Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Tuesday, October 25, 2011

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 7

“7″ Adoption Flattens

  • 2011-10-20 “over 450 million licences sold since launch”
  • 2011-7-21 “over 400 million licenses and business deployments continue to accelerate”
  • 2011-4-28 “fastest selling operating system in history with 350 million licenses sold”
  • 2011-1-27 “over 300 million Windows 7 licenses”
  • 2010-10-28 “a healthy and sustaining business PC refresh cycle”
  • 2010-7-22 “sold more than 175 million licenses to date”
  • 2010-4-22 “continues to be a growth engine”
  • 2010-1-28 “This is a record quarter for Windows units”
  • 2009-10-23 “pleased by the early positive response we are receiving for these products”

Release date was 2009-19-20. One picture is worth a thousand words so,.

That’s not accelerating growth folks. It has flattened considerably to about 50million per quarter when the world is selling 90million PCs per quarter, about 55% attachment rate. What’s on those other PCs? It can’t be Vista because the webstats say it’s in decline. It can’t be XP because the webstats say it’s in decline. It can’t be MacOS because Apple is shipping only 4.3% of the world’s notebook/desktop PCs. That leaves GNU/Linux and FreeDOS, folks.

UPDATE Lenovo ships a bunch of PCs with no OS and discourages people from buying if they have a volume licensing agreement with M$. So, it appears the missing PCs are not getting that treatment from businesses. The mystery deepens.

UPDATE This is a clue. At the bend in the curve sales of PCs with XP and retail sales of Vista were stopped…

Desktop operating systems Date of general availability Retail software end of sales End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled
Windows XP December 31, 2001 June 30, 2008 October 22, 2010
Windows Vista January 30, 2007 October 22, 2010 October 22, 2011
Windows 7 October 22, 2009 To be determined To be determined

So Vista has been tapered off for several quarters. It cannot be the cause of the decline… Wait! At the bend in the curve ended sales of PCs with XP installed and end of retail sales of Vista! Now “7″ has to go along on its own and it sells fewer PCs as a result.

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 0

Act to Amend the Criminal Code and Firearms Act Introduced in Canadian House of Commons

see C19 41st Parliament 1st Session

Some highlights:

  • “12.1 A registration certificate may only be issued for a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm.”
  • “23. A person may transfer a firearm that is neither a prohibited firearm nor a restricted firearm if, at the time of the transfer,

    (a) the transferee holds a licence authorizing the transferee to acquire and possess that kind of firearm; and

    (b) the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee is not authorized to acquire and possess that kind of firearm.”

In other words, after the revision comes into force, there will no longer be a requirement that ordinary hunting and shooting rifles and shotguns be registered. Amen. The previous legislation treated the citizens like criminals while absolving the criminals of any burden.

I don’t see any indication of what should be done with existing registrations. I cannot see bureaucrats parting with them easily…

UPDATE Apparently they will not keep the current data and will refuse to share it with provinces…
“Provincial governments are free to proceed as they wish but we will not assist in setting up another registry,” he said during question period. “Records held by the Canadian firearms program will not be shared with the provinces.”

also, “We’ve made it very clear we will not participate in the recreation of the long-gun registry and therefore the records that have been created under that long gun registry will be destroyed,” he said Tuesday. see CBC

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 12

Shopping in Romania

I found a link to a retail establishment in Romania. The score:

  • PCs with that other OS: 136
  • PCs with GNU/Linux: 42
  • PCs with FreeDOS: 140
  • PCs with MacOS: 6

You can argue that with such a high proportion of FreeDOS that many intend to buy those machines to install a copy of that other OS illegally but schools and businesses often install by copying legally and we know only a very small proportion of humanity has the inclination to install an OS so I am betting the distribution of the FreeDOS machines is something like the split between that other OS and GNU/Linux, about 3:1. According to, linux:windows was 2:3 in 2004 and 1:9 in 2011. I guess it pays to advertise.

It looks like GNU/Linux is doing well in Romania. Of the top 10 best-selling PCs, the top 4 are FreeDOS, and 9 are FreeDOS. The 13th best seller has GNU/Linux. It is also interesting to see that Dell, HP, Acer are all selling PCs with GNU/Linux and that most of the PCs with that other OS cost a lot more. The top-selling GNU/Linux notebook is 15.6 inches and costs 1500 with GNU/Linux and 1950 with that other OS. Competition on price/performance is alive and well in some places.

see eMag

It’s a bricks-and-mortar chain of stores with multiple locations all over Romania.

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 0


I know of a group who visited Cuba recently. They found immense poverty. I thought to check out the statistics about IT:

CONCEPT UM 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number of existing computers M 300.0 377.0 430.0 509.0 630.0 700.0
Of them in Web: 193.1 243.3 258.0 330.0 400.0 455.0
Number of Internet service users M 940.0 1,090.0 1,250.0 1,310.0 1,450.0 1,600.0
Number of Internet sites M 1.5 2.5 2.9 3.4
Personal computers per 1 000 U 27 34 38 45 56 62
Internet users per 1 000 U 84 97 111 117 129 142
Domains registered under. Cu U 1.209 1.351 1.389 1.431 2.168 2.331
Cellular mobile telephone subscribers M 152.7 135.5 73.8 198.3 330.0 621.2
Population coverage of mobile cellular % 71.0 71.0 61.0 77.2 75.8 77.5
Ministry of Information and Communications.

