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Why I’m uninstalling Ubuntu

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I wouldn’t normally write about this kind of move, but I’m in a position where I feel I have to. A little over a year ago I made a decision to move from Fedora to Ubuntu, it wasn’t a decision that was easy after all I have been using Fedora since its first release, and Red Hat since around version 5. Needless to say I was (and still am at heart) a die hard Red Hat fan. There seemed at the time to be a draw to Ubuntu, I was feeling a buzz around the community there that I wasn’t really seeing with Fedora (although I don’t think I was looking), a lot was going on around the Unity project – whether good or bad, it was still going on. So I jumped right in, installing the latest release 11.10 I think it was, joined the forums/wiki/launchpad etc and started filing bugs and generally making a nuisance of myself.

All was good, I really felt like I was a part of something, even went as far as installing the latest test release (as I still am) and it really is a great distro. Unity took me a bit of convincing, but how most things just integrated was brilliant. I even gave a small donation when they asked.

So what went wrong? Well around a year later, I’m still running the latest testing release and still like the distro as a whole. Unity has broken (something in my profile) so I’ve reverted back to Gnome 3 which I’m quite happy with, but thats not the issue. The issue can probably only be described as politics and game playing. Now the Amazon thing didn’t really bother me too much, I kind of understand the reasoning behind that (besides, I uninstalled it) the donations thing was probably an unfortunate mistake. What isn’t a mistake however is taking people for a ride, both community members and the gen-pop.

So lets look at the madness behind Mir, a while ago it was announced that Wayland was to be integrated into a future release of Ubuntu, yet recently it was announced that they would be using their own product MIR. Did the Ubuntu community know about this? It seems not, but yet they have been working on it for over 8 months. Not community spirited if you ask me. I can kind of understand where they are going with Mir, so they can use it across all the devices they want to take over, but still… I just dislike the fact they have done wonderful things for Linux in bringing it to the masses, then deviate from the whole ethos of open source.

Another thing which disappoints me is the whole hoohar around the devices thing, showing what can only be described as a skin for Android really at large conferences just really proves who/where they are trying to be. If only they would stop with the big WOW factor announcements which don’t really have any substance and push for better software in the community, perhaps adopting a business model similar to Red Hat as it seems to have done OK for them.

On a more positive note, I’m quite glad to go back to Fedora, things are looking fantastic there and upstream which is where my heart truely lies!

Post Raspberry Jamboree Event

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Let me start by saying, Saturday was a fantastic day out – even if I was there as crew not an attendee. The day started as most of these type of events do, runnning slightly late, I was a little worried at first as I thought I was the one running late (even though I was bang on time), but then I remembered who I was waiting for :). Eventually bumping into familiar faces everything started to fall into place. Kitting out the place with microphones and laptops for presentations in the main room seemed to go without any major hitches and led us up to the opening time of around 10:30, the usual mayhem followed as it always does with a mass of people queuing to get into the event. It didn’t seem to matter though, as all the crew were on deck and ready to deal with the, what seemed to be smiley happy, crowd.

Already on the way to being setup CPC’s stand offered a few Pi based goodies to look at and purchase. The displays included a minecraft Pi, a Pi controlled robot arm and Lego, or the Simon based game.





With the room pretty much packed, Alan opened the event with his usual teacher style (hands up, no calling out, 3 2 1 silence etc… are you chewing) introducing the newly built community surrounding the Pi and its Jams. Handing over to Steve Furber, the designer of the Legendary BBC Micro,  for the keynote speech regarding the state of computing within education.





Following on from Steve’s great session was Andrew Robinson, talking about his endeavours with robotics and the Pi-Face addon for the Pi which he developed.


Supposedly next was Carrie Ann Philbin, however we ended up having our first (and only) technical glitch of the day with her slides being on Google Docs the internet connection typically disappeared. After a few moments of frantic fiddling the presentation was quickly switched with William H Bell (not that William Bell) from CERN labs and a key figure behind the brilliant Mag-Pi publication.


Carrie Ann finally got to the stage and delivered what to me was the highlight of the sessions.


Some fantastic ideas already in place for teaching using the Raspberry Pi, she seemed very passionate and switched on.

Next came the discussion panel which included Ben Nuttall of Mad-Lab, Lisa Mather a parent, Ben Smith a Teacher and Dawn Hewitson from Edgehill Uni. Oh and a last minute push onto the stage for Jack Wearden. All of whom, along with Alan, have had direct involvement with running Raspberry Jam sessions around the country. Again excellent ideas bouncing around the room, along with myself on mic duties.

