Time To Move To PostgreSQL

“MariaDB Corp. has announced that release 2.0 of its MaxScale database proxy software is henceforth no longer open source. The organization has made it source-available under a proprietary license that promises each release will eventually become open source once it’s out of date.
MaxScale is at the pinnacle of MariaDB Corp.’s monetization strategy — it’s the key to deploying MariaDB databases at scale. The thinking seems to be that making it mandatory to pay for a license will extract top dollar from deep-pocketed corporations that might otherwise try to use it free of charge. This seems odd for a company built on MariaDB, which was originally created to liberate MySQL from the clutches of Oracle.”
See Uproar: MariaDB Corp. veers away from open source
Sigh… I understand that businesses need to make money but proper businesses don’t jerk their customers around in the process. That drives them away.

Large businesses that use MySQL/MariaDB depend on the MaxScale component and changing the licence for that jerks them around. In the process, MariaDB is preventing a larger community from sharing in the development, a major plus of FLOSS. So, this is essentially kicking a large segment of the market for SQL databases to a non-Free solution. It really is time to go to PostgreSQL, a truly Free/Libre Open Source database from top to bottom.

I’m a small user and don’t need MaxScale but I don’t want to wait for the next shoe to drop. Oracle and MariaDB both seem reluctant FLOSSies. I will move everything I can to PostgreSQL as rapidly as I can. Certainly all my new projects will skip MariaDB.

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Hot Flash! Trump Dying!

“Much in the way “birthers” (Trump was among the most prominent) sought similar ends by questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, the "healthers" are using junk science and conspiracy theories to argue that Clinton is suffering from a series of debilitating brain injuries.”
See The new birthers: Debunking the Hillary Clinton health conspiracy
OMG! Millions are supporting a dying man for POTUS! Have you seen how slowly he walks down the stairs of Trump One? He’s terrified of falling, always looking down and holding the handrail. Meanwhile, Hillary walks down spritely without a care. They are the same age. Trump must be deathly ill…

Then there’s the hair. Orange hair is a symptom of Hemochromatosis and it can be fatal. I’ve seen it on House, so it must be true.

Then there’s his weight-problem. “On average, obesity reduces life expectancy by six to seven years, a BMI of 30–35 kg/m2 reduces life expectancy by two to four years, while severe obesity (BMI > 40 kg/m2) reduces life expectancy by ten years.” He’s really out-lived his quota of years. He’s on Death’s door. While Clinton has a bulge around the middle, she’s carrying a lot less weight so less strain on her heart.

Then there’s his mental condition. He’s prone to both suicide and murder… It would really be a disservice to USA and Trump to put him in the Oval Office. It would probably push him over the edge. If he’s taking ProzacTM it could explain his insomnia and penchant to spout off on Twitter or his pulpit for no reason at all.

This guy’s on the way out and you should not vote for him.

Posted in politics | Tagged , | 1 Comment

THE BIG LIE About Operating Systems

“In terms of the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android regained share over iOS to achieve an 86 percent share (see Table 2) in the second quarter of 2016. Android’s performance continued to come from demand for mid- to lower-end smartphones from emerging markets, but also from premium smartphones, which recorded a 6.5 percent increase in the second quarter of 2016.”
See Gartner Says Five of Top 10 Worldwide Mobile Phone Vendors Increased Sales in Second Quarter of 2016
Remember the bad old days when M$’s lock on desktop OS was in question, legally? Well, the courts whimped out and allowed the damage done by monopoly to be locked in. Along the way, one of the big lies told by M$ to the world that having monopoly was a natural consequence of being first to market despite Beta v VHS and other examples. They gave a bunch of reasons why operating systems were different but it was all a lie. We see that in smartphones where Apple with iOS was basically first to market and with a decent product but at an outrageous price. For years iOS has been displaced by Android/Linux for good reason, price/performance. That’s what should matter in a free market.

The current situation?

