The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Monday, July 14, 2008

One Down...Three to go.

The first Lindependence project set sail into the history books today, July 14th 2008.

It went well. Extremely well.

Larry, myself and several people from the local Linux Community gathered at the HeliOS Solutions West for a last minute meeting as to who was going to do what. The meeting took place at 2 so as to give us a bit of time to talk before this thing started. Just a little gathering to make sure everyone knew who was going to do what. About then, someone walked into the office and made an announcement.

"You guys got a line of people trying to get in. they're wondering if you guys are going to show up."

We looked at each other and stood up as one and moved to the door.

Lindependence 2008 in Felton California was on.

It never was overwhelming. A steady stream of people came in and out...many spending over an hour with the various representatives in the hall. Many of us often found ourselves with several people around us at once...there were not too many instances when a rep had nothing to do. In fact, as I looked around the room, I can't remember seeing one instance of anyone twiddling their thumbs....not for long anyway.

And we had some pleasant surprises as well.

Many of us had collaborated on this project for months via the internet. Many more of us had collaborated on other things over the years but had never met in person. Lindependence 2008 gave us a chance to finally hug, shake hands and personally thank each other for the help they had provided. After years of emails, phone calls and more emails, I was finally able to meet Cathy Malmrose, CEO of

I am terrible at remembering names, and in this instance there isn't any excuse for not remembering the names of the people who made this thing happen. I am going to count on my counter-part to identify those pictured here...maybe a memory course online someswhere...

I did have the pleasure of speaking with Rolf Pederson, the Mandriva representative. Here you can see Rolf and Cathy being interviewed on the important issues of the day...or maybe the price of gas in California.

Another huge surprise for myself was the chance to finally meet Steve Rufle. Steve has been supportive of our efforts for three years and many times his contributions to our cause has been the difference in getting things done or not. Steve has a great business he runs on the side called "Open Animals". Steve sells his Tux penguin stuffed toys and once his investment is recovered, he puts the profits back into various open source projects. Steve is a shining example of just what Linux Community involvement is all about and I want to personally thank him for his efforts during LIN08. He rolled up his sleeves and helped with the Linux demos when we got covered up with people wanting to know more about "This Linux Thing." That's Steve seated at the computer, giving a demonstration.

Now let's talk about gratifying. I had the pleasure to speak with one individual, a younger man in his early 20's about Linux. He was concerned that Microsoft Windows just wasn't going to give him the stability he needed when he put his business plan into play. His needs are simple...a machine that just stays on and won't falter or fail for months at a time. He has experienced the "bit rot" of Windows and was hoping Linux would supply that stability. His friends chided him for his silliness prior to coming over to see us. They told him that Linux was "an experiment" and that it wasn't near ready for production use or mission critical usage.

They might want to tell that to the United States Army or The Dow Jones.

After I spent a better part of an hour talking with him, he was truly excited about his choices. He left with a disk from each representative and thanked us for our time.

It wasn't even thirty minutes later.

Two young men approached my table and kind of stood around shuffling their feet...neither of them sure of what to say. I helped them out a bit.

"Can I help you?"

The tallest one smiled sheepishly. "Yeah. We want to know about This Linux Thing".

They were friends of the guy who had come to see us earlier...apparently they had heard that they might just have it wrong about Linux.

Oh really...Ya think?

I had them take a seat next to me and we began talking about Linux. I started at the beginning...I told them about a young student in Finland...

They stopped me often to ask a question or to clarify a point. When I was finished , I asked them if they had any questions and if they would like to take a disk home with them. The answer was yes, but their comments surprised me even more than most. They wanted to know if this was really true...that they could take this disk home, do as I instructed them to do and they could do the things I just showed them...dual booting, choosing kde or gnome...really, really not having to install Norton or AVG on their systems.

I couldn't help but smile and assure them that they could indeed do just that.

