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

RSS is the New Newspaper

Where Do You Think You're Going, Mister!?

Is RSS your newspaper? Looks like it is for many people. This comic is from blaugh.com which calls itself the unofficial comic of the blogosphere. Many of them are lame but a few can bring an upturned corner of my mouth (which might be mistaken for a smile…don’t worry, it isn’t).

I’m posting this mainly to gear up for a review of the best RSS feed reader I’ve found for Linux. I should have it cinched up soon…but this RSS feed reader is by far and away the most robust reader I’ve ever seen and not many people know about it oddly enough. It can also operate in simple mode for those of us that just have a few feeds. It’s honestly revolutionized the way I read blogs and the time I spend reading them. More to come on this subject in the next few days…

Site Update!

The site recently experienced some heavy downtime due to a MySQL problem. I’ve isolated the problem, clipped it out, reformed the database, and brought us back inline. I apologize EXTREMELY for this downtime…I realize it reeks of amateurism and ( *sheepish grin* ) makes me look like a total n00b. The forum is back online after some mad SQL editing over the last couple of days…for some reason the backup wouldn’t restore so I had to go over it line by line to isolate the problem. Luckily I found it after the second day or I would have been lost in SQL-space.

OH well! Life goes on. On another note, the experiment has been on hold for the last few days so that I could bring things inline. I’ve also neglected my email and other stuffs such as the multimedia machine I’m building. I’ll get back to everyone…although I may be a few days behind. We’ll install PCLinuxOS 8.1 in a few days…afterall, it is finals week for my college classes and I’ll be quite busy! Thanks for staying tuned…things will be much more close to normal after this week.

Back up!

We’re back…but the forum has some bugs in it…so I’ll be forced to reconstruct some of the SQL statements. In the meantime, the forum will be down for at least today. Sorry for the extended time down…things took longer than I thought they would but for good reason.

I built a multimedia machine and am installing mythTV on it. I am keeping a journal and plan on posting the results for anyone wanting to use Debian and MythTV. Look for this sometime in the near future.

As always, thanks for reading!

Information Week Slams the Kernel…Finger Lickin Good.

Information Week, who strive to be at the forefront of business innovation through technology, have recently lashed out (subtly mind you) at Linux…specifically the Linux Kernel.

The article is entitled, “The Linux Kernel’s Fuzzy Future” and they are oh so careful not to directly bash anyone or anything. However, it is obvious that they are trying to show that the kernel “ain’t no Microsoft” (thank God for that…we’d all be broke). These types of articles are normally known as FUD when directly attacking different parties. They are spread across the internet through syndication and other means to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (Hence, FUD). In this case…the FUD is only a thin coating and you barely notice it…but it’s there.

Here’s the problem with ebusiness sites and corporate news portals critiquing Linux and open source in general…Linux is not Micro$oft, and Micro$oft isn’t Linux. End of story. So should Linux be viable for business? Who cares? Linux is free and designed for the community…not for the business.

My reasoning comes from this notion…how can you compare something designed to be free for all developing at the leisure and pace of thousands of developers worldwide…to something designed to be closed source developing on the backs of some choice employees…it really is apples and oranges. Micro$oft needs deadlines and roadmaps to live…because without it…we’re left wondering when the next patch for this or next security pack for that will be out.

With Open Source…there is no NEED for roadmaps. The next patch to a security flaw…the next update…will be out within a few hours in most cases. Why? Because worldwide there are hundreds of thousands of developers communicating simultaneously toward a common goal. I don’t think there is a single company that can actively compete against that. I also highly doubt if any major business has seen the speed at which a project can develop when it is open sourced.

So this article strikes a nerve, albeit very craftily and indirectly, with me. Take it or leave it, my two cents on the matter.

Sources

http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=54800186