The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Linux Users Will Rescue the Desktop...Geek Please.

How much "proof" do you need.

Red Hat just informed you that your desktop isn't their priority.

Ron Hovsarian of Novell just said the same thing.

IBM and HP BigWigs looked me in the eye at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and basically told us this in so many words. "We don't offer systems, we offer solutions."

Bruce Perens took the mic and said that if we wern't going to get funds for advertising, then we needed publicity. On that note, the moderator then ended the session.

And That was the end of that.

Much to the relief of said BigWigs. While I was speaking to the panel, I was getting notes passed to me with suggestions for questions, people were turning around in their seats and giving me the thumbs up. One well connected PhD from St. Louis University whispered.

"Got Milk?" Use something like "Got Milk?"

The topic of advertising the Linux Desktop is one of passion and a passion of many.

Just not the passion of those who can make it happen.

I wish I could have said more. The "official discussion" may have ended there, but in the halls, the dining rooms, the smoking areas, the cafeterias and informal discussions, it was talked about plenty. And the consensus?

Linux Users will rescue the Desktop. We don't need corporate help.

Let me take this ice cold bucket of water and welcome those who believe this to the real world. Take a deep breath, because I'm about to splash you abruptly back into the cold, harsh light of reality.

Linux Users could give a crap about anyone adapting to Linux and being freed from Microsoft.

At least the majority of them. There is a core of caring, sincere people out there who do care. I know many of them by first name. I know where their kids go to school, I know their wives favorite colors...I know what they drive, I know how much money they make, I know what their hopes and dreams are. And with rare exception...

I've never laid eyes on any of them. And still, I call those people my friends. They've helped me put together a fledgling little charity that builds computers for kids that wouldn't normally be able to afford them. They've driven or flown hundreds of miles out of their way just to spend a few hours with me. They've assisted me in helping get disks to Windows users and they've given me encouragement when thing looked terrible from my end...times when I thought I could count the rest of my life in days and weeks. One of them actually "infiltrated" our organization in order to "prove" we are frauds and report back to the blog-O-Sphere their findings. He now works for us as one of our most active volunteers. It's those people that are going to make Linux succeed. Not the 40 million or so users world wide...but the fraction of a percentage of those that really care. Say it with me...

They are the Two Percent Solution.

You know who you are, and who you are not. Of course, if you are reading this, there's an extremely good chance that you are in the first group. Hey first group...thank you. I'm going to return your graciousness here in just a minute.

It's beginning to get some legs, this LINdependence 2008 project we are doing. Larry Cafiero has busted his ass to make this thing work. He has pounded the pavement for hours on end, talking to people, arranging stories and the boring logistical details that make one's eyes glaze over. It's largely through his hard work that word of this project is going out. Linux Journal is taking an interest in this effort and I will be talking with Carlie Fairchild about further publicity. The lifeblood of LINdependence 2008.

No, it's not money that makes this run, it's people knowing about it, talking about it and telling others about it. Through those efforts, the money will come.

But I'm afraid it's not going to be enough. I've been through a few of these wars...I know how they go and I know where they fall apart.

There are too many people enslaved by a crappy operating system to let this fall apart. While the numbers are relatively small, there are too many people who care passionately about this for it to fail. I'm not going to let that happen. They've given too much for it to fail.

Besides...this project has the potential to make history.

So can ignore our effort all you want. Of course, you don't seem to need my permission to do so. You seem to be very much like the corporates at The Summit. You worry too much about offending someone above you. The same goes for any Website owner that worries his reputation will be tainted by publicizing a project of this magnitude. We don't need you. In fact, I just finished insuring that LIN08 can afford the publicity it needs to survive.

I despise a coward.

Ten minutes before I typed the first word of this blog, I finished an application to take a mortgage out on our home. With my credit, there's a good chance that it will be laughed out of the boardroom, but there's a chance it won't be.

I am going to make sure I don't need to count on anyone to make LINdependence 2008 a success. I have friends who have shown me how important this really is.

I'm going to mortgage my home to insure we have what we need to make LINdependence 2008 work. There is a good chance that corporate sponsorship is going to be available down the road a bit, again...Larry has been hard at work trying to make this happen. What I am doing is just insurance. That's my only motive and purpose.