And that seemed to be a reaction we saw often on this first day of Lindepenence...that there is no "catch". That there really was a way to run your computer freely, securely and for months at a time if need be. We came a long way in sending people forward with just that message.

And the message will be sent forward in other ways. Christian Einfeldt is doing a spectacular job in documenting the activities of Lindependence 2008. He has interviewed everyone involved with skill and patience...from "Linux Kids" to the old salty advocates...he has brought life to this thing we do and we look forward to seeing the end results. Christian's project is The Digital Tipping Point and I encourage you to support what he does.

It's more important than anyone can measure.

All Righty Then...geez it's been a good day


FelixTheCat said...


It's good to know y'all were indeed busy - folks are really interested and this is already a success.

Good going!

Anonymous said...

Amazing post Helios! Very inspiring.
I wish I had been there. If you (or anyone else you know) ever organize anything like this in Germany I'd be more than willing to participate.

Anonymous said...

Guten tag, db0 --

We have already had inquiries about Lindependence from Europe -- in Italia, actually -- but we can help you get started if you want to do something in your own community in Germany . . . ;-)

Larry Cafiero
Lindependence 2008

Amenditman said...

Congdatulations to all planners, organizers, volunteers, and participants!

A lot of people 'out' here wish we could have been there.

Anonymous said...


I have no idea how you managed to do something like that! I have been breaking my back just to get my parents to switch, but you guys made it to the point where people were banging on your door, begging you to teach them about GNU/Linux.

Hopefully the word will spread beyond Felton, and it will help people everywhere start to realize that "you get what you pay for" doesn't apply to computer software when it is Free (Libre) Open Source Software. Most people now don't realize the benefits of FOSS.

Thanks a lot to everyone who helped at this event. It is obvious that you guys are really making a difference.

P.S.-"The tallest one smiled sheepishly." should be "The taller one smiled sheepishly."

kozmcrae said...

Yee Haa!

Anonymous said...

Larry, that would be excellent but unfortunately I don't speak the language (I'm an expatriate) so I think I'd be the worst one to organize it. I can give it a try nevertheless if you tell me how to start.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome, congratulations guys.

Would it be possible that you guys, eventually, post a how-to on organizing this kind of event? What did you learn from this experience? What would you do better next time? what would you NOT do next time?
logistics, publicity, etc, etc.

I am so exited to learn about this so to organize a similar event in my town.

Keep it up guys!

Anonymous said...

What a blast! Wish I still lived in San Jose, I would have been there gladly.

Unknown said...

I have already begun drafting the definitive "how-to" on planning and executing a project like this so anyone can do it.

It might take a couple of weeks because Larry is going to be pivotal in making it accurate. He's taken care of the most tedious of detail and knows most importantly what NOT to do as opposed to the right things to do. It's been an important learning process and as I've open sourced my own personal business, we will publish this how to under the creative commons license so anyone can go forward with their own versions of Lindependence.

Stay Tooned.


Anonymous said...

Hey guys,
I am coming here with my hat in hand, openly apologizing for some things I've said publicly and privately about what you are doing. I called you two "clowns" and "wanna-be" geeks. I had no idea you could actually pull this off not to mention succeed at it.

I am offering you two my personal apology for the things I've said and I will not again take lightly your plans and projects. You've shown us all how to make a difference and I applaude your energy and enthusiasm. Thank you Larry and Ken for what you have given the Linux Community. Even more, thank you for showing us how to face down arrogant detractors.

With tenacity and strength.

Troy Nathaniel
Billings Montana

Amenditman said...


I'm going to add you to my list of heroes, after Helios and Larry of course.

Not many people in the FOSS community who would come back with a sincere apology like that one. Most would just let what they said stand and hope everyone else forgot.

I applaud you sir.


libervisco said...


Edmundo Carmona said...

