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  • stefano 10:37 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , linus, linux, ,   

    What Linus can do inside Linux community and you can't do in yours 

    Linux kernel community has long been considered the greatest of all the open source communities. Linus Torvalds and his team has set the ground for open source development, defined processes and tools adopted and shared by other successful projects. The Linux kernel mailing list with its public review of patches and git, the tool to manage the incredible flow of code among thousands of people in tens of different branches laid the ground for many other open source projects. Even OpenStack doesn’t get close to those number (although OpenStack is only a three years old toddler and the kernel is old enough to vote and drink.) Linus has built an incredible community and an impressive culture around it. A culture where technology rules everything and also profanity and insults are common. And the results are clear: it worked for Linux kernel.

    This doesn’t mean that any community can live and prosper like the Linux kernel with the same culture of harsh criticisms, middle fingers or what Linus calls management by perkele. In fact, I think nobody else can afford managing open source communities the way Linus does. Torvalds can get away saying things like “trying to come up with some ‘code of conduct’ that says that people should be ‘respectful’ and ‘polite’ is just so much crap and bullshit”. I certainly can’t and chances are you can’t either.

    Now if you ask me if Torvalds should change his attitude my answer is: no, he is what he is and he’s made what he’s made because (or despite, who cares: results matter) of what he is. Should his lieutenants be assholes too? Of course not, and that’s why the kernel is still one of the most successful open source projects out there.

    via Linus Torvalds defends his right to shame Linux kernel developers | Ars Technica.

     
    • ladquin 11:18 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I do think he should, but I also think he’ll never be able to. Not just because he feels completely right and entitled, but also because the success and achievements of the whole community have somehow created a sense of justification for such behaviour: “Hey, this guy is quite offensive…”, “But he created the linux kernel and changed the world! Who cares if he calls you an idiot??”.
      Again, I don’t expect him to change in any way, and I don’t know what the rest of the LK community will do about that, but now that I got some further insights into the communication “style”, will I ever consider joining such a group as a contributor? No.

      • Stef 11:25 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Laura, I see your point and I agree with you. I probably wouldn’t join such community either. My point is that this harsh culture hasn’t prevented thousands of people to join the Linux kernel development and, more importantly, stick with it. If you wouldn’t join such community somebody else will. Communities don’t need to be for ‘everybody’, they just need to be for enough people to achieve their goals. I will argue for a change in the culture of Linux kernel when the current one starts to become clearly an obstacle to developing the kernel. In other words, until it’s not visibly broken, don’t fix it.

  • stefano 3:34 pm on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 32bit, 64bit, container, icedtea, java, linux, lxc, openjdk, , webex   

    WebEx on Ubuntu 64bit vs 32bit hell 

    I have only a vague idea of what I was going into when I decided to install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit on my new ProjectSputnik machine. I knew that OpenStack is using WebEx for many of its meetings and I knew that WebEx has issues with 64bit Java on Linux. I had no idea though that trying to run 32bit Firefox and 32bit Java on a 64bit machine turned out to waste 5 hours of my time until I gave up. Here is what I did, maybe somebody else smarter than me can help me.

    First thing, install openjdk plugin for i386 with a simple apt-get command:

    reed@sputacchio:~$ sudo apt-get install icedtea-7-plugin:i386
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    The following extra packages will be installed:
    icedtea-7-jre-jamvm:i386 icedtea-netx:i386 libacl1:i386 libatk-wrapper-java-jni:i386
    libatk1.0-0:i386 libattr1:i386 libavahi-glib1:i386 libcairo2:i386 libdatrie1:i386
    libdbus-glib-1-2:i386 libdrm-intel1:i386 libdrm-nouveau1a:i386 libdrm-radeon1:i386 libdrm2:i386
    libgconf-2-4:i386 libgconf2-4:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386 libgif4:i386 libgl1-mesa-dri:i386
    libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libglapi-mesa:i386 libgnomevfs2-0:i386 libgtk2.0-0:i386 libjasper1:i386
    liblcms2-2:i386 libllvm3.0:i386 libnspr4:i386 libnss3:i386 libnss3-1d:i386 libpango1.0-0:i386
    libpciaccess0:i386 libpcsclite1:i386 libpixman-1-0:i386 libsqlite3-0:i386 libthai0:i386
    libx11-xcb1:i386 libxcb-glx0:i386 libxcb-render0:i386 libxcb-shm0:i386 libxcomposite1:i386
    libxcursor1:i386 libxdamage1:i386 libxfixes3:i386 libxft2:i386 libxinerama1:i386 libxml2:i386
    libxrandr2:i386 libxtst6:i386 libxxf86vm1:i386 openjdk-7-jre:i386 openjdk-7-jre-headless:i386
    Suggested packages:
    libglide3:i386 libgnomevfs2-bin:i386 libgnomevfs2-extra:i386 gamin:i386 fam:i386
    librsvg2-common:i386 gvfs:i386 libjasper-runtime:i386 liblcms2-utils:i386 ttf-baekmuk:i386
    ttf-arphic-gbsn00lp:i386 ttf-arphic-bsmi00lp:i386 ttf-arphic-gkai00mp:i386
    ttf-arphic-bkai00mp:i386 pcscd:i386 libnss-mdns:i386 sun-java6-fonts:i386
    fonts-ipafont-gothic:i386 fonts-ipafont-mincho:i386 ttf-wqy-microhei:i386 ttf-wqy-zenhei:i386
    ttf-indic-fonts-core:i386 ttf-telugu-fonts:i386 ttf-oriya-fonts:i386 ttf-kannada-fonts:i386
    ttf-bengali-fonts:i386
    Recommended packages:
    xml-core:i386 libgnome2-0:i386
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    icedtea-7-jre-jamvm:i386 icedtea-7-plugin:i386 icedtea-netx:i386 libacl1:i386
    libatk-wrapper-java-jni:i386 libatk1.0-0:i386 libattr1:i386 libavahi-glib1:i386 libcairo2:i386
    libdatrie1:i386 libdbus-glib-1-2:i386 libdrm-intel1:i386 libdrm-nouveau1a:i386
    libdrm-radeon1:i386 libdrm2:i386 libgconf-2-4:i386 libgconf2-4:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386
    libgif4:i386 libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libglapi-mesa:i386 libgnomevfs2-0:i386
    libgtk2.0-0:i386 libjasper1:i386 liblcms2-2:i386 libllvm3.0:i386 libnspr4:i386 libnss3:i386
    libnss3-1d:i386 libpango1.0-0:i386 libpciaccess0:i386 libpcsclite1:i386 libpixman-1-0:i386
    libsqlite3-0:i386 libthai0:i386 libx11-xcb1:i386 libxcb-glx0:i386 libxcb-render0:i386
    libxcb-shm0:i386 libxcomposite1:i386 libxcursor1:i386 libxdamage1:i386 libxfixes3:i386
    libxft2:i386 libxinerama1:i386 libxml2:i386 libxrandr2:i386 libxtst6:i386 libxxf86vm1:i386
    openjdk-7-jre:i386 openjdk-7-jre-headless:i386
    0 upgraded, 52 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    Need to get 56.9 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 116 MB of additional disk space will be used.
    Do you want to continue [Y/n]?Y

    Next tell Ubuntu that I want to use the 32bit Java plugin using a simple update-alternatives command:

    reed@sputacchio:~$ sudo update-alternatives –config mozilla-javaplugin.so
    There are 2 choices for the alternative mozilla-javaplugin.so (providing /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libjavaplugin.so).

    Selection    Path                                                              Priority   Status
    ————————————————————

    • 0            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/lib/amd64/IcedTeaPlugin.so   1061      auto mode

    1            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/lib/amd64/IcedTeaPlugin.so   1061      manual mode
    2            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-i386/jre/lib/i386/IcedTeaPlugin.so     1060      manual mode

    Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2
    update-alternatives: using /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-i386/jre/lib/i386/IcedTeaPlugin.so to provide /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libjavaplugin.so (mozilla-javaplugin.so) in manual mode.

    Then I tried to load Firefox and realized that the icedtea plugin is not active. Firefox 64bit evidently doesn’t load the 32bit plugin. Next step: try to find a binary build of Firefox. No luck with that, I wasn’t able to find it anywhere online… I even searched it using Bing, how desperate. Someone on IRC mentioned that Firefox has some multiarch stuff… whatever, doesn’t work for me today.

    Next step of a desperate man: install some i386 browser. I tried with chromium in order to avoid messing up with my system, no luck (broken package):

    reed@sputacchio:~$ sudo apt-get install chromium-browser:i386
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    chromium-browser:i386 : Depends: xdg-utils:i386 but it is not installable
    Recommends: chromium-browser-l10n:i386 but it is not installable
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
    reed@sputacchio:~$

