Mobile-only users of the Internet are an interesting lot. Do they not have a legacy PC? Are they embarrassed to use a legacy PC? What’s the deal?

Facebook keeps track of their users. 526 million accessed Facebook only by a mobile device: smartphone or tablet… and that number is up 78% from last year. duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-DUH, DUH-DUH… Can you hear the footsteps getting closer, Wintel? This is one more of the thousand cuts. Perhaps better, one more of a dozen fatal blows.

I’ve seen a few users of FaceBook. Some, like me, just visit briefly almost every day and don’t give a DAMN! how we do it. Others live by their PC and keep a window open all day long. Others walk around and have it on speed-dial on the smartphone. I think there’s an app for that. I just don’t know… ;-) If a dedicated FB user can live with a smartphone I wonder how many other categories of users of IT can do the same. It’s probably more than 10% and less than 30%, just guessing. It’s a lot. These are folks to whom Wintel has no appeal and the old adage that smartphones/tablets are just for consumption are way off. Some folks post dozens of updates daily from their smartphones complete with multimedia. They are somewhat more specialized than users of legacy PCs but certainly know they don’t want to be anchored to a desk nor to a desktop. They certainly don’t care that they’re not using M$’s stuff, that their processors make pathetic hair-driers and most of them are using */Linux, either Android/Linux (~60%) or other Linux (<1%). If they are truly mobile, they likely pay hefty bandwidth charges and don’t want to spend money on a legacy PC nor prop up M$. Good.

What we are seeing is competition in action. It’s not winner take all. It’s the customer is always right and price/performance does matter. It was a lie that M$ was the naturally selected winner.

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IoT, Revolution In Personal Computing, or FLOSS Taking Over the World of IT

The “Perfect Storm” I predicted 7 years ago was just a gentle breeze compared to the current rate of change of IT in the world.

  • “Chen is also optimistic about the Chromebook business as the device’s share in overall notebook shipments already rose from around 10% in 2013 to over 30% currently and will continue to grow in the future.” 30% of notebooks are shipping with GNU/Linux. 30%! That’s not a typo! That’s the new reality. Thin clients and GNU/Linux have arrived. This is GNU/Linux on many millions of desktop devices cranked out by OEMs and sold by retailers all over the world in bulk, not some dipping of toes in the water. That other OS need not apply…
    See Acer looks to stable smartphone business, says CEO.
  • “In the third quarter of 2014, smartphones accounted for 66 percent of the total mobile phone market, and Gartner estimates that by 2018, nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.” Yes! Android/Linux is shipping on almost 4 times as many personal computers as legacy PCs burdened with that other OS.

    See Gartner Says Sales of Smartphones Grew 20 Percent in Third Quarter of 2014.

  • “China-based Huawei targets to ramp up its smartphone shipments to over 100 million units in 2015, increasing 33.3% from 75 million units shipped a year earlier, according to the company.”

    See Huawei aims to ship 100 million smartphones in 2015.

What can you say? In a few short years, that other OS has gone from mainstream to niche and Android/Linux and GNU/Linux are stepping up to displace it as the goto OS of the world. It’s all good. This is the right way to do IT with the world making its own software throughout the whole stack: OS on client and server and a ton of applications too. There is no need for a monopoly in IT. The world wants a revolution not lock-in.

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Some Twits Just Are Too Funny To Ignore

While the world sees Wintel decaying more or less globally and in every segment of IT, this twit opines that GNU/Linux on the desktop is as good as dead with M$’s next release.“While the consumer hatred of Windows 8 seemed like an opportunity for Linux to grow, sadly, it did not happen. Even sadder? Windows 10 closes the door entirely. The year of the Linux desktop will never happen. Rest in peace.” He just does not understand the Wintel monopoly.

  • Wintel has always sold “vapourware”, promising far more than it ever delivered. Remember, Vista, “7” and “8” were all billed as the greatest things since sliced bread. “7” only succeeded because it was Vista-debugged. “8” only succeeded where it was all consumers could find on retail shelves and they didn’t buy it.
  • M$ is giving away licences for “10”. That’s the best they can do in a free market. It won’t be good enough. M$ will actually have to pay people to ship and to sell Wintel. That’s not a long term business plan. That’s an emergency measure.
  • M$’s stuff is still plagued by malware designed to penetrate the many chinks in its armour. Consumers and businesses are fed up with that.
  • GNU/Linux systems typically update all software with a single command, unlike that other OS which requires something different for the OS and each non-FREE application. Consumers are fed up with that. That’s why they hate the pain of buying a new PC just to get M$’s latest and greatest restricted OS.
  • Wintel slows down to unusability. Everyone is fed up with that. They want to use hardware as long as it runs. They can do that with GNU/Linux.
  • Re-re-reboots…

So, the value of M$’s OS is negative in many minds and it will take more than $0 pricing to change that. GNU/Linux is a fresh start and many millions of users are loving it globally. Growth of GNU/Linux is rapid and accelerating. That’s not dead. That’s life. That’s growth.