Helios, I have followed your posts from time to time when they show up in linuxtoday, mostly... and I have enjoyed them a lot, really (specially the "G├╝inusers suffer from Stockholm Syndrome" one).... this post wan't the exception, but I noticed that there was no mention of GNU and I think it does deserve some credit.

Unknown said...

I've been called out for this before and I apologize if I haven't made it clear. My ommission of "GNU" isn't a matter of philosophical difference as much as it is just pure laziness, I've mentioned before that when I mention the automobile make known as Chevrolet, I always say "chevy". It's just an abbreviated version of the word and I apply the same verbal laziness to the term and system known as Linux. Larry Cafiero is my balance in this matter and for every time I mention Linux without the "GNU" qualifier, he adds it in his blog and conversations.

Of course the GNU contributions are important. Important hell, they are critical...I am simply lazy most times and you can rest assured that when I say Linux...GNU is understood.


Anonymous said...

I am absolutely livid with the so-called Linux "news" organizations which chose to ignore this huge event. I am sure it would have been even better with more dissemination of this information. I myself have just heard of this and I live just North of San FranSicko and I could have easily made the first event. Unfortunately, I am on active duty and must report back to Fort Lewis tomorrow.

If I have read some of the other blogs about this and understand them correctly, it seems that you did make Linux Journal and other magazines aware of this project and they ignored it? I will immediately cancel my subscription to that rag and let them know exactly why I did it. There is no excuse for them to ignore a project of this magnitude.

You people who made this happen deserve a standing ovation from the Linux Community. Let me be the first to take my feet and begin the applause.

Manny Gomez

Anonymous said...

Edmundo, he did give GNU credit. Look at the picture of the license plate at the top of this article. Another one of the flyers on the desk says "GNU/LINUX" in bold caps.

GO GETTUM, KEN!!! This was a great first day. May the rest continue like it.


Anonymous said...

Gentlemen (and ladies if applicable),

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!

THIS is what I have been waiting for.
For too long have people been stuck with Microsoft Windows. Having severed the chains to Microsoft Deception-Ware long ago, I enjoy the freedom and professional-level computer use that avails itself to me via Linux. I want to second the standing ovation for this effort. You two men deserve nothing but the admiration and respect of the Linux Community. that is whether you believe it exists or not.

I am sure your detractors will follow soon. It seems that any time Mr. Starks enjoys just a smattering of success or praise, "someone" likes to follow behind and scatter his fecal matter about. I assure you, there is not enough crap in the world for that miscreant to throw that would taint what these two gentlemen have achieved.

For my part, I will be watching this spot closely for the promised "how-to". Rest assured I WILL initiate this effort in my community.

Richard Everett
Benson Arizona

Anonymous said...

Hey fellows,

Have you thought about maybe submitting a how-to on teaching the teachers? It was alluded to above, that someone had struggled with just convincing their parents and you guys are having people come to YOU to learn Linux.

I know for a fact that just handing someone a disk and saying "try it" can often do more harm than good. I've heard Helios talk about this before.

It might be a good idea to think about this. Maybe just a quick going over of the do's and don't's.

My congratulations to Larry and Ken, everybody who made this exceptional idea take wing and fly. I am so proud of you folks. So extremely proud to be a Linux User today.

Mark Benowitz
Miami FL

Amenditman said...


I just finished watching the interview Christian did of you and Larry.

Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...


You people talk a good talk but when it comes down to it, you are worse than Windows. At least Windows is up front about taking my money. You all told me how "free" Linux was and what a good deal it is. I get home and follow the instructions the Wubuntu guys gave me and it waited until it was installed before it told me that "unfree" drivers were available and that they might be better. It popped up again and said that I needed to be careful of "restricted drivers". I don't know what kind of game you people are running here but scamming people while you are in the Lord's house is beyond sick.

So that is how you do it? You tell everyone that Linux is "free" then you sucker us for the better drivers and we have to pay for them? I have contacted the California Attorney General about your little game and I hope they shut you down. I tried another disk and it hasn't tried to get me to buy anything yet, but if it does, I will report them as well.

