FLOSS Grows Stronger in Albania

FLOSS is everywhere these days, even in Albania.“more than 400 free libre open source technology enthusiasts, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.
See OSCAL '15 | Open Source Conference Albania 2015.”
If you can get 400 people out of 3 million to show up for a conference on FLOSS, you can do just about anything. I think Albanians are getting excited about FLOSS, even GNU/Linux on the desktop:

See Statcounter, Top 7 Desktop OSs in Albania From Apr 2011 to Mar 2015

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The Whole World Moves On To GNU/Linux

Yesterday, Sunday, 2015-Mar-29 was a great day in the neighbourhood of planet Earth. 141 countries were over 1% usage of desktop GNU/Linux according to StatCounter and Guinea-Bissau had another spike. Of those 141 countries, the average share was 2.3% GNU/Linux. Of all countries, StatCounter shows 1.85%, so Canada is now a bit above average, at 1.89%.

Five years ago on the last Sunday in March, GNU/Linux showed 0.69% globally. I see a trend and expect explosive growth for GNU/Linux this year.

By Country Table Of Shares Of GNU/Linux Page-views, 2015-03-29

Country
Guinea-Bissau
Uruguay
Reunion
Chad
Pitcairn Islands
Norfolk Island
Venezuela
Cuba
Malta
Liechtenstein
Cape Verde
Haiti
Italy
Ethiopia
Czech Republic
Saint Lucia
Turkmenistan
France
Guadeloupe
Greece
Gambia
Bahrain
Tajikistan
Germany
Spain
Finland
San Marino
Ireland
Antigua & B.
Lithuania
Austria
Slovakia
Andorra
Madagascar
USA
Timor-Leste
Belize
Singapore
North Korea
Switzerland
Kiribati
Kazakhstan
Costa Rica
St Vincent & G.
Taiwan
Slovenia
Latvia
Share
12.85
10.09
9.98
8.16
6.45
6.45
6.03
5.85
5.24
5.04
4.57
4.48
4.25
4.14
3.8
3.56
3.55
3.18
3.07
2.97
2.96
2.94
2.94
2.92
2.92
2.88
2.88
2.81
2.74
2.69
2.66
2.65
2.59
2.52
2.45
2.44
2.33
2.29
2.23
2.19
2.19
2.16
2.15
2.14
2.12
2.12
2.1
Country
Latvia
Uganda
Vietnam
Luxembourg
DRC
Ukraine
Christmas Island
Guernsey
Equatorial Guinea
Micronesia
Lesotho
Nicaragua
Burundi
Croatia
Canada
Bulgaria
Estonia
Romania
Jersey
Saint Martin
Iceland
Serbia
Honduras
Kyrgyz Republic
Netherlands
Kenya
Norway
Dominican Republic
New Caledonia
El Salvador
Benin
Poland
Colombia
Namibia
Hungary
Sweden
India
Mexico
Dominica
Macedonia
United Kingdom
Portugal
Chile
Argentina
Bosnia & H.
Paraguay
Belgium
Share
2.1
2.1
2.09
2.05
2.05
2.04
2.04
2.01
2.01
2.01
1.93
1.91
1.91
1.9
1.89
1.87
1.84
1.8
1.8
1.8
1.79
1.77
1.77
1.76
1.75
1.74
1.73
1.73
1.73
1.69
1.69
1.64
1.64
1.64
1.62
1.61
1.6
1.6
1.58
1.57
1.56
1.51
1.5
1.49
1.48
1.48
1.47
Country
Russia
Ecuador
South Africa
French Guiana
Moldova
Tanzania
Puerto Rico
Morocco
Martinique
Albania
Belarus
Trinidad & T.
Sri Lanka
Myanmar
Lebanon
Bermuda
New Zealand
Montenegro
Cambodia
Guatemala
Nepal
Brazil
Seychelles
Denmark
Suriname
Turkey
Isle of Man
Japan
Nauru
Tunisia
French Polynesia
Barbados
Cyprus
Bolivia
Angola
Rwanda
Australia
Mauritius
Panama
Jamaica
British Virgin I.
Bangladesh
Ghana
Solomon Islands
CAR
Zimbabwe
Zambia
Share
1.46
1.45
1.45
1.44
1.43
1.42
1.41
1.4
1.38
1.36
1.36
1.36
1.35
1.35
1.34
1.34
1.33
1.33
1.33
1.31
1.28
1.26
1.26
1.25
1.25
1.24
1.24
1.22
1.22
1.21
1.21
1.2
1.19
1.19
1.19
1.19
1.17
1.17
1.16
1.15
1.15
1.1
1.08
1.08
1.08
1.05
1.01

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Look Out World! China Is Giving Ubuntu GNU/Linux A Try

For ages, China has been a world-leader in manufacturing and a tail-end-charlie in adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop. Oh, there were initiatives from government but they didn’t seem to bite. All that’s changed. Google sees a trend in interest for “Ubuntu” in searches from China and so does StatCounter.

