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Mixing Linux and ZFS, LinuxFest NorthWest and More…

FOSS Week in Review

With Bellingham, Washington getting geared up for next weekend’s show, can OSCON’s performance in Austin be far behind?

The Week in Review on a Saturday? Don’t worry, I’ve got a note from the phone company.

On Thursday afternoon, our phone company experienced a widespread outage of its fiber system, meaning FOSS Force had no telephone or Internet for about 24 hours. On Friday morning, I actually packed up a laptop and drove to the village of Pilot Mountain to use the secure We-Fi at my favorite coffee house, The Living Room, to edit and publish Phil Shapiro’s Friday column, and to finish editing and publishing another article which had originally been scheduled to go up on Thursday. Things are slowly getting back to normal, but I’m still behinder than I want to be.

But enough of the woes of FOSS Force. Let’s get on to some real FOSS news…

It’s LinuxFest NorthWest time! I’ve never been to LFNW, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Back in the day — we’re talking the late 1960s and early 70s — Bellingham was home to a hippie underground newspaper, Northwest Passage, that was known in counterculture circles of the day across the continent. Alas, the Passage has been gone since ’86, but its spirit seems to live on in a high techy, Linuxy sort of way at LFNW. From what I’ve seen, LFNW seems to be the most community driven and for-the–people of the major festivals in the U.S.

Mark your calendars. It all takes place next Saturday and Sunday. If you’re a Linux user who doesn’t work in tech or write code, you’ll be pleased to know that this is a conference where there will be plenty for you too. At LFNW, it’s not all about devs and the enterprise, although those of you who punch a clock to write code for a paycheck can learn plenty of new skills to add to your bag of tricks there as well.

A lot of the presentations will be made by knowledgeable local talent, from Bellingham, Seattle and even Portland, but there will also be some big shot FOSS names there too, just in case you think its only a show for the home team. MySQL’s community manager Dave Stokes will be there, talking about the open source database’s native JSON data type. Also on hand will be Ilan Rabinovitch, who many of you will recognize as the chair at SCALE and the cofounder of Texas Linux Fest. He wears plenty of other hats as well and will be making a presentation called “Monitoring 101: Finding Signal in the Noise.”

Oh, and before I forget, the always entertaining self-styled Linux tycoon, Bryan Lunduke, will be there to explain why “Linux is Freaking Weird.” He’ll also be part of a Q&A session on Sunday about openSUSE.

The complete schedule for this years LinuxFest NorthWest is available online. It’s free to attend, so if you can be in the area there’s no excuse for you not to be there — but don’t forget to register.

Again this year, FOSS Force is proud to be a media sponsor of LFNW.

Quote of the week: When I saw this week’s quote, it’s actually a joke, I immediately copied and pasted it into Bluefish for safe keeping. Trouble is, I forgot to remind myself who posted it and where, but if memory serves, it was on a social site:

A Linux sysadmin walks into a pharmacy and asks, “Ephedrine?”

“Sorry,” said the pharmacist, “I can’t serve you that.”


“There you go.”

I’m assuming that the sysadmin then was prompted to supply the pharmacist with a password.

Another day, another distro: SlackEx, touted as a full featured but easy to use version of Slackware, has come out with an updated build of the live DVD which updates the kernel to version 4.5.1 and supports “everything.” Downloads are available on the distro’s SourceForge page.

Quick takes: On Monday, Richard Stallman published an article on the FSF website outlining why Linux can’t be distributed with ZFS. To paraphrase Bill Clinton: “It’s the license, stupid.” In the article, RMS reminds that the licensing restrictions he oulines only apply if you distribute the work, as Ubuntu plans to do. “The GNU GPL has no substantive requirements about what you do in private; the GPL conditions apply when you make the work available to others.”

That’s it for this week. See you on Friday. Until then, may the FOSS be with you…


  1. JT JT April 27, 2016

    If it’s a violation to distribute a non GPL module, then how do distros get away with including the Nvidia Binary Blobs on their install media?

  2. Mike Mike April 28, 2016


    I don’t have specifics on what each distro does because I won’t run proprietary software.

    However it isn’t a GPL violation to distribute GPL incompatible code ON THE SAME MEDIUM as GPL code. It is a violation to distribute GPL incompatible code LINKED to GPL code. So long as they don’t do the linking before shipping it, i.e. the kernel is compiled to link in the nasty bits only after it is on your computer, then it is OK. From what I’ve seen, this is pretty much what everyone does to add in proprietary video drivers.

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