Concession speech

We ran hard, and we ran long. We ran a campaign of which everyone should be proud. I salute my opponent on his well-deserved victory, and . . . .

37vjkPfffffft. Forget all that nonsense. The FOSS Force Best Personal FOSS or Linux Blog Contest is over for 2013, and Alien Pastures has won. Good call, voters, and congratulations, Eric Hameleers. Honestly, it was an honor to make the finals — twice in my case, with this blog and Larry the Free Software Guy — and we’ll see if either (or both) of us can do better in 2014.

What’s more important is I had a blast “campaigning” to try to win the poll. I’m sorry if some of you were put off by my asking for you to vote for me, but it was a lot of fun, and it was a pleasure introducing folks to FOSS Force, if they weren’t already aware of it.

Yet what’s most important, when all is said and done, is that FOSS Force did all of us on the poll, starting from the beginning and through two rounds to the finals, a monumental favor in giving us a lot more exposure than we would normally get.

So thanks for that, FOSS Force. Also, thanks for the FOSS news coverage and commentary you provide on your site.

Like the rest of the group on the ballot, I don’t get paid to do this. This commentary is part of my personal commitment to promoting both Free/Open Source Software in general, as I do in the Larry the Free Software Guy blog, and promoting my distro of choice in the Larry the CrunchBang Guy blog. Sure, I’d like to be able to make a living writing this type of commentary for an on-line publication, but I don’t (actually, for those of you who don’t already know. I’m a “print guy” — a wire news editor at the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper in Santa Cruz, California).

None of us you voted for on this poll earn their keep writing about FOSS. Yet it doesn’t make our blogs any less important than those who do. My hope, as I am sure is one I share with the rest of the candidates, is that you were able to get a new perspective and, heck, find a new source or two (or three) of news and commentary going forward.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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Ostatic blogger likes CrunchBang

Jon Buys at Ostatic wrote a nice blog item about CrunchBang yesterday that’s definitely worth a read.

If you have a chance, you might want to thank Jon for his blog post, and make a positive comment — even if you’re not a Vim user (as he finds that it would be the perfect editor for CrunchBang).

One of the things I think is lacking in the review — though certainly not a knock against the blogger — is that while CrunchBang comes in basic black, what is often overlooked is that it is really a “blank canvas,” so to speak, where you can make it as colorful as you want. Take a look at the screenshots in the monthly screenshot thread (the link is for August’s, but you can find each month’s in Artwork and Screenshots) to see what others have done.

That was my only relevant observation. And I took the time to thank Jon for his blog, and I hope you will too.

Incidentally, just perusing Distro Watch this morning while looking for something else, we’re still hanging in there in the top 20, ranging from 14 to 17.

A blessing and a curse: Yes, I’m on the FOSS Force Best Personal Linux and FOSS Blog poll twice — once as me, and another time as Larry the Free Software Guy — and I’m asking that you take a look and vote for what you think is the best blog. Truthfully, I’ve already won by making it this far, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to win. So don’t forget to vote — deadline is Monday.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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Back on the ballot one more time

It now comes down to this: FOSS Force, which provides news and commentary on all things Free/Open Source, currently is running the final round of a poll to rank the best personal — meaning non-commercial — Linux or FOSS blog.

The second round ended yesterday, and the ballot for the final round can be found here. By some stroke of luck — or curse — both Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry the CrunchBang Guy made the final. What’s interesting is that, as of late, this blog has been getting more hits than the wider-ranging Larry the Free Software Guy, so it’s a feather in the proverbial cap to have this blog doing so well.

I like to think it speaks well of CrunchBang on a wider level, promoting the distro. But as for the increased number of eyeballs, thanks for that, folks.

While all the blogs are outstanding and I would encourage you to read all of them (they’re all linked on the ballot), and get your vote in by Monday.

So read up and go vote.

I’m Larry the CrunchBang Guy, and I approved this message 🙂

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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Happy 20th Birthday, Debian

A quick reminder: Despite the fact that it’s still about eight hours to midnight where I am on August 15, in many parts of the world it’s already August 16, which is Debian’s birthday.

So raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking (whatever it may be) and wish one of the Linux pioneers a happy and hearty 20th birthday.

Without Debian, we would be without a lot of what we may take for granted in the Linux and FOSS realm. Of course, without Debian we wouldn’t have CrunchBang, too.

Here’s the message from Debian on the occasion.

Many happy returns of the day for the swirl.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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Vote for Jim and Larry

FOSS Force, which provides news and commentary on all things Free/Open Source, currently is running the second round of a poll to rank the best personal — meaning non-commercial — Linux or FOSS blog.