There was a time when government, education and business neglected GNU/Linux. Those days are over. Check out India. GNU/Linux has a big heartbeat. That’s weekday usage in government, schools and yes, business… Note the prominent slope.

So, to TFA and its authour, HAHAHAHA! ROFL! GASP! ROFL! Declaring GNU/Linux dead when it’s growing like Topsy is just funny.

See Windows 10 is the final nail in the coffin for the Linux desktop.

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OEMs Adapt To The Decline In The Market For PCs

Rather than just being another cog in Wintel’s wheel, Lenovo is thinking for itself and diversifying, giving customers what they want.“Regarding tablets, we will cooperate with more solution vendors to embed more application software such as meal ordering systems into our tablets. We aim to roll out models catering for restaurant, hospital, financial, insurance and manufacturing applications.” This is another demonstration of what was wrong with M$’s monopoly. Forcing OEMs to deliver a standard product was good for M$ but harmed everyone else. Now OEMs are adjusting product mixes by region and customer so the joy is spread up and down the supply-chain. So much for “fragmentation” being bad…

ACER, for instance, is even diversifying ChromeBooks, cranking out small, medium and large sizes.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is rumoured to be shipping a 14nm, 8-cored, LPDDR4 RAMed monster “for mobiles”, and other processors with clocks in the 2-2.5gHz range, in late 2015. If you don’t think desktops/notebooks/tablets/smartphones will all shine with such power, you are living in a deep hole. OEMs will find a way to integrate ARM into every aspect of IT. We are no longer living in a time when */Linux or ARM were just “barely good enough”. They are perfect for many purposes. Consumers want them. OEMs will supply them. Shipped by the millions, these new solutions will cost much less than Wintel’s monopolistic prices.

In the heyday of the Wintel empire, it was hard to buy any PC with GNU/Linux and they even cost more than PCs with M$’s tax. Now */Linux is competing on a much more level playing field because many customers want an OS, not slavery to M$, and they use web-applications so there’s no longer a dependence on M$’s “Independent” Software Vendors. This is good news for everyone except M$ who will now have to work for a living.

See Still aiming at growth in PC market: Q&A with Lenovo Taiwan president Justin Liang.

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The Writing Is On The Wall And The Correspondence

In the past year or so, some here have repeatedly claimed that M$’s OS is thriving and the only way to go.“the factors contributing to the decline in Windows PC operating system are addressed in various disclosures in our Segment Results of Operations, including D&C Licensing, Commercial Licensing, and Corporate and Other.” Why then do M$ and the SEC openly discuss the deline in the OS? It’s because it’s happening and affects the bottom line. I’ve been reporting that for years now and the SEC is concerned that investors may not be getting the full story because of the layout and detail of M$’s filings. I like that. The US government barely managed to get M$ to quit doing illegality in the market. Now they seem to be on top of the situation with disclosures.

That’s good. Those disclosures are one of the few reliable means of measuring the health of the monopoly. I think it’s safe to call it “declining health” because many more personal computers running */Linux are sold each year than the monopoly sells licences. In fact, M$ is giving away licences to try to hold back the tide. Tomorrow’s filings should be informative. Note that the next item in the filings was a reminder that the SEC does not consider the correspondence sufficient to get the SEC to drop its guard… Chuckle. Expect greater disclosure/quantification of the decline real soon now. “In future filings, we will provide a reconciliation to our tabular disclosure of operating expenses by segment group noting that integration and restructuring expenses have been excluded from this presentation.” Yes, it seems M$ intends to work for a living instead of coasting from now on.

See Correspondence Between M$ and The SEC.

