Monday, August 25, 2014

Couchsurfing, crash on a stranger's couch.
"We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect." -

How would you feel if I, a complete stranger asked to sleep on your couch for a day or two?

Well apparently 7 million people feel it would be just fine and dandy. (Another number on the site suggests 9 million)

I have to admit there is a part of me that loves this idea. I don't suggest it simply because this world is filled with people who could take advantage of you in this situation, or could be taken advantage of...

However the romantic in me, and the explorer love this idea.

I give them credit for seeing the world in a better light than I. Or perhaps, in a less sarcastic one. has a safety team available in case there is an issue, and also some safety tips here:

I don't want to impress my feelings on you though, so make up your own mind on the subject.

Here is some more interesting information from

Travel the World

With Couchsurfing, you can stay with locals in every country on earth. Travel like a local, stay in someone’s home and experience the world in a way money can’t buy.

Rediscover Your City

There’s a community of Couchsurfers near you. Many cities have weekly language exchanges, dance classes, hikes and dinners. Make new friends.

Become a Host

Give back and open your home to travelers. Learn about a new culture first-hand or practice a language. Make the world a little smaller; a little friendlier.

Read About Our Values

Couchsurfing is a global community of 9 million people in more than 120,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.

Our Story

Couchsurfing began in 2004 as a small passion project by founders Casey Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, Sebastian Le Tuan and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira. An email to a group of students in Iceland gave birth to the idea that people anywhere would want to share their homes with strangers (or, as we like to call them, friends you haven’t met yet ).
How Couchsurfing Works

You have friends all over the world, you just haven’t met them yet.

Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers. Use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers.

Couchsurfers organize regular events in 120,000 cities around the world. There’s always something to do and new friends to meet.

Read about how it works or watch an introductory video series.
Create a profile

First step? Completely fill out your Couchsurfing profile! This will be your home base and is a reflection of you: your lifestyle, your mission and what’s important to you. Having a complete profile is the best way to connect with people – whether it’s going to your city’s weekly event or hosting a guest. Here you can tell people if you’re traveling or would like to host. Be sure to include photos.

Don’t have a profile yet? Sign Up Now
Explore your city

Next up, explore your city! Getting in touch with experienced Couchsurfers in your area is the best way to get a feel for how Couchsurfing works. Most cities have a weekly event that is usually held at a bar or coffee shop. Just head to your city’s Place Page and look at the Events happening near you. Click “Join,” show up and you’re on your way!
Surf the world

If you’re ready to embark on an adventure, search for the city (or cities!) you plan to visit and browse locals with couches available. Look through profiles and references to find people you might want to stay with. When you find a few interesting potential hosts, carefully review their profile and send a Couchrequest for the dates you’ll be there. We usually recommend sending about five Couchrequests. Make sure to personalize your messages and tell your host why you want to meet!
List your couch

Once you’ve explored the site and have been to an event or two, consider making your couch, spare room or air mattress available to travelers. Set your couch status under Couch Information. You can set it to “Not Right Now (but I can hang out)” if you want to be available as a city resource for travelers but are unable to host. You can set it to “No” if you’re not available or don’t have any extra space, or “Maybe/Yes” to show up in search results for travelers who are planning a trip to your area.

*Note: Yes I usually like to write about Linux and open source... just consider this open source couching. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Linux Certification Program Announced

Yesterday at LINUXCON in Chicago Ill, The Linux Foundation announced a new Linux Foundation Certification Program for both early-career and engineer-level systems administrators.

They will offer increased Linux training offerings and a free "Introduction to Linux" Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC.

The two new certifications are "Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator", or LFCS, and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer, or LFCE.

These certifications will be available through a performance based exam that is available online.

Here is a list of the key features of the certifications, thanks to

"Key features of the Linux Foundation Certifications include:

    Virtual, available anytime, anywhere in the world: The Linux Foundation has designed a secure, performance-based exam that can be taken with a web browser, microphone, Internet connection and web cam from anywhere in the world, including the student’s own desktop at their convenience. After years of design and development, this cutting-edge exam now opens testing opportunities to people who previously were not able to access testing centers with exams available as early as the next day after registration.

