Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jon
Some you lose, some you win...you have to keep trying

Jun 29, 2010 GMT

 This past weekend I visited my family who now lives in Pennsylvania. My mother and father are long retired and living in a retirement community. This weekend was their 68th wedding anniversary. My brother retired from the telephone company a long time ago, having been an electronic technician and lives with his wife. Once a year my brother and sister-in-law attend a big family reunion that mostly centers on her family, since my side of the family is very small (and destined to get a lot smaller). I participated in this reunion and mostly stayed with my aged parents while my brother and sister-in-law orchestrated the reunion that drew about 60 people from around the...
Kernel Issues - The "Hurricane Katrina" of programming

Jun 27, 2010 GMT

Last week I spent two days that the Red Hat Summit in Boston. Unlike a lot of conferences I attend, I actually spent much of my time in technical talks listening to some of the things that Red Hat was going to be putting into RHEL 6.0 which is due out in a short time1.I enjoy listening to technical talks, particularly ones talking about kernel issues since I used to teach operating system design. I taught other types of programming (database, compiler design, networking, graphics) but in my opinion most application-level programming (including libraries) is a “calm sea” versus the “Hurricane Katrina” of kernel programming.One of the areas of interest to me was the various file...
Speaking of Speaking - Ohio Linux Fest and other Conferences

Jun 25, 2010 GMT

 There are a growing number of local and regional FOSS conferences happening around the world, and one of the oldest of them, the Ohio Linux Fest, asked me to comment on why people should consider submitting and giving a talk a conference such as theirs. The first reason, is the concept of “sharing”. You have developed an idea, a project or a piece of code on which you have expended time and effort, and talking about it at one of these events gives that work visibility so that others may benefit from it. From this visibility you may get additional volunteers to help you with the project, or even just additional users of your project. The second reason is “feedback”....
Boston's Summer of (FOSS) Love

Jun 21, 2010 GMT

 There will be a lot of Linux activity in Boston this summer, all before the middle of August. The Red Hat Summit and JBOSS World leads the parade with four days of training and talks, June 22nd to June 24th. I have a great deal of respect for Red Hat and their engineering staff, having worked with many of them when they were at Digital Equipment Corporation, and I know that I will enjoy seeing some of the talks on filesystems, virtualization, cloud computing, security and a lot of other topics that are of interest to me in general as a Linux enthusiast. Unfortunately due to a prior commitment, I will only be at the Summit Wednesday and Thursday. The Advanced Computing...
Its My Duty!

Jun 01, 2010 GMT

On a recent trip to Ghana I took along 137 T-shirts that O'Reilly and Hackerteen had given to me to hand out at conferences. I stuffed them into my suitcases and carried them with me on the airplane, both to make sure they got there, and to avoid huge amounts of shipping cost.When I got to the airport I had (naturally) to go through customs, who questioned why I was bringing so many T-shirts into the country. Was I going to sell them?“No”, I answered, “they were given to me to give out at a conference, and I am going to give them away as gifts.” “There is no such thing as a gift when it comes to duties,” I was told.“Well, I do not know how much they cost, since I did not...
More Moving Thoughts: Adding to Rikki Kite's blog entry

May 30, 2010 GMT

 Last week my colleague Rikki Kite wrote a good blog entry on how to gracefully introduce a person to Linux. She pointed out that just telling a person to “move to Linux” is not enough, and that most people will “get lost in the move”. She used an analogy of moving a friend to a new house. I would like to add a few more pointers to her excellent “moving” blog entry: Tip #0.4 – A new house may not be necessary, just add on a room or two of Free Software Depending on the situation, it may be that all the person really needs is a new browser, a new music player, or an office system. You may find a gradual introduction to Free Software is better than an...
Gandhi: Would he have been a Free Software advocate?

May 30, 2010 GMT

 I watched a movie on Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi last night and was once again impressed by this singular man and his life. I also found a couple of parallels to Free Software. The first parallel was when Gandhi told the people to spin their own thread, weave their own cloth and make their own clothes. He did this for several reasons. First of all, by purchasing the finished clothes the people of India were supporting the British manufacturers. Secondly, by not making the thread, cloth and clothes inside their own country, the people of India were giving up local jobs. Third, the people of India had become needlessly dependent on the British for...

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