DisaPortement

I am disappointed with the lack of Linux and open source software coverage on the TWiT network.  Once again, Floss Weekly has apparently been placed on Leo Laporte’s back burner.  Also bothersome is a comment by Randall Schwartz, co-host and booker of guests for Floss Weekly, on episode 146 of TWiT at 1:02:18 claiming, rather dismissively, that he doesn’t “use Linux on anything that matters.”  Between this statement and the lackluster guests Floss Weekly has interviewed lately, it is clear that Mr. Schwartz is not in touch with the open source community as a whole.  While Squeak, POV-Ray, Seaside, and Yahoo User Interface Library are all great projects, there are more exciting projects that promise to bring open source software to more average users’ desktops.  Two examples from the top of my head are Ubuntu and KDE4.  Ubuntu is having great success producing a well-integrated, easy to use Linux distribution, while KDE4 is pushing the boundarys of the desktop metaphor past even what Apple has done with OS X.  Mark Shuttleworth, of Ubuntu fame, and Aaron Seigo, from KDE, would both make excellent guests on Floss Weekly.

Leo always claims to love the open source philosophy, but it gets short shrift on the TWiT network.  I’m not saying
he should push Linux on every caller to his radio show that complains about Windows, but it would be nice if OSS got the attention it deserves.  I know Leo is busy man, but Floss Weekly is the only show on TWiT network that goes months between releases.  I don’t know who fault it is, Leo’s or Randall’s, but the show is clearly not a priority.

I guess I expected different of Leo.  I have been happily using Linux for nine years due to Leo.  He helped free me from the shackles of Microsoft in 1999 via the now defunct TechTV.  On his show, “The Screen Savers”, he talked often about Linux and recommended a distribution called Linux Mandrake.  I got boxed copy online and dual booted it with Windows 98SE on my brand new Dell Dimension XPS 450 (which, by the way, is the very same system I am typing this on, although with moderate upgrades).  It was scary at first, but slowly I booted into Windows less and less.  This system still has Windows on it, although now it resides next to Gentoo, but I can’
t remember the last time I booted Windows.  Leo’s voice reaches many thousands of people between the TWiT network, the radio show, and his other appearances.  He has the ability to show people another way and help free them from proprietary vendors.  I hope he will embrace OSS once again.

2 Replies to “DisaPortement”

  1. Linux is already a dominant force in the open source world. Any show I do on Linux or Linux-desktop-related things would be “preaching to the choir”, and has already been covered to death, in my opinion. After all, look at the number of Linux-specific podcasts!

    My goal with FLOSS “Weekly” bookings is to bring to the forefront those things that are worthy, but don’t have quite as much overdone press on them. This is why I brought out Git and PostgreSQL, rather than Yet Another Show on SVN or MySQL. It’s an “underdog” show.

    See, I had Beta when everyone else had VHS. I owned a Mac while everyone else had X86 machines. I still run OSX on my desktop. I run OpenBSD on my server, because I don’t want to have to worry about a security break while I’m out on a cruise. (You’ve got to admit, OpenBSD is more secure.) This is what I meant by that casual comment that is now getting quoted out of context: I can’t afford to run Linux on my server, because I can’t be a full-time sysadmin, and OpenBSD runs everything that I need for that particular server. OpenBSD would be a horrible desktop machine. For my desktop friends on their generic X86, I recommend Ubuntu Linux. Yes, Linux.

    I didn’t always “follow the leader”, and I was rewarded for being willing to look at the details instead of following the crowd. FLOSS reflects *my* choices, because Leo says I can. (And yes, Leo and I discuss show philosophy off-camera a lot more than you might imagine.) And having done that, the feedback I’ve gotten from many people out there is “wow, didn’t realize what git/postgres/squeak was… thanks for these shows!” So I think I’m on the right track, for the most part.

    This is not to say that Mark Shuttleworth and Linus Torvalds are not on my list of desired guests. I’ll take them if they come. But in the meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for the *rest* of FLOSS besides the parts that are already overcovered.

    I’m not entirely surprised by the uprise because I didn’t bow down at the Linux altar on a given show. But I am a practical guy. I use *what works*. Not just whatever my friends are also using. That’s surprising for some people, but not to the people who matter to me. 🙂

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  2. First of all, I apologize for imbuing your comment on TWiT with a meaning you did not intend, but at the time it seemed very dismissive of Linux and I am obviously not the only person that felt that way.

    Second, I agree that the Linux desktop is overcovered in the Linux press, but Leo has a more mainstream (at least in geek terms) audience that may not know about these great FOSS desktop projects. With Leo streaming everything live there is an opportunity to expose these projects to people who would never actively download FLOSS Weekly or other open source podcasts. Maybe the live audience members who aren’t actively interested in open source would just turn it off, but I doubt it. People watch Leo because he is fun to watch regardless of the topic. I wish I had enough bandwidth to watch the live stream and get a feel for type of people who watch live, but a 224 kb/s DSL connection just doesn’t cut it.

    Finally, I appreciate the explanation of your Floss Weekly philosophy. It has given me a better understanding of what to expect from the show. I would still like to see more mainstream projects covered, at least occasionally, but I will continue to enjoy the show and hope you and Leo can find a way to deliver it on a weekly basis.

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