Spring Arrives Next Weekend

This was a very strange winter. It was the least snowfall in my memory. It was the warmest winter by far until February. Then it was below normal temperatures. Well, the roller-coaster ends next weekend. The long range forecast for my region is for melting temperatures starting a week from today and only one minor snowfall forecast in March. I’ll take it. I can’t wait to get my new tractor out on the land and at this rate, I could have a plough in the soil by April. Yippee! 8-) Weather looks warm today. Good-bye, Winter!

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GNU/Linux Makes Another Move In Canada

This week has been phenomenal for GNU/Linux page-views on StatCounter. How about that, rising from ~1.8% to 2.58% in a week? A year ago, GNU/Linux was at 0.88%. I’ll take it… This level leaves USA behind and is quite competitive with Europe. It’s all good.

I wonder how big the “May Blip” will be this year.
2013 – 4.53% on 8 May
2014 – 7.46% on 24 May
2015 – ?
I’m thinking ~10%, about four times the average value at the time. Time will tell. ;-)

UPDATE I updated the graph to reflect another couple of days’ climb. That’s five of the last seven days climbing. There’s only a few percent chance that’s random.

UPDATE It seems the rise lasted a week. In one week the average daily level changed from 1.8% to 2.2%. It’s a huge migration or shipment of GNU/Linux PCs.

So, the change has persisted. Canada is now at a new level for GNU/Linux page-views. It wasn’t a statistical fluctuation but a measure of a real movement. Way to go, Canada!

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Whom Do You Love?

Here it is folks, a head-to-head comparison of the most popular version of that other OS and the most popular version of GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS:

That Other OS Ubuntu GNU/Linux
There are 25 matching records.
Search Parameters:
Contains Software Flaws (CVE)
CPE Vendor: cpe:/:microsoft
CPE Product: cpe:/:microsoft:windows_7
Publication Start Date: 01/2014
Publication End Date: 12/2014
CVSS Severity: High (7-10)
See NVD – Results.
There are 7 matching records.
Search Parameters:
Contains Software Flaws (CVE)
CPE Vendor: cpe:/:canonical
CPE Product: cpe:/:canonical:ubuntu_linux
CPE Product Version: cpe:/:canonical:ubuntu_linux:12.04
Publication Start Date: 01/2014
Publication End Date: 12/2014
CVSS Severity: High (7-10)
See NVD – Results.

Notice something in those links? That other OS, itself, is the culprit in most and you can find stuff like this in the notices: “win32k.sys in the kernel-mode drivers in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 allows local users to gain privileges via a crafted application, as exploited in the wild in October 2014, aka “Win32k.sys Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability.”” whereas GNU/Linux shows mostly vulnerabilities in the other stuff, like X and Java. The results are conclusive. If you love security, you will prefer GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux but Ubuntu GNU/Linux has more salesmen…

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*/Linux Breaks 3% in Canada

It’s been a couple of months since I realized GNU/Linux was finally making a move in Canada, particularly on weekends, but now, almost two months into 2015, we see a huge trend continuing.

Oh, that unknown line? Does anyone think a significant quantity for that other OS or MacOS or iOS could be “unknown”? Who tweaks their UserAgent strings? I’ll call it some form of */Linux for the time being.

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Moving On From Superfish

It’s true, RMS was right. The folks at LinuxBSDos.com are right. The world needs to use Free Software. “Superfish (the company) is an outfit that needs to make money, and VisualDiscovery is their main product. So the company is not going away any time soon. Just last year the company was voted 4th (out of 5000) on the list of fastest-growing private companies in America. Fastest-growing translates into “our product is red hot”, as in, very, very popular.

A real solution, a final solution, is one that does not involve the parties that caused the problem in the first place. And that solution is this: Find a good Linux distribution and install it over Windows. End of story. No more adware or other factory-delivered malicious software.”
They write about millions of computers shipped by Lenovo including malware but that’s just one of millions of malwares out there sucking the life from people and their IT systems. Not only does Free Software work for users it doesn’t work for the bad guys like M$ and malware writers.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s easy to install and you can even get that other OS to help. You don’t need to wait until the next wave of malware strikes. You can do it now.

