Adobe’s Font License– Small Print

It should come as no surprise that I do enjoy good fonts.  For years now I’ve had a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, but I also primarily run Linux.  Adobe’s software doesn’t run on Linux.  So, I figured that since I was paying for the Creative Cloud license that I was paying for the ability to use the fonts on my Linux machine.

As it turns out I was kind-of wrong.  I can use the fonts on another machine, but I can’t use them at the same time.  Below is the font EULA with my emphasis in bold.

2.1 General Use. You may install and use one copy of the Software on up to the Permitted Number of your compatible Computers; or

2.2 Server Deployment. You may install one copy of the Software on one Computer file server within your Internal Network for the purpose of downloading and installing the Software on up to the Permitted Number of other Computers within the same Internal Network; or

2.3 Server Use. You may install one copy of the Software on one Computer file server within your Internal Network for the purpose of using the Software through commands, data or instructions (e.g., scripts) from another Computer within the same Internal Network, provided that the total number of users (not the concurrent number of users) that are permitted to use the Software on such Computer file server does not exceed the Permitted Number. No other network use is permitted, including, but not limited to use of the Software, either directly or through commands, data or instructions, from or to a Computer not part of your Internal Network, for Internet or web hosting services or by any user not licensed to use this copy of the Software under a valid licence from Adobe; and

2.4 Portable or Home. The primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer.

 

 

100% Linux

I first booted Linux in 2005 when I was in Iraq and since then I’ve been a fan of the operating system’s power and price tag.  I’ve mentioned the OS in just a few of my posts here before, and also a well deserved tribute to one of my favorite distribution’s PM leads.

darktable-logoI have a few quirks about my workflow.  Recently I’ve been able to take my photography workflow to Linux thanks to some of the great work on Darktable, and some of the great how-to videos produced about how to use the software.

One of my other quirks is my favorite game; Civilization IV.  I’ve been a fan of the CIV games since my brothers and I figured out how to get the original CIV game to play on the computers at our high school without getting into trouble.  The game has sentimental value and I generally play with settings where I can get through a game in about 90 minutes while I’ve got a documentary on in the background.

maxresdefaultCIV IV’s age (November 2005) meant that it missed Valve’s effort to get games on Linux through Steam and it’s reliance on some specific Microsoft Technologies meant that it wasn’t just a straight executable file that needed to run.  It requires font libraries .NET compatibility and a slew of other considerations.  Now, mind you, I’ve paid for the licenses for all of that software before as I’ve purchased CIV IV about three times (on disc, from Valve, & from the Mac App Store).  To me it represents the best of what I remember about computer games growing up with just enough graphics to ensure my eyes don’t wander in an 8-bit wonderland.

So, while this post ought to include details about how I’ve moved my workflow from Office to LibreOffice or from Exchange to IMAP it really is about the last few steps.  I needed a photography workflow that wasn’t reliant on Adobe’s Creative Suite and I wanted to bring my favorite game to my favorite desktop.

2000px-libreoffice_logo_flat-svg

While I’ve written about Linux I don’t consider this to be the sort of thing that’s happened because of some great technical skill I have.  I don’t write code.  I’m not a programmer.  I’m just someone who decided he could move his workflow over to Linux without compromise, and sure enough, that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.

It’s an incredible feeling.  Simply incredible to be free from VirtualBox instances of Windows or a situation where I have to dual boot.  Developers love open source because it gives them the freedom to edit the code.  I’m feeling what a bit of that freedom is like knowing that what I’m running isn’t constrained by some of the more restrictive operating systems on the market.

This blog is so obscure at the moment that I’m sure not even .001% of the people I need to thank will ever read it, but I’m going to send it out over the internet anyway.  All these servers and things that make up the internet give us a great opportunity to be grateful.

Tux 100%

Check With The Man

I was recently listening to the Ubuntu Podcast.   The hosts did their usual great job and on the episode in question they were interviewing David Britton of the Ubuntu Server Team.  For years I’ve repurposed old computers to run as servers for various purposes in my home.  Ubuntu allows me to run the same environment to apply solutions in my home as it does at scale in large enterprises.

In each episode the hosts gather feedback from their listeners and the responses are usually filled with nuggets and wonderful suggestions.  In the episode linked above they got a question about tuning a laptop to maximize battery life and quickly mentioned the application (powertop) and a couple of the commands.  What they didn’t mention was the syntax.

This often happens when running a command-line friendly operating system.  It’s not the first time I’ve come across a command and then had no idea what to do with it.  Thankfully, all you have to do is ask the man.

The man, of course, is the man pages or pages from the manual.  In my case all I had to do was type in man powertop and I saw the commands referenced from the podcast with their appropriate syntax.  This gave me the information I needed to follow the podcast’s host’s instructions and get on with better battery life on my laptop.

So, quick advice.  If you don’t know your syntax, check with the man.

FileZilla Reenters My Workflow

I recently acquired some old hardware and was working on giving it a purpose when I felt a particular set of problems could be solved by using a physical disc to install the operating system on one of the machines. So, I burned a DVD. This particular set of projects began in part with my youngest son (11) working towards his computer merit badge for scouts. His younger sister (8) became quite interested in what we were doing and would ask questions between cartwheels. When it came time to burn a DVD they thought I was crazy.

