MH370 Debris Washed Up On Reunion

“Latest news as Malaysia sends investigators to see whether wreckage found on the French Island of Reunion, believed to be a moving part on the wing called a flaperon, comes from missing Boeing 777″
 
See MH370 search: plane debris ‘almost certainly from Boeing 777′
Barring some elaborate hoax, this is the first finding of actual debris from MH-370. Part numbers visible on the outside of the debris match part numbers in 777 parts lists. Further technical analysis should be conclusive within a few days.

This still does not locate the main wreckage but it may lay to rest all kinds of speculation about the plane going in other directions than the Indian Ocean or making a safe landing somewhere. The only upside to the discovery may be that the flap probably was scraped off by a nice entry into the water rather than a steep dive. That means the remaining wreckage might be in good shape for recovery rather than scattered as a million pieces. In a steep dive the forces of impact shred everything. In a normal glide/belly landing the craft could hang together much better although trailing flaps like this might break off. This could explain why so little wreckage has been found so far. It’s mostly all in a few pieces on the bottom of the ocean.

Reunion has often appeared on this blog being a country with relatively heavy use of GNU/Linux desktops according to StatCounter.

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M$ Is At It Again, Lying About Costs

“con OpenOffice la spesa annuale per singolo utente è stata stimata pari a oltre 500 Euro, ben superiore rispetto alla precedente spesa annuale per utente di Office pari a circa 118 Euro
 
Google’s Translation:with OpenOffice annual spending per user has been estimated at over 500 euros, much higher than the previous annual spending Office user of about 118 Euro”
 
See A Pesaro l’Ufficio a Cielo Aperto: grazie a Microsoft al Comune di Pesaro lo Smart Working è una realtà
Yes, right. If you believe a Free download and copying files costs more than paying M$ its $billions, I have a bridge in New York I can sell you…

No, of course, there are two sides to the story. The town of Pesaro did not do due diligence and they invented problems for OpenOffice.org by allowing staff to use a mix of ancient copies of that other office suite and OpenOffice.org. A switch to LibreOffice properly enforced would have fixed those problems. It’s a sign of the growing desperation of M$ over its dying monopoly that it would stoop so low to try to score points. You’d think they’d weigh the cost of seeing the truth juxtaposed with their lies on .eu sites widely read by governments in the region…

“Advocates of the use of free and open source software by public administrations decry the city’s decision. Pesaro has lost control over its infrastructure, and is further locking itself in to proprietary software. A well-organised migration to LibreOffice, closely related to OpenOffice, will over time save Pesaro lots of money.
 
Pesaro invented the EUR 300,000 cost of OpenOffice. They have the courage to say OpenOffice does not suit them, while ignoring the recommendations and the plans provided by the company that supported the software.”

See Free software advocates heckle town of Pesaro

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On The Verge Of Going Public, M$’s Fix Breaks Stuff

“I have 8 machines with build 10240. They are all different configurations and several are clean installs and several are in place 8.1 Upgrade. (Testing purposes). Before this update, essentially smooth sailing since 10240 release.It may be a free upgrade on July 29, but it feels like that is just beginning the beta testing phase…All machines have this problem, regardless of hardware, even 32 bit Atom SOC tablet. Anything to do with any Network adapters (status, change settings, disable, enable, etc.) causes explorer to crash.”
 
See Updated: Windows 10 Update KB3074681 causing crashes for users
I expect it will be another interesting year for M$’s share-price. Another heavily advertised consumer-product is looking more like Vista every day. Forced updates of an incredibly complex piece of software from Day One is a recipe for disaster. What could possibly go wrong… go wrong… go wrong…

This kind of thing for a million customers would be a death-blow for most normal businesses. M$, with a lot of inertia, can survive a few of these but they’re running out of Free Rides: Vista, XP, “phoney 7″, “8.*” and now “10”. They are right. This is the last version of TOOS you will ever see. It’s inevitable that forced updates breaking millions of systems will cost M$ millions of customers. Some will go to Apple but a lot will go to */Linux. Already Android/Linux has taken the mobile space which was M$’s to take, simply because “phoney 7″ was so pitifully inadequate in comparison to Android/Linux. It’s a lot easier to push schlock when it’s first to market or the only thing allowed on retail shelves. Life in the real world of competition is not nearly so easy.

