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January 4th, 2016

FOSS Force’s Hot Nine for 2015

We’re going to pretend like we’re AM disc jockeys from the golden days of top 40 radio and countdown the top nine stories that appeared on FOSS Force last year. Along the way, we’ll offer a bit of commentary, and maybe remind you a time or two that things were much different way back in 2015.

2015 on FOSS Force

9. CrunchBang: The Rest of the Story by Larry Cafiero

Bunsenlabs logo

Was it really almost a year ago that Philip Newborough announced to the world the end of the CrunchBang distro as we knew it? Yup — we first wrote about it here on February 6. Then Mr Cafiero published this story on February 18th.

This article was in response to a little brouhaha that literally twittered through the community after writer Jim Lynch announced a distro with the name “#!++” (or CrunchBang++) as the successor to the CrunchBang legacy. Cafiero and others took exception to the “the successor” part and reckoned that any fork could be a successor, but nobody could lay claim to being the successor — it was sort of a “should it be called GNU/Linux or just plain Linux” sort of moment.

Cafiero wasn’t writing primarily to nitpick over a misused article, however, he was writing to announce the formation of another distro project patterned after CrunchBang called Bunsen Labs. In the end, it appears as if the later distro got to wear the “the” mantle, leaving #!++ to take the “a” route. Try to go to CrunchBang’s old website these days and you’re automatically redirected to the Bunsen site.

8. Top Ten Things Linux Users Say About systemd

systemd

Photo courtesy BSD Magazine

We’ve pretty much stayed out of the systemd discussion, other than pointing out the line from the serenity prayer that mentions “things we can’t change.” This humor piece was no exception, as it pokes fun of the debate instead of even attempting to tackle the technical issues associated with systemd. It’s merely a Letterman-esque top ten list having a good time with the flame wars that break out whenever systemd is mentioned on a Linux site. Our favorite line from the piece is: “I don’t know nothing but I know what’s best and systemd ain’t it.”

7. Is That Linux? No, It’s PC-BSD by Larry Cafiero

thinkpad running BSD

Wow, it seems like only yesterday that we published this article. Come to think of it, there’s good reason for that…it practically was yesterday. This is the article from early December in which our erstwhile ace Linux reporter changed beats and became Larry the BSD Guy. Anyway, it’s a heart rendering story about a chance meeting at a coffee house. It’s got a little boy, a loving father and a computer running FOSS — all of the ingredients necessary for a good story. Except it doesn’t have a dog and a train. A really good story needs to include a dog and a train.

6. SourceForge Not Making A Graceful Exit by Christine Hall

SourceForge

This was another bad news year for the folks at SourceForge, which has been having trouble getting any positive publicity for many years now. The site, once the go-to repository for open source code, began getting less than favorable PR back in 2013, when everybody’s favorite graphics app, GIMP, very publicly divorced SourceForge for a combination of misleading ads on the site and for bundling third party crapware with Windows downloads.

The site was in the news again this year when a slew of other projects also gave their so-long-it’s-been-good-to-know-you notices, mostly for the same reasons. Hall details it all, while offering a quick look at the site’s history.

5. Saying Goodbye to Java the Hard Way by Ken Starks

Horseshoe Java

Many of you might know that Ken Starks spent some time in the hospital last January having his larynx removed. While he was away and under sedation, we hacked his blog and stole a few articles he’d published there because…well, we thought it’d turn ugly real fast if we tried to deprive his readers of their weekly fix here on FOSS Force. So we stole it and ran it. Who knew that this would turn out to be the most popular Ken Starks article of the year?

Most of you’ve probably already figured out that the article has nothing to do coffee. It’s about Oracle’s Java and Adobe’s Flash, or the lack of it in Google’s browsers. That bothered Ken. You’ll have to read the story…

4. Is Google the New Microsoft? by Christine Hall

Microsoft & Google as crocs

A new word came to the forefront in the FOSS world this year: fauxpen, as in falsely open. Actually, the term isn’t new, it’s been in use for several years now, but this year it became “the coming thing” that Brisco County was always seeking back in the ’90s — the 1890s that is. In June, we took a look at some of Google’s “open” projects, but found them closed.

3. The Devil & BSD: Leaving Linux Behind by Larry Cafiero

BSD Linux

Here’s the story of what prompted Cafiero, for years known as buddy-of-Tux, to wipe his hard drive and walk away from Linux for good. Well, he didn’t actually walk away from Linux except for on one machine; his other machines are still a penguin’s best friend. But as every good Simon Says player knows, baby steps eventually turn into giant steps — especially if you remember to say “may I” — so he just might eventually live in a penguinless home.

Since then, he’s been learning new things daily about the wide and wonderful world of *BSD, and sharing with us here on FOSS Force.

2. Five Linux Distros for New Users

Penguin sign

We probably should have dropped the phrase “Ubuntu based” into the title of this article, since all the distros on the list are *buntus. They’re also not the distros we’d choose if we were limited to five. The article was written by a writer we were trying out from an agency that had “just the writer for you!” Although she didn’t make the cut, this article has been incredibly popular.

1. A Look at Mageia 5’s Magic by Christine Hall

Tux plays Gandalf

From the traffic this review has generated for FOSS Force since it was published back in June, we would think that Mageia was at the top of the charts user wise. Instead, on our current what-distro-do-you-use poll, this KDE distro with some deep Linux roots is one of two distros that hasn’t picked-up a single vote as we write this, despite being ranked in the seventh position on DistroWatch’s list. That’s too bad, as it’s a really good distro.

We have no idea why this article has been so popular. Maybe it’s because Mageia has a very loyal following (the developers were very good about working with us during the testing stage) and that they’re continuing to point potential new users to the article. If that’s not it, then we’re befuddled, but grateful that you like it. We also wish the folks behind the distro much success.

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There ya go, the nine most read articles on FOSS Force for 2015. We would start wondering what’ll make the list next year, but that’d be rather impossible, wouldn’t it, since we’d be trying to make predictions about articles that haven’t been written yet. Of course, with all the predictive technologies being perfected, Google or somebody probably has a computer that can tell you exactly what articles will make next year’s list, written yet or not.

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