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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quell the flames, Shift the gears: Educate b4 propose.

Ubuntu for Students just hit a stalemate and needs a new direction.
Here's the past few days in a nutshell.  It almost gripped me like a ceaseless roller coaster ride.

The story?

The idea that was burgeoning for a few weeks now until it hit an all-time high in publicity within my school in a few days.  It all started with a suggestion to create a Facebook Group on Ubuntu for Students.  Within hours, the group proliferated to 200 members. For me, it felt exciting to see a large audience of students base up around this... until I felt the bitter taste of the opposition through a junior named Terrence Diaz, who has used Ubuntu before.  But the opposition I sensed in him was unprecedented, as if a tiny part of him was screaming, "Why the sudden change?"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A New Direction: software freedom.

Just yesterday, around 8 pm, I started the group ubuntu for students on FB.  With the help of Zhitong Qui, our group expanded to almost 200 members in a matter of hours. And I'm confronted by a scary opposition, led by Terrance Diaz who seems very attached to the status quo.  For me, I was rather shocked, that many people will not buy into the idea without solid proof.  But perhaps I have been hasty about posing Ubuntu as candidate to replace the school's OS.  There is one way to change that...

We have to discuss the philosophical aspect of Ubuntu.  Ubuntu is an OS that follows a fundamental idea, what we call software freedom.

So I, for one, will set down my scabbard, sword and shield, for Ubuntu, and direct both the skeptics and the wary towards a brigher light. This week's series will be about software freedom. Without understanding this, I am sure that we will ceaselessly try to argue against each other to no bounds, to no conclusions, and ultimately to no progress.
Please stay tuned.  Thanks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ubuntu for students must push forward!

Being a student is so stressful indeed, but I haven't lost a shimmer of faith.

It doesn't matter if I'm pressed with 2 projects to present for European History class, or make up that AP European History exam on Thursday.  SAT this Saturday does little to menace me from my seats, to which I cling firmly.  There's nothing left to win or lose.

Only 10 days of learning left.  It'll be the most stressful time for many students in schools across the states, but for me, I have a purpose to fulfill - and it doesn't bite .  Will 10 days of learning be enough to raise awareness of open source?  I hope to brace against the howling winds with my greatest energy.  We need to leave change behind before the dawn of summer break.

UPDATE, as of 05/31/12
No it must not push forward or I'll endanger the foundations of the school, so thinks the administration.  I still have hope... through educating the masses about open source.  

Please see this.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How I embraced Ubuntu.

Many people at my school are unfamiliar with the word Ubuntu, so I learned as I was spreading the word this week.  When they hear it, it evokes exoticness that has never reached humankind in years.  Neolithic ages in technologically ignorant grounds. I felt an unnerving pity for the ones clinging to the commercial, proprietary world of Windows 7 and iPhones.  Well, I digress...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arsenal of Ubuntu - Dev laptop...

I did own a MacBook Air, but I don't mind abandoning it for this gorgeous, classy Lenovo X220 solely running Ubuntu.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hamin & his view of the Project.

Just after school today, I had a chance to talk with Hamin Ko, a guy I met during PE a few months ago.  We were in friendly terms before, but I always thought he was cynical.  Believe me, he really was, about the ephemeral commitments of students out there, vying for the frills of life that mean so little to the grand scheme of things. Yes, despite his rants, I kept persistence by my side, hoping that I would come up with something big.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fluency before documentation.

Today, I want to relate something. Unlike those full-fledged developers out there, busy coding away and doing their business, I am stepping into the developer's world, still trembling, frightened of being daunted by a plethora of concepts that has been building for the past half-century.  Maybe I'm a little too afraid, but I'm not going to step down.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ubuntu for students - in progress

Hello supporters of Ubuntu for students.  Check out how things are going up-to-date with this project.
While David is trying to appeal to the administration, I'm trying to appeal to the students.

Haven't read about my project?  Please read...

Italics represent the most current writing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

CLI: 3. Navigating cmd line - cd

The command cd allows switching to, into, or out of a specified work directory.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why does Ubuntu exist? Thank Debian.

Linux's roots go way back before the birth of Ubuntu. In fact, Debian was among the very first Linux distros to b in the wild.  Just as the nineties represented rock 'n roll in its gnarling middle age, so the computer age and the dot com boom really stepped the forward pedal hard towards the Information Era.  Midst these times was Debian, the brainchild of Ian Murdock and Debra Lynn (get it? Debra Ian).

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Game-Changing Proposal: Ubuntu for students.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!! End to this project, but a birth of a new one.  I reassessed my limits.

There's this thing about students: they take technology for granted.  It's nothing too disheartening, except for the tech-savvy ones who seem that technology is more than a commodity.  The 21st century endowed us a new way to access information, and to do so, it shouldn't be just endlessly chatting with a friend through facebook or ceaselessly playing games on the iphone, hungry for more.  Insatiable appetite is a byproduct of the consumer world.  Why not change that?

Today, during lunch, I had the honor of meeting David Montes, a senior and the school's computer guru, to talk about something quite drastic.  Two days ago, I had a facebook chat with him about the idea of Ubuntu running on all the systems within the school, from student cart laptops to the school administration servers.  Although we saw some implications, we reached a stunning conclusion, that it actually should be done if we want to take learning about computers to a whole new and exciting level.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CLI: 2. Navigating cmd line - ls

Tip: To open the cmd line in Linux, press ctrl + alt + T 

ls is a wonderful command because it allows the user to see what's inside of a directory (aka folder) without having to peek it with the GUI.  Here's a good way to start.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CLI: 1.5 - Unix vs. Windows / Navigation cmds.

