Sunday, 27 January 2008

Linux Format UK collection

I was at home in Melbourne last weekend and remembered I took a photo of my LinuxFormat UK magazine collection. Here's the photo:

Linux Format UK collection
From my calculations, I've got 61 editions at the time of writing (starting at #39). Therefore, I've been collecting this magazine for the past 4½ years.

In that time, not only has the magazine changed, but so has Linux and Open Source in general. The magazine used to come with a supplement known as "Linux Pro". It talked about very business-oriented content and topics. Some were some discussions, and some were tutorials. Linux has moved from the 2.4 kernel to the 2.6 kernel.

The magazine comes in two formats - a CD version and a DVD version. And it's always a great read. The only thing frustrating about this magazine is that since Open Source moves so fast, what the magazine discusses in some articles may already me 6 to 8 weeks old after all the announcements are made on the web.

Still a great read!

Wee Jasper

I visited Wee Jasper today. It's been about 16 years since I was last in Wee Jasper. The story goes, I was attending my course at RMiT (which I didn't pass, but that's for another story), and a friend of mine I met through a Melbourne chat board went to Melbourne Uni. Every year at Melbourne Uni, a scavenger hunt was held. On the list this year was to get a picture of the Wee Jasper Post Office. It was worth 2000 points (can't tell you the scale, but there were heaps of little "stunts" that were only worth 100 or so).

So I turned up at my team's headquarters (in Coburg) at 9pm at night. I asked "What's worth a heap of points?" Someone yelled out, "Picture of Wee Jasper's post office." I said, "Cool, who's with me?" With that, Plugger (that's what everyone called him), Geoff (a guy I knew from my high school days), and some other guy (don't know - never saw him before, never saw him again) came forward and volunteered to come along with me for the ride. We worked out we would drive in shifts - which didn't work out, as Geoff didn't have a license, and the other guy (I'll call "John" from now on) didn't drive in the city, but had some experience driving on country roads. Plugger and I did the majority of the driving in my mother's 1984 Mazda 323, and John took over when we left Yass, and did the driving on the dirt roads to Wee Jasper and back. This is roughly the route we took (do zoom in for more detail):


View Larger Map

Once we got there, we had to take a photo of the Post Office. Below are three photos (which are similar to the photos taken on that night):

Wee Jasper town signMain bridge going into Wee JasperPicture of the Wee Jasper Australia Post Office

The first photo is of Wee Jasper's town sign. The next was the bridge leading into Wee Jasper, and the third is the photo required for the scavenger hunt. The originals (which were lost), were taken around 3am in the morning. Therefore, with close to no lighting, the only one that came out was the photo of the town's sign. My current vehicle is also in two of the photos, as the original photos required proof that the site was visited. Luckily, the scavenger hunt judges allowed the photo of the town sign.

The round trip took around 14 hours, and from memory, cost around $130 dollars in super grade leaded petrol. Reflecting on the trip now, and having driven the winding roads to Wee Jasper, the only thing I could think about was how stupid I must have been to agree to drive these roads at 3am in the morning. Fortunately, there is more paving on the roads, as I do remember the car sliding around back in 1992 on gravel. The other thing was driving at night, and diving in between all the trucks on the Hume Highway. It's just luck that we're all still alive -- well to the best of my knowledge. I don't really keep in touch with Plugger, Geoff or "John".

Friday, 25 January 2008

...and welcome back gentoo.org

With the recent discussions of Daniel Robbins and the future of the Gentoo Linux foundation, it's obviously kick-started some work done on their website (not by me personally, but more likely from the community on the mailing lists). News is now being populated, and there is a clear discussion forming over what needs to be done to make the 2008.0 installer CD. The mailing lists and the package updates are happening at a furious pace (as always).

Keep in mind, though, you don't actually need to use the Gentoo installer CD to install Gentoo Linux. You can use any LiveCD that runs Linux to install Gentoo. Some that come to mind are:
As long as the CD boots up on your PC, establishes a connection to the Internet (or somewhere you can get the Gentoo stage 3 tarball), and allows you to partition your hard drive, you're good to go for an install of Gentoo.

Great to see!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Welcome back drobbins!

Based on my previous post of "Gentoo appears dead, yet is so alive!", and Daniel Robbins's recent offer, I would like to welcome back Daniel as president of the Gentoo Foundation to allow him to fix it up. I know this still needs to be approved by Gentoo's council, but this is my vote of confidence in Daniel's leadership.

