Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Monthly Archives / March 2012

  • Mar 31 / 2012
  • 0

Summer of 2012

Summer started here a few weeks ago. There was a small relapse last week but summer is back with a vengeance today. I went out to the bush to hike around a bit and found a garter snake, a wood-tick and a ladybird beetle. These things are not supposed to be active until about May at the earliest. Summer is weeks early. The high temperature was 18C, in March… We should be seeing snow melting but there was just a bit left of some drifts under spruce trees. Everywhere the buds are filling on the trees.

I guess the longer summer will be helpful. I have lots of planting to do and I have to finish setting up my workshop. I expect instead of the usual 110 growing days, we will have about 150, more than enough for my vegetables and a good start for new trees and lawn.

  • Mar 31 / 2012
  • 6

Is Finland the Country Most Loyal to GNU/Linux?

According to this query on my Wikimedia database, that could be so:
“agents=> select sum(count) as c from data where string ilike ‘%x11%’ and not string ilike ‘%bot%’ and not string ilike ‘%crawl%’ and not string ilike ‘%spider%’ and string ilike ‘%fi-fi%’;
(1 row)

agents=> select sum(count) as c from data where not string ilike ‘%bot%’ and not string ilike ‘%crawl%’ and not string ilike ‘%spider%’ and string ilike ‘%fi-fi%’;
(1 row)

agents=> select trunc(2961.0/19170.0*100.0,2) as share;
(1 row)”

Well, I wonder how the competition is doing…
“agents=> select sum(count) as c from data where string ilike ‘%windows%’ and not string ilike ‘%bot%’ and not string ilike ‘%crawl%’ and not string ilike ‘%spider%’ and string ilike ‘%fi-fi%’;
(1 row)

agents=> select sum(count) as c from data where string ilike ‘%android%’ and not string ilike ‘%bot%’ and not string ilike ‘%crawl%’ and not string ilike ‘%spider%’ and string ilike ‘%fi-fi%’;
(1 row)

agents=> select sum(count) as c from data where string ilike ‘%mac%’ and not string ilike ‘%bot%’ and not string ilike ‘%crawl%’ and not string ilike ‘%spider%’ and string ilike ‘%fi-fi%’;
(1 row)…
mac | android | toos | gnulinux
63.05 | 20.20 | 1.25 | 15.44″

Well, maybe it means Finland is actually disloyal to M$… or even loyal to UNIX-like operating systems. */Linux is 35.64% of the sample. That other OS is the “1% number.

  • Mar 31 / 2012
  • 0

Canadian Senate Has Chewed Up C-19 And Prepares To Spit It Out

C-19 is on the order paper for the Senate for Monday, 2012-04-2.

The Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee rapidly reviewed the bill and it now goes to the whole Senate for third and final reading, debate, votes. It could be just a matter of days before the bill goes to the Governor General to make it law. Then,
“29. (1) The Commissioner of Firearms shall ensure the destruction as soon as feasible of all records in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to the registration of firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms and all copies of those records under the Commissioner’s control.

(2) Each chief firearms officer shall ensure the destruction as soon as feasible of all records under their control related to the registration of firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms and all copies of those records under their control.”

All this shall come into force, “31. The provisions of this Act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.”

Amen! Victory is in sight in the long battle to restore a bit of sanity to firearms laws in Canada. I think I shall throw a party when that happens, complete with turkey, maple-walnut ice-cream and pumpkin pie. Nothing less would do.

  • Mar 31 / 2012
  • 26

2012 – The Real War of the Tablets Begins

2011 was great for tablets, Apple’s tablets. 2012 will be different. Google, realizing Android/Linux tablets have respectable but not great share of the market, is gearing up to actively promote Android/Linux tablets. All the pieces needed for great competition will soon be in place:

  • great products,
  • great and numerous combatants, and
  • great prices.

Google has until now only dabbled in selling products running Android/Linux. They were mostly proof of concept products. Now they are going to have an on-line store bearing the Google name while pushing Android/Linux tablets.

