FOSS Projects the FOSS Way

Chronicling the Future of Transparent Development

Yummy Presto Chango
Below is the actual message I received after I did a "yum update" today

 Size of all updates downloaded from Presto-enabled repositories: 4.4 M
 Size of updates that would have been downloaded if Presto wasn't enabled: 16 M
 This is a savings of 74 percent

Savings in my lousy, slightly-better-than-dialup-speed connection: Priceless

Thanks,  Presto!

Check it out at

Who is Max?
First of all, this is not a tribute to Max Spevack, great guy that he is.

This is a long-overdue introduction to my alpha male cat, Max.

Also, Max was not named after Max Spevack, honest.  I'm a big fan of Fedora, but not so obsessional that I would name my pet after the former Fedora Project leader. Sorry, Max (the former FP leader, not my cat).

Here's the real explanation: Max (the cat, not the human) had a sister named Minnie - yeah, Max and Minnie.  Unfortunately, Minnie died while boarding at the vets (go figure), so Max is an orphan and without family, which not too uncommon a situation for rescued cats.

Max is the handsome cat with his tongue sticking out  in the accompanying photo. He serves as my mascot and hackergotchi. His breed is shorthair domestic cat. Max's pedigree is very mixed. His coloring, as the photo shows, is ginger and white.

Max is around 4 years old, having been rescued around the time of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina happens to be the name of his mother, who also passed on, but not after dragging Max and Minnie into my apartment one night at the tender age of 7 days.

I'm happy to say that Max has not only survived, but thrives. He weighs approximately 8 kg. I refer to him as my "dog cat", since he has quite a few canine traits along with the usually feline ones. He's cohabitating with Mollie, a very affectionate stray I rescued a few years back on a cold winter's night.

So there you have it.

For the record, I also like dogs and other living creatures. It just so happens stray cats are much more common in my part of the world.

I'm back (I hope)!
After too long a break, I should be making landfall once more on Planet Fedora.

That is, if all goes according to plan.

If it works, credit the great tech support provided by the guys on the #fedora-websites channel.

If not, it's all my fault. :-)

Away for Much Too Long
I'm back! 

I've been away from my blog for much too long.

One of the reasons for being absent was losing my ability to aggregrate this blog with Planet Fedora at (I'm working to get it back.)

Another reason was that I've been very busy at work. Yes, I'm still busy, but I'm getting better organized.

So here I am. Watch this space.


Fedora 10 Launches
Congrats to the Fedora Project team members for another great release!

The semi-annual Fedora release is nothing short of miraculous.

Check out Fedora 10 by downloading it at

On a personal note, my new $DAYJOB prevents me from participating as much as I would like. However, I continue to follow the Fedora Project on a daily basis via mailing lists and an occasional IRC visit.

...and I hope to be more active in the near future.
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Another Way to Install Fedora 9 Along with MS Vista
It's very common these days to get a new PC or laptop with MS Vista installed. You want to use Fedora, but still need to occasionally use Vista. Dual booting is one popular approach to have use of both operating systems.

Since version 9, Fedora has the capability to resize NTFS partitions, the type commonly used by newer versions of Windows. (Yes, I know that this capability has existed for some time in other Linux distributions.)

This posting briefly describes an alternate approach to using Fedora's new built-in NTFS partition resizer. Instead, this method uses Vista's own partition resizing utility which ships with Microsoft Vista. This is described by Microsoft as "shrinking".

This approach consists of 2 steps:

1. In Windows Vista, shrink the Windows system partition.

2. Install Fedora utilizing the resulting free space.

Step 1. Shrink the Windows System Partition

In order to "shrink" the Windows NTFS partition, follow the instructions in this excellent pictorial guide:

"How to Shrink and Extend NTFS Volumes in Windows Vista" at

Warning: Always create a backup of any important files before resizing the Windows partition. Some vendors have a utility which allows you to create restore CDs or DVDs for one time only. You may also need to defragment the Windows partition before starting the shrinking process.

Step 2. Install Fedora 9

Next, install Fedora 9 using any method you prefer: live CD, DVD, over the network, etc. Get Fedora 9 at

In my experience, assuming your system has a DVD reader, installing via the Fedora 9 DVD is usually the fastest approach. Be sure to update Fedora afterward to get the latest security and bug fixes, as well as the latest version of the software.

Fedora 9 will automatically recognize the free space on the hard drive, create a Linux partition and install the GRUB booter. Note that Vista will appear on the boot menu as "Other", unless you changed the name while installing Fedora.

Finally, in the unlikely event that Vista fails to boot up after installing Fedora, the GRUB config file under Linux may need to be manually edited to point to the Windows system partition. This file is located at /boot/grub/grub.conf.

