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You & Oblivion

Project Fi and replacement phones: Android could learn from Fedora…

12 January 2016 by jzb

nexus2cee_project_fi_hero_thumbI’ve had really good luck with smartphones (/me knocks on wood) over the years. I’ve dropped phones a number of times, but other than a few scuffs and scratches, no permanent damage. (My first-generation iPhone did have an unfortunate encounter with a softball years ago, but since then – smooth sailing.) This weekend, though, I biffed the Nexus 6 just wrong on the tile floor and the screen got the worst of it.

This is one of the big downsides for Project Fi, in my opinion. With normal carriers, I can saunter into a physical store and have a replacement same-day. Or next morning if it happens to be 11 p.m. when the phone has its unfortunate incident. Project Fi? No such luck.

The good news: Project Fi’s support was super-helpful and efficient, and they had a new phone on its way to me right away. My phone’s unfortunate incident was last Friday, and I had a new phone in my hands Monday. Even better, they only charged me $100 to replace it. (One of the phone screen replacement shops near me wanted $249 and seven days to get parts…)

The bad news: As alluded to above, the Nexus 6 isn’t a super-popular phone. If it breaks, good luck finding parts right away. Samsung phones and iPhones are the phones that have the most market share (apparently) and finding accessories and replacement parts for those is a lot easier. (And cheaper – if I’d had an iPhone or Galaxy with a broken screen, there were plenty of specials on replacing the screen for less than $99.)

The other downside? The phone Project Fi shipped out to me is a stock Nexus 6… with the original Android 5.0-something installed. Meaning I’ve spent hours updating the damn phone. And the backup didn’t take all the way (I’m guessing because old phone had the latest 6.0-whatever and the new phone didn’t, but it forces you to try the restore first…) So when it’s all updated, I’ll need to do a factory reset and then try again to do a restore.

As luck would have it, my laptop was flaking out yesterday and I wound up doing a full reinstall of Fedora 23 Workstation. That took all of maybe an hour from start to finish, installing Fedora and then rsync-ing my data back to the new laptop and so on. It’d be great if Android were as easy to work with as Fedora!

2 comments | Categories: Fedora | Tags: , ,

Happy New Year! (Foiled by DDoS…)

04 January 2016 by jzb

So – one of the resolutions I was kicking around for 2016 was to blog more often, perhaps daily. I got up bright and early on January 1st… ok, that’s a lie. I got up around 8 a.m. after the cat batted my nose repeatedly. But I got up, and after the morning ritual of feeding the cats, thought I would log into the blog and write a little something.

Unfortunately, my hosting provider (Linode) was suffering a DDoS and connecting to my server between 1 January and yesterday proved difficult if not impossible. Here’s hoping the rest of 2016 goes a little smoother!

Leave a comment | Categories: Administrivia

Running for Fedora Council

07 December 2015 by jzb

fedora-ambassador-mentor Fedora elections are upon us once again, starting tomorrow. There’s one Fedora Council seat open, and I’ve decided to throw my, er, hat into the ring. I’ve put up the platform questions on the Fedora Community Blog, but also wanted to chime in here.

I’m not stumping for votes, but I did want to take a minute to encourage folks to participate in this election and think about how you’ll participate in the next release cycle. Whether you vote for me or the other candidate for Council (that’d be Robert Mayr aka robyduck – who is awesome) I hope you’ll also be thinking about how you might contribute a few extra cycles to the Fedora 24 release and the project in general.

In particular, for the Fedora 24 cycle I hope to see more folks helping in the marketing group (as I’ve mentioned before), and we can use more hands in the Cloud SIG as well. We have a lot of opportunity ahead, but we need many more hands to reach our full potential.

Leave a comment | Categories: Fedora

On vacation: And acting like it!

08 November 2015 by jzb

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, We can work almost anywhere, anytime. That’s… probably unhealthy. I mean, it’s great when you’re supposed to be working. As long as you have a solid Internet connection(*) and a quiet room (and electricity), you can be productive anywhere.

Which leads to temptation to … work from anywhere. Even when you’re on vacation. (This phrase may be less applicable outside the United States. Insert joke here about European vs. American vacation response messages.) This has certainly been true for me, when I’m on vacation I have generally felt compelled to check in on email, which leads to responding to email, which leads to… not so much really feeling like I’m on vacation.

This week I’m going to be in Churchill, Canada to observe polar bears, Northern Lights, and generally take a breather. While I occasionally grab a day or two of PTO here and there, I’ve not done much proper vacationing. For many years I was freelancing and… I was never very good at feeling that I could step away for a week or three to vacation when I was being paid by the piece or stipend. So, I’m going to do my best to make it stick and actually not do any work while away.