Every school where I’ve worked and XP was the only OS on desktop had a policy of not taking forced updates. The reason was simple, to avoid breakage. It was a huge burden on me personally to wade through the vast numbers of updates triaging them into Good, Bad and Ugly… The best-running XP machines were always the ones that had no connection to the Internet. Still running SP1, they were faster and more reliable than SP3. Forcing updates on all the products shipped onto all those retail shelves will be the last straw. Retailers won’t be able to sell the product. OEMs will have huge piles unsold in warehouses. TOOS as a valid expense for business only makes sense if it actually works…

It’s all good news for GNU/Linux which has been flagging in the second quarter. School got out, I guess, but with “10” being forced on folks so soon after “8.*” it’s going to be a great year for desktop GNU/Linux. This will make the massive recalls in the auto-industry seem like child’s play. Unfortunately, governments don’t dictate recalls for TOOS. They just change their procurement practices which are less dramatic but still effective. These days Europe and Asia and South America are on the verge of switching to GNU/Linux. The recent bad quarter which M$ blamed on Nokia will become the norm. While M$ is still in the denial phase of grieving for their monopoly, much of the world will switch to GNU/Linux in self-defence.

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Turkey Steps Up

“Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the air strikes, on three IS positions, “completely destroyed” their targets.On Thursday, Turkish forces exchanged fire with IS fighters near the Syrian border. One Turkish soldier was killed.In the early hours of Friday, police launched raids against IS and Kurdish militants across the country, arresting 297 people.In Istanbul, more than 5,000 officers helped search 140 properties.”
 
See Turkey bombs Islamic State targets in Syria
The major dark spot on the 21st century so far has been the rise in violence in the Middle East and offshoots in Africa. The world just doesn’t need more violence. There comes a time when violence is the only answer or at least the first move towards a solution: when some bully commits crimes against humanity to gain power. That’s happening in many places in the world but the magnitude and proximity to Europe of the stuff happening in Syria, Iraq, Yemen… means it cannot be ignored. Still, folks are tired of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which were largely pointless. They’ve held back, even Turkey with a long border with Syria.

Today, Turkey has stepped up. Seeing that the conflicting political/religious/historical entanglements are out-weighed by the imminent catastrophe, Turkey took steps to deal with everything, all at once. They have attacked violent factions within Turkey and have raided ISIL’s strong points in a Syrian town on the border. It remains to be seen whether this is just a message from Turkey about its limits of tolerance or the beginning of a proper campaign to smack ISIL, Assad, anyone posing a threat to humanity in the region. I think it could be the beginning of a campaign because Turkey has also allowed a Turkish base to be used by USA to attack ISIL in Syria. This puts Raqqa much closer to constant harassment by USAian bombers. Warthogs could essentially put a curfew on Raqqa within days.

I’m still troubled by Turkey’s relationship with the Kurds who have fought honourably in Iraq and Syria while everyone else, including Iraq, fled or ignored the problem. The Kurds need help. Turkey could provide that and earn a proper relationship with the Kurds. The Kurds could, in return, respect Turkey’s position on territory and seek peaceful negotiations rather than endless confrontation. It’s in no one’s interest to have perpetual war. ISIL needs to be granted their death-wish so the rest of us can move on. The Kurds and Turks have more in common than history. They both value humanity. ISIL does not. Assad does not. Iran should not be allowed to fill a power-vacuum with its own brand of inhumanity. If the world steps up as Turkey has done, Iran will get the message. Iran may have some crazies but Iran is not crazy. If Assad and ISIL are pounded into the ground, Iran will be no problem. They won’t want to be the only nail sticking up.