You will need to edit this config file as root. Be sure not to delete this file or change the settings for Fedora. be aware that the numbers in the hd parameter are zero-relative, meaning the first drive or partition is 0, second is 1, etc. Therefore, hd(0,0) refers to physical drive #1, partition #1.

Of course, if you don't need Vista, the simplest approach is to let the Fedora installer reformat the entire drive, thereby avoiding issues with missing drivers, incompatible applications, etc. But I digress.

Document Freedom Day
The 26th of March is Document Freedom Day.

Why pay a vendor for the privilege of storing your precious data in a file format which is closed and proprietary?  What guarantee do you have that you can access your own information if the vendor goes out of business or decides to change the format?

If you want documents that are stored in unencumbered file formats, be sure to support document freedom with true interoperability, based on open standards.

Consuming and Producing

What I like about being involved in the Fedora Project, after many years of being a consumer of free and open software, is the opportunity to give something back to the community, to be, in a small way, a producer.

My profession for a very long time has been as an ICT Consultant. I've been paid to produce and maintain applications for clients, manage complex projects, and educate people in the use of technology.

Information and communications technology, or ICT, has undergone incredible changes in over the past few decades.

Computers are no longer confined to glass rooms in large enterprises, and communications has never been the same since the Internet and, especially, the World Wide Web.

Access to computers 25 years ago was a rare privilege; today, it is almost commonplace. I remember working on applications by coding on paper, and changing a few lines of code via batch update. Now, I can download entire Linux distributions and open source applications, read the code and modify it as I wish, with few restrictions. Now I can actually own a computer, the hardware and the software.

Access to information was mainly through printed manuals and books, purchased at great price. Now, I can use an internet search engine, locate volumes of information of varying quality, and even create and modify information myself. I can do this from just about anywhere on a variety of devices, ranging from SMS texts to sophisticiated multimedia presentations.

What is even more amazing is that, while ICT is definitely a noble profession, with its own expert subject matter, terminology and disciplined approaches, ICT is also a passion, not just for professional practitioners like me, but for people like my son, who most likely will pursue another line of work.

My hope for the future is that ICT continues to be transformed into a source of positive change for society, rather than merely a sophisticated way of taxing people for processing data and communicating, accessible only to the affluent and privileged few.

One of the best ways to do this is to provide people with the tools for change for the good. The Fedora Project, along with other FOSS communities, does this well. With these freely available tools, people can be producers as well as consumers.

An Investigation of the Logo Wars

Recently, Red Hat sent a "cease-and-desist" letter to the DataPortability Group concerning the similarity of its logo to the Fedora Project's logo. This action was made known to several online technical news sites such as TechCrunch. See the article "Logo War: Red Hat Takes On DataPortability"

Here's my perspective on the controversy.

First of all, I am not a lawyer (IANAL). I am writing this as a person who is an unpaid volunteer with one group, Fedora Project, who is trying to understand the motivations of another group of individuals, DataPortability.

How do I go about doing this?

1. I read their charter.

2. I read the group's forums here and here .

3. I see their affiliation with Identity Commons (IDC).

4. I see that the Data Portability Group is in the process of organizing itself as an officially recognized working group within ID Commons.

My conclusion is that this is a well-intentioned group of men and women who just happened to pick a logo similar to the Fedora Project logo. No malice or intentional confusion was intended, and many in the group would be more than happy to adopt another logo. Some even volunteered to design a new one.

One individual decided to publicize the "cease-and-desist" letter from Red Hat. This resulted in the article on Tech Crunch. I understand that it is upsetting to get such a notice. I also understand that Red Hat must protect its logos and trademarks from infringement. All major companies must do the same thing.

I hope cooler heads prevail. I actually agree with the aims of the ID Commons and Data Portability Group.

I wish them all the best. I might even join.

One Year as a Blogger

As I was doing online housekeeping chores today, like revising my Linkedin account, I realized that it's been exactly one year since I began blogging.

The main reason I began writing a blog was to help publicize some of the great things going on in the world of free and open software, especially in the Fedora Project. I actually joined the Fedora Project 6 months earlier, but it took me a while to see the value of keeping a web log. Now I wonder why it took me so long.

I've made some great friends while volunteering with the Fedora Docs Project, and more recently, with the Fedora Ambassadors. My blog chronicles some of the interesting events of the last year. To list them here would be redundant, but I will mention just one.

One of the high points for me of the last 365 days was the time in September when I helped organize and take part in GITEX 2007 in Dubai. It was challenging and fun demonstrating Fedora 7 and the OLPC laptop to the crowds. Red Hat did a great job representing FOSS at one of the world's largest commercial exhibitions. It was a privilege to share the booth with them and I'm glad to have Red Hat as Fedora's corporate sponsor.

I could list many more, but if you want to find out more, you'll have to read my blog.


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