I oppose any motion from any of the council to stop this from happening.

Welcome back drobbins!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Melbourne Victory: Too little - too late

Well done to the Melbourne Victory for their 3-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix at Telstra Dome on Friday night. The problem is that they left their "hot streak" too late and have now missed out of the finals. With the Newcastle Jets winning over the Central Coast Mariners, the top four places have been cemented for the finals.

It was a strange season. Similar in many ways to the previous season, but Melbourne left their "on form" run too late. It came much earlier last year as Fred became useful from the midfield around Round 8. What many see as his replacement, Carlos HernĂ¡ndez, didn't start making a major impact until around Round 16 or 17, but by then it was a struggle for the rest of the team to be mentally ready as well.

Strangely enough, being in last years final did not make Adelaide United (who was the opponent for the 2006/07 finals) a better team either. They have finished in around the same place as Melbourne Victory this season, and have missed out on making the finals.

Good luck Victory, for the AFC Championship for 2008, and more importantly, I hope you beat Sydney FC next week!! And if you after a more in-depth discussion on the Victory, try their blog.

Gentoo appears dead, yet is so alive!

As some of you may know, I use / embrace Open Source. I love the concept of having access to source code, so much that my computer's operating system is Linux - but not just any Linux. I prefer Gentoo Linux.

If you had a look at Gentoo's main website (from the link above), you'd notice it hasn't been updated for a while. The last time (at the time of writing this article) that the Gentoo Weekly News was updated was 15.10.2007. For the casual web surfer, this may be alarming, and may be interpreted as an indication that the distribution is dead. It is far from dead - it's very much alive.

The two major indicators of the health status of this distribution are the mailing lists (with the main one being the gentoo-user list), and the rate at which new packages get made and published. Either one of these two links will show the environment is thriving with discussion and activity. The problem is that for the casual observer, they will perceive the wrong aspects as the major indicators.

And since Gentoo is a "meta-distribution" of Linux, another indicator of little activity would be the lack of installation CD releases. The surprising thing is that you don't even need the installation CD to install Gentoo. You only require a Linux live CD. So, in reality, you could boot up your PC using an Ubuntu Linux CD, and then use it's tools to partition and install Gentoo onto your system.

Not too shabby for something that on the surface appears to be dormant!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Prime Minister Rudd and Internet censorship

I voted for Kevin Rudd in 2007. For the first time since I was able to vote, the party I voted for won. While I don't think I was voting for the long-term future (after all, which government is completely altruistic?), and as my seat has been, and most likely always will be a Labour seat, it was nice to see "my team" win. Keep in mind, it's a popularity contest - and I don't think most people really know what they're doing.

The reasons I voted for Rudd was personal. Firstly, I was hoping from a change from the Liberal government at the time. I did not agree with John Howard's deals for free trade with the USA. While I love the Americana concept, I dislike the current government. I don't like how through free trade, they can impose their laws on us. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I voted for Labour as they did not have the same Internet policy as the Family First party. The Family First party had an idea to put a large firewall / filter around the whole of Australia, and control what content could come into the country. Now Rudd's Labour government wants to do the same.

I'm not going to discuss how easy it will be to bypass, or that the plan allows for an "opt-out" option. My issue with this plan is that it assumes that Australians are:
  • too lazy to monitor their kids on the internet (if this is the case, just don't hook up to the internet in the first place)
  • too stupid to bypass it
  • too "lemming-like", as similar plans have been implemented in other countries
  • like to pay $30 Million AUD upfront, and $22 Million AUD a year to maintain this concept
Mr Rudd came to power with promises of making the Internet better (ie. "faster"). This censorship will only slow things down. And most importantly, it will give the average IT-illiterate parent a false sense of security when it comes to their kids being on-line and away from the "nasties that lurk out there".

Software does not replace good parenting!

If you too are offended by the government treatment, please write to your local member or to Mr Rudd directly. Do be polite and straight to the point. Maybe it's not too late to stop this waste of money and effort just to please a small minority with divine-like morals...

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy 2008 to all!

May you and your loved ones have a happy, safe, and prosperous 2008. It's been 2008 for about 16 hours now in Canberra, but I know there are probably some places around the world that it's still 2007.

All the best to all, and catch up with those of you I can!