Finally. HP Delivers On The Promise of ARM Architecture On Servers

“Combining HP Moonshot innovations with the breakthrough capabilities of ARM® v8-A 64-bit architecture enables optimal compute with maximum memory and I/O throughput for web caching. The new HP ProLiant m400 servers, based on the X-GeneTM Server on a ChipTM from Applied Micro Circuits Corporation with Canonical Ubuntu operating system, saves on power, cooling and space, providing up to 35 percent reduction in total cost of ownership compared to rack servers.”Finally, HP is delivering the much-promised Moonshot modules with huge parallel-processing based on ARM. The units are not an exact replacement for more general-purpose x86 servers but they are wonderful for I/O bound processes needing huge numbers of nodes. Significant cost-savings for capital and operations can be demonstrated. Whether or not this technology gets a huge slice of the market remains to be seen but several big players are slurping it up: Internet service providers who want massive caching, HPC for signal-processing and the like, and particular loads suitable for parallel processing. In the right circumstances, less equipment is needed in fewer racks with less power-consumption. Of course, it all runs on GNU/Linux.

See HP Extends Benefits of ARM Architecture into the Datacenter with New Servers.

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Another Story Of GNU/Linux Working For Education

“Finding and pulling out computers stashed away in closets around our school, I put together a working demonstration of the K12 Linux Terminal Server with an old Pentium II-300 and only 192 megabytes of RAM. I bought some special boot ROMs and equipped another couple of older computers as thin clients for my server. My work impressed one of our principals so much that he suggested we try this solution in one of our computer labs at the school. It was so successful that eventually we equipped two computer labs and a number of computers in classrooms and libraries that used the K12LTSP solution.” Yes, I’ve been there and did that back in the day. GNU/Linux has been a godsend for me and my students. It’s perfect: so flexible, so efficient, so hard-working. While I was alone most of the time in the particular schools where I worked. The surrounding ecosystem of educators on the web doing similar sorts of things helped whenever there was a problem or something else to learn. Someone somewhere had done “it” before or was willing to help figure out some problem. To the users there were no problems just great IT readily available.

See Building a Linux lab and its great potential in education.

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Hallelujah! Debian Jessie Freeze Comes With Winter

“The freeze for Jessie is scheduled for
November 5.”
Great news! I’ve been enjoying using Jessie for many months now and have migrated all of our PCs to Jessie but the rate of updating has been tiresome. I hope with the freeze, updates will tail off and will mostly be bug-fixes rather than lobotomies and transplants…

See Debian Project News – September 29th, 2014.

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Africa, Last Month

Africa is no longer the “Dark Continent”. There’s plenty of space and energy to bridge the Digital Divide with GNU/Linux. A few countries define this space. Many countries have only tiny percentages of connected people. Others have some but still low shares of GNU/Linux page-views. A few countries pack a lot of punch. Just 10 countries have more than half the GNU/Linux page-views in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, and Tunisia. The whole continent may have as few as 2 million GNU/Linux PCs. This is the region where most growth is likely in the near term as everyone struggles to modernize instead of killing each other.

I expect the competition for GNU/Linux in Africa is with small cheap computers running Android/Linux rather than Wintel as price and availability are keys in these emerging markets.

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Asia, Last Month

Asia is a mixed bag being so widespread and diverse in languages and cultures. Statcounter is even confused about it counting Russia and Turkey in both Europe and Asia… Their number for Asia is 0.78% GNU/Linux. I get 0.67% by weighting country-shares by internet-connectivity.

I see a pattern developing: a few enthusiastic early-adopters, a great band of average adopters and a few tail-end charlies. India gets nearly half the weight of the sum. GNU/Linux is on fire there and with lots of room to expand. Many regions of Asia have very few people connected still. China, with all its energy and resources, has so far only connected 42% of its population.

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What The End-days Of Wintel Looks Like

The tail has quit wagging the dog.

Today, Digitimes reports, “As demand for touchscreen notebooks has been far weaker than expected, notebook vendors have stopped developing touch-enabled notebooks for the fourth quarter, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.”

OEMs are tired of the constant demands by Wintel to

  1. sell consumers what they don’t want or need, and
  2. charge consumers above the market price for products, allowing competitors to steal customers.

It’s about time. Thanks, Google, Canonical, Dell, ASUS, and a cast of millions for giving us freedom from Wintel. It’s a rare and remarkable thing when a patient is saved from stage IV cancer. Now that OEMs have acknowledged that smaller and cheaper is better (the customer is always right) we should see a lot more GNU/Linux on retail shelves along with all those Android/Linux devices. The market is converging on a system with options not restrictions. Expect to see Android/Linux + GNU/Linux systems being offered in bulk really soon, perhaps by Christmas.

