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The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lindependence 2008 - In The Books And Out Of The Blocks

It is done.

And now so it begins...


On July 26th, 2008; the last public installment of Lindependence 2008 took place at Taylor Hall in the Presbyterian Church in Felton California. The numbers weren't great, but they weren't disastrous either. Here is the point that has been continually missed by many. For those who get it, will only take a paragraph.

Yes, our goal was to convert an entire town. We've begun the process, not completed the task. You know as well as I do that Linux creeps to its destiny...

One user at a time.

There are now hundreds of new Linux Users in Felton California. They will in turn tell their neighbors, their friends...and we will see the system that is destined to free an entire computing world go forth.

Just like it has in the last decade. We've simply stumbled upon a way to hasten the process.

So, does Lindependence stop here? You gotta be kidding me. In the past two weeks, Larry Cafiero and I have received about a dozen emails and phone calls, asking how this gets done in their towns.

Boulder Creek California
Portland Oregon
Jersey city New Jersey
Miami Florida
Meridian Idaho
Bamberg Germany
Vicenza Italy
Manor Texas
Ames Iowa

All places where Linux Users want to hold their own Lindependence event...and there are more. I simply can't bring them to mind and I'm too lazy right now to scan my email. But even with the promise of such proliferation, a question has to be asked...and some pointed details spoken of.

How are they to get it done?

It takes publicity to make this work...people in the Linux Community need to know these things are happening. And uncomfortable as it makes some of you.

It costs money to make this happen.

And in some cases...marriages.

We struggled daily for 4 months, trying to get this thing publicized. We had some modest success but that success came in the 11th hour from conventional news sources. The last minute interest this event enjoyed is directly attributable to articles in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Mercury News.

And make no mistake...trying to get thousands of people in one small town to change to Linux IS news.

At least it should be.

It would seem that some of the premiere Linux News sources didn't think so. Even though they said they would support the effort early on...they didn't. We didn't ask them for money...just ink and bytes. Even after saying they would cover it, they didn't...

And offered no explanation as to why. They left us twisting in the wind.

Now I've come to expect this from Slashdot. It's a good-ol'-boy network that is accessible by few and the gatekeepers of that site strive to keep it that way. Even the big hitters in Linux...Codeweavers and RedHat scratch their heads every time one of their articles is rejected. It is coveted ink...The Tux 500 project proved that. So Slashdot is fairly worthless to the proliferation of Linux. They've proven they have no interest in it time after time.

But The Linux Journal?
The FSF?

I was stunned.

Early on, Ms Carlie Fairchild, Publisher of The Linux Journal , expressed an interest in covering what we were doing. And yes...we did have some problems in getting a phone call arranged. A short burst of Answering Machine Madness ended in complete silence from LJ.

I mean Complete Silence.

I had the bad taste to finally email Ms. Fairchild and ask her what I had done to be ignored. It was a valid question and still is for that matter. And oh yes...I had the extended bad taste to blind cc a trusted member of the Linux Community that same email.

Cheap insurance against the "I didn't get it" line.

That email has been unanswered as well.

The Linux Journal could have reached tens of thousands of people...people who would have been extremely interested in Lindependence. And yes...even helped us fund it. With the exception of a few extremely generous souls...Larry Cafiero and I would have paid for this totally out of our own pockets. The way it stands, Larry paid for almost a third of the whole thing himself.

Now let's see where this scores on your "That's-Ironic" O'meter.

The FSF as well talked as if they were going to give us a hand...I believe our point of contact was Matt. It didn't happen. Now listen to what I am telling you here. the FSF would not give a dot of ink or mention about a project that strives to bring Free Software to thousands.

You know...a simple response like, "After careful review, we don't feel that this story is a fit for our publication..."

That would have been fine. Well, not fine really, but a whole bunch better than the Roaring Silence that we did receive.

So we, and especially Larry ended up spending our own money on this.

It was a lot of money. A lot of money that could have went onto his dinner table and into his retirement account, into his daughter's college fund....she is extremely bright. But it didn't. By the time we realized the "Linux Media" had backed out on us...we were committed...we had no place to go but forward. Checkbooks in hand.

