Monthly Archives: September 2007

Using Technorati to see what people are saying about your blog, and more.

Technorati is a valuable tool, and also a social network, that you can use to see what people are saying about your blog.

I have written about Technorati in prior posts; see The Word-Press Project, Word-press project initial status report”, Welcome back Thomas Friedman: Smart Guy #5, Moving up the long tail, no-account accounting 2006-12-08, On social networking: The Wayward Women Internet Technologists, Reflections on one hundred days of blogging, A not so gaping void, posted about a year ago; and — more recently — Installing Lotus Symphony on Windows XP, On Being a Celebrity: Till Death Do We Part?, and Dave Shields’s — Bikers, Bloggers, Writers.

Technorati is both a way to learn what people are saying about your blog and a social network. It is easy to use. You just create an account and point Technorati to your blog. It will then track the links that others make to your blog. WordPress has a similar function but I have found Technorati’s to be more complete.

See for example, my Technorati page, Everything in the known universe about The Wayward Word Press.

You can also search technorati to see what folks are saying about the topics you are interested in; for example, blog posts about open-source and blog posts about dave-shields.

Technorati was founded by David Sifry, who was once the CEO of Linuxcare. I visited their booth at the first LinuxWorld in San Jose in March, 1999, and recall the booth well as the the folks were dressed in white lab coats. Sifry’s name rings a bell, so I expect I spoke with him then. You can learn more about him via Technorati Management, his blog Sifry’s Alerts, How to Change the World: Ten Questions with David Sifry, Technorati Founder and CEO Chats with BusinessWeek.

Technorati struggled on; see Big computing flexes Linux muscle (2002), but eventually went belly-up, IBM Marries Linux to Outsourcing (the latter post comes from, a valuable site that will be the subject of a forthcoming post.) I understand that IBM then hired some of LinuxCare’s former employees, some of whom continue to work for IBM’s Linux Technology Center (LTC) today.

Though it was sad to see LinuxCare fail — the Linux market was then too small — it is good news to see that we have Technorati as a result.

Dave Shields’s — Bikers, Bloggers, Writers

While preparing a forthcoming post on Technorati I reviewed my previous posts that made mention of Technorati, and came across a comment I had never noticed before, posted last December. If you look at the comments for Word-press project initial status report, you will find:

Hey Jikes,
This is Bikes. Ever ride trikes? Or do you prefer hikes? Yikes, this is bizarre message is not one I likes.
Dave Shields

Whoops. I should have proofed my poem before hitting send. How did that extra “is” find it’s way into my last sentence?

Though I am sorry it took so long, let me now say, from one Dave Shields to another, “Thanks, Dave.”

David Shields's/Dave Shields writing a post about David Shields’s

I refer to the commenter Dave Shields as “Biker Dave,” though in my post I relayed some adventures from my own days when I rode a Yahama YDS2 motorcycle, the most fun vehicle I have ever owned.

Biker Dave writes about bicycling and has published several books about it. According to his web site Dave Shields — The Author’s Official Site, Dave is the “2005 Benjamin Franklin Award winner for Best New Voice in Fiction!” Congratulations, Dave! Also, note that the link of your web site to no longer works.

There is another David Shields who has published several books, David Shields — Author Website. I saw a copy of his novel “Heroes” in the remainder section of a bookstore many years ago (sorry to bring you the bad news, David) and bought a copy so I could put it on my bookshelf, so in a Stephen-Potter sort of way I could say when someone asked of it, “Yes, David Shields writes novels. This is the first.” [1]

I have always gone by Dave Shields, and it was because David Shields had already made claim to that name on the web that I use “daveshields” or “dave shields” to identify myself on the web.

All three Dave’s are bloggers:


1. Stephen Potter was one of the great humorists of the last century. My mother was a big admirer of his work and first exposed me to it before I turned ten. He is best known for his book “Gamesmanship,” of which Wikipedia says:

He published Gamesmanship in 1947, the first of his books that purport to teach “ploys” for manipulating one’s associates, especially making them feel inferior and thereby gaining the status of being “one-up” on them.