Will GNU/Linux take off in China like other goods? Will China catch up in one year or two? This is yet another reason to name 2015 The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop. I like it.

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It’s ALIVE!

I’ve spent weeks dodging the weather and supplying equipment I lacked to bring my new tractor up. The assembly required waiting for warmer weather as I worked outdoors or in my unheated garage. It went pretty smoothly once I had the right bolts in the right places. I still lack the bolt on which the throttle/governor control-cable pivots. The one on the tractor was not long enough to engage the threaded hole in the engine when the bushing was in place. I’ve located a supplier in Winnipeg who has every kind of bolt unlike the retailers who lack exactly the size I need, M8X1.25t/mmX100mm. He’s supplied me with bolts for my welding many years ago so I can replenish my stock at the same time.

This week, I struggled to get the engine to start. Cranking manually or using the electric starting made no difference. I bled the fuel line to the filter as the manual suggested and I got a whiff of fuel but no firing. I thought the air was a bit too cold. Some engines have trouble starting below 10C. Today we reached 9C but I had no joy. I watched some Youtube videos of similar engines starting and was annoyed to see one guy start his at -17C… He didn’t even bleed his fuel line… I got a clue from another video. A guy made a movement with his left hand before doing the starting sequence. I thought he might have lowered the governing knob a bit even though it was out of sight. The left hand also has to manipulate the “decompression” lever. I saw that and his engine started easily after just a few cranks raising the RPM and releasing the decompression lever. Again I was left with fuel being the problem. I certainly had compression. I can’t crank it past TDC… So, I disconnected the fuel line at the injector and cranked the engine a few times and passed out a mL of fuel. I reconnected the line and started cranking again. With the starter it coughed almost immediately and sprang to life. I adjust the governor a bit until the engine ran smoothly and left it idling for ~15minutes. It took that long to warm up because the engine is so massive and so little fuel was burning. Then I raised the RPM to near 2200 and then shut it down. The governor, left without tension, shuts the engine down. This is ZH1110N, in case anyone is using Google to find this. It’s strange that all this is not in the manual complete with pictures. Too bad it’s not on some website as well for us novices. The manual actually mentions moving the knob to the “START” position but the engine has Chinese markings. I used Google Translate to see what “START” looked like but it didn’t resemble the markings I saw.

Anyway, I now have a powerful diesel engine ready to do my bidding. As soon as I get the governing linkage fixed and adjust the clutch and brakes for safety, I will begin the break-in process for the tractor, about 8h of operation under varied loads/speeds followed by oil-change. I still have about a month before I have to till the ground here so I have plenty of time. The last big remaining task is assembly of the roto-tilling attachment. It’s simple but difficult for one person to manage. I’ll likely have to set it on blocks so I can roll the tractor up to it and connect. It requires opening a PTO cover on the tractor and some hefty mounting bolts tightened. The roto-tiller is much more civilized than the plough. I will be able to ride like a gentleman…

Posted in food, horticulture | Tagged | 2 Comments

8 Weeks In France – GNU/Linux Triumphs On The Desktop

I’ve only been in France for a few hours on one day when I took a tour of CERN. I went on a “French” day, hoping I could hack it. I couldn’t. My French was too slow. Fortunately the tour-group was tiny and the guide recognized my confusion…

Anyway, StatCounter has toured France by web-stat and according to them, GNU/Linux on the desktop has set a new high 6 of the last 8 weeks. It’s quite a trend. I hope it continues. At this rate a year from now the share of GNU/Linux desktop page-views will be over 9%. See why I declared this The Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop? It’s happening.

France has been a hotbed of GNU/Linux adoption for years and the effort is bearing fruit. Schools, governments and business are all playing a part.

In nearby Spain, the action is a little different but there’s plenty of action.

