I could afford it but that’s another story. I would like to find like minded people out there who are passionate to make Ubuntu a first class platform in the Rails community. To the point that when new developers or even wanna be developers come along that may be testing opensource or Linux they find that Ruby/Rails is Linux friendly to the point that the tutorials or blogs don’t have to always end with “I’m using Mac but there is probably some help on the web for Linux users”.

Let’s make a landing point for Ubuntu Rails developers and work together to keep packaging, tutorials, and overall community attention fresh and focused on making Ubuntu second to none when it comes to being used with other open source projects. I’ve said it myself before I know that the Mac has answered to alot of users concerns on the Linux desktop or can I say has become the best of both worlds for developers who want the Unix tools they would have with Linux but coupled it with a pleasing stable graphical desktop experience. Heck even Linux/Gnome developers are using Macs to develop free software. Now I don’t want this to be misunderstood as a Apple hater story it is far from that. I just believe that as an opensource platform what better scenario would there be to be able to develop in a first class setting, the software you know and love, and is also open source software. I know in a perfect world being able to use an open desktop with other open source software has got to be better for open source at large then open source software on a proprietary operating system.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you catch the vision. Let’s make Ubuntu the best answer to the Unix that so many are using the Mac for.(not to ignore some of the visual design things that I believe the Ubuntu community is working on as well.) Let’s keep open up and down the stack from the programming languages to the browsers to the desktop OS itself. We can do it with the same charisma that the Ruby community uses to make programmers happy using Ruby. Let’s make Ubuntu and Ruby/Rails the number one answer to the developers looking for the best answer to the questions they have. There are quite a few .Net and Windows developers all over the net talking about trying to get Ruby and Rails working on Windows let’s give them a reason why they don’t need to.

Thanks for listening

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What is Opensource?

June 3, 2010 at 2:18 am (Computer Science, Evil, Free Software, Google, Opensource, Personal, Programming, Rant, Technology) (, , , )

This is a genuine question that really starts to make me understand why the Richard Stallman’s of the world are so adamant about Free Software.

Case in point I was watching some of the new Google IO videos today and noticed the video about “Freemium – how to make free users paying customers” and was just a bit taken back by the somewhat underhanded sound of that statement. In my opinion it is anyway. It seems that they see there users as a means to the ultimate end, PROFIT (again just my opinion). The idea that ”free users” as future paying customers seems to speak of altier motives. I already blogged about how commercial companies seem to build their “opensource” projects in secret and then when they are happy with the project they “throw it over the wall” and magic happens, the project is no longer a for profit business venture but a good hearted move by a non-evil company to help the world of open source and free software move forward (NOT).

Back to my point of today. I noticed certain blog posts about certain Google open source projects, namely Web Sockets, and O3D and the changes Google was making to the “opensource” project. The changes were pretty substantial like the next version of O3D was no longer a plugin and that Web Socket versions would no longer be compatible etc. I guess in the normal scheme of an opensource project code breakage is not that unusual but when you consider these projects being released by commercial profit making companies claiming to not be evil when in reality opensource has become just another “edge” in the corporations bid to make money. Again if this understood at the outset it is fine but when companies like Microsoft are evil simply because of their dominant position and same tactics it just seems to be a double standard.

Imagine just for a moment a new startup that uses O3D plugin to build their stack around and now another company has simply decided that the plugin will no longer be such. This at the very least can cause it to be impossible for companies to work together on opensource projects if other companies learn how to bring them down or take them out of the game simply because they feel like it. This may seem to be circular reasoning but there is a point in there trust me.

I guess that’s what separates the profitable opensource companies from the ones that are at least trying to honor the principle and not mow people over with their size and influence.

Here is a quote from the blog I mentioned reading today. Notice the steering of the ship in spirit of openess and community.

“At Google, we’re deeply committed to implementing and advancing standards, so as of today, the O3D project is changing direction, evolving from its current plug-in implementation into a JavaScript library that runs on top of WebGL. Users and developers will still be able to download the O3D plug-in and source code for at least one year, but other than a maintenance release, we plan to stop developing O3D as a plug-in and focus on improving WebGL and O3D as a JavaScript library.”

The emphasis is my own in the quote. Just the few statements that struck a chord so to speak. I know some will say “that is opensource if developers need the old project they have the ability to fork it” . Yeah, I guess they can but that probably defeats the purpose of them joining up with developers of an opensource project of what was thought to be like minded people. No, just another huge rich “opensource” corp. I guess some will see this as being a bit unfair to Google but we should ask ourselves why the spirit of free and opensource software even means anything. Developers who participate and contribute to these corporate sponsored projects need some means of protection or at least predictability for their efforts, Right?

Thanks for listening

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Opensource, but when and for whom!

May 21, 2010 at 3:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I have a question. Is it me or has the corporate world completely changed the opensource philosophy. I really started thinking in depth about this when Mark Shuttleworth was getting a hard time for Launchpad’s opensource timeline. It seems that opensource is completely foreign to its roots which to me were much closer to the beginnings of free software.

Think of how Linus started the kernel project compared to how the new “open source” non-evil companies start projects. The spirit is completely lost. The idea as far as I’m concerned was never for multi-billionare company starts money making venture by building their “open source” project for a year or two in secret. Then when they think the project is ready to make money the source code is put on a server to get some free help improving said product.

Just my two cents but is the spirit of free software completely lost in “open source” business. We watch Google year after year get more and more powerful and keep saying “don’t be evil”. Is that all there is to it. If so I think we could use some good old fashion Stallman to counter balance these fallacies.

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