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August 28th, 2015

‘Freedom Penguin’ Takes Flight, Distro Count & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Before we get rolling on the last FOSS Force item before the weekend, I’d like to welcome Hunter Banks to the FOSS Force team. Hunter is part of the FOSS-forward Banks family of Los Angeles — dad Phillip is a computer consultant and a long-time Southern California Linux Expo volunteer (along with brother Phillip Jr.), and sister Keila has been in both the FOSS and mainstream media on girls-in-tech issues — and he’s writing a Linux/FOSS gaming column.

Flying-penguinsWelcome to the team, Hunter!

Now, want to see something scary?

Fear the Freedom Penguin…or don’t: Finally freed from the shackles of an eternity of other digital projects, Matt Hartley announced this week that “Freedom Penguin is just days away from being 100 percent ready.”

“So what took so long?” Hartley asks, rhetorically of course. “Offline tech gigs. Thankfully, those offline gigs are completed and I am now putting my laser focus into this project. With any luck, we’re able to make this into something really exciting for everyone!”

Freedom Penguin, Hartley’s ambitious project, is a web portal slated to include software tours, user polls with subsequent discussions, and maybe someday distro reviews.

There’s a subscription form at the bottom of Matt’s latest blog post, so you can join the party. It should be a good one, and kudos to Matt to get the ball rolling on this.

Argh! Not Again: Next to the laughable annual prognostication that this year — absolutely, positively — will be the “Year of the Linux Desktop”™, the thing that causes a collective facepalm in the wide world of FOSS is the question, “Are there too many Linux distros?” I’ll spare you the lecture with a one-word answer: “No.” This week Softpedia’s Marius Nestor took up the eyeroll in an article that pretty much says the same thing — there aren’t too many distros.

“During the last 15 years, I have had the pleasure of testing hundreds of Linux kernel-based operating systems,” Nestor writes. “I’ve never thought of them as being too many. I for one still get curious to see what’s different or unique to a brand new GNU/Linux distribution that’s being released on the market.”

Facepalm

Oh, no! Not that question again… (Photo by Alex E. Proimos)

The article also says that Softpedia lists “about 2,000 GNU/Linux operating systems.” Checking Distrowatch.com, the list totals 277 distros, which includes Linux and BSD distributions. Thinking about it, though, if Softpedia is counting each release of each Linux distro — past and present — you probably get a number reaching 2,000. That in and of itself is a little sobering.

But, folks, let’s be clear: That’s not too many.

Is Your PC Compatible? Chris Hoffman at PC World writes an interesting article which tells how to find it your hardware is compatible with Linux. What is most telling, though, is something we’ve been saying all along: In the last item of the article, Hoffman says that you could “just buy a PC designed for Linux.” That’s correct — go ahead and spring for that ZaReason (that Zeto is looking pretty good for gamers, or those who want gamer performance on a desktop) or that System76 Ubuntu-based hardware and know that you’re not putting a tick mark in the Windows purchase column and you’re getting quality hardware to boot.

Quick Takes: Bryan Lunduke, FOSS’s favorite raconteur among other hats he wears in the FOSS realm, has just returned from a Google-less month, and it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about it in an upcoming article…Here’s how you put out a fire with gasoline: Jono Bacon, formerly of Canonical and now well on his way to greener pastures, has put his proverbial two cents in on the Canonical IP discussion. While Bacon parrots the Canonical company, the more interesting discussion takes place in the comments, where Michael Hall, a community liaison for Canonical, gets schooled by the likes of Josh Berkus and Jef Spaleta. It’s worth a read — the comments, of course…Swapnil Bhartiya writes a fairly comprehensive review of KDE’s Plasma 5.4 in ITworld this week, finding it an exception to the trend by some of the other popular desktops to follow mobile UIs. Check it out.

See you Wednesday.

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Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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