() Don’t make your co-workers put up with lousy connectivity. Sometimes it’s unavoidable (e.g., during conference travel) but if you can’t count on reliable connectivity and quiet surroundings… maybe re-think whether working from a cafe is *really workable.

Leave a comment | Categories: Administrivia, Random

Proprietary tools for FOSS projects

05 November 2015 by jzb

slackMy position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

Fedora is generally averse to adopting anything proprietary, even using things like YouTube or Twitter to promote Fedora tends to generate discussion and questions about whether it’s proper to use proprietary services. Grudgingly, though, most folks have accepted that to promote Fedora you have to go where the people are–even if that means using non-FOSS services. Apache has been more willing to adopt non-free services (e.g., Jira) where acceptable FOSS services exist. Not surprising, because Apache’s culture is more “use open source because it’s pragmatic” rather than driven by ideology. (That is painting with a very broad brush, and I think you can find a diverse set of opinions within Apache, including mine.)

Generally, though, I worry about making too many concessions to non-free software. I worry that we’ve gone too far towards business concerns, and too far away from wanting to change the world for the better. There’s a balance to be struck, I think, where we put food on the table, build successful companies and successful and sustainable communities. Where we use tools we’ve built to do our work, and tools we can improve, but don’t rake people over the coals because of the tools they choose or make bad business decisions out of a desire for purity.

This post asking people not to use Slack really resonates with me. I see this as a wholly unnecessary adoption of proprietary software where there’s a reasonable and serviceable alternative. The good news, I think, is that Slack seems to be spurring some development of better IRC alternatives that might not have developed without Slack. And it’s spurred more people thinking about the tools they use, and whether they’re open, and what that means. Full disclosure, I have a personal Slack account. I’ll use it to chat with friends, just like I’ll use Facebook or Google Hangouts. But I don’t see recommending it for an official channel for, say, Project Atomic.

Leave a comment | Categories: Apache, Fedora, Linux, Random | Tags: , , , , ,

Marketing is not a spectator sport…

05 November 2015 by jzb

fmag-ribbonA piece over on Fedora Magazine, following a talk I did at Flock this summer. The short version: open source projects need all the help they can get spreading the word. Fedora, Apache projects, GNU projects, Debian, etc., all depend on word of mouth to reach users. By reaching users, we find new contributors, and it’s the new contributors that help keep projects going and reaching new users. We don’t have megabucks to throw at ad campaigns, but we have millions of users–and the impact would be enormous if even 10% of those users spent a little time spreading the word about Fedora (or other project).

More users means more contributors. More contributors equals better projects. Better projects mean more users, and fewer people choosing proprietary solutions. Don’t wait for somebody else to spread the word, jump in and lend a hand.

The marketing group was a bit disorganized in the F23 cycle, and we can do much better. I hope to do more in the F24 cycle, but I can’t do it alone, and don’t really want to! So if you want to see Fedora succeed wildly, I hope you’ll find a way to join our efforts. Read the full piece on Fedora Magazine, and feel free to ask if you need help jumping in!

Leave a comment | Categories: Apache, Fedora, Linux | Tags: ,

Fedora 23 Released

03 November 2015 by jzb

cloud-logo-mainThe big news today (at least in my circles) is the Fedora 23 release. Check out the release announcement and then head over to GetFedora.org to grab the bits.

You might also want to peruse the What’s New in Fedora 23 Workstation piece on Fedora Magazine to learn about some of the changes on the Fedora desktop.

There’s a slight bug with the Atomic Docker when using root bind mounts, but this should be addressed shortly with the two-week Atomic builds (expected to roll out mid-November).

Leave a comment | Categories: Fedora

Just what is “open,” anyway?

02 November 2015 by jzb

Here’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about: What constitutes “real” open source? Not just the license, I think the OSI has done just fine in defining an open source license. (And the GNU/FSF folks have done just fine in defining a Free software license as well.)

I’m asking, what constitutes a real open source project? What are the specific things you need to say “yep, this is a genuine open source project that really deserves the title”?

Curious what other folks think. It probably comes as no surprise that I don’t consider a project “open” just because there’s a public repository with code that is under an OSI-approved license.

Also curious of any bodies like the OSI have working definition. So many projects and companies lay claim to open source, but I see very little of it in practice.

2 comments | Categories: Apache, Fedora, Linux

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