Monty Hingler

Amenditman said...


Non-free and restricted drivers are still free of cost, the lack of freedom is only in your right to use, transfer use of, or alter the driver.

If someone has asked you for money, it is a optional, voluntary support package, which I can assure you you probably do not need. There is so much free support online, most users do not 'need' to pay for actual support.

If someone has asked for money and it is not an optional package you should report them to the owners of the software you are installing and they will take care of it.

Free and Open Source Software is free. You are free to use it, free to copy and give it away to others who will use it, free to alter it in any way you like, and free to pass those changes on to others. The only requirement is that you must grant whoever you give it to these same freedoms with your software. Anything else violates the FOSS/GNU/GPL way and license.

I hope you find that this is just a misunderstanding.


Unknown said...


Thank you for fielding first inclination was to delete it but we don't do that here. I think though that it does raise a point that many of us need to look at. I have Monty's business card so I will call him tomorrow at his ofice and straighten this out.

I really didn't see Monty's point and I was really disconnected from his statements until I remembered doing an Ubuntu install last week.

I freed a partition on one of my production machines and while I don't particularly care to install Ubuntu. I do have the latest Mint that I wanted to check out. It installs almost identical to Ubuntu.

I now see exactly where a person not familiar with our "lingo" could be misled. At first reboot and during the first update, there most certainly IS a popup that says NON FREE drivers are available and will run the system better.

Here is where our politics get in the way of our mission. We are beginning to deal with an absolute flood of new users. How many people are going to run into the terms "Non Free" and "restricted" and get the wrong idea. Now it's my personal opinion that the FOSS powers that be have done this purposely...they are doing their best to discourage the use of proprietary drivers. And really...don't come here and say that's not the case. The language IS chosen carefully to do just that.

I've sat in on the meetings. Why do you think I divorced myself from that group so quickly. They are not going to change...they are having the effect they desire, however it is starting to backfire. This is a case in point.

Congrats FOSS've just gotten a complaint filed against Ubuntu for fraud in the state of California.

Fscking brilliant.

I will post back as soon as I am able to contact Monty. Hopefully it will be done prior to any calls to the California Attorney General.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

I gotta agree but it's only an extremely small group that want to steer Linux, oops I mean GNU/Linux in this direction. I may have not sat in on the meetings but I see it every day in the forums. They are fanatical in their insistence on specific language. Yep...Non Free means NOT FREE to normal people FOSS Folks! Join the rest of the world and speak something understood outside of the EU. Love your move against MS, and I'm an American so I can say that. I can also say that this BS on insisting on scaring our new users away before they learn our language needs to stop.

Think practical, not political and you will migrate a ton of new users. What was your tagline Kenny? Pragmatics before politics? Bingo!


Amenditman said...

Can't just sit back and watch when there is an obvious disconnect from A - B.

While there might not be a 'Linux Community', we have a linux community.

Most of us know it and appreciate the fact.


Unknown said...

Yes, there are many "we's" out there. And you know what...I'm OK with that. I just don't want someone to walk into this thing all starry-eyed like I did and make assumptions that come back later and cause huge amounts of crushing disappointment.

Yeah, I like our "we". We are all we need right now...and I think WE do "we well.

Written, that last statement comes off ok, but I don't care who you are, you'de come off as plain goofy trying to deliver it as part of a speech or presentation.

I like to make the obvious observations...obvious now that I've decided not to hide behind a computer anymore.

I have a face made for radio and a voice best suited for laryngitis.



Anonymous said...

I have a face made for radio and a voice best suited for laryngitis.

What I see is a person who has battled seemingly insurmountable odds and come out the victor. I see smiling yet tired eyes. Eyes that have probably seen too much ugliness but still shine with light and love when they smile.

You Ken Starks are our treasure. Thank you. No. I'm not going to sign my name. You don't know me anyway.