Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Wednesday, April 11, 2012

  • Apr 11 / 2012
  • 34

Endless Sorrows

It never ends. M$’s next Patch Tuesday will document multiple “critical vulnerabilities”, some being exploited today but M$’s users have to wait.

When will the world be freed from the zombie OS from M$? I switched to GNU/Linux years ago and missed waves of malware ever since. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it works for me and not those malware-writing “partners” of M$.

The recipe for making secure software is not complicated. Use a crisp modular design with each piece doing a well-defined job well and it will happen. M$ is going around trying to fix mistakes it made decades ago when it decided that it was more important to mess with competition than to produce a good product.

Bill Gates (1996):“2. GOALS AND STRATEGY
We have won platforms battles before. To make history happen again, we must make the industry embrace Internet Explorer and ActiveX :
• establish a significant installed base of users (browser share is starting point),
• sell the benefits of our platforms to the content developers,
• convince the influential webmasters to switch to our standards and promote them, reach the producers,
• help the traditional developers (ISVs and corporate developers) write to the ActiveX platform, so they develop the rich base of Web applications and controls that establishes the value of the platform,
• “activate” our partners to create a supportive environment of partners – able to sell, integrate and support our solutions and 3rd party ActiveX technology.”

The strategy was all about messing with the competition. No weight was given to securing the mess that resulted. Indeed it is doubtful that a mess that complex could possibly be secured.

  • Apr 11 / 2012
  • 5

Glyn Moody Gets One Right

Glyn Moody is often right, IMHO. Today he gets another one right:
“why pay for costly closed-source infrastructure software when all the high-profile success stories are running open source from top to bottom? Do you really want to bet they’re doing it wrong?”

The competitive advantages of using GNU/Linux everywhere in IT are too good to miss. One key item in his post is that InstaGram has only 3 engineers to run it’s entire back office using GNU/Linux and Amazon EC2 (25 extra large machines) … That must run chills through M$’s spine. Instagram has 30 million users and hosts 150 million photos. The Android App gets more than a million downloads per day. Instagram was founded in 2010. Startups, are you listening? Facebook is buying them for $1billion. Investing in GNU/Linux can pay handsomely.

“We’ve only got 3 engineers, and our needs are still evolving, so self-hosting isn’t an option we’ve explored too deeply yet”

While Instagram used Ubuntu GNU/Linux, I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s hard to beat the original with a copy.

  • Apr 11 / 2012
  • 17

XBMC: Killer App for GNU/Linux?

In my experience there are two things that the masses of ordinary people do with PCs: entertain themselves and communicate with the outside world. The entertainment part is huge. My “little woman”, for instance, will have 20 pages open in her browser all day long, mostly finding out what’s happening in the outside world. At the same time, our home has two PCs dedicated to multimedia and she can access her huge collection of images of family and architecture from two other PCs (one static and one mobile). Anywhere people are working or sitting in our home they can watch video