And work it will, there will be no failure here.

All Righty Then


kozmcrae said...

I've always enjoyed those National Geographic specials on nature. One thing I could never understand though. There's this herd of Wildebeest 10,000 strong on the African plain. A few lions show up and they all run like hell. It would be a simple matter for a couple dozen Wildebeests to turn around and kick the lion's butt. It never happens. It never happens because Wildebeests are not supposed to do that. It's not in the Wildebeest's instruction manual on how to get eaten. I know some of you reading this could point me to a YouTube video that shows not a couple dozen, but a single Wildebeest confronting a whole pride of Lions, and winning the fight. Are there similarities here?

It's beginning to dawn on me that we just might be a little too distracted in the fight with Microsoft. They are big and very dangerous indeed, but the air they breathe (methane) is slowly being replaced with something suitable for the rest of the population (oxygen). They are dying. The company replacing them will still be Microsoft, Microsoft in name only.

The corporations have tasted the milk of human ingenuity and hard work, and have decided they like it, they like it very much. It is far too valuable to leave it in the hands of a loosely organized community.

It's too early to take the message to the populous. Linux needs to be solidified, organized, standardized and corporateized. Don't worry, the "community" will be represented. There will be one or two members on the Board of Linux Central Control or whatever it will be called. When Linux is "nearly there" and Microsoft is "nearly dead", you will see a media blitz like no other. Only it won't be our Linux any more.

How does it feel to be at the bottom of the food chain?

IGnatius T Foobar said...

Red Hat and Novell are not the nascent desktop Linux industry. Canonical is. The Linux desktop belongs to Ubuntu. I know you are a PCLinuxOS zealot and therefore you hate Ubuntu, but pretending they do not exist only works within this blog article; it doesn't work in the real world.

What will it take for you to realize this? Do we have to put the Ubuntu logo on the side panel of a race car?

dumper4311 said...

IGnatius' comments are a good example of the problem the "community" faces. We're so busy tearing each other apart, we can't present a convincing argument to anyone.

A little less bickering, and a bit more action (or financial support) would go a long ways to repairing our poor community public image.

Thank you helios for your continued work, with whatever distros you choose to support.

Blog of helios said...

I know you are a PCLinuxOS zealot and therefore you hate Ubuntu, but pretending they do not exist only works within this blog article; it doesn't work in the real world.

What in the hell are you talking about? Did you come here from a two-year-ago time warp? I haven't "shilled" for PCLinuxOS in two years. I am, if anything fairly agnostic...if anything, I am a preferred Debian guy. I'll tell you what. I challenge you to find anywhere that I've recommended pclos over any distro in the past year and a half or so. You've made a silly mistake.

At the same time, you've committed the fanboi sin. Trust me, I committed it many times. I know it when I see it. You need to learn to be much more discreet. Oh...and tell me. What TV station did the Ubuntu commercial appear? It's going nowhere until you people quit preaching to the choir and get busy letting middle earth know you exist.

Lindependence 2008 is quickly closing on taking distro participation. So far Ubuntu is AWOL. They better get on board quick or they won't be represented. The last I heard, they were "talking among themselves". Besides that. Shuttleworth is worth Billions. If he wants a decal on a race car, he can damned well slap it on there himself.

It would indeed be a shame for a couple project organizers to decide which distros will be represented in this nationally-covered event. Keep dragging your feet and that's exactly what's going to happen. Something tells me you are not going to personally like my choices.


Xheralt Delencradier said...

The Linux desktop doesn't "belong" to any one distro, nor should it. Because if Ubuntu (or any other developer) can claim 'ownership' of the hearts, minds, and computers of the world -- well, congratulations, you've created the next Microsoft. No, more like you've created the next Apple Inc., a company *pretending* to be hip and friendly to its users while actually being the most ruthless entity on the planet. The sheer arrogance of your statement, Iggy, is appalling! It's so easy -- and stupid and wrong -- to dis someone for using a different distro. So what if Red Hat has other ideas about the future? Us Linux users don't need them, anyway...with all the OTHER ALTERNATIVES out there, which Iggy seems to disdain, one can try Fedora and/or Ubuntu and then move on to something better, as I have.