And forward we went. Successfully thank you. But not with the success that some larger media attention would have brought. was costly, and in more than dollars. Trust me on this one.

Now the Electronic Media? The Linux Today's and the LXer' Two carried us toward the end, the other dumped us at a crucial the very beginning. Why?

Because we had the audacity to ask for financial assistance.

According to their Terms of Service" (TOS), it is completely acceptable for them to reject any news or opinion that solicits.


So you take your Linux Proliferation labels off and sling them in the corner with Slashdot's and those belonging to The Linux Journal. And you do it now, so every one can see. We seem to be accumulating a nice little pile of those labels. You may be able to tout articles on shiny new file systems or compilers but at helping the spread of are a spectacular failure....some of you are anyway.

Your refusal to help us get some funding for this project acted as a boot on the throat of what we were trying to accomplish. This isn't going to happen without community support.

Oh yes...and now tell me how that isn't your job...Like Dell and RedHat did.

My personal thanks to and Linux Today for your coverage and support. As well, my thanks goes out to the many bloggers who helped us along our way. Of special note is the NIXed Report. Thanks Thomas.

Kudo's to the editorial staff at for walking the thin line they were sucked but you did what you could...I could never ask for more and I thank you.

And to Codeweavers? I cannot express to you enough, our gratitude. From Larry, myself and the two dozen volunteers that made this thing happen, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The people of Felton and other places will find their migration to Linux much less traumatic because of your generosity. You have our unwaivering support.

Spreading the news of a Free Open Source Software solution isn't cheap...word of mouth has netted us what...? A three percent market share in the past ten years?

That's been a raging success.

You "news" organizations need to rethink your positions on this thing. That list of places above that have flesh and blood people interested in spreading Linux in those locations? I've told them they can pretty much count you out on any support. Those are real people, putting in real hours, dollars and sacrifice to do what they believe in. Some of them will pay for their devotion in ways you wouldn't even think of sacrificing.

And you have neither the foresight or courtesy to cover their efforts?

That's fact it's more than sad. It's an indication of who really does the work in this community.

And who sits back and rakes in the profits from those efforts.

Maybe the rest of us need to re-evaluate our need for your services. Maybe a closer look at your sponsor lists...

Hey, I'm just sayin'...

All-Righty Then


Anonymous said...

Helios, well put and on target. Being one in a similar field, I've suffered this frustration and unfortunately, I take a bit of comfort in knowing that if they ignore you, then I shouldn't feel bad.

Damn straight I'll cx my subscription to LJ. I stayed through the Linux Chix flap and I should have ditched them then but I guess it's just getting the Linux Magazine in my mail that felt good. At least the mailman knew I was a geek.

I'll pass this along to the LUG I am involved with in Chicago. I am sure many will feel the same as I do. Please pass along my congratulations to the team Larry and you put together for this. Poor publicity or not, you showed "the community" what a couple of guys with a bit of an attitude can do. You've done it well.

Dave Meeks
Cubs rool - Astros drool

Unknown said...

Cubs rool - Astros drool

Yeah, and Joe is their batboy...



thanks Davie, that means much coming from you.


Amenditman said...


I'm going to post this on every blog or forum that allowed me to post the Lindependence news from you and Larry.

If it gets anything like the attention your event got, it should be a big embarassment to the "linux publications".


Anonymous said...

Hi Helios, i'm from Italy and I'm organizing a 2 days event dedicated to the FOSS world in september, and I'm facing exactly the same problems you've found: totally indifference in the best cases even when you ask only a small space on a newsletter.
Absolutely frustrating: but we keep on. I think that if we bring to the Linux side even only 1 more user that will be a success for us, for the same reasons you tell.

Unknown said...


email me at helios at fixedbylinux dott kommm and tell me about your project. I will do what I can to publicize it for you.

Good people...people that are passionate, dedicated and doggedly serious are busting their @$$es to make Linux a viable alternative on the desktop and this kind of disconnect between the "Linux Media" and the soldiers in the field is not only makes me wonder who they get their marching orders. We may not get any added publicity but I bet you we get some answers. Awaiting your email.


Anonymous said...

