El Blog Del Narco Y Barfo

August 15, 2010

Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 17:50:51
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Berkeley Linux User Group
Subject: El Blog del Narco

MEXICO CITY – An anonymous, twentysomething blogger is giving Mexicans what they can’t get elsewhere: an inside view of their country’s raging drug war.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20100813/LT.Drug.War.Mexico.Narco.Blog/

The actual link to El Blog del Narco is:

http://www.blogdelnarco.com/

(NOT appropriate for minors, sorry Nate et al.)

I’d say that Wiki Leaks and El Blog Del Narco are two excellent examples of how the use of open source services (wikis and blogs) and an open Internet, empower individuals who are passionate for justice to be served. Such potent tools never existed before, and couldn’t come at a better time when our conventional news sources have failed their duty to keep citizens informed, including as whistle blowers against gov’t, military, religious and corporate skulduggery.

Even for individuals, such as myself, in a time when all local progressive activism has been usurped (for the most part) by egotistical, self-serving Libertarian types who really have no sense of justice or democracy, and only see such groups as stepping stones towards some sort of career, celebrityhood, or (gasp) sabotage.

If you have something to say, do not wait in some imaginary line in hopes of having your voice heard in a newspaper, local gathering, or radio call-in. Just go straight to the Internet, where you will discover many effective venues to contribute your proposals, philosophy, and maybe even some startling revelation that is the hallmark of courageous whistle blowers everywhere.


Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 19:08:07
From: Dan R
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Hi Zeke,

I’ve been subscribed to this list for some time and you seem to write a fair bit here so thanks for this and all of your contributions. I want to ask you to tone down your political comments however. Calling libertarians egotistical, self serving, and lacking a sense of justice and democracy is purely inflammatory and was wholly unnecessary to your message. ALL political philosophies have very intelligent and reasonable proponents, and I’d hope that if you’re going to attack any of them, you’d go beyond name calling and ad hominem attacks.

Cheers,

Dan


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 02:17:47
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Dan Roberts :

{{ALL political philosophies have very intelligent and reasonable proponents,}}

Like Tea Baggers, Nazis, Fascists and Aryan Brotherhood? Some political philosophies *need* to be condemned. I don’t look the other way when an egregious wrong is going on.

{{I’d hope that if you’re going to attack any of them, you’d go beyond name calling and ad hominem attacks.}}

Nah. Libertarians *do* suck, of any stripe. Especially since they’ve fully incorporated Ayn Rand’s horrid, vile ideological invention called “objectivism”.

So if someone joined this list who is a Scientologist, I must then remain silent on my disgust of that ideology too? Ooops, did I offend anyone out there who is a Scientologist? Good.

How about capitalism? Anyone offended when I say capitalism sucks?

Seriously, I don’t think we have any serious Libertarians in this group…don’t know why you are so thin skinned.

Some aspects of the Democrats sucks, too. Should I be afraid of speaking out against crooks who happend to be Dems…especially Dixiecrats and Centrists? They suck rotten eggs big time!

How about Republicans? They suck so bad, I don’t see why anyone even gives them the time of day any more.

Cheers!


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 03:00:03
From: Paul I
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Well played, Zeke.

As a registered Green, I take personal offense that you did not mention how much *we* suck. From the naive doves, to the fringe conspiracy theory types, we suck for not even liking our own ‘kind’ most of the time.

:)


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 03:07:47
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Paul I
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Paul I:

{{Well played, Zeke.}}

Hey, finally, another participant with a sense of humor! WOOT! Yeah, I don’t like the American Green Party in the least. But the European version…excellent. You are so *right* about the doves, too, and the weirdo fringe types.

Sucks that I left them out. My apologies.

Cheers!


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 03:31:59
From: Sameer V
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

This is still a Linux User Group, right?

Sameer


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 09:48:32
From: Jack D
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

{{This is still a Linux User Group, right?}}

Sometimes it is hard to tell… :/

The point that I believe Dan was (quite politely) trying to make is that this is in fact a Linux users group with many different people who appreciate Linux/open-source for many different reasons, and the point of the list is to discuss the things that we all have in common – namely an interest in OSS. It is not a soap-box by which to try to gain converts to any political way of thinking or to spread propaganda (whether accurate or not) for any political cause.

