Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Perfect Storm Brewing: The Linux Desktop – Part One

Jul 14, 2012 GMT

From time to time I get the question of “Why has Linux failed on the Desktop?” Recently Linus was also asked this question, and he considered it a personal failure, since his first desire was to have Linux as a desktop machine. He attributed this to the fact that end user customers just do not like installing operating systems on their machines that they purchased.I both agree and disagree with Linus.First of all, Linus, you have not failed. Linux is winning, and will have world domination.But the world of “consumer retail” is made up of two things: Volume Shelf space Lesson One: Stores sell what they are comfortable with.I remember walking into my first computer store,...
In Honor of Alan Turing: A message from the sponsor UPDATED for Independence Day!

Jun 24, 2012 GMT

If you are homophobic, you probably want to stop reading now. Just go to the next blog, or dial up Fox News, because the rest of this blog entry will not be satisfying for you. Do not worry, you will be able to read my next blog, just not this one.And if you have read this one already, I have added some answers to the comments below on July 4th, 2012.What is going on?Today I wrote an essay on Alan Turing and the 100th anniversary of his birthday.I have made no bones about the fact that Alan Turing is a hero to me. I have had several heroes, among them: Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Abraham Lincoln (not just because he freed the slaves, but because he was one of the greatest humans...
Happy Birthday, Alan Turing!

Jun 23, 2012 GMT

June 23rd, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Alan Turnings' birthday. Particularly on this day we might reflect on the triumphs of this man.Alan Turing is considered by many to be the “father of computer science” and “the father of artificial intelligence”. I have purposely separated the two concepts, because even one of them might be considered a “life work” for most people. Today we look back on them and take the concepts for granted, but in those days there were a lot of people who laughed at the concept that a machine could be controlled by numbers that were self-generated, and that machines might be able to be consciously aware.Developing two such concepts in such a short...
Compadres' Day

Jun 16, 2012 GMT

It is the day before Father's Day, a day that will never be celebrated in my honor.I sit in a foreign country watching two young boys out the window of the house where I am staying.  They are barefoot, playing together, sharing their toys, speaking a language that is alien to me.   They start kicking a soccer ball, as soccer is the national sport for them.One of the boys lives in the house where I am a guest.  Early this morning I found him opening a kitchen cabinet door, climbing up on the cabinet shelves, reaching for something very much higher than himself. I came to his aid, and found that he wanted a biscuit.  Using motions and signs I assured him that I...
Blame the user, not the tool

Jun 13, 2012 GMT

For the past several days people have been tweeting at me (and Linus) to change the license of Linux to forbid the kernel's use for war. These tweets were due to the issue of Linux being used in the drones of the US Military. I tweeted back “Do not blame the tool”, but I think that answer was too subtle, as the people kept tweeting. So here is a longer answer for them.First of all, Linus (and certainly not I) do not “own” Linux. The copyright holders of Linux are many, and some of them are no longer working on the project or even dead. Therefore to change the license terms at this point is both legally and morally impossible.Secondly, this request flies in the face of GPL Freedom...
Campus Party Europe: BIG THINK, BIG Ideas, Free Admission, Accommodation and Transportation

May 22, 2012 GMT

Many of you know that I am involved with events called “Campus Party”, which started sixteen years ago in Spain and have spread out to Latin America.Briefly, Campus Party events bring together between 7,000 and 10,000 “campuseros” who live in tents under a gigantic roof, supplied with large amounts of electricity, tabletops, comfy chairs and state-of-the-art Internet. These “campuseros” then share ideas and experiences while having the chance to listen to some of the greatest thinkers of today.Last year Campus Party started a program called “Something Better” where groups of campuseros worked on projects during the week that benefited non-profit organizations. I was proud...
A Time To Remember

Apr 20, 2012 GMT

The Titanic is probably the most discussed ship of all times. Last weekend on the 100th anniversary of its sinking I went to see the 1953 classic movie “Titanic” with Clifton Web, Barbara Stanwyck and a very young Robert Wagner at our local “arts” theater, the Wilton Town Hall Theater. The movie was free (donations to local charities recommended), and a huge bucket of fresh-popped popcorn, with real butter, is only 5 dollars.There are also the movies “A Night to Remember” in 1958, and James Cameron's Oscar-winning movie “Titanic” in 1997 which changed a disaster movie into a love story and the 3D version out this year.The DEC Alpha version of GNU/Linux was first started as...
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