Older blog entries for neurogato (starting at number 19)

Chalk, Cheese

Two sides to the same story: Linspire are releasing a freely-available, freely-distributable, community-led, Debian-based Linux distribution (sound familiar?) to be called Freespire. Linspire’s edge is that they will distribute non-free drivers, such as for nVidia or ATi graphics cards, as part of the core distribution, and not from optional repositories a la Ubuntu.

Jono Bacon, who is on the Leadership Board of Freespire, is genuinely excited about Open Source and distro diversity, and I’d trust his opinion to be as unbiased as possible. Meanwhile, Pamela Jones over at Groklaw is characterising Freespire as Satan’s Distro. Yes, binary non-free, non-open drivers are Bad. But think about the first thing a new user of Ubuntu does — and when I say user, I don’t mean an average Linux geek, I mean a Joe Bloggs user, a wants to read e-mail and buy stuff off Amazon user — is to look for ways to play their MP3 collection, or watch a DVD, or go to a website with Flash, or listen to BBC Real streams, or … You see my point? The Ubuntu forums are littered with requests to just Make Stuff Work™. This is undoubtedly the market Linspire is targetting, and it is a market.

Is Jono wrong to be associated with this distro? Is Pamela right to vilify it? I’ve no doubt that while Freespire is a noble effort by a company well steeped in commercialism, it’ll survive with a niche of its own; not a huge niche, but a cult following nonetheless. Ubuntu is a steamroller of a distro with a strong ethical community. Freespire just won’t have the momentum to keep up. I really don’t know what Pamela is worried about.

Note that this isn’t SquiggleOS, the original attempt to create a free version of Linspire which began under the same name. SquiggleOS has now been abandoned in favour of Freespire development. Also note that SquiggleOS lead Andrew Betts is a Leadership Board member too.

Syndicated 2006-04-25 11:36:03 from neuro.me.uk » open source

New Location for Clan #lugradio Maps

The Clan #lugradio Maps site has been updated with new download locations for the maps, and a shell script to assist Linux users (and Windows users running Cygwin I suppose) in keeping their clan maps up-to-date. The script defaults to downloading to ~/.etwolf/etmain, so if you’ve changed that from the default, make sure that is changed in the script too.

The script is based on a shell script written by #lugradioite nlindblad, and development continued by myself as a fork from niklas’ initial work. Others have implemented similar scripts in Python and Ruby, so YMMV :) This script is now the master script with the authoritative map locations, so if you’re developing alternatives please use the URLs in this script, and please also respect the fact I’m hosting these maps personally :)

Syndicated 2006-03-19 16:22:54 from neuro.me.uk » open source

As someone said on IRC this morning: “the FSF appear to have come up with the perfect plan for how to look like a bunch of annoying, smart-arse tossers“. Has the Free Software Foundation gone nuts?

Update 13:30: I don’t seem to be alone on this: popey, mgdm, ZDNet, Slashdot.

I’ve been saying for a while that the more zealous methods used by proponents of Free software have been somewhat over-the-top, and do more to detract from the FOSS public image than to build upon it in a constructive way. Now they’ve taken a sip from the poisoned Kool-Aid. The FSF, via it’s Defective by Design campaign, is advocating that people block-book sessions at an Apple Store’s Genius Bar, a sort of drop-in and bookable repair and support centre. “Having lots of slots booked will get Apple’s attention and ensure that the Geniuses have done their homework”, says the ‘Apple Challenge’ page, posted by FSF employee Matt Lee. The rationale apparently is that Apple is now the enemy, since Vista is doing more damage to itself than anyone else can from outside Microsoft, and the first target are the Apple Store’s Genius Bars.

My employer purchased both AppleCare and ProCare for my MBP, which has come in extremely handy when the ‘O’ key snapped off (keyboard replaced overnight), my battery failed to hold a charge (replaced immediately upon attending pre-booked Genius Bar session) and my motherboard GPU failed (motherboard replaced in 90 minutes). Now imagine any of the following scenarios: you’re unsure how to use your newly purchased Macbook; you’re trying to connect a camera to your Mac to transfer photos to iPhoto and print them to send to relatives in a frame; your machine has failed in some way and urgently needs repaired, as you use it for your business. You try to book a session at the Genius Bar to resolve any of these issues, and … it’s fully booked. For days. Wow, they must be busy.

Well, no, it’s actually a bunch of uber-asshole Free software zealots thinking they’re “special”, attempting to monopolise a consumer resource in an attempt to “educate” or “catch out” Apple Store employees, some of whom may have used Macs for years, others may have had a crash course in Apple products so that they know as much as they can about the stuff they sell, but little else. Why harass these people? It’s like having a constant stream of people going up to the counter at McDonald’s and espousing the benefits of a low-carb, high-fibre diet to the person who can do the least about it. Genius Bar employees may know all about FOSS, but critically it’s not their job to promote it. It’s not a “product” to be “sold”, but a philosophy to be shared.