The slices of Pi came next which were 15 minute slices of folks talking about their experiences with projects related to the Pi, whether they be personal projects like Arthur Amarra‘s voice controlled robotics, Duncan Smeed’s Undergraduate students producing gadgets, or Alex Bradbury from the Pi foundation talking about how to Manage the Pi’s in schools, mainly around preparation of images and the logistics of flashing them.



Next came a short, welcome, break for a bite to eat and a mooch around the Education Innovation conference in the main body of the GMEX,  managed to pick up a couple of the Pi recipe card packs from OCR. Hoping to use these packs in a future Raspberry Jam.  The details for these can be found here.

Unfortunately I had to leave fairly early and disappointingly I missed what seems to have been dubbed the best talk by Amy Mather (daughter of Lisa) the 13 year old mini geek.

All in all it was a fantastic day which I’m proud to have been part of even if it was only in a small way. Great to see the guys Les, Dan, Olly, Arran and Heeed. Oh and I got myself a second model B Pi from the CPC stand.

Raspberry Jamboree Event


This coming Saturday, 9th March, I’ll be helping out as crew member at what could be the most exciting Raspbery Pi event since its launch. CPC are sponsoring the jamboree, with talks from plenty of familiar, and some not so, faces at the exhibition centre in Manchester. Much looking forward to it. Full writeup will follow after the event, I am expecting an announcement or two though, not sure what though.

Sorry if this sparked your interest in the event but all tickets are sold out, you can join the waiting list though by visiting: http://raspberryjamboree.eventbrite.com/

Adventures with Microsoft Lync

LyncYes I know I’m an open source evangelist, and it’s against the grain for me to do, let alone write, anything with Microsoft products. Well that’s not strictly true, I always try as many technology products as possible – usually to just have a look but this time, Lync is a product I’m quite excited about. I’m not 100% setup yet, but getting there.

For those asking, “what the hell is Lync?” I guess the easiest way to describe it would be an enterprise version of Skype. It ties into your existing Microsoft infrastructure, so Exchange/Outlook, Sharepoint etc providing instant messaging, VoIP calling, voice or video confererencing, desktop sharing or as its otherwise known Unified communications.

Have a watch of this video which gives you a fluffy explanation of what it is/does:


I started with a base 2008 Server install and Lync 2010 but there seemed to be something drastically wrong with the 2010 installer, after a couple of server rebuilds I decided to try Server 2012 and Lync 2013. First of all, Server 2012?? WTF?

Back to business, its not the easiest install to go through and the process made me realise how much hardware would be needed for the bloat contained within. That being said, I’m still looking forward to seeing the results.

First step was to make sure all the prerequisites were in place, .NET 3.5, IIS and messaging features. With all these in place I could fire up the Lync installer, first step C++ runtime installer.

Now we’re at the installer, which installs the deployment wizard. OK so I’ll stop right here, yes its MS bloatware, yes there are a lot of unneeded steps that could surely be combined into one easy wizard, but I won’t go into these any more. Besides, the next steps, although there are multiples, are quite interesting.

Prepare the AD Schema – Obviously with this being an enterprise product you need to have an Active Directory structure in place, in order to install and run a Lync infrastructure first of all the AD schema needs to be updated so it contains the relevant attributes and classes needed  (more details here).

Prepare first Standard Edition Server – This prepares the server to host the Central Management Service needed by Lync, ah what you say? Essentially it installs and/or configures the SQL server and databases needed to build up the environment needed by Lync. It was at this point I realised how bloated big the Lync install is and how much bigger (I guess this would be termed scalable) it could be. For this install i’m setting up what could be termed a “Lab” but for larger environments it could be scalable to 1000’s of users/servers.

Lync Server Topology – another whatty what? Again I guess what adds up to the scalability of this setup is producing a topology, this section gets you to setup the domains and sites – I guess comparable to Active Directory itself – specifying the components of the setup such as voice, conferencing (audio/video/application sharing) call control, mediation services, where SQL servers reside (yes I thought we did that in the last section too), web services etc etc etc.

Once you have specified your configuration you can then publish it. This is as far as I’ve got at the moment, but I will continue this with more as soon as I have it…

I may be able to make a test call soon!