So, we are 1/4 the way through the year, and share now is about 40%. With Google’s move, Android/Linux is in position to exceed 50% by year’s end. The benefit to Google is that in addition to the revenue they get from Android/Linux devices directly, pumping out tablets pumps up their search business which is already huge but needs growth. Growth is in emerging markets, including tablets.

Immediate benefits to IT should be

  • beating Apple’s silly prices for tablets,
  • inspiring other players to lower prices, and
  • ending the litigation/legal threats surrounding Android/Linux even faster than Oracle’s case is sinking.

There are reports that some makers of tablets are being squeezed in their margins. That should be alleviated in 2012 with much higher volumes than 2011. Growth in units shipped will likely reach 100%. The market has already gone far past the point of breaking even.

This is now a war about the limits to production. RIM and Apple cannot bring products to market faster than the Android army. Sooner or later the old guard will be swarmed by legions of small cheap computers. Google will have a rapid increase in users of IT to keep its growth rate up. The world will have better price/performance in IT.

Business will adopt tablets widely, and not just Apple’s. M$ will be “mentioned in reports” but not a factor in tablets. By the end of the year the battle will spill over into all things IT. Because the tablets largely do not run the Wintelish applications, web applications will become the place to be and Wintel will decline much more rapidly.

I wonder what would happen if Google were to analyze the cost/benefit of promoting Android/Linux and began to promote GNU/Linux more than it does already… That could really expand their search business in emerging markets much more rapidly if the cost of IT were lowered substantially by widespread adoption of GNU/Linux. Chuckle… 2012 is looking to be a great year.

  • Mar 30 / 2012
  • 2

Bring Your Own Freedom

I was reading about IBM’s acceptance and management of Bring Your Own Device policy for IT and reflected that IBM is likely not alone in this movement. Businesses of all sizes and locations may find some variation of BYOD useful. There are lots of issues but a big one is web applications.

There just cannot be any “M$-only” policy when many non-M$ machines are running on the network. Businesses could restrict what can be accessed by “foreign” devices, to e-mail, say, but that really isn’t very practical for people who roam the building or leave the building. Whether the device is a smart phone, tablet, notebook, netbook or desktop, businesses will want every employee to be able to use every application they want from every device they use. Anything less is inefficient.

Here we have a great lever to move M$ out of business. If any device can access the company’s applications, none of the devices need to be running M$’s software. It’s so much simpler for a business to manage the application servers and the network rather than tweaking the guts of every PC running that other OS.

Tablets, for instance, in 2012 should be huge in business and very few run that other OS. Tablets obviously cannot run some of M$’s “partners” applications so they will have to be replaced with web applications. This will force many ISVs to produce web versions of their flagship applications. There were about 75 million tablets sold in 2011, mostly iPads. There could be two or three times that many this year. Bye-bye, Wintel. Soon business, your most locked-in customer, won’t need you anymore.

  • Mar 30 / 2012
  • 5

RMS in India

When I was young, rms meant “root-mean-square” a form of averaging in alternating current meansurments. Now it means Richard Stallman, icon of FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) or simply, Free Software. He defined the term and began/codified a movement to make sharing OK/acceptable in software.

Sharing is obviously OK in India where RMS filled huge venues (thousands of attendees) for his talks. Being a billion people, India has tens of millions of computer geeks interested in good IT. Those people will do a lot to grease the gears of the Indian economy growing rapidly larger every year. Many of them will influence decisions to use FLOSS and use it themselves.

The tour of India is an inspiration to anyone who reads or hears the FUD the monopolies spread about Free Software. People are making personal investments in FLOSS all around the world.

see A Passage to India

  • Mar 30 / 2012
  • 10

IT in the Canadian Budget

Besides changes like eliminating the one cent coin (which costs 1.5 cents to manufacture…) there is actually some modernization of IT in the budget:

  • reduction of travel by means of video-conferencing,
  • reduction of paper documents by means of electronic documents,
  • easier access to venture capital and government procurement for small businesses,
  • improvement of several government websites,
  • consolidation of information technology (43 divisions unified…, one e-mail system, 300 data-centres consolidated into 20, savings ramping up to $150 million per annum),

Well, there’s no mention of cutting off M$’s cash cow, but at least they are finally looking at price/performance in IT, so it should not be long… Consolidation of data-centres may have that effect. They’ve already made moves to give FLOSS a level playing-field.

