Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Friday, March 30, 2012

  • 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.