Craig Box's journeys, stories and notes...

Posts Tagged ‘community’

Trinkets traded

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

A while ago I offered free Ubuntu stickers to anyone who sent me a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

One person sent me an outside envelope but no inside one. I had no choice but to add the stickers and post the original envelope back to him "Return to Sender". I hope you feel good, nameless postal scammer.

I asked for people to add little messages to brighten my day, and I must say, almost a month later, I still haven't been able to bring myself to throw these things away:

Gifts from Dominic

Thanks, Dominic. You're weird, but you rock!

Free Ubuntu stickers for NZers

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Powered by UbuntuThe fine folks at System76, who sell Ubuntu pre-installed on laptops, desktops and servers, have sent me a stash of "Powered by Ubuntu Linux" stickers, perfect for telling the world that even though your laptop, desktop or server might be Designed for Windows Vista, it's powered by the penguin.

To receive four stickers, send a self addressed, stamped envelope, to

Ubuntu Stickers
c/o Ian Beardslee
Catalyst IT
Level 2, Eagle Tech House
150 Willis St

(Persons reading this outside NZ are encouraged to check out System76's sticker distributors page)

Update: thank you for all the letters that came in requesting stickers...

Ubuntu sticker request letters (small pic)

Ubuntu New Zealand Local Community Team (re-)launched

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Ever since the birth of computers, enthusiasts and fans around the world have collected together in garages, universities and pubs to talk about their interest, learn from each other and help promote their interest. Combine this with the huge popularity of Ubuntu, and you get the Ubuntu Local Community (LoCo) project.

A LoCo team is formed to help groups of Ubuntu fans and enthusiasts in a particular region to help advocate, promote, translate, develop and otherwise improve Ubuntu.

With the support of Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager, and the awesome Australian Team, we're launching a New Zealand team for Ubuntu (

What's involved?

What would you like to be involved? Activities other teams have engaged in include, but are not limited to:

  • development & coaching new, interested contributors
  • regional customisation
  • translations
  • advocacy, both virtually and locally
  • CD & merchandise distribution
  • IRC support (or just hanging out)

There are no set goals for the team yet - it's entirely up to you, the new members, to decide as a group what we should do. There are many, many ways to ContributeToUbuntu!

Involvement in a LoCo is an easy way to get involved with the global Ubuntu community for non-developers and developers alike. There are people involved from many teams within Ubuntu who can help you gain useful skills for further involvement if you are keen!

How can I get involved?

Join our mailing list ( and our IRC channel (#ubuntu-nz on Freenode, or irc://

More details are available from the website:

Software Freedom Day - all over!

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Thanks to everyone who helped out with WLUG's Software Freedom Day event. There is a good writeup and some pictures online at the SFD website.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank Ian and Bruce, who did most of the work on the day, as well as Bruce's family for their support and penguin suit wearing. Also, Michael, Rod and Ron for their help on the day. It was unfortunate that the sterling efforts of a number of individuals was sullied by the actions of another member on the day, who is being officially reprimanded for his behaviour. (And it's also unfortunate we were buried on page D7 in the Waikato Times, while front page, above the fold, was an article about our local furries.)

t this point I should also announce I am not standing for re-election on the WLUG committee next year. I've been secretary since we founded officially four years ago, through three presidents, vice-presidents and treasurers, and over 10 general committee members. It's been a great way to contribute to the open source community and I really hope that someone new and fresh gets involved.

Fear not, I'll still be involved; my current goal is relaunching the Ubuntu NZ local community team.

Software Freedom Day 2006: Donated SFI goodies

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

After our Canonical goodies arrived, we received our parcel from SFI:

SFI goodies

We got two T-shirts free and bought another four (thanks to Pia for arranging them when the web site got frazzled), both to wear, and to support the cause.

We're making progress with everything and hope to see as many people at Centreplace in Hamilton on Saturday 16 September as we can.

Software Freedom Day 2006: Donated Ubuntu goodness

Monday, September 4th, 2006

It's all starting to come together now! A box of goodies just arrived from Canonical:

Box of goodies from Canonical
Including 250 Dapper Drake PC CDs, and 60 Ubuntu stickers.

Where did he go?

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I've gone quiet! What have I been doing?

The last three were done in the company of (and with thanks to) Cathy, who now has far less hair.

Software Freedom Day 2006

Saturday, June 24th, 2006


WLUG have had two installfests in the last two years; between them and the Saturday Workshops that run once a month, it seems we need to do a bit of advertising before we'll have any new people that need Linux installation help in the Waikato. (That, and Linux has become substantially easier to install recently!)

With the growth of international Software Freedom Day, it seemed about time that WLUG ran an SFD event in Hamilton to drum up interest both in F/OSS and the group itself.

So, if you're in Hamilton, or will be on September 16, mark the day in your calendar, and if you're interested in helping out, sign your name on the planning page.

This is a new area for us, so any advice from people who have done it before is welcomed.

Jealous before God

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

This post didn't have this first paragraph the first two times, but something I'm doing is crashing Firefox, and while the Sessionsaver extension is nice, it doesn't seem to save form entries. I like the fact that Web 2.0 is all about "instant updating", and there's no reason why I shouldn't have my content saved as I go, even in draft format, everywhere on the web. Score one down for WordPress.