See Vendors stop developing touchscreen notebooks.

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South America Is Hot For Desktop GNU/Linux

Again, my calculations and StatCounter’s come in pretty closely. My weighted average is 1.61%. Statcounter’s “unweighted” number is 1.54%.

South America is very interesting because there is still plenty of room to grow. Brazil, for instance, has only about 50% connectivity. Peru and Bolivia are down around 40%. There are a few OEMs operating on the continent and they ship some GNU/Linux PCs. Also OLPC is busy bridging the Digital Divide and activist governments are taking steps to prefer FLOSS and secure IT from USA/NSA. M$ staved off a measure in Bolivia to prefer FLOSS. It’s bad for the monopoly when they can barely hold back the flood of FLOSS and GNU/Linux.

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Peeking Through The Curtain Of Webstats To Find How GNU/Linux On The Desktop Is Doing

StatCounter provides a wonderful service to humanity by giving us their sample of the shares of page-views on selected websites by operating systems and browsers. Flawed as this is, it’s one of the best sources of information about how GNU/Linux is doing in the world of real people. The data reveal that little by little, GNU/Linux is being used on more desktops each year while that other OS is struggling to remain relevant. That GNU/Linux grows while shipments of legacy PCs stagnates is absolutely marvelous.

One of the continents where many governments actively promote use of FLOSS internally and by citizens is Europe. StatCounter provides a handy way of getting out all the data from each country and downloading a comma-separated-values file. We can combine that with information available from Wikipedia on Internet-connected populations to have some idea of how many people actually use GNU/Linux in Europe. I still think the numbers are low but at least they appear to be consistent over time. For Europe, over the last month, StatCounter reports that 1.82% of page-views come from GNU/Linux desktop/notebook PCs. My calculations come to 1.73% by weighting the shares by numbers of Internet-connected users. This supports StatCounter’s contention that page-views is a good choice of measure. It still doesn’t get around obvious bias in the weight of sampled sites being English/USA… but it’s not bad regionally.

Assuming that about 1.75% of Internet-connected users in Europe use GNU/Linux and that there are 537 million Internet-connected people in Europe that comes to 9.3 million users. That number could be low since multiple people may use a single PC but, like the shares of page-views, I trust that there is some correlation between PCs, users, and shares. I’m sure not all of them are programmers or other computer geeks. They are largely folks who want computers to work for them, not the other way around. I intend to explore the rest of the world this way. Asia, Africa and South America should be fun. My own neighbourhood is too fixed on PCs being with that other OS. The world is leaving us behind.

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2014 August 26 – The State Of GNU/Linux According To Statcounter

I figured out how to dump massive data from StatCounter (Top Desktop OSs Per Country, 26 August 2014 (map), and Download Data). Unfortunately, they set anything < 1% to zero… so we can’t see the long tail but the average value > 1% comes to 2.31%. That includes something left blank. I guess that’s “unknown” It has a value of 2.75%. Without it the average value is still 2.31%, so it doesn’t matter much, if at all. So there are 105 countries with value >1%. China is < 1% according to StatCounter. These data are for 2014-08-26, an arbitrary Tuesday. I’ve ordered them from largest to smallest value.

