On the Front Lines with Richard Stallman


Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and The GNU Project, has had a consistent message about freedom for computer users for over 23 years. His first experiences with computers predate his work with the MIT AI Lab, which began in 1972. When I began researching for this interview, I had a different concept of Free Software and Open Source – so much so, that I rarely distinguished between the two. After nearly two months since my initial contact with Mr. Stallman, I’d like to think that I have a better grasp on the differences between them. I’ve also learned that Richard Stallman’s vision for Free Software – that’s “Free” as in “Free Speech” – has remained his primary focus.

You’ve been a programmer for longer than most common folk realize computers have even been around. What is it about programming that you enjoy most? What compels you to code? Continue reading

Sublime – an incredible text editor

I was looking through some wordpress templates and came across a really nice editor called sublime text editor here – http://www.sublimetext.com/ check out the functionality – it’s got to be one of the best editors for coding that I’ve run across. You can download and run a fully functional “unregistered” version (which doesn’t expire currently). If you like it and use it, it’s worth the $60 USD that the developer is asking.

It really has some great features – I can hardly wait for my next web dev project so I can actually use it instead of just tinkering. Check the screenshot:


PowerEdge R610 1U Rack Server

Buy it… http://sheboygan.craigslist.org/sys/3127167914.html

Info from Dell: http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/poweredge-r610/pd

Dell: Windows for Morons!

Dell + Windows = Moron

I recently ran across this bit of copy from Dell (Europe) in which they try to explain why you may, or may not want Windows or Linux on your computer. I wanted to touch on a few of these, namely the argument that you may not want to learn new programs. The average user would be no more “lost” in Open Office than they are in Microsoft Office. Same goes for Thunderbird, or Evolution as compared to Windows Mail (formerly Outlook Express), or Outlook. It has been my experience that what is familiar is the icon. If people know which icon to click on, they shouldn’t have any problems using “new programs”. To wit: I installed Open Office a few years ago on the machines at a dental practice in lieu of the much more expensive Microsoft Office Suite. Once I showed folks what icon to click, they were, in fact, good to go. I have never in over 4 years had a support call as a result of this installation – but I get them regularly from other clients regarding Office issues.

The “You are new to using computers” so you should pick Windows is another charm that I felt particular disdain for. Being new to computer use is precisely the BEST time to start using Linux. The new user has no preconceptions about what the experience should be like. The learning curve is, dare I say, the same for either system (no data to support this – just a hunch). I hear that once you try Linux, you never go back!

On the Ubuntu side, we are told that this would be a good choice if you are interested in Open Source programming. If I am not, I don’t know what Open Source programming is. On the other hand, the Windows side doesn’t say that Windows is a good fit if you are interested in proprietary programming – Dell really missed the opportunity to up-sell the latest .net developer environment!

Lastly, the screen shot of Windows shows the Control Panel – very serious stuff! While the Ubuntu screenshot shows the game folder. Some how this denotes that one can’t do much “real” computing on the Ubuntu system.

I’m not a hater, or a fanboy but it really seems to me that Dell dropped the ball in this “comparison”. It’s just another illustration that the products a company marks up for profit get bias treatment.

So, there’s my 2 cents. What’s yours?

Week Link Wednesday #15 – a Day Late & a Dollar Short

Week Link Wednesday Well, another week almost done! Nothing special planned for the Easter weekend – just hanging out with my family – which is my favorite thing to do. So let’s get down to business:

Do you ever need an old version of software but can find it anymore? I’ve run into that issue a few times and discovered that the site OldVersion.com is indespensible. They’ve got tons of different versions of many, many programs from media players and graphics to security and utilities.

Next up is a bit of nerd humor: XKCD – the self described “…webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” The site contains adult language so it is not suitable for kids. Here’s a sample: Continue reading

Linux Fanboy Admits to Having Windows on His PC

After boasting to friends, family, and customers that I have not used a Microsoft Windows operating system for several years, I feel the need to come clean: I have a copy of Windows XP Home on my PC – it makes an excellent coaster and works quite well to keep the coffee rings off of my 100% Kubuntu Linux box… I feel as though an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders having finally revealed this blemish on my geekiness… thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

Windows XP Home on a Linux Box

The best way to put Windows XP Home on a Linux box.