Fedora Elections:

I would like to congralutate the winners of the FESCO and Fedora Board elections. On the Board I believe Tom, Mizmo, and Rex will do excellent jobs. I would also like to really thank the 229 people who voted whether you voted for me or not. I hope that we can improve the ratio in future elections.


Repost from xkcd

[The xkcd work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. ]

I can only say that sadly I am both people in that comic. I have a Facebook page (which will go to diaspora when its ready) and I try to use .odt as much as possible. [My left hand holds the worlds tiniest open source violin, my right hand is blogging in blogger.com.]


Please Vote for Advistory and FESCO board seats

As Paul Frields pointed out the elections for 3 seats on the Fedora Advisory Board and 5 seats on the FESCO board are open and being voted on. There have been several questionaire's, several town hall meetings for people to ask questions, and all of the candidates are available to talk to via email if you have a question.

Please vote. While I am running for the FAB, I would just like people to vote even if its against me. Currently we have less that 10% of potential voters electing the people, and that is a shame because it means people who do not vote have given up their voice. And not being happy with any of the candidates is not an excuse. Range Voting allows for you to log in, give zero points to every person if you don't like any candidate OR give the same number of points to every candidate if you like them all.

And here is a reason to vote against me :). If I win a board seat, I will work on making it so that voting in one FESCO and Board meeting a year is mandatory to remain as a packager in good standing.


Is having Sheldon as a hero a good or bad thing?

A tour de force of Ubuntu marketing happened when the 'Big Bang Theory' had one of their main characters, mention was his favourite Linux operating system.

However I wonder if that would be the character I would want Sheldon as my mascot. He is known for being overly egotist, but maybe that is the attraction in a Steve Jobs way.


New Mexico Mountains: 2+ Smoogen: 0

So yesterday we went on a nice hike up and down the La Luz trail to get out and see the sites. Hiking in New Mexico is a beautiful experience. The hike is 7 miles to the peak and listed as 'strenuous' in several guides, but the first 2 miles is pretty nice. We got to the 2 mile point and could see all of Albuquerque and partially south to parts of the Magdalena Mountains and west to Mount Taylor. At 2 miles it began to rain, and we decided it was a good time and get the kids back to the cars. It had been a pretty hike, and I wondered "Why I don't do this more?"

It was the downward part where I was reminded why. The stone that the Sandia mountains are mainly made of is I think a loose pyroclastic rock. There are small hard parts embedded in a loose sand so that they break apart in what people call "BB-granite". Walking down in various spots it was very much like walking on bb's.. and well I fell down a couple of times (I had forgotten my walking stick). While no where near Seth Vidal levels of injury.. I did get a back spasm, and my hands are messed up a bit. Funny enough, 23 years ago I had done the same thing in the Magdalena mountains.. though that time had been a rolling fall down 20 or 30 feet into a canyon.. it had been the last time I went hiking...

Well played New Mexico mountains, well played. [Of course if all is well I will be trying a different hike next week with the kids.]


Target audiences.

A question in IRC that I missed due to eye problems was basically this:

Who did Red Hat Linux have as a target audience, because it didn't seem like they did and they were fairly successful.

Actually Red Hat Linux had several audiences:

  1. The developers had to get stuff done. If Alan Cox needed joe to edit, then joe was always in a release. If rpm development needed xyz-lib then it was there. For the most part, it just had the things people felt they needed to make the distro what they wanted. [Name for audience: OS Developers.]
  2. The staff of Red Hat. It was a requirement for everyone to use Red Hat Linux as their desktop. The only people who got away for a short time with it would be new transplants or for short term jobs (filing reports to the taxman that required a Windows 3.11 utility). If something broke marketing's desktops it usually got fixed pretty quick. [Name for audience: Small business staff.]
  3. Spouses and parents. This was the big target and the most demanding in some ways. Well especially for 2 people: Mr Troan's wife and Mr Szulik's dad. However, this target was usually the next release target.[Name for audience: casual users.]
  4. People who wanted things. Be it customers or the larger set of users downloading from the internet, the requests of things from users would be weighed against "Can we support this?", "Will it fit on the Cdrom?", or "What has to go to put this on?". Since we originally were trying to keep things down to 1-2 cdrom's.. most requests for things would end up on the "goes to powertools.", "will the emacs or the vi users raise a bigger stink?", "we will try for it next release." In most cases we can call this audience: home-DYI user.

After RHL-6 came out.. target audiences changed. Where the money was coming in wasn't the home-user crowd but the server organizations. The needs of those organizations pushed RHL more into moving their needs up the ladder, and the DYI user further down the stack. Eventually many of those people went to other distros (Gentoo was really really big in 2001.) or putting stuff into fedora.us (and then either going onto Fedora Project or doing their own thing.)

So what does this say about the target audience(s) of Fedora? I think that in the end #1 is the same: OS developers. #2 is where things get wishy washy and people either think they are it or they will never be it. I would prefer for us to look at #2 being the same as it was for RHL: 'the staff'. There are a lot of cursory things that need to be done (setup fudcons, review packages, make nice icons, or make webservers go) to get a release done, and without that work audiences 3,4,5, etc aren't going to be happy either.

