International Women’s Day – Competition!

This is a post of an email originally sent to the Ubuntu Loco contacts for distribution to their communities.

Greetings all!

Firstly, some introductory reading for those who are not familiar with International Women’s Day:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women%27s_Day and
http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Ubuntu-Women has tried in the past to find some way to celebrate this
event, but as far as I can remember it has never really amounted to much
other than some chattering on IRC. So let us try a bit harder for 2010!

We have all come to Ubuntu in our own special ways — every single one
of us differently to the next. Yet one of the most common questions we
get asked is “How can I get $woman to use Ubuntu?”.

Obviously we cannot really answer that question, but we would dearly
love to have a collection of stories by women about how they discovered
Ubuntu. Such a repository would allow us to demonstrate that there’s no
one definitive answer, and at the same time maybe provide the gift of
inspiration to women who are interested — showing them that it’s really
not so unusual to be Ubuntu fans after all.

We are not expecting any particular length, but do remember that these
stories should be suited to perusal at leisure and not require someone
to allocate hours of their day to read. Anywhere between a few
paragraphs and a OO.o Write page is ideal.

There will be two (2) prizes up for grabs. One (1) prize pack will be
given to the story that the community votes is their favourite. One (1)
prize pack will be given to a randomly drawn entrant. Jono Bacon, the
Ubuntu Community Manager will be drawing this entrant in a videocast,
and announcing both winners to the world on March 8th.

Please email your stories to ubuntuwomen.competition@gmail.com by UTC
23:59 22nd February 2010.

By submitting a story, you acknowledge that it will be posted on the
Ubuntu Women website under the Creative Commons Attribution
No-Derivatives [0] licence. If you prefer that your story be posted
under a less restrictive licence such as Creative Commons Attribution
[1] or Public Domain [2], then feel free to let us know when you submit.
All stories are to be non-fiction and of a family-friendly nature. The
organisers also reserve the right to interview prospective winners over
the phone or other voice chat at their discretion.

We will celebrate International Women’s Day by announcing the winners,
who will receive gift packs (which are still in negotiation — we will
announce when it is confirmed!).

Good Luck!

p.s: Please pass this along to *any* women you know who *use* Ubuntu —
the more the merrier!

[0] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/
[1] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
[2] http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain

Melissa, Amber, Laura, Lyz and Mackenzie

RE : Please Reinstate the OS Wars

This post is in reply to an article wrtitten by Ken Hess on Daniweb.
In that post, he talked about how he would love to see another cold war between Linux and Windows. To put it bluntly, I simply disagree with the post. If anything at all, the so called war is part of the reason Linux, after close to twenty years of existence is still struggling to surpass the 5% market share.
Microsoft, like the millions of other businesses out there, needs to make a profit. Microsoft is a competitor to Linux, that I think is what most people, including the author of that post, seem to forget. Microsoft always acts with one motive- profit maximization. It seems to me that most Linux vendors, on the other hand, are simply confused about what they are up to. They just are not certain whether they are in for profit or for the heck of it.
What Linux operates in is called a market, and markets have rules by which you must play if you are to make any  meaningful headway. I simply disagree with the philosophy where people hate Microsoft because they think Microsoft is not helping Linux to grow. There is no way under this sun that Microsoft would ever help Linux to grow because Microsoft has rightly identified Linux as a competitor and as such takes Linux seriously. Linux vendors and users on the other hand, see Microsoft as a company that is the devil’s incarnate. In as much as it has used some questionable market tactics in the  past, Microsoft has largely succeeded in maintaining its dominant market share because it knows it it is out to do business and make profit, thus every single move it ever makes is in pursuance of that goal including the recent launch of the so called Codeplex which I  think people should be wary of.
In the world of business, there is no room for sentiments as most Linux proponents are used to, you either are in for a reason (profit), or you are trampled upon by those with a reason.Unfortunaley, Linux falls in the latter group.Take a look at the Linux world, there does not seem to be a single bit of cohesion or coordination whatsoever, it is simply one big, chaotic world made up of mostly hobbyists who are in for the fun of it. I have no problem with people writing their own OS for the fun of it. But I have a problem when such people blame and needlessly hate Microsoft for being  a hindrance to their growth when they have themselves  no clear objective to which they aim with their handiwork.
I strongly think the days of the so called cold war alluded to by Ken in his post should never come back, because all it does is to needlessly distract people from focusing on the business at hand: the business of working to make Linux a viable, profitable OS liked by the market. Instead of the various Linux vendors coming together to seek a common ground and work together towards a common goal, they are rather comfortable with blaming everything wrong with Linux on Microsoft.
Before you say there can be no cohesion in the world of Linux, I urge you to first take a look at the European Union, though that bloc is not perfect, at least they have a united front with which they seek their common interests. I do not believe hating Microsoft has ever done any good to Linux, on the contrary, it has rather stifled growth. It it is time to define clearly what Linux is. Whether it is an OS that aims at being a formidable, profitable competitor to Windows, or just a hobbyists thing that is happy to subsist on donations from its users. That is a question to be answered by the entire Linux world before the so called OS war is reinstated as wished by Ken.

Why can’t they leave Google alone?!

I love Google, very much, and I really want Google to make a lot of money. And I mean a lot. Because for every cent Google makes, I benefit in some way. There is no doubt that Google has done a lot to make computing easier for millions of people, especially in developing countries with its massive array of splendid, free products. And if for nothing at all, Google is nice to Open Source.
The recent brouhaha over its book deal really irks me a lot. The deal has the potential of making valuable knowledge available to virtually every being on this earth on a scale never known to man. And yet what do we see? Various competitors, led by arch rival Microsoft, are doing all they can to thwart the deal. The way I understand the deal, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that Google will have the right to display and sell books from authors who it can’t find, and then save any profit from those for five years in case the rights holder shows up.
At least this sounds sane to me. Making knowledge easily accessible is nothing bad. But I understand the apprehensions Google’s competitors, especially Microsoft are experincing. If there is one company out there that can match Microsoft boot for boot, then it is Google, and thus Microsoft’s vehement opposition to the deal. But what about the benefits that the deal has the potential of bringing? From the primary level right up to university through to top level management, all stand to benefit from the deal.
I really wish all the mostly empty opposition to the deal will just end. So far Google’s Book Search has indexed over10 million books from among the top universities in the US and around the world. This is no doubt a great array of knowledge available to all. Also, what I understand from the deal is that books in copyright but out-of-print become available for viewing and purchase by the public, and researchers and students at universities will get access to the full technology.
This is not something to be glossed over in the name of competition. The Google book deal simply has the potential of changing how knowledge is disseminated, and that is not something harmful to mankind. Microsoft has more monopoly power than Google has, and yet every single move by Google is scrutinized with the eyes of a hawk. 
I humbly urge all authorities involved in the book deal settlement to give a deep thought to the unprecedented benefits the deal will bring to the hundreds of millions of students, researchers, authors, publishers, and readers alike.To all those who are opposing the deal, I say to them, please leave Google alone. For it is the only global company on the internet that really has its users at heart. Please just leave our Google alone for us. We love Google and Google loves us back.
What is your take on the Google Book Deal? Do you think it is worthwhile? Have you used the Google Book Search before? What are your experiences? Please share your thoughts.