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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Revolution OS

Richard Stallman is "The Great Philosopher"

--Linus Torvalds


Must watch video for those who want to know more about Linux




Saturday, March 29, 2008

Goodies and Oldies: Linux Reality Podcast Signing Off

Linux Reality

I've recently added a useful RSS feed at the bottom right corner of my blog: Linux Reality Podcasts - Podcasts about Open Source and Linux. I really liked the podcasts, they are good for newbies like myself. No technobabble just plain Linux.

The bad news is after 2 years of podcasting, Chess decided to sign off. I would have liked to rant and complain again like I did with Automatix2. But seeing the overwhelming support and encouragement that Chess got from the community to support and encourage his decision, I felt that it would be wiser for me to shut up and do the same.

I really do hope that some guys continue podcasting about Linux because there is so much to it than just the software.

So to you guys out there who want to hear about Linux rather than read about it. Grab the episodes while you still can. I am not sure if they are going to keep the podcasts, but hey that is what free storage is for right?

Pulling the Plug on Automatix2

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Love it or hate it, anyone who runs Ubuntu has at least heard of Automatix. This program made it possible for any Ubuntu user to easily add a host of new programs and media codices to a desktop. Now, however, Automatix's developers are being pulled away to other projects, so they have announced that they will no longer be working on their popular software installation program.


Already sad, now I am sadder with this news. I personally find Automatix2 to be a step forward for Linux. People might say this or that, but as a user, I strongly believe in Automatix2's intentions and efforts. Damnit, now what? Do I have to learn how to configure my nvidia driver by reading these instructions once I decide to install a new distro?

Let's face it guys, Automatix2 helped bring ordinary Juan's like myself to Linux. Now what? Now what?


I'm really pissed off.


I guess this is one drawback to this Open Source thing, once they got bored, their servers go down, they see greener pastures, they see a new project, or once their cat gave birth - everything halts. No accountability whatsoever. "We're sorry and we hope somebody else continues it for us."

What?

In a corporate setting, this can happen too, but with very bad consequences. The media goes wild, people get fired, heck some even face criminal charges for "Labor Abandonment". At least here in the Philippines, there is such a law.

But if the magic of Open Source kicks in, somebody would take on the reigns. But from what I've seen in the boards over at Automatix2, the lead developers seem to be scaring people away from their baby:

Site hosting is not the issue.. we have been on a dedicated server for the past 1 year and as part of the Automatix team, I have maintained the server personally. It's obvious that a few thousand dollars have already been spent on this dedicated hosting in the past one year....


Maintaining Automatix is not trivial and requires not only an extremely good understanding of the Debian package management system and the nitty-gritties of Ubuntu and Debian, but also the willingness to stay up-to-date with all changes that are occurring in this dynamic environment. All this requires a lot of time, expertise and dedication....


--from Arnieboy

If I could say something appropriate for my pissed off mood today, it would be: "Apology? We don't need your apology, you let us down by not making sure that this wonderful thing that you've created gets passed on to others at least, at the very minimal least - with a smooth transition. Now you're saying that you're sorry for letting us down? You've robbed us of one choice - the choice of choosing Automatix2. Anyway, maybe one day I'll edit this post and post something nicer. But today, i just want you all to know that I am dreadfully frustrated about this. You guys gave up that's what you did."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Adobong Manok

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I'm going to take a break from my normal routine of writing about Linux and instead write about something I know everybody loves. FOOD! Yes, specifically adobong manok. It is perhaps the most common household dish that we Filipinos love. If the Americans have Chicken Soup for the soul, we Filipinos have Adobong Manok for the belly!

Well what is it made off?

Ingredients:

1. Chicken



2, Soy Sauce




3. Vinegar



4. Garlic



5. Bay Leaf




Instructions by this white guy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ano ang Linux? Wiki Translation to Filipino

This is the translated version of the wiki on Linux.

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Linux (karaniwang binibigkas na /'linaks/ sa Ingles ay isang operating system na kapareho ng Unix. Ang Linux ay isa sa mga pinakasikat na halimbawa ng malayang software at open source development; karaniwan dito ang kakayahanag baguhin, gamitin at ipamahagi ang source code.

Ang pangalang "Linux" ay nagmula sa Linux kernel, na sinimulan noong 1991 ni Linus Torvalds. Ang mga aplikasyon at library ay karaniwang nagmumula sa GNU operating system, na inannounce noong 1983 ni Richard Stallman. Ang kontribusyon ng GNU ay ang basehan sa alternatibong pangalan ng Linux na "GNU/Linux"

Kinikilalang sikat sa mga gamit nito sa mga server, ang Linux ay sinusuportahan ng mga korporasyon tulad ng Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell, Oracle Corporation, Red Hat at Sun Microsystems. Ito ay ginagamit bilang operating system ng maraming uri ng computer hardware, kasama na ang mga desktop computers, supercomputers, video game systems tulad ng Playstation 2 at 3, mga larong pang arcade, at mga embedded na kagamitan tulad ng mga mobile phones, routers, at mga pang ilaw sa stage.