The truth is, Linux and OSS are so awesome that all sorts of people with all sorts of political opinions use it and appreciate its different values. Many such people are represented on this list. Because of that, I think discussions that focus on Linux/OSS and not on the things that divide us are much more productive, and in fact are the point of group – to unite people with common interests (surprisingly, the point was not to create a political debate group).

So, in conclusion, let’s try to keep things on-topic and productive. Now, everyone go have a drink of choice and relax. It is Saturday! I’m going to be doing some weekend coding. :)

Cheers!

Jack


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 10:21:04
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Sameer V:

{{This is still a Linux User Group, right?}}

The original post by yours truly clearly makes that so. Any other questions?


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 12:47:52
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Jack D:

{{Many such people are represented on this list. Because of that, I think discussions that focus on Linux/OSS and not on the things that divide us are much more productive, and in fact are the point of group – to unite people with common interests (surprisingly, the point was not to create a political debate group).}}

Consider me your token Linux activist. I keep alive a welcoming space for those who are passionate about Linux as a tool for social change…for the better, of course. If we consider ourselves a diverse group, that must be allowed.

{{So, in conclusion, let’s try to keep things on-topic and productive. Now, everyone go have a drink of choice and relax.}}

Or a joint. :)


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 11:45:21
From: Larry C
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

+1 Jack and Sameer.


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 13:15:38
From: Bill S
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

My thoughts as well, Sameer, Jack, Larry.

This last thread had only the barest relation to Open Source, and not at all about Linux. I don’t believe that the word Linux appeared in your email at all. So I think Sameer’s question was quite to the point. I don’t think BLUG needs a ‘token’ Linux activist… it already has *actual* Linux activists.

The mailing list isn’t a blog. You already have one of those, post these things to it and link to it, if you really must. I like to reading interesting articles about FOSS and Linux. However, I’m kind of tired of the political/economic rants (even the ones I agree with). And I’m definitely sick of the political digs and name calling (even the ones I agree with). Calling it humor doesn’t wash. It’s not really relevant and its certainly not polite discourse.

Just my 2 cents.

Bill


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 19:27:07 -0700 [08/14/10 19:27:07 PDT]
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Bill S:

{{My thoughts as well, Sameer, Jack, Larry.}}

Umm, Jack was opposed to Sameer and Larry’s kneejerk reaction.

{{This last thread had only the barest relation to Open Source, and not at all about Linux.}}

The original post, mine, was indeed an open source topic…how it impacts political and social mores. Much of the *comments* however, were inappropriately oppositional, yours included.

{{I don’t believe that the word Linux appeared in your email at all.}}

Oh the horror.

{{So I think Sameer’s question was quite to the point.}}

Albeit pont *less*…more like a troll than a respectful participant.

{{I don’t think BLUG needs a ‘token’ Linux activist… it already has *actual* Linux activists.}}

I *am* a real Linux activist.

{{And I’m definitely sick of the political digs and name calling (even the ones I agree with). Calling it humor doesn’t wash. It’s not really relevant and its certainly not polite discourse.}}

How hyperbolic of you.

I had no idea how many EMO types subscribe to this list!


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 20:12:21
From: Jack D
To: BerkeleyLUG
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Zeke,

I am “opposed” to all rhetoric on this list whose only main effect is polarizing the group over issues that are not directly related to Linux/OSS – this includes many posts in the past (even some from myself). While the subject of your original post is probably within reason for a LUG list, I think some of the rhetoric (the stuff Dan pointed out) in the post was exactly the type that serves no purpose other than to incite a reaction over an issue that is outside of the
realm of OSS.

And, quite frankly, yes I would request that you (and everyone else) keep your opinions on Libertarians, scientoligists and whatever other irrelevant group off of the list. I respect your right to have strong opinions on this issues (and I might agree with you on many of them), but this list is not a soap box for expressing these opinions. Doing so, does nothing but make the list less welcoming for all involved. This list is intended for discussing Linux/OSS related topics and the
activities of the BerkeleyLUG.

