Iceweasel: Update

Not very long ago, I said that everyone was talking about Iceweasel. Not so anymore. Remember my prediction? I said it didn't matter at all, and now no one even remembers that there is such a thing. I currently use Firefox because it's in the Ubuntu repos and I don't really care so long as it's open source.

killall -9 Microsoft_inc

I wish it were that easy. Ever try to kill a process with the "Windows Task Manager?" If a process isn't responding, it simply won't die. Not exactly sure why that is but it always says "are you sure you want to do this?" (or something similar) and then doesn't seem to do it even if you click "OK." Luckily, even if you don't kill Windows processes the WTM way, they tend to die on their own. And that is what will probably come of another "runaway process."

Microsoft may be bringing about it own demise. Although unaware, Microsoft's life depends on what it calls "piracy." Think of it this way: bloggers and news analysts are saying that Vista's "anti-piracy" tactics will turn people to Linux.

Or think about this: many people see Windows as easy "home territory" where they know how to do everything. It's appeal, and their idea of "easy" or "user-friendly," is defined by how similar something is to what they're used to. And what they're used to is currently (drum roll please) XP or 98. Although the new UI is better designed, it will lose the "old faithful" feel which has made so many consider it easier than Linux or OSX.

Microsoft is tearing itself to pieces, so lets just sit back and enjoy the show.


Update Concerning FF2.0 and Grandma-Friendly FOSS

I am in Atlanta this weekend on a double mission. Firstly, or at least nominally, I am here to help my Grandmother, who has been using Windows ME since the turn of the century and WordPerfect considerably longer, adjust to Windows XP and the modern world. It has taken considerable persuasion to get her to use the new XP box and not the old 98 monster in the attic.

Secondly and more personally, I am trying to win her over to the FOSS world. I have, within the past several hours, installed Firefox 2.0, OpenOffice.org, and AVG free. That may not seem like much, but she proceeded to ask me if I could come down one time and install Linux on her computer. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! I must have done something right.

As for Firefox 2.0, I simply love it. The two add-ons I used to install immediately when I installed Firefox were Tab Mix Plus and some theme, usually Abstract PC. Tab Mix Plus has been pretty much completely incorporated and the horrendous 1.5 theme has been replaced by a theme reminiscent of the Ubuntu Human theme.

PS: If you are reading this, said Grandmother has read this post without forcing me to unpost it.



Everyone in the Gnu/Linux world (or the Linux world or the Gnu world or the Mozilla world or the FOSS world or whatever) has been publishing their opinions on Iceweasel, the new trademark-free Firefox clone from Gnu and Debian, so here's mine:

Who cares? I mean this totally honestly. Who cares whether Debian uses another name for Firefox? People are talking about how Firefox's market share will be damaged, this is destroying brand recognition, it will make people feel unsafe using Linux. Wait a minute. Just wait a minute. Ubuntu, the most user-friendly and most-used distribution, already uses a "generic" icon for Firefox. So what's wrong with also changing the name? Really, I have trouble seeing the difference it will make to anyone other than a FOSS fanatic. Personally, I try to use FOSS, but I don't cringe at the prospect of good, free, proprietary software if the FOSS equivalent is much less powerful.



Rather an ominous title, no? Anyway, I was looking around on the web and I found arguments (which I am inclined to agree with) that God didn't create the world, but rather a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Interesting idea, no? So here's Michelangelo remastered:


New Feed

I have switched to the new Blogger Beta so if you subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed the URL has changed. Sorry for any inconvenience.


I found this on Quintin's blog. A good play on the Clinton impeachment and the Foley scandal.


Linux in Developing Countries

Firstly, my apologies to anyone who might actually read this blog, as I haven't posted in a while.

Anyway, I read in the New York Times today that Libya has signed a contract with One Laptop Per Child, which will provide Libya's schools with a $100 laptop for each of Libya's 1.2 million schoolchildren. As you might expect, these laptops will be running the best and least expensive OS in the world: Linux.

Actually, this represents a growing trend towards Open Source in developing nations. More on this (hopefully) later.


Mac (slowly) Catching Up

Check this out. Mac OSX Leopard, which will be available "Spring 2007," has a feature called "Spaces." The idea is quite a simple one, namely having several desktops, each with its own windows running, on one computer, and switching in some way. The idea, however, has been around for years and has been implemented on all the major Linux window managers for years. Fluxbox also offers tabbed windows in addition to virtual workspaces.

So much for "new" and "innovative." Still, Apple seems to be far ahead of Microsoft on this one, no surprise there. Maybe someday Mac OS [insert appropriate number] will actually be a serious competitor with Linux. But if they want to start coming up with stuff before us, they're going to have to be much more open source. Now that would be "reaching enlightenment" as this page so modestly puts it.



This is probably faked, but brilliant either way. If anyone has actually seen this somewhere please tell me. I found this on the Uncyclopedia, which by the way is a brilliant idea for a website. People who vandalize Wikipedia should be automatically redirected there.


