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.

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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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It’s your canvas — paint it

One of the many great things about CrunchBang is that you can get it in any color that you like as long as it’s black. The fact that it comes in only one color may be off-putting to some people, however rather than seeing it as black, you can — say it with me, because I’ve said it a million times — instead see it as a blank canvas to make your screen shot, as well as the rest of your CrunchBang distro, suit your liking.

That may or may not be by design, and only lead developer Philip Newborough knows for sure. Regardless, the flexibility with which you can make CrunchBang your own makes it stand out among other Linux distributions.

So where do you go for a screenshot worthy of your CrunchBang setup?

On a monthly basis for several years now, the CrunchBang forums set up the “$MONTH Screenshot Thread,” and here’s the one for January 2014. You can go further back in Artwork and Screenshots in the forums to find past months. In these topics lie a treasure trove of screenshots that you can use to put on your screen to enhance your CrunchBang experience.

Personally speaking, I have two that I particularly like — one I use regularly and one I break out for the holiday season.

My normal day-to-day screnshot photo is of Mount Shasta, taken by CrunchBanger rstrcogburn, and can be found in the Artwork and Screenshots subject under the Cog’s Corner item here. As you can see, there’s a lot of dark blue in the upper right (and upper left, for that matter) to put a modified Conky.

But around the holidays, it’s a different story. During the Yuletide, I put up this screenshot which originated from CrunchBang user Milozzy. I got his permission to use it and made it my Christmas screenshot.

Interestingly enough, when I show various screenshots to folks when talking about CrunchBang to groups and individuals, Milozzy’s is one of the favorites.

So using what seems to be an almost endless supply of photos and artwork in the forums, you have a wide range of options in going from Basic Black to wherever your artistic soul leads you. You look at your screen for a considerable part of your day — make it something you want to look at.

Or, in other words, it’s your canvas — paint it.

See you next week.

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 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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Playing to your strengths

In the Larry the Free Software Guy blog on Saturday, I wrote an announcement about firming up my writing schedule and adding a couple of blogs. I don’t think it’s a secret that I actually use more than one distro — in order to keep current on things I use several distros because when consulting with small businesses regarding conversion to Linux and FOSS, I have to give them what they need rather than what I want them to have.

So with me at all times are two laptops — overkill, maybe? — with the Toshiba having Korora 20 KDE and the Dell running CrunchBang; a Fedora (or Red Hat, if you want to go that far back) distro and a Debian distro. The ThinkPad T40 stays in the lab for the most part, and that’s another CrunchBang rig, along with the Dell desktops running Debian Wheezy and Fedora 20, and a Sun Ultra 10 box with Solaris 9 (Sun OS 5.9) because, well, I’m sentimental about Solaris.

There are a lot of differences in the two, and that is good. Here’s why. The reason I chose each distro on my ever-present hardware is that Philip Newborough here at CrunchBang and Chris Smart at Korora both understand the importance of playing to a distro’s strengths, making it that much easier for the user.

The differences between the two are staggering: Because the Toshiba has dual-cores and 4GB of RAM (the first time I’ve had a machine this powerful that I could easily carry), it handles KDE very well. What is sometimes challenging and often tests my programming knowledge and skills (if not my patience sometimes) is that there are layers upon layers here to fathom in getting the Toshiba just the way I want it.

To its significant credit, CrunchBang does not have the baggage that comes with having KDE. The term “baggage” might be negative, but what I mean is that there’s a lot that comes with the KDE territory. And that’s by design. From time to time there are posts in the forum asking, “How do I put $DESKTOP_ENVIRONMENT on CrunchBang?” And the simple answer is, “You don’t.” There’s probably no more wider gulf in user interfaces than the one between KDE on one side and Openbox on the other. For CrunchBang, Openbox is a natural — it makes the clean canvas to which you are making your distro masterpiece come alive.

Strength in its simplicity: It’s one of the many facets of CrunchBang that make it a great distro.

Before I forget: CrunchBang will be at the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 12X next month. Will you? Let me know.

See you next week.

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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Ready for SCALE 12X?

Next month, the Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 12X — will be held at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel. SCALE is the largest, community-run Linux/FOSS expo in North America, with over 100 exhibitors, about 95 sessions and about 2,500 attendees, according to last year’s numbers.