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European Commission Open Source Software Strategy 2014-2017

I’d say the EC has a great strategy:
“For all future IT developments, the Commission shall promote the use of products that support recognised, well-documented and preferably open technical specifications that can be freely adopted, implemented and extended. Interoperability is a critical issue for the Commission, and use of well-established standards is a key factor to achieve it.
See Open Source Software Strategy 2014-2017.”

  • Equal treatment in procurement
  • Contribution to communities
  • Clarification of legal aspects
  • Open-source and interoperable Commission-developed software
  • Transparency and better communication

The only thing I would do differently is to prefer FLOSS outright except in corner-cases. FLOSS is the right way to do IT. I don’t see any merit in giving M$, a known illegal monopolist, for instance, any standing to supply IT to the EC. The EC can certainly live without monopolists and should do so.

See Open Source Strategy in the European Commission.

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Who’s Using, And Not Using, GNU/Linux Desktops

According to StatCounter, the top ten users (average 7%) and users just over 1% of GNU/Linux on the desktop, yesterday, were
USERS
Timor-Leste
Uruguay
Reunion
Comoros
Cuba
Tajikistan
Venezuela
Malta
Czech Republic
Holy See
Share (%)
16.18
9.13
8.65
7.55
6.01
5.44
5.26
5.19
4.34
4.22
Mid-Range USERS
Cameroon
Martinique
Togo
Congo (Republic of the)
Suriname
Indonesia
Panama
Australia
Mozambique
Sudan”
Share (%)
1.06
1.06
1.05
1.05
1.04
1.02
1.02
1.01
1.01
1.01

Well, that’s not quite right. There is an “un-named place” with 87% TOOS and 1.05% share but since they don’t name it, I won’t either. ;-) Also, they don’t list anything but “0” for levels below 1%, but they do exist, 102 of them. So, this is a snapshot of the top of utilizers and the middle, not the bottom. The mid-range usage is interesting. It’s a wide range.

My conclusion? That 127 countries now exceed ~1% usage, I’d say GNU/Linux has a good foothold on the desktop and has plenty of room to move up. That 10 countries exceed 4% gives me optimism that there will be plenty of opportunity for the rest to “catch up”. USA and Canada have reached ~2% so North America is on its way. Two of the top ten are in South America, so that’s covered. Europe has a bunch of governments leaning to FLOSS and many countries exceeding 2%. That leaves Asia and Africa requiring “work”. India is doing well with a lot of GNU/Linux in the workplace. Africa has quite a bit of GNU/Linux in schools.

Five years ago, the top ten were quite different:
USERS
Uruguay
Niue
Cuba
Finland
Central African Republic
Madagascar
Kenya
Belize
Cook Islands
Macedonia
Share (%)
8.21
6.25
5.18
4.39
3.68
3.53
2.88
2.79
2.62
2.56
, pretty well a doubling at both ends today, averaging 4.2% then, so I expect in five years most of the world will be copying today’s leaders and GNU/Linux will have a presence everywhere that cannot be ignored by anyone. That’s true today in half the world at least.

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Linux 3.18.10 Is Out

There’s nothing remarkable about a new release of Linux. It happens every week or so in one version of another. This one is a bit special, however,:

  • It’s the first we’ve seen since Sasha Levin adopted 3.18.* for Long Term Support. I’ve been using the current version – 1 for awhile issued by Greg Kroah Hartman. 3.18.* was added to the LTS list.
    “Version Maintainer Released Projected EOL
    + 3.18 Sasha Levin 2014-12-07 Jan, 2017″
  • Usually Greg issues a preview a few days before release. Rarely is anything wrong. Sasha did not this time. I hope nothing goes wrong… *
  • Mostly I upgrade my kernel for reasons of security, bug-fixes or new features. Lately, life has been good except for some dropouts for RealTek 8168 driver. The problem has been located and fixed in the mainline and 3.18.10 copies the reversion of an apparently bad patch. No one’s quite sure what the problem is but they’ve identified the patch that triggers dropouts…“Revert “r8169: add support for Byte Queue Limits””

Now that it’s LTS, I guess I will stick with 3.18.* for a while. Apart from the occasional problem with one driver it’s been cool.