Kasaysayan ng Linux

Ang UNIX operating system ay naisip at naimplement noong mga 1960s at unang nilabas noong 1970. Ang malawakang availability at portability nito ay nagdulot nito ng malawakang paggamit, pagkopya at pagbabago ng mga institusyong akademya at mga negosyo, habang ang disenyo nito ay impluwensiyal sa mga awtor ng iba pang mga sistema.

Ang proyektong GNU, na nagsimula noong 1984, ay may hangaring gumawa ng kumpleto at compatible-sa-Unix na software system na sa kabuuan ay gawa sa malayang software. Noong 1985, ginawa ni Richard Stallman ang Free Software Foundation at dinibelop ang GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Karamihan sa mga program na nangangailangan ng OS (tulad ng mga library, compiler, text editor, Unix shell at windowing system) ay nakumpleto sa simula ng 1990, bagamat ang mga elementong low level tulad ng mga device driver, daemons, at ang kernel ay nadelay at hindi natapos. Sinabi ni Linus Torvalds na kapag handa na ang kernel ng GNU noong taon ng 1991, maaaring hindi na niya nilikha ang sarili niyang kernel.

MINIX

Ang Minix, ay isang sistemang ginawa para sa gamit ng akademya. Nirelease ito ni Andrew S. Tenenbaum noong 1987. Bagamat ang source code nung sistema ay available, ang pagbabago at pagreredistribute nito ay hindi pinahihintulutan (hindi na ngayon). Sa karagdagan, ang disenyo ng MINIX na 16-bit ay hindi angkop sa disenyong 32-bit ng mga nagbababaang presyo at sikat na Intel 386 architecture para sa mga personal na computer.

Noong 1991, sinimulan ni Torvalds ang paggawa sa hindi pang komersyal na pamalit sa MINIX habang siya ay nagaaral sa University of Helsinki. Ito ang magiging Linux kernel.

Noong 1992, si Tenenbaum ay nagpaskil ng article sa Usenet na nagsasabi na ang Linux ay luma na/walang gamit. Sa kanyang article, nagbigay siya ng kritisismo ukol sa operating system sa pagiging monolithic ng disenyo nito at ang karampatang pagdepende nito sa x86 architecture na nagdudulot ng kawalan ng katangian bilang portable. Tinawag niya itong "fundamental error". Hinarap ni Tenenbaum ang kanyang suhestiyon na kung sino man ang may gusto ng isang modernong sistema ay nangangailangang hanapin ito sa modelong "microkernel". Ang pagpaskil na ito ay nagdulot ng pagsagot ni Torvalds at ni Ken Thompson, isa sa mga nagpasimuno ng Unix, na nagdulot sa isang kilalang debate ukol sa disenyong microkernel at monolithic kernel.

Sa simula, umaasa ang Linux sa mga gumagamit ng MINIX. Habang ang mga code na nagmumula sa GNU ay malayang magagamit, malaki ang advantage kapag ito ay maaaring gamitin sa OS na naghihikahos. Ang mga code na sumasailalim sa GNU GPL ay maaaring gamitin sa ibang mga proyekto hanggang sa ito ay nirelease sa ilalim ng pareho o compatible na lisensya. Upang gawing compatible ang Linux kernel sa mga bahagi ng GNU project, sinimulan ni Torvalds ang pagpalit ng orihinal na lisensya (na hindi nagpapahintulot sa komersyal na redistribution) sa GNU GPL. Ang mga debeloper ng Linux at GNU ay nagtulungan upang mapagsanib ang mga bahagi ng GNU sa Linux upang gawing tunay na malaya at kagamit gamit na operating system.

Pagtangkilik at Pagkilalang Komersyal

Sa ngayon ang Linux ay ginagamit sa iba't ibang larangan, mula sa mga sistemang embedded hangang sa mga supercomputer, at it ay naging bantug sa larangan ng mga instolasyong server sa sikat na LAMP application stack. Pinagpapatuloy ni Torvalds ang pagdirek ng debelopment ng kernel. Pinamumunuan ni Stallman ang Free Software Foundation, na siyang sumusuporta sa mga bahagi nitong GNU. Sa wakas, ang mga indibidwal at mga korporasyon ay nagdevelop ng mga pangatlong-grupong hindi-gawa-ng-GNU na bahagi. Etong mga pangatlong-grupong bahagi ay nangangatawan ng maraming bahagi ng trabaho na maaaring kasama ng kernel modules at user applications and libraries. Ang mga nangangalakal sa Linux at ang mga komunidad ay nagsasanib at nagdidistribute ng kernel, mga bahagi ng GNU, at ang mga bahaging hindi-GNU, sa pamamagitan ng karagdagang package management software sa pangangatawan ng mga distribusyon ng Linux.