John said...

This fanboism for a distro does no one any good. I use Mandriva and Debian, some of my friends use Ubuntu. Who cares?! The point of GNU/Linux is the freedom to run your computer as *** you *** choose. People need to find the distro that they like, and help out their team. For sure no help is gained by any distro from tearing down another distro. Every distro has it's warts, but we get to choose what warts we're going to live with. That's the freedom in free sourced software.

slayerboy said...

Blogger IGnatius T Foobar said...

Red Hat and Novell are not the nascent desktop Linux industry. Canonical is. The Linux desktop belongs to Ubuntu. I know you are a PCLinuxOS zealot and therefore you hate Ubuntu, but pretending they do not exist only works within this blog article; it doesn't work in the real world.

What will it take for you to realize this? Do we have to put the Ubuntu logo on the side panel of a race car?


I am COMPLETELY and UTTERLY appalled by these comments as both an Ubuntu user and Linux lover.

How DARE you tell someone that their choice of distro is wrong. How DARE you!

I'm sorry, this is going too far. Dumper hit the nail on the head. the infighting in the community NEEDS to stop for Linux to grow and the community to work together.

We should be encouraging everyone to use a distro they like. Unfortunately, I think people look at their distro comparable to a fanatical religion, "My views and beliefs are right and yours are wrong!" Don't believe me? We've just seen it in the comments!

IGnatius T Foobar said...

Thanks for proving my point.

Blog of helios said...

Thanks for proving my point.

On top of all else, he has no sense of sarcasm. That's sad.

cwwitt said...

I applaud Helios for his passion and I contributed to the Tux on the racecar fund. I am an Ubuntu user. I am attracted to the synergy of the Ubuntu community. I have used many distros and they all have their strengths. I am first and foremost a FLOSS user though. So, regardless of which distros get highlighted or gain mindshare, Linux userbase grows, and I am pleased with that result. I will certainly consider any project that Helios proposes. Helios has earned a "friend of Linux" reputation.

TaNK said...

Oy, Mr. Foobar is a strange character.

I personally like running Ubuntu on my laptop and desktop, Fedora on my server, and have Fedora on my work laptop. I got to sit next to helios during the summit and see him transform the newest Mandriva into an eye-candy treat on a laptop with OpenGL going full blast. For the K4K and HeliOS Solution installs, he's used probably a good dozen different distros. Other commentors have noted their own preferences; you'll notice we end up having quite a distro-neutral representation if you look around enough.

Also, if you notice, Tux500 was TUX, not a distro icon, ya nut!! ;)

Listen, turn that energy into something good and drum up some advocacy - whether focused on LIN08 (hopefully) or some other meaningful project - that will help loosen the chains of those computer users that otherwise have no clue they have a choice. Don't berate others within the community for their choice since that echos loudly beyond our community walls. Do Something!!


IGnatius T Foobar said...

Been a FOSS developer for over 20 years, and an old-skool unix geek for even longer than that. Be careful who you call a fanboi, my friend ... I happen to oversee network operations in a 30,000 square foot data center, and guess what Linux I specify for the servers there? Hint: it isn't Ubuntu.

What I read in this article was "Red Hat isn't doing it, and Novell isn't doing it, therefore it isn't happening." To talk about the desktop and completely dismiss Ubuntu, which holds the lion's share of desktop Linux mindshare right now, is somewhat less than clever.

I call 'em like I see 'em.

Anonymous said...

I call 'em like I see 'em.

Then let's get you down to the local eye doctor and look into (pun fully intended) some glasses or contacts.

Did you read this carefully? Have you followed what this guy does? Let's look at the structure of helios's thoughts.

