Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Thursday, January 5, 2012

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 1

This is What “All-in” Looks Like

Amazon cloud services are exploding:

Growth rate is uncertain but it may have been 70% per annum and accelerating over the years (the “other” category in the financials). M$ has nothing on its books that looks anything like that. Imagine the drain on Amazon’s ledger if it were running its cloud on that other OS instead of on GNU/Linux. Does anyone recommend businesses who want to make money for themselves rather than M$ should use M$’s OS? ;-)

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 1

New Stats for 2011-11

Wikimedia is putting up some data. I obtained their agents archive for November 2011.

Total Agents/1000 = 5721270
Windows agents/1000 = 4422128 = 77%
Linux agents/1000 = 173110 = 3%
Mac agents/1000 = 531175 = 9.3%

My queries on the database were rather simple:
SELECT sum( b ) AS count FROM Sheet1 WHERE a LIKE '%Macintosh%'

My search strings were Macintosh, Linux and Windows.

For October, Wikimedia was showing that other OS at 78.38%, Linux at 3.48% and Macintosh at 8.41%. It’s likely my approach is too simple but I bet that other OS has declined a lot in one month. I took just one day to examine, 2011-11-30, the last one. It was a Wednesday so there may have been a few people surfing from work…

I was surprised to see GNU/Linux at the lowest levels since 2010 on Even more interesting is a spike in XP. They show it rising 5.7% to 38.5% in one month… I thought to check my data for last week in November.
5.1 agents/1000 = 2159322 = 37.7% consistent with their result. What the Heck is going on here?

As far as I know there is no legal source of new XP machines. Is this more fallout from M$’s campaign against illegal copying, freezing XP in that role or is it more people browsing from work?

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 5

Quadruple Whammy

Gartner sees a triple whammy for global IT spending: global economy is sluggish, the Euro is in trouble and the floods in Thailand have dampened production of hard drives seriously. For M$, I see a fourth whammy: people are loving small cheap computers not running that other OS.

Gartner sees growth of spending on computing hardware cut in half compared to 2011, but in 2011, M$ was essentially down to zero growth in licences sold… Under these conditions they might actually see a decline in revenue. Hundreds of millions of smart phones and tablets are not running M$’s stuff. All the growth seems to be in that sector. I will bet M$’s financial disclosures to the SEC will be spectacular two weeks from now. They didn’t sell a lot of OS licences for smart phones nor tablets and sales of other personal computers were down over the Christmas period when a lot of retailers break even…

Not that we should shed a tear for M$. They have a lot of unearned income and money in the bank. They won’t starve. It’s just that they are losing their grip on IT. We should smile for the freedom that entails. If we run software not from M$ we can do what we want with our hardware and get the best bang for the buck from our IT spending. Suppliers had better shift to what consumers want or they will go down with M$. 2012 will be a great year for IT.

On a related matter, SJVN reports that M$ will support GNU/Linux on its Azure cloud by popular demand. Virtual server usage is running 6:1 in favour of running GNU/Linux virtual machines and Azure was losing out. If M$ wants to be “all-in” for the cloud they have to support GNU/Linux virtual machines. Perhaps M$’s lock on business servers is already feeling the heat.

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 11

“Is this even LEGAL?”

Chuckle. That was the reaction of one person to discovering GNU/Linux after being disgusted by that other OS falling down. After hearing so much about restrictions on copying in that other OS and the cost of repairing it repeatedly, the thought of Free Software for $0 does seem strange. “How can this be?” is reasonable, but the answer is simple: The world needs software and can make its own. The world does not need to sell itself software that it makes for itself any more than you need to pay yourself for mowing your lawn or washing your dishes. You don’t charge visitors for their enjoyment of your lawn and eating from clean plates. It’s a chore that needs to be done in the modern world and millions of contributors can share the software by including a licence to use and copy with the software that you can download and run, install, share and even examine and modify.

In all my years of introducing people to FLOSS this issue has come up a few times. People think somehow that other OS has a right to be on PCs to the exclusion of others. It’s a common myth that you cannot change the OS of a PC. People don’t realize the OS is like a consumable on an automobile. You can install oil filters or tires of any make you want. The car is your property to do with as you want. So is the PC. The software is separate. Copyright applies to it and M$ can legally make you do really stupid things in order to use it. You don’t have to use M$’s software. I have rarely used it for a decade and I do a lot with PCs, like write this blog, make videos for YouTube, gather tons of information, create software, and solve problems. I don’t know of a single copy of M$’s software in my home and I have a bunch of PCs, 14 or so at last count, and a couple of smart phones.