I suggest that readers of this series who are new but serious about developing for open-source have a Linux computer at their disposal, preferably Ubuntu 12.04, the latest release.  You should download it at  

The command line, as mentioned before, is a very versatile tool, making tasks that GUI alone can't accomplish. Despite the convenience of the GUI, as it's flavorful and gorgeous to stare at, to drag and drop, it has limitations that make the command line look like a giant.  For instance, can you try deleting pictures from your computer by the prime numbers with click alone when you had about a thousand of them?  Pretty hard.  I see the command line like a window to the computer's brain, a good one-on-one conversation. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A shocking discovery at JHMS: 2 lads for Ubuntu

Alex Gonzalez
Christian Calso
I didn't expect to find 2 people in my AP European History class to be Ubuntu lovers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CLI: 1. The anatomy of the CLI.

Here's a series that I'll start: it's called "Intro to Linux CLI."  Part of the purpose is to draw the readers into a close-up view on how Linux works.

Just as an explorer braces for the excitements of an undiscovered world, so I peak out and marvel at the potential of the command line, the CLI (Command Line Interface).

Here's a brief history.  As the dawn of Windows received great fanfare of the people (computers became commercial, an awesome development), some people found a major threat, that only the tech giants direct technology as we know it with a snap of their finger.  Thus the birth of Linux, an effort to keep the "freedom," making computers accessible and knowable from inside out, to the plenty, in 1991, when Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel.

Such an evolution to behold!  In the heart of it all is the command line, shared by all OSes alike (obviously, it stood the test of time.) Here's the anatomy. The command line that we refer to is actually the shell, the interface where the computer and human interacts with text. And the terminal emulator, with its GUI (graphical user interface), reveals the shell within the desktop as we see it in our monitors.  (think of command prompt for windows. That's a terminal emulator, coated by a GUI.)   You see, we're all familiar with this seemingly vague concept.


If you are a reader interested in Linux (Ubuntu more specifically), please visit...

Questions or comments about the series in general?  Please let me and the rest of our readers know on the comment section.  I encourage you to be part of the discussion.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bilal Akhtar: A guy ahead of his generation.

Bilal Akhtar. Behind that name lurks a very prosperous future.

One great highlight about the Ubuntu Developer Summit was meeting Bilal Akhtar, a 16 year old high school student from Canada.  For a simple looking guy who is slightly dependent on coffee, there is a lot of brain packed in that skull.  Boasting roughly 4 years of experience in coding in Python and C and in being part of the Ubuntu community, Bilal daunts me in many ways.  He shows me that a purpose-driven life sees no horizon, but an infinite cause to continue refining the self and become a model of excellence.

Plus, he was a social network guru.  Despite not blogging as actively as he used to, he knows how to get around google plus, facebook, and twitter (he boasts over 600 followers!).  And all this from his passion and interest to make free software better.  A high school kid like him already sealed his future as tomorrow's next leader.  To me, he is the ideal student: one whose grades are top-notch and developer skills as sharp as knives.

There is a lesson to be learned.  To pursue your dreams will make your life more interesting.  I hope to achieve it myself... For now, I better study my command line interface,

Update: Bilal is actually 15, but he's turning 16 later this year.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Dreaming in Code" - The birth of Open Source

The 20th century heralded the legendary birth of the computer industry.  I would like to dive into some of the details from the book Dreaming in Code, which I am currently reading with much joy, on the birth of open-source.

America saw the computer industry as lucrative, and Bill Gates surely founded Microsoft with such capitalist intent.  It helped popularize computers to the commercial level, and surely, there would've only been one direction had it not been for Linus Torvalds.  Born in Poland, Torvalds didn't believe he could make a difference in the world.  In that unsettled mind of his, he felt one shimmer of hope, a vision, that perhaps software should be free and a product of collaboration, removed from the clutches of evil capitalism.  His project started at the local level... by the nineties, it became a global phenomena to prospective and flowering developers alike.

His motivation was simply unprecedented.  To this day, the computer industry went two pronged ways, each with its own intention.  Innovation, according to Torvalds, didn't rest in the hands of a group within a corporation deciding the future of the software for themselves, but in the global community, in which any one can lend a hand with at least an ounce of willingness.

Now here is Ubuntu, a product of near a decade of community effort.  Looks as if the open-source movement hasn't lost its cadence just yet.

Friday, May 11, 2012

UDS -Q: A Mini-Reflection

UDS was something beyond my expectations.  I was there in person, mesmerized by so many out there who give their hearts to better Ubuntu from its infrastructure to the community.  People here were focused to the cause of Ubuntu, its open-sourceness, the spirit of teamwork and all its wonderful adjuncts.

Sessions after sessions, I came to understand that everyone was in this together.  It was very democratic: anyone can holler an idea, and in a blink, it's adopted or provides new insight to another potential direction.  Unlike those other tech giants, whose one board carries the weight of all the decisions, Ubuntu has a strong, people foundation.  Men and women of all experience levels, I'm sure, were welcome here.  For instance, despite being relatively new to the open-source scene, I still felt at home around the fellow Linux lovers.  

I also got to meet many interesting people: Canonical employees, high school coders, community leaders to name a few.  I felt very honored to be in their presence... 

Nonetheless, the UDS is ending very soon.  Now that the Q cycle is coming up, everyone is giving their all to make their festivities shine! They deserve it.  When I return home tomorrow, I'll see more purpose in being of use to the team.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A warm welcome.

Here is to a new start.  Cheers!  The path of the Linux developer is nigh.