Redhat and IBM are old established Linux Houses that have been around since Linux became Linux. Helios was speaking about companies that have surly invested tons in Linux but they've not payed attention to the "charitable" part of the business and that is getting people freed from Microsoft. Now in my opinion, to think they would do this to me is ridiculous. I've been corresponding with helios for 3 years and I don't normally think of him as idealistic...he's fairly hard-bitten and cynical. In this case though, I think his idealism snuck through in his thinking here. Developing and distributiing a desktop is not their business and if they finance such an advertising campaign, then they would be seen as those who physically support said desktops. Therefore, they're not going to do it

My point is, and moreso, helios's point is that the LONG-ESTABLISHED Linux houses need to step up. Shuttleworth doesn't want to advertise the desktop for his own reasons. I am afraid that your Supreme commander has the same motives and reasons for not doing so as IBM and HP. that in itself is sad.

And helios's point. You sound like you have some juice in the community, with your position and all. Why haven't the Ubuntu folks stepped up for LINdependence 2008. I personally hope they don't. It might help knock some of the attitude off some of the elite in your communities. Like the man said. If Ubuntu and the others don't actively participate, they are not going to be the distros put on the machines in the install fests prior to the event.

No one can gripe about that...they've been begging you guys to come aboard. Looks like Mepis and Mandriva with Wolfix are going to get the spotlight.

I can live with that.


ejraka32 said...

Hey Helios;
Keep up the good work.
I'm still planning to drive from LA to attend Lindependence2008. Hope to at least cheer you on.


Anonymous said...


I've emailed you but I will leave this here too since I am in the neighborhood.

Let's talk about this whole "mortgaging the house" thing. Debbie is ok with this? I know she is supportive but sheesh.

Here it is plain and symple. sure there is a core group that support what you do and you know from Tux500 that I am one of them. But man, outside of that relative handful of people, they aren't going to remember your name in 3 months. You are doing things for a community that won't even take care of itself. I just think you are wasting your personal treasure on those who will not only forget what you've done, they will ridicule and deride you for it.

Let's go get some coffee and talk about this. I have some ideas that might let you NOT do this thing.

And remember, I have a new cell.


Anonymous said...

Is there anyone in this entire conversation that doesn't know what an operating system is and does, how to download and install an RPM package or how to manage permissions in a Linux file system?

Is there anyone in this entire conversation that has a plan to scalably and economically support 10's of thousands to millions of users that don't know those things?

Red Hat and Novell ARE supporting Linux on the desktop. They've simply acknowledged that right now, the market that is ready for their efforts is the corporate market with IT departments, help desks and a willingness to pay for support. Ubuntu isn't all that different either.

Linux desktop users, of which I am one, are largely technically savvy enough to survive on community support and the knowledge available across the web. Consumers, by and large, are not the same audience.

To advertise to the consumer but not know how to support millions of them for very little cost isn't a wise use of time or money.

Anonymous said...

Hi, the Linux strenght is FREEDOM, if Linux will have more user then windows will this be enought for you? The power is in the small comunitis that are working to make free programs(you can have a super linux desktop but if you do not have the application to use on it you will need to run windows apps).

We must promote FREE SOFTWARE or OPEN SOURCE ideas.The idea is important and you americans you must make something about the stupid low(i hope in UE Microsoft will have to pay more penalityes until they will be fair or leave us

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Linux Users could give a crap about anyone adapting to Linux and being freed from Microsoft."

I presume you mean "Linux Users could not give a crap ..."

stomfi said...

As a dedicated Linux refurbisher here in Australia for the Digital Divide applause for your excellent thoughts and doings.

To those that go with one distro over another, remember it is really only the administration utilities that make things different.

Just because apt-get fetches uninstalled libraries as well as the selected application, I install Ubuntu on machines that can handle it, and Vector 5.8 on those that won't.

I install only the base system plus ktouch. Letting the new users know hoe to fetch their own choice of extra software from the web.

Newbie users who have either never used a computer or have used Windows are completely lost with RPM based systems, although for those that have some knowledge I will install one of these if they request it.

To me who was brought up on UNIX 3v7, any Linux is a breath of fresh air. I even know how to use the Dynebolic SDK to create squashfs modules and create a 4.7GB bootable live Dyne DVD, as well as sticking RedHat on my PS3.

So a Linux is a Linux is a Linux and Windows is a lonely thorn somewhere near the bottom of a new development revolution.

Good on ya mate.

Jason said...

Linux is Linux. Why must there always be this distro boasting rivalry? To take down Goliath, us David's need to realize we all function under the same name, Linux.