A plea to the FSF: stop harassing Apple staff, and stop alienating the very people you’re trying to “save”. There are better, more ethical, more agreeable methods to promote FOSS. What you’re doing is none of those things. In the meantime, you’ve virtually guaranteed I will never promote, condone, contribute or donate to any FSF body, project or campaign. I’ve had a “Warning, DRM” defectivebydesign.org sticker on my Macbook Pro for a while now, mainly for comedic value. It’s gone now. I no longer want to be seen to be promoting these idiots in any way. As much as I love the thought of Free and Open Source Software being used everywhere and anywhere, this is just not the way to be going about it.

Cheerie 2001 ... Hallo 2002 ...

opie: try looking at a Sony Clie - Palm OS 4.1, colour hi-res display, just lovely. And the high-end Clies play mp3s from memory stick - 2 hours of 160kbps goodness on a 128meg stick ...

gman: once you've finished Microserfs (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]), you should definitely try Girlfriend in a Coma (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]), and All Families are Psychotic (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]),

mmmmmmm ... ADSL install successful ... bandwidth shall be mine ... muhahahahahaha <cough cough> ... btw I'm ill with the evils of hay fever induced throat and nose groz ... bleh
On a related note, I finally switched from SmoothWall 0.9.9- lada (the public beta) to 0.9.9-final - it only took me nigh on a month. It was just too bloody stable! But I thought, I need to shove a USB card in, so time for a rebuild. 0.9.9 install took about 20 mins plus another 10 mins huckling cards in and playing with CD-ROM cables. Once BT had finished the install (I passed the whooooosh test at about 23-24dB), I used win2k to check the line was OK, and registered with FreeServe. Once done, I moved the frog over to the Smoothie box, and rebooted (I'd prefilled the PPPoA profile ...). Lo and behold, it worked first off :) Sorted! Totally impressed. And I'm on the dev team for [insert deity]'s sake! Well impressed.
4 Oct 2001 (updated 4 Oct 2001 at 11:35 UTC) »
New look website went up on Saturday. Now we're working to get online up and running soon.
premus: Alan's code crew text is actually lyrics to the tune of Motorhead's "(We Are) The Road Crew", a bloody superb track - kudos to Alan for that - it fits beautifully.


The new website design is coming along nicely - I've put it to the team for review and hopefully I'll roll it out this weekend. I tried putting in rounded edges as are found in the current SmoothWall user interface, but it didn't seem to suit for some reason, so I've left them out for now.

In addition, we are going to bring the online and kids stuff onstream soon, so I hope to extend the current design to those sites for consistencies sake.

The events of the past week have left me kinda numb, and I've been reluctant to update here for some reason. Hearing things on last nights news, such as it may take a year to clear the rubble and debris that remains of the WTC, and that Dubya is resolved for war, have stunned and scared me respectively.

I hope that cool heads will prevail - something else I heard this morning on the radio while commuting in was that it's a good thing the US and NATO haven't waded into combat yet, proving that they are fully investigating all leads before making decisive action.

Here's hoping the Afghan's make the right decision when dealing with the Pakistani delegation today.


We closed the lists for a day from 6pm GMT last Tuesday until the day after as a mark of respect. 0.9.9 went out the door finally at 11am GMT Saturday - the ISO and source are available now for download


Judging from some of the comments made this past week on advogato, related to comments by both community 'leaders' and advogato residents, we clearly have a wide cross- section of viewpoints here. Let's remember that freedom of speech should not be unnecessarily curtailed, but also that proper respect should prevail while publically commenting so soon after such atrocities. Public statements by esr and rms have been filled with personal opinion - clearly exposing the moral direction of both men. I'm not sure if I like their direction, but again it's a question of free (obviously as in libre) speech. They are allowed to state opinions, I'm allowed to retort that I think they're a bit soft in the head :)


Condolences to those who have lost, and best wishes for the future to those who have survived.


Iain seems to have taken the Billennium rather too seriously ... I suggest rapid infusion of decaffienated products, stat!

Interestingly, mirwin - they of the war- and-peace-have-nothing-on-me diary entries appears to also be using idot as another advogato account ... "I am having a little trouble getting my web sites up so I am going to certify this account from mirwin and put some concise draft notes here regarding open entrepreneurialism" - err, isn't this a tad ... cheeky?


More website updates today, need to start thinking about the redesign dang and i have planned for next weekend.


finally got Sky Digital installed today - too ... many ... channels ... :)

also back to work tomorrow after taking a week off to chill out ... should be fun

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