The first round of voting ended yesterday, and in the FOSS Force Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog Competition, two CrunchBangers made it to the next round: James Eriksen, better known in CrunchBang circles as merelyjim and his blog Jim’s 2011 and me, better known in CrunchBang circles as lcafiero or “that damn moderator,” is there twice: once as Larry the CrunchBang Guy and once as his doppelganger, Larry the Free Software Guy.

While all the blogs are outstanding and I would encourage you to read all of them (they’re all linked on the ballot), I think both Jim’s and my blogs are worthy of your vote. Lucky for you, each voter gets two votes in this round, which ends next Monday, August 19.

Also, I would like to thank FOSS Force for giving those of us who blog out of love for what we advocate — rather than banging away on the keyboard for a check — the exposure that all candidates are getting in this poll.

So read up and go vote.

I’m Larry the CrunchBang Guy, and I approved this message 🙂

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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We don’t have all the answers

People get tired of hearing me say this, but I’ll say it again anyway: The CrunchBang Forums contain a wealth of information accented by a community of knowledgable and friendly — in equal portions — people volunteering their time to answer questions. The forums and the community are one of the things that make CrunchBang the great distro it is.

Still, this may come as a shock to some, but we don’t have all the answers.

Oh, we might have most of the answers. But from time to time in the CrunchBang Forums, we get questions about software that is not CrunchBang specific. And when answers aren’t quickly forthcoming, sometimes the original poster may become impatient or find that the community is lacking in some way.

Let’s be clear about something: If you’re looking for CrunchBang-specific answers — answers to questions solely about the distro or the way things work in it — those answers are usually quick to be answered, if they haven’t been answered already. In fact, I have seen disagreements crop up about which solution to a question is best, which is somewhat entertaining.

However, if you have a question about software that is not native to CrunchBang, or even Debian, and you ask for solutions in the CrunchBang forums, you might get lucky and find someone on the forums who might also use that particular software, but it’s a shot in the dark. It’s probably better to ask in the forum of the software with which you’re having problems.

Here’s what I do when I have a problem with CrunchBang or software involved with CrunchBang (like Openbox, for example):

1. Curse (this, of course, is optional).
2. Look it up on the CrunchBang Forum using the looking glass icon in the upper right.
3. After entering related search terms, I look for the answer to my question/problem which may have been posted already.
4. If there is no answer in the CrunchBang Forums already, I go to the Debian Forums. It’s amazing how much information is in there.
5. If I don’t find the answer in the Debian Forums, Google.
6. If still nothing comes up, curse some more (again, optional).
7. Go back to the CrunchBang Forums and ask, providing as much detail as possible (for example, hardware, software versions, actions, solutions I tried that didn’t work, etc.).

It’s pretty simple.

If my problem is non-CrunchBang related — e.g., with software that’s either unrelated or not native to CrunchBang — I’ll go to that software’s forum first and repeat all the steps above (but instead of CrunchBang Forum, it’s $DANG_PROBLEMATIC_SOFTWARE Forum).

Now, any questions?

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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When did you start?

Here’s another poll — and no, I’m not in this one — that is somewhat interesting brought to us by our friends at linuxquestions.org.

It’s a simple question: In what year did you start using Linux?

I’m always curious about when people started. I know many greybeards and gurus who were there at the start. It’s one of those perks that come with living close enough to the Silicon Valley to be able to drive a half-hour and be at the center of the digital action.

I also know folks who just started a month ago — they’re members of the Felton LUG who have happened upon Ubuntu and have just installed it to dual-boot for now, and hopefully later on they’ll drop Windows and keep using a FOSS-based operating system.

And I know folks who fall between these two extremes.

My vote goes to 2006-07. I started in mid-2006 and the chance meeting with Linux was purely political. I had won an uncontested primary for the Green Party’s nomination for Insurance Commissioner of California and, as a Green, I didn’t take corporate contributions. Faced with the prospect of having to buy Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make campaign materials, the IT guy for the California Green Party asked me if I had heard of “Free/Open Source Software.” I hadn’t, but I was quickly brought up to speed: I didn’t need Adobe — there was Scribus and GIMP that would do the same thing. “Oh, and the Mac you have? It will run an operating system called Linux — try Debian and see how you like it.”

[Yeah, I had a Mac and for the longest time I was a big Linux-on-PowerPC guy.]

Long story short: I came up about 47 percent of the vote short of winning the election, no surprise there for a third-party candidate in the U.S., garnering 2.3 percent (in California, that’s 270,218 folks who voted for me; the highest total for Greens that year). However, during the course of the campaign — driving around California during the campaign — I kept thinking about what a great concept the Free/Open Source Software paradigm is and how beneficial it could be for society in general.

So after the election, I gave up partisan politics to advocate for Free/Open Source Software instead, which is what I’ve been doing ever since.

When did you start? Go vote, and then tell your story in the comments below. I’d be interested to hear how you got started.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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