Besides the obvious impact of the US embargo on IT in Cuba, one can see that the government was acutely aware of this situation when they decided to move everything to FLOSS. This year, all PCs made at the Chinese-Cuban factory in Cuba will have both that other OS and Nova GNU/Linux. The desktop monopoly is dying quickly in Cuba although access to computers is still severely restricted by economics. If there ever was a country that needs GNU/Linux and thin clients, Cuba is it.

Of course, politics intervenes and the newly supplied fibre-optic link to the Internet will not be widely available until more PCs are obtained and the powers that be lighten up.

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 37

M$ – The Bad Citizen

From M$’s last SEC filing:
Our effective tax rates were approximately 21% and 25% for the three months ended September 30, 2011 and 2010, respectively. Our effective tax rate was lower than the U.S. federal statutory rate and our prior year’s first quarter effective rate primarily due to a higher mix of earnings taxed at lower rates in foreign jurisdictions resulting from producing and distributing our products and services through our foreign regional operations centers in Ireland, Singapore, and Puerto Rico, which are subject to lower income tax rates.
Tax contingencies and other tax liabilities were $7.5 billion and $7.4 billion as of September 30, 2011 and June 30, 2011, respectively, and are included in other long-term liabilities. While we settled a portion of the I.R.S. audit for tax years 2004 to 2006 during the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, we remain under audit for these years. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, the I.R.S. completed its examination and issued a Revenue Agent’s Report (“RAR”) for the remaining unresolved items. We do not agree with the adjustments in the RAR, and we have filed a protest to initiate the administrative appeals process. The proposed adjustments are primarily related to transfer pricing and could have a significant impact on our financial statements if not resolved favorably. We do not believe it is reasonably possible that the total amount of unrecognized tax benefits will significantly increase or decrease within the next 12 months, as we do not believe the appeals process will be concluded within the next 12 months. We also continue to be subject to examination by the I.R.S. for tax years 2007 to 2011.”

I am not an accountant, tax-man or any sort of expert on these matters but the plain language implies that M$ is not paying US taxes on revenue obtained in other parts of the world. That is reasonable if the product being sold was DVDs etc., but M$ is in the business of selling licences to “intellectual property” which originates in the USA. M$ appears to be taking a tax deduction on the “R&D” done in the USA but dodging revenue obtained elsewhere. Is there a fiction that for BSA’s purposes, “Intellectual Property” is valuable everywhere but for tax purposes, that property flows elsewhere for $0 and is sold for a handsome profit overseas? M$, in its prime, paid no income tax whatsoever and half of M$’s huge nest egg of $60billion is overseas. The liabilities could be huge.

I can see why the US tax-men need to audit M$ but I don’t see why they are apparently so many years behind. Has the darling of capitalists been getting a free ride at ordinary tax-payers’ expense? The quarterly report lists tax contingencies at $7billion+.

Al Capone was an organized criminal, who, in spite of diverse criminal activity even murder was eventually brought to justice by the tax-men. Wouldn’t it be sweet if that is eventually M$’s downfall? Paying their fair share for the operation of the government that protected M$ from competition would be some form of justice although just a drop in the bucket of their ill-gotten gains. It would be better if some of their leadership did jail-time for tax evasion.

In reality, the harm done to the USA by M$ is much larger than the tax liabilities. Re-re-reboots alone in the USA probably amount to a dozen or more per PC per annum. Then there are attacks by malware, stifling competition, waste of perfectly good PCs on the Wintel conveyor-belt to the dump, high prices, and now the patent-trolling. It’s high time the USA quit drinking M$’s Koolaid. Canada and the rest of the world should do the same. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux as a refreshing replacement for that other OS. It works for you and not for M$.

  • Oct 25 / 2011
  • 20

State of Debian GNU/Linux

Now that I have my server running again I fired up a virtual machine to play with Debian GNU/Linux:

  1. In a virtual machine of 512 MB RAM and 8gB storage, I did a standard desktop installation of Debian GNU/Linux Squeeze.
  2. I then put it in maintenance mode to free up RAM for a dist-upgrade (telinit 1), edited /etc/apt/sources.list to change squeeze to wheezy and ran apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade. That operation went a while and hung up on a package.
  3. I then tried aptitude dist-upgrade and the process completed successfully.

I think this example shows the strength of Debian GNU/Linux. Even though the next release is many months away and there are more than 1K bugs known, the system is still usable. I will stick with Squeeze in production systems but in the virtual world, Wheezy is taking shape quite nicely. This whole process took only an hour including downloading 1200 packages. It was quite easy with no critical decisions on my part except to read some notes and accept defaults.