Auld Lang Syne on the Linux Blogs

With just a few days left to 2009, the mood on the Linux blogs has been uncharacteristically quiet and contemplative.

Mostly gone are the fire and vitriol so often seen in the community’s many contentious debates, replaced instead by discussions of a kinder, gentler nature.

To wit: Linux Today’s Carla Schroder recently penned an Editor’s Note entitled, “Hug Your Favorite FOSS Contributors Today (On the Internet, no one can see you nod.)”

‘A Kind Word, a Friendly Gesture’

“I think most of us have left jobs, even when we thought we couldn’t afford to, because we just couldn’t take it anymore, and no amount of money would have made us stay,” Schroder wrote. “It’s no different in FOSS, which seems to be as famous for flamefests and whining as software.”

Often, however, “all it takes to keep someone going is a kind word, a friendly gesture, a simple thank-you,” she added.

More than 2,500 reads and several comments greeted the topic on Linux Today before it was picked up with gusto on LXer, where many bloggers embraced the sentiment with open arms.

‘Very Much Appreciated’

“Thanks Carla, for all your columns, books and sane LXer comments,” wrote montezuma, for example. “Very much appreciated by this FOSS user.”

Similarly: “We need all of us,” agreed Linux Today blogger Emery. “Including editors! So thank you, Carla!”

Then again, proving that no topic is truly safe from those determined to create debate, LXer’s lovefest was temporarily interrupted by a spontaneous flare-up of the Great Sexism Debate.

‘Did I Miss Something?’

“I just wrote Carla how surprised I was how women on ‘Geek Feminism’ could GET any negative feedback with their commenting policy,” wrote theBeez. “Which BTW boils down to anything remotely unsupportive gets deleted on sight. Guess what.. It got deleted!”

Luckily, it wasn’t too long before order was restored once again.

“What part of the article discusses sexism? Did I miss something?” wrote bigg, much to Linux Girl’s relief. “Maybe there’s a link to the wrong article? All I read had to do with thanking FOSS contributors.”

Quite so, and many thanks to bigg for that voice of reason!

New Year’s Resolutions

The resurgence of the sexism fires in even such a well-intended discussion is a good reminder, Linux Girl would suggest, that many of us still need practice keeping our tempers and incendiary comments in check.

What better goal, in fact, for a New Year’s Resolution?!

Of course, many bloggers no doubt already have other resolutions they’re planning to make. To find out what those are, Linux Girl headed for the corner of First and Main in the Linux blogosphere’s snowy downtown.

‘Build My Mom a Nice DVR’

“My New Year’s resolution is to stop sitting in front of the PC so much!” Slashdot blogger hairyfeet told LinuxInsider. “Lucky for me, my GF has me totally whipped and likes to go places, so that is one resolution that should be easy to keep, LOL!”

Hairyfeet’s tech resolution, meanwhile, “is to finally get around to building my mom a nice DVR,” he said. “I’ll get a nice SFF case, put in an ION Atom board, a nice cheap TV tuner and wireless card (because she is finally getting off dialup for a WISP) and a copy of Windows 7 HP OEM to top it off.

“It’s a shame that MythTV is such a pain to set up, but with this being a single Atom based board and Myth being designed for a client/server role, it just doesn’t fit,” hairyfeet added.

‘I Keep Getting Job Offers’

“My New Year’s resolution is to retire gracefully, but I keep getting job offers,” blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider. “Perhaps I will find some career change with which an old man can live.

“Perhaps I will do part-time work or write full-time instead of teaching,” he added.

“My top three resolutions have nothing to do with computers,” said Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, who goes by “Tom” on the site. “Maybe it’s a consequence of ‘good-enough’ computing that both my desktop — which is 6 or 7 years old — and my laptop, which is almost 3 years old — are more than adequate for the foreseeable future.”

‘Write at Least 3 Short Stories’

Specifically, Hudson’s top resolutions are to “lose five pounds by spring — though by the time the holidays are over, it’ll probably be more than that, what with the turkey, the desserts, the leftovers — write at least THREE science-fiction short stories and be greener,”she explained.

“This winter, like last winter, I’ve parked the car,” she added. “The first few weeks were hard, but after a while, I actually enjoyed it. Next spring, when the snow’s gone, I think it will be time to get a bicycle.”

Hudson’s other resolutions are to check out the job market and “convince more people to dump their cable and satellite connections and hook up their TVs to a pair of cheap rabbit-ears” instead, she said.

“Over-the-air digital TV is not only free, but the picture is better than the recompressed signal you pay for through your gatekeeper…,” she noted. “Oops, did I say gatekeeper? I meant rent-seeker… oops – my bad again. How about evil media overlord? :-)”

‘Get My Diet Back on Track’

“I make resolutions when I have something that needs to be resolved, and I don’t tend to announce them to the world,” Slashdot blogger David Masover told LinuxInsider.

“I’ve lost about 50 lbs this year, and then gained about 5, lately. I need to get my diet back on track,” he noted.

“I need a decent backup system,” he added. “It needs to be reasonably priced, online and automatic, but the best systems for these are proprietary — I’d want fully open source code encrypting my data before it hits their server.

“This is at the very least a scripting project, but it’s more important that I get _some_ backup — there’s entirely too much stuff which exists only on this laptop,” he explained.

‘Prepare for Going Back to School’

“I have a few projects that I’m getting behind on, and I also need to be studying a bit to prepare for going back to school,” Masover said. “Calculus 2 looks scary.”

Of course, “these have nothing to do with the New Year,” he added. “I’m going to do them anyway, and I’ll start on them now, not January 1st — and I’ll do them no matter who knows about them (or doesn’t).” Slashdot blogger Josh Ulmer, on the other hand, resolves “to avoid new technologies, especially when drivers or IEEE standards are not finalized,” he told LinuxInsider. “I got lucky with draft 802.11n standards, but I have learned from my mistakes in the past, and will be avoiding things like USB 3.0 until there is considerably more support from both a driver and peripheral standpoint.”

The same goes “for what I anticipate will be one of the hot new techs for 2010 — tablets — as I will let others deal with iffy screens and questionable battery life, and I will cash in on a somewhat more mature tech later,” he added.

‘We Can All Get Along’

On the flip side, “I resolve to spend more time comparing OSS solutions to their more mainstream counterparts as much as possible,”Ulmer said. “In recent years, many front-line applications have seen challengers rise and mature significantly in the OSS world, and I am looking forward to reaping the benefits of software that’s had some time to cook — especially in the areas of HTPCs and video trans/de/encoding.”

Finally — bringing the conversation back full circle — “I resolve to be more patient with militant defenders in both the OSS and closed-source communities,” Ulmer suggested. “We can all get along… except for those iPhone-loving hippie bastards.”

And on that note, dear readers, Linux Girl wishes you all — even the iPhone lovers out there — a very Happy New Year! 😉 See you in 2010.

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