Another Hatchet Job From Michael Larabel

Weekends are somewhat slow on the web so I dig around in cold dark corners for something about which to write. I visited this hatchet-job at Phoronix. Larabel seems to have little good to say about FSF and its list of “high priority” projects. Instead of saying nothing or providing a solution, it’s all negative:

  • He criticizes the lagging Gnash project which is supposed to “keep up” with the deprecated Flash system of Adobe. Does he want developers to code for a system that won’t be used?
  • He does mention that Google is contributing to the CoreBoot project because of its quick-booting property, but he writes, “Google Chrome OS mobile devices haven’t exactly been flying off the shelves.

    I remain quite hopeful for Coreboot as a project, but in the forseeable future I don’t see it shipping on too many consumer products. There’s also financial institutions, trading firms, and similar organizations that like Coreboot for its fast boot times and being open-source to verify greater security.”

  • It goes downhill from there. He bashes work on a Skype-replacement, video editor, Google Earth-replacement, Free Software distros, etc.
  • He seems to tire near the end, dropping from vitriol to innuendo, “The biggest farce of all, and the last on the list, is the PowerVR drivers. This has been a high-priority FSF project for more than one year yet there’s virtually no work towards this goal.”

For Pity’s sake, it’s a wishlist, not a plan to take over the world. If he thinks there’s a better wishlist to make, he should create his own instead of finding fault.

Here’s my wishlist. I think there is plenty of good software in FLOSS so it is not a high priority to create more unless someone has the urge. I think the highest priority of the Free Software movement should be to educate people about Free Software. There are still many who don’t know enough about Free Software to demand it from OEMs and retailers.

  1. Every user or developer of FLOSS should commit to introducing 10 (or more) people to FLOSS in 2012. If 100 million flossies aren’t enough, a billion should really make a difference.
  2. Every flossie should make every effort to see that FLOSS is used extensively at home, at work, in government and education. It does not take much effort to keep FLOSS on the radar. Just mentioning it at every opportunity to modify IT systems is useful. For hints, read what the Dark Side does. Of course they spend $hundreds of millions promoting slavery every year. Flossies can do that, too, to promote freedom.
  3. Users should contribute bug reports, documentation, suggestions for FLOSS packages they use. That is the least anyone should give for the privilege of using FLOSS with a $0 licence.
  4. Flossies should not accept the “1%” number wherever it is found. GNU/Linux passed that many years ago and has not slowed down. The NetApplications’ data has clear bias to business-use which is not representative at all of use in government, education and personal use. Challenge that assertion in all forums.
  5. Flossies should liberate 10 (or more) PCs annually by installing GNU/Linux. It’s the FLOSS OS most likely to succeed on desktops/notebooks. Android/Linux may eventually be a better solution, but for now GNU/Linux is just easier to install and has plenty of good software.
  6. Every flossie should extend his/her knowledge of GNU/Linux to all kinds of networking, learning to exploit the power of networking, the most powerful feature of GNU/Linux. Learn to use things like iptables (directly or through some applications), NFS, openSSH, SSHfs, X11, Apache/boa/nginx or other web server, and databases. M$ offers nothing like that without major additional expense. This makes the price/performance decision very clear.
  7. Every flossie should learn to use a package manager to administer multiple PCs on a LAN with a local cache or mirror. The increased performance is wonderful, making any number of PCs as easy as one to administer.
  8. Every flossie should learn how to set up KVM and use virt-manager to run virtual machines on GNU/Linux so that demonstrations, tests of software, and screenshots of procedures are readily available. All the words in the world are not as convincing to a person as seeing FLOSS run. Learn to use ffmpeg or vlc to record the desktop to preserve sessions. Video is more real to viewers than still pictures.
  9. Every flossie who would demonstrate GNU/Linux and other FLOSS should learn to be a system administrator, not just a user, in order to be conversant with all kinds of issues that might arise in installation, upgrades, configurations and generally modifying systems to suit users. At the very list, learn how to find packages for your distro and to install them.
  10. Every flossie who would aid newbies should at least learn to use a few applications of each kind in GNU/Linux so that a newbie can be told what choices there are and the advantages of each. Learn to be a “salesman” for FLOSS.

These wishlist items would make the world a better place not a sadder place.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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17 Responses to Another Hatchet Job From Michael Larabel

  1. Not NIPS but in a quiet system the lights should only be flashing occasionally. The activity lights were flashing continuously at maximum rate, clearly abnormal on a small office router. There were 4-5 people in the building, including me. These were point-of-sale machines, not productivity machines. The parts clerks had catalogues/inventories/invoices displayed and the cashier had something to print invoices and deal with payments. The router had 4 ports. It was a Linksys (?) toy box. No one was browsing the web or playing games.

    I bought welding rods, a chipping hammer, a wire-brush and a couple of plastic shields for my welding helmet. The new rods worked very well compared to my old stock. The only other matter wrong at the place was the price of the welding rods, ~$3/pound. I bought most of my old stock at going-out-of-business auctions in the 1990s at cents/pound. If I bought a ton, I could get them for 20 cents/pound in China but the freight would be a killer. I bought 20kg (44 pounds). Should last as long as I do…

    The welding I did made this tidy little cart (not even a blueprint. I just made it up as I went along. It’s one T-bar long and 1/2 a T-bar wide). The thing has 8 inch wheels and rolls easily even with 400 pounds of concrete aboard, just what I wanted.