  • Mar 30 / 2012
  • 26

US Market Becoming Irrelevant in IT

For decades, the USA was the trend-setter in all things IT. In the last few years that has changed dramatically:

It follows that USA no longer calls the tune in IT. What is happening is that Governments, businesses and individuals are now getting choice in IT instead of the default options chosen by US companies.

Android/Linux is a global product made from the Linux kernel globally and Android developed by Google. It mostly runs on ARM (UK) but is invading the x86 space as well. Retail shelves around the world usually display Android/Linux devices prominently and in many regions, consumers and businesses can buy GNU/Linux PCs sometimes locally produced but also supplied by global OEMs.

The governments of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Malaysia, much of Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, and Peru all use GNU/Linux and actively promote GNU/Linux in their countries. Brazil, Russia and India all have huge projects to promote GNU/Linux in schools. Only a few years ago, use of that other OS in government and business was a given but now many governments prefer FLOSS in their purchases.

USA has a lot of FLOSS development but is one of the lowest countries on Earth in usage of GNU/Linux on the desktop in business.
NetApplications: (USA, excluding Designated Market Area of San Francisco)

That other OS 85.08%
Mac 14.30%
Linux 0.62%

NetApplications does overcount that other OS but even by its measures, USA is an outlier (Cuba 3.9%, Finland 3%, France 1.7%,…) . You have to go to places like Viet Nam to find lower numbers for GNU/Linux.
This makes USA businesses less competitive and is part of the malaise felt in the economy of the USA. Rather than fattening M$’s coffers, USA should be investing in education and technology that will make the economy flourish. It is very strange that hatred of taxes is widespread yet many residents pay “the tax” for that other OS and are not aware it is optional…

2012 is a year of decision. Is the USA going to continue going down the drain of IT with M$ or will the USA wake up and give FLOSS a chance in education, government, business and retail spaces? The dependence on M$ is entirely artificial and once the dependence on desktops from M$ declines, so can IT be free from malware and get the best price/performance for IT. It’s not just about licences. It’s about IT designed to work for the users, not M$.

Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux desktops receives much derision in the USA, but has saved the city $millions in hardware and licensing expenditures while giving Munich first-rate IT and promoting local business. While Munich could have migrated more rapidly, they placed a premium on no downtime and cost was not the prime motivation. Independence from M$ was.

The whole world is becoming independent from M$ and so should the USA. The idea that the world cannot do without M$ is nonsense, a fable. The sooner USA grows up and realizes that the better off it will be.

  • Mar 29 / 2012
  • 1

Budget of the Canadian Government

There are some really good things in the budget:

  • getting rid of 19K employees,
  • improve schools and infrastructure on Indian reserves,
  • various tax changes,
  • innovation in science/technology by using grants and matching funds,
  • budgetary surplus within a few years, and
  • purchasing from small businesses.

Shocking items:

  • doing away with the one cent coin (What will welders use to space the steel?)
  • no mention of avoiding use of that other OS to save hundreds of $millions annually … :-(
  • Mar 29 / 2012
  • 0
hunting, Uncategorized

Push Comes to Shove at the Canadian Senate’s Legal and Consitutional Affairs Committee

Today is the day the gloves will come off. This morning the agenda consists of statements and Q&A from two witnesses but this afternoon, clause by clause examination of the bill will happen. This is the last faint hope of the gun-grabbers to gut the bill.