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Forums Have Matured

One of the reasons I invested more time in this blog years ago was that GNU/Linux was unwelcome on several prominent public forums. I thought to get an update…

In craigslist people actually suggest installing GNU/Linux to fix things in the computer forum. No longer are they shooed away to the Linux forum. Well, there are some rude people but they don’t seem to get their way. It’s seems GNU/Linux is much more accepted than five years ago.

In Kijiji, the forums are gone except for the URI which leads to nothing but ads and links to social media where nothing like the computer forum exists.

I guess the on-line forums are maturing or the trolls/astroturfers have died or are no longer paid. Certainly GNU/Linux is getting increasing mind-share.

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Crime And Punishment

Clearly, the murdering scum of Syria and Iraq need to be punished for their crimes against humanity.“Japan’s prime minister has condemned as "outrageous and unacceptable" a video declaring the murder of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa by Islamic State.” Condemning them won’t do that. They have to be killed. The world can create an expedition that could wipe them from Earth in a few weeks. Get on with it. Not eliminating Assad in Syria a couple of years ago allowed this mess to fester. Now it’s time to correct the mistakes of the past. With close air support and a determined force of a few hundred thousand, this matter could be settled soon. Delaying just makes it worse.

There are signs that the Kurds and Iraqis are making progress in Iraq but the real problem is in Syria and limiting the cure to Iraq is short sighted. Forces can rapidly be brought in from the Mediterranean, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, to surround and annihilate them. No doubt some will escape but the problem will be greatly reduced in size. When the dust settles, a constitutional congress should be set up in either or both Iraq and Syria to make sure a functioning society is left before departing.

See BBC News – Japan PM Abe condemns hostage 'death' video.

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Pigs do fly if you throw them hard enough… That’s what M$ is attempting with its next release.“With Windows 10, we think of the operating system as ‘Windows as a service’,"…In next few years, you could think of Windows as one of the largest internet services on the planet. The question of ‘what version are you running’ will cease to make sense.” Freedom isn’t just about the price. An operating system isn’t a service. One needs software on a device to make it seem intelligent, nothing more. Bundling that other OS with every kind of device on the planet doesn’t make any sense at all. What use is M$’s EULA on a mobile device in a dynamic environment with zero to thousands of other devices all sharing networked services? What use is M$’s EULA when your device can do everything but M$ insists you don’t? Does anyone care if the licence to use the OS is $0 but you have to pay M$ to do anything with it? Nope. Nothing. Nada.

Reducing the price charged to $0 for something of negative value still doesn’t make it a good deal. This is an attempt to keep bundling that other OS with devices but the world won’t buy it. The world, billions of people, have tasted freedom with Android/Linux and millions with GNU/Linux. They aren’t about to sell their souls to M$ because the price of a device drops somewhat.

That’s just the consumer. Think of the OEM and retailer. The retailer has had stocks of M$’s stuff collecting dust on retail shelves for a year. They aren’t about to restock. OEMs have been making larger margins selling */Linux on devices for years now. They are not about to stop. In fact, even if M$ pays them to load that other OS, OEMs will still increase their shipments of */Linux because selling more units beats selling fewer units.

So, this is what the End Times looks like. M$ is desperately trying to remain relevant by giving the OS away or paying OEMs to distribute it. In the process, more resources will be wasted on products that don’t sell. It will be interesting to see whether or not ISVs, who have not really been independent for decades, will want to rewrite their software one more time in hopes that Wintel does not drag them down together. There are already a few million beta-testers of M$’s ware. An ecosystem of ~100million users might be enough to justify further investment but those other billions of potential users are definitely a bigger market. Expect M$ to raise its rates for “services” to pay for it all. Expect all kinds of software to move to the web where it belongs in order to get off the Wintel treadmill. Expect */Linux to be the OS of the next decade on client and server.

If you really want service from your software use really free software, software that works for you and not for M$. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, a product of the world freely shared without an onerous EULA from Hell. You can install thousands of packages of software with a few clicks and you can examine it, modify it, use it and share it without jumping through any more hoops. It’s been available for years for one low price, $0. I look forward to Monday’s release of financial information from M$. */Linux must have done a number on them to decide it’s better to give it away for $0 rather than to become irrelevant. IMHO, giving something away for $0 doesn’t raise the value of something negative to $0. It just makes it easier to spread, like a disease.

See Microsoft to give away Windows 10 FREE – for ONE year.

