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Bring Jorge’s Blog Back, Please. September 13, 2007

Posted by Carthik in ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

So Jorge Castro is now a Canonical employee!

Jorge, I for one, would love to see your mug again on Planet Ubuntu. I would love to see whiprush.org up and about again.

Jorge’s disappearance from the interwebs was followed by pleas for his return, about 9 months ago (you can find his last post here if you really want to). I used to love reading what Jorge had to say. It’s good to have him back in the Ubuntu world, now if only we could have his blog back too 🙂 Welcome back, Jorge!

Free Ubuntu Magazine: Full Circle April 28, 2007

Posted by Carthik in books, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

The zeroth issue of the Ubuntu Full Circle Magazine has been out for a while now. You can download it in your chosen language here. If it is not available in your chosen language, then maybe you can help translate it the next time for others like you.

full circle logo
The magazine is a community effort – I think it was kickstarted on this Ubuntu forum post by the forum user ronniet. “Development” of issues revolves around the wiki. The Ubuntu Magazine page lists what you can do to contribute articles and columns.

Maybe I should contribute an article or a regular column in the magazine – after all it is a volunteer effort and the magazine is provided free-of-cost.

Behind MOTU: Meet the Masters of the Universe April 20, 2007

Posted by Carthik in interviews, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

You might already know about Behind Ubuntu, a website that features profiles of the people behind Ubuntu – the ones who contribute their time and effort to making Ubuntu what it is.

Behind MOTU is a similar effort to bring to the fore members of the MOTU. The MOTU are an elite squad of mostly volunteer developers who keep the 10,000+ packages in the Universe component of the Ubuntu repository in shape. Yes, that is a whole lot of packages to keep track of, and without the MOTU, the task would be impossible. The MOTU team on launchpad currently has 65 members. #ubuntu-motu is their online hangout.

I wish Behind MOTU posts had pictures of the Masters. It helps me greatly to put a human face to the awesome people I am thankful to. Also, it would be nice if they had a “Page” with links to the profiles of each MOTU. So far, Michael Bienia, Scott Kitterman, and Barry deFreese have been profiled. I look forward to more interviews in the future.

Feisty CDs to be Available Through Shipit April 4, 2007

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Unlike Edgy, which was not available through shipit, free cds of Feisty Fawn, the upcoming release may be available for free shipping.

I logged into the shipit website and was greeted by this:


Update: You can now pre-order the CDs

Ubuntu’s New Website March 17, 2007

Posted by Carthik in looks and feel, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Ubuntu’s new website is the talk of the town.
Color me impressed!

Ubuntu's new website
To read more about the creation of the new design, visit Matt Nuzum’s article on the redesign of the website.

The decision was difficult. We finally chose Drupal. They have excellent documentation, the cms is easy to extend through modules, they have a responsive security team and it’s easy to learn to edit and add content…each server can now handling(sic) 5,000 to 6,000 simul connections.

Congrats to Matt, the sysadmins and Canonical for a job well done!

Also, interestingly enough, I found that ubuntusucks.com redirects one to ubuntu.com. Talk about pre-emptive measures!

Ubuntu Dedicated Servers and Server Administrators December 25, 2006

Posted by Carthik in servers, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Oh behalf of a client, I have been looking for Ubuntu Dedicated Servers, as well people in the know who can administer the server. Starting with WebHostingTalk my search so far has been more or less futile. How hard can it be to find a good dedicated server, or for that matter an administrator for a server you ask? Real hard.

Let me define a “good” service provider:
With servers more than anything else, the added benefits are the biggest variable, and the one that will have the most long-term impact on the person who buys the server. There are several hosts (not Ubuntu hosts) that provide, for example, Cisco’s hardened external firewall, and some provide a serial console, some provide DDoS protection. These are often overlooked by someone who jumps in for a server. The other big differentiator between the good and the not-so-good is the quality of the hardware and the extent to which the offered services are backed by the provider and this is something that you learn over a period of months, if not years.

