District 9

Reviews 3 Comments »

Just came back from seeing the District 9 movie. It’s made of pure awesome. I think it’s the best Sci-fi movie since 2001: A space Odyssey. It’s everything it was promised to be and more. I didn’t expect there to be so much humour though, the movie started off very light-hearted with really good humour which steadily turned more serious.

I’m also pleasantly surprised at how South African they managed to keep the movie, considering it is aimed at an international audience. They actually used fake SABC news footage (and fake fake network footage), instead of just using fake CNN footage etc (which probably would’ve been too expensive to license anyway). Many of the characters in the movie also came from the SABC soap opera Isidingo. There’s some South-Africanisms that the international audience won’t get, but they’re quite subtle, like when the protagonist shouted “jou doos!”. They even threw in a “fork & knife” joke.

I could relate to the alien Christopher. My second name is Cristopher and I’ve also spent lots of time in Jo’burg before just wanting to go back home. Thank goodness it wasn’t for 20 years though, poor aliens.

I like the way they set it up for a sequel (from the movie I gather it would be District 10). I just hope they do it properly or not at all.

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Windows7sins Launches

Free Software 17 Comments »

Yesterday I posted about the launch announcement from the FSF for the Windows7sins campaign. The site is up now, and it’s underwhelming even with the low expectations I’ve had.



Firstly, the homepage greets you with a picture of an OLPC XO-1. With Negreponte saying that Windows is key to the OLPC’s success and that the Sugar interface was a mistake, is that really such a good idea? Perhaps they chose it because it originally shipped as a complete hardware platform, or perhaps with its strong identity with education. I guess I could let it slide.



I don’t know if this is how most people would see it, but for me personally, I’d get horribly annoyed if Microsoft, Apple, Symantec, Google, etc started spamming me telling me why I should be using their software with letters in the post. I can imagine that a corporate that receives a letter saying something about free software, they’d probably just throw it in the bin.

Perhaps I’m a bit naïve and I just don’t get it? This is not how I learned to promote free software, and quite frankly, I think the Free Software Foundation could use some lessons in how to promote Free Software properly. It’s not that I want to criticise them or focus on the negative, but Free Software has so much to offer and as I said yesterday, I think that focussing on what it can do is much better than focussing on what the competitors can’t do. I’ll leave it at that.

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FSF Launches Windows7sins tomorrow

Free Software, Project Mayhem 20 Comments »

Tomorrow the Free Software Foundation plans to launch the windows7sins campaign, similiar to the BadVista campaign that ran for Windows Vista. From the info-fsf list:

This Wednesday, August 26 at 11am, the Free Software Foundation will be
launching its Windows7sins.org public awareness campaign, drawing
attention to the threats posed by the adoption of Microsoft's
proprietary operating system. We have a launch event here in Boston on
the Boston Commons from noon until 3pm, and we need everyone in the area
to come along and help out and join in the ceremony as we conduct a
ceremonial trashing of proprietary software.

**We'll be launching our Windows 7 campaign with pomp and fanfare, with
a giant 12 foot trashcan being filled with boxes of proprietary software.**

The event promises to be lots of fun, and with thousands of people
passing through the Boston Commons every day we hope you will help us
connect with the public by handing out information and explaining the
benefits of free software. There will be camera crews and photographers
capturing the event and we will be getting these images up online as
soon as possible on the day.

Let us know you're coming and bring along your friends and work
colleagues - mail [email protected] if you have time to help us set up,
or just turn up at the Boston Commons near the entrance to the Public
Gardens from noon.

If you're not in the Boston area, there will be plenty for you to do to
help us launch the campaign and get the message out. Stay tuned for
upcoming instructions...

Personally I don’t believe much in these campaigns. In my opinion the Free Software Foundation could use their resources much better spreading awareness on Free Software rather than focussing on a proprietary product. I like campaigns like Defective by Design much more, which encourages users to think about things like DRM before purchasing a device and content. A campaign for just saying “boo-hoo, there’s a proprietary product and it’s bad” just seems a bit petty. I think it would be better to focus on less campaigns with higher priority and do them decently, rather than having too many campaigns that don’t do much.

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Some Updates

Education, Free Software, Jonathan 3 Comments »
  • Had flu the last month or so, finally been getting over it this week, starting to feel human again. I thought I had H1N1, but I had it checked and it turns out it was just a nasty flu. My concentration was just gone the last month so I ended up watching a lot of old Star Trek Voyager and Third Rock From the Sun episodes.
  • Kind of bummed that the rest of the world gets to see District 9 already, and in South Africa, where the story actually plays off, we only get to see it in a week from now on the 28th of August.
  • Attended the Obstreperous Olive Geekdinner at the Pasta Factory. Staff was very friendly, food could have been better for the price. Talks were a bit too markety and “done”, as a result I’m volunteering for a more geeky talk next month. Overall it was very good and I got to catch up with a few people I haven’t seen in way too long.
  • I got my first few packages in Ubuntu, I’ve been working on LTSP cluster (packages.ubuntu.com seems to have some trouble currently) packaging and 5 out of the 6 packages are currently in the archives. ltsp-cluster-pxeconfig is next, it’s in REVU at the moment, it should make it in before feature freeze next week. Thank you to Stéphane Graber who has been mentoring me on this, he’s also the upstream for LTSP Cluster and sponsoring my packages. Also thanks to Jordan, Oliver and Anthony for reviewing my packages on REVU.
  • Ubuntu-ZA is having monthly meetings now, I was kind of dazed at the last one due to flu and medicine, but it’s refreshing to see the energy and enthusiasm, we’ll have the first of our monthly reports ready within the next week or so.
  • Edubuntu is in a bit of a squeeze. The good news is that a DVD install disc and enabling universe packages for the builds have been approved, unfortunately the Edubuntu seeds need work and need to be finalised within the next week or so, and our two core-devs have had other urgent issues to tend to. If there’s a core-dev available to give some guidance and sponsorship over the next week, it would be much appreciated.
  • Some other nice things in my feed reader from the Ubuntu world:
    • 100 Paper cuts is at round 7, I think David Siegel is really cool for taking it on and sticking in there with it.
    • Daniel Holbach blogged about the Ubuntu Global Jam, some of us in CLUG considered doing a package jam for a CLUG talk, but due to time limitations and the recent threads on the CLUG lists where users are requesting more intro-level talks, I’m wondering whether we should have a kind of tips-and-tricks jam, where a bunch of us show how we use Ubuntu to be more productive.
    • Ubuntu Developer Week is kicking off in a bit more than a week, be sure to be there if you’re interested in contributing to Ubuntu!
  • botonbrown
  • Free Ubuntu Books for approved loco teams, also a copy of Art of Community. Ubuntu-ZA applied for the first 2 books that will be hosted at AIMS in Cape Town and available for anyone who wants to drop by and read it. We’ll probably keep the Art of Community book in Johannesburg somewhere under a similar arrangement.
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