Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Speaking of Speaking - Ohio Linux Fest and other Conferences

Jun 25, 2010 GMT

 There are a growing number of local and regional FOSS conferences happening around the world, and one of the oldest of them, the Ohio Linux Fest, asked me to comment on why people should consider submitting and giving a talk a conference such as theirs. The first reason, is the concept of “sharing”. You have developed an idea, a project or a piece of code on which you have expended time and effort, and talking about it at one of these events gives that work visibility so that others may benefit from it. From this visibility you may get additional volunteers to help you with the project, or even just additional users of your project. The second reason is “feedback”....
Boston's Summer of (FOSS) Love

Jun 21, 2010 GMT

 There will be a lot of Linux activity in Boston this summer, all before the middle of August. The Red Hat Summit and JBOSS World leads the parade with four days of training and talks, June 22nd to June 24th. I have a great deal of respect for Red Hat and their engineering staff, having worked with many of them when they were at Digital Equipment Corporation, and I know that I will enjoy seeing some of the talks on filesystems, virtualization, cloud computing, security and a lot of other topics that are of interest to me in general as a Linux enthusiast. Unfortunately due to a prior commitment, I will only be at the Summit Wednesday and Thursday. The Advanced Computing...
Its My Duty!

May 31, 2010 GMT

On a recent trip to Ghana I took along 137 T-shirts that O'Reilly and Hackerteen had given to me to hand out at conferences. I stuffed them into my suitcases and carried them with me on the airplane, both to make sure they got there, and to avoid huge amounts of shipping cost.When I got to the airport I had (naturally) to go through customs, who questioned why I was bringing so many T-shirts into the country. Was I going to sell them?“No”, I answered, “they were given to me to give out at a conference, and I am going to give them away as gifts.” “There is no such thing as a gift when it comes to duties,” I was told.“Well, I do not know how much they cost, since I did not...
More Moving Thoughts: Adding to Rikki Kite's blog entry

May 30, 2010 GMT

 Last week my colleague Rikki Kite wrote a good blog entry on how to gracefully introduce a person to Linux. She pointed out that just telling a person to “move to Linux” is not enough, and that most people will “get lost in the move”. She used an analogy of moving a friend to a new house. I would like to add a few more pointers to her excellent “moving” blog entry: Tip #0.4 – A new house may not be necessary, just add on a room or two of Free Software Depending on the situation, it may be that all the person really needs is a new browser, a new music player, or an office system. You may find a gradual introduction to Free Software is better than an...
Gandhi: Would he have been a Free Software advocate?

May 30, 2010 GMT

 I watched a movie on Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi last night and was once again impressed by this singular man and his life. I also found a couple of parallels to Free Software. The first parallel was when Gandhi told the people to spin their own thread, weave their own cloth and make their own clothes. He did this for several reasons. First of all, by purchasing the finished clothes the people of India were supporting the British manufacturers. Secondly, by not making the thread, cloth and clothes inside their own country, the people of India were giving up local jobs. Third, the people of India had become needlessly dependent on the British for...
Small and Fast Wins

May 29, 2010 GMT

 I recently came back from Ghana, Africa after speaking at the Idlelo conference there. Ghana is one of those “emerging economies” that I sometimes discuss, with people trying desperately to get ahead and utilizing Free Software to get there. Ghana has more problems than just trying to decide whether they should use Free Software. The Internet backbone to their country (and surrounding countries) is inadequate for the number of people it serves, and the prices for the Internet is pretty daunting, so downloading a copy of any of the distributions is both expensive and slow. Fortunately I was able to get my friends at Red Hat to sponsor about 500 Fedora CDs for the...
maddog's Keynote for the Idlelo 4 conference in Accra, Ghana

May 23, 2010 GMT

I was fortunate enough to do a keynote at for the Idlelo 4 conference in Accra, Ghana, right before their Minister of IT gave his speech. Here is the text of my speech: Mr. Minister, Honorable and honored guests.   It is a great pleasure and honor to address you today, and particularly right before the Minister.   I was asked to bring a small present for the Minister, as is customary. I had to think long and hard about this, for I am not a wealthy man, and I wondered what I could give the Minister of a country like Ghana, a nation of over 23 million people, that he could possibly value.   I am not a king, so I could not bring gold, frankincense and...

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