Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Saturday, March 17, 2012

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 1

Linus’ Death-ray Fired on LKML

I’ve read more than enough times about Linux breaking things. I’ve rarely seen it however and Linus wants to make sure things stay that way with this blast on LKML (Linux Kernel Mailing List):
“From Linus Torvalds <>
Date Thu, 8 Mar 2012 15:40:26 -0800
Subject Re: [PATCH] sysfs: Optionally count subdirectories to support buggy applications

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 2:18 PM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> Keeping compatibility is easy enough that it looks like it is worth
> doing, but maintaining 30+ years of backwards compatibility

Stop right there.

This is *not* about some arbitrary “30-year backwards compatibility”.

This is about your patch BREAKING EXISTING BINARIES.”

Amen, Linus. You tell ‘em.

If you want to read more go here, but be warned, Linus pulls no punches. ;-)

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 10

TOS – That Other OS

I have known for years that That Other OS was declining in popularity but I have mostly been concentrating on growth of */Linux lately. It does not hurt to have a look at the competition.

Here is what StatCounter reveals for share in USA lately:

Even though we know the site is biased and overcounts MacOS at several times the size of Apple’s shipments and TOS had an extreme share there lately, the totals are amazing. Adding up Vista, “7″ and XP comes to less than 80% last quarter, 79.9% in fact.

That’s amazing. The equation of the trendline suggests M$ is losing 0.85% of its share per quarter.

Globally, their share is higher but lately, is dropping faster, 1.1% per quarter.

That will soon be too large to hide from the bottom line with thick PCs showing little growth without raising prices, something that is difficult with smart thingies around $100 these days. Apple appears to be taking that higher-priced market. With more retailers and OEMs pushing GNU/Linux globally, the low end should fall to */Linux, leaving M$ somewhere in the middle with its old OS.

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 0

Changing of the Guard for Personal Computing

I visited statcounter today to check out the proportion of Internet usage from mobile or non-mobile OS:

Region % non-mobile
USA 91.28
Asia 85.81
Africa 86.44
South America 97.16
Europe 95.70
Worldwide 91.47

While the absolute numbers may not mean much one can see that different regions are quite different in usage of x86 desktops and smart thingies. Emerging markets where growth is huge have changed very rapidly in share, likely because newcomers to IT can afford small cheap computers but not Wintel.

Even in South America where the mobile thing has not caught on, competition is growing slowly, even on the desktop even in business hours or however they make their bias in countries that promote FLOSS. South America manufactures a lot of its own PCs and you can buy GNU/Linux on retail shelves there.

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 5

Get The Atime Out!

I noticed my new (but old) thin client seems jerky, just what I would expect with the “atime” option on the NFS root file system. Indeed, checking the access times of some executables in the chroot:
ls –time=atime -l bin

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 316216 Nov 1 10:17 tar
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5720 Oct 27 18:53 tempfile
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 44096 Nov 1 10:17 touch
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 16060 Nov 1 10:18 true
-rwsr-xr-x 1 root root 47304 Nov 1 10:18 umount
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 23136 Oct 31 16:56 uname

Indeed, logging into the thin client and checking the mount shows: on / type nfs (rw,relatime,vers=3,rsize=524288,wsize=524288,namlen=255,hard,\

So, here I am typing and any access of an executable is being logged back on the terminal server! I don’t need that extra hand-shaking. Now to turn it off…

mount -o remount,noatime,nodiratime,norelatime /dev/md0 /

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 0

It’s All in the Applications

Applications are one factor considered when choosing/planning an IT system. Datamation has a good list of FLOSS projects more or less equivalent to some popular applications that run on that other OS. Browsing the list could offer you better or cheaper choices for your applications.

I am planning a web-site memorial to honour my mother and was looking over the list to see what might be relevant. A general-purpose CMS (Content Management System) might be overkill and there are a ton of applications I have not used that might help me develop something better than a few flat pages:

With such a long list of “equivalents” and the huge repositories of Free Software at Sourceforge, GitHub and Debian GNU/Linux, it’s quite a target-rich environment for planning a project.

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 10

PCworld: “8″ Not Inspiring

Oooo… That must hurt. After, no doubt, focus groups and all that, the world now knows that many of us don’t like change for the sake of change…

PC World conducted a survey and found 50% of people who tried the demo of “8″ didn’t like it much. Imagine how people who “find” it on a PC they buy will feel. The folks in the survey went to the trouble of installing the thing… It looks to me like Vista or Phoney “7″ all over again.

see Windows 8 Survey: Half Who Have Tried the OS Wouldn’t Recommend It

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 0

Debian GNU/Linux Works in Education

“When asked about the advantages of Skolelinux/Debian Edu, Nigel Barker replied: “For me the integrated setup. This is not just the server, or the workstation, or the LTSP. It’s all of them, and it’s all configured ready to go. I read somewhere in the early documentation that it is designed to be set up and managed by the Maths or Science teacher, who doesn’t necessarily know much about computers, in a small Norwegian school. That describes me perfectly if you replace Norway with Japan.””

see Debian Edu Interview: Nigel Barker

That has been my experience using LTSP and Debian GNU/Linux. The advantages of having everything in one place compounded with the efficiencies of file-caching and the performance of a good server with Debian GNU/Linux are too good to ignore.

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 18

Is “8″ Another Vista?

Thesis: Vista was such a disappointment to so many users of PCs that M$ lost share of PCs and has not recovered. “8″ will be another Vista and M$ is in danger of losing another chunk of share.

Question: How much share does M$ have to lose before OEMs, users, businesses and the whole IT industry flee to other systems like MacOS, FreeBSD, Android/Linux and GNU/Linux?

The video: Two consultants discuss market shares, response to “8″ and the Vista effect.

My view is that M$ has lost share and continues to lose share even without “8″ going to market so “8″ is almost sure to increase the rate of change. One of the consultants is clearly in error mentioning 10% share for MacOS. That may be true in USA but cannot be true globally because Apple does not ship enough units.

The discussion also gives little weight to the small cheap computers. Cloud + thin client is viable and small cheap computers work and do not require that other OS.

  • Mar 17 / 2012
  • 0

Oracle Sees the Future

The Oracle v Google, and fiascos may just be froth compared to deeper issues with Oracle. Some analysts are saying that the purchase of SUN has put Oracle into direct competition with lots of companies who used to promote use of Oracle’s database, Oracle’s bread and butter.

Next public reporting to SEC and the world is expected March 20, a few days from now. Let’s see what the numbers hold. I believe monopoly in large enterprise databasery is an anomaly and unsustainable. Any competing product can simply add features and catch up or exceed Oracle’s price/performance. Enough support behind any competing product will destroy the monopoly. If Oracle has to drop prices to stay in the game, their bottom line will suffer sooner or later.

see Analysts worry that something’s amiss at Oracle