Congratulation, Ken and Larry and everyone else involved in Lindependence08! You're having a real impact where it really matters- hands-on, up close and personal.

Carla Schroder

Anonymous said...

@ Yeah, and Joe is their batboy...



Anonymous said...

Helios, I'm the guy from New Jersey who emailed you while you were in California.

I've put things in motion here to do what you and Larry have done but we've gotten lucky. One of the guys who happens to be a Linux Geek also happens to be a news reporter for the local TV station here. What do you want to wager we get some coverage?

Your efforts have been more than inspirational helios. They have been contagious. You brought me to the point where I could no longer sit on the sidelines and cheer you. I am now shooting for a bit of one-upsmanship.

I want to thank you for your effort and sacrifice. If I am understanding things correctly, this cost you more than money. May only good things happen to you from now on my friend. While I might not be able to correctly call you a friend, there is one thing I can call you. I can call you my mentor.

James Healey

Anonymous said...

Great job, h and Larry on Lindependence! You put a lot of hard work into it and I greatly appreciate it, and I'm sure more than one in Felton appreciates it. Don't stop regardless of what the "pundits" say or don't say about your aspirations. They have largely proven their irrelevance. And to those who did give Lindependence its rightful spotlight...kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted that the big names in Gnu/linux news did not even give you a mention. Indeed, the linuxsphere has been extraordinarily silent about this (excepting you).

If the ones that are supposed to be helping the movement cannot even shine a bit of the spotlight your way I say fuck'em. Go decentralised.

I will do my part and blog about this ASAP.

Anonymous said...

As enthusiastic as I am about going forward with a plan to do this here, I honestly have to give pause and reconsider. If the people at Linux Journal and Slashdot are not going to mention efforts like yours or mine, then on top of planning and organizing the event, I also have to look outside the community for funding? Helios I don't have your talent and gift for gab. All I have is the LUG to get it going. I don't have the kind of money Larry put into this thing.

No, as much as I want to see my town put Linux on their computers, I am going to have to think about this. Thanks for the heads up. I would have had to drop it before it really got started.


daretoeatapeach said...

I am a publicist by trade and an Ubuntu user. I'm a little confused about this post. Why would they not be publicizing your event intentionally? Editors get about 200 emails a day. It could be bad luck. You could have sent your pitch to the wrong editor. It could have a scary looking attachment. The editor could be on vacation. Maybe they don't do regional coverage. Perhaps you had a subject line that didn't pull them in. Etc. Publicity is in some ways a tough business---rejection is the norm. Don't take it personally.

I live in Berkeley and I would love to help out if something like this is planned for the Bay Area. It often feels like there is little we non-coders can do to give back to the O.S.S. community that has done so much for us. Don't hesitate to drop me an email with any publicity questions you might have.

kozmcrae said...

"Why would they not be publicizing your event intentionally?"

If this was in the field of world events, then I could understand not acknowledging an event like this. But this is the small world of Linux. If you aren't already familiar with every publisher, all the top journalists and "analysts" then you haven't been paying attention. I do and I'm just a user. Chances are they already knew something was up before they received the confirmation from Larry or Ken. No. Lindependence was willfully ignored by the very journals and web sites that depend on Linux for their existence. The only question is why. I am on the outside looking in on this whole affair. But I would bet my next lump of money that they are trying to safeguard something they've already lost, their reputation.

Unknown said...

The only reason I can think of is that Linux is big, but at the same time, structured so that right now, quite a few pwoplw in the right positions can weild influence over it in the future and/or profit from it. These so-called tech websites are just in it for the ad sense revenue. Slashdot, IMO, is the worst of the bunch. You say anything that clases wither agendas, and you are instantly modded troll or whatever, never to be seen again. Repeat it and you will stay there. Even if you post something meaningful, it will be lost among the many comments. Anyways, congrats to you Helios on this great project.

Anonymous said...


Cancelled our subscription to LJ yesterday. They need to realize that there are human beings involved with Linux too. There are just so many articles about compilers and python scripts one can take.

Thanks for your hard work. We will be in contact with Larry and you about that how-to shortly. I am thinking Tucson is ripe for something like this.

Manny Ortega