Put The Job-cuts Where They Belong, In Redmond

“Microsoft phoned Conservative MPs with Microsoft R&D facilities in their constituencies and said, ‘we will close them down in your constituency if this goes through’”
See Microsoft faces claims it threatened MPs with job cuts in constituencies
In the old days, M$ used to bully key people everywhere to give their software the inside track in IT-decisions. That’s working less well these days with such tactics being published far and wide on the Internet and in the news-media. When ODF was crucial, M$ went far beyond normal advocacy bullying governments deciding the fate of documents in their systems. Now, it’s time to return the favour.

The world doesn’t need M$ at all in IT. That’s obvious. Further, there’s no reason to choose IT from a known bully. Just say “No” to M$ and let them cut their own staff. The world can and does make its own software based on FLOSS and */Linux operating systems. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux as the base of a good IT-system. It has worked for me and my employers for 15 years. It can work for you too.

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Battle – Optimism Versus Pessimism

“The desktop battle is now irrelevant. We tried. We lost. With the new battles, I feel there is much more at stake: our very freedom, and sense of ownership, is being taken away from us.”
See GNU/Linux: the desktop that never was
Battle is an intense thing. Stuff happens quickly amid boredom, terror, fear, doubt, anger, triumph, destruction…

Tony Mobily states outright that the battle for the desktop is lost and new battles lie on the horizon. I think he’s premature. There are more than a billion desktops out there and many run GNU/Linux. Retail shelves have been breached although you can’t find many here bearing GNU/Linux. Governments are promoting GNU/Linux as a sound choice with the added benefit of saving time and money.

No, the battle is not over and M$ has not won it. GNU/Linux made huge gains in 2015 and there’s no reason to believe those gains won’t continue. Users of IT need some way to access the network. The legacy PC remains a viable option with or without That Other OS. Android/Linux proved that. GNU/Linux continues to grow.

This is what winning in Uruguay looks like, students being freed from slavery to Wintel. It may be happening slower than we’d like but it’s happening.

Conversely, M$’s client division plunged, down 24% in Q1 over the same quarter last year. That’s losing. The biggest battles may be lost due to a single chink in the armour. That Other OS has dozens of weaknesses. GNU/Linux exploits them all.

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No Ceiling For GNU/Linux On The Desktop

“as long as the Linux and open source community continue to fight among themselves, this will never happen. Without a convergent effort from the current user base, Linux will continue to hit the same ceiling that has held it down for years.”
See Misplaced ire toward Ubuntu and Canonical is hurting Linux
There is no ceiling on GNU/Linux adoption on desktops. US DOJ, EU Commission, the market, Google, Samsung, etc. have spread the word far and wide and weakened the Wintel monopoly. No magical convergence on Canonical/Ubuntu GNU/Linux is necessary for this movement. M$ did it to itself by shipping junk and charging too much and restricting too much for the consumer/business to tolerate. Everyone is looking at every opportunity to escape monopoly in IT. That’s happening this year. That’s a continuation of the maturation process which probably started back when IBM endorsed GNU/Linux. Canonical/Ubuntu is not the thing that did it. They were just one step in a long chain of little victories over tyranny.

Yesterday, with nearly 2 billion citizens of the Internet, GNU/Linux desktops had 1.75%, ~35million. Chrome GNU/Linux had 0.46%, ~10million, with another 7million expected in 2015. Then there’s Android/Linux, don’t you know? What ceiling? Units are shipping right from the OEMs to consumers and organizations large and small. The only limitation is the imagination of folks who know about GNU/Linux, not any need to collaborate in Canonical’s dream.

GNU/Linux works for people as does */Linux generally. It’s not broken. There’s nothing that needs fixing, just the usual gradual improvements/enrichment. 2015 is The Year Of The GNU/Linux desktop. In the first quarter the world went crazy adopting GNU/Linux and while much of it was Ubuntu, every other distro has a shot. The year began with GNU/Linux page-views at 1.5% and in May we saw 2%. Much of Europe is over 3%. Salesmen help but not are not an essential element of adoptions of FLOSS. People adopt FLOSS. They don’t need to buy it. Don’t fix what’s not broken. Introduce people to GNU/Linux. Put it on retail shelves. Tell your friends. Ask for it by name instead of the “no Linux” Ubuntu

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The other day we had visitors, a landscaping contractor and his wife. She waited in the truck outside while he and my wife discussed plans for landscaping. Nothing is brief in conversation with The Little Woman, so, after a while the wife was rescued from the truck and invited to sit inside. After a time, I fell into conversation with her. Of course, being a bore, I mentioned GNU/Linux and I was surprised to find she knew nothing of it, so I demonstrated one of our GNU/Linux PCs right there in the living room. It went well for the usual stuff, browsing and word-processing but I was embarrassed by some bad links on my LAN-server. Still, I covered most of the bases and showed off Debian.org and Goodbye-Microsoft.com. LibreOffice was most interesting to her as she uses That Other Word-processor and knows its costs.