Once Syria and Iraq stabilize on human terms, the world can once again turn to the ancient problems in Palestine, the only real issue remaining. It’s gone on far too long and serves no purpose to continue. Israel/USA/Palestine must be properly resolved rather than allowed to be in an indefinite state of war. When the dust settles in the Middle East, there will be a bright future for the region, but people have to step up to make it happen. ISIL, Assad, and Iran don’t have the answer. The world has to come up with a proper consensus and the sooner the better.

PS:See also, Turkey vows to continue campaign against Islamic State militants

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Jack Wallen Gets It

“The only reason more people aren’t using Linux is because they can’t go to a big box store and purchase a computer with Linux pre-installed. If the masses could head over to Best Buy or Target and drop a few hundred dollars for a PC running Linux, they’d be using Linux. Why? Because they’d discover an operating system that includes the one tool they mostly use and won’t be plagued with the same tired issues they’ve faced over the last couple of decades.”
 
See The only remaining barrier to entry for Linux
I’ve been writing for ages that the real barrier to widespread adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop is more space on retail shelves. Now, Jack Wallen gets that.

Of course, this just shifts the question as to why GNU/Linux gets so little space on retail shelves. The answer to that question is mostly inertia but also that M$ forced OEMs years ago to be almost exclusively putting out That Other OS on PCs. The retailers had little choice. By now retailers are used to pushing That Other OS and are unfamiliar with GNU/Linux. This is changing but it’s not universally so. India and China are both shipping a lot of GNU/Linux to local retail shelves via the Dell-Canonical arrangement. India has 2%+ share for GNU/Linux according to StatCounter but China is below 1% still. Europe is rather strong with lots of support from governments for independence, lower costs etc. motivations. There are a few countries widely using GNU/Linux on the desktop: Uruguay, Cuba, Venezuela, India, several central countries of Europe. Mostly the move was made from expediency/necessity, political decisions or modernization of IT in education, often going from nothing/little to wide availability at lowest cost.

In 2015, we see the huge sluggishness of Wintel markets. This will motivate retailers to seek other solutions. Better GNU/Linux on those retail shelves than a product that’s not selling… Last Christmas was a wake-up call for retailers. GNU/Linux sold well, and “8.1” did not. Q1 of 2015 showed huge increases in usage of GNU/Linux according to web-stats. When school resumes in the north, I expect more increases. Then, what worked last Christmas will work again. 2015 will be the last year we see reluctance on the part of retailers to sell GNU/Linux. They’ve seen what Android/Linux has done. They will be ready to give GNU/Linux a try on the desktops. The OEMs are OK with whatever ships because the lock-in to M$ is gone. US DOJ v M$ and EU v M$ fixed that.

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Success

I just signed up for a seminar on the web. The organization sent me a reminder e-mail and suggested I check my system…“Operating System Failed We have detected that your operating system does not meet the optimal webinar specifications for listening to and/or viewing webinars. We recommend the following operating systems:” Not surprisingly, they found my operating system not “optimal”, yet every test passed. They are still stuck in the past, dealing with M$’s lack of standardized APIs. These days, folks are using open standards and incompatibility is rare. They should delete their OS-test. It’s none of their business what OS I run. Their stuff doesn’t run on my OS but on applications that run perfectly on my OS. Of course, they could have issued the warning, “Using that other OS may open you up to malware and really stupid lock-in. We recommend Free/Libre Open Source Software, including an operating system like GNU/Linux. Then your computer will not be limited by the imaginations of M$’s salesmen….”

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Little By Little, The World Is Freeing Itself From M$

Measuring the world’s software Freedom by M$’s licensing revenue:

  • Consumers are 34% more free than the same quarter last year
  • Businesses are 7% more free than the same quarter last year although they saved M$’s bacon by buying other stuff… It’s a wash for them.