For example, he suggested that, when playing chess, the knight should always be moved first, followed by the casual comment, “Chigorin likes knights, as do I.”

I put this strategy to work in a meeting of our high school chess club a few years later. After a few desultory moves, I casually tipped over my king, saying, “It’s over. I see you have mate in ten moves. Congratulations.” My opponent was infuriated; I was happy the ploy had worked.

I see by his Wikipedia entry that Stephen collaborated with Joyce Grenfell, another of the great British humorists, and also an accomplished actress. I saw some of her films as a child, including “Laughter in Paradise,” “The Pickwick Papers,” “The Million Pound Note,” and “The Belles of St. Trinian’s.” Writing their names, as I have just done, brought many memories of much laughter while seeing them.

My mother worked for the theater chain in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their nearest theater was the Lobo, just a short walk from our apartment (we didn’t have a car), and I saw many of the classic British comedies as a boy: “Lavender Hill Mob,” “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” “Passport to Pimlico,” and “The Titfield Thunderbolt,” among others. I also saw “The Man in the White Suit, ” a cautionary tale on the unforeseen consequences of technological innovation, and the source of two of the great sounds in cinema — the sound made by the machine invented by the hero of the tale (played by Alec Guiness) and one of the sexiest voices you will ever hear, that of Joan Greenwood.

I saw many movies as a child since I was able to get in for free just by signing my name. I also got to meet some wonderful people. Blanche Hatton was the manager of both the Lobo and the Hiland Theater, just a few blocks from my high school. Joe Abuzelman also managed the Hiland and later owned a Dairy Queen on Central Avenue in the Nob Hill District. My mother and I ate there often while I was attending Highland High School. Joe was fun to talk to and also made the best hamburgers I have ever had.

The best theater building was that of the Kimo, notable for its “Pueblo Deco Style.” My mother worked in the Sunshine building, where I first saw “High Noon,” and “The Man From Laramie” (much of it was filmed near Albuquerque.)

On Being a Celebrity: Till Death Do We Part?

I published a post yesterday about the recent passing of a great artist, Marcel Marceau, Renowned Mime, Dies at 84.

In that post I placed Marceau in the triumvirate of the greatest mimes of the twentieth century, with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Of Chaplin, I wrote:

Charlie Chaplin was the most famous. Indeed, he was the first “celebrity” created by the film industry to achieve truly global fame. I read his autobiography many years ago and recall well his recounting of a train trip from New York to Los Angeles during his first visit to the United States (he began his career in England). As the train arrived in a small town he saw hundreds of people waiting at the station, and was amazed to learn they were there just to see him.

I noted a few hours later that my post had been linked to by Celebrity, a site devoted to the cult of celebrity that has so many followers. Trying to find the link, I examinded its recent links, and found therein such goodies as:

I scanned several more pages of equally trivial posts yet could not find mine about Marceau. Then I went over to my Technorati page, Everything in the known universe about The Wayward Word Press and learned the link from Celebrity was:

The Celebrity Death Toll Update wrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt Indeed, he was the first “celebrity” created by the film industry to achieve truly global fame. I read his autobiography many years ago and recall well his recounting of a train trip from

It then took only a couple of minutes to find Celebrity’s Death Toll Update, a vivid reminder that celebrities live on even after their deaths; for example, Chaplin died on Christmas Day, 1977, almost thirty years ago.

It makes one wonder if this focus on celebrities, especially in the 24×7 coverage provided about the current crop by so many cable channels, will be the death of us.

If so, least Jon Stewart and his colleagues on The Daily Show will provide the last laugh from beyond the grave.

On Category Theory and Child’s Play: Tag, You’re It

During my years at graduate school, I studied Category Theory for a while. It’s an abstract field of mathematics

As a blogger I have struggled with another kind of Category Theory for the past year. Here are some of the lessons I have learned.