    Performance-based exams: Exam takers will be tested on their ability to solve real problems in the command line rather than be tested on theory or be given multiple choice questions. These new certifications reflect what has become the consensus in the technology industry: what matters most is whether or not the candidate can demonstrate the required skills in a real-world environment while the clock is ticking. The Linux Foundation Certification Exams are designed to confirm this critical requirement. 

    Distribution-flexible: The Linux ecosystem is defined by choice, so exam takers will be able to choose to take their tests with one of three Linux distributions: CentOS, openSUSE or Ubuntu. This will also allow employers to hire professionals who have proven competence in the distributions and technologies most important to their businesses. The Linux Foundation tests will provide an option for distributions not well covered in the certification market today and also augment existing certification programs focused on one distribution by demonstrating distribution flexibility and knowledge for those companies with heterogeneous Linux environments.

These unique features are designed to ensure that anyone in the world with the latest, most relevant Linux skills can access the program and become certified regardless of distribution. By demonstrating their ongoing commitment to keeping up with the dynamic Linux environment through ongoing professional education, Linux Foundation Certificate holders will be distinguished in the marketplace."

 And here is their mission statement:

“Our mission is to address the demand for Linux that the industry is currently experiencing. We are making our training program and Linux certification more accessible to users worldwide, since talent isn’t confined to one geography or one distribution,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “Our new Certification Program will enable employers to easily identify Linux talent when hiring and uncover the best of the best. We think Linux professionals worldwide will want to proudly showcase their skills through these certifications and that these certificates will become a hallmark of quality throughout our industry.”

I also wanted to add these comments from many big names in the Linux world:


“The Linux Foundation’s certification program will open new doors for Linux professionals who need a way to demonstrate their know-how and put them ahead of the rest,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder, Ubuntu. “The timing is perfect for this, as demand for Linux talent is on the rise and we need ways to expand the pool of qualified candidates to support Linux.”


“Linux certification that is based on performance and is easily accessible will be key to increasing the number of qualified Linux professionals,” said Mark Cathcart, Senior Distinguished Engineer, Dell. “The Linux Foundation’s approach to this market need is smart and thoughtful and they have the proven ability to deliver.”


“Certifications inspire employer confidence that professionals who are willing to invest the time and effort are passionate about their craft,” said Shravan Goli, President, Dice. “With the focus on performance and accessibility, the new program will advance the art of Linux learning and help build a talented pool of Linux professionals.”


“There is a need for a truly global Linux certification program that can enable Linux professionals anywhere to demonstrate their know-how,” said Eileen Evans, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Cloud Computing and Open Source, HP. “The Linux Foundation Certification Program promises to deliver on this need, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of an increase in qualified Linux professionals in the market.”


“The new Linux Foundation Certification Program is truly innovative. With attention to performance and accessibility, this program should have a huge impact on the number of skilled professionals supporting Linux,” said Dr. Peixin Hou, Chief Architect on Open Software and System, Huawei.

“The Linux Foundation Certification Program will help prepare Linux system administrators to have the technical depth of expertise required today in the enterprise.  This approach to training and certification will give professionals the skills needed by employers like us and our many clients who rely on Linux,” said Jim Wasko, Director, IBM Linux Technology Center.

Insight Global

“Linux professionals with a strong certification are often more likely to be considered for open positions than their non-certified counterparts,” said Brantley Smith, Account Manager, Insight Global. “The Linux Foundation’s convenient, distribution-neutral certification program will bring more Linux talent into the marketplace and make it easier for employers to assess the skill level of those in the market.”

“In fact, I have used The Linux Foundation to validate the skills of our internal IT team, ensuring that we have the capabilities we need to drive our business-critical applications,” said Christopher Vogel, COO/CIO, Insight Global.


“The Linux Foundation is helping expand the talent pool of Linux professionals in a variety of ways. The Linux Foundation Certification Program adds to existing programs to ensure we as a community can meet this rising demand,” said Andy Wafaa, openSUSE Board Member.


“As Linux continues to be a driving force for supporting applications across the data center and into the cloud, the need for Linux professionals continues to grow,” said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Oracle. “The Linux Foundation Certification Program can provide an easy entry point for IT professionals who need to learn how to manage Linux systems.”


