Political Tendencies

Free Software, Jonathan, Politics, Project Mayhem 12 Comments »

The Stereotype

Recently, Jordan Mantha blogged about being excited about Palin joining McCain‘s campaign. Some of the comments were quite harsh, some even suggesting that it’s wrong to support the Republicans, being a free software developer and affiated with the Ubuntu project. I will admit that I was quite surprised to see his support for the McCain myself- from the vast majority of posts I’ve seen on Planet Ubuntu, Planet Debian and Planet Gnome so far, most free software supporters seem to support Obama and the Democratic party. Being a supporter of free software (or Ubuntu) shouldn’t imply what kind of political tendencies you have. Statistics might show that most free software supporters might choose something, that doesn’t mean that everyone has to.

The Political Compass

In CLUG, many of the people in our IRC channel participated in the Political Compass test. It asks you a series of questions and then gives you co-ordinates on where you stand politically. Michael Gorven put together a Python script that takes the results from Spinach (our channel bot) and plots it on a graph using Gnuplot:

In the graph above, it’s clear that everyone in our LUG that participated landed in the Libertarian quadrants, and not a single person in the Authoritarian quadrants. Most people are in the Left-wing Libertarian quadrant, with quite a few in the Right-wing Libertarian quadrant. In this case, the graph supports the stereotype that free software supporters may be more inclined to be left-wing libertarians. There are other things that this graph doesn’t bring into account though. Everyone in our IRC channel are also South Africans. Could that perhaps have an effect on our choices and tendencies? We also discuss *everything* on our IRC channel, and we mostly read each other’s blogs. Could it also be that we shape each other’s political views, if only we sway it by the tiniest bit on a continuous basis?

I think it’s natural of humans to make assumptions about other people and the world around them. I think it’s wrong of people to take offence when these assumptions and generalisations do not fit into their little view of the world. While we’re not all unique little snowflakes, we are all different, and tolerance and acceptance goes a long, long way.

See also:

Other Cluggers who have blogged on the political compass:

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Free Software, Jonathan, Project Mayhem 3 Comments »

There’s this meme on Planet Ubuntu and Planet Debian (and possibly others by now) where you take a picture of yourself and post it. I guess I’m being bored and blogging (but not that one) tonight. Let’s see if it spreads to Clug Park and Planet Ubuntu-ZA!

The four commandments:

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.
2. Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair… just take a picture.
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.

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Sounds like boobies

Music 1 Comment »

Earlier, on IRC

08:15 <@highvoltage> when I grow up, I wanna be famous, I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies

08:17 <@Outsider> something, something, something, I wanna have boobies

08:19 <@highvoltage> yeah, I guess that’s where the “be careful what you wish for” bit comes in

08:31 <@Daev> I wanna have _groupies_ is what is actually sung

The Pussycat Dolls (Image from WIkipedia)

Wow, turns out Daev is right! It does sound like boobies though. I wondered if it was an intentional improvisation, but today I listened to it carefully when it was playing on the radio, and I could clearly hear that they are in fact singing “groupies”. I think it’s just a case of hearing what you want to hear. Everyone is somewhat brainwashed by society. I even heard a 4 year old girl singing along to that song and singing “boobies”. Then again, I suppose it’s more natural for a 4 year old to know what boobies are than to know what groupies are.

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Potentially hardware damaging bug in kernel 2.6.27

Free Software 1 Comment »

Possible Hardware Damaging Bug

Linux 2.6.27 has a serious bug where it can permanently disable your e1000 ethernet device by damaging the firmware stored on the device. Linux 2.6.27 has recently been included in the Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) alphas. Testing the Ubuntu 8.10 alphas on your e1000 hardware is potentially very dangerous.

If you’re unsure whether you have an e1000 card, and if you’re running a previous Intrepid alpha, or if you’d like to try it out, it might be best to check first. You can check whether you have an e1000 network card with the “lspci” command in a terminal, which will show you a list of PCI connected hardware. You can also check whether you have the e1000 module currently loaded by typing “lspci  | grep e1000″. If your’e still unsure, please ask a friend to help you check.

