Thursday, 30 April 2009

A new blogger's first week

I can't believe I'm the first to have made this mistake, I imagine I won't be the last. The whole purpose of blogging, at least in my opinion, is to provide concise, useful insights that others may find of interest. After my first posts I received positive feedback and considerable encouragement to do more. This kind of backslapping, chest pumping support leads you to the mistaken opinion you have gained your literary wings.

My third post set out to be a comprehensive missive arguing the case for the the widespread adoption of Ubuntu 9.04 as a desktop operating system. It's progressing well but there is still much work to do. I'll have it complete in the next couple of days (I hope) but that can't be guaranteed. Work comes first and represents long concentarted hours; it's tough to reset, to reengage brain and shift to something new after a long busy day.

So, what to do? Well the Ubuntu essay will get published, hopefully much sooner than later. In the interim, I think I'll try walking before I attempt to run the London Marathon!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Operating systems, a religous experience?

Opinions are funny things. They are usually strongly held beliefs, a matter of principle a point to defend when confronted with the objections and ridicule of the masses. And so it is with the almost religious fervour that accompanies Operating System discipleship.

There are the Microsoft Windowites, a huge dynasty subdivided into many sects. The '95, '98 and Millennium castes seem to have dispersed. There are reports that small pockets of this once proud following do exist, largely in the dusty halls of local authorities and government agencies. Then there are the XPites, the Vista clan and now the emergence of the number 7. Seven is considered a lucky number in many cultures and so it seems Microsoft are hoping it can bring unanimity to their disparate following, a single clarion call that all can align behind. Can they shake off the ills that plague all long standing and dominant civilisations greed, decadence and, in the case of their platform, obesity? This is unlikely but time will tell.

But wait, what of the forbidden fruit, what of the Apple? A young vibrant brand of religion this, all bright, happy and shiny. Full of big smiles, warm handshakes and cool haircuts; gone are the dowdy formal uniforms of the Windowites, you can wear your jeans around your knees, tattoo your nose and still wear the badge of the blessed fruit. Membership comes at a price. It's no easy task worshiping the Apple, the tools of the trade are highly prized and cost the Earth. You'll need a lot more than plain old gold, frankincense and Myrrh, many pieces of silver must be offered. Strangely the basis for this most modern of followings, it's foundation, it's very core, hidden by high fashion and makeup is a relic from the past, behold the Unix operating system.

Back in our history, long before the first newborn gurgle of the PC, there was Unix. Long beards, comfortable footwear and real ale defined this most ancient of followings. Yet at its heart, at the centre of its belief was the kernel. The kernel was all powerful, all knowing yet simple and forgiving. It brought order to chaos, offered forgiveness to errant applications and it just kept running. Nothing could bring the kernel down, no external force or internal conspiracy, it was omnipotent. The rise of the Windowites threatened to eliminate Unix but its core strengths and virtues, reborn under the Apple and Linux moniker, have survived. Linux, unlike Apple, promises to establish, once again, A single community, a home for everyone, free to join, and available to all. Unfortunately Linux is fragmented into many different groups. All however share a common belief, a point of connection, the Kernel binds them together.

I'm a linux believer as you may have guessed. In subsequent posts I'll try and explain why. I'll attempt to outline why the time is right to consider linux, Ubuntu in particular, as the natural choice for our desktop operating systems.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Entering the fray...

There are many things I intend to do or have intended to do. Some blossom from good ideas into real substance and purpose, others lose their way and become a forgotten good idea. My intention to establish a blog has, for some time, been a member of the latter, a good idea that somehow spent its life on the "too hard pile". Not too hard because of any technical difficulties, technical complexity is my forte (as the blog, I hope, will reveal); more because of time, distractions, commitments and host of other equally feeble excuses.

With that behind me I feel it's time to enter the fray and establish my own blog. Its purpose, structure and objectives are, at this point, a little shall we say embryonic. However I'm sure it will take shape nicely over time. I feel I have lots of information, perhaps even some knowledge and, dare I say, occasional expertise to share so here goes.

I have spent 25 years in the telecommunications business and for much of that at the forefront of new technology developments. I'm an electronics engineer by qualification but have enjoyed a significant period of my career in the development of industrial software. I'm now a kind of technology evangelist I guess. The time I've spent in the industry has enabled me to sample, study and pursue many diverse aspects of the technology multiverse we live in today. To that end, I aim to talk about some of those subjects and developments I feel may have the most impact on our lives.

I'm a big supporter of the Open Source software development initiative. I'm an even bigger supporter of the drive to make the Linux operating system mainstream and suitable for all. I'm a keen and reasonably skilled photographer and have enjoyed many years experience working with digital photographic techniques, post processing and equipment. I'm London based, a sports fan, I soak up news and current affairs like a sponge and have an unhealthy yet unbreakable addiction to Indian food. All that to say, this could be a varied mix of well structured and thoughtful observation or a ragged depository for the unintelligible ramblings of a narcissistic forty something, who knows...