"Linux is among the key building blocks of the cloud," said Tim Miller, vice president of engineering at RightScale. "We think it is great that the Linux Foundation is helping ensure that people working with Linux in the cloud have the background and skill sets to continue to drive cloud adoption."


“The Linux Foundation’s Certification will be accessible to a global community of Linux professionals and can become the common standard for "Linux expertise" like The Linux Foundation’s LSB does for the common Linux interfaces,” said Vladimir Rubanov, President and CTO, ROSA.


“Linux professionals are in high demand across multiple areas of technology,” said Ibrahim Haddad, Head of Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung Research America, Samsung. “The Linux Foundation’s smart, in-depth approach to the providing Linux certification will help meet this demand with qualified programmers and engineers.”


"The need for trained and experienced Linux engineers and administrators affects every Linux enterprise user and distributor," said Alan Clark, Director, SUSE. "The introduction of additional quality training and certification will only enhance the growth, development and adoption of Linux and the ability of enterprises to take advantage of its many and varied features and strengths."


“Linux provides a stable foundation for Yahoo's systems, helping us run one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world. Skilled Linux professionals are key to our success,” said Sven Dummer, Director OS & UNIX System Infrastructure, Yahoo. “The Linux Foundation Certification Program focuses on the latest technologies. The annual requirements to maintain certification will help bring more qualified talent into the marketplace, and support Linux professionals in keeping their expertise up to date.”

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Debian might dump XFCE for Gnome
While I agree with some of the reasons the Debian community is up in arms about the possible slyly forced change to XFCE, I do not agree with the assessment in the article I quote below that XFCE is "rough around the edges".

XFCE is a nimble, simple and yet a beautiful desktop environment.

XFCE can do anything and everything Unity, Gnome and KDE can do, and with speed and grace.

If you check out the Xubuntu distribution I think you will agree with me. Xubuntu is a XFCE based distro that looks amazing and simultaneously runs reliably and very fast.

Proof is in the pudding, so to speak. So here are some screenshots from my favorite XFCE based distro, Xubuntu:

Here is the article I refer to above, thanks to the people at Softpedia.

"Debian developers have been discussing about the replacement of the default GNOME desktop with Xfce for a few months now, but not everyone agrees with this decision. A Debian maintainer has tried to explain why this move to another desktop environment should not happen.

The decision to adopt Xfce instead of GNOME was made back November 2013 and it felt like it was a done deal. One of the major reasons for this switch was the lack of space for the CD image, if you can imagine such a thing.

Debian developers are still trying to fit everything on a CD and the latest GNOME stack is actually too big for a 700 MB image, so a plan was devised to fix this. Even with numerous improvements to various packages and even after developers tried to archive some of the apps as .xz archives, it still wasn't enough.

Some might think that trying to get everything packed on a CD is no longer an issue and that everyone must certainly have DVD units, but that might not be the case. There still are parts of the world that have very old computers and only CD-ROMs. You can't ignore all those users and this puts Debian developers in a tough spot, but a well-known Debian maintainer has a different opinion.

“The Debian GNOME team rebuilt some key packages so they would be compressed using xz instead of gzip, saving the few megabytes that were needed to squeeze everything in the first CD. In parallel, the tasksel maintainer decided switching to Xfce as default desktop was another obvious fix. This change, unannounced and two days before the freeze, was very contested and spurred the usual massive debian-devel threads.”

“Suffice to say that the Debian GNOME team participants have never been thrilled about how the whole issue is being handled, and we’ve been wondering if we should be doing anything about it, or just move along and enjoy the smaller amount of bug reports against GNOME packages that this change would bring us, if it finally made it through to the final release,” says Debian maintainer Jordi Mallach.

He makes the case for a GNOME desktop and explains point by point why Debian should actually use this desktop instead of anything else. His last remarks are also quite interesting. He says that shipping Debian with Xfce will never be on par with Debian quality standards for a stable release, and that the Xfce desktop still has some rough edges.

Jordi Mallach also says that it's not really OK to announce changes of this magnitude in a Git commit log, which is a very superficial way of treating the developer community." -Softpedia

Thanks again to the great folks at
for another great article! 

And thanks to the fine people at
for an excellent, beautiful and rock solid Linux distro!