High Hopes for SparkleShare

I’ve been using DropBox now for a while, and I love the functionality of the application. It’s just a really great idea. I have it installed on four or five different computers, and can use it to synchronize my files among them. Beyond that, I have several people that I can share my files with that will just automatically see my updates whenever I make them.

I love DropBox.

So, what is this SparkleShare you speak of? SparkleShare is a free and open source version of DropBox. It is built by people who care about privacy and freedom. Not only can you use it however you like, you are also free to modify and redistribute it when you give the recipients the same freedoms (that was blatantly ripped off from their website by the way, so you should go read it).

What do I like about SparkleShare over DropBox?

First of all, let me say that SparkleShare is in it’s early stages, so not everything in place. I do think it will eventually beat DropBox for features. The biggest one for me is the fact that you can setup your own host. If you’re not into that kind of thing, that’s not required, but the fact that this option is available just makes me grin ear to ear. All communication between the clients and the hosts is encrypted, and the contents of the server can be encrypted as well.

Right now, I’m waiting on the Windows and the Android client to be available, and then I’m going all in on this. My plan is, SparkleShare installed on a Linux server, with my files residing on a Drobo FS. The combination of the three will lead to an extremely stable, redundant, virtually infinite storage location available to me on any device I own.

It’s all Linux’s Fault!!

I just got done reading Day 3 of Tony Bradley’s 30 Days with Ubuntu Linux. Day 3 and he’s already kinda pissed me off.

Day 1 wasn’t even a day with Linux. It was his announcement that he was going to be doing it. If you’re going to be doing 30 days with Ubuntu Linux, at least really do 30 days.

Day 2 he installed the OS. A process that takes all of a half an hour. On top of that, he used wubi. Now, wubi is all find and dandy if you’re planning on going back to Windows regularly, but if you’re actually going to be using Linux for 29 days, it’s worth your time to do a native installation. Of course, if your plan to start off with is to half-ass your way through “29 Days of Ubuntu Linux” and go straight back to Windows anyway, then you’re fine with wubi.

Day 3 he goes straight to iTunes. This is something that every person critical of Linux will do at one point or another. Let’s get this straight, iTunes is a proprietary application written by a company that doesn’t write Linux software.

The author states, “If Linux wants to be taken seriously as an alternative desktop for the masses–not just Linux gurus–then things have to just work without requiring so much effort.”

This is after he had it installed and mostly working, despite the fact that there is no Linux version of he software.


So much effort?

You just installed an application on an OS that it’s not written for. Can you do that in Windows without emulation? Nope. Score one for Linux.

Further, the fact that iTunes doesn’t have a Linux version is not the fault of Linux. It’s the fault of Apple, who chose not to write a version for Linux. The people who have worked long and hard to make Linux everything it is today can want to be taken seriously all they want, but it doesn’t make Apple write software for their platform.

The same goes for Microsoft Office.

Linux doesn’t run Microsoft Office. Why? It’s not because Linux is in any way lacking. It’s because Microsoft doesn’t sell a Linux version. If there’s someone to blame for that, it’s Microsoft.

Blaming the platform because a particular company (and a company that competes with Linux btw) has chosen not to write software for it is flat out stupid.

This kind of thing frustrates me to no end.


Let me tell you how the rest of the 29 days are going to go.

He’ll play around, toy with things, and in the end, he’ll point out all the things that don’t work (which he knew they wouldn’t when he went in) like running applications that aren’t even native to the operating system, as a fault of the OS, and say with a gentle sigh that Linux just isn’t ready for the mainstream yet. That really seems to be the intent of this 29 days anyway.

Why don’t we just skip to the end Tony?


Linux: It Just Works

Recently, a friend of mine and I were discussing his phone and his desire to buy the iPhone 5 to replace his Android phone. Personally, think moving from an Android to an iPhone is a mistake, but that’s not really the point of this particular posting.

During the course of the conversation, the phrase came up “It just works.” I’ve heard this phrase countless times over the years to describe one OS or another, and it’s always seemed weird to me.

For something to “just work”, the task that you’re trying to perform has to be within the subset of tasks the device is inherently capable of. For example, if I were to want to browse the web, in today’s day and age, pretty much any computer or smart phone I picked up would “just work”. They all come with built in web browsers and networking capability. So the claim “it just works” could apply to any of them. A secondary, counter example would be, if I were to want to dig a hole in my back yard. Now, short of using the case as some sort of digging device, none of those devices could claim to “just work”.

What this really boils down to is this: Whether a device “just works” or not is subjective to a particular persons needs.

For me (and I’d go so far as to claim most people), what I need in a computer is simple.

  1. I need a word processor. This doesn’t have to be Microsoft Word, or Lotus something or other. To often, people get tied up in names. I’d be willing to bet that Open Office or LibreOffice can perform most if not all tasks required of an average user.
  2. I need a spread sheet. Again, it doesn’t  have to be a particular brand name, and again, Open Office or LibreOffice more than meet the needs of the majority.
  3. I need access to the Web. Linux supports Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and other web browsers. All are capable of browsing the vast majority of the web.
  4. I need to view graphics. I have a digital camera and two kids. I want to see video and images of those kids on my computer. Linux more than covers these bases, and does so with ease and style. No issues there.

So, when it really comes down to it, Linux does all the things that the average person requires from their OS. On top of those things, it’s easy to use, stable, and close enough to being virus free that it makes the Mac look like a cesspool of infection.

Based on those facts, I think it’s safe to say it.

Linux:  It just works.

Microsoft bought Skype – Damn it

I have no idea what this is going to mean for the Linux, Android, and even Mac versions of Skype. I just don’t see this is a good thing no matter how you look at it. Here’s a collection of links. I’ll be watching this pretty closely. I’m already starting to look for alternatives.

Ballmer’s Really REALLY Afraid

In an article by Bloomberg today, it was revealed that Microsoft is forking over more than $1,000,000,000 to Nokia to have them make Windows 7 phones. That’s 9 zeros there folks. Despite the fact that Microsoft has handed over (or is in the process of handing over) an extremely large sum of money, it doesn’t seem to be reversing their fortunes any.

Steve Ballmer must be very afraid of Google and the Android platform. VERY.

Pwn2Own 2011 is coming! Place your bets…

The Pwn2Own 2011 contest is right around the corner. It’s going to be March 9th, 10th, and 11th. It looks like Linux will be not participating again this year with the exception of Android. Maybe that’s because it’s a foregone conclusion that it won’t be Pwned. Who knows.

Android is in the mix this year in the mobile category. Here’s the contenders:

  • Dell Venue Pro running Windows 7
  • iPhone 4 running iOS
  • Blackberry Torch 9800 running Blackberry 6 OS
  • Nexus S running Android

My predictions are they will fall in this order:

  1. iPhone 4.
  2. Dell Venue Pro
  3. Blackberry.
  4. Android.

I really was torn about 3 and 4 (but 1 and 2 were easy). Blackberry has been shown to be fairly security aware. I guess time will tell.

What are your predictions?