Today, I got around to the failures of my server. It was my fault in one case, I had changed the password for one user of the MariaDB database but had not changed it in one of the web-applications. My local wiki had some crashed tables. I fixed them with myisamchk. I have not maintained that wiki since I quit teaching because our Internet connection is so fast I normally use the real Wikipedia… So, the next time a visitor comes I can show off my local version of the Internet with a bit more polish… ;-), including ~100K recipes, a snapshot of Wikipedia when it easily fit on a hard drive, and other web-applications.

Well, you never know where a conversation will lead. From now on this sharp lady will know she has a choice. That overcomes a barrier to adoption of GNU/Linux and makes the world a better place.

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It’s Alive! The Chinese Rototiller Works At Last!

I repaired the bent strut on the tail-wheel and operated the rototiller by walking behind the thing and it worked like a charm. I was still breaking it in and used a shallow cut at low power but it was very smooth. Steering is much easier than with the plough attached and also much easier than with our old Sears 5HP tiller. I may even remove the seat to make it easier to walk behind. I levelled some ploughed land this morning. I will do the same in the garden this afternoon and may turn it loose on the winter-killed lawn tomorrow.

It’s amazingly fast, even idling. The cut is nearly 1m wide and the machine moves at a very comfortable pace. It can turn about a 1m radius, which is OK on a large enough garden/plot, with the skid-steering. Our lawn was killed off by two winters with minimal snowfall despite high winds and low temperature. I will replant with a tougher species this fall. The new rototiller should make this job easy. For now we will prepare the garden for planting fruit trees this afternoon: three sour cherries, a dwarf apple, two Manchurian apricots and some blueberries. Along with a growing orchard of Saskatoon berries, the garden will be productive far beyond the usual vegetables.

See Anon Walking Tractor Power Tiller AN181 18HP 500kg

Posted in food, horticulture | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Top 20 Countries In Europe For GNU/Linux Page-views

GNU/Linux (%)
Czech Republic

Yesterday, Europe had an average of 2.29% page-views from GNU/Linux desktops according to StatCounter. There is quite a variation with plenty of countries in the range 2%+. Some very large countries are in the 3%+ range. A year ago the average was 2.24% despite many countries having increased usage this year. Just as we had the Digital Divide with That Other OS, apparently there is still a GNU/Linux divide in spite of the freedom GNU/Linux gives users to run, examine, modify and distribute the code. There are no longer as many barriers to adoption but they still exists: lack of space on retail shelves, knowledge of GNU/Linux, resistance to change,…

I had an interesting encounter the other day. I met a woman who helps run a small business here in Canada. She had never heard of GNU/Linux and had no idea what it was or how to get it. I demonstrated GNU/Linux and LibreOffice on our PC in the living room. I’m a crashing bore at parties but she seemed interested in the fact that it worked and was $free. I hope I planted a seed.

We still have work to do when the continent with the greatest usage of GNU/Linux still has millions of people not using GNU/Linux and/or unaware of the advantages. It pays to have salesmen. We need more selling GNU/Linux. I will continue doing my part here. What are you doing?

See StatCounter

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Finnish Spikes In GNU/Linux Usage And Chrome Browser Linked

See StatCounter
The pattern of two to three one-day spikes on weekdays using GNU/Linux for browsing StatCounter’s universe continues. I’ve noticed that the spikers use Chrome 41 and did not change to Chrome 42 as most users did in this period of time. Chrome 41 had uptake starting around the beginning of March but the spikes in its usage did not start until April 9. That gives another clue. What systems upgrade applications automatically and which do not?

This suggests the spiking systems are a single organization on a single schedule with a single system administrator… Sounds like schools to me but it could also be a large business or government or particular device sold in huge quantity without automatic updating. The 3 spikes on weekdays suggests to me it’s the schools.

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Australia – Why Should The Government Of A Country Of 24million People Spend $6billion On IT, $250 per capita per annum?

Could it be that they are using That Other OS almost exclusively and spending the taxpayers’ money“In 2014, the Australian government’s ICT spending reached A$5.8 billion, representing 8.5% of the total ICT spend. It is forecasted to grow to A$6.2 billion by 2018. IT services represents the largest spending category valued at A$2.75 billion but the strongest 5-year CAGR growth is for software at 7.0%.”
See Australian Government ICT Spending is set to exceed A$6.2 billion by 2018
foolishly on software they could acquire for very little cost and upgrading hardware too often to compensate for software bloat, slowing down, and malware?

It’s just a thought. Imagine what I could have done wasting that much money on IT in typical schools:

  • replace PCs every other year, whether they needed it or not,
  • provide every student with a PC with its own private Internet connection, or
  • buy a whole rack of servers annually, just because we could afford it…

Instead we had way more IT than most schools because we got hardware from the recycling bins of businesses and Free Software from Debian. We did exactly the same sorts of things governments need to do: store, find, create, modify and present documents, run databases and servers.

When will the government of Australia wake up? When will the voters and taxpayers demand they wake up?