See How to delete Superfish from Lenovo computers permanently.

If your computer needs a bit of non-Free firmware to run devices like network interfaces, try Debian’s “unofficial” CD-images. Many computers have the possibility of adding a network interface that doesn’t require non-Free software, like some Atheros USB wifi devices.

The Free Software Foundation directs users to hardware that respects Software Freedom.

You can even buy brand new PCs installed with only Free Software, right down to the BIOS or plug in a wired Ethernet card based on Realtek 8139 chips that work at 100mbits/s. There must be 50 ways to leave your slave-master.

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Desktop */Linux Trends In Canada

Now that we’ve pretty well figured out that the huge “Unkown” thing in StatCounter‘s “desktop” OS category is closely related to Android/Linux, this graph makes sense. Some people in Canada are hooking up Android/Linux systems to big screens. GNU/Linux is growing pretty well, not explosively, but definitely breaking out of the ~1% doldrums. ChromeOS is on a plateau, probably because schools just buy once or twice per annum. It’s all good. The grand total? 2.6%. It’s not wonderful but a far sight better than a year ago and this time GNU/Linux seems to be going places steadily. We have product/salesmen/promoters doing the job, finally. The growth in share is small, but this is a measure of a considerable rate of change of shipments/units/migrations on top of a huge installed base of PCs.

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The 50th Reason To Hate That Other OS

We all have reasons to hate that other OS, whether it’s the price, the re-re-reboots, the performance, the EULA…. but this is a game-changer.“Superfish is more than inconvenient; it’s downright dangerous. The certificate it uses to intercept your browsing has been thoroughly compromised and can be used for signing software your PC would trust, as well as telling you that your online banking site is secure when it’s intercepting your traffic- just to give attackers a couple of ideas. It also stops smartcards from working. Even worse, Lenovo’s initial instructions for removing it would leave vulnerable certificate on your PC.
And this isn’t the first time OEM software has caused problems. One notebook I looked at a few years ago had an amazing 79 running processes when you started Windows (not including the processes for Windows itself) all of them pre-installed software. One of them was a cloud storage service that hooked every single file write and redirected it via the network stack, making saving a file very like swimming through treacle.”
Many people consider that other OS as the must-have/GoTo operating system of business/consuming/gaming.

Now, it’s known that Lenovo, one of M$’s “best” OEMs, has embedded third-party software that snoops on HTTPS encrypted web-traffic to place ads… This is where we are. People love small cheap computers. To hide the price of that other OS, OEMs need other revenue from third-party software/hardware makers, you know, folks who are willing to pay to get stuff onto the ubiquitous legacy PC.

So, this is yet another reason that the EULA from Hell is a crime against humanity on a global scale. That an OEM as big as Lenovo would even be able to consider such a compromise of the security of users is the tip of the iceberg of corruption that surrounds M$ and its OS. Just like there are 50 ways to “leave your lover”, this is the best: M$ and its “partners” are openly abusive of consumers.

I recommend everyone switch to GNU/Linux. It’s easy. Demand your local retailers sell them. Shop online for a GNU/Linux PC. Heck, install it yourself. Heck, you can even get that other OS to start the process. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, software that works for you, not some corporation with the morality of a snake. The beauty of it is that the licence you get with the downloads includes the right to examine, modify and distribute the software, so you can cut out all that third-party crapware, if there were any. Debian doesn’t bother attaching crapware to PCs it doesn’t sell…

Another option: Rather than buying a PC with GNU/Linux or that other OS, you can buy a PC with FreeDOS or no OS and installing GNU/Linux. This saves you M$’s licensing fee. I’m sure you have a better use for your money. ;-)

See Lenovo's Superfish blunder makes it harder for you to love Windows.