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Nice! LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) now available for Android

Neat! Now, I can carry documents from LibreOffice to the range, out hunting, the workshop or gardening“Berlin, January 21, 2015 – The Document Foundation (TDF) is happy to see the LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) for Android released in the Google Play Store, allowing mobile users to access Open Document Format (ODF) files from devices such as tablets and smartphones.” instead of having to shuffle papers. I like it.

Unfortunately, it’s not built for my old smartphone and Google would not allow me to submit a review because I had not installed it…

“I tried to install it but I guess I’m too old. I have a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. Details:
No carrier Samsung SAMSUNG-SGH-I896
I guess there are a few older devices for which this is not yet built. Nice try but it doesn’t work for me yet.”

See LibreOffice Viewer (Beta) now available for Android.

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Amazon published some amazing statistics. Some that are relevant to this blog:

  • “Nearly 60 percent of customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday. Mobile shopping accelerated as customers got later into the shopping season.”
  • Top selling Computers: “Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-inch, 2GB); ASUS Chromebook 13-inch with Gigabit WiFi (16GB, 2GB); HP 11-2010nr 11.6-inch Chromebook (Snow White)”

That’s a testimony to how far Wintel has fallen as a force in consumer-IT. Wintel used to have >90% of the market. Intel used to have 80% of the legacy PC market. Now they have to sell Atoms and Celerons to remain relevant because Chromebooks do more computing on servers. Of course Intel is doing great on servers but so is GNU/Linux. Acer struggled to make a living with Wintel but is thriving with ChromeBooks. Acer has 35% of that market and is making a 15.6″ ChromeBook.

See Amazon Media Room: Press Releases.

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Smartphone Market Set To Mature In 2015

Shipments of smartphones in the past year grew quite a bit last year but a lot less than the year before.“Global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%, with combined shipments of Chinese brands reaching 453.4 million units.” I think that signals shipments will peak in 2015 with almost everyone on the planet who needs/wants one will have one. By 2015, someone will need to drop a smartphone or someone will need a lower price to buy one. By then Africa will be the only sure growth-market left. By then Android/Linux will be crowned “king” and that other OS can go home. Apple has already achieved its mature market and has no growth left. Africans largely cannot afford iThingies so Android/Linux is the way forward. Everyone on the planet who thinks it’s “cool” to have an iThingy will have one.

General-purpose PCs have long since made a mature market and everyone in the food-chain is desperately trying to wring “value” from the legacy PC while they still can. There will continue to be a need for large screens, keyboards and mice but with voice-input becoming feasible in mobile, it won’t be long before keyboards will be optional on desktops. In such a market, adoption of GNU/Linux is one of the few ways forward that can still provide income to most of the food-chain. GNU/Linux costs less to buy and less to maintain but there’s still enough maintenance to provide a living to retailers and IT-types. Not so with that other OS which cannot compete except on small screens because M$ gives it away. Customers are going to prefer lower cost to buy rather than higher cost of maintenance even if M$ gives everything away.

The past year has been very instructive. The low end prices for PCs have dropped from ~$350 to ~$250 but growth is down to ~1% or so. Wintel cannot survive in this domain. Intel has had to ship Atoms, which it intended for mobile applications, to remain in the market for consumers. M$ has had to give away copies of its operating system. That leaves only GNU/Linux on ARM as the way to ~$100 PCs. GNU/Linux on Intel can get to ~$150 but not much lower. Expect to see many more GNU/Linux PCs in the market this year as OEMs and retailers struggle to find market share/volume. They can’t count on ripoff prices any longer.

See Global Smartphone Shipments in 2014 Totaled 1.167B with Samsung and Apple as First and Second, TrendForce Reports.

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Dropping PS For FLOSS

I don’t do a lot of graphics but I sure don’t believe the “must have PhotoShop” stuff. The software tweaks files and renders them on a screen. FLOSS can do that.“The ATI (Art and Technology of Image) department at University Paris 8 is switching to Krita this year. This department has the double aim to train students both to use graphic software (2D,3D,VFX and Compositing) and to code their own (Python, C#, C++). Until recently the classes used only Adobe Photoshop, but because of inadequate support from the company the department decided to replace that.” Here’s an example of a university making that choice. They needed more flexibility than PS offered and get it with FLOSS. They can even tweak the code so their students can really understand what the software does. That’s one of the great strengths of FLOSS. No one hides anything in FLOSS. If you want to study or tweak it you can/may. It’s in the licence.

See ‘Goodbye Photoshop’ and ‘Hello Krita’ at University Paris 8.

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