Ubuntu Announces Mobile Phone OS

Ubuntu has announced a mobile phone OS. It will demo at CES January 8-11.

Looks pretty spiffy, but how will it play in this market? At least it’ll keep everyone honest.

<a href=”http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/phone”>Ubuntu for phones</a>.

Drobo Still Takes Forever to Rebuild?

I’m guessing from the amount of hits on the Drobo article from 2009 that people are still having problems with Drobos rebuilding the array in a decent amount of time.

Ever since I got a DS4600 using standard RAID-5 I’ve been quite happy. Rebuild times on a 6TB volume are about 2.5 hours. Note: the volume is only about 1/3rd full, but it’s still way more data than what was on the Drobo in 2009.

Since that incident I strongly reconsider anything that implements something in a closed, proprietary fashion to replace a standard.

Just sayin’.

If you have one of the newer Drobo units and still have problems with the array rebuilding in an acceptable amount of time, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.

Could a Bug be Deliberately Coded into an Open Source Project for Financial Gain?

For some bizarre reason, the thought at the top of my head last night at bedtime was… “I wonder if sometimes… open source developers deliberately code bugs or withhold fixes for financial gain?”

If you don’t follow what I mean, here’s where I was: often times, large corporations or benefactors will offer a code fix bounty or developmental funding for an open source project they have come to rely upon.  What if an open source developer were to deliberately code a bug into an open source project or withhold a fix so they might extract some financial support with this method?

I brought it up in #morphix to Gandalfar, one of my trusted open source advisors.  We debated it shortly and he brought up several good points.  While this may happen, the scheme is likely to fall apart quickly.  The community is the resolver of situations like this.  If the community finds a bug and offers a fix for the problem, then the developer will find themselves in a political combat situation.  They would likely try to stifle the fix with some ridiculous excuses and/or start to censor discussion of the subject over mailing lists or on forums.  Speculation could be raised about the issue and ultimately, people could start to fork the project elsewhere, unless the license of the project disallows that.  In the long run, the community would resolve the situation by simply offering a new solution.

So while it could theoretically be achieved for short-term gain, in the long run the community makes the approach unsustainable.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, I think we all know that closed source entities often engage in this practice.  I could point out several examples that I have absolute knowledge of this happening, but I don’t think I have to.  I’m not completely absolving open source from this either – look at what “official distributions” do in some situations… Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell (SUSE) for example.  But in those situations, if you didn’t want to pay to upgrade the operating system and still resolve your situation, we all know that with the right application of effort and skill you could overcome it.

All in all, this whole thought process ends up with a positive note about open source.  If it’s broken, you can fix it yourself or work with others to make it happen.  The community – that incredibly large, global groupthink – keeps it all honest.

Or, you can put all your money and eggs into a closed source basket and find out you’re getting screwed when it’s too late.

It’s all about choice, right?

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A brand new NO CARRIER

For those of you who follow my adventures here, but not necessarily my adventures over there, you should be aware that we’ve posted NO CARRIER Episode #11.  This episode is very special to my heart because it’s the first show we did in our new studio (Whitey is still over Skype though).  I think the audio quality is MUCH better.  Of course, we’ll be tweaking as things move on, but the new studio and the new processes we’re using to lay down the audio sound damn fine if I do say so myself.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

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My Ex Boss, the Linux Hero

Tony Maro, the CIO of Evrichart (and also my boss from my old job prior to NASA) was interviewed by ZDNet!

Tony is an awesome, knowledgeable and forward-thinking guy.  He’s way ahead of his time in terms of CIO leadership and the IT industry.  He makes this look easy and roots his decisions in common sense, not marketing crap.  It’s served him and Evrichart well.

Incidentally, we also interviewed Tony on NO CARRIER some time ago.  I forget which episode it was, but it was one of the first shows.  It’s really meaty on details if you’d like to take a list.

Oh, and I did the initial MySQL database design for that software 🙂

Congratulations, Tony!  I hope you’re riding high on the success.  You deserve it.  Here’s also to hoping I can take my little endeavor just as far!

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Industy buzzword that needs to die: the “experience”

RENTON, WA - MAY 4: (FILES)  Microsoft product...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

One of the industry buzzwords that needs to go to the grave is the user “experience.”

Don’t quote me here, but I recall this buzzword being developed by Microsoft as part of the marketing campaign behind Windows XP.  XP was supposed to be “experience” or “expert” or “Xtra stuPid marketing,” I’m not sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an XP hater.  But I’m definitely a hater of the term “experience.”