Blog of helios said...

Linux Users could give a crap about anyone adapting to Linux and being freed from Microsoft."

No, it is good as quoted. Here in
Texas, they have their way of twisting things to fit their unique perspective...seems I have adapted to that quirkiness.

Jason...prepare to be quoted

Craig said...

Linux as a whole is improved by having so many distro's. Great ideas from one trickle to the others, which allows all to grow. Ubuntu and Fedora seem to do a good bit of sharing, both being so close together in regards to software versions. I use Ubuntu because it's what met my needs, but I still download other distro's to try now and then to see if any of the others do a better job of meeting my needs. Good luck with LINdependence 2008!

Larry Cafiero said...

A couple of points going forward for a little clarity (not to mention my own observations):

-- Lindependence 2008 could have been a one-distro show, with one of the larger distros footing the bill. One offered, but we chose not to go that route because we wanted the project to outline the choices people have in their digital experience.

-- Having said that, the fact that there are many distros to choose from is a plus, not a minus. It might even reach a point where some of those who convert to Linux (or GNU/Linux -- my preference, but not one I force on others, so I'll use it interchangeably here) will actually want to try Gentoo once they feel comfortable around lower-maintenance distros (Gentoo folks: That's humor. I'm wearing flame-resistant clothing, but you know your distro is not exactly newbie friendly).

-- RantoulRandy: I am a member of the California Ubuntu LoCo and I expect them to participate in Lindependence 2008. I plan to bring this up at the next meeting. You also say "Looks like Mepis and Mandriva with Wolfix are going to get the spotlight. I can live with that." Well, others are planning to get involved, for sure: For example, Debian will be represented by a volunteer coming down from San Francisco (more on this in the next item). I believe we will have at least 10 distros, possibly Sun touting OpenSolaris (not Linux, but they may come as part of OpenOffice's participation), as well as five or six FOSS programs.

-- A note on how this is working: As far as Mandriva goes, there had been some opposition on the forum to this, and the opposition (sadly) was based on folks blasting Ken's enthusiasm for promoting Linux. However, one Mandriva user in Northern California volunteered to represent Mandriva and he is coordinating with the folks in Paris to get the items necessary for the project. Further, as I mentioned above, a volunteer representing Debian wants to stand and deliver for that distro (even though this volunteer has said that Debian may be a little tricky for newcomers). The point here is that people stepping up to the plate on behalf of their distro (or FOSS program) of choice is as important, if not more important, than having the word come down from on high (so to speak).

-- While I agree with Ken that using GNU/Linux "frees" people from being under Microsoft's monopolistic thumb, I would like to emphasize the freedom aspect of this project moreso than the anti-Microsoft tangent that tends to be an undercurrent in the FOSS-vs-Proprietary debate. While MS's lack of quality has always been a help, Vista is a godsend that has caused even the casual computer user -- one who really doesn't care what's under the hood, so to speak, as long as it's working -- to look for alternatives. So this is one of Lindependence 2008's strengths, since we are offering a way out for those who choose to take it.

-- I don't expect the entire town to convert. Realistically, I don't even expect a quarter to convert. If we can get 10 percent, that will be a huge success to build on. Ten percent may seem like little, but that's 600 people -- that would be a great success. So would 5 percent -- 300 people.

-- This is the first of many of these projects going forward. You can look for them in your town, or you can start your own effort (and we'll help).

-- Anyone who wants to contact me directly can do so below.

If you're still awake, thanks for reading.

Larry Cafiero
6116 Highway 9, Suite 4B
Felton, CA 95018

cwwitt said...

I agree that freedom is the most important aspect to be promoted. Kudos to all of the volunteers who have agreed to help. So if I understand this project, it is essentially a well-organized and perhaps better publicized installfest. Perhaps I am understating though.

Charles Witt - San Antonio, Texas USA

Blog of helios said...

it is essentially a well-organized and perhaps better publicized installfest.

In its essence, that's exactly what it is. With some big guns coming in to insure its success and prominence. We will have to check but we might be on the verge of setting a new record, depending on installs. I for one sincerely hope that it is a record broken in record time.