Disenyo

Ang Linux ay isang operating system na modular. Karamihan sa baysic na disenyo nito ay nagmumula sa mga prinsipyo na inestablish ng Unix mula noong 1970 hanggang 1980. Gumagamit ang Linux ng monolithic na kernel, ang Linux kernel na siyang tagapagasikaso sa pagkontrol ng mga proseso, pag network, access sa mga peripheral at file system, at device drivers ay direktang nakaintegrate sa kernel.

Karamihan sa mga mas mataas na functionality ng Linux ay sinusuportahan ng hiwalay na mga proyekto na nakaintegrate sa kernel. Ang mga tagapagtangkilik ng GNU ay isang mahalagang bahagi ng karamihan sa mga sistemang Linux sa pagbibigay nila ng mga kontribusyon ng mga shell at Unix na kagamitan na gumagawa ng karamihan sa mga basic na gawain ng operating system. Sa ibabaw ng mga kagamitan na ito ay ang mga graphical user interface na nagagamit, karaniwang tumatakbo sa x Window System.

USER INTERFACE

Ang Linux ay maaaring makontrol sa pamamagitan ng isa o higit pang command line interface na nakabase sa text (CLI), graphical user interface (GUI) (karaniwang default sa mga desktop computers) o sa pamamagitan ng mga kontrol sa mga device mismo (karaniwan sa mga device na naka-embed).

To be continued....

BioFuels and Food Price Increase

For the die hard pro green alternative fuel believers this is a heretical statement. Though I for one, would like to consider myself as an environmentalist. I believe that biofuel needs a second look. I am speaking a priori here, but here it goes.

WHERE DOES BIOFUEL COME FROM?

From the NCTF


Where does Biodiesel come from?

Biodiesel is produced from virgin vegetable oils (mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids) through a refinery process called transesterification. This process uses a chemical reaction to remove glycerin from the oils. Biodiesel can be produced using a variety of U.S. crops including flaxseed, cottonseed, sunflower and canola. However, most biodiesel sold on the open market today comes from soy bean, a crop currently grown by over 400,000 farmers in 29 states.

Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution.

Raw vegetable oil or homegrown biodiesel that does not meet ASTM fuel specifications cannot be registered with the EPA, and is not a legal motor fuel.


The last statement is disturbing. No biobus and no recycled fastfood veggie oil then?

From what I've gathered, these biofuels are produced in farms since they are derived from crops. So what does this mean?

1. New farms must have been put up
2. Some old farms must have changed their crops to avail of the biofuel subsidy that the government gives

Ergo

1. There is definitely an increase in the usage of fresh water from new farms producing non food crops

Ergo

2. There has been a decline in the production of food crops

I am speaking a priori here, so feel free to contend with my point.

Main questions that should be asked:

1. Does the decrease in food crop production correlate with rising food prices?
2. Does the increase in biofuel crop production correlate with the decrease in fresh water supplies?

Speculatively, speaking, if the answers are all yes. The next questions would have to be propounded:

1. Could/Should we temper this unbalance?

Factors:

1. The market dictates to the farm producers what they would plant
2. Government intervention

Consider these articles:

Conclusion:


I am not a natural scientist and I don't have all the numbers to back me up. But if these are all true or if this is not just FUD from the fossil fuel industry then we could be making a bigger mistake with biofuels.Think about it.

HowTo: Keep Secrets in Linux Using CCRYPT

Easy. Who among you have a nasty dirty little secret? Ok. Let me just ask that another way: Who among you, keep all their passwords on a spreadsheet file or txt file or csv file?

Well, I don't know about you people, but I do! I know, I know, it sounds crazy! But it actually is faster than waiting for OpenOffice to load! :)

A .csv on plain sight?! I must be that guy who talks to a volleyball named Wilson or something.

In cases like these you might want to protect yourself from these baddies.

Well, I am going to share a little secret and that is how to keep a secret in Linux.

I am talking about file encryption, particularly the software called ccrypt.

ccrypt is based on the Rijndael cipher, which is the U.S. government's chosen candidate for the Advanced Encryption Standard


That sounds very nice doesn't it?

Let's get started:

1. Install ccrypt by:

$ sudo apt-get install ccrypt


2. Now change your directory where you want to keep your secret, or the directory where your password file is located.

For example:

$ cd /directoryname/topsecretfile.csv


3. Now type this:

$ ccrypt filename.csv


4. Then it will show this:

Enter encryption key:


5. Type or Enter your password/encryption key two times!

You're Done!

*filename.csv should now be named filename.csv.cpt

1. To decrypt, simple type this command:

$ ccrypt -d filename.csv.cpt


2. Then type your password/encryption key.

ALWAYS REMEMBER, DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD

Saturday, March 22, 2008

[UPDATE] Whatever Happened to the Philippine Open Source College and Bayanihan Linux Distro?

[UPDATE 04-8-2008] It seems that even old reviews of Bayanihan just disappeared from the face of the planet. Wow. Talk about covering your tracks.

I was excited when I first heard of these two projects. But from my investigation/inquiry it appears these two projects went *poof*. Just like several companies nowadays where their BOD and CEOs apparently go *poof*.