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Hmmmm… 96Boards Could Be To ARM What ATX Was To x86

Are you old enough to remember what PCs looked like before ATX? I am. They were huge, heavy, expensive and often had weird parts from only one or a few sources.“The 96Boards initiative is designed to offer a single software and hardware community across multiple vendor boards supporting a range of different features. A fixed set of minimum functions including USB, SD, HDMI and standardized low speed and high speed peripheral connectors are provided. Vendors may add customized hardware and feature sets provided the minimum functions are available. We expect this to extend the platform life, increase the market for add-on hardware, and accelerate open source upstreaming of support for new SoC features.
There are currently two 96Boards specifications for low-cost ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A development boards:
The Consumer Edition (CE) targets the mobile, embedded and digital home segments. The first version of this specification is available here.
The Enterprise Edition (EE) targets the networking and server segments and this specification will be available in the second quarter of 2015.”
Now, there’s an open specification for SoC boards for consumer electronics. They are tiny, about as small as a wall of connectors can allow. They are cheap, $129 for the CE version. Those are about perfect for IOT stuff but limited with 512MB RAM minimum for instance. I think that amounts to built-in obsolescence. Any modern design should have at least 1gB or, better, a few. For instance, FireFox recommends a minimum of 512MB RAM but The Little Woman and I average 1gB, just for FireFox, each typically. The OS needs RAM too. The RAM is slow too. I’d like to see a memory subsystem with a little room to grow. Most GNU/Linux distros have a ton of ARMed software these things could use. FireFox and Chrome, for instance,

There’s a “server” edition to be set later this year. I hope it’s a bit more gutsy and full of RAM with sockets. Still, this is a good start to get ARMed motherboards into the hands of hardware, software and OEM designers as well as consumers/hobbyists. I expect the price of such basic designs to plunge when competition grows. I expect a proper replacement for Beast could be released to the market in 2015.

See About – 96Boards.

See also Linaro Launches 96Boards SBC Standard and First ARMv8 Board

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Unknown Unknowns

“Unknown” in StatCounters’s language probably means an unrecognized User-Agent string from a browser. Usually, that’s remedied in a few weeks and life carries on. What’s “Unknown” in Russia?

By now we should have it revealed, but no, it’s still “Unknown”. Therefor, I feel entitled to speculate this is Putin’s GNU/Linux… ;-) Putin signed that proclamation back in 2010 and it had a deadline of 2015, this year, so… Russia responded to the first sanctions over Ukraine by announcing a move to GNU/Linux, FLOSS and Postgresql in the Ministry of Health back in 2014, just when “Unknown” took off… Who needs salesmen when you have tyrants? It’s a small world and one action over here gives another reaction over there. It’s all good, I hope.

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Dark Day On The Web

Like many others, I have a bunch of websites that I visit regularly. Today, several biggies are down:

Sigh. I guess it’s time for breakfast…

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A New Era For GNU/Linux Desktops In Italy

Christmas had an overpowering effect in Italy this year. GNU/Linux sprang forth in all its glory. Look at the two trends in the following graph:

Until Christmas or shortly before, GNU/Linux was kind of flat with just a small daily variation and little real growth. At Christmas there was obviously a huge influx of consumers’ PCs with GNU/Linux. Otherwise, they had the biggest “installfest” ever. The daily peaks on the weekends doubled just like that. Then, amazingly, the weekdays began yielding a steady increase in GNU/Linux. I was right. Availability on retail shelves and in schools does fuel a revolution. Is this The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop in Italy? Stay tuned.

In the news, several local governments in Italy have announced plans to begin migration to GNU/Linux:

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The Beat Goes On In India – Desktop Growth At Home And Office

I took another look at the desktop OS shares of page-views from StatCounter from India and like what I see.

Clearly, GNU/Linux is growing as rapidly at work as at home. Thanks to Dell, Canonical, the government of India and others who laid the groundwork for this growth. May it continue for years to come and accelerate.

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