CrunchBang will be there. CrunchBang has held a Birds of a Feather event at the last two SCALEs and we will again at this one. I will post the details when they are confirmed. In addition, CrunchBang has available to it a table in the show — if the expo floor geography gods are with us, it will be close to, if not next to, the Debian booth.

I’ll have the DVDs burned, stickers printed, and I’ll have a #! laptop where we can make bootable USB sticks for people who have one on which to put Waldorf. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts is what I’m hoping for is for some CrunchBang users who are attending SCALE taking shifts at the booth. Does that interest anyone out there who might be attending?

I have one volunteer so far. It would be fun if there were more. Post a comment below or e-mail me off-blog to let me know if you’re available.

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 Indiegogo works . . . .

There’s a scene at the end of the film “The Candidate” where Robert Redford, the newly elected Sen. McKay from California, corners his campaign manager and says, “What do we do now?”

I can imagine that Andrew Gregory, Mike Saunders and Ben Everard, clearly three happy men right now, might be asking the same thing. Their magazine — Linux Voice — was fully funded thanks to contributions garnered in their Indiegogo campaign, crossing the 90,000-pound threshhold two weeks before the deadline.

The trio of former Linux Format writers now will follow through to produce Linux Voice, scheduled for a February 2014 release.

As I outlined in an earlier post, the unique twist for what the three plan for Linux Voice is the following:

Half the profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities, and our readership will choose where the money goes. As it says on the site, “We want to sponsor projects, events, developers, and evangelise the cause. We want to build long-term relationships with the people we sponsor, so there’s less uncertainty for projects year-on-year.”

Content will be published for free after 9 months, and they aim to use an open source/Creative Commons licence. “We want to create a library of our tutorials, interviews, features and code that is accessible to everyone, whether that’s a Python tutorial for a 10 hour flight, or a Raspberry Pi class guide for a school club. We don’t believe in charging several times for the same ‘evergreen’ content,” the proposal says.

So come February, we’re expecting great things from Messrs. Gregory, Saunders and Everard. Congratulations, guys, and remember — on your cover mock-up, you have an article on CrunchBang. It would be great to see that in your inaugural edition (also, I know someone who can cover the U.S. stories for you . . . 🙂 )

There is still a fortnight left on the campaign, and if you want to contribute, click on the item below.

linux-voice

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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Lift up your Voice

Some of you may already know this, but some of the former Linux Format writers are banding together to produce a new monthly Free Software and Linux magazine called Linux Voice.

They’re funding Linux Voice through an Indiegogo campaign with a unique twist to their operation, specifically these two items:

  • Half the profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities, and our readership will choose where the money goes. As it says on the site, “We want to sponsor projects, events, developers, and evangelise the cause. We want to build long-term relationships with the people we sponsor, so there’s less uncertainty for projects year-on-year.”
  • Content will be published for free after 9 months, and they aim to use an open source/Creative Commons licence. “We want to create a library of our tutorials, interviews, features and code that is accessible to everyone, whether that’s a Python tutorial for a 10 hour flight, or a Raspberry Pi class guide for a school club. We don’t believe in charging several times for the same ‘evergreen’ content,” the proposal says.
  • According to Philip Newborough, these guys who are starting the magazine have been good to CrunchBang in the past, and if you look at the cover on the Indiegogo page, there’s already a review of CrunchBang seemingly slated for the edition. So Corenominal has replaced the usual “be excellent to each other” forum fortunes with an ad to their campaign and he will leave the ads running for the remainder of the Linux Voice funding run, which ends near Christmas.

    Corenominal has nothing on me: I’ll do the same on this blog, keeping an ad for Linux Voice’s Indiegogo campaign until the campaign ends. It will run at the bottom of each Larry the CrunchBang Guy blog item, like this:

    linux-voice

    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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    Tidying up

    Looks like we’re out of the woods once again.

    After waiting awhile to see if we’re really out of the woods after a second Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, it looks like we’re free and clear, while provisions are being made to avoid this from happening again.

    It’s inconceivable — I keep using that word, and I think it means what I think it means — that someone would take the time to hamper our efforts and tie up the distro like they did, but it happened.  And they, or someone else, may try it again — it’s an unfortunate downside to the Internet that there are misguided individuals out there who can’t help but be destructive. The best thing we can do is to take the measures necessary to deflect any further attacks.

    Nevertheless, now you can go back to your usual CrunchBanging, whether it’s downloading the distro, updating or running the cb-welcome script.

    It’s good to be back. Again.

    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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