Daughter, “Dad, you’re going to BURN a DVD?” Thinking I was going to get out matches and start a file she yells, “Mom! Dad’s going to BURN a DVD!!!”

I then explained that I wasn’t going to burn it by starting a fire, I was going to use lasers.

I should have had my camera ready, the expression on her face was priceless.

Things have changed over the years in how we use technology. One of my favorite go-to apps that used to be a routine part of my workflow has recently entered back into my workflow, FileZilla. With all the machine repurposing I’ve been doing, there’s been a significant need to move files around on the network.

After TechSNAP 350 I knew I didn’t want to use Samba unless absolutely necessary. It wasn’t because there’s a risk to my particular network, but I want to make sure I’m using best practices in my home environment. From a speed standpoint FTP kicks SMB’s butt, so I started looking at FTP. As I was working through a few articles and a couple of tutorials, I realized how awesome, old, and insecure the protocol is. By this point I had installed FileZilla, but before getting it to run I had a thought. If I chose to not use SMB to resemble best practices how was FTP following best practices? The answer was simple, it wasn’t.

I was looking forward to reusing FileZilla for nostalgic reasons. It brings me back to an era when static HTML was acceptable and there’s something about watching files upload in its queue that just warms my heart.

Because I was managing these systems remotely as much as possible, I was getting more comfortable working in SSH. So, I thought, SSH runs on port 22. What happens if I tell FileZilla to connect on port 22?

So I imputed the server information, specified port 22 and Bob’s you’re uncle, I was in! Not only was I in, but the transfer rates were considerably closer to what you get from FTP as opposed to SMB. I had secure, screaming-fast transfers across my network.

I had one of those OH-WOW moments immediately followed by a feeling of “I’m sure everyone else knows this already.” I had just discovered that I never need to use FTP again because it’s baked in to SSH as SFTP. While it may not be new to the community, it certainly was new to me.

So I decided to test this outside my network to see what would happen. I spun up a droplet at DigitalOcean and got transmission working. Then, I set it up to participate in tormenting one of my favorite distro’s ISO file. I then tested downloading that ISO from the Downloads directory to my machine using SFTP. Performance and security as expected.

I’m sure this is one of those things that’s common knowledge among professionals and most hobbyists, but it was something I hadn’t learned yet and I’m both excited and hesitant to share. I’m excited because this is freakin’ awesome! And hesitant because I’ve been poking around with Linux for more than a decade and never have I realized this was possible.

This makes me wonder, what other basic tools have I been missing?

As it turns out there’s not that much difference between me and my eight-year-old. I just used SSH to transfer files. It doesn’t sound nearly as cool as using lasers to burn a disc. In this house we have a lot of learning to do.

The Value of A Library

 A number of years ago I was traveling through Heidelberg Germany and decided to visit the castle and gardens. A tour was offered and I was escorted by a very nice young lady around many of the castle features and legends that had emerged over time. She talked about the construction process and different phases as well as those who lived and ruled from within its walls.

The tour was open for questions and one gentleman asked about the value of the castle. She had just concluded discussing the labor and materials involved in its creation and replied to this inquiry by explaining how under feudalism the king owned everything, so there was no way for a value to be placed on things he already owned. He owned the labor and the resources. They were at his command.

I don’t remember the follow up question, but I do remember the answer. The guide politely gave a brief lesson on one of the great currencies of the medieval age, knowledge. In particular, the knowledge from books. Heidelberg played a key role in the Thirty Years’ War and as a result of a battle in 1622 one of the most prominent libraries had their text gifted to the Pope in exchange for political assistance. Heidelberg was intellectually robbed, and the tour guide, a native of the city, remembered. The real value wasn’t the fact that one stone was placed on another, it was that its library had information.

Since that experience I have always viewed information as its own currency. Recently I’ve enjoyed learning about the history of the zero (concept) and the character (0) migrating from Cambodia to the west. I’ve also be learning about Fibonacci’s marvelous textbook on numbers and how it popularized our current numerical characters and mathematical techniques. Our number system is extremely powerful as a communication tool and studying its evolution provides a great deal of lessons on historical economics and human understanding. It was the underdog whose principled efficiency as a system resulted in it trumping all others.

Using the idea that information is currency, one could easily argue that the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth due to its vast and ever growing collection of books in the Library of Congress. That argument would hold true if physically printed information were all that existed. In the digital domain we have several different libraries. Wikipedia hosts rather easily digestible information on a vast number of subjects. Archive.org has a similarly impressive catalog of knowledge. Specific industries and trades have also built up massive libraries of information.

Many of these, if not all, are dependent upon the library of open source. While fragmented across several domains, this library has become one of the most significant accomplishments of the human era. It’s the continual evolution of practical economic theory. Within its shelves are discoveries more complex, but just as significant, as the discovery of zero. Within its texts are descriptions of forms and formulas as powerful as Fibonacci’s textbook. The library has its high profile contributors, but it wouldn’t have its volume with them alone.

Throughout history we’ve seen lessons of centrally planned economies fail because they can’t accurately account for the needs within a particular market sector. In the market sector of code and the need for understanding, the lessons from the political economy also apply. Centralized planning can’t account for the demand. With this in mind the rise of open source is easy to understand. It’s not a superiority complex, its an accessibility one.

If you were to visit the Heidelberg castle today you’d quickly notice the half-standing fat tower exposing the insides it was supposed to protect. In the Nine Years’ War an explosion split the structure scarring it to this day. Today the pyrotechnics you need to get at the valuable library of open source includes nothing more than a few mouse clicks and the right search terms.

What makes it impressive beyond measure is not simply the vast college of knowledge inside of open source, but that the knowledge is about functions.  Unlike some types of knowledge the library of open source contains information more easily executed than other disciplines.

A Colmar Conversation

The clouds which hovered all day finally started letting go of a bit of rain on the town of Colmar, France.  My wife and I ditched the kids in front of the television at the hotel and went downtown for a date.  As we wound our way through the streets of wooden framed buildings we passed a few fountains.  Rumor is that one of them served as the inspiration for the Bonjour scene of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  One of my colleagues at work had served his Mormon mission in this area and recommended we try the local flam (a thinly crusted pizza).  When we found an open cafe with the dish we sat down outside the building under the awning and began to do some people watching while waiting for our order.

My wife who speaks fluent German and I both feel equally out of place in France.  Neither one of us knows the language and after a couple of days of just us and the kids, this date was likely going to involve the same routine conversation.  Then a family sat at the table next to us who obviously spoke English and that gave me an opening for breaking up our conversation with one that involved our new neighbors.

We didn’t exchange names.  I’m rather terrible with names and I don’t ask for them when I don’t have to.  Asking gives the false impression that I might actually try to memorize what you’re called instead of all the other interesting facts like how you feel about a certain subject.  After a small round of exchanging travel notes we began to talk about our employment.  When it was his turn the gentleman explained that he works selling finance and accounting software.  I mentioned working on my masters in IT/Project Management and that I’m a fan of open source.

“Oh, you’re just like some of the people that work for me!  If they had it their way they would have open sourced the whole suite.”  I smiled back.  “But,” he continued “I like selling licences.”  He said this glancing over at his wife and son.  Then looked back at me as if he was waiting for me to be offended.

I wasn’t.

The gentleman’s appearance told me he had probably ten years on me by age so I assume that he’d been around enough to have had this conversation before.  I think he was surprised that I offered no argument.  My only response was “I like open source software because it’s helped me solve problems when nothing else was accessible.  In addition I really appreciate being able to leverage the volumes of information on troubleshooting that I can’t find anywhere else.”

There wasn’t much he could say to that, and to my enjoyment he wasn’t upset by my response.  The dialogue continued.  The flam came, was delicious, and all in all we each passed a pleasant evening as the rain subsided and gave way to a sunny conclusion to the day.

I have a theory about people with bad ideas.  Sometimes it’s worth correcting on the spot.  Other times it’s more helpful to let them keep talking because eventually they’ll realize they’ve painted themselves into a corner.  I’ve also learned that sometimes the latter strategy takes years.  

That’s why I don’t mind licensing for various proprietary closed source software.  It’s a model that paints the manufacturer into a corner.  I don’t mind Lightroom and Photoshop requiring a subscription.  I consider them tremendously useful applications.  Will they always be proprietary?  Probably not, but each month when I pay the subscription fee I’m getting a useful set of tools and investing in letting Adobe make those tools better.

Subscription fees are wonderful tools for paying for software.  Unlike a one time sale, they provide a steady income that facilitates paying the bills while investing in more features.  World of Warcraft taught the industry how successful the model could be, and it’s taken the industry quite a few years to mature to making this model become the norm.  Microsoft and Adobe both offer subscriptions for their software and can easily analyze their metrics when the subscription model starts to fail.  This makes the system much more responsive to customers than previous payment schemes.  

The real leap of faith for us is trusting the customer.  Matt Hartley, editor for FreedomPenguin.com has repeatedly stated that people just want their machines to work.  They don’t necessarily buy them to tinker.  They buy them to get a job done.  Currently they’re willing to exchange a portion of their wealth for the productivity of the tool.  No over priced model can function forever as long as those with the wealth have a choice about how they spend it.  The subscription model improves the communication between the manufacturer and the customer.  When those customers start to see that they have the option to be productive without exchanging their wealth–or find a system that provides them with more in exchange for that same amount of wealth–then they’ll move to open source.

The missionary efforts of the Mormon Church include good media production, but as my colleague at work will tell you referrals from friends are the most successful.  This year is the year of the Linux Desktop for all the thousands of people who get an invitation to switch and act upon it.  The year you switched was your year of the Linux Desktop (2008) and I’m happy to report that the food in Colmar still tastes good even if an invitation gets rejected.  Ironically I’ve come to realize that Beauty and the Beast is a simple story about overcoming an act of impetuous rejection.