So, to put it bluntly: please try to keep discussions on the list related to linux/OSS. Do not include rhetoric whose main effect is to incite a reaction over issues outside of Linux/OSS. I.e. keep personal opinions on polarizing social/political issues off the list. I really don’t want to censor the list; that would really be a bad precedent, and I quite frankly don’t have the time. So please, keep the discussion on the topic Linux/OSS and express your opinions on
polarizing topics in a different venue.

Now seriously, we all have better things to be doing on a saturday night! For the love of tux, let this thread die!

Cheers,

Jack


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 22:36:57
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

Quoting Jack D:

{{So, to put it bluntly: please try to keep discussions on the list related to linux/OSS.}}

My intent, obviously, was to open a dialogue about the favorable impact of OSS applications–such as wikis, blogs and social media–on the effectiveness of activism. OLPC (One Laptop per Child) is prime example, and has been discussed numerous times on this list, and in our group). I would enjoy other’s opinions on what they think of such political movements based on OSS tools.

But in the least, such topics posted from time to time, show potential members who would enjoy discussing the political aspects of OSS, that they are just as welcome here, as the dedicated coders, who don’t want to spend so much as a nanosecond on such issues. (I must say, however, what is now being shown, is thoughtless *hostility*, intended to discourage activist-type participants. This is no accident.)

I think this is something to celebrate: how effective and ubiquitous open source has become, in supporting progressive revolution. Business, corporations, and industry are not the only aspects impacted…OSS has gone a long way in forwarding humanitarian concerns that have nothing to do with the almighty dollar.

If people only want to discuss coding, fine. Just stay off any thread that enthusiastically shares opinions and links about the political, social, educational, philosophical, scientific (and even perhaps) religious impact of open source. But to make rude comments and attempts to sabotage any such discussion, is pretty darned underhanded.

I think the activists at Wiki Leaks et al are excellent folks, who’ve made fantastic use of open source, to further important causes, risking their own lives in the process. This is an incredible result of open source, far beyond (and worthier than) the praise so often heaped upon corporate use of OSS. OLPC is great too, but no one has to take such great risks in that effort.

I can’t imagine what sort of progressive political and social change could be achieved these days, without the existence of open source. There’d certainly be no Wiki Leaks, OLPC, or El Blog del Narco!

There are many Libertarian ideas espoused by some Linux users, which because of their destructive agenda, should not be ignored. Such as the use of slave labor worldwide (to produce all these computerized products we so love), to benefit an elite handful. And no health care, job protection, etc. for more and more workers in the advanced nations. No safety net, either. That’s all Libertarian dogma.

I think that whenever people praise such ideology, they should be challenged. To censor someone because he puts a label to it (“libertarian”) is to obfuscate a serious matter, and suppress dissent. Every progressive group (including the techy ones) has been considerably infiltrated by elitist ideas such as Libertarianism. And of course, its advocates will do whatever’s necessary to silence the opposition.

As I wrote in my blog entry, “Open Source Can Do No Harm,” I pointed this out quite clearly, with linked references, that others might be better informed.

I know my occasional posts regarding OSS’s political impact is really not that big a deal. But small minded people with a hidden agenda will whine and spew nasty accusations in an attempt to censor those contributing worthwhile ideas to better the lot of the poorly advantaged. And I am most enthusiastic that Linux and Open Source now play a major role in this (though chagrined that it is also being utilized, more and more, for harmful purposes under a Libertarian banner). Obviously, some others in this group do not share my enthusiasm.

For a really classic example of vile (and ultimately *pointless*) attacks perpetrated by Libertarian style geeks, read the thread entitled “Seek the Wisdom Of Our Elder Geeks” on this page:

http://www.weak.org/pipermail/buug/2010-March/subject.html

I was the OP (and ironically, the *founder* of that group and list); and the attacker is a Unix expert of great reknown…though *is* somewhat notorious, also, for his nasty behavior on mailing lists. Don’t know why he’s like this (why he chooses to soil his good reputation in a public venue) but you, Jack, have also commented to me about his unsavory manner. (As have a few others, over the past decade or so.)

For me not to speak out from time to time, regarding very real culture wars going on in the OSS community–as it does in all other groups–would be to remain silent in the face of a flood of Libertarian/right-wing dogma that now plays a majorly *negative* impact on the once largely progressive and anti-capitalist Linux geek community.