I’d guess this means the Android/Linux cash-cow has dried a little. Oh, and they wrote off Nokia…

See Quarterly Report 2015-June-30

According to StatCounter, in Q2 of 2015, M$ had 53.92% of page-views while in 2014 in the same quarter, M$ had 61.81%. How the mighty have fallen in mind-share… It’s all good news.

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FLOSS, The Right Way To Do Policing IT In Belgium

“Belgium’s police forces are increasingly switching to open source web technology. The federal police and already 49 local police forces across the country are using the openpolice.be platform for their websites. In total 126 of police websites in Belgium are reusing and sharing the platform.”
 
See Belgium police sharing and reusing web technology
I’ve long held that FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) is the right way to do IT. There are lots of advantages:

  • less spent on licensing,
  • spreading cost of development over more programmers/organizations,
  • no vendor lock-in, since there is no vendor, and
  • because you can see the code, you know the stuff is not out to get you…

A corollaries to the “no vendor lock-in” part are that organizations have total control of IT and cooperating developers/organizations are united rather than divided by “the vendor”. The world can and does make its own software for less than the monopolists would. There’s just no reason at all that the world should pay multiple times over the cost of developing software when they can do it themselves.

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Mentioned In Posts

On the battlefield, there is lots happening. Occasionally someone does something good that gets mentioned in reports filed. Sometimes its an actual commendation and a medal is issued. Other times it’s just “so-and-so did this”, you know, his/her job…

As a teacher, I’ve been mentioned a few times, even fired a couple of times, for doing my job. Rarely, it’s one of the students whom I encounter years later that gives some feedback. Usually, it’s, “You must have taught us something because we did well later…”. Students can’t often say one lesson at some point made all the difference. It’s the report on the war of education rather than particular battles. I usually tried to do my best and I retired when that became harder. I enjoyed teaching despite the ups and downs and it’s good that someone takes the time to let me know I made a difference.


“Hello Mr. Pogson,
 
You might not remember me my name is ******, I was one of your students back when you lived in ******. I took computer information and Pure Math 20 with you. Though I may not have realized it at the time our encounter would later wind up changing my life. I am currently in the process of teaching myself how to program with Python and C/C++ (using raspberry pi) and have begun to fall in love with mathematics, computer science/electronics, and open source software, namely Linux! I am an undergrad at the University of Alberta in my last year studying sociology/biology. This however is not the end goal, I hope to attend the U of M next Fall and seek to obtain an electrical engineering degree with an engineering physics focus and computer science minor. The only reason I am telling you all of this is because of a revelation I had thinking back to your classes in high school. The introduction to Linux and math at the time was indeed a bit of a shock, but it always left me with embers of curiosity, embers that are now beginning to emerge as a roaring flame. I wanted to say thank you for the introduction to this wonderful world of science, math, electronics, and computing. I hope to one day spark that same curiosity in some other young mind.
 
Keep up the good fight,
 
*******”


Well, thank you. It’s good to know I made a difference in your life, even if it was only to plant a few seeds. In gardening or farming, it’s the same. One invests planning/effort/time/money and hopes disaster doesn’t befall the project. I’ve met a few students who have made huge progress partly as a result of my teaching. Sadly, one died young after graduating college. Others acquired a love of mathematics/computing. Quoting Forrest Gump, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”. Only one thing’s sure. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. Here’s to trying. 💡

Posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

TOOS, The OS For Masochistic Slaves

“the new Windows, due to be released next week, will have users click off on an EULA that pretty much gives Redmond carte blanche to update the system at will, which will include updating apps as well as Windows itself, with no real way to opt out — except for users of the Enterprise edition.”
 