* UPDATE – Sasha Levin reports he did issue a review of 3.18.10. It was in a different place than I usually look for it. see Sasha’s comment

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M$ Hammers Loyal Customers

Yep. All the bad things M$ did to lock-in consumers with exclusive deals with OEMs and retailers are “Over one-third of the 436 councils surveyed across the UK have been subject to at least one software licence review in the last 20 months, according to a report from software licensing costs advice company Cerno.
Of those, 60 per cent were found to be "under-licensed" and hit with a penalty of up to £50,000.
Out of 132 universities, one quarter have been subject to at least one software licence audit in the last 20 months, it said.
See Microsoft and Oracle are 'not your trusted friends', public sector bods.”
being overshadowed these days by M$ beating their loyal customers, businesses and governments over the head about dealing with complex licensing schemes. M$ is putting them through the audit meat-grinder.

If you want to be free to use your hardware and software to its greatest capability and not worry about audits from sales-teams, use Debian GNU/Linux. You can run, examine, modify and even distribute the software under the same licence you get for $0 and the cost of downloading. IT doesn’t get more flexible than that. Use GNU/Linux, software that works for you and not against you.

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Discovering GNU/Linux

Every user of GNU/Linux either has it imposed on them by some higher power or has an “AH HA! moment”.“This is pretty cool. Can I keep it, please?
See Zorin OS: Can I keep it, please?.”
I’ve both seen the “Ah Ha!” and imposed GNU/Linux. The former is always more fun, but the latter gives a quantity-discount for the effort. It’s all good.

I’ll never forget the time the first big class came into my lab to use K12LTSP. The PCs looked the same as they had been using to run Lose ’98 which ate their assignments and were snails while booting. One guy put his feet up on the desk and leaned back in his chair… I’ve issued warnings ever since that day. Fortunately no harm was done and a bunch of students had a pleasant introduction to GNU/Linux.

I’ve imposed GNU/Linux when the IT in schools was feeble/fragile/largely unavailable and there was no good way to fix it except to pave over that other OS. It’s difficult to consult with/persuade everyone that change is good so interesting things happen when a bunch of students/teachers are thrown into the pool. In my experience almost all learn to swim. Most appreciate the improved performance and treat it as an upgrade. A few, who were probably marginally skilled using that other OS hate that RESET has been pressed. I’ve actually had to hold the hand of one school principal to guide him through the basic steps. He’s probably dead or still using XP/IE6 somewhere… Many students loved that the same old hardware appeared to come to life doing their bidding. I’m old and wrinkled and have a hard time keeping up with youngsters but at least that is something all generations can celebrate about GNU/Linux.

Apparently, a lot of young folks are enjoying GNU/Linux all around the world:

They are making waves.

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Apple Breaks FLOSS

“Pulling an open-source project upon which people may depend is total jerk behavior
See Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project.”
It could be a breakdown in communication but Apple just acquired a company and the company’s GitHub repository shut down…

Let’s hope Apple just sent the wrong memo and will reopen the repository perhaps under a different name. Fortunately, it is FLOSS, so there are some copies more or less up to date floating around but, Apple, smarten up, be polite and give some notice next time. It is quite legal for an owner to change the terms of licensing or even to stop distribution but it’s not wise to annoy users/contributors/customers. What were they thinking?

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European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

I’ve long held that FLOSS is the right way to do IT. The European Parliament tends to agree:“We find that lock-in and vendor dependence are difficult to reconcile with the principle of openness and of “utmost transparency” to which Parliament has committed itself. In our view, Parliament should not take lowest costs as an absolute metric in its strategic choices of IT systems. Rather, technologies that allow others to work with Parliament’s own systems and data should be privileged, even if they were to incur some extra costs.

We conclude that the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament should whenever possible make Free Software and Open Standards mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of Parliament. In our view, that is the most appropriate way for the Parliament to meet its own standard of “utmost transparency”.”

See Piana, Carlo; Oberg, Ulf (2014) ‘Ensuring utmost transparency – Free Software and
Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament
‘,
International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 6(1), pp 11 – 50
DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v6i1.105

Of course, there are many more reasons to use FLOSS. “openness” certainly raises the level of confidence one can have in the software but it also increases the reliability and efficiency of the software, things that matter and affect the bottom line. With non-Free software, there are motives to include inefficient code, to do the work of others rather than the users of the software. It also costs less to produce FLOSS since authours can use the works of others to build FLOSS, a great efficiency. Instead of every product needing to re-invent the wheel or pay to use a copy, every product can largely consist of re-used code. This also allows authours to put their full energy into the innovative parts of a product instead of trying to comply with endless restrictive software licences.

Posted in technology | 12 Comments