And in so remaining silent, I’d contribute to the empowerment of one of the most destructive forces now ravaging this planet: Libertarianism. I’d rather be *booted* off a mailing list, than comply with unnecessary self-censorship. (I’ve said the word “Libertarian” nine times, in this one message alone, thus far!)


Zeke Krahlin
https://zekeblog.wordpress.com

Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian
Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian
Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian Liberatarian


Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 23:06:19
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: berkeleylug@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: El Blog del Narco

ADDENDUM

I should also take this moment to point out a particular star in the Linux community, who is generously distributing laptops to the poor children in Afghanistan, via the OLPC project. In fact, here is a video where she is featured, and sitting beside her is (lo and behold) our longterm Berkeley-LUG member, Grant Bowman:

Click on image to play video

The star is Carol Ruth Silver; and I wonder: Grant, do you know who this remarkable woman is, her incredible history and accomplishments?

Wonderful Ms. Silver is, politically speaking, out of the old-school left wing. She served on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors during the time Dan White shot Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk. More than that: she was first on Mr. White’s list of victims, but by good fortune Carol had already stepped out of her office at that crucial time.

–I now quote Wikipedia [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Ruth_Silver ]:

Carol Ruth Silver (born 1938)[1] is an American lawyer and former politician. She was a Freedom Rider arrested and incarcerated for 40 days in Jackson, Mississippi…

Silver’s 1977 election was part of a shift toward diversity on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; she was described as “the board’s first unwed mother.”…

Silver then retired from politics and continued her philanthropic work, which had included founding San Francisco’s Chinese-American International School in 1982…

In the summer of 2002 she traveled to Afghanistan to explore ways that American citizens could extend a hand of friendship to the Afghan people…

In 2007 she was appointed Director of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office of Prisoner Legal Services.

–end quotes

Regarding her recent position w/the Sheriff’s Office, from which she voluntarily retired two years after beginning that post.

–Here’s why:

In recent years Carol was the directing attorney for Prisoner Legal Services of the Office of Sheriff. But she resigned her position effective today. Carol has said: “I was participating in a system that made me feel criminal.” She told of one experience where a woman, who was in jail, needed Carol´s help to place her children in foster care. The woman was is in prison for pot charges. That upset Carol: “She should not be prosecuted, she should not be in jail, and here I was helping to place her children.” Silver announced that she was joining Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and would campaign to end the war on drugs.

–end quote

That quote is from the blog “Classically Liberal”, see:

http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2009/02/good-for-carol-ruth.html

So I just thought you should know this, Grant, if you don’t already. Ms. Silver is not just a wealthy old lady with a kind heart, who has decided to join the OLPC project. She is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, whom I doubt very strongly, would *not* speak out against Libertarian intrusion in any group in which she held some interest.

It is important to make those aware that many progressive people have created this wonderful OSS community, but who are now being forgotten, supressed, silenced, trivialized and scorned by newer members who overrun these organizations with their foolish and mean-spirited ideology.


Seek The Wisdom Of Our Elder Geeks

March 18, 2010

Cartoon image of middle aged geeky superman.

I think what needs to be acknowledged, is Open Source’s emergence from an earlier movement that was largely composed of renegade, left-wing, anti-establishment types. Since then, obviously this movement has expanded to include the mainstream corporate community. And from what I’ve just studied regarding this history, Open Source Software (OSS) established itself as separate from Free Software (FS), to assert a growing membership of business entrepreneurs and corporate interest. And this has come with considerable antagonism and upset from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and related groups.

So of course, you are going to have the occasional clash between the two camps. However, newer members of OSS should not be surprised at all, when some participants reflect more of the original ideals of the FSF, including distaste towards the status quo, which of course includes the corporate world…as well as Republicans, Libertarians, and other right-leaning types. So whether one likes it or not, this *is* the history of Linux/FS, from which OSS sprung (or broke off, depending on whom you ask). This needs to be underlined (using Open Source loosely, to include *both* OSS and FS):

Open Source is *not* Google, as some would have us believe. Open Source is *bigger* than Google. In fact, it’s even *bigger* than all corporate entities of our struggling planet put together! In short: Open Source is *bigger* than capitalism!

