Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Tuesday, May 31, 2011

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 13

Reaping the Whirlwind

Nokia made a deal with M$ to phase out Symbian. The world knows it and won’t buy Symbian phones… Nokia’s margins have plummeted as a result and M$ is not coming to the rescue. While Android is eating Nokia’s lunch I expect Nokia will come to regret the deal. They could have simply migrated to Android but they wanted to be paid… Nokia is reaping what it sowed. They have frozen their own market while Android is on fire.

see Dailytech – Nokia Left Scrambling as Customers Abandon Symbian Platform

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 0

They’re Here. They’re there. Those Android OS are Everywhere.

Intel is pushing Android on x86 to get in on the mobile action. MIPS and Ingenic are pushing Android on MIPS. These additions to the realm of Android may be tiny at the moment but they have huge possibilities. Intel will be able to run everything from smart phones to server clusters with its chips and MIPS is huge in China where a home-grown industry has sprung up behind it. Diversity is good. It promotes competition and liberates the world from M$’s clutches. It’s all good.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 8

Matt Asay Preaches

Matt Asay certainly views FLOSS differently than many others. Today he wrote, “Each of us contributes (or doesn’t) out of perceived self-interest. Now, it may be that Amazon will come to feel that contributing to open-source projects like Linux correlates with its self-interest, as Google has, and will open up over time. Fine. But let’s not pretend that there are compelling normative arguments that demand it do so on anyone’s terms but its own and those of the open-source licenses it uses. “

see Wake up, Linux hippies: No one ‘morally obligated’ to give back

Matt Asay doesn’t get sharing. The world needs software and FLOSS is a great way to produce it. If someone needs some software and can produce it they should. They also get to use all the software floating around in the community of FLOSS to go along with that. That is the right thing to do. Otherwise that software may not be written and our world in which we are social beings depending on and supporting each other will be poorer. It is a moral imperative of every human being and their organizations to try to make the world a better place. That’s good for everyone, not just the one doing the good work.

Matt Asay gives the example of the Linux kernel as one where folks contribute out of self-interest, hardware makers in particular. It may be true that a maker of hardware will see it in their best interests to write drivers or whatever to promote sales of their products but most FLOSS is not in the kernel and their are many other motivations involved. SUN bought Star and opened the code of StarOffice because it cost them little in comparison to the cost of one round of licences for non-free software, that other office suite. They gave back and it was not really in their self-interest to do so. They had what they wanted, a good office suite. Google does not make a penny from distributing Android because it is FLOSS but their products will do better in a world with FLOSS infrastructure. That’s very indirect and hardly qualifies as selfishness. MySQL was opened because the developers saw the FLOSS as a great way to get people using their software, with low cost of entry. That’s like free advertising for them. The guys who wrote BusyBox did it for unselfish reasons:”Originally written by Bruce Perens in 1996, BusyBox’s original purpose was to put a complete bootable system on a single floppy that would be both a rescue disk and an installer for the Debian distribution.“. It’s now rampant all over the place.

So, I am not a physician, but it seems to me Matt Asay has tunnel vision and has a very narrow view of the merits and reasons for the existence of FLOSS. Too bad.

UPDATE Joe Brockmeier has a good article on this. He uses the terms “seal-clubbers” or contributors… That’s a little harsh but his point is clear. People should give back. I do a lot of educating and introductions of FLOSS. I should do something. Everyone who uses FLOSS should do something. It’s the right thing to do.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 79

Microsoft Squeaks. No One Listens.

M$ is apparently trying to dictate to the world on what kinds of ARMed systems M$’s “8″ will run. Apparently QualComm is OK with this but many others are not.

Qualcomm:“while Yen walked us through his company’s first SoC developed exclusively for Windows 8 use in desktops and laptops, he explained that Qualcomm pushes the boundaries still further. While based on ARM’s high-end Cortex-A15 ‘Eagle’ design, he claimed that it had been customised to the point that the label no longer applied.

“It’s an A15-class processor,” Yen agreed, “but it’s not a Cortex-A15.” He revealed that the company’s Windows 8 offering will take the form of the MSM8960, a Krait processor featuring two processing cores running at 1.7GHz and an integrated LTE modem. Sadly, it’s a far cry from the quad-core 2.5GHz Krait the company announced at the Mobile World Congress event earlier this year.”

Acer’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.
“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.

By trying to freeze the market and dictate hardware compatibility, M$ will only delay its roll-out and restrict itself to a niche. ARM’s ecosystem has already grown to a multicultural environment with many makers of chips and products. M$ cannot force all manufacturers to use Qualcomm’s chips and Qualcomm cannot supply the whole market. It’s too damned big. Delay has happened for months in IT as suppliers try to catch up with demand and Google delayed releases of Android. No one wants to wait for M$ to get its act together while hundreds of millions of units could be sold.

Watch Earth catch fire as 100 million activations of Android happen in short order. By the time “8″ happens there could be hundreds of millions more activations. Even Intel is pushing Android on x86…

Here’s an early product showing Android running on Intel. Who needs M$?

Here’s Intel showing an x86 chip they intend to put in smart phones and tablets running Android, MeeGo etc., anything but “8″.

Thanks to Richard Chapman for the link to Dailytech.

More on this. It has been revealed that M$ has arranged to consult with a few makers of PCs on “8″ but has not included anyone from Taiwan…
“Microsoft has not invited Taiwan-based IT vendors to participate in its Integrated Development Program specifically for developing Windows 8 for use in tablet PCs.