(hits Save and Continue Editing) Back to your regularly scheduled rant.

I learnt something today. The word 'zealot' is often bandied about, normally in the context of "someone who has a different opinion to me, and isn't afraid to espouse it". Zealous is actually a Hebrew word, meaning "jealous on behalf of God". While the two words have a common heritage, jealous and zealous today mean two different things.

Enough Hebrew - the Computer zealotry article is the one we we really meant.

I read an interesting article in the Computerworld this week, suggesting that the Free Software Foundation's reworking of Digital Rights Management as Digital Restrictions Management, and their Defective By Design protests, were painting them as fundamentalists, and that Stallman should continue at what he's good at, namely software freedom.

(So, this time, hitting Save and Continue Editing crashed Firefox. Not impressed. I did upgrade GNOME, perhaps I should have rebooted, like it asked...)

Then I read a presentation that Cory Doctorow from FSF Europe presented to Microsoft in 2004 (if you haven't read it, you really should), pointing out that people don't like being made pirates, and they will always try and do what they think they should be able to do, so the way to succeed in the business is to make the player that can play everything, and have the law change to follow you.

I could agree with either side individually. Yes, the FSF are appearing to be zealots, by trying to tell people that iTunes will eat their children. But for those people who believe that the FSF is communism incarnate, doesn't it seem like they just trying to reintroduce a free market?

At issue is the software embedded in the songs bought from the iTunes music store that prevents them from being played on rival devices. Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have demanded that Apple strip the blocking software from its iTunes service. France is readying legislation that enforces such interoperability, and Finland may follow suit. Although no action has been taken in the United Kingdom, the record industry's trade body there has called for a removal of the software.

Meanwhile, protests have begun cropping up in the United States. A group called DefectivebyDesign rallied demonstrators at eight Apple stores across the country last Saturday, including the company's new 24-hour store in Manhattan. Wearing hazmat suits, they hoisted signs and handed out leaflets calling for Apple to stop using the blocking software.

The EFF have also weighed in with their cartoon interpretation of the future that could be.

In a world ruled by DRM, tinkerers will always be criminals. I've often thought that the hacker community should possibly stop trying to reclaim the word in a world that associates it with "computer criminal", but on the path that is bring projected, will there be a difference between the two? It seems the issues of copyright and Free Software are intertwined in a way that means that the FSF really do need to be involved.

I'm glad that issues like this and Net Neutrality will bring the issues to public attention. Linux Australia are bringing it to the attention of the Australian public It's happening now in Australia, as a Free Trade agreement with the US appears more likely. I'm not sure if it will come up in New Zealand - it might happen with music, it might happen with HDTV. But look out for NZOSS announcing memberships in the next month or two, and consider flicking us a buck to look out for you.

Community building

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Hello, Planet NZTech!

First, a bit about myself; I currently work as a systems analyst/engineer/architect for a Hamilton company, mostly doing Windows and Linux consulting work; I'm equally conversant in both, which might make for some varied opinions! I'm the secretary and general go-to-guy for the Waikato Linux Users Group, and I've just joined the New Zealand Open Source Society (see below).

I'd thought about keeping a log of the interesting things I find on the 'net for a while, mostly because I often expand on stuff that you can't find much information on and end up writing full guides, but there are a lot of little things that I'd like the web to know (and possibly comment on), but can't really find which wiki page to write about them on. The thing that actually convinced me was the idea that people wouldn't read my post on my own personal page, but as part of a community aggregator, in this case Planet WLUG or Planet NZTech.

I run a BitTorrent tracker. It tracks music bootlegs, mostly concert recordings and TV appearances (of an artist that has expressed that he is happy with non-commercial distribution of his gigs).

A number of people with an interest in the artist have found the site, and bought their collections to it, which is great. Why should you have to burn discs and post them around the world, with a recipient possibly waiting weeks for them to arrive? However, there are a couple of groups of people who use the site First, there are the small number of people who have used other trackers before, know how it all works, and have a passing interest in joining up and secondly, there are the neophyte but more hardcore fans who, when you offer a copy of a show on a mailing list, all ask how much they can PayPal you, and how many blank discs you want.

I've worked on the second set of people for a long time - I started an FTP site before P2P really existed, and some of them haven't even grasped the concept of that (no, you don't have your own username, you share the same one as everyone else...) Unfortunately, just as they started getting it all worked out, technology moved on, and now I'm having to teach people a whole new set of tricks.

These are all good people, very eager, but who just can't understand NAT and ports and speed limits staying-on-to-seed. The trick is building a community around them and having them help each other, and convincing the somewhat-incorrectly-named "old guard", who are only used to dealing with other people who understand the technology, to help and nurture the new people. It is somewhat easier with BitTorrent, where the more people you have the better your connections can be, and where all you have to do is to leave your window open. It takes time, but if you can encourage everyone to help everyone else, then there far less burden on any one person.

I mentioned above about the New Zealand Open Source Society. The society has been active in challenging patents and advising Government departments. I hope to be able to assist the society in building a community between the Linux and BSD user groups, programming language groups, and anyone else with a shared interest. Sometimes it's hard to sell the concepts of open source to people who don't really even know what software is, but each step is a step forward, and the more you can empower other groups to spread the word for you, the better.

In other news, I'm currently downloading Windows Vista beta 2 for a play, but check out these Vista keynote videos!