Mahatma Gandhi

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

--Mahatma Gandhi

Religion might be a good thing if its leaders followed its doctrines. Christ taught peace and love, he was anti-imperialist and anti-rich. (It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God [Matt 10:25]) How many of those does George Bush embody?


OH SHUT UP!: A Ground Invasion

Quintin wrote this: OH SHUT UP!: A Ground Invasion.
I feel the need to respond. Israel is an unstopable power in the Middle East. Unfortunately this may go to Olmert's head. However, there is no reason not to use that area as a buffer zone, since it has already been evacuated and mostly leveled. Why doesn't Secretary Rice broker a treaty now? It could be done.
Also, the Lebanese Christians, a sizeable minority, who have not been bombed, resent Hezbollah more than Israel.


Read This

A very good point...

(The title of the post is a link, click on it)


Big Brother Microsoft

Let me pose a hypothetical scenario: let's say someone put spyware on the web, but with some modifications which made it virtually impossible to suspect: let's say it pretended to be from your software maker, Microsoft. In fact, it has the word "Genuine" in the title. And let's say that it sets itself up so that it cannot be uninstalled, and so that it must be running in order for you to download important security updates. Sound scary? It sure does to me.
Actually, this software does exist. It's called Windows Genuine Advantage. Well, you might be saying, what a smart idea those spyware-makers had, pretending to be Microsoft. There's one catch: it isn't pretending to be Microsoft. It is Microsoft. Our good friend Bill Gates has information on any Windows user who has updated in the past month.
It's things like this that make me glad I switched to Linux: I can live without the iTunes Music Store knowing that my web history (which websites I visited and when) is not being read by the company which makes my OS and which I should supposedly trust.


Stupid People

Why are people so stupid? This never makes sense to me. People know that one thing is better, but they do something else without stopping to think. Plenty of drivers believe that it would be better for the environment if they took public transportation. They can even explain exactly why it would be faster and no more expensive. And yet they drive to work every day. Why? Because they have been given a voucher for free parking at the parking lot four blocks away from their office, farther away than the nearest subway station. Of course, even with this voucher, it is faster and just as cheap and better for the environment to take public transportation, but they choose to drive because it makes them feel that they are saving money.



Standardization is the key to making modern Linux a reality. It's not so much a problem today of not many programs being available for Linux. It's a problem of there being too many different versions of Linux out there. When I went to download Audacity for Linux, there were no less than 7 different versions for different distros of Linux. This is getting ridiculous. Remember that someone must have had to work on 7 different versions of one program. Often I cannot download a program because it is made for Red Hat when I use Ubuntu. I must say I can't blame people who choose not to switch.

A Normal Person's Guide to Geek Politics

If you have been wondering what I've been talking about the past few posts, click on the title of this post. (it's a link)


The easier it is to be right...

The easier it is to be right, the less excuse there is for being wrong. We've all said that we would do something if it was easier. Well, it's easier than ever to switch to Linux. Ubuntu 6.06, better known as Dapper Drake, has a live CD with a graphical installer. My old excuse, and the one most people still use, is that Windows is much more compatible than Linux, so switching completely is out of the question. And a year ago, you couldn't really double boot unless you had some training in partitioning, and you would probably have had to configure the boot menu yourself. Today, with Dapper, I was able to partition my drive on my own. I can now dual boot Ubuntu and Windows, and I have a 107 GB shared partition which I can write to with both OS's. All of that took me 30 minutes.


Random Quotes

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. - Ellen DeGeneres

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting. - Charles Bukowski



It bothers me that I have to write this blog in the language spoken by the President. I'd write in Esperanto, Spanish, Yiddish, Nahuat even if there was someone who could read it. But as far as I know my readers, if I have any readers at all, speak only English.



My aunt is seriously considering buying enough Tamiflu now to hold her over should there be a bird flu pandemic. Her doctor has refused to give her a prescription but a cousin who is an oncologist probably will be happy to. Personally I don't think she should be stockpiling the stuff, and we engaged ourselves in a lively debate which she refuses to let me record. I will, however, attempt to convince her to type some comments on this post.

Me: Stockpiling is unfair because if someone cannot afford to stockpile and they get infected there may not be any Tamiflu left, while those who stockpile may not get infected and therefore may never need it.

Her: But Roche plans to make enough for everyone in the world.

Me: If they make enough for everybody, why do you need to stockpile it? If not, then who gets medication should be decided by who needs it, not by who can pay for it before the epidemic even reaches the continent.

Unfortunately, right about there she left the room, so no more dialogue. But the saddest thing is that she isn't really doing anything wrong by wanting to stockpile. Inevitably, those who don't stockpile will be unsafe. This is the prisoner's dilemma. Altogether it shouldn't be done, but individually everyone feels that they have to do it to survive.

P.S. Please comment on this.

The Dead

Doonesbury will always be a reminder of reality. Check out this Sunday comic. I will add to that page every Sunday until he finishes.



Ubuntu the Penguin

Little Ubuntu the penguin lived in a small cottage near a forest.