  • Android/Linux 86%
  • iOS 13%
  • TOOS 0.6%

The desktop also is not locked in. Despite slow progress at times, GNU/Linux is gradually gnawing away at M$’s lock on the desktop. It happened in my schools, in my home, in governments in Europe and a few places around the world. It’s obvious the world can make its own software and does have a complete stack with GNU/Linux.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What The Heck Is This Stuff?

Black lives matter. I know that. But I have a particular responsibility for these black lives. They sprang from tiny seeds in a packet I found in my collection of seeds. I sprinkled them on good soil in a pot and lightly covered them. I had no idea how old they were and did not expect much. Nearly all sprouted, for I soon had a crowded mess of these little black things.

I had stuck the packet in the soil at the edge of the pot but with the weather the packet had curled up to shade the plants. I pulled it out and put it under the pot. When I transplanted half of them to roomier pots I lost the paper in the wind. I have no recollection what these are. Google image search suggests leafy vegetables like spinach. I doubt I would buy such things. I like green. I suspect this was a “bonus” seed packet from a supplier of seeds. I’ve reviewed all my invoices and can’t find anything that matches. I’m drawing a blank. My own image search came to Heuchera, some of which are black.

Any ideas? Upon close examination I find the colour might be dark purple, not black, but in sunlight they sure look black. The leaves are somewhat toothed, but also ruffled and “bumpy”. I’ve seen spinach with the bumps but not with teeth. I suppose I could eat a leaf…

I like plants that are nutritious, useful or good-looking. So far, these are none of those. I hate to waste resources on something this ugly. Do they have any redeeming features like souped-up photosynthetic conversion efficiency? I suppose I can let them grow until fall and decide whether to bring them in as houseplants or let them suffer winter. What say you?

Posted in food, horticulture | Tagged | 4 Comments


A string trimmer is essential for my property. The municipality won’t allow keeping goats although one has been seen in the neighbourhood…

This has been a pretty good year for weeds. We had modest rains in the heat of summer so the weeds slowed while we planted TLW’s trees. Now that the rains of August have arrived, the weeds are trying to take over. We’ve gone through three string trimmers in the last year. They are not very durable. The latest was a Homelite curved shaft 26cm3 beauty. It’s light, cuts well, has great balance and fit me well. Alas, the head end melted down. I smelt hot plastic, and found the shield had sagged and was rubbing on the hub. Replacement parts are available at a decent price but freight is a killer. To replace the lower boom, for instance, the part costs $15 but the shipping is $30. We decided to buy a second unit to get back into business. It was only $94 CDN at Home Depot. There are advantages to having two. TLW likes to whack weeds too. In fact she has snipped several of my seedling trees… This new one should last us this season and next year, with my annuity plumped up, we can order several parts to keep in stock with less shipping overhead. Here are pictures of the carton and the contents before and after assembly.

On the first start, I flooded the carburetor. The manual says to run it for 10s to warm up and then disable the choke. Apparently, the carburetor is a bit rich and only a few seconds are necessary or desirable. I may have to tweak it a bit after break-in. As expected the machine cut like a Tasmanian devil and was effortless to control with finesse. It just seems to fit my body. My hands were “buzzing” for a while afterwards, so I guess there is some vibration. I will pace myself… 😉 The damage done to the weeds was more than worth this little inconvenience. The wing-nut clamping the shield to the shaft loosened but I spotted it as I was putting it away and gave it another turn or two. That clamp is just plastic and I was afraid to give it much torque for fear of cracking it. I guess I was too cautious.

Besides the ease of use this trimmer has some quirks. The lower boom is not user-serviceable. I can’t just disassemble it and keep it greased to avoid the inevitable meltdown. Fortunately, today, despite heavy use, the shaft barely warmed up. We’re good for the season, likely.

