Posts tagged ‘Arch Linux’

Arch Schwag Shipping Delays

I promised last month that pre-orders on pens, case badges, and laptop stickers would be filling early in the New Year.

All three of these items are coming from different suppliers, and all three of them are late. I am still expecting all of them “any day now,” but I wanted to let anyone waiting for their items know that there’s going to be a bit more of a delay than I expected. I have about 40 orders outstanding, and I will try to fill them all as quickly as possible as the supplier orders arrive.

Items shipping from Zazzle, and other Arch Schwag items including Jewellery, wooden sculptures, and laptop bags should continue shipping on their normal schedules.

Arch Schwag Updates

You might think things have been pretty quiet on the Arch Schwag front lately, but behind the scenes a lot has been happening. As always, I’m constantly looking for new concepts to place on t-shirts and other mechandise at the Zazzle Schwag Shop, so let me know what you’ve got!

In addition, I’ve finally reordered the very popular Arch Linux Case Badges. I don’t have them in stock yet, but any orders made now should be shipping in the new year.

More excitement: I have finally tracked down a supplier for laptop stickers featuring the “Powered by Arch Linux/Keep It Simple” logo. These have previously been available on round and bumper stickers from Zazzle that you have to cut out yourself, but there have been plenty of inquiries for “real laptop stickers.” They will be available very soon; I should be receiving them by the new year as well, and will try to put a preorder page up before Christmas.

Finally, there is one more new product coming available around New Year’s. I’ve ordered a batch of elegant Arch Linux pens that should, technically, have arrived by now! I guess mail is slow at this time of year. I don’t have any photos available yet, but they, too, will be available for preorder very soon.

I’d also like to add that the Arch Linux Handbook has sold more than 150 copies since I introduced it in October, and is continuing to average more than one book per day. This is so much more than I originally projected that I am thoroughly overwhelmed by this community’s support and generosity. Also, to all the people who have purchased the Handbook, if you find any errors in it, please submit corrections to the Beginner’s Guide in the wiki, from which it is derived.

Arch Linux Developers IRL

I don’t like it when blog authors write a blog post and then later write a new related post and point an “update” link to the old post. So if this post looks familiar, it’s because I’ve revised to with some new data. It’s mostly chronological, so the newest info is at the end, but I’m not above editing my own content.

One of my missions in life is to meet as many Arch Linux developers as possible, and more than any other human being. I’m already well on my way, and was able to add to my list recently.

In the past, I’ve met Jason Chu, aka Xentac, one of the earlier adopters of Arch Linux, all round good guy, and most relevantly, the man currently holding the, “Tell Dusty he’s wrong,” record. We met up with Tobias Kieslich (neri) and Judd Vinet (yes, I met the founder!) for drinks and ramblings. That was several years ago. I’ve met Jason and Tobias a few more times since.

In November, 2008, I took a job with a Montreal company in November, which yielded an evening out with Eric BĂ©langer, more commonly referred to as (the fractal) Snowman.

This March, I had a terrific time at pycon including a (late) evening out with Simo Leone (Neotuli), Dan McGee (toofishes) and Aaron Griffin (the mighty phrakture), overlord of all that is Archly. To my knowledge, this was the first time four Arch devs were together in North America.

In May, I was able to spend a few hours with Kevin Piche. I was visiting Ottawa for PGCon, where I was a bit of an outsider, but Kevin and I were able to meet up for miscellaneous — sometimes Arch-related — discussions. Baked Brie and Poutine make terrific appetizers.

I left Toronto in July, 2009, but before leaving, I met up with Travis Willard (Cerebral), a retired Arch Linux developer. We watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Live Blog and were chased into his house by inclement weather when we tried to barbecue.

Now, I visited my sister in Victoria again last week, (November, 2009), and managed to convince Judd, Tobias, and Jason to join me for beers again. In addition, a little pressure on Thayer and Libby brought them over from Vancouver, and our party grew to a total of six.

This brings me to today. My sister is moving back to Saskatchewan now, with a long road trip down the US coast including a stop in Portland. I had the chance to meet the inimitable Eli(ott) Janssen, better known as Cactus. He quietly mentioned that he tried some poutine recently, though claims it isn’t as good as tacos.

So, counting my own reflection in the mirror, I’ve now been lucky enough to meet, in person, 13 Arch Linux contributors! I’m sure ArchCon will allow me to expand my pool. I want to add the few remaining North American developers (Dale, Don, Jeff, and Paul) to my list, then I’ll have to do an Australian tour to meet my favourite Aussies (you know who you are). Eventually a tour through Europe and South America will round out my collection. Then I’ll have to start all over, because so far I’ve met a bunch of terrific people who need to be seen more than once!

ArchCon 2010

With a bit of discussion and a quick one-click deploy of a wordpress CMS, ArchCon 2010 turned from a “maybe we should do this,” into a “Let’s do it and see what happens.”

