January 23, 2008 General 0

The server serving this article is really slow so i am going to link back to the post but post the entire contents here:

Yanking the Window Shade
Saturday, January 19. 2008, 06:43 AM

we are everywhereThey Are Blind

You know…in the past, I have been loathe to cite movies or television as an example for real-life application.

In this case, it not only cannot be helped…there is no better vehicle to convey the point.

A point that can no longer be disputed or ignored.

I walked into a Best Buy the other day. We are seeking some price discounts on thumb drives…our K4K kids will need them soon and we need to purchase them in bulk. Just price shopping, but as always, my Linux Hat is on and I usually do not pass an opportunity to spread the word. Even to folks who have obviously heard of Linux or maybe have even tried it on occasion.

Like a member of the Geek Squad (obligatory *tm inserted to please our attorney.)

It did not raise a flicker within the eye of awareness. Not a word I said.

This “Computer professional”…this “Knower-Of-All-Things-Computer”.

He did not have a clue. Not a clue.

I had no choice. I spent the next ten minutes educating him…telling him about the technology and the advantages of the GNU/Linux Operating System. His first response almost took my breath.

“That is not possible. Microsoft would not allow it.”

Microsoft would not allow it. Move your mouse again to the link that starts this article and listen closely:

The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your
window, or you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your
taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

But there is more to the dialog. Morpheus is asked by Neo: “What Truth”?

“That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage… born into a prison that you cannot
smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.”

A “Prison for your mind”.

This guy…a kid by my standards…maybe 20; maybe less…he had never heard of Linux. If that is not bad enough, my concern was with his initial statement.

“Microsoft would not allow it”.

“It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

In the movie, people sleeping in “The Matrix” were referred to as “copper tops”.

In this application, I refer to people unaware of Linux as “Window Shades”.

Some of you will think me a bit over-dramatic here…and I know who many of you are before you ever post a comment. My advice to you?

Go back to your game of Westnoth or your C compiler. Many of you are not worthy of the effort and your comments mocking this blog are fully anticipated. I am talking to the people that are as astounded by this as I am. Moreover, I am talking to the people who experienced that momentary churning of the stomach…the physical reaction often accompanying a jolt of fear.

There is much to be afraid of here.

I opened my briefcase and pulled out a disk and asked the guy if there was a computer available for a demonstration. We walked a few short steps to a Dell in the back of the store…in the stockroom. I booted the Ubuntu Ultimate 1.6 disk and stood back to watch his reaction. He watched the screen carefully as that first magical screen appeared. Before he had a chance to say anything I stepped to the mouse and keyboard.

“Now…” I said. Since we only have one monitor but we have multiple tasks to perform, how we about turn our one monitor into four.”

I manipulated the keys and buttons to activate “the cube”

“OK…since you have your tax return working on this screen, but you need to open a word document on another, why not jump over to another screen and get that done.

I spun the cube to the next side.

He looked at me as if to say, “what the hell did you just do?”

“But wait…you have your document up but damn…you need to pull some data up from the internet and you do not want to lose your place in your document.”

I twirled the cube one more time, but before he could say anything, I continued with the demonstration.

“You say you need more than 4 screens to do your work? Well then, is 16 enough for you?”

I deftly manipulated the gui to show 16 work spaces rather than the normal 4 we usually set up and I began spinning them to each side so he could see the speed and stability of doing so. I spun them faster and faster, dipping them occasionally so he could take note of the changing “sky caps”.

I now know what “slack-jawed wonder” is.

He looked at me and then back to the monitor.

“and this is legal?”

I nodded my head.

“And Microsoft knows about this?”

I nodded again

“Stay right there…don’t leave.”

In less than two minutes, he had returned with two other employees of Best buy. While he was gone, I had pulled up some applications like Amarok and Rezound. When they were all three standing there, I continued the demonstration, repeating the “cube” at the request of the Geek Squad member. While doing so, “Goodfellas” played on mplayer on one screen while Judas Priests “You got another think comin'” played on another via Amarok. The sounds were distict and clear from each.

By then, four more employees returning from lunch via the back door had entered the demonstration. I spent an inordinate amount of time explaining how this is possible and how Microsoft had little to no choice in allowing this to happen. I also pointed them toward a recent article by Roy Schestowitz, which indicates just how far Microsoft is willing to go to combat the spread of free and open source software.

It is a concept that the entire group was unfamiliar. FOSS.

The operative term here is “was”.

In all, 11 Best Buy employees gathered around the 20 minute demonstration. One was an Assistant Manager. All but one asked how to obtain a live cd and I was able to provide each one with a live cd. Some were Ultimate Ubuntu, others were Mint, some were Mepis. The 11th person held firm that this “Linux thing” could not possibly be legal.

There is a universal truth at play here . (link is screwy). “I can show you the door, but you are the one that has to walk through it.” Morpheus

It is obvious that the majority of Linux Users do not know the power they house in their computers.

Another thing has become just as obvious in pounding on this keyboard over the past three years. The majority of those users simply do not care if another person learns that they have that freedom just for the asking. A small number of those actually fight the spread of this freedom. The simple truth of the matter lies in four little words.





I have been asked many times why we started Komputers4Kids…what our motives are. It is not just to get computers to under-privileged kids…it is to make sure that the operating system on those computers is Linux.

It is to insure that perfectly good computers do not hit the bottom of a dumpster and foul our land and water.

It is to make sure that those who are without the wonder of reliable access to the internet have it.

I have started an enterprise to insure that Komputers4Kids will succeed. If you are curious about it, you can learn all there is to learn at www.fixedbylinux.com. We are HeliOS Solutions and our goal is to earn enough money to fund our efforts in K4K. Until we can get an adequate amount of advertising going, we are going to need some community support. It is my understanding that a combination article/interview is soon to be published about what we are doing with HeliOS Solutions.

Our goals are simple but pulling them off will need your assistance.

Sometime in the late spring or early summer, a huge project will take place, getting a small town or the majority of it to go “Microsoft free” for a period of time. Larry Cafiero, a long-time open source advocate and a newspaper editor for a paper on the Central California coast will be instrumental in making this happen. Knock em dead Larry. It may be a month or only for a week but regardless, we are going to attract large amounts of media attention in doing this. Media attention focusing on Linux. We will need your help.

Also, we are going to set up a “Roving Tux Lab.” We will be loading 10 computers into our van and setting up 3 day labs in Libraries and some other local businesses that have pledged a place for us to do so. We are also providing support for others in other areas to do the same, should they wish to.

Look…we hold the key to free computing in the palms of our hands. Just how many people are willing to insert that key and turn it is another story, and one that has not been told yet.

It is a story that needs to be told…to millions.

We can start the story simply…

With one welcoming statement .