So what is #3? Well that is the 99 million dollar question, that we successfully avoided for nearly 6 years until last October:

Someone who
  1. is voluntarily switching to Linux,
  2. is familiar with computers, but is not necessarily a hacker or developer,
  3. is likely to collaborate in some fashion when something is wrong with Fedora,
  4. wants to use Fedora for general productivity, either using desktop applications or a Web browser.
Ok so we aren't looking at Mr Szulik's father nor (to update names) Mr McGrath's wife any more. Now while it doesn't define who our target should be, we can see from data that is collected in smolt and via maps of mirror requests who currently uses Fedora.
  1. a sizeable chuck (40%) of the systems are running on less than 2 GB of ram and 2GB of disk-space.
  2. the majority of systems (70%) are running i686 versions of Fedora versus other types.
  3. the CPU of many systems are not the latest and greatest.
  4. updates are looked at from both high-speed places and slow-speed places (versus just one).
While I can't see other hardware, I would expect that monitors and such would be mainly lower end ones. That gives a pretty good idea of who will be using the general release. To become more specific, I think we would need to target for spin(s): The sysadmin who wants to work from the coffee shop on his less than stellar spare laptop that the guy in marketing dropped off on his desk last week. Or something like that.


WRT madness...

So over the weekend, I rebuilt the home network because of some IP address conflicts I had been getting into, and also to get a wireless connection to my Samsung DVD player so I could watch Netflix online. Well I had 3 WRT54G models of different years but similar makes (WRT54G 3.0 or WRT54GL.) The main one is running OpenWRT White Russian because it was what I was experimenting with originally when I got the GL. Originally I wanted the other systems to be Client Bridges which I had working with one (running an older version of dd-wrt.) The 3rd router was one my parents sent me to play with when they replaced it with something 802.11n.

My project then was to update the routers, set them up in various places through the house and see if I could Bridging to work so that everything on the wireless was on the same 'network'. Due to work on Monday and various other tasks.. the project had to end at 3pm on Sunday with all systems either working or put back into a working 'original settings' mode. Going through various networks, I realized that the 172.16 was a /12 and I could use all the way up to 172.31... most places I have had conflicts only use a /15 so I decided some high networks were what I would use in renumbering the network.

My first problem... what is my password. I try to keep passwords stored in an encrypted file or locked safe for cases where I don't log in regularly. Going through the ones in both the file and printed copy, it turned out none of them were ones used on the routers. I eventually got one to work by uppercasing letters I had lowercased in the printout... [I guess I was being clever or something.] This got one router, but the other one I eventually had to reset the working dd-wrt one to get into it. This one had had a working client bridge mode which I found I could not replicate afterwords. [Not a problem I thought.. I have a newer version of both OS's so it should work when I update the routers to a newer set.]

Ok second problem... which WRT to use. I went with Tomato first... if for no other reason that I love its picture graphs for network traffic. Well I installed it on the two non-WRT's and found the configuration very easy and useful. However, client-bridge mode and client mode do not seem to be supported in WPA (only in WEP and clear-text.) Since I know of too many war-driving people with WEP 'crackers'.. I decided that I didn't want to get a "Hey look smooge! we pwned your home network this weekend!" as my motd or some other thing.

So Tomato was flashed over with OpenWRT. I went through several Howto's and tried to get them to work, but for some reason wasn't able to get it to work. Next went dd-wrt and again I could not get them to get into a working client-bridge mode. As it was reaching 3pm on Sunday, and my family was wanting to get back onto the Internet for various things.. it was time to come up with plan B. I gave Router A (it is still OpenWRT), Router B, and Router C dd-wrt was able to set up a WPA-2 Client mode and so the family was able to watch MythBusters on the Samsung that evening.

Next week, I will reflash the top router to be Tomato (I do love those graphs) and change the networks from being NAT'd to being open so machines on the network can talk with each other 'clearly'.

I think my biggest wonder was that for all the similarity between the different embedded OS's each one has different strengths and weaknesses.. Each seems to be able to implement some things or none at all.. I am guessing it is mostly due to the closed source nature of the Broadcom switch/wireless and then how 'open' each project is in how it solves things :). In the next technology upgrade I will look for something more open (though Tomato only implements for the Broadcom.. and I really like those pretty graphs).


Learned Helplessness and other problems

I am getting old it would seem.. I have seen the same story over and over... and have been part of it a couple of times myself. It is a common story where two people meet, maybe fall in love, and have a deep relationship of some sort. However over time, one side doesn't like what is happening any more. Maybe they want to move, or they want to leave, or they don't like where things are changing. The other side will say something like "Oh no, please don't.. We can make this work. Just don't go." but things don't work out.