That’s right, folks, A few of us (and hopefully you’ll join us, we need more organizers!) are planning an Arch Linux Conference. Details are sketchy at this time, but we have a website, a location (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and a timeframe (July 2010). We’re working out the details, and if anybody else wants to help work out details, we need the help.

Right now, we need presenters. If you have any ideas for a topic you can present at ArchCon, please let us know. We have a Call For Proposals open, but that basically entails “send your ideas to me and we’ll probably let you present.” Good presentation topics are a key to ArchCon’s success, and I believe each and every one of us have at least one good talk in us. So what’s your talk?

Hope to see you at ArchCon 2010, both as an attendee and a presenter or tutorial leader. Help us get this off the ground!

History Repeats Itself

Several years ago, I was honoured by an invite from Judd Vinet, Arch Linux Founder, to join the Arch Linux development team as Documentor. I did the job for a while, helped start and fill our first wiki, got bored, and resigned. I continued in the Arch Community doing notable activities like forum administration and moderation, and wiki maintenance.

Then, Aaron Griffin, current Arch Linux Overlord, posted a need for an Arch Developer to handle the Django projects for internal development and the Arch Linux website. I’m a Django coder, so I volunteered for the job. I cleaned up the code, ported us to Djngo 1.0 (and later, 1.1), implemented a few features, maintained some mirrors, got bored, and resigned.

Yes, this weekend, I resigned my position as Arch Linux developer, joining an elite group of ex-developers for the second time.

I do a lot of Django development by day, and found that I am less and less inclined to do more of it for Arch Linux in my free time. So I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not dropping involvement in Arch, as I’m still maintaining and improving the product lines of Arch Linux Schwag. I’m also hoping to promote Arch Bounty and see it take off. Finally, I’m working with ralvez to organize an ArchCon this summer (more on this soon).

So I’m not cutting back my involvement at all, just switching to things that are currently interesting to me. I’m well-known for insisting that being an Arch Linux developer and being an Arch Linux community member are one and the same thing. The development team focuses on core Arch Linux issues and technical issues, stuff I was once interested in, but not currently. The community is left to deal with meta-projects, and I’ve got lots of those on the go right now.

So I hope I’m setting an example by stepping down: Being an Arch Linux developer doesn’t make you important, it isn’t an elite position. What makes you important is contributing to Arch Linux in any way. You are an elite member of a very powerful team if you’ve ever filed a bug report, answered a forum question, created a wrapper script, hosted your own repo, or edited the wiki.

Because of this, I’m not sad to leave the Arch Development Core. I’ve quit before, and I suspect I’ll be joining some of my best friends and most respected software developers when a core project takes my fancy once again. In the meantime, I’m a powerful community member and contributor, just like you.

Arch Linux Was Invented In Canada

Arch Linux was invented in Canada by a guy called Judd. I want everyone to remember that. Why? Because if the great taco vs poutine war ever turns bloody, we must remember our roots.

Also, I’d like to announce a new Arch Linux community, the bringing Arch Linux home community, the community for Canadian Archers:

I dunno what we’ll discuss. If you need help, the official forums are the best place to get it, so my thinking is this is a forum for Canadian socializing (and plans of world domination, something most Canadians are not aware we should be trying to achieve). Huge communities like the Arch Linux community are great, I love it and am proud to be part of it. But smaller communities are also nice because you can get to know individuals better, and have more in common.

It’s not closed to non-Canadians, but if you don’t know how to properly use ‘eh’ in a sentence, can’t form a good snowball, think tacos are better than poutine, or believe hockey is a silly sport, you probably won’t fit in. ;-)

A Tale Of Two Hobbies

In addition to my martial art and programming hobbies, I like to do a little woodworking. I first started when I was 12 and I’m 100% self-taught (my earliest works were horrendous pieces). This summer I started doing some designing to mix the Arch Linux logo into this hobby. I’ve come up with two designs that I think are elegant and saleable. So, natural born salesman that I am (caution: irony at work), I decided to add them to the Arch Linux Schwag Shop:

Arch Linux Wooden Coasters
Arch Linux Wooden Sculptures

In addition, by request, I’m in the process of designing a wood keychain.

Along with backpacks and jewellery, I think its safe to say Arch Linux has one of the most novel merchandise shops around.

Introducing Arch Bounty

For several years, I’ve had a project bouncing around in the back of my mind that would allow users to donate money to have specific Arch Linux related tasks accomplished. Other users could accept these ‘bounties,’ do the work, and receive the donations.

