YALB – A Look Back after Three Years

Quietly and without fanfare, Yet Another Linux Blog has reached the ripe old age of 3 years. I started it small and hosted at home during May of 2004. Back then it was hosted on a domain called fatalfame.org (since expired). In December 2004, I switched domains to linuxblog.sytes.net and switched to Serendipity for blogging (hence, lost data from May 2004 – Dec 2004) and it is that month that houses my first and oldest post on the s9y platform…and it’s also the month I discovered Technorati and pingbacks :D which gives rise to being indexed for the first time then. The oldest snapshot the internet archive has is December 2004…take a look at how the blog looked then (warning, slow loading).

Back then, it was all about trying new Linux desktops and finding things that worked for my wife and I. Today, it’s still all about the Linux Desktop. YALB hasn’t changed its focus and has made some weak minded enemies along the way, but still is managing just fine.

Today, I’d like to take the time to reflect a little bit and post some links of my favorite posts, as well as share some statistical information about YALB.

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Tux500 YouTube Video

Some of you may know that my friend Helios (aka Ken Starks of Lobby4linux.com and Blog of Helios) has been working on the Tux500 project which is geared at getting Linux on a car in the Indy500. Take a look at this video made by Tux500.com that explains a bit about the Indy500 and why it is important for Linux to be there.

Very professional. Make sure you Digg the video as well!

Dell and Ubuntu – The most Logical Decision?

Most people by now have heard that Dell will be preinstalling Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04 on a few laptops and desktops. This is fantastic opportunity for Linux…a landmark opportunity. I know that this was done in response to the large popularity of Ubuntu and it’s solid performance and I’m happy that it was chosen over Suse or Fedora.

However, I question whether this was the logical decision to be made…was it the smartest for the end user? Allow me to ellaborate:

Readers of this blog know that I use Ubuntu at work for servers. I also love Kubuntu (I’m not a gnome fan). So my problem isn’t with (K)Ubuntu itself…it works for me. My problem is that Gnome in general may not work for the consumer. If you’re not convinced, do a comparison on adding a printer in Gnome and KDE. Record the number of steps and note any confusing dialogue that pops up…then compare at the end. Still not convinced? I can’t help you understand where I’m coming from then.

Sure, there are those of us out there that are pretty Linux savvy and we can hum along quite easily with Ubuntu…but what of the person who’s looking to try Linux? What will happen when they power up their new Dell Laptop and can’t find a control panel? What happens when an error message just spits out random characters of data as many gnome error messages do?

If there is one thing in all usability studies or guides that is uniform it’s this…that people will resist change. Now, how much change Gnome is from what they are used to is up for debate and I’m not about to debate it here. My feelings are that Gnome isn’t the right choice for new users…and that’s a personal opinion only…and it’s one I’ve found to be true when converting family members to Linux.

So, I ask the question…is Ubuntu and the Gnome desktop the most logical decision for Dell? In my opinion, it isn’t. What do you think?

Indy 500 and Linux Not Newsworthy?

There’s a HUGE piece of news out there for Linux as an operating system…and I have only seen it published on Lxer.com, Linuxtoday.com and Digg.com. LINUX IS GOING TO THE INDIANAPOLIS 500!! This is HUGE for ALL Linux distributions…not just one. This is something that can show all those people out there what the Linux community is all about…collaboration, community, camaraderie, and drive….drive that can’t be found in commercial ventures. But where, oh where, is the community reporting this news? The interesting thing is, they aren’t…and It’s very odd as to why they aren’t reporting this and rallying around it.

Perhaps they’ve just missed it…and in that case I hope they pick up on it soon. Perhaps they don’t know much about it? In that case they need to head over to Tux500.com and read all about it. Don’t know what the Indy 500 is about? Once again, Tux500.com explains it for you.

For those of you who don’t know what this is about and who haven’t clicked on those Tuxme500.com links above…allow me to explain a bit. I encourage you to head over to that website after reading through this post.

My friend helios who authors “Blog of helios” and is admin over at lobby4linux.com has unveiled a huge project of getting Linux to sponsor an Indianapolis 500 racecar in this years Indy 500. Of course, Ken isn’t working alone…the website tux500.com has been launched to track donations and become a center of operations for the initiative. The goal is $350,000 for full sponsorship of the Indy Car.

Crazy? Maybe. Innovative? Yep. Attainable? With help, it could be. Without Linux news websites and enthusiasts getting the word out though it will fall flat on its face.

I mention this because this isn’t a local thing…it’s not just being displayed in a few places that post Linux news…this is being displayed on a larger scale. It’s also got an entire marketing team behind it. This is a first for Linux…generic Linux. This isn’t about a distribution. This isn’t about a flavor you like to run on X laptop or Y Desktop. This is about LINUX. odorless (hopefully), colorless, neutral Linux. All communities should see the benefit of this.