In a healthy relationship, the people will try to find help maybe from some outside counsel or they will just end things knowing that things have changed too much for them to stay around. However it seems too many times, people will keep trying to "make it work." Ask them why and it is because "we have worked so hard on this, how can we walk away from it?", "this time it will be different, really.", or some other line that sounds good but is really not going to happen. In the worst cases one person doesn't think they can leave.. that their or someone elses livelihood is in jeopardy or that it won't help because the other side will just find them anyway.

The not-so-funny things is how many times its both people who have this idea in their heads... each afraid of what being without the other might be like more than whatever continual pain they are with each other. Or neither will leave because they want to outlast the other person... it has become some sort of twisted game to see who blinks first.

If things have progressed to the later stages, the best thing to do is leave, find out how not to end up there again, and start over somewhere new. [The second step is critical because I have seen too many people go back to the same kind of relationships, I am guessing from some kind of conditioning or learned helplessness.] Don't try to come back, don't see if things will get better next time... just go. Sometimes, if the relationship really mattered, this is the only way to get the other side to change. And if it wasn't, then better to get on with your life than stay unhappy.

What this has to do with myself? I ruined my first Real relationship by not getting help for my depression. I learned that I really needed to change by having that person leave. They have lived a happy life since then, and after I got help.. so did I.

What this has to do with the Fedora Community is up to the reader.

At least they had a burning cloud to follow...

Ok in watching many of our Fedora conversations digress, I see a major issue is that everyone uses the same words but means them differently... and then we all get miffed at each other because how could anyone use a word any other way but how we mean it. It then becomes a long set of misunderstandings that only the people reading the lists from other organizations can laugh at. [Sorry for breaking the fourth wall here. Hi guys, you know who you are.]

Take for instance the word contributor. When we talk about everyone being a potential contributor, it means different things to a lot of people. From reading Ralf Corsepius's emails on it, it would seem to some people that contributor is a developer who knows how to package software. To read through Paul Frield's emails it would be that a contributor could just be someone who hands out Fedora DVD's to some friends and says "Try this." Vastly different definitions for the word, and if each does not realize what the other is talking about.. we end up with confusion where some feel we are forcing people who do not have the developer's mindset into becoming packagers and others feel we are driving off people who make substantial contributions by 'meeting and greeting' other users.

However, the very act of defining things causes a lot of problems. Definitions are personal identifications.. being told that we aren't using YOUR definition seems to get people even more riled up than not defining it at all. Look at all the turmoil on defining what Fedora means. "You can't do that." say some people, because well they are afraid their definition will be thrown out and it is better to just put off anything like that til later.

So for 7 years we have basically wandered around in the wilderness knowing which direction we could go but never agreeing on which way it is. I only hope it doesn't take us another 33 years to get there.


Orange is the new Green

No I mean Blue, no I mean Red, no.. One of the things I have noticed is how colours change in marketing campaigns regularly. A couple of years ago, EVERYTHING had to be Green: green backgrounds, green fonts, etc.. Lush deep plant greens to symbolize the "Green movement" of 2007/2008 where everyone wanted to show how "Green" they were in lowering energy costs (or some similar marketing bull.) A couple of years before that it was Blue, going from powder blue to deep sky with images of "Sky's the limit.", "Deep Blue ocean wonders", etc.. And before that I think it was Red as the colour people went for.

Now we have Orange. So far today I have seen 2 Linux ads with Orange, a Toyota ad using an Orange I have not seen since 1966 ads (even with the modernist font of that time frame), and various others using Orange in various bright forms. Technically some of these colors are probably called Amber, but using he Male XKCD color argument, I am calling it orange.

Orange is an interesting colour. It is the contrast to blue so it will stand out much brighter. Anyway a couple of interesting questions:

1) What will the next big colour be in 2 or so years?
2) What if your current community colours are blue? And your rival changes to Orange? :)

Blame Games

I was in the middle of some other posts... but this one was related to the subject matter and a bit more precise:

A discovery news blip on how humans react to problems. Does this sound like a lot of emails lately? I believe people on both sides of some Fedora issues could point out quite a few.

=== From the article ===

Why is blame our default setting? Morewedge said there could be several reasons, but a big one is that unexpected events are difficult to predict. And unpredictable things can be scary. That's why it can feel safer to assume that negative events are due to some external thing so you can avoid being harmed again. Morewedge said more awareness of this phenomenon could lead to better human relations.


The human brain is filled with lots of short circuits that do things like this. When we have made up our mind on something, we only want to listen to people who agree with us.. and will go to great lengths to drive out or disregard those that don't.

Basically we as a species have not progressed much further than the opening of 2001. Our mailing lists become re-enactments of picking up bones and waving them around like the primitive beasts that we so desperately hide in ourselves (hmmm too much Werner Herzog).

However, its not all a loss.. German nihilist existentialism only gets you so far in a day. People can work together if they want to. They can compromise, find common things they enjoy and get along. Or they can leave and find happiness elsewhere. Staying around because you think you can change or will change others is just so much battered nerd syndrome.

Other interesting articles:

Bruce Schneier on terrorism failures

Partisan Brain Studies