WALANG BAYANIHANG NANGYARI DITO

At the onset, Bayanihan Linux seem to have a solid foundation in terms of finances - they are government supported. On the other hand, this too may have been the cause for their demise. Demise? Yes, at the time I am writing this, their website and forums have gone *poof*. Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Chairman "Chairman!" giving several million dollars to the IRRI which is based here in the Philippines.

Or maybe they just failed to implement it where they needed to implement it. Or Maybe it has something to do with the NBN thing - I.T. guys in government plus businessmen with political contacts = *kaboom* or *kagold*. Whatever the reason it went *poof* I am pretty sure that it has something to do with 1.) lack of interest by the public, 2.) finances and 3.) the lack of a point.

What is the point of a Philippine government sponsored Linux distribution if there are already a bazillion other Linux distributions out there that it doesn't need to spend on. Come on! The GRP finally came to its senses that if it wanted recognition and support from other countries - there always has to be kickback! Who will you kickback if the project is open?

They wanted to make the Philippines globalized by trying to broadband everything right? The kickback is $200m. Would an Open Source Project be able to produce that amount of kickback?

No sir. Whatever argument you give it will always come this specially in government circles: "Show Me the Money!!!". There is no big money for barong wearing bureaucrats if their project is FREE and OPEN.

Still don't believe me? Well do the following:

Go here: http://www.who.is

Then type in the one and only space provided there bayanihan.gov.ph. Click the button.


More:
Go here: http://web.archive.org

Then type in the Wayback Machine blank this: http://www.bayanihan.gov.ph

Then press the Take Me Back button


The last entry in the way back machine is August 12, 2007

More:

In distrowatch, you could see that their last release was on March 28, 2007



WHAT ABOUT THE POSC: OR THE SO CALLED PHILIPPINE OPEN SOURCE COLLEGE

As of March 22, 2008 the website is still up: http://www.matcom-posc.com
It will expire on August 23, 2008, so if you really like to wait that long be my guest.
The site is registered to: Well if you really want to know, click this:

http://www.who.is/whois-com/ip-address/matcom-posc.com/

What brought them into our attention was its recognition by the good people at ubuntu-ph

Philippine Open Source College!
"Learning without Barriers, Technology without Borders"

We are inviting all ICT people from different schools to visit us here in Philippine Open Source College, Athens Academy Bldg., 3A-1 Ballecer St. Lower Bicutan Taguig City! Near Signal Village National High School! In front of Dreamland! You can visit us every weekdays! 1PM-7PM!

All are welcome to see different open source technologies here! You can contact us at this number, 09215583065!

Know what's best? We are offering "Free College, 2-year Courses! NO TUITION FEES" very good for those students who want to be open source literate elite graduates! HURRY! INQUIRE NOW! (Linux/OS Open Source Curriculum!)

Free installers! Just bring your own blank CDs for you to have your own Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Bayanihan, Suse, PCLinuxOS, etc..! (All distros are here! STRICTLY NO WINDOWS!)

Thanks and GOD bless us all! All Open Source Software users and developers!

---==_d@rk_@ngel_==---

I even registered there.

Oh well, what's up guys? Is it up or is it down? Anyway, from what I've gathered either these kids don't have much time for altruistic ventures or just didn't get the support that they needed.

From what I remember d@rk_@ngel is Mr. Jomyr Alipio. who is located here:

Whatever their reasons, a lot of good things didn't materialize for reasons that these people want to keep themselves. I guess that's part of the downside to Open Source. Many projects do indeed get abandoned and forgotten. I myself for one am ashamed to admit that I have once promised to make a sizeable donation of PCs to a small school in Batangas with Edubuntu as the software. I made this promise to the ubuntu-Ph team and after I have not been able to deliver I felt down and didn't go there for a long time. My reasons are pretty good actually: a law firm.

Well, hopefully these dreams come true one day.

A Case of Manipulating the Market Using E-bay: Kindle EBook Reader

I am not an expert in market or economics and I haven't bought anything online ever in my entire life. But one thing is for sure. I do know about scalpers. Scalpers, in our country refer to the people outside any entertainment venue, be it sports, concerts, promotions - anything that is live and requires paid tickets to get in - who sell tickets they bought to people who are anxious to get in at extremely ramped up prices. In simple terms, they are people who engage in a simple buy and sell scheme. In some countries it is illegal. But for online, I guess it is another matter.

The example I would like you all to be aware of is the new hyped up: Amazon E-Book Reader called Kindle. Undoubtedly a breakthrough product in terms of its features and not to mention its long awaited entrance into the market. The Kindle is an E-book reader that every avid book reader wants. Compact, sleek and useful, it is the E-book Reader for the books. No pun intended.

I for one, would have liked to buy one, if my finances permit me.

THE POINT.

The point is that a lot of unscrupulous people have taken advantage of the dismally slow manufacturing of the product. Amazon immediately ran out of stocks reportedly because people have scrambled to get their hands on one. Undoubtedly - a lot of them would pay for more than premium prices to get one for bragging rights.