One day, Ubuntu went for a walk. He saw a man who looked very tired. “Who are you and why are you so tired?” asked Ubuntu.

“My name is Bill the Gatekeeper, and I am tired because I have just been fighting with that apple over there.”

Ubuntu walked over to the apple. “Hello apple,” he said. “What are you fighting over?”

“Do you see that silver castle over there? That’s the castle of wealth. Whoever lives there will be the happiest person in the world.”

“I want to live in that beautiful castle,” said Ubuntu. “But I don’t like to fight.”

Then he heard something. Was someone talking to him? It seemed to be coming from above. Ubuntu looked up. The sun itself was speaking to him. “There is another castle, you know,” said the sun. “The golden castle of happiness. Whoever lives there will be the happiest person in the world. But it lies deep in the dark forest, and even my light cannot get there. You will need a guide.”

Ubuntu went to Bill the Gatekeeper. “Will you help me find the golden castle of happiness?” he asked.

“Go away,” said Bill. “Never mention that castle to me again. It doesn’t exist.”

Ubuntu went to the apple. “Will you help me find the golden castle of happiness?” he asked.

“I’d love to,” answered the apple kindly. “But I have to keep fighting Bill the Gatekeeper.”

“I can help you,” said a shy voice behind Ubuntu.

“Who are you?” asked Ubuntu.

“I am Firefox, who brings light into the darkness. I can light up the forest path for you.” And indeed, his tail was alight with flame.

So they set off into the forest to find the golden castle of happiness.

They came to a young man in a red hat. “Hello,” said Ubuntu. “Can you direct me to the golden castle of happiness? Or do you want to come with us?”

“It’s that way,” said the young man. “But I can’t come with you.”

“Why not?” asked Firefox.

“You see,” answered the young man. “I want both the silver castle of wealth and the golden castle of happiness. So I live in this little hut exactly halfway between.”

“That man was too greedy,” said Firefox as they walked on. “He wants more than he can have, so he gets nothing at all.”

Finally, they reached the castle. But the door was locked, and they couldn’t get in.

“Let me help,” said a large horned animal. “I’m a gnu, and these strong horns can break through any lock.” He ran at the lock a few times and it fell off cleanly.

Ubuntu, Firefox, and the gnu entered the castle and lived there happily ever after.

Linux standards

Can Linux standards ever be specific enough that people will be able to develop universal software without letting a Microsoft-like giant have a monopoly? Anti-trust laws have the disadvantage of destroying standards. And let's face it, Apple and Red Hat would be just as bad as Microsoft if they could.


Free Speech

"If we don't protect freedom of speech, how will we know who the assholes are?"--The Onion


Iran: A Terrorist Threat or Another Excuse?

Please post comments to this! I want to know what people think. Is Iran going to destroy the US? Is the Bush administration going to invade?

For Bush, it's a matter of having an excuse to get rid of the country he still claims is provoking resistance in Iraq. Iran has been a threat since 2003 because it shares a border with Iraq, so Bush probably will invade for his own reasons.

While it's true that the US army would wipe out Iran long before it could do much to the US, it might appeal to the Jihadist mentality to take as many "infidels" with them as possible.


Libby Points the Finger

Libby finally admitted it! Bush gave him permission to leak. Let's hope this leads to a complete loss by the Republican Party of all important senate and house seats, and the presidency in 2008. Note: the heading should be a link.


Hudson School Environmental Club

The Hudson School Environmental Club, which Quintin founded, finally has a website! Check this out, its not that bad.


Freeway Blogger

Go to this page, and scroll down to the "know your history" bit. It's a bit scary, but many Americans actually beleive this kind of thing. We either ignore the truth or make mountains out of molehills: I seriously doubt that Fidel Castro is as dangerous to the US as Ali Khamenei, leader of Iran. And who do we embargo? This is rediculous.



I wonder what kind of Ads I would get if I made an AdSense thing on this blog. Amazon.com: Communist Manifesto at new reduced price? Socialist: find exactly what you want on eBay? This?

What's up with Google?

Don't be evil. Apparently, this only applies to Google when it's not doing something fairly evil itself. Is it really possible to be a benevolent corporation? Why is Google helping the Chinese but not the US? Not that I'm in favor of censorship in either country, but why China, which will probably misuse the ability to control search results?

Still, some companies have continued to help humans as much as themselves: I'm thinking of Red Hat Linux and Sun Microsystems. And even Microsoft, may its name be blotted out, has links on its site to some free or open-source programs. So just because Google Pack lets one download open-source software, we have to keep in mind that Google is out only to make money. One of the Google Pack products is the trial version of Trillian, an IM client that does not support Google Talk unless one spends $25 on the full version.


Madder Socialist

I'm naming this blog "madder socialist" because I saw the "mad socialist" blog here and I thought: I'm madder than that. Quintin is just strange and British (is that redundant?) whereas I don't have an excuse. Anyway if you like to read postings by a kid on the far left who doesn't know what's too far to go, this would be the place to read.