Simply put, silence is golden

Philip Newborough — who we all know as corenominal or the father of CrunchBang or whatever you might call him in private — seems to have a very unique leadership style which you won’t find being taught in any postgraduate MBA program or outlined in any company management manual.

Simply put, it’s this: Appreciate those who help you, and speak when necessary.

So there has been some discussion among some on the forums about not having any current information on the status of Janice as Debian 8 Jessie freezes — as it did a couple of weeks ago — and some have pointed out that corenominal hasn’t commented on the forum for a few months. It leads some to assume that the status of Janice is in peril; or worse, with some saying, wrongfully and laughably, that CrunchBang is dead.

Simply put, it isn’t. To look at our standing on Distrowatch, ranging from the teens to the mid-40s, we are still viable; remarkably viable for a distro with a community of its size. Again, Debian 8 Jessie just froze: Once the 1,100 or so bugs are worked out of Debian 8 Jessie and it is released to the world, there will be a CrunchBang 12 Janice somewhere along the line.

How do I know? I asked. Like many of us, Philip has a lineup of life’s tasks that take up his day-to-day existence: work to do, bills to pay, a family in which he has to be a husband and father — all the things that come ahead of providing the wider public an excelent distro. I’m not making excuses, but that’s just the way life tends to be.

But he did say that a.) there will be a CrunchBang 12 Janice, b.) as of yet there are no betas of Janice or anything like that out there, and c.) he will be making an announcement soon on the status of Janice, so keep an eye out for it.

Simply put, there will be news when there is some to report. Meanwhile, keep CrunchBanging, folks.

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Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

OK, so here’s the deal:

Job: Check. Got a great gig editing financial books and presentations for a financial publisher here in town. That’s as boring as it sounds, but it pays the bills. I’m still looking for other freelance work going forward, but this is going to keep me going for quite some time.

Hardware: At home I’ve been using primarily CrunchBang and Korora, though I confess that for the last several months I’ve had the latter on the Road Warrior ThinkPad T60 while using CrunchBang on desktops in the home lab. I’m mostly using the laptop, but the T60 has been showing its age with the Fedora-based distro on it. So I made the switch back and now it’s running like new.

So now I’m back, patrolling the forums — welcome news to some, and a warning to others — and tweaking the current version while waiting for Janice.

So, did you miss me? :-)

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Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Ask and you shall receive

One of the best parts — arguably the best part — about being a CrunchBang user are the answers that are readily available in the CrunchBang forums, whether they’re already there (a search usually brings up a question you might have that has been discussed and answered already) or whether you’re asking it for the first time to an enthused group of forum folks ready and willing to answer your unasked question.

From time to time, however, some folks — mostly those new to Linux and CrunchBang — will ask a question that is light on information. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. But naturally in order to help, those gurus and greybeards in the forums need the most information possible to give a correct answer.

Understand that no one is born an experienced Linux user, and questions like “My mouse won’t work” is as technical as some new users can get at this point.

I get that. In fact, I’ve been there and done that.

So what I’m urging folks — new and old, seasoned veterans and green rookies alike — is to write as much as you can about the problem.

Also, and we’ll put this aside for a moment, chances are your question has already been asked and answered in the forums. It’s a good idea as your first step to click on the looking glass in the upper right in the forum and do a search on your particular question (for example, “mouse not working”). You may find the answer and not have to ask — such is the nature of most forums, especially this one.

But let’s say hasn’t been asked yet. Here’s what you do. Instead of “My mouse doesn’t work,” you might try something like this:

“I plugged in my Wombat UltraMegaSuper Z-4000 USB mouse into the USB port in my ThinkPad T60 and it doesn’t work. I tried both ports with the same results. Looking on Google, [yes, you looked on Google because you’re a smart Linux user, and thanks for that!] it says that the latest Wombat drivers are included in Wheezy, so I’m assuming they’re in Waldorf, too. Has anyone encountered this, and if so, what was the solution?”

You’ll still be asked to provide some data from terminal commands that will give even more information — and don’t forget to put them in the code brackets — but asking the question with the most information you can give provides those who want to help with a good starting point.

One more thing: Google is your friend. There is a wealth of information out there just waiting to be found with the right search terms.

Being a CrunchBang user — or you can even expand this to say “being a Linux user” — is not for those who want to be spoonfed their digital experience. You have to be an active participant, at the very least, and many find that being more than an active participant rewarding. It’s one of the great things about Linux and Free/Open Source Software.