    Bit the bullet, tried messed up with Firefox:
    reed@sputacchio:~/bin$ sudo apt-get install firefox:i386
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    The following extra packages will be installed:
    firefox-globalmenu:i386 libcairo-gobject2:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-0:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-module:i386 libcanberra0:i386
    libdbusmenu-glib4:i386 libdbusmenu-gtk4:i386 libgtk-3-0:i386 libltdl7:i386 libnotify4:i386
    libstartup-notification0:i386 libtdb1:i386 libvorbisfile3:i386 libxcb-util0:i386 notification-daemon:i386
    Suggested packages:
    latex-xft-fonts:i386 firefox-gnome-support:i386 libcanberra-gtk0:i386 libcanberra-pulse:i386 librsvg2-common:i386
    gvfs:i386
    Recommended packages:
    xul-ext-ubufox:i386
    The following packages will be REMOVED:
    firefox firefox-globalmenu firefox-gnome-support
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    firefox:i386 firefox-globalmenu:i386 libcairo-gobject2:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-0:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-module:i386
    libcanberra0:i386 libdbusmenu-glib4:i386 libdbusmenu-gtk4:i386 libgtk-3-0:i386 libltdl7:i386 libnotify4:i386
    libstartup-notification0:i386 libtdb1:i386 libvorbisfile3:i386 libxcb-util0:i386 notification-daemon:i386
    0 upgraded, 16 newly installed, 3 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    Need to get 23.1 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 4,423 kB of additional disk space will be used.
    Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

    There are some packaging issues there too, something is off. Firefox looks ugly, like it’s missing some GNOME integration and, most importantly, doesn’t load any of the plugins. So, back to square one.

    I tried also different approach but that depressed me even further

    Last option is to investigate creating a 32bit LXC or a full virtual machine. Geez.

     
  • stefano 9:33 am on January 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: badvista, campaign, , gnu, linux, microsoft, mobile, palm, vista   

    Vista is a failure and GNU adoption is ramping up 

    Today is one of those days that starts with a sweet taste.’  The FSF has declared another victory for its BadVista campaign: Vista is a clear failure for Microsoft and for FSF it’s time to devote energy to something else. (btw: did you donate to FSF?)

    Upcoming Windows 7 won’t be any better because it’s on the same awful track of Vista, focused on DRM and depriving freedom to its users.’  Vista is so bad that hardware manufacturer have switched to GNU/Linux for the new and highly profitable netbook segment. A whole new set of devices, from Asus EEE to HP Mini Mi, all powered by GNU/Linux (not Vista) are introducing innovation (and some freedom) to the desktops.

    And the mobile landscape looks promising too, after seeing the first comments about the new Palm Prè.’  I love the desktop+cards paradigm, but I still don’t know if this is a good device freedom-wise.’  Way to go: 2009 looks like a happy new year already.

     
  • stefano 1:50 pm on October 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gnu, leopard, linux, , os x, relwar   

    Mac OS X vs GNU: my personal summary (3/3) 

    After two days bashing Apple, here is the good stuff as promised.

    iWorks is good stuff. Keynote is simply amazing: everything is where it should be, the templates are gorgeous, animations are fluid, automatic aligning of pasted items is superb. Pages is beyond any wordprocessor out there. I haven’t used Numbers enough because I don’t have much time to learn it, but it looks amazing and innovative too. Seeing iWorks made me think of the amount of work for free/libre software developers to catch up.’  To OO.org (and koffice) developers my suggestion is: stop wasting time imitatin Microsoft Office, abandon Base (not useful), invest on improving Presenter and new UI paradigm. And get designers to work on good templates.

    Time Machine is another masterpiece: that’s how backup and restore should work on all systems. I’ve always dreamed of having something so simple on GNU. All the tools are already there, but nobody ever designed such a beautiful and simple to use interface. I should probably talk of ‘experience’ instead of simply an interface because Time Machine barely has an interface. To backup you simply plugin an external disk and all the job is done without a question asked, magically. To restore you simply click on the Time Machine icon and you’re brought back in time with the interface of the software you’re running. It’s too difficult to explain, you have to watch it live. GNOME and KDE guys: please, learn from that.

    Finally the hardware: bad keyboard, but amazing case. I love the magnets to hold the screen down, very very convenient. And I love the power plug. If Dell or HP made gorgeous GNU/Linux compatible machines, especially desktops that you’re not ashamed to put in a living room, I’d spend extra bucks to buy them.

    So in the end, I’m happy I tested Apple’s system but I wouldn’t buy one for me: it’s too expensive for what it gives back to somebody like me that already knows how to use well a GNU system.’  Considering that GNU learning curve is so much less steep than it used to, I really don’t see many reasons not to start walking it today.

     
  • stefano 12:29 pm on October 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gnu, leopard, linux, , os x, relwar   

    Mac OS X vs GNU: my personal summary (2/3) 

    Yesterday I described the bad things I found with my year experience with a Mac. Today it’s the day of the ugly stuff.