WordPress provides what they call the Dashboard, a control-panel that lets you configure and monitor your blog. Under “Manage” can be found “Categories,” which lets you define categories for your posts so you can then assign each post one or more of these categories, to help users visiting your blog to narrow down to just the posts on a particular topic.

This made sense, so I defined a number of categories and started categorizing my posts. On occasion I would add a new category, or decide I had not made proper use of an existing category, and so would revist my old posts, updating the category list.

I know I was not alone in using categories this way as it is easy to find blogs that have lots of categories. In some cases the number of categories equals, if not exceeds, the number of post in the blog itself.

A few months back I decided to keep it simple and so narrowed down to just two categories: open-source and personal.

I did this also because I had realized, as has the New York Times recently, that folks reach my site mainly by use of search engines and referring links to the blog that can be found on other sites. I also did this because I know that most bloggers, including me, labor in obscurity. Once you accept this, then you realize there is no one out there who cares about your categories, so why bother putting them in?

WordPress Categories do serve a useful purpose in that you can easily find all the recent posts about a particular category. See for example, Recent WordPress posts with tag open-source. (I find it odd that there are so few posts with this category.)

There is also another way of categorizing your posts : tags. See my On child’s play on the Internet: Tag, you’re it! Don’t hide, so others can seek, posted almost a year ago.

A tag is similar to a category, but you can use any phrase you want, and it tagging is best done via is delicious, indeed. Once you get an account, you can download a couple of buttons to your browser. One, marked “tag” can be used whenever you see a blog post or web page that think is worh calling to the attention of others. You just click on “tag” and can then enter a list of tags that describe the post.

Moreover, provides a super-delicious feature. It is but a few minute’s work to set things up so that each day the nice folks at forward to your a blog a post that contains all the posts you have tagged in the previous day. Once you have set it up, the rest is automatic — you just have to do the tagging. This is the origin of the “links-for …” post you will find on this blog almost every day. is really a social network based on tagging. You build a network by building a list of folks whose blogs you like. If you start tagging their posts that you find of interest, you’ll probably find they will then tag some of yours.

This, by the way, is why I use “open-source” instead of “open source” in my writing and tagging. “Open source” is two words, and tags are just one word, though you can hyphens or concatenation to make a tag, as in “open-standards” or “open-source-licensing.” Single words also work better with Google, though it does a good job of understanding that “open-source” and “open source” are related.

It also good practice — especially if you believe as I do that it is important to give credit where credit is due — to make use of the “via:” meta-tag. I first saw this suggested by Michael Cote of Redmonk. For example, if I see a link in his blog that I follow through and then decide it is worth tagging on my own, I include “via:cote” in my list of tags for the post. That way folks will know that Cote first brought the post to my attentions. (I just tried to find the original post in which he made this suggestion, but was unable to do so. I’ll add a link to it if I ever track it down.)

[Updated 09/27. I sent Mike a note and here is his response]:

That via: post is tricky to find…namely cause I think it’s on my
personal blog,

Here’s two posts that are related:

* should-via-be-a-tag
* curing-email-overload-one-forbushwald-at-a-time

I’m with you on having fewer categories. On a related note, I use ecto as my desktop blog publisher (if you will) and it auto-generates Technorati tag links for me; you can see them at the bottom of most of my posts. I don’t really know if it’s worth it — I very rarely see referrals from them — but I do like being able to look-up and point to things. I find the categories good for that, e.g., “here’s a URL of all my posts on open source, or development tools, or IT management.”

He also suggested using “for:” tags to draw people’s attention to a link. For example, if I see a post I think Mike might find interesting then I add the tag “for:cote” to it, knowing Mike can then easily find posts recommended by others.

Sometimes I forget to put in a “via:” and this can lead to amusing results. For example, I recently noted that Mike’s colleague Steve O’Grady had tagged an article about one of Gartner’s recent lame announcements about open-source. So I tagged it. I noticed recently that Mike had picked it up (Thank you, sir) and tagged it “via:daveshields” See sogrady’s links for 2007-09-21, my links for 2007-09-21, and Cote’s links for 2007-09-22. (Re Gartner-lameness, see also my links for 2007-09-23.)