The user interface is just that, an interface.  The term “experience” has its roots in the passive voice.  Somewhere in there you’ll find that the user “experience” for computing generally sucks.  It’s just a nicer way of saying “our user interface sucks, but it provides an experience.”

Whatever.  Drop it.  Look, other computing companies are just as guilty on this one (I’m looking at you RIM and Apple), but the fact is – everything great on the Internet is ruined by salespeople and marketers, period.

This is just one example of many.

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Where Powershell Fails

I’m all about negativity today. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve had something nagging at me for a while now and I think I’ve just figured it out. Powershell is Microsoft‘s answer to having a dumb command line through the Win95 – Win2003 years and it’s quite powerful, as the name implies. Microsoft likes it so much that they makes most of the Exchange 2007 administration efforts in the Exchange Management Shell, a derivative of Powershell that contains Exchange-specific cmdlets.

I’ve long bemoaned to our internal support personnel… and… well, probably my Microsoft contacts too… about how discombobulated Powershell actually is. It’s like it was designed with no standard in mind for the commands – each developer wrote their own cmdlet with their own switches and methods to do things the way they saw fit.

But it’s actually worse than that. Now I’ve come to realize that the problem with managing Exchange from the shell is not only because of the lack of standardization, but because a great deal of this SHOULDN’T be done in a shell command. I’ve heard that Powershell was designed to attract Linux admins who prefer the command line and that’s fine. But I do not know of a Linux admin who would type a command to set a disclaimer on the entire Exchange organization, but rather he/she would edit a config file of some kind. That way, not only would the disclaimer setting be readily apparent and visible, but it wouldn’t take some obscure command to be executed to show me the meat of the option.

What tripped this realization was this “power tip” when I just went into the Exchange shell on one of our servers:

Tip of the day #58:

Do you want to add a disclaimer to all outbound e-mail messages? Type:

$Condition = Get-TransportRulePredicate FromScope
$Condition.Scope = "InOrganization"
$Condition2 = Get-TransportRulePredicate SentToScope
$Condition2.Scope = "NotInOrganization"
$Action = Get-TransportRuleAction ApplyDisclaimer
$Action.Text = "Sample disclaimer text"
New-TransportRule -Name "Sample disclaimer" -Condition @($Condition, $Condition2) -Action @($Action)

Why am I not looking in a config file for this information? Fail.

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NO CARRIER Episode 2 is out!

I’ve just posted NO CARRIER Episode #2: Diagnosis: Penguin. Yeah, this is the one I said you open sourcers might like. It has the telling of a Linux success story, one that I’m sure many of you already understand the model, but perhaps the suits do not. Check it out!


Upcoming NO CARRIER may be of interest to open sourcers

Those of you who read the open source parts of this blog may be interested in NO CARRIER Episode 2: Diagnosis Penguin. It’s a little over an hour long, but the second half of the podcast is dominated by an interview with a company who found Windows inadequate for their needs. It’s a wonderful Linux success story and there might be some lessons for entrepreneurs out there.

Give it a listen and spread the word if you’re one of those well-read Linux folks, please 🙂

When source code attacks

DebianImage via Wikipedia

#477454 – Insulting source code – Debian Bug report logs

…ran across this bug filing in my morning travels.  What a scream.  I love it when nerds get personal and start using source code to do battle.  That’s one of my favorite parts of Linux – just think of all the copies of Debian floating around out there that contains source code like this (Warning: salty, sailor-esque language, as if readers of this blog haven’t run across it before):

— player.py (Revision 4026)
+++ player.py (Revision 4027)
@@ -287,7 +287,9 @@

def init(pipeline, librarian):
– if gst.element_make_from_uri(gst.URI_SRC, “file://”, “”):
+ if gst.element_make_from_uri(
+ gst.URI_SRC,
+ “file:///Sebastian/Droge/please/choke/on/a/bucket/of/cocks”, “”):
global playlist
playlist = PlaylistPlayer(pipeline or “gconfaudiosink”,
return playlist
daniel@bert:~/1/quodlibet-1.x$ svn log -r 4026:4027
r4027 | piman | 2007-04-27 05:17:05 +0200 (Fr, 27 Apr 2007) | 1 line

player.init: Give a fake filename to trick GStreamer 0.10.12’s filesrc.