You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Jon “Maddog” Hall at Boston Linux/Unix Group

January 19th, 2006 by

Tonight, I had the opportunity to hear Jon “Maddog” Hall give a high-level talk (appropriately peppered with server-room humor for the crowd) at this month’s BLUG meeting. For an audience familiar with the the free/open-source software movement, the presentation was a thrilling cheerleading session. Maddog (so named by his students at the Hartford State Tech College) is an elegant raconteur with a seemingly limitless number of stories describing applications of free software across the globe. He detailed in passionate terms the development of no-cost computer labs, entrepreneurship, research, and education from Africa to Brazil to Fuji. During his first visit to that last tropical locale, Maddog singlehandedly brought GNU/Linux to a University which had been unable to download any distributions because the entire institution shared a lone 1200bps dial-up connection to the Internet.

Recently, my blogroll has been lit up with newly-stirred debate over the principles behind free software. Maddog, though present for and supportive of the introduction of the term Open Source in 1998, described recently reconsidering the diplomatic nomenclature. He suggests that RMS is correct in asserting the original term, “free software”, along with requisite disambiguation of the troublesome adjective for English speakers. “The actual value [of f/oss] is FREEDOM” and with open source, “they still don’t get it.”

Years of globetrotting shifted Maddog’s focus away from the “gratis” side of free software to the “libre.” Use the code, read the code, change the code, share the code. These are the rights of f/oss users and for users with experience in systemic oppression and bureaucratic control (for example, those behind Iron or Bamboo Curtains), these rights not mere mythology but liberation!

Maddog also announced a fundamental shift for Linux International. After more than 10 years as a vendor organization, it will soon transform to the inverse. He estimates that as an end-user organization representing anyone but the vendors, LI will be able to generate ~$18-20million per year. These funds will be redirected to support efforts in areas such as better documentation which should cycle back to increase the number of end-users and, presumably, the next year’s kitty. Keep an eye out.

In an exciting classroom update, we have succeeded in assembling more than 20 no-cost PCs. The kids have started to take them home; Ubuntu on the boot. Canonical hurried 30 free CDs out to us, so the kids are taking home a pair of nice Ubuntu CD-ROMs in fold-out sleeves rather than more of my burned CD-r’s. Nothing like a little spit’n’shine.

9 Responses to “Jon “Maddog” Hall at Boston Linux/Unix Group”

  1. Abel Says:

    linux webhosting.???
    I wondered which should be used for dynamics sites using flash css javascript forms etc.
    I was looking at this companies corporate plan and would like to have the option to set up several seperate websites for different customers
    assigning each an allotment of space with seperate access by them and allowing me access is this site suitable for my needs or is it as it seems just too good to be true???

  2. Edyth Ciraulo Says:

    I’m so tired of this, if only he would just go

  3. Free Optimizer Says:

    Agree with you, I feel it’s powerful and practical

  4. computer pcs Says:

    Your Post Kevin Driscoll » Blog Archive » Jon “Maddog” Hall at Boston Linux/Unix Group is really Nice.I love reading Posts on computer pcs…Thanks.

  5. Softwareentwickler Says:

    hey, I want a coder for a cool project… if you or any good sofwtare developer want a coding job, send us a email

  6. Tommie Valerie Says:

    Seems like that you’ve placed lots of effort and hard perform into your article and I require much more of these using the net these days. I sincerely got a kick from your article. I do not truly have much to say in response, I only wanted to comment to reply great work.

  7. Ian Green Says:

    Highly rated post. I am taught something completely new on completely different blogs everyday. Deciding on one . stimulating to read the paper content from other writers and study a little bit something from their website. I’d like to apply sure of this content material on my blog you’re mind. Natually I’ll give a link right here we’re at your web-site. Recognize your sharing.

  8. Margaret Piefer Says:

    8. I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  9. fishing lures Says:

    Appealing twist in this article yet I do not consent in all you mean but largely very well defined. Added you to my favorites and tweeted to my friends.