The WordPress folks have recently made some changes in the way they handle tags and categories. See Matt Mullenwegg’s Tags! And Categories posted just a few days ago.

However, I recommend you use the smallest number of Categories in your WordPress blog and do all your tagging via

Please do give a try — tag along with me.

Marcel Marceau, Renowned Mime, Dies at 84

Today’s NY Times brought sad news in the form of an obituary, Marcel Marceau, Renowned Mime, Dies at 84.

Looking back, I realize he was the only major artist whose performances I personally attended in the three cities in which I have lived most of my life — as a teenager in Albuquerque, New Mexico; as an undergraduate in Los Angeles, California; and as an adult in New York, New York. Those performances spanned almost forty years: from the early 60’s to the late 90’s, when I last saw him perform at Hunter College in New York.

His performances were unique in their artistry and in the silence. There were no words, no music, but a series of pieces, each prefaced by an assistant who displayed a card containing the name of the piece. The silence was absolute, as each of us in the audience watched this master at work.

Marceau was the best mime of his generation, and, with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, was one of the three greatest mimes of the twentieth century.

Buster Keaton was the most physical in his artistry. It is amazing he survived to an old age. As noted in his Wikipedia article:

Keaton’s silents are characterized by very clever visual gags and technical trickery. He had a battery of comedy writers, including Clyde Bruckman and Jean Havez, but the most ingenious gags were often conceived by Keaton himself. The more adventurous ideas called for dangerous stunts, also performed by Keaton at great physical risk; during the railroad-water-tank scene in Sherlock Jr., Keaton broke his neck and did not realize it until years afterward.

Charlie Chaplin was the most famous. Indeed, he was the first “celebrity” created by the film industry to achieve truly global fame. I read his autobiography many years ago and recall well his recounting of a train trip from New York to Los Angeles during his first visit to the United States (he began his career in England). As the train arrived in a small town he saw hundreds of people waiting at the station, and was amazed to learn they were there just to see him. [1]

In my view his most memorable performance was in The Great Dictator, a movie I first saw over forty years ago. [2] As described in the Wikipedia article:

His first dialogue picture, The Great Dictator (1940), was an act of defiance against German dictator Adolf Hitler and Nazism, filmed and released in the United States one year before it abandoned its policy of isolationism to enter World War II. Chaplin played the role of a Nazi-like dictator “Adenoid Hynkel,” Dictator of Tomania, clearly modeled on Hitler (even down to the toothbrush mustache).

The most memorable scene from that film began with Hynkel alone in his office. Noticing a globe nearby, he picked it up, and found it was a baloon. There followed an enchanting interval, in complete silence, in which he toyed with the baloon. Yet we all know the real terror in that scene, as the real Hitler made Germany into his own toy, using all the power of a modern nation-state to make it into the weapon of mass destruction that he employed to seek the extermination of Jews in the fires of Moloch.

Marceau was, I think, the greatest in his mastery of the art of mime. I remember in particular his piece, “The Mask,” about a mask-maker who puts on one mask and then another, and you could see his expression change from happiness to terror as he moved his hand down his face.

One of his greatest pieces was, as described in the Wikipedia article, “his summation of the ages of man in the famous Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death, one critic said, ‘He accomplishes in less than two minutes what most novelists cannot do in volumes.'”

I noted in his obituary that he was Jewish — his father died in Auschwitz, in the flames foretold by Chaplin in “The Great Dictator.” This reminded me of a prayer that was said by thousands of Jews across the world just this past Saturday, on Yom Kippur (from Sacred Pilgrimage:A Guide to Jewish Practices on Death and Mourning):

Rabbi Alvin Fine´s beautiful and inspiring prayer in Gates of Repentance reminds us that:

Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
And life is a journey…
A sacred pilgrimage to live everlasting.

And life is a journey…
Until, looking backward or ahead
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey, stage by stage,
A sacred pilgrimage.