Happy CrunchBanging!

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Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Miss me?

OK, perhaps a reintroduction is in order, but maybe not. Just allow me to drop a quick note to let you know that my life, though not perfectly stable (and who’s life is?), is a lot more sane now than it has been for the last several months.

Not to be vague, but I’ll spare you the boredom of a bland explanation. Suffice to say that I’m getting used to being unemployed (though I’m not enjoying not doing anything), I’m fielding job offers, pursuing opportunities when they come up from time to time, and generally weighing options.

The option that’s leading the probabilites so far is this one: Chances are I’ll be returning to school — yep, the 56-year-old freshman — but more importantly have more time to spend here with CrunchBang.

So did you miss me? :-)

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Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Whew

scale12xDecompression can be a killer. A thousand pardons for taking so long to post about it, but the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 12X was nothing short of fantastic on a variety of levels.

No, that’s not hyperbole.

Lawrence Lessig absolutely nailed it in the Friday night keynote. Don’t take my word for it — watch the keynote on the SCALE 12X site here. Also, Lessig is going to need a little help fixing the government, so if you’re so inclined just send an email to SCALE@lessig.org with a description of the sort of commitment/skills you can offer, and if helpful, a description of your background.

The rest was, frankly, a well-choreographed blur of 90 or so talks over three days, punctuated by two days of exhibits with around 100 exhibitors and whirlwind of volunteers who rhetorically knocked it out of the park.

If you were there and want to relate your experience, go for it in the comments.

The CrunchBang Birds of a Feather meetup went remarkably well, with about 25 attendees coming to hear about Waldorf and with a lively discussion about #! following. Mario Burgos, who had been the sole volunteer to staff a booth that we unfortunately surrendered (it wouldn’t be fair to stick Mario in the booth by himself for the entire show), was incredibly helpful during the course of the BoF by outlining his experiences with CrunchBang. I am hoping I can get some help with a CrunchBang booth at Linux Fest Northwest in April — I will be staffing it and I would welcome any volunteers. Anyone in the Pacific Northwest going?

But back to the “knocking it out of the park” thing, it inspires complete and utter awe how much this show improves every year. It all boils down to one question.

What makes a great show like SCALE 12X?

Everyone: The volunteers, the staff, the speakers, the exhibitors and the sponsors. But most importantly, the attendees tie the ribbon on a fantastic expo, making it the complete and wonderful package it is.

The final tally: There was an uptick of roughly 10 percent in registrations for SCALE 12X, with a new record number of people enjoying three days of presentations, workshops and exhibits.

It was great to see old friends and to meet those I have talked to on numerous occasions but finally got to meet in person: Leslie Hawthorn, whose outstanding keynote was SRO, and Steven Rosenberg of the L.A. Daily News, who gave us a pre-show story in the Daily News’ constellation of Southern California publications.

[Yes, I compared SCALE 12X to the Daytona 500 in that article — an afterthought that the press picked up (shame on me — I should know better). But the comparison is a valid one: Like NASCAR holding its biggest race first, so FOSS also holds its most important event at the beginning of the year.]

As the publicity chair, the Publicity Team fired on all cylinders for the entire weekend: Hannah Anderson, who handled social media and floor interview duties as if she was born to do these things, kept everyone informed, and a team of photographers and videographers — Dennis Rex, Michelle Klein-Hass, Sam Is, and Sean McCabe — kept the photos and videos flowing throughout the show.

Graphics: Mike Hamanaka and Josh Adler did a fantastic job in the graphics department — Mike with the signage, badges and stickers, and Josh with the publications and T-shirt design. I got a lot of comments on these during the course of the show and it bears special mention.

Again, I would stress that if anyone has any of their own tales of SCALE 12X they’d like to share, please post them in the comments. As for me, I was stuck marshalling the media forces in the press room for a better part of the show and I got most news second- and third-hand, so some first-hand accounts would be appreciated.

ZaReason at SCALE 12X: As I mentioned previously, ZaReason gave me an UltraLap 440 to review right around the time SCALE 12X was happening, so the laptop got a baptism by fire, sort of, at the show. I am still in the process of giving it a month-long, long-term road test, so to speak, with CrunchBang being one of the distros I’m testing on it. I should point out that at the show, the laptop performed flawlessly as my main machine. More on this will be detailed in an upcoming review.