During Q&A previously we have seen senators on one side support and help witnesses who pointed out the ill effects of the long firearm registry which has risked lives, harrassed law-abiding citizens, cost $billions and done nothing to improve safety for Canadians for 17 years. At the same times the gun-grabbers on the committee repeated the same old lies and refused to recognize reality when presented to them. They made it a “women’s issue” when many firearms owners are women. They made it a divisive issue between urban and rural when most of us have rural roots. They made is a divisive issue between police and the citizens by repeating the chants of managers of police forces and associations wanting to pump up policing budgets instead of increasing police presence. They repeatedly supported whimsey over rational arguments based on facts.

The last hope of the gun-grabbers is to throw out clauses providing for the elimination of the firearms registry for unrestricted firearms and the destruction of the useless data. There will be many clauses recommended for removal or change and many votes. The end is not in doubt but it is sad to see senators supposedly giving “sober second thought” acting like parrots.

see the notice of the meeting.

At the beginning of the second round of Q&A, a senator quoted Statistics Canada reports that homicide by firearms decreased more rapidly before the registry came into being than after. Heidi Rathjen, the witness, could only repeat that homicides had decreased after the registry came to be. Lack of rational thought is the hallmark of the gun-grabbers.

Priscilla DeVilliers, another witness, went on about what the harm would be if the registry were kept… Undermining the whole argument that the registry is about safety. Governments should not have legislation that is minimally harmful but provably desirable. Where is the desirability of an expensive, intrusive, erroneous system?

The meeting ended with a vote to report the bill unmodified back to the full Senate. Hurray!

  • Mar 29 / 2012
  • 0

Oracle’s Position is Worse Than I Thought

I was thinking that Oracle’s claims in Oracle v Google were bottoming out at a few tens of $millions. It turns out to be worse than that. In the pre-trial meeting, Google made a reasonable offer that amounts to just a few $million to settle damages for the patent-violations if any.

“The ’104 patent currently stands rejected bythe PTO, and will expire on December 22, 2012. The ’520 patent is worth very little—only $80,000 through 2011 according to Dr. Kearl before adjusting for failure to mark and non-accused devices, and $50,000 according to Dr. Cockburn after those adjustments—and Oracle’sown engineers ranked that patent in the middle of the pack of 569 Java-related patents owned byOracle.”

What’s that amount to, half a day in court?

“Google proposes that the parties waive their rights to a jury trial. Because there are only two patents remaining in the case, and because Oracle’s expert believes that a reasonable royalty for those patents is only $4.15 million, the primary issues remaining in the case involve the copyrightability of the Java API specifications, fair use, and Google’s equitable defenses. As indicated in the recent copyright briefing, both parties agree that copyrightability and Google’s equitable defenses are questions for the Court, not a jury. Because these issues are for the Court, Google is willing to waive its right to a jury trial in order to avoid unnecessarily burdening jurors with sitting through a lengthy trial in which they will not be responsible for deciding the most important questions. A bench trial would also save time for the Court.”

I guess Oracle is hoping it can somehow snow the jury…

Oracle, sticking to what little claim it has left, declines the offer and is going for broke. Broke it will be then.

I expect Judge Alsup will give the two sides another fatherly talk and suggest they shake hands and skip the trial. There’s just so little left in it for Oracle. The trial will be an embarrassment of foolish spending to advertise foolish management’s delusions of grandeur.

  • Mar 29 / 2012
  • 45

Munich Breaks Even By Migrating To GNU/Linux

Mayor Ude of Munich, Germany, has stated some facts about the effects of the migration from that other OS to GNU/Linux:

So much for the sycophants of M$ claiming costs had ballooned with GNU/Linux. Frankly, I am surprised they found so few problems with that other OS. Perhaps users “just rebooted” and made problems go away with that other OS. 46 per month with GNU/Linux is rather trivial for thousands of desktops. The help-desk people must nap a lot. I’ve had that many requests to reset passwords with ~100 PCs. I’ve had a few users who forgot passwords every weekend…

Good for the taxpayers and IT people of Munich. We know that cost was not the only consideration but it is a welcome side effect.