Marcel Marceau — May His Memory Be a Blessing.
Charlie Chaplin — May His Memory Be a Blessing.
Buster Keaton — May His Memory Be a Blessing.


1. I personally witnessed the power of world-wide celebrity over thirty years ago. While walking on 42nd Street in New York City I saw a small crowd across the street. Within seconds it had grown to hundreds, for at the center of the crowd was Muhammad Ali.

I witnessed this power again, though on a smaller scale, in late 2003. While walking with my wife and son to a synagogue on Friday evening in Jerusalem, I recognized the man in front of us was Prof. Allan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School. Sensing that he seemed lost, my son, then a student in Jerusalem, volunteered to help him find his way. Within seconds, others in the area also recognized Prof. Dershowitz, and headed towards him.

2. During my first visit to New York City in March, 1963, In less than a week I saw the following films: “The Great Dictator, “Tom Jones,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” and “Jules and Jim” (one of my all-time favorites). The richness of the film culture, as well as many visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Museum, were among the reasons I vowed to myself during that week that I would try to live in New York City for at least five years before I turned thirty. I kept that vow, living in NYC for over twenty years starting in 1966; I moved to the suburb of Chappaqua, forty miles to the north, in 1987.

My first exposure to great painting was at the Frick. Just after entering, I turned to the left and first viewed a painting by Johannes Vermeer, “Officer and a Laughing Girl,” only to see its companion, “Girl Interrupted at Her Music,” a few feet away to the right as I turned the corner. Further on, in the West Gallery — one of the highlights of Western Art — I first saw, “Mistress and Maid.” See Virtual Tour and Paintings in the Frick for images of the paintings that can be found in this extraordinary room.

During a visit to the Frick early one Sunday a few months back to attend a special exhibit of paintings on loan from the Cleveland Museum of Art, I first made my way to the West Gallery, and had the great good fortune to be the only person in the room, save for a guard, for about twenty minutes.

Vermeer remains my favorite painter to this day. Thirty-five of his paintings survived to delight us. Eight can be found in New York (three at the Frick, and five at the Metropolitan Museum of Art); sadly, “The Concert, was stolen in 1990 and has not yet been recovered. (You can find images of all of them in the Wikipedia article.) See also Vermeer Paintings in the Frick Collection for images of the paintings in the Frick Collection.

Why Ubuntu? It uses apt-get to manage packages

One of the best reasons to use Ubuntu is that you can use apt-get to install, update, and remove packages.

Apt-get is as good as it gets when it comes to package management, so why not use the best?

See Dave Shields On Package Management: Apt-Get It or For-get It for a longer discussion of this important topic.

Dave Shields On Package Management: Apt-Get It or For-get It

Here is all you need to know about package management on Linux. By package management I mean how you install, update, or remove a package.

The most concise expression is: [1]

Apt-get it or for-get it.

Put another way:

If you cannot install a package using apt-get then you should forget about it. If the author doesn’t provide it so it can be installed with apt-get, then it’s not yet ready for serious consideration, so you shouldn’t waste your time on it if you have to use another package manager.

And also:

If you ask me to install a package and I can’t use apt-get to install it, then you need to give me a damn good reason to go to the bother of installing it. At the top of my list of reasons is, “the check is in the mail,” that is a check you need to send to me, not one I have to send to you. If I can’t use apt-get then I am going to forget about it — it doesn’t exist to me.

You may say, “Dave, I know apt-get is only available on Debian and its derivatives such as Ubuntu, but I only currently support other distributions such as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and SLED (Suse Linux Desktop Edition). I may support apt-get some day but I think this package is so good you should go to the bother of using another installation method.”[2]

And I will say, “Yes, but that’s one of the main reasons I use Ubuntu. It supports apt-get. I’m not going to waste my time on packages that are only supported on other Linux distributions. Sorry, I’m going to forget about it until I can apt-get it.”