Share (%) of Page-views Due To GNU/Linux World-wide

Ethiopia 25.75 Belize 2.16 Bahrain 1.41 Poland 1.22
Uruguay 13.94 Moldova 2.15 Netherlands 1.41 Puerto Rico 1.22
Timor-Leste 8.88 Czech Republic 2.02 Tanzania 1.4 Uganda 1.22
Reunion 7.43 India 1.97 Namibia 1.39 Lithuania 1.21
Cuba 7.09 France 1.96 Slovenia 1.37 Russian Federation 1.21
Venezuela 6.96 Ireland 1.96 Costa Rica 1.36 Malawi 1.2
Palau 6.29 Sao Tome and Principe 1.95 Macedonia 1.35 Argentina 1.17
Turks and Caicos Islands 6.08 Ukraine 1.89 Canada 1.33 Belarus 1.17
Seychelles 4.13 Kenya 1.82 Singapore 1.33 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.17
Turkmenistan 3.89 Estonia 1.8 Ecuador 1.32 Burundi 1.17
Central African Republic 3.5 Saint Kitts and Nevis 1.79 Romania 1.32 Chile 1.15
Wallis and Futuna 3.37 Serbia 1.79 Gibraltar 1.31 Maldives 1.15
Liechtenstein 3.32 Madagascar 1.68 Mexico 1.31 Congo (Republic of the) 1.14
Germany 2.95 Guadeloupe 1.66 Sweden 1.31 South Africa 1.14
Norway 2.9 Slovakia (Slovak Republic) 1.66 Portugal 1.3 Guernsey 1.11
2.75 El Salvador 1.63 Hungary 1.29 Isle of Man 1.11
Finland 2.63 Martinique 1.63 Liberia 1.29 Mauritania 1.1
Comoros 2.61 Bulgaria 1.57 United Kingdom 1.29 Belgium 1.08
Spain 2.51 Gambia 1.56 Mauritius 1.28 New Zealand 1.08
Eritrea 2.48 Croatia 1.54 Brazil 1.24 Panama 1.08
Italy 2.38 Taiwan 1.54 French Guiana 1.24 Malta 1.07
Paraguay 2.38 Iceland 1.53 Kazakhstan 1.24 Sri Lanka 1.04
Sudan 2.32 Luxembourg 1.53 Kyrgyz Republic 1.24 Colombia 1.02
Antigua and Barbuda 2.23 Barbados 1.5 Dominican Republic 1.23 Guatemala 1.02
Austria 2.22 Switzerland 1.47 Cape Verde 1.22 Tunisia 1.02
Haiti 2.22 Latvia 1.46 Honduras 1.22
Greece 2.21 United States of America 1.45 New Caledonia 1.22

The top 8 countries in the list definitely don’t fit the pattern. They’ve crossed some threshold in adoption. Then there’s no upper limit whereas the other countries seem uninterested in getting far ahead of ~1%. If I select last week’s data, the distribution is similar except 4 more countries make the ~1% cut… Oh well, at least adoption continues to grow.

Looking for ChromeOS is difficult, of course, with such 1% cut but surprisingly there are three countries that made the cut last week: Grenada (3.97%), Bahamas (1.66%) and Saint Lucia (1.37%). What is it about the Caribbean? Google uses Bahamas as a tax-havenGrenada is only 100 miles from Venezuela where GNU/Linux thrives… St. Lucia is only 120miles further in the same direction… It’s strange that in all the countries of the world, just these three have Chrome OS adoption greater than GNU/Linux and they are all in holiday getaway places in the Caribbean. Cute.

Yesterday, Grenada registered 9.2% Chrome OS and 0.58% GNU/Linux. St. Lucia was 1.88% Chrome OS and 0.37% GNU/Linux. Bahamas was 1.98% ChromeOS and 0.73% GNU/Linux.

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Yesterday, Uruguay. Tomorrow, the world.

Yesterday GNU/Linux desktops reached a milestone in Uruguay according to StatCounter, 17.88% share of page-views. That was more than the declining XP, not surprising perhaps, but that share also beats “8”, “8.1”, Vista and MacOS/X combined. There’s still a ways to go to beat “7” but that will happen eventually. GNU/Linux is patient. Much of this utilization is in schools. Just wait until all those kids graduate. What OS will they choose?

See Top 7 Desktop OSs in Uruguay on 25 Sept 2014.

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Bash Bashed

Bourne Again Shell is in the news, in a bad way:“CGI scripts that use or invoke Bash in any way – including any child processes spawned by the scripts – are vulnerable to remote-code injection.”
Of course, I’ve known not to use BASH for CGI for ages but that this bug has been around for years is really shocking. If anything should have been secure it should be the basic scripting interpreter for GNU/Linux systems. I use dash on some systems but bash is widely used. SSH is also vulnerable but as I’m the only one allowed to use it here, I should be safe barring mental breakdown. A patch is on the way

See Patch Bash NOW: 'Shell Shock' bug blasts Linux, OS X systems wide open.

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Act Locally. Help People Migrate To FLOSS.

LibreUmbria is a creation of some local government departments in Umbria, Italy.“This month, the city of Todi will complete its switch to LibreOffice, and the one in Terni will start, says Alfredo Parisi, founder of LibreUmbria and a researcher at the University of Perugia – one of the the project’s members. The administration of Todi has 70 PCs, and Terni 50. LibreUmbria last year assisted the administration of the province of Perugia, using LibreOffice on all of its 1200 PCs and the Perugia Local Health Authority, which installed the office suite on 600 PCs.” By advertising, training and persuading other departments and schools, they’ve gotten LibreOffice on 2000 of the region’s 5000 PCs and opened the door to migration to GNU/Linux.

See Towns in Umbria region switch to LibreOffice.

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