One more thing
: Some of the more astute CrunchBangers may have noticed my absence in the CrunchBang forums as of late. Much of this had to do with the advent of SCALE 12X, but I seem to have been thrown a curveball in my career over the last few months — without going into much detail but giving more info as not to “vaguebook” — that has made my job as a wire news editor at the newspaper for which I work “obsolete.” The long and short of it is it appears that with trends in the media field being what they are, my 37-year career as a journalist is coming to a close. The flip side is that, under the right conditions and with an astute firm having the wisdom to hire me, my tech career is beginning; all of which is to say that over the past few months I have been seeking a job, which takes away from other activities like being a mod on the forums. The good news for most (or bad news for some) is that this is temporary and I will be back once I get this straightened out.

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Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Good news/bad news

scale12xOK, I could pun it up here: “I was weighed down by SCALE,” or some other eye-rolling line to explain why I haven’t written for the last couple of weeks. The fact of the matter is that I have been swamped with work on what may end up being the best show yet for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 12X.

But first, a little news closer to home: A combination of my being unable to get materials together to accommodate the show — more than 2,000 attendees would require a lot of DVDs — as well as a lack of enough volunteers (those who said they’d be willing to pitch in — thanks and we’ll see you at the show) has caused me to pull the table this year. I’d like to be able to have folks there next year, and we’ll pick up, like we did last year, at Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, in April.

So my apologies there.

The good news is the Birds of a Feather meetup is still on. The BoF meetup is still scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. Because 7 a.m. Pacific (-8) translates to 3 a.m. Saturday morning in England, I am still thinking of some nefarious way of getting Philip Newborough (corenominal) up at 3 a.m. to join us via Google Hangout.

The BoF will introduce folks to CrunchBang and I will have live CDs burned for those who want to give it a shot, as well as my collection of live USB sticks (no, you can’t keep the stick, but I’ll let you run CrunchBang with it, if need be).

The rest of the SCALE 12X show appears to be lining up as one for the ages.

No, that’s not hyperbole. And as scary as this prospect might be, I really need more than one of me to do the press work for SCALE 12X, which starts next week.

I’m going to need a bigger boat.

Why? Lawrence Lessig is coming to speak in the Friday night keynote. That’s right: A Friday night keynote to augment the Saturday morning kenote by Brendan Gregg and the Sunday morning keynote by Leslie Hawthorn. There aren’t three speakers who are better suited for a FOSS gathering than that trio.

That alone doesn’t address the great range of speakers throughout the course of the three days.

So I’ve been a little busy stoking the publicity fires for SCALE this year. You need to come — three days, more than 90 speakers, more than 100 exhibitors. All that equals one great event.

Also, this will be a test show this year as well. ZaReason has sent me an UltraLap 440 and I am going to put it through its paces for the show, writing about it here from time to time. I’ve already replaced Ubuntu 13.10 — what a surprise — on the UltraLap and CrunchBang is one of the distros which is going to be on it while it’s in my possession (until my daughter Mimi purloins the laptop somewhere along the line and installs the latest Linux Mint Cinnamon version, which is her favorite flavor).

[Insert Neil Young joke here: She is my Cinnamon Girl — I could be happy the rest of my life with a Cinnamon Girl. OK, I was just leaving.]

All of which is to say that while I have sort of been absent last week, expect for me to make up for it going forward with reports from SCALE.

You have been warned.

See you at SCALE 12X.

Creative Commons License
Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Flocking together at SCALE 12X

scale12xThey say “birds of a feather flock together.” And from that saying comes the terms “Birds of a Feather” meetup at various Linux/FOSS shows. BoFs are places where folks with the same interest get together and talk about them, and certainly it’s a place to exchange ideas and informally discuss their shared interest without a pre-designated agenda.

A shared interest like CrunchBang, for example.

CrunchBang, along with its booth at SCALE 12X (at least not this year), will be having a Birds of a Feather, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. Because 7 a.m. Pacific (-8) translates to 3 a.m. Saturday morning in England, chances are that we won’t be able to raise lead developer Philip Newborough via Google Hangout, but we might just give it a try (if you’re reading, corenominal, we’d love to have you).

The BoF will introduce folks to CrunchBang and I will have live CDs burned for those who want to give it a shot, as well as my collection of live USB sticks (no, you can’t keep it, but I’ll let you run CrunchBang with it, if need be).

So if you’re going to SCALE 12X, feel free to stop in at the CrunchBang Birds of a Feather meetup.

That’s all the news for now. See you next week, if not sooner.

Creative Commons License
Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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