  2. oiaohm says:

    “Wow, Pogson, you can look at router lights and deduce that there’s malware on their machines.”

    Sometimes I have to laugh. NIPS(network intrusion detection system) is displayed on some high end routers lights. So looking the router lights can in fact at times tell you that the network is infected.

    I guess Pogson is high enough to understand what a NIPS light red and flashing means.

  3. Ivan says:

    ffmpeg is a user-level application. It has nothing to do with suspend. We have several notebooks here and suspend does work.

    Then perhaps you should consider re-writing the sentence that I quoted to mean what you want to say as you are either implying that ffmpeg is necessary for suspend/hibernation or you want a video of how awesome your desktop is.

  4. kozmcrae says:

    Viktor wrote:

    “…Send me your mugshot, then I can cast you as “Cultist #5″…”

    You lack creativity so you just copy me (A form of “I know you are but what am I?”). You are the Cult of Microsoft. You’ve done everything needed to deserve that label.

    Robert Pogson is clearly your senior in experience and most likely age. Why don’t you try something new, like say, treating him with the respect he deserves. It wouldn’t hurt you know. What’s the problem with that? Is there something preventing you from doing that? Like some kind of brain injury?

  5. Viktor wrote, “Wow, Pogson, you can look at router lights and deduce that there’s malware on their machines.”

    Yes, I can. The situation was a retail establishment with about 6 PCs, a multifunction printer and a credit-card scanner. Unless they were using thin clients with say, X11, there should have been very little traffic between transactions. People were ignoring or reading screens for the most part. While we were retrying the process, the clerk told me her IT people had told her the lights should be “solid”. They were flashing like mad, all the lights except “power”. That router or the Internet connection was likely the bottleneck for the problem. It was Monday, not “Patch Tuesday”. It is possible that they were updating all their software remotely or such thing but they only work 9-5. Why do it during office hours?

  6. Viktor says:

    You are pathetic iLai. Why don’t you try something new, like say, treating Robert Pogson with the respect he deserves.

    Hey, Koz. Found any third rate acting gigs recently? Send me your mugshot, then I can cast you as “Cultist #5” in my new movie project “Robert Pogson: Guns and Freedom and Little Women”.

  7. Viktor says:

    Wow, Pogson, you can look at router lights and deduce that there’s malware on their machines.

    You’re a phenomenon!

    But, you know, personally I’d boycott stores in which that other OS is used. It’s not good to encourage them. Perhaps next time you can give them some Debian CDs. Should they use them, we can expect lots of going out of business in Winnipeg.

    And you should consider moving to China, if Winnipeg is too expensive for you. You can double as English teacher while you instill your wisdom of freedom on the hapless Chinese. (That’s obviously not a job for Ohio Ham, as he doesn’t speak English, only Engrish.)

  8. notzed says:

    ^^ sorry, i tried posting on the previous article but it just fails with an error message about the password.

  9. Of course it is possible to use FLOSS with no effort at all. Many will choose that route, but my wish is that more people would dig a little deeper and find gems. GNU/Linux is a rich platform for IT. With that other OS, users are mostly protected from finding out what their PCs can do. e.g. many users consider it perfectly normal for a PC to need to reboot or to slow down or to collect malware. Many users of that other OS have no idea they can run web applications on their PC or that there are simple things one can do to make their LAN much faster. That other OS, being designed for single-user/single-task stuff really slows one down.

  10. oldman wrote, “This is so off the wall that it is beyond comment.

    You need to come back to reality Robert Pogson.”

    I am so glad you did not comment then. Reality is all around me. This morning I went shopping in the city and found welding rods for mild steel are ~$3/pound. They are 20 cents in China… I also missed a turn and drove for miles not finding another store. The street I was expecting to meet was running parallel to my course… It was a wonderful shopping experience, though. I got the heavy parts I need for my garden cart and a superb chain hoist to lift the boulders my wife intends to buy. Interesting to readers, Welders Supplies was having a hard time connecting to the credit-card authourization folks. I looked at their router and every light was flashing rapidly. I suspect they are hosting malware on that other OS… It took six tries to connect.

  11. ffmpeg is a user-level application. It has nothing to do with suspend. We have several notebooks here and suspend does work.

  12. Ivan says:

    Learn to use ffmpeg or vlc to record the desktop to preserve sessions.

    So that is why suspend to RAM/disk never works…

  13. oldman says:

    This is so off the wall that it is beyond comment.

    You need to come back to reality Robert Pogson.

  14. kozmcrae says:

    iLia wrote:

    “Now, mr. Pogson, you are speaking like a member of Scientology movement or Jehovah’s Witnesse.”

    You are trying way too hard to paint Robert Pogson as an undesirable. That’s one way the Cult of Microsoft promotes uncertainty about FLOSS. Would you want to be associated with “undesirables”?

    You are pathetic iLai. Why don’t you try something new, like say, treating Robert Pogson with the respect he deserves.

    Phenom wrote:


    You know better Phenom. Your post should be deleted because it’s been written so many times before.

    This guy tells you all you need to know about Michael Larabel’s BS:

  15. Phenom says:

    Poor “flossies”! Suddenly it became so hard to be a “flossy”. No wonder Linux never got more than 2% on desktop. Who would use it if it takes so many efforts to meet the expectations to be a “flossie”?

  16. iLia says:

    Now, mr. Pogson, you are speaking like a member of Scientology movement or Jehovah’s Witnesse.

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