Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lazy Web, O' Lazy Web...

Help me O’ Lazy web find a free hosted web based email app that runs on Free Software and has a reasonable terms of service agreement? A recent discussion of the proprietary nature of some web apps has me rethinking my beloved google web apps, thus the new wordpress blog I’m trying out. Now I’m looking for a replacement for gmail, I’d like it to be open source and have a reasonable TOS agreement, no scanning my email for ads, no rights to everything I write, accessible from the web and free of cost. While i’m at it I’d like the moon on a stick. :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Chalk one up for the good guys, a rather smug Mac using orange sunglasses type friend of mine who has in the past made fun of me for my activism in regard to Free Software and fighting DRM called me the other day with a tale I'd heard before, he'd bought a new CD but it refused to play on his Mac. I asked him to read me all the labels on the CD and sure enough it had a "Plays for sure" label. I explained that this meant it would for sure not play on his Mac and advised him to return to HMV where he bought it. He was of course enraged by this, I pointed out that he had in the past told me I was being unreasonable for fighting DRM and that he thought that the Digital Restrictions Management on his iTunes music store music was reasonable even though such music can only be played in iTunes or on his iPod. Since then he has converted all his iTunes music to CD and signed up for Defectivebydesign. This Friday my friend will get is chance to let the bad guys know how e felt about being sold a purposely broken CD, the defectivebydesign guys are organizing a phone in campaign to RIAA execs to protest the selling such defective merchandise. Sign up today to join this heroic effort.
Of course the RIAA are not the only place you can get music, Lugradio's world famous Jono Bacon (see Jono at least someone spells it right) makes all his music freely available under permissive Creative Commons licences through his music site, some pretty good stuff, the Banger Beat is particularly funny.
Speaking of Lugradio brings me to my next topic, the Lugradio crews recent discussion of the proprietary nature of most web apps and this article from OSweekly got me thinking about whether I should follow the very reverend Ted of Novell fame over to wordpress, they use open source software and they're terms of servce are quite reasonable, I'm currently running a trial of their service and if all goes well I may migrate in the near future. Now if only I could find a decent floss gmail substitute, oh well, baby steps.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bad news first, not going to make it to Lugradio Live 2006, had hoped to pull the cash together last minutes but couldn't make it happen. Maybe next year I guess.
In better news conversions to Linux continue unabated, people are really starting to see open source software as a real alternative. Since my last post I have had continued requests for Linux CDs at an unprecidented rate, as well as many more requests for support. As mentioned in my last post these support requests are somewhat of a double edged sword for me while I enjoy helping get newbies started the demands on my time can be extensive. One thing I have found to give me much needed respite from these support demands is the creation of a desktop HELP!!! icon, this links to the users IRC client, which is preset to #ubuntu on freenode. If the user encounters an issue they can hit the HELP!!! icon and ask for help from the experts on IRC, I'm told this has been a great help and it has certainly cut down on my service calls.
Matt Revell of Lugradio fame has started the Ubuntu Media Relations Team to act as a point of first contact between project members and the Media, this seems like a great way to help out the community. If you have experience dealing with the media and are interested helping out the community in a non coding manner this is a greate way to pitch in.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Advocacy sometimes reminds me of gardening, you sow the seeds, tend the garden and eventually the crop comes in. The past few weeks have been like harvest time, I've burned more Linux CDs for people in the last three weeks then I have in the past year. Of course success is a double edged sword at times, more friends and co-workers switching to Linux means doing more free tech support. This something I don't mid so much with Linux usually, hold the new users hand through initial install, show them how to add repositories, install software and do updates and walk away, no call next weekend cause they got a virus or spyware infestation, no blue screen of death, life is good. That said this latest rush to Linux is stretching even my vast patience, imagine working tech support in a call center for 9 hours a day and then, when your day in hell is finally over and you want to fall down somewhere and not think about anything going to a friend house for 3 or 4 more hours of tech support. I'm either going to have to find a better way to do this stuff or start charging more for my after work tech support then my usual fee of beer. That said, and all whining aside the recent uptake of linux is awesome, I'm watching the world change around me and in some small way I feel I helped make that happen, it's a good feeling.

Of course the open source community can't take all the credit for our recent successes, some of that credit has to go to our cmpetition for completely screwing the pooch, speculation on yet further delays of Microsofts nearly feature free Windows Vista and reviews like Computerworlds 20 things you won't like about Windows Vista certainly aren't helping them, it's always fun watching your enemies self destruct.

If you haven't yet heard about the FSFs fantastic new anti-DRM campaign defective by design head on over to to sign up to help out with this heroic effort to liberate our culture from the cartels and monopolies. Following the hugely successful protest outside a Microsoft conference in Seattle their next planned action will be a June 10th protest of Applestores worldwide, stay tuned for more info.