This prompted Amazon to put this message out:






Okay, so it ran out, so what? Well look at the next picture kimosabe!






Now, is it wrong? Yes. Is it illegal? No. Go figure.

From the original price of $399.00 US, people at E-bay hiked it from $ 405.00 US to $ 499.00 US. Amazing.

My Stand

This is morally wrong. Now, I don't know about the rest of you people in the world today, but in my own humble opinion nothing could - and should be done about this. This is after all, a device for leisure and entertainment accessible for you guys living in the so called First World.

I am not singling out e-bay on this nor am I pointing only to the evils wrought by the Internet. People do this and people do this to other more important things too. It would hurt if they do that with rice that's for sure. It would hurt if they do that for water that is for sure. It would hurt if they do that for all the basic human needs. This is my stand.

Despite all my imperfections as a human being - as an earthling living on the planet Earth - I believe that the impending and inevitable scarcity of basic human goods or resources would be heightened by this "entrepreneurial scheme" to buy and sell things at higher prices. True, legislating about that would stifle whole economies to say the least. True, the demarcation between legitimate buying and selling is easily obfuscated by misdeclarations of usage. But what choice do we have?

If you have read up to this point, let me make it a point that this is not only an article about E-bay or Amazon or Kindle. It is about the future. It will be a future of scarce resources, of higher prices - due to practices like these. These are practices not illegal - In fact given the right declaration and obfuscation of circumstances - they can be seen as perfectly normal commercial activities.

What does this mean for you?

One day you will find out.

As for me, I am living in it everyday. We pay for water here at more than 400 % the normal rate. Instead of the water utilities we have the water haulers who charge the same amount as one month water if it came from the utilities per water tank delivery.

I am living in a place where government subsidized "cheap rice" is being resold illegally to commercial rice retailers at discount prices giving the businessmen enormous discounts and enormous profits.

Even as the world's supplies dwindle every minute, they continue on doing these practices.

The question is when will we take a stand. When it's too late?

Why I said nothing could be done about this. Because after you've read this - you are definitely going to click a new icon on your browser. After you have read this, you will say, "I know about this already, so far I can still make do with the current resources. This is the government's job."

But will they do it? Government's around the world have increasingly shared and reinforced the same characteristic: Not listening to their people. Millions protested against the War in Iraq - Government did squat. Now Iraq is a hell hole.

As are most of my articles - this article is unfinished since this business is unfinished.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Linux and Philosophy

"Richard Stallman is "The Great Philosopher"..."

--Linus Torvalds in Revolution OS



Lately, I have been stumbling upon Linux users who blog about Linux whose formal training involved Philosophy.

So what is fundamentally strange about people who have similar backgrounds or profiles so to speak?

Maybe nothing or maybe everything. Is it normal to find people who have the same formal educational background who share the same passion - such as writing about Linux?

What I found interesting about these people is their driving force. Writing about something that is free - in commercial terms - does not bring revenue. Yet despite that, they continue tapping their keyboards in the hope that they are heard.

Could it be that the main driving force to these writers may be the altruistic allure of Linux and the corresponding GNU Philosophy? Let's take a closer look.

Interestingly, you could always find specific terms jumping from the field of philosophy to the diverse field of Computer Science. A good example of such a term is the "Social Contract". Debian, a form of Linux or in more technical terms a distribution of Linux, in particular comes to mind when it used the term "Social Contract" and adopted it for use as the "Debian Social Contract".

It metamorphosed from being "just an agreement". It became stronger, more like a Constitution. Why is there a need for that? Why not just call it: "The Debian Guidelines" or "The Debian Policy"?

In fact, there already is a "Debian Policy" for those who wish to contribute. This is specifically catered to developers who want to share their talent to the community. Among the policies enumerated are:


You are not afraid of reading really LOTS of documentation before asking. You do your homework before.

You are not afraid of asking for help and hints from other developers to learn different approaches.

You are willing to try different solutions in programming. Not afraid of non-orthodox ways of thinking.


Find more about the Debian Policy here.

So who are these people with Philosophy backgrounds that are drawn to Linux?

Jeffrey Oldham
Co-Author of the book, got his Philosophy Doctorate at Stanford and is currently working with advanced algorithms.
Advanced Linux Programming

John Eikenberry
Wrote an article called Linux and AI, has a Master's degree in Philosophy, dealing with the "esoteric area known as phenomenological psychology"
Linux Gazette

Philosophical Geekess
A young prolific Australian linux blogger and web designer
Geekosophical

Jucato

A graduate of Philosophy at the University of Sto. Tomas, Tech Support at #kubuntu, kubuntu contributor
http://jucato.org



Maybe they are not unique after all. Maybe they are common. After all, so many has been written about Linux and Philosophy already that you can find 728,000 related entries in Google about "Linux and Philosophy".

The first entry as of March 21, 2008 would be Free Philosophy: The Beauty of Doubt.

Whatever their reasons may be. I am pretty sure that they are pretty interesting.

