Geekdinner last night

Project Mayhem No Comments »

Last night we had a very enjoyable Geek dinner. Not much left for me to say, I think nbm sums up everything quite nicely. What I will say, is that Antoinne has one of the best evil laughs I’ve ever heard. I grinned a few times today just thinking about it.

Inside Wild Fig PHP vs Python

More details available from the Geekdinner Wiki and Planet.


PS: Some people asked where I got my RMS Che t-shirt from, you can get it from the website, same site where you get your regular dose of ELER ;)

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Ubuntu on Dell machines *very* soon

Free Software 7 Comments »

We all knew it would happen, but to be honest, I didn’t think it would happen quite so soon. Morgan just pasted this link to me on IRC, Dell will start taking orders for Ubuntu laptops today. Wow. If you asked me six months ago, I would estimate that it would take at least 2-3 years for this to happen. So, everyone who called me too optimistic were WRONG!! Mhuhahahaha.

Get more information from

Dell website

They also have a mailing list for their Linux announcements:

Also cool, they use GNU Mailman for their mailing lists! It’s highly uplifting to see big corporates interested in selling and using free software. I just badly hope we can buy them in South Africa too, soon.

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PC World: Ubuntu 16th best product of 2007

Free Software 2 Comments »

Via Slashdot, here’s PC World’s list of top 100 products for 2007, where Ubuntu ranks as #16, and outperforms the highest Microsoft product by a whole two spaces, which is the Xbox at position #18.

Also noteworthy, is Mozilla Firefox 2, which reached #35, and (at least for me) a printer I recently bought, the Canon Pixma iP4300 made #54 (it’s really quite a nice printer).

There’s a trend in general computer magazines to talk more about free software. I see this a lot in our local magazines too. Free software has been making real solid inroads into the mainstream over the past few years. I won’t at all be surprised if the amount of free software products doubles every year for the next few years on PC World’s top 100 products list.

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Patricia De Lille wants to restrict your freedom

Free Software, Politics, Project Mayhem 2 Comments »


Patricia De Lille wants to limit your freedom of speech, read this link for the full story. What it comes down to, is that she is calling on government to somehow regulate blogs and electronic communication to prevent anonymous defamatory comments. I’m quite disappointed, I honestly thought that De Lille was a bit more intelligent than that. I would’ve even voted for her before.

In this country, countless people have fought a long and hard struggle for the freedom of our people. Many have even died for the cause. And now, De Lille, who really should know better, wants to take some of our freedoms away from us again. Government regulating on-line communication will only result in bad things. No matter what they implement, there will still be ways to anonymously post content, while the legislation will just hurt the people who want to be heard. We already have a situation in the country where rape victims hardly report the incidents, since they are afraid of how their family/police/etc would respond. South Africans need to learn to speak up more, and fight more for their rights, NOT the other way around.

Patricia, you’re a big public figure, and lots of people have huge amounts of respect for you. Please, stop trying to take people’s rights away from them. It’s not the right thing to do.

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FSF starts new campaign: Play OGG!

Free Software 12 Comments »

In the past, the Free Software Foundation used its funding to fund free software development. More recently, the FSF changed their strategy to fund only critical development, and to use their available funds more for free software campaigns.

FSF has employed another full time project manager, and has launched a new campaign called “Play OGG“. I think it’s great that they explain to Windows and Mac users how to get Ogg Vorbis support using a free player, although I think it would be even better to explain how to get Vorbis support in other Windows based applications as well (Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc). A lot of users are quite set on their preferred media applications, and are unlikely to change just to get support for a better audio codec.

This is just the start of the campaign though, and I’m sure it will expand and have much more information real soon. It would also be nice to be able to buy an audio player with a “Yes, it plays .ogg!” logo, similar to the Microsoft Plays for Sure logo.

Read the full announcement here:


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Making money from free software is the right thing to do

Free Software 1 Comment »

Dear Bill, it seems that your reasoning for thinking that the Free Software movement is dead is quite fundamentally flawed. Having a job or making money from your work is a method of making yourself, and your work more sustainable, and something that we, as the free software community support and encourage.

The Free Software Foundation has an entire page about this on their website:

Selling free software is good for free software, it’s good for the free software community. I’m with Richard on this one, please, go ahead and make as much money as you can from your free software products, employ people, create jobs, spread skills, make the world a better place!

Free Software is more alive in 2007 than it’s ever been. Governments, schools, libraries and private users use it ever more widely. The amount of developers are growing at an astounding rate, and the funding for free software is expanding quite drastically, with increasing backing from companies such as Intel, AMD, Nokia, Sun, and many more.

Bill, perhaps you should do some more reading on the free software community before making such ridiculous statements.

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Kusasa Analytical Education

Education, Free Software, Gadgets 1 Comment »

Previously, I mentioned the Shuttleworth Foundation‘s Classroom Coders project. It seems that it may soon be a reality under the Kusasa Analytical Education project. Kusasa is real innovation, it fundamentally changes some of the few 100 years old teaching methods we still use in classrooms.

Kusasa screenshot

It makes use of Mathland, Squeak and Python to achieve this. From the Kusasa site:

The idea is not that learners gain tools they use for the rest of their lives. That’s not realistic. We don’t use any specific theorems or other mathematics constructs from school today. Learners should use tools at school which help them develop a general ability to learn new tools. This general ability is the skill of analysis. It is the ability to break a complex problem into pieces, identify familiar patterns in the pieces, solve them using existing tools, and synthesize the results into a view or answer. We want to ensure that learners graduate with this ability, making them effective, successful, productive and fulfilled members of society.

Kusasa is a Zulu word that means “tomorrow”. Take a peak at the Kusasa website for more information. I think it could potentially be a good educational program to run with OLPC/Classmate type PC’s, and even more importantly, have a major influence on the way the future generations learn.

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