PS: Yesterday, Sunday, 2015-05-17, 1.83% of page-views from Australia were made with GNU/Linux. Last Wednesday, 2015-05-13, the share was 1.37%. Some people in Australia have a clue. They should tell their friends and their politicians.

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Schools Love GNU/Linux II

Chuckle. Repeatedly commentators have told us that GNU/Linux is crippleware and an insult to students yet schools keep using it on PCs and winning, big time. They save money.“By switching to Linux, incidents such as computer viruses, system degradation and many diverse technical issues disappeared instantly. The change also helps the school save money. Not having to purchase licences for proprietary operating systems, office suites and anti-virus tools has already saved about EUR 35,000 in the 2014-2015 school year”
 See School: open source reduces PC troubleshooting
They get more IT. They get better IT. FLOSS gives them all this with less effort. I love it.

The consequence, the real payoff, is that schools that use GNU/Linux end up doing more with computers in education, not less, and they have the resources and flexibility to do a much better job of educating students and preparing them for a society where IT is everywhere. Face it. It’s just a better way to do IT with computers than shuffling dead trees around. Having great software that you can run, examine, modify and distribute is just better for schools. Compare M$’s EULA with the GPL and see what I mean. M$’s EULA is about preventing schools from using PCs, networks and servers to maximum benefit while the GPL does just the opposite. Schools using GNU/Linux are limited only by their imaginations, not M$’s greed.

See also, ‘less’ is more than ‘more’ – Interview: Migrating a school from Windows XP to Ubuntu 14.04

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GNU/Linux Page-views Ramping Up Like Never Before

Growth is good. It shows health, vigour, promise for the future. Compared to the past 2015 is looking like a promising future for GNU/Linux on the desktop if StatCounter’s page-views are any measure.

In Malta, The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop started in 2014. For the rest of the world it varies but 2015 is stellar. I like it.

To add insult and injury to Wintel, even in the home country, USA, GNU/Linux is ramping up both as traditional GNU/Linux and as Chrome OS, Google’s concept.

So, this is GNU/Linux’s year. The year when positive feedback is kicking in. The year when M$ burned it’s bridges to consumers and OEMs with ill-conceived nonsense. The year the world realized it had a choice of operating systems for PCs. Amen.

See StatCounter

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Sometimes Greenpeace Doesn’t Do The Maths

In principle, I agree with outfits like Greenpeace just as I tend to agree with the Free Software Foundation and other organizations which share my views on making the world a better place.“A Greenpeace report has found online video is by far the biggest user of internet data, with streaming services responsible for more than 60% of data centre emissions, with the number expected to rise to 78% by 2018.”
See Online video threatens emissions progress: Greenpeace
They are out of their realm in railing against streaming video from huge data-centres however. Just do the maths. If every human on the planet has their own PC streaming from a local storage device to some display, the energy wasted is many times larger than a much smaller number of servers in a building somewhere doing the same task. The servers have faster network connections, bigger CPUs and more RAM to hold everything and they can serve hundreds at once. A big server might use kilowatts of power to serve 200 clients, just a few watts per client. The local PC may need 50 watts to do the same. Heck, the local client, except for smartphones and ARMed tablets with tiny displays, may approach 100 watts. Streaming is the most efficient way to distribute video. Putting CDs in the mail would be far more costly and burdensome to the planet. Bits don’t use a lot energy. Nor do they have much mass. They certainly travel faster than freight.

No, Greenpeace should be pushing GNU/Linux on ARMed PCs, not attacking efficient operations. The data-centres are switching to ARM sooner or later, Greenpeace should be recommending consumers and businesses switch their client PCs to ARM as well. There are billions of clients. There is a huge multiplier if you can get the clients using less power each. There is a much smaller multiplier getting the servers to use less power. IT for everyone is also a good thing for people. Greenpeace can reach more people if they have IT, so why not make that IT efficient instead of tilting at windmills that work? The folks with the data-centres are motivated to reduce their huge power bills. The consumer may or may not be. Greenpeace would be better off trying to educate those consumers. Greenpeace has been using GNU/Linux on their servers. Why not on their own PCs and the PCs of the public? GNU/Linux on ARM is better than GNU/Linux on x86/amd64 for their purposes. It’s a much bigger target with a much bigger benefit. Why not go that way?

BTW, I recommend Greenpeace and others use Debian GNU/Linux. Debian has a social contract that is more or less in line with the belief that people should strive to make the world a better place unlike more frequently used software designed to waste resources.

Posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


I like islands. They have some of the highest shares of page-views from GNU/Linux…GNU/Linux(%)
Saint Helena
Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands
Christmas Island
British Virgin I.
Falkland Islands
St Pierre & Miquelon
Turks and Caicos I.
OK, Uruguay and Venezuela are not islands but they might as well be so, with a government that actually carries out its promises to use GNU/Linux widely. They are head and shoulders above their neighbours. Good for them. The rest? I guess the greedy monopolist thinks they are too small to warrant a local hit squad… head-count and all that. It’s all good.

GNU/Linux works for people. When they have a choice, they will take it. Go GNU/Linux!

See StatCounter, yesterday

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