Now, to define a “good” administrator:
There are those that setup and adminster servers for a living, those who know the ins and out of managing servers. Such individuals(not corporations) are the best source for reliable information regarding servers, their security and their upkeep. If you have tried getting your hands on some of these individuals you know how hard they are to find. People for whom such service is a pleasure, and who are not in it only for the money – for whom such services are not the be-all and end-all, but a natural extension of their acquired skills.

Ubuntu’s Market Presence

Now when it comes to gaining a strong foothold in the server market, Ubuntu needs to work on visibility, and needs to make sure that those who want to try it have access to resources that point out the options available. Here’s where Ubuntu falls short currently. For Debian, there is a list of dedicated server providers. Though there is no guarantee as to the level of service provided by these hosts, there is a list, which is the least there should be. I wish there would a similar initiative from Ubuntu’s part. Also, for Debian, there is a huge list of Consultants from which you can pick and choose an administrator or manager for your server. Again, though there is a list of Ubuntu Partners, not many of these are individuals of the kind I mentioned before. I wish it was easier to find an Ubuntu developer(not necessarily someone with “main” commit privileges), who will do maintenance work for me. But this post is not just about me – it is about Ubuntu gaining a foothold in the server market, and for that Canonical needs to seriously think about constructing easily managed lists of both server-providers and service-providers, if I may call them that. Such information has to be available for various levels of prospective clients – the huge 1000+ employee corporate clients as well as small-business entities and enterprising novice individuals.

You might state the case for a community wiki-based effort to build a catalog of information. This would be a good first step, but what is essential is for the company that promotes Ubuntu (Canonical) to put the word out. This can inspire a lot of confidence in someone who is as yet undecided about going the Ubuntu way. Though there is evidence of Canonical’s interest in providing such info, the support page seems inapplicable for a person like me – I’d rather work in association with a good individual. A not-so-obvious reason for this is the fact that if I pay an individual for working on my Ubuntu server, then I am providing an incentive for the person to keep working on Ubuntu, without his/her having to “officially” work for a company that supports Ubuntu. I would think that a page at the Ubuntu wiki with a list of dedicated providers, and another page of Ubuntu developers with the services they are willing to offer would be an awesome way to start things off.

Finding a good Redhat, or Fedora dedicated server is easy, at various price-points. You can easily find servers for $100, and a reputed admin for $30 per month. I’ll be happy the day it is just as easy to find resources for Ubuntu servers. It is not that no one offers Ubuntu servers, search and you shall find some, but the important question is which of these are lemons?

I am sorry for the rant, if this looks like one. A day of flailing about on the internet looking for a good solution to a temporary problem gave rise to these thoughts. Please take this with a pinch of salt, for I might be over-reacting 🙂

Ubuntu Blogs Round-up December 23, 2006

Posted by Carthik in about, Other sites, planet ubuntu, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.
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The response to my request for Ubuntu Bloggers to put their hands up has been tremendous.

So much so that I felt obliged to round them all up and create a page listing all the little known Ubuntu Blogs 🙂

The listings are sorted by language. There’s even one video blog (vlog.gwallgofi.com/) where the author/presenter intends to communicate with hearing challenged folks using sign language. Very cool!

Of course, the request brought forth a couple of strange responses: a scientologist and someone who writes about AIDS. I haven’t included your blogs in the list for the simple reason that a search for Ubuntu on your blogs turned up zip. If you start writing, I will include you later.

Erythro points out that there is a list of blogs at the forums. Thanks – I have added links to the two forums threads at the page.

Daniel floated the idea of an extra-solar(?) planet of Ubuntu Blogs by Ubuntu Users:

I wonder what would be a good way to tap into that well of online knowledge about Ubuntu and present way in an useful and friendly way to the world? Maybe what we need is an userplanet.ubuntu.com or community.ubuntu.com to complement the more official planet.ubuntu.com that would aggregate these Non-Ubuntu-Member blogs.

I think it is a great idea, and even thought about setting it up on my own server. However, Gouki expressed interest in implementing it first, and since I don’t like stepping on toes, I will wait for a while for him to do it. Gouki, would you mind terribly if I did it myself? Or better still, would the higher-ups at Canonical/Ubuntu want to do this (semi-)officially?

Thank you for sending in links to your blogs – I have added them to my feedreader and look forward to reading about your experiences. Now you have a guaranteed audience of at least one interested soul 🙂

Coming up with the list was really time consuming – have been doing nothing else for the past three hours. I visited each blog, checked it out(when I could understand the language), and had a good time overall. It’s a good thing its the holidays. But unfortunately, because of this, I will have to cut back a little on working on this blog over the next couple of days. It is the holidays and I will be off on a little holiday myself, in a day or two.

Do You Blog About Ubuntu? December 22, 2006

Posted by Carthik in navel, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.
comments closed

As I was surfing the ‘net earlier today, I realized that we all are missing out on a lot. There are a lot of small, unknown, unnoticed bloggers blogging about Ubuntu, and some of these posts are good, very good. The blog that I found with the post about Moms loving Ubuntu is another example. These are a pleasure to discover and read. Since these blogs are not on the planet, pretty much the only way to find them is through serendipity. Which brings us to the point of this post:

Dear Reader,

Do you blog about Ubuntu?
If you do, I personally would love to read what you write. Could you please write a post and pingback this post? In most blogging tools (at least in WordPress), just adding a link to this post will pingback the post.
If that is too much to ask, could you leave a comment? I thought pingbacks are easier that filling out that comment form. If you have an “Ubuntu” category I will subscribe to it in my feedreader.
With enough entries, I will create a page listing the blogs, which will be a useful resource to others and free publicity for your stunts!

Eagerly awaiting your replies!

Deb a Day: Qalculate December 20, 2006

Posted by Carthik in applications, Ubuntu Sites.

Deb-a-Day is a website that seeks to introduce its reader to one new debian package(.deb) a day. There was a deb-a-day website earlier at livejournal which has been dormant since November 2004. The current deb-a-day is a reincarnation of the old, at a new url.

You can read Lucas’ posts describing the resurrection – post 1, post 2.

The most recent package covered in Deb-a-day is Qalculate. Seems like a very interesting little app. I wonder why someone doesn’t build in all of its functionality in the deskbar applet. That ould be way too cool!

I look forward to deb-a-day posts, and thought that most of you might want to add it to your feedreaders/bookmarks too. Oh, and yes, you can contribute to deb-a-day, too.

Searching Ubuntu Mailing List Archives December 6, 2006

Posted by Carthik in guides, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Almost all of the tips I post here are either things I stumble upon myself or things that I read at the Ubuntu-users mailing list. Seeing as how useful this mailing list is, I thought there should be a fast, efficient way to search it. Mailman, the software that the list runs on does not provide a good search functionality. Don’t give up hope yet, though.

You can use Gmane’s search functionality at http://news.gmane.org/gmane.linux.ubuntu.user. Similar searchable archives can be found at gmane for the other Ubuntu lists.

But wait, it gets even better. Nabble provides interfaces to:

  1. Search ALL Ubuntu related mailing lists
  2. Specific Ubuntu mailing lists – eg. Ubuntu-users

To compare performance let us search for “searching mailing list archives” using both these websites. Here’s the Gmane result, and the Nabble result. To Nabble’s credit, it finds more results. You are free to look at the results and decide which one is better.

I rather prefer Nabble since it is neat and clean, and since threads are returned in results, sometimes reducing the total number of results. This is a case where less is more, since, most of the time, I can eliminate a few threads just by looking at the subject of the thread. Nabble also provides a short excerpt from each result showing me what matched. The ability to search across all the Ubuntu lists is a definite plus, too. I hope Nabble stays along for a long time. Much as I like Gmane, I think I am falling in love with Nabble’s search.