Microsoft has invited chip vendors, including Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, as well as a few PC vendors to participate in the program. However, Taiwan-based vendors Acer, Asustek Computer and HTC are locked out, arousing considerable controversy in Taiwan. Microsoft may hope to set rules on its own and the invitation to chip vendors is to save possible trouble, Wang said. But from the point of view of Taiwan-based enterprises, Microsoft is not acting reasonably, Wang stressed.”

see Microsoft should set rules from viewpoint of ecosystem, says Acer chairman

So much for being “partners” of M$… The world should just let M$ sit in the corner.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 3

Linus Can’t Count to 40…

Maybe he’s feeling his age (now 41) but Linus was appalled by the prospect of 2.6.x turning to 2.6.40 and has put Linux 3.0-rc1 on the runway.

That’s OK, Linus. We understand. Also 3.0.x is about due after 20 years. At this rate you will be able to retire at about 6.0. By then GNU/Linux and Android/Linux and MeeGo… will be all over the place more so than now. Perhaps everything except drivers will be tuned up so tightly that we will only have to go to 3.0.19… Who knows? The kernel has been running pretty smoothly since 2.2 and has been really capable since 2.4. 2.x was pretty mature. Might as well call it 3.0 for a while.

I will never forget my first kernel, 2.2 back in the day. It was way faster than that other OS and never crashed on me. It was love at first sight. The fact that it kept running no matter what meant that any application that ran amock could be tidied up with xKill. Great fun. Thanks, Linus.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 0

IT Weather – It’s Cloudy Out There

A new survey shows 60% annual growth in cloud deployments by multinational corporations (MNC). This suggests clouds may be a better/more efficient model for IT than scattered data-centres custom-made by local IT guys.

  • MNC’s uptake of cloud services increases by over 60 per cent in the last year
  • Asia-Pacific is expressing the greatest interest in cloud, reporting 63 per cent uptake
  • Trust in telecommunications providers as credible suppliers for cloud services has increased by 30 per cent since April 2010
  • 75 per cent of MNCs see scalability of capacity as a key strategic benefit, with retailers and services companies placing most emphasis on its importance


As more applications are placed on servers and some are placed on cloud services, the kinds and complexity of PC devices will change too. There is less need for supercomputers on the desk if all the stuff is happening “out there” somewhere. Advantage: ARM, thin clients and Linux.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 0

QualComm on the New Reality

“The third area where the market is really evolving is that the dynamics of the software market have changed a great deal. Most developers used to focus on the PC ecosystem, and a major priority driving software vendors in the past was making sure that they maintained backward compatibility for their applications. If you look at the market now, most people are developing for smartphone platforms and those platforms are migrating up. This has broken the link of being encumbered by legacy applications. This phenomena is only going to accelerate even more as we move into cloud computing and most user data and applications end up being positioned somewhere in the cloud.

The other strong potential market is the mass market smartphone opportunity. In many developing markets, the first computing device people use to experience the Internet is most likely a smartphone these days.

see Digitimes – The new frontier in mobile computing: Q&A with Qualcomm EVP Steve Mollenkopf

The world of IT is changing at a rapid pace. The PC is no longer stationary and the smallest mobile gadget can do much of what a 30kg PC can do. Software changes along with the hardware. As the price and size of computers changes the software must change too. That means more Linux and less of that other OS. That means more competition and lower prices for IT. I like it.

  • May 31 / 2011
  • 2

Intel Admits Its Chips are Over-Priced

“In terms of the question, “Will Intel consider developing on the ARM platform?” the answer is no. For Intel, we need to develop the best microprocessor we can and have a business model to support it, so that we can get paid. We think that with Intel architecture we have a fundamental advantage in performance and over time we will be very competitive on power, especially as we move to new transitions. So if we are at the same or better power and at better performance, with best-in-class chips, then there is no advantage of going to ARM. We would simply be beholden to them. We would have to pay them royalties and we would have lower profits. Why would we do that?

If you look at the market in a business way, the number one silicon vendor today in terms of profits based on tablets on smartphones is Intel. And by that I mean if you look at the mobile market, for every 600 smartphones that are sold and every 122 tablets that are sold, this creates the sale of a server and you could imagine that Intel margins and profits for our servers are quite healthy.”

see Digitimes – Intel steps up its pace: Interview with Navin Shenoy, general manager, Asia-Pacific region for Intel
Translation: There is no advantage for Intel to migrate to ARMed production. They make too much money per chip with x86. There are obvious cost advantages for makers and consumers of IT to go to ARM, however. Lower profits for Intel = lower costs for everyone else. Monopolists… They think the world owes them a livintg.

Intel is right that they can produce more powerful and higher power consumption chips. They will, in a few years, catch ARM in power consumption. Not actually achieving lower power consumption that ARM but when both technologies are sufficiently advanced, power consumption of either will be acceptable. It all comes down to price. If Intel publicly states that 600 new smart phones need one Intel server to run and that gives them more profit than the chip-makers of the smart phones, then Intel is seriously over-priced. Don’t expect that barrier to be overcome any time soon. Intel’s x86 instruction set, transistors required per CPU, actual mass of silicon and size of chip all lead to higher costs and Intel will forgo profit only as a last resort.

ARM has a bright future and there are a lot of excellent reasons to move as much computing as possible to ARM sooner or later if only for the price of IT. My next client will be ARMed. I have a server running well with AMD64. When it will be replaced in a few years, I will certainly consider ARM. By then ARM will have chips designed for servers
“As for server-related products, Brown pointed out that ARM already established an R&D team in 2008 for conducting all the pre-work and its Cortex-A15 for high-end applications will be provided to related vendors for development and testing at the end of 2011 with mass shipments to start after 2012.”