See Yet Another Reason to Avoid Windows 10
Folks are correct. I don’t know much about recent releases from M$ but I know enough. Consider the EULA from Hell, for instance. That’s all you need to know that you are making your OS-provider your single point of failure. You’re even putting them in charge of built-in obsolescence, slowing down, security, breakage etc. Clicking on “Accept” or “I Agree” or whatever the button shows is opening Pandora’s Box and we all know how that turned out… What the criminal gang almost succeeded to do to the world they are now content to do to the subset of humanity who accept slavery in IT. In the old days, it was about controlling a single PC. Now M$ wants to control you by forcing upgrades which let in updates to everything, new “features”, even advertising on the hardware you own. Want your bandwidth gobbled up by ads? Want your PC to slow to a trickle by M$’s “Denial Of Service” attacks? Just buy a PC with That Other OS and watch it happen.

There is an escape though. Buy a PC with GNU/Linux and be Free to use your PC as you see fit. Like Android/Linux? It’s the same idea. Free/Libre Open Source Software is software you can run, examine, modify and distribute. What’s good for your smartphone is good for your other PCs. Run FLOSS on them. That’s the right way to do IT, not slavery to M$.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

New CIO, New Outlook For GNU/Linux In German Government

“The German federal government is appointing a new chief ICT commissioner. Klaus Vitt, head of IT at Germany’s Federal Employment Agency, is to become the new IT Commissioner of the federal government and Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior.”
 
See Germany appoints new CIO
 
“Shortly after switching all of its 13,000 public internet information workstations from Windows NT to Linux, the Federal Employment Office (BA) issued an interim report. According to an announcement by Klaus Vitt, CIO for the BA, the switch to open source software will, ‘allow the BA to react with flexibility to new technological developments. In the future, a broad range of software will be available to the BA that it can use to access various internet media, and to ensure optimal internet communication for its clients.'”
 
See Federal Employment Office switches to Linux (2008)
 
“Under pressure of rising costs, the German Federal Employment Agency was looking for a more efficient way to provide critical services. With key applications now being run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the employment agency is benefiting from lower investment costs for hardware and savings of around 80 percent for database servers. In addition, these more efficient servers reduce energy consumption by more than 80 percent.”
 
See German Federal Employment Agency Saves Money and Energy with Open Server Architecture and SUSE (2014)
It always helps adoption of FLOSS and GNU/Linux to have an inside man who loves to pinch pennies. Thus it is appropriate in 2015 to have such a guy rise to the top of IT in the German government in 2015. He’s been rolling out GNU/Linux and saving money in the Federal Employment Office for the last decade and I have no doubt he will continue for the next. It will be interesting to see his influence spread to other departments.

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Audit, Bargain, Close

“Powa Technologies Ltd., a mobile payments company located in the U.K., which about a year ago began moving from Oracle and IBM products to open source software. The limited migrations attempted so far have proved to be so successful that the company is now in the process of moving almost all of it’s operations to free software.”
 
“Oracle is using audits to aggressively sell cloud services to its existing base — even to customers who have no interest in moving to the cloud. One of the methods used is to lower massive penalties for being out of compliance in exchange for signing up for cloud services. Another method takes advantage of vendor lock-in by using the “breach notice,” which is what Business Insider meant by “nuclear option,” as it gives the customer the chance to walk away from a costly contract scot-free.”
 
See Godfather Ellison’s Protection Racket
No matter how helpful salesmen of non-Free products may be they have quotas to meet and turn up the pressures on customers at crunch-time. I’ve seen it myself with a school division upgrading an application and being required to pay for multiple copies of licences if they wanted to keep their data. Well, you can be free of all that simply by using FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software. It’s not “out to get you”. You download it, run it and you can use as many copies as you want. You can even modify and distribute the software if you want. That’s all allowed by the FLOSS licences which accompany the download. No salesmen. No nasty salesmen. Not even an “End User Licensing Agreement”.

If you use Oracle’s database, try Postgresql. If it’s M$’s OS, and office suite, try Debian GNU/Linux and LibreOffice. Be free to use your hardware as you see fit rather than as some corporation allows.

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