For example, I recently went through the painful experience of installing IBM’s new Lotus Symphony office suite on Ubuntu. IBM doesn’t make it available in a form that lets you use apt-get to install it. Looking back, I should have stopped as soon as I found that I couldn’t use apt-get. I did slog through the install though, and will write a post about that experience.

Here’s another example. I met with folks in a couple of school districts back in late May. Both expressed interest in using an open-source email system for communication between faculty, staff and students. They had noticed that people were using external email providers such as Google and Yahoo, and were uncomfortable that they had no record of these e-mails. I had heard good things about Zimbra, but when I investigated I learned Zimba requires a customized LAMP-stack. See for example How To Install Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) On Ubuntu, which says in part, “Don’t install/enable any services (e.g. like LAMP or DNS) – if you do, you’ll have to disable them later on as they might interfere with Zimbra!” That was enough for me. If the install is that complicated, how can I recommend Zimbra to a school system? Perhaps the situation will improve since Yahoo’s recent acquisition of Zimbra for $350 million, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Here are some of my experiences with package management that led to this view.

I ran the Jikes project for its first year. At the start we provided Jikes only in tar format for Linux and zip format for Windows. Sometime in early August I decided to support it in RPM (RedHat Package Manager), the format created and used by Red Hat (RH), to make it easier to install on RH, and also as I wanted to suggest to RedHat that they include Jikes in their distribution, and realized I needed support RPM before I could do so. Towards that end, I purchased a copy of a book on RPM, and I recall going over it while we rented an RV and toured Yellowstone. While I strongly recommend visiting Yellowstone, I cannot recommend that book. Indeed when I just went to find my copy I realized I had thrown it out a couple of years back, to the tune of “good riddance.” I think it was Maximum RPM as it was in print by that time, but I can’t be sure. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, as it’s probably impossible to write a good book about RPM.

I found RPM’s choice of options absolutely maddening. I could never remember them, but had to consult the man page almost every time I used that sucker. See the RPM Man page. Also, compare Debian Linux apt-get package management cheat sheet with RPM Cheat Sheet.

By the way, this story does have a happy ending. After producing a Jikes RPM, I called Christian Grafton at Red Hat and suggested he might want to add Jikes; he replied that was already looking at it since several folks had recommended it, and I later learned : [3]

Sexy penguin admiring Jikes collageJikes was in Red Hat 6.1

A year or so later I was at a LinuxWorld in New York when I saw a booth manned by SuSE folks. I hadn’t yet run SuSE but had read some its documentation and had found it among the best I had yet seen, as it had lots of good technical details. I showed Jikes to them and was pleased to note a few months later that they had decided to include it. [4]

I built my first computer in May, 2004, and put SuSE (which by then had been acquired by Novell) on it. SuSE’s package manager is YAST. It’s ok, though SuSE comes with so many packages installed by default that you don’t need to use it that often.

I used SuSE until late this June, when one of the disks failed. The remaining disk still had my music archives, over 35 gigabytes worth, that I wanted to preserve. As a result, and also because I was by then interested in Ubuntu, I spent much of July installing SuSE and Ubuntu in various hardware combinations involving new motherboards, new machines I built, and so forth. (I”ll be reporting on that experience in a forthcoming post, “From Hardware Hell to Ubuntu Utopia.”)

I must have done at least fifty Ubuntu installs this past July. And the one thing that happened each and every time I first booted up Ubuntu after the install — I saw a little box that said “Updates available. Click on the icon to install them.” Each and every time I did click on that icon. Each and every time about 130 or so packages were flawlessly updated. I was so impressed by that, and other things I leaned about Ubuntu in July, that Ubuntu will be the primary focus of this blog for the forseeable future. See my ubuntu posts.

I have found apt-get to be rock-solid. In particular, I have no qualms about installing a new package — as long as I can use apt-get to do so — even if it means that packages already installed must be deleted, as I am confident that I can later uninstll the new package and reinstall the old one.

By the way, if you don’t want to use apt-get then you can use Synaptic, a graphical front-end to apt-get. It’s especially useful for searching the package database.