As I mentioned, this isn’t local. Speedtv (yes…the US cable channel) has picked up on this marketing drive and has published an article on their website. The Auto Channel has also picked up on it. Motorsport.com has jumped into the fray. UPDATE: Indy500.com has now published an article about Linux and it’s sponsorship as well.  As of the publishing of this article though…I’ve only seen this huge news hit 2 major Linux website. This is exposure that Linux hasn’t ever had. To be associated one of the largest Sporting events in the world (from Wikipedia “having the largest attendance and one of the largest radio and television audiences of any single-day sporting event worldwide).

Worldwide. Largest audiences and attendance. Is anyone listening to what this could mean for Linux? Is this microphone on?

I’m flabbergasted as to why more Linux news sites haven’t picked this up. I’m floored as to why no one is lobbying Red Hat, Ubuntu, Novell, IBM, Mandriva, Xandros, Linspire, and other Linux companies to donate what they can. Those companies could secure a logo for 25k on the side of the car. They could donate 50k and put 25k toward this initiative AND get their logo spread on the car. What will they do? Do they believe in Linux as much as the community they are a part of does? This is huge…it can’t get any bigger and it seems we’re sitting on our hands here.

The goal is $350,000…which is a large sum of money. However, from the Tux500.com’s FAQ page, $25,000 can garner a Linux sponsorship…which is also good exposure. So at the very least, we can get Linux into the limelight as a sponsor.

Now I know some of you may be saying “How do I know that my donation is getting spent on this and not to grab someone a Ferrari?” and you’d be right in asking that question. I’d like to put this to rest right now. The paypal account used to house donations has third party access from two well respected Linux journalists/editors…Don Parris of Lxer.com and Brian Proffitt of Linuxtoday.com. They will be operating as auditors for the fundraising of this endeavor and will see all funds in and out of the account. Mr. Proffitt has also “agreed to verify any public statements made about the current fund amount when asked”.

Lobby4Linux.com also announced that donations were being tracked by distribution. This means that when you donate, you input your favorite distro that you’re donating on behalf of. The demographics of these donations will be released after fundraising is over. So, for those of you who want go get some exposure for your distribution…there is a way for you to do so.

Not only that, but graphics designers have a chance to design the logo that is going onto the car…this could be huge for whoever that may be. It could launch a career of a little known designer. So if you’ve got elite graphics skills, get to designing! The deadline is April 30, 2007.

To all of the Linux news websites out there…I challenge you to report Linux news and let the community know about it. To all bloggers out there, this is a chance to help push Linux into areas it’s never been and onto TV sets of 5.5 million Americans and even more people worldwide. Help Bob Moore and Ken aka helios, the two catalysts and organizers of this huge push for Linux, attain that goal and get Linux onto that car! It can be done…but it needs your help to do so.

Reference Websites:

  1. http://blog.lobby4linux.com
  2. http://lobby4linux.com
  3. http://tux500.com
  4. http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/85530/index.html

Dell and the Linux Desktop

There’s quite a bit of speculation going on at what distribution of Linux Dell will choose to put onto its desktops or if they’ll even attempt to put Linux on the desktop.

In my opinion, it would be smart for them to do this…mainly because there is so much marketing momentum behind this right now they’d be a fool not to take advantage of it…and they didn’t have to pay a dime for it either. Most companies would kill for their blog to receive as much attention as the Dell Linux Blog and Idea Storm has gotten in the past few months…and they’d kill for the huge amounts of media attention the Dell Linux Survey and Announcement of Certified Linux Computers are also getting.

I think Dell will ride this Linux wave in…but not how most people think they will. Most people think Dell will listen to tons of people filling out the surveys telling them Ubuntu. But examining this from a business perspective and Ubuntu becomes the lowest choice on the totem pole. I believe they’ll surprise everyone with a different move that would get them the most out of their business AND personal Computer lines. I think they will (if they choose any distribution at all) choose Fedora Core or RHEL Desktop and not Ubuntu.

Why would they do this? To be tied to Red Hat more of course. This allows them to do less to certify their hardware for Red Hat and you can bet that if Linux is on the desktop pre-installed that they’ll offer it on the server. I think this would be a good deal for both Red Hat and for Dell…even though it’s Fedora it opens the door a bit and since Fedora is a test ground for RHEL, choosing it is beneficial all around.

I believe (since we’re speculating here) that Dell will snuggle up to Red Hat as much as they possibly can and that it will benefit both of their businesses in a HUGE way.

The thing that makes me think this is Red Hat’s sudden (re)interest in the desktop has odd timing. Is it purely coincidental? Is it random chance? Is it just speculation? Who knows. One thing is for certain…when a company get’s big, nothing it does is pure chance.

And what of Novell? If we truly want to speculate, Novell is also a better choice than Ubuntu…because of the existing agreement with Microsoft, Suse also looks better for Dell because of their own ties to Microsoft. So, we’ve got two distros that have more going for them than Ubuntu does…which may or may not be a good thing. So who will Dell choose if they choose at all?

Anyone else care to speculate?

Update your RSS Feeds…

I’ve decided to add a feedburner feed. Currently, I don’t even know how many subscribers I have to Yet Another Linux Blog and I’d like to know :) because it’s not a bad service. It’s always interesting to find out if anyone is actually out there reading. So please visit the page in the next few days and if you’d like to use the feedburner feed, please update your feedlist.

Thanks for reading!