Posted in food, horticulture | Tagged | 22 Comments

Yes, Smartphones And ARMed Motherboards Are Getting Smarter

“ArcherMind MediaTek X20 Board SpecificationsProcessorHelio X20 64-bit deci-core with:Two Cortex-A72 cores (2.1-2.3GHz)Four Cortex A53 cores (1.85GHz)Four Cortex-A53 cores (1.4GHz)”
See ArcherMind Joins 96Boards and Launches Deci-Core ARMv8 Product
It’s amazing what folks are putting into smartphones these days. The latest “96boards” client device is a pretty nifty SoC, but it’s still a smartphone inside: no Ethernet, no SATA, only 2gB RAM, and just cores designed to save a battery as long as possible. I think the cache per core is something like 1MB, so it’s not completely hopeless but 2gB RAM limits it to single or few users and just a few simultaneous tasks. I don’t see a price advertised so I guess it was pointless to ask…

This kind of hardware means in 2016 it is imminent that real competitive SoCs for clients and servers will soon be rampant. It’s a mystery why Lemaker Cello has not been rushed to market before it’s totally obsolete. This month I will have most of my new IT components except for that motherboard.

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Desktop GNU/Linux

“Until somebody can figure out a surefire way to monetize a desktop distro, GNU/Linux will continue to be primarily used by free software advocates, people who demand the best on their desktop, those trying to keep an older machine productive and by those who’ve had-it-up-to-here with Microsoft.”
See Why Desktop Linux Still Hasn’t Taken Over the World
Christine Hall has a point. In the business of supplying PCs to the public, money begets money. If a business is not selling a product for money, there’s not much reason to do so. Still, an OEM can do the maths a different way. They can choose to advertise, distribute and support GNU/Linux on the desktop seeing the product costing very little and being able to make a profit selling it for a little more. Which way will the bottom line benefit more?

Folks are genuinely annoyed by Wintel and the endless costs of keeping systems going. That’s why Apple had some success. That’s why Android/Linux had some success. That’s why GNU/Linux has had some success. The first ~1% of usage may be due to DIYers and FLOSSies, but we are long past that. Schools and governments and individuals are loving GNU/Linux, not just fans. We are in a situation where “10” despite lots of expensive advertising is not seen as a “must have”. That’s because while advertising/promotion/usage has familiarized the world with the product, widespread usage has familiarized the world with malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, the damned EULA,… So, people are equating Wintel PCs with a loss of productivity, not a gain. Wintel has besmirched the reputation of the PC and that may not be undone for a generation.

Enter GNU/Linux. When folks discover one way or another that GNU/Linux does not have the cost and waste of Wintel, they will buy it or install it on the waste left over from failed copies of TOOS. Today, there’s even Odroid-C2, a tiny PC that’s powerful enough to do the desktop tasks yet costs ~$100 delivered to one’s snail-mailbox. Open the package, plug in the SD-card, fold up the tiny plastic case, and plug in to a world of trouble-free computing. It just sits there getting warm and doing wonderful things. There’s no EULA, no endless re-re-re-boots, yes, just like their smartphones. Hardkernel can spend money promoting Odroid-C2 and GNU/Linux because TOOS does not run on the device. It’s still a PC.

Around the world, GNU/Linux has made an impact. It’s widely used in schools, a few offices and millions of individuals. Governments in Europe are actively promoting FLOSS as an efficient means of operation. The fact that $millions are not being spent by OEMs promoting it slows down adoption. It does not prevent it. Adoption of GNU/Linux is happening. In Europe there are several countries with around 3% usage. Uruguay has about 13%. Folks who encounter GNU/Linux at school or at work will spread the concept by word of mouth. The idea that a PC must have Wintel has taken a huge hit. Obviously other operating systems are out there and billions know it. It’s just a matter of seizing opportunity to make it happen. That does not require a business set in the ways of Wintel to accomplish just motivated citizens and groups.