    The ALT-TAB (or CMD-TAB, in Mac world) has the stupidest behavior ever. It cycles through the open applications, not the open windows. For being an OS based on the documents, not the apps, it’s disappointing, at best. It’s also annoying that if you have minimized a window, CMD-TABing won’t bring it back in foreground: you have to go on the bar and click! Dude: that’s silly!’  I know you can install third-party apps that restore the common CMD-TAB behaviour, but that’s not the point: the system should work well out of the box, as claimed.

    I tried plugging in my Samsung MP3 and OGG player and the first time I did that the kernel crashed. Now, after 5 major updates, there is no crash but only a message saying ‘Cannot read this disk: eject or ignore?’ Lame Apple, lame. Especially since the same player works perfectly on OS X 10.4. Reporting the bug didn’t help (almost one year has passed).

    But wait, it gets worse. Quicktime player doesn’t play DIVx and other formats out of the box!!! WHAT? The first and foremost complaint I’ve heard every time I tried to defend my GNU systems was that there are no codecs for movies. And I get this expensive computer only to find out that I still need to download VLC to watch my collection?

    So, in the end, any GNU system is not different from Mac: you need to hack your box to make it work how you want it, you need to install software, you need to put codecs. Free software comes to rescue the Mac, with VLC, Firefox, Thunderbird, Songbird, MiroTV, Cyberduck, Adium, OO.org ecc completing the otherwise very limited experience. But all this software is already available out of the box on any GNU/Linux system: why pay more and use the same programs?

    Disclaimer: I’m not adding any rant about the defective, DRM crippled iTunes simply because I never used it. My collection of music is in OGG Vorbis format and iTunes is of no use.

     
  • stefano 9:14 am on October 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gnu, leopard, linux, , os x   

    Mac OS X vs GNU: my personal summary (1/3) 

    When I started working at Funambol, Hal asked me what kind of computer I wanted, PC or Mac? At that time I had suffered some frustration with my usual setup, using GNOME. I was especially frustrated by the mail program Evolution while using GnuPG encryption and its lack of support for ‘discussions’ like Gmail. Also, I was very curious to see what innovations happened in the past 6/7 years since I last used a non-free operating system.’  So, without thinking too much, I answered ‘I want a Mac’. I have a white MacBook with Leopard installed.

    Now I’ve been a Mac user for almost 1 year and I’m ready to summarize the experience. Keep in mind that I’m comparing the Mac to GNU/Linux as an experienced user that, despite not being a developer, walked the whole learning curve during many years.’  This is a series of three posts: the bad, the ugly and the good things.’  Today I start with the bad stuff.

    I use the MacBook to give presentations at shows and events. The guys at Apple decided not to include the connectors for VGA or DVI in the box. Those are sold separately for €19.’  That, IMHO, is cheap (not “affordable”).

    Spaces brings multiple screens to OS X. Doh! Amiga had those in 1985 (even at multiple resolution) and *nix had them forever. This is such a new thing to OS X that they work in a very chaotic way. Microsoft Office goes totally crazy with it (I’m told it’s Microsoft’s fault for using their own graphic libraries) and the management of focus between applications on different screens is confusing at times.

    Apple Mail still doesn’t work well with GnuPG encryption and doesn’t support any of the good features that Gmail has. Plus it crashes way too often. And why does it store attachments in a folder on the filesystem? What happens if I accidentally delete the file: will it disappear from the email box?’  And if I delete the email message, will it delete the file too?’  It’s a very very basic email program.

    iSync is neat, but it’s not compatible with latest phones. Just like I would do with GNU desktop software you need to google around to find a solution, or wait for next release.

    iPhoto only syncs to Apple .Mac/MobileMe site. Right, like I want to hand the keys to my personal history all in the hands of any random dude. For me that’s unacceptable, so I had to google around to find a gratis plugin that makes iPhoto compatible with Flickr.’  I’m keeping my personal photos on my other computer running f-spot: it feels safer.

    At home I have an HP all-in-one printer and scanner psc 1210: I couldn’t find a way to print in B/W only (if there is it’s well hidden.) And the scanner is not recognized by the Image Aquisition software bundled with the system. I should probably google or ask an experienced friend to find an answer (tipically: install this 45mb software by HP that invades your system with useless crap, when all you need is a simple driver).’  On GNU you would have to do the same (google and ask peole) with the difference that if you need a driver, you get a driver.

    That’s it for now, tomorrow I’ll tell you the ugly bits, before going to the good stuff (there is some, I promise).

     
  • stefano 3:03 pm on May 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: asus, eeepc, gnu, linux, marketing   

    GNU/Linux IS ready for the masses 

    It just needs a company that can market it as such. I was reading about the new version of Asus EeePC and this sentence hit me:

    “the Linux version is suited to users who desire an icon-driven and easy point-and-click interface — well suited for children or users with limited computer experience”

    If Asus says so, you have to believe it.

     
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