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A couple of weeks ago, I got a Facebook invitation from noted Linux author Marcel Gagné.

I tell you this not because I am name-dropping, but because I am wondering what the heck I am going to do with a Facebook entry? Which I have now, because it's been a very long time since I've heard a peep from Marcel and I didn't want to offend him by ignoring the invitation.

Mr. Social Grace, that's me.

So, I am now on Facebook, a site that I had associated with teen-agers, dating, and music sharing in my head, even though I've been told that's more MySpace's scene. It feels weird. It's not that am a stranger to social networking sites. I have been on LinkedIn for a while now, and it's proven to be very handy in tracking people in the community down.

But Facebook seems very different, far more personal in nature. My first big clue to this was the Relationship Status entry they ask you to fill in:

  • Single

  • In a Relationship

  • In an Open Relationship

  • Married

  • Engaged

  • It's Complicated

"It's Complicated"? Right, which means "I'm seeing someone but I'd like to hook up with someone else on the sly." Small town boy I may be, but I get the cable. (Drop the "on the sly," and I'm pretty sure that's what "Open Relationship" means.)

Thus far, it has not been a painful experience. A few friends have pinged me (or whatever the heck you call it) to be my "Friend". But I honestly have no idea what to do with it. I already have their contact information, couldn't I just call them or send them an e-mail? What's this extra layer for?

LinkedIn, to me, makes more sense. It's like a big business network. Dopplr, another social network site a friend invited me into, also make sense: it allows members to share with friends and colleagues where they physically are. The idea is, if I'm in San Francisco and my friend is also in that city, we can contact each other and arrange a meet. It's kind of nice in my line of work, because every time I travel, I am asking my colleagues who else will be there at the same time.

So, I will be poking around Facebook for a while, seeing what there is to see. And feeling rather old doing it.

In the meantime, there's no reason you should not get anything useful out of this missive, so here's a few tidbits I picked up on the Web this week that couldn't quite fit into Linux Today's news format:

  • Interactive Linux Kernel Map. I don't pretend to know anything about kernel development or infrastructure, but this interactive display of the Linux kernel looks like a neat toy for über-geeks to play with.

  • Linux Sucks-Rules-O-Meter. Despite the title, it's not a piece of FUD. Here, the author has graphed out various Linux terms (distro names, environments) against their appearance with the words "rules" or "sucks" on Alta Vista. Not very scientific, but an interesting look at one meme on the Internet.

  • Free Software Help Center "is online site intended to support GNU/Linux and Open Source Software users for free. It is driven be volunteers that want to help other users of Free Software. So, if you have problems with some OSS application just go to oss.nhydra.com to get help. There are large collection of video tutorials and other materials too." An interesting community start-up; much success to them.

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