In order to grow into a diverse group, you need to acknowledge that aspect of our origins. Ergo, do *not* expect every single member to be excited about the corporate aspect of OSS, and application of Linux to facilitate capitalist goals. Just so you know: in spite of this ideological rift, FS and OSS advocates do come together on various projects, when the purpose matches the ideals of the more liberal camp.

Be that as it may, Berkeley-LUG remains a very small group, for which such a low number could not possibly reflect much diversity. But as it grows under Jack’s leadership, please be aware that you will acquire more participants of a left-wing stripe, besides myself. That is: unless you allow pro-business peer pressure to drive them away.

Cartoon of angry OSS beans ganging up on one FS bean.

When I first joined, it was under the umbrella of Linux advocacy/Free Software. Some time later, Jack stated his wish to use the term “Open Source” in order to form a broader base of interest. Fine with me, however I was not yet aware of the serious ideological *rift* between the FSF and OSS communities. Only when I decided to learn more about how the term “Open Source” came to be, did I understand.

It is my impression that many of the newer advocates to OSS, are not aware of this ideological clash, and therefore blithely assume (as I had) that “Open Source Software” was simply a term to broaden our community of Linux and Free Software advocates. I have only recently learned: that is most definitely *not* the case. It will be a challenge to incorporate members of such opposed camps, but knowing your good character, I believe you are more than up to it. The payoff will be incredible, both personally and communally.

Now, while I am made to feel *alone* in my perspective, I realize that is far from the reality. *Many* anti-corporate Linux advocates live and thrive in Berkeley and surrounding regions. In fact, I am talking about our *pioneers* of FS, GNU, and open advocacy…all free and accessible to even the financially strapped: such is the *intent* of these forefathers. Allow me to employ the title “Elder Geeks” to these most generous and intelligent souls…both male and female, queer and hetero, and politically/socially progressive. BUT most definitely *not* Republican or right-wing, or even conservative (except perhaps if you include certain moderates in that circle).

These Elder Geeks tend to be largely anti-corporate, and frown on this latest phenomenon of the business world, where FS/OSS is utilized to build their monied empires. At least, this has been my observance over the years, of what Elder Geeks promote and practice. Granted, they may not project such a political *bias* as I do…just the same, they harbor distaste for the corporatization of things Linux. Which distaste may be enunciated w/o any sort of politics in mind.

These Elder Geeks are pioneers of programming, hacking, and free and generous sharing of their sofware and knowledge…to *anyone* who makes even half an effort to listen carefully, RTFM, and apply this knowledge to the real world (of cyberspace) effectively. So before you run off with fantasies of fat wallets dancing around your gifted cranium…give a thought to our Elder Geeks, and consider that perhaps (just perhaps) they have a *valid* reason for their distaste, outside of my own sharply political reasons for criticising Google, Red Hat, Sun, Oracle, et al.

It does not become such obviously talented minds to maintain willful ignorance of our history and OSS origins, and thus isolate and trivialize those not hell-bent on turning Linux into a financial Gold Rush.

Photo of tiny Linux penguin in a gold digger's pan.

Does it really benefit your education, to ignore the wisdom of our Elder Geeks, by never learning from them, exactly *why* they refuse to ride the corporate bandwagon? Do you really think that all their brilliant contributions that literally *created* and *shaped* this marvelous world of Free & Open Software you now enjoy, did not spring from a beloved philosophy *outside* the corporate empire?

I invite you to one of our Elder Geek gatherings, to kindly ask them their opinions about using FS/OSS in the corporate environment. Ask them their viewpoints on lucrative companies that utilize FS/OSS (including free operating systems), such as Google and Red Hat. Are there any for-profit agencies using FS or OSS, that they favor? Where should we draw the line between earning a living, and using Free/Open programs to earn that living?

Assuming you approach them with genuine interest and respectful regard (and knowing your character somewhat, I see no reason why you wouldn’t), they most likely will *not* chase you out of the room. :P

I’m certain they will be most pleased that younger OSS advocates even care to ask. So come to our next BUUG meeting, or the one after that, and learn valuable perspectives of our Linux Pioneers, what sorts of philosophies inspire them, and what their opposing views may be, regarding this latest evolution of OSS into the world of Wall Street.

Most sincerely,

Digital signature.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin
Old-school advocate of Free Software

Photo of huddling baby penguins.


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