Posted in Linux in Education, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

New Realities

After a long and interesting life, retirement has opened up new opportunities for me. I’ve long taught students how to do maths, save and invest money and solve typical problems using mathematics/reasoning. Now, it’s paying off, in spades. Today, my stock portfolio in my pension increased in value about as much as my take-home pay in my best year as a teacher…

The mind boggles. Next year, if things continue this way, my annuity will exceed my take home pay for most years of my teaching career. Meanwhile, back in the trenches, I dug a 5 gallon hole for planting a tree. In the heat and humidity and tough clay, this took several goes and a rain storm arrived to prevent the actual planting. TLW buys huge trees. It would be a lot easier to plant a seedling and pull up a lawn-chair to watch it grow.

If I ever had any concept of retirement it was not this, slaving over a shovel in the heat of the day while watching share-prices rise day after day. Do I actually have to die to get my rest?

Whatever. The heat and drought has slowed the advance of the weeds. My orchard is taking shape and I will easily be able to keep up if I can keep a whipper-snipper going and finish planting trees in bulk. I bought a few more hard drives and SD-cards in anticipation to the completion of my IT-renewal. Everything is working except my tired old body, but I still see good things happening daily. Life is good.

Posted in family, food, horticulture, Teaching | Tagged , | 3 Comments

M$ Shoots Foot, Again

“Microsoft’s restricting of Azure Server to a handful of vendors and certifying to a limited set of known hardware configurations will work. But it’s a policy that historically helped usher open-source and Linux towards broad success on servers and HPC.
If Microsoft wants true ubiquity of Azure Server, then it should have turned the whole proposition around. Not fit the hardware to the code but, rather, make the code work with the hardware by letting those from outside do the heavy lifting.
That, however, is called “open source” and open source is as much not part of the Microsoft model”
See Microsoft: Why we had to tie Azure Stack to boxen we picked for you
I’ve long held that the lack of modularity/high level of integration/mixing of stuff in TOOS is a weakness and endless source of problems. Well, in its old age, that’s a weakness for M$ itself. Not being able to sell software unbundled from hardware is a terrible deficit in a world where people are building open servers.

Enjoy your bitter pill, M$. You’re like the dinosaurs that succeeded so well that they died off… Bye-bye.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

USA, Get On With It. Just Go FLOSS.

“When agencies procure custom-developed source code, however, they do not necessarily make their new code (source code or code) broadly available for Federal Government-wide reuse. Even when agencies are in a position to make their source code available on a Government-wide basis, they do not make such code available to other agencies in a consistent manner. In some cases, agencies may even have difficulty establishing that the software was produced in the performance of a Federal Government contract. These challenges may result in duplicative acquisitions for substantially similar code and an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. This policy seeks to address these challenges by ensuring that new custom-developed Federal source code be made broadly available for reuse across the Federal Government.”
See Federal Source Code Policy
Come on, USA. You know you want it. Go Free/Libre Open Source Software. It makes sense. It saves a lot of money. It’s easier/simpler/faster. Just do it. Why limit yourself to 20% of “custom” software? You can have it all, not just 20% and not just custom software.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trump: Drop Democracy – Call In Thought Police

“Trump is also set to call for increased vetting of individuals entering the United States by developing a “test” that would question visa applicants on their support of US values and seek to weed out any supporters of extremist ideologies.”
See Trump to lay out plan for combating radical Islamic terrorism
Trump, please just go away. Your values are incompatible with life in the 21st century. We value democracy. We value human rights. You don’t. Just go away.

Morphing your plan to ban muslims into a plan to ban folks based on geographic origins is no less stupid than promising folks to police the thoughts of candidates for immigration. This is all an irrelevant smokescreen. Ever heard of the Internet? How are you going to filter that? Blocking FB, Google, Twitter,…? What other verbal diarrhea are you going to emit between now and the elections? Save our ears, minds and hearts. Just go away. Start your long vacation early, preferably at the South Pole or some remote location with poor Internet access.

Posted in politics | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Fixing Things

Well, even Linux has bugs. Recent reports that TCP connections can be hijacked have kicked an anthill at Kernel.org. Linus and others have a patch. I’m testing it despite my little operation likely being below the radar, just in case.

See Linux-Kernel Archive: [PATCH 4.4 01/49] tcp: make challenge acks less predictable

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments