My feelings about the Queen (are complicated)

Something that many don’t know about me is that I’m Welsh (despite living in the US). Being Welsh gives me a very interesting relationship with Britain and the monarchy.

The United Kingdom provides us with a lot of good things, but Britain has also traditionally treated us pretty poorly at various times and under various reigns.

Still, it has made me quite upset at a visceral level to see how much the Internet and Twitterverse appears to hate the Queen and her family personally. A lot of what I see revolves around either colonialism or misunderstandings perpetuated by the media rags of the day.

While I definitely agree the Queen and the royals in general should have done more to give reparations to those who suffered under British colonial rule, I don’t agree she should shoulder all or even most of the blame.

Under the reign of her father and herself, many of the former colonies became independent republics. And it’s not like the Tories in power for the majority of her reign would have approved appropriate reparations anyway. I do wish they would have done more for Africa, and hope to see the new King doing work on that.

While the royals have done some pretty terrible things in their time, they’ve also done a lot of good. They are all big proponents of helping the climate, and the younger royals especially take after Lady Di in wanting to help the impoverished.

Speaking of Diana, let’s not forget that in her capacity as a royal, she helped to destigmatise HIV/AIDS at a time when many others in high places were happy to let those suffering from the disease rot.

Could they do more? Absolutely. Are they as flawless or squeaky clean as they’d like you to believe? Not even close.

But I highly disagree with the level of vilification happening online in the wake of the Queen’s death. I mourn her and the legacy of good things that she has done, while still acknowledging she was a flawed being and there were things she should have done that she did not.

Reimagining my blog

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here. Part of that is due to my life being hectic lately. I’ve been dealing with health issues surrounding my family and I have also been happily adjusting to my new job.

When I started this blog, my goals were two-fold: a place for my long form writings on various topics, and status updates with the projects I work on. I still wish to write articles like those, but I want to share more content.

To that end, I would like to reimagine this blog. I intend to start sharing more, shorter articles with tips and tricks I learn, cool software and services I find, and also more cat posts.

On September 18th, we adopted a new kitten, Melody. She was born in July of this year, so she is still growing a little every day. She also has been adjusting to life with her big brother, Mr Gaz. These two get into hilarious hijinks regularly, so stay tuned!

I look forward to sharing more and interacting with my readers.

Libre software and moral absolutism

I’ve been pondering what to write in my blog now that I no longer lead Adélie Linux. There isn’t a great amount of things to write about around my day job making libre networking software, and there’s even less to write about my “spare time” projects. (Mostly because that spare time is spent playing with my cat, my Mum, or my video games.)

I had originally planned for this blog to cover travel and photography around Oklahoma in addition to tech. For obvious reasons, this isn’t something I’m able to do at this time. There are only so many ways I can photograph the gardens around my flat, and inter-city (let alone inter-state) travel is not exactly possible in 2020.

There are actually a lot of tech subjects I would love to cover, but a lot of them revolve around non-libre software. After spending so many years in the communities I have, there seemed a very real sense of shame in the thought of writing about it. However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realise it is not shame I feel.

It is embarrassment. It is a sense of letting my friends and colleagues down by feeling anything other than contempt for running proprietary software.

But I do. I absolutely enjoy using my iPad Air 2. And I have dozens – maybe hundreds – of articles in me about retro computing with classic versions of Windows, Mac OS, and Solaris. Game consoles are another fun hobby of mine that I want to share more widely.

So this is the dilemma I face. To continue to write nothing but articles about Linux would be to hide a part of me that is real. Is that what I want from my life? I don’t think it is.

This is not a rebuke of libre software, nor is this some admission there is nothing left to write about it. The future will always be bright with libre software, and I have plenty of articles left in me with regards to libre software, I’m sure. But I think it’s about time for me to admit to myself, and the world, that I have other technological passions as well. And it’s time to stop being embarrassed about it.

Leaving the Linux distribution community

It is with a heavy heart that I am publicly announcing my immediate retirement from the Linux distribution community. This is not a decision I have arrived at lightly.

This year has been challenging for every living being on planet Earth. For me personally, 2020 has given me a lion’s share of financial challenges. I am financially hurting in ways that I could have never imagined.

Adélie Linux and its community has always been a passion of mine, and that passion is still intact. However, it is not responsible for me to continue to act as Project Lead when I need to focus on things that will make me enough money to survive.

Without the ability to be paid to work on Adélie Linux, there is not enough time in my day to devote to it and give it the attention and care that it so rightfully deserves. It is not fair to the community to have to wait weeks (or longer) for me to review merge requests, fix bugs, respond to issues, and so on.

My heart and soul will always belong to Adélie and the wonderful community we have built together over the past six years.

I will stay around long enough to properly transfer my Lead role to someone else, who can carry Adélie to great things in the future. However, I will not be contributing much in the way of patches or code to upstreams like musl or KDE going forward.

It is my sincere hope that when I am in a better financial situation, I can resume leadership of Adélie Linux, if the community should so desire. I cannot see the future and do not know when, or if, that could happen.

Until then, I wish all of you the very best and look forward to watching Adélie Linux continue to grow, from a distance.

With much respect,

–arw