I decided this fall that it was time to implement it. I’ve been working on it (a few minutes at a time) for a month or more. The current site is very basic, but I wanted to put it up for code review:

It is not currently active; no donatons are processed (even if you go through the entire payment procedure). Any projects created will be deleted when the system goes live, so feel free to add whatever you like. I’d appreciate feedback (patches best) on the code and styling, as well as new feature ideas. Donations are now processed and test projects were deleted. Arch Bounty is Live!

Use github for feature requests and issue reporting.

If you don’t like the idea, that’s fine, you don’t have to use it. I’m perfectly aware that introducing money to an open source can cause a dangerous change in the dynamics. But I want to give it a shot and see what explodes. If it works as well as I would like, it could be a very good thing for the Arch Linux community. If it works as poorly as it could, we shall simply not speak of it again.

Arch Linux Handbook

There have been a few calls for print versions of the Arch Linux Beginner’s guide. If all goes well, there should be one available in October.

I’m exploring various self-publishing options, and have been working with Amazon CreateSpace to publish a couple of my father’s novels. Its easy to work with, so I converted the guide to book form, renamed it as the “Arch Linux Handbook”, created a cover, and submitted it to CreateSpace. They’ve authorized it for printing, so now I’m waiting for a proof to arrive. Once I’ve verified the look of it, it’ll be available on its own CreateSpace website or directly through I’ll link to it on Arch Schwag when its available.

I have to confess that I didn’t put a lot off effort into this project, its basically the most direct translation of web-to-print that I can manage. I’m sure it won’t make complete sense (eg: links that say “click here”), but it’ll be a handy thing to have on your desk… or give to all your friends that think Arch Linux is Too Hard. There may be a typo on the cover (I recently discovered that CreateSpace won’t let me edit the “A Simple Lightweight Linuk Handbook tagline I wrote on the amazon page… oops), or pagination errors. Oh well, there’s always the option of doing a second edition!Arch Linux Handbook Cover

Why I'm quitting GMail

Lots of people have expressed fear at the power Google has over our information. I don’t intend to expound on that. Suffice it to say that they know more about me than I do.

It’s never bothered me. I have always trusted Google to take care of this information. They’ve always been on the same side of privacy, net neutrality, and copyright debates as me. They’re extremely active in the open source world and they seem to value open source rather than simply using us. I trust them.

I used to trust them.

A couple weeks ago, Aaron (head developer of Arch Linux) received an e-mail from Google Adsense telling us our account had been terminated:

While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense
account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since
keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our
advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the
interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We
realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance
for your understanding and cooperation.

How are we a risk to advertisers? What are we doing wrong? How do we fix it? No explanation. Aaron, of course, asked for clarification. They regurgitated the response:

Thanks for providing us with additional information. However, after
thoroughly reviewing your account data and taking your feedback into
consideration, we’ve re-confirmed that your account poses a significant
risk to our advertisers. For this reason, we’re unable to reinstate your
account. Thank you for your understanding.

As a reminder, if you have any questions about your account or the actions
we’ve taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more
information by visiting

Following instruction for obtaining more info, Aaron posted here:

Still no additional information. I find this offensive. We are an honest, upstanding, unfunded open source Linux Distribution. We have done nothing wrong.

I respect Google’s right to choose where they place ads. If I was a marketing agency for companies that sell adult products, I wouldn’t post advertisements in a daycare or during Saturday morning cartoons. However to cancel our account without giving us a chance to fix or even understand their rationale is troubling.

The money from Adsense is mediocre at best, compared to our donations and schwag income. But this event caused me to reevaluate my trust of this mammoth company. I’m not suddenly “OMG Google is evil, I must not use their products.” (As a teen I had this tendency toward Microsoft products. I’ve matured a bit and can acknowledge that Microsoft has some good products: their mice and keyboards.) However, I now feel less comfortable giving this company full control of my information.

And thus, I am slowly moving my e-mail account from GMail to my own domain. I’m considering anonymizing my Google cookie. I’m reluctant to put my own or client data on Google App engine. I’m losing enthusiasm for my Android powered phone (that has as much to do with Java as it does with Google, to be honest), and evaluating all new exciting Google services with just a hint of distrust.

Google still creates some of the best technology in the world, and they are still mostly friendly to the open source community. They are a large company and the actions of one department obviously don’t reflect the opinions of others. Adsense is Google’s cash cow. The more exciting Google projects occur in research and innovation. There isn’t much communication between the two.

I am looking forward to Google Wave (I intend to set up my own host, of course) and to an anonymized version of Chromium for Linux. I have no problem with Google Gears. I still use their maps, but I’ll have to stay off Latitude.

Update: This post unexpectedly hit Reddit, and within a few hours, Aaron got another e-mail telling us that our Adsense account had been reinstated. We’re still lacking an explanation, and I’m still not sure I trust them, but I have to give them credit for quick action!

I hadn’t made this post to get action out of Google, though, so we’re probably not putting Adsense back on and I’m probably not going to go back to GMail.