openSUSE @ LFNW 2014

LinuxFest Northwest 2014 is shaping up to be a great event for openSUSE!

We'll be recreating the openSUSE Lounge in our luxurious 100 sqft. booth space.  Stop by and relax in a comfy chair, and have a sip of LimeJeOS with one of our awesome community volunteers!

openSUSE is about community, and about having fun... what better way to show it than a comfortable place to hang out in the middle of any otherwise busy conference hall?

The gang from Community Tech NW will be running the tutorium... this will be a great place to get hands-on with 13.1, as well as a variety of other distros.

The tutorium is, without a doubt, the strongest community component of LFNW - the chance to sit down in front of a variety of Linux desktops and get some advice from experienced users.

Bryan Lunduke and I will be co-presenting "10 things you would love about SUSE if you only knew..."
I'm almost as excited about publishing our out-takes as I am about doing this presentation.

In addition to openSUSE being a Gold sponsor, SUSE donated a dozen USB sticks to the World Famous Raffle.

I just need to decide which Live image to preload...

I hope you can come out and Have a Lot of Fun with us!

Rewind: LFNW 2013 presentation

I realized, while prepping for LinuxFest Northwest 2014, that I'd never published my 2013 presentation here. So...

Looking to build a web application?  You're going to want a JS framework to give your app some structure, and save yourself from building a new bowl of spaghetti code.
The problem is, we're spoiled for choice.  I'll sum up what I learned trying to find 'the right solution':  what options I evaluated; how I trimmed the fat and picked criteria to make a reasonable choice for a particular app; then spent some time actually building a small demo app to get in the groove.
Slides: ODP PDF


LinuxFest Northwest 2013 is April 27th & 28th in *beautiful* Bellingham, WA!

LFNW is an annual event produced by the Bellingham Linux Users Group ( ), and volunteers from other northwest U.S. open source users groups. This is a free event and produced entirely by volunteers, and features Linux and open source experts and aficionados sharing their experience and enthusiasm. This generally means that there will be a lot of smart people who come with something to share and a desire to learn.

openSUSE is sponsoring LFNW, so its important we make the best of our community investment in this enthusiastic crowd (last year Jos got to see firsthand what it looks like when 1500 enthusiastic Linux users hit a conference hall).

I still need a few committed, knowledgeable community members who are comfortable networking in a big diverse crowd. As a benefit of our sponsorship, we will have a luxurious 100 sq.ft. space on the booth floor. Used well, we can actually bring folks in and work with them 1:1 - doing installs, teaching techniques, sharing stories: anything that helps this *awesome* Linux community understand that openSUSE is like a warm group hug. If you can help out, please get a hold of me via email, twitter, facebook, g+ or whatever, as soon as possible.

Cheers - and here's to seeing you at the end of April!

Resurrecting LimeJeOS

LimeJeOS is an openSUSE-based implementation of the Just enough Operating System (JeOS) concept.

LimeJeOS was established in 2008 as part of KIWI's reference recipes and lives on as the foundation of all openSUSE-based images in SUSE Studio. Somewhere along the line, though, JeOS images became unavailable.

So I've resurrected them, by simply building the openSUSE JeOS templates in SUSE Studio into all available formats, and publishing in the SUSE Gallery, in both 32-bit and 64-bit varieties.

I'll update these when 12.2 releases next month. In the meantime, enjoy some lime juice this hot summer!

-- Update --
I published 12.2 versions today. Enjoy!

The State of the UI

This is a culmination of arguments I've been making for at least a year now, hopefully it's more cohesive in print that it has, at times, been verbally.

I'm glad of Unity, and Metro, and GNOME Shell, and Plasma Activities, and whatever-Apple-is-calling-it-when-they-shove-the-iOS-interface-into-OSX.  I'm glad of tablets that do computing tasks well, and phones that move data around easily.  I may not like all these interfaces, but I'm glad of them... because I cannot stand the mindset that the Windows 95 UI, and the Mac classic interface are the best we can do.  It's time to move past the task bar, the Start/Apple/GNOME/Kicker menus, the system tray.  It's time to have the clock elsewhere than the rightmost corner.

If you disagree, I understand.  Change is hard; we naturally resist it.  But, at the very least, recognize that you are the problem, not the change.  And just keep using your old software.  No one took away your Windows 3.1 floppies when Windows 95 came out.  No one will take away your Windows XP CD when Windows 8 comes out.  No one took GNOME 2 off your old distro CD.  Heck, openSUSE 12.2 will *still* ship a community supported option for KDE 3.  Despite the gargantuan task of moving SUSE Linux Enterpise from a 2.6 kernel to a 3.0 kernel on a Service Pack release, that Service Pack still includes GNOME 2.


If we're ever going to get out of this funk, we're going to have to stick some new ideas to the wall.  They won't all work, that's a given.  Heck, most of them probably won't even be usable *cough*Metro*cough*, but that doesn't mean the innovation should stop.

In the Linux community though, some of that innovation is coming at great expense. Specifically, the popularity of Ubuntu Linux, and its decision to build Unity, are the cause of great strife and fragmentation.  Although Unity is, ostensibly, an open-source project, no other major distro has picked it up: Unity is synonymous with Ubuntu, and that's fine, except for two issues:

1. The replacement of gnome-shell with unity fosters a community of GNOME hate... and hate is always a bad thing.

2. A number of innovative projects are now being developed with unity dependencies, effectively isolating them from the rest of the Linux community; apps like Fogger, Quickly, and Visual Ruby.

I, for one, use gnome-shell every day.  Did I resist it at first? Sure... change.  But given the time to understand "why" it is, and to get used to how it is, I can say for certain: I'm more productive with GNOME 3 than I was with GNOME 2.  GNOME 3, which is synonymous with gnome-shell, has a level of integration, and extensibility that I've never experienced before. The pomodoro timer extension marks me busy in my universal IM client.  I don't have to have my calendar app open to get reminders.  I don't have to know, before I start working, how many virtual desktops I need; I always have 1 extra.  If I'm in the zone, two clicks send all popups into oblivion.

So, free software folks: please please please stop hating on gnome-shell.  GNOME project is breaking new ground here, and as usual, they're doing it with plenty of thought about "why".  If you don't get it, go read about it.  If you get it and don't agree, just use something else.  But stop the hate.

And while you're at it, stop writing cool software with dependencies on Unity.  When SUSE developed the Kicker menu for KDE, did we require a YaST module to configure it?  NOPE.  When we got good color support, did we limit it to the open-source ColorHUG colorimeter? NOPE.  So don't stack all your innovation on Unity.  Use dbus to pass stuff around.  Or sockets.  I'm so disappointed that a beautiful framework like fogger, bridging web apps to local interfaces, *requires* Unity.  Nothing about its feature set is dependent on Unity.  But, because of that architectural decision, *every other distribution* will use something else, eventually, to do the same task.  That fragmentation hurts Linux.  Ubuntu wouldn't be in its position without the contribution of countless developers on the Kernel, and Debian, GNOME, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, Gstreamer, Mozilla, etc.  In other words, Ubuntu is the top Linux desktop, because other projects made code that was not exclusive.  Now that they're the top dog, the importance of distributing a project seems much less important.  Which makes me grumpy.

Okay, so its not much more cohesive, but at least I got it out of my head.  I'm looking forward to your comments, and the next new interface design.