I’m also fond of apt-get since — and you folks who know me already know where I’m headed — one of the first commands I tried on Ubuntu was:

$ apt-get jikes

It worked. Which means that if you run

$ apt-get jikes | jikes -version | grep Shields

then you will get the output “Originally written by Philippe Charles and David Shields of IBM Research.” [5]

I say this not just to boast but to point out an important reason for using Ubuntu, Debian, and other distributions based on Debian.

Philippe and I stopped work on Jikes in December 1999, almost eight years ago. I knew when IBM released Jikes that our days with it would be limited, and so did what I could to build a community that could carry on our work. I’m very proud that Jikes can be found in Ubuntu today, thanks to all the folks who worked on the code and, especially, to the Debian developers who decided to include Jikes in Debian and have kept it there to this day.

That’s why you only want to use packages you can get with apt-get. They have been vetted. Someone has committed to make them easy for you to install.

Howver, there is another way you can get a package via apt-get: if its provider has created a repository supporting Ubuntu, as has been done by Google. But this is another form of vetting. The package provider has deemed Ubuntu worthy of support. For example, Google “gets it” when it comes to Ubuntu, and one can only hope other large companies “get it” soon so you can “apt-get” their packages, as for example you can’t do now with Lotus Sympony.

If I want to use a packge, or you suggest one to me, then:

If I can’t apt-get it I will for-get about it.



1. The concise form is based on the teachings of the master of marketing, Ron Popeil. One of his most famous products is Showtime Rotisserie, a small oven designed for cooking smaller sized portions of meat such as whole chicken and lamb. “Set it, and forget it!” If you haven’t heard this phrase at least a hundred times then you have not watched TV in the U.S. within the last ten years or so.

2. RHEL and SLED are acronyms, as discussed in my post , On Three Letter Acronyms (TLA’s) and IBM-Speak.

3. Christian was the gatekeeper on what went into RH Linux. I got his phone number from someone in Raleigh, NC, who worked at RTP. RTP was just down the road from RH headquarters, and the IBMers active in Linux, such as Bill Stoddard’s Apache team, spoke frequently with their kindred spirits at RH.

4. LinuxWorld (LW)was for many years the main Linux-related conference, the nicest part being the “open-source pavilion” where all the techies would hang around. For example, I first met Daniel Robbins, creator of the Gentoo Linux distribution, and Klaus Knopper, creator of Knoppix, at LW’s in New York. LW is now mainly for the folks in suits and you see fewer open-source folks, though you can a video interview of me and some of them taped in the open-source pavilion at the LW in Boston in April, 2006; see Me Tube.

5. I recall adding that line to the Jikes code back in 1998. We had earned it, and as I typed it in I wondered how many machines would contain that string in the years ahead. Since Jikes was part of RedHat for several years, and can today is still part of SuSe, Debian, Ubuntu, and various BSD’s, the count must by now run at least into the hundreds of thousands.

It’s Pirate’s Day, Matey. Don’t be fooled by it, as was I.

September is a special month in Linux-land. Not only does it bring the autumnal equinox, it is also the birth month of Linux, Happy Birthday to the Linux kernel, Poodle Scout, and The Wayward Word Press.

It is also the month of Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I first encountered Talk Like A Pirate Day last year, just after I started this blog; see Arrr! Linux 2.6.18, Talk Like a Pirate Day: the only day of the year when you can talk like a pirate and not be entirely insane (2006), Yesterday Was Talk Like a Pirate Day (2007), and What Be Yer Favorite Talk Like A Pirate Day Phrase?

I didn’t really understand what was going on, as is clear from the posts I wrote in response: Linus: stick to coding, Patrick is at the helm and Who should be the Pirate of the Caribbean? Linus Torvalds? Johny Depp? Russell Crowe?

So don’t be fooled, as I was.

Linus announced kernel 2.6.18 on last year’s Pirate Day, this year. So drop anchor, and check out the the latest announced by Linus on this year’s Pirates Day, 2.6.23-rc7

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