[UPDATE] Due to popular demand, I would be posting some interviews that I got from some of these outstanding philosopher cum Linux enthusiasts. If there are no objections, I already sent out some emails to some of them which include the following questions:

1. Please tell us something about yourself.

2. Which distribution do you use and why?

3. How would you link Philosophy and Linux?

4. Does writing about Linux bring you revenue? If not, then why do you write about it?

5. How do you feel about Linux the way it is now (in terms of trends, prospects, future,)?

6. What is so Philosophical about Linux

Well, I hope they reply.

[UPDATE] I'm very happy to announce that Jucato replied.

1. Please tell us something about yourself.

I graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines with the degree of
Bachelor of Arts Classical major in Philosophy in 2004. I've been a Linux and
Free Software user for over 2 years now, starting with Kubuntu in January of
2006. Ever since I've gotten my Linux feet, I've been contributing to Kubuntu
and KDE in user support and a few patches here and there.

I have a confession to make first. After graduating from college, my
(academic) Philosophy knowledge has sort of fallen by the wayside. I've been
meaning to "review" my notes and books in college, but haven't really
scheduled it into my life just yet. So don't expect lofty/deep philosophical
discourses from me. :D


2. Which distribution do you use and why?

I started with Kubuntu as my first GNU/Linux distribution. My criteria for
choosing my first distro was quite simple: I needed a 1-CD (easy to download
and burn, didn't have DVD burner back then), KDE-based, Debian-based distro
that was popular enough to have a good/big knowledge base, and it should have
a newbie-friendly community. Kubuntu easily fell into that category
(SimplyMEPIS was the other contender). So I used that as my first distro, and
everything just worked beautifully, so I had no reason to switch.

Fast forward 2 years later, I'm now using another distro: Source Mage
GNU/Linux, a source-based distro with a fantasy/RPG metaphor. This time my
requirements have been different. I wanted a source-based distro that gave me
full control over my system (rules out all binary distros) and had a small
but active and friendly community (rules out Gentoo on the "small" part). I
was also quite interested in the RPG-like setup. So I've been using it on my
desktop since September. Kubuntu remains my binary distro of choice for my
laptop.


[3. See below]

4. Does writing about Linux bring you revenue? If not, then why do you write
about it?

I wish it did. And maybe it could, in the future... But anyway, I do it, even
without getting paid, because of two reasons. First is that I like writing,
specially about things I'm passionate about. Although the actual process of
writing seems to be highly dependent on my moods (but I do have lots of ideas
for future writeups). The second reason is that I am eager to share what I
know or have learned, and also to learn from others in the process. That's
why I like to write on my blog, so that others can comment and share their
knowledge with me. Fulfilling those two things is somewhat enough for me to
keep on writing.


5. How do you feel about Linux the way it is now (in terms of trends,
prospects, future,)?

I don't have a krystal ball, so I can't really say anything about the future
for certain. I haven't used FOSS that long to be able to assess its current
status based on its past. All I can personally say is that I believe that
Linux and FOSS is at a very important stage in its growth. More and more
people are growing aware of problems with proprietary software and formats.
More and more businesses are seeing FOSS not just as a fad but as a genuine
opportunity for growth. But at the same time, Linux must not lose its sense
of self and be carried away by trends or be taken advantage of by
unscrupulous people. It must continually define and redefine itself to adjust
to the times yet remain steadfast in its identity. We have seen such a
process in the drafting of GPLv3.

I can also say that the movement now is not only on the area of free and open
software, but on the turf of open formats and standards. That's where the
battle lies now, IMHO.


3. How would you link Philosophy and Linux?
6. What is so Philosophical about Linux

I'll answer this two together, since I consider them to be similar and/or
related. I'm also going to replace "Linux" with "FOSS", since it applies more
to the movement than to a specific product (like the Linux kernel or
GNU/Linux distributions).

I think Philosophy and FOSS share certain qualities, such as how they both
started and developed through time. In the beginning, there was a free
exchange of ideas. Philosophers would have access to the thoughts and
writings of their fellows and would discuss, critique, or support them. They
would also build upon the ideas of their predecessors and contemporaries. It
was this freedom that enabled great thinkers throughout history to produce
such thoughts and writings that we now have in our hands. Free and Open
Source Software's history is also similar. The culture that gave birth to
Free Software, the hacker culture, was a culture that nurtured the free
exchange of ideas, in the form of software, or more specifically, source
code. Just as Philosophy grew and thrived in this freedom, so would Free
Software. This freedom is something that we should take care of and protect.

Another "link", although a very soft one, that I have between Philosophy and
FOSS is the fact that there are so many varied, and sometimes conflicting
philosophies interwoven throughout the "movement" (if you could call it
that). Not only is FOSS a bazaar of goods (source code/software). It is also
a bazaar of philosophies, of ideologies. There is no single, dominating,
shoved-in-your-throat philosophy. Philosophies can also change over time. It
adapts to the particular context that it is in.