What is of questionable legality is not the sharing of software in accordance with developers’ wishes to share it but the exclusion of GNU/Linux on retail shelves in some parts of the world. The fact that some people still don’t know about GNU/Linux does not explain why a retailer who may have 50 PCs on his shelves for customers to try and to buy may have none running GNU/Linux. It makes no sense that a retailer who knows some customers want smaller/cheaper/faster computers does not give the consumers what they want. PCs with GNU/Linux are often smaller, cheaper and faster than PCs running that other OS because they are not doing double duty running stuff for M$ and criminals who make malware. It’s Wintel, folks, an illegal monopoly artificially excluding GNU/Linux and other competitive software from the retail market not because of price/performance but because M$ and Intel want it that way.

The monopoly is much weaker than it was in the past and sooner or later in every region of Earth, consumers will be able to buy a good PC running GNU/Linux but we are not quite there yet. There are now few OEMs who will not build PCs with GNU/Linux but there are still retailers who do not present them to consumers. Perhaps 2012 is the time to tell your nearby retailers that you are going to build a PC from parts and install GNU/Linux or buy a PC with GNU/Linux on-line. It’s not hard and it is worthwhile. If enough people do that, eventually they will get the message. So, for 2012, make a plan to talk to retailers about what’s on their shelves. I’ve already talked to a few clerks. It’s time to tell the head office types. Retailers here are already seeing a slump of sales of Wintel PCs while sales of Android/Linux on smartphones and tablets booms. It’s time they saw the same results from selling systems with GNU/Linux.

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 18

High Noon – Android/Linux v “8″ on ARM in 2012

Digitimes reports that with less than a year to go before the release of “8″, ASUS is still thinking about whether or not it will deploy “8″ on any ARMed tablets. They’ve already decided x86 is too expensive and are concerned about the high price of licences for that other OS. Chuckle. M$ still does not have its ducks in a row and cannot sell vapour-ware any longer. How the mighty art fallen.

see Asustek going Android, Acer eyeing Windows 8 for tablet PC market

Is a monopoly any longer a monopoly when OEMs have a choice? Nope. Free Software trumps non-free when it comes to small cheap computers. ARM is not going away and in 2012 every consumer on the planet will have a chance to own an ARMed PC. By 2013 the competition to sell ARMed PCs will swamp the x86 shipments and Wintel will be out in the cold looking in at the warmth of the fire.

Production of ARMed personal computers in 2011 exceeded x86 and in 2012 will come to dominate most segments with ARM even making inroads in servers. Supplying the demand will be a major problem in 2012. Manufacturers can ramp up production rates faster than x86 ever could because small cheap computers are small and cheap. It takes less material and space to make them. By the end of 2012 every building in China with floorspace will be used to produce ARMed personal computers and ARMed small desktop boxes and netbooks will become commonplace. China is wide awake and more or less vertically integrated in IT. They are producing their own CPUs based on ARM and MIPS and can design and build anything. They love FLOSS because it gives them instant access/reduced development time for everything. That other OS and x86 just holds them back and they are tired of that.

At some point M$ will release “8″ and be ignored. People know what they want and know they have a choice. The genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

My money is on FLOSS on ARM to win the shootout in 2012.

  • Jan 05 / 2012
  • 8

Smartphones: Are They of Aren’t They Replacing PCs?

Digitimes reports that 55% of handsets sold in December 2011 in Taiwan were smartphones. Clearly, people are doing more than talking with their smartphones or they wouldn’t pay the premium. People have to eat, breathe and communicate these days and talking is not enough. People want to be connected to the web any time any place. Smartphones do that for them. Apple is down to 30% of that market. Good riddance. Android/Linux is up to 60% based on HTC and Samsung alone. Then there are a ton of other OEMs making Android/Linux systems.

This is pretty good evidence that smartphones are displacing some of the personal computing market. Smartphones are smaller, cheaper and more portable than desktop and notebook PCs. People love that. They are tired of propping up the Wintel monopoly.