Bug report in Launchpad

The Ubuntu bug report on this matter states:

In some circumstances it appears possible for the 2.6.27-rc kernels to corrupt the NVRAM used by some Intel network parts to store data such as MAC addresses. This is limited to the new e1000e driver, and reports have only appeared from users of “82566 and 82567 based LAN parts (ich8 and ich9)” (to quote Intel). The reports seem to be isolated to laptops, but it is not clear if this is because desktop/server parts are not vulnerable, or if use cases simply increase the chances of laptop users being hit.

It’s not clear whether users of older e1000 cards are affected, but on-board ethernet devices typically aren’t easy to replace, so I suggest you play it safe until there is more clarity on the issue.

Developer announcement

An announcement has been made on the ubuntu-devel-announce list, which states that users who do testing should be informed of this problem:

While we expect alphas to include a fair number of bugs, and rely on your continued support and testing to help resolve these bugs for Ubuntu releases, bugs that damage hardware are quite another matter.  As a result of this bug we must recommend that users do *not* use Intrepid alphas, including the LiveCDs, on machines with Intel GigE ethernet.

Please tell your friends who use Intel Gigabit network cards to be careful, and not use Intrepid Alphas or Betas until this issue has been known to be resolved.

In The Meantime

Testing of the Ubuntu 8.10 pre-release versions is still strongly necessery and encouraged. If you are affected by this bug, you can test Ubuntu in a virtualised environment in the meantime using either of the following (linking to instructions):

If you’re looking for the quickest and easiest option, I recommend VirtualBox.


The e1000e module will be removed from the module-init-tools package, preventing it from being loaded. This is hopefully a temporary solution, according to Tim Gardner:

Pursuant to discussions on this list, ongoing discussions in the bug
report (Bug #263555), and IRC chats with our release manager Steve
Langasek I've uploaded module-init-tools_3.3-pre11-4ubuntu10 to Intrepid
with a blacklist file for e1000e. Hopefully this is a temporary measure.

When the updated module-init-tools makes it into the archive, the daily builds should be completely safe to use on your computer with an e1000 card. The downside is that your ethernet card won’t work. On desktop machines, it’s usual to have a spare PCI slot and quite easy to add another cheap ethernet card. On servers it’s not always the case, and on laptops it’s certainly not, so don’t take any big chances. I’m hoping badly that this is just a temporary solution. The release date is already starting to loom, and the beta is imminent. Shipping an Ubuntu version where ethernet adaptors don’t work will not be cool.

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Totally getting a GNUphone

Free Software, Humour 7 Comments »

While some people are getting all excited about the Google Android-based phones, I’m going to opt for something way cooler:

The Free Software Foundation (NASDAQ: RMS) has announced the Free Software alternative to the evil, DRM-infested, locked-down, defective-by-design iPhone: the GNUPhone.

The key technical innovation of the GNUPhone is that it is completely operated from the command line. “What could be more intuitive than a bash prompt?” said seventeen-year-old Debian developer Hiram Nerdboy. “The ultimate one-dimensional desktop! Just type dial voice +1-555-1212 –ntwk verizon –prot cdma2000 –ssh-version 2 -a -l -q -9 -b -k -K 14 -x and away you go! Simple and obvious!”

Aaron Seigo has announced that a A KDE 4 port is also in the works, and that the Novell corporation has already started spreading FUD about it.

The phone should be able to make actual phone calls by 2011 to 2012.

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There goes parliament

Politics No Comments »

Mbeki isn’t even completely out of the picture yet, and it’s already going down the tubes…

Broken DSTV image

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My name is…

Free Software, Music 1 Comment »

I don’t usually get into these things, but the latest meme om Planet Ubuntu is to specify your machine names… here goes…

My machines were originally named after album names. Then after songs as well, and now also from movies…


Disclaimer is my work laptop. Disclaimer comes from the Seether album, Disclaimer.


Sawdust is my Mac Mini. It comes from the Killers‘ album, Sawdust.


Bleach is my 12-incher, from the Nirvana album, Bleach.


Geep is a Classmate PC that I do testing for Edubuntu on, from the Gorillaz Geep album.



Hal9000 is used for all kinds of cpu intensive things. Hal9000 is from the movie 2001, A space odyssey.

There’s more on http://jonathancarter.co.za/my-computers, which I’ll update some time and add more pics.

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