What I probably find most philosophical about Linux and FOSS is the fact that
it is a melting pot for a myriad of different philosophies, or more
properly, "world views" (which, essentially, is what Philosophy is about).
Each project goals, each document, each license, is a resource for
philosophically thinking about that project. How do these people think of
software? How do they think of other people? How do they view society or
community? What do they think is the most essential aspect of software? What
is their "ultimate good"? And other stuff like that. The Free Software
Definition, The Open Source Definition, the Debian Free Software Guidelines
and Social Contract, the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, the BSD Licenses, the
Creative Commons, GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, KDE identity, goals, and
policies, etc. All of these give a glimpse of the world view of these
communities, of how they see the world of software, and how they think that
world should be.

Maybe if I had known about Linux more than 4 years ago, I would probably
written my thesis about Free and Open Source Software Philsophy. It's
probably an interesting and relatively unexplored field in academic
Philosophy. But I would probably have a hard time looking for an adviser and
convincing the faculty about my topic, since it's an unspoken requirement
that one should have a (relatively) known philosopher to use as our
reference. I'd imagine such a thesis would be a strange mix of social
philosophy (community structure, politics), ethics (freedom, sharing, law),
epistemology and philosophical pyschology (HCI), and other fields. Or maybe
it's high time for the thinkers of our age to come up with something we can
call the Philosophy of Free and Open Source Software.


--
Juan Carlos G. Torres
Jucato
1024D/6F507597

[UPDATE] April 6, 2008 John Eikenberry Replies to Interview Request

HowTo: Set A Default Browser in Debian

Let's just say that you are a newbie like me. I know its easy to set a default browser in Debian but hey, I get to write about my experience on learning something new right?

Hehe, usually the normal way to do this would be to open your browser's settings and check if it is the default browser.

They like to do that.

The unusual way would be to do that in the terminal.

$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser


Then something like this would appear:

[sudo] password for daniel:

There are 6 alternatives which provide `x-www-browser'.

Selection Alternative
-----------------------------------------------
1 /usr/bin/iceape
2 /usr/bin/opera
3 /usr/bin/epiphany
*+ 4 /usr/bin/dillo
5 /usr/bin/konqueror
6 /usr/bin/iceweasel

Press enter to keep the default[*], or type selection number:


Enter the number of the browser that you would like as the default one and presto. Easier than the GUI. If you have the commands handy.

Got this from: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Default_browser

How I Became a GreenPeace Member

A few months ago, I ventured in an endeavor that set me looking for a job in our country's financial capital, Makati. Going there was tiring and draining - specially if you don't have a car. It was really too hot to commute and the commute was too slow. From where I am living, I have to ride the following to go there:

1. A Tricycle




2. A Jeepney

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3. A Bus

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4. And then I am in Makati!

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Okay, so I was walking around and I find a guy wearing a strange and bright green neon tshirt that says "Greenpeace". So I said, "Hey, are you giving out those pretty stickers and CDs for free?" The guy looked up and said, "Yes sir we are. But you have to put your name in this paper and blah blah blah blah and then you have to make an autodebit for your bank account - voluntary of course any amount in pledges would do blah blah blah and then you have to participate.

So, thinking about the Free CD and stickers I decided to join. Unfortunately, it is only now that I realized that I put the wrong account number to be autodebited. So, hehe, sorry!!!

Anyway, there are a lot of activites and they regularly send me email. But I haven't been to one of the activites because I'm broke and wouldn't really know what I need to do since I have no money most of the time.

Anyway, my heart goes out to all environmentalists in the hope that they help save the environment. They better act quick because NatGeo said that the Earth would be a terrible place to live in if the Global Average Temperature would increase by 2 degrees Celsius.

I promise, that if one day I became rich, I would work on the following things:

1. A TriForce Gate just like Clanzers
2. Ummm. Several other inventions that I could make money off so I am not putting them here.

These GreenPeace people are good people, see they made the Electric Jeepney!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Linux Goodies Cookie Jar was Invented by Debian

In the world of Linux, you might want to ask, "Where do all the goodies come from?" The goodies that I am talking about that make you all excited in Linux are of course the free software! I am a practical person, I want to install free software with just one gesture or command. But how I do this in complicated Linux PCs?

The answer is the innovative advanced packaging system of Debian called apt. With Apt, you can install thousands of 'goodies' on your PC. With Apt you are given the chance to upgrade these software at a command or a click of a button.

In Windows, if you want to get new goodies (paid goodies) - you either buy software in a box and CD or you download the exe or msi file from the Internet and then click on the installation icon then click on numerous next buttons then type the directory of the installation then click on FINISH. Then you click on the icon again to run the software.

Its EASY if you've gotten used to it.

In Debian Linux, say you want to install "Tremulous" a game I am currently addicted to, you merely type this on your terminal and presto!

$ sudo apt-get install tremulous


Now, which do you think is easier?

I know, I know... You'd have to always have a terminal open, I know I know, your sources.list must always be correct and updated. I know I know configuring can be a pain. But once you've set these things up - you're set! These are only one time only occurrences that need to be addressed and occassionally maintained.

My fellow debian blogger Rakesh Kumar, explains APT further at his very informative blog post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Take on the Browser Wars: What is the Fastest Browser Around?

Take your pick in the latest episode in the never ending saga called "Browser Wars: Episode 5038484579203 Battle of the Browser Bots".

I am going to make this short as I have done so lately. I believe in Ockham's Razor, the shortest way is the best way. Okay, but not in sexual performance.

Anyway, back to the BWars, while every browser is claiming to be the best, fastest, optimized, feature filled, mind blowing, undie dropping features. I for one would say, none of them take the pie.

None of them, yes, I mean IE 8, FF3, Opera or Safari can beat this browser evar!

I am talking about Dillo!

This midget can run fast. VERY FAST!

Well, it can make a lot of purdy so called Web 2.0 websites look like they were made in the stone age of the Intarwebs - the 90s. But hey, you wanted fast right?

Still don't believe me? Try it yourself!

Well, here are some pictures.

[UPDATED] HowTo: Install Firefox 3 in Debian

First upgrade your libgtk library to 2.10 above easily via adept or synaptic.

[FINAL UPDATE-BEST METHOD] June 30, 2008.

To install Firefox 3 on Debian do this:




$ wget ftp://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-3.0.tar.bz2

$ cd /usr/local

$ sudo tar -xvjf /home/yourusername/downloadfolder/firefox-3.0.tar.bz2

$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/firefox/firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox3

*note that in the line /usr/loca/bin/firefox3 you can change 'firefox3' to a shorter and more convenient name like ff3, just replace 'firefox3' with the shortcut that you would like

*To run Firefox 3 just execute the command for it. For example

$ ff3


----------------------------------------------------


[OLD UPDATE] May 15, 2008. I didn't realize that you could just download firefox-linux here.

And then Untar the tar file, for example:

$ tar -xjvf firefox-3.0b5.tar.bz2

A new directory "firefox" would be created

$ cd firefox

$ ./firefox

The only downside to this method is you have to cd to the directory where you extracted firefox all the time. Works for me though.

[OLD UPDATE] Alternative installation methods over at Debian Forums

How to Install Firefox 3 RC in Debian


[ALTERNATIVE METHOD BY TOMBUNTU]

Mr. Tombuntu's tutorial on installing Firefox 3 b4.

Monday, March 17, 2008

[SOLVED] $apt-get update problem

I was trying to install glest, a free RTS game from the debian repositories with:

$ sudo apt-get update


Reading package lists... Error!
W: GPG error: http://archive.canonical.com dapper-commercial Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 40976EAF437D05B5
W: GPG error: http://non-us.debian.org stable/non-US Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY F1D53D8C4F368D5D
E: Dynamic MMap ran out of room
E: Error occurred while processing tumiki-fighters (NewVersion1)
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.de.debian.org_debian_dists_sid_main_binary-i386_Packages
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.


Don't ask me what they all mean. I just know that towards the end of executing apt-get update, I got them.

Anyway, luckily I stumbled upon an ubuntuforums post concerning almost the same problem and walla!

The solution was
$ sudo apt-get update -o APT::Cache-Limit=25165824

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Windows Only - StarCraft II

Starcraft II doesn't sound like World of Starcraft, but who knows? I loved this game, and thought at the time it was first released that it was better than Warcraft. Now, Warcraft before it became the legend that it is now, evolved into Warcraft II and Warcraft III. So who knows, maybe Blizzard is testing the waters on whether Starcraft would be a viable MMORPG. It would be drastically cool and a breath of fresh air in an overly polluted Internet air of WoW. WoW this Wow that. It may be time for WoS or maybe StarCraft Worlds.

Pictures in the link

Screenshots

Friday, March 14, 2008

What is Linux?

For those of you who prefer to watch or hear about "What is Linux?" rather than read about it, here's a great video and a collection of podcasts that are very comprehensive and educational.



More videos


UPDATE:

I also discovered a very good podcast about Linux made by Chess Griffin over at LinuxReality.com

Sunday, March 02, 2008

If You Loved Tremulous You'll Love This

If you like free games such as Tremulous, you'll most likely like this game. It is a multiplatform first person shooter that offers a fresh take on the fps genre.

This cartoonish game distinguishes itself from other multiplatform games by being lackadaisical in disposition.

The environment reminds you of the movie "Toy Story". Its full 3D environment, though graphics card intensive could be described with two words: PURE DELIGHT.

I feel that this game is a badass 3D game rendition of the cartoon series the smurfs. However, that said, this game has an attitude - what with all the middle finger raising antics in its character selection screen and skimpy girl suits. If you like your kid to try this game out, you better use the filter "Child Friendly Mod" ironically posted by a guy named "horny".

To top that, the game runs in 3 platforms, Windows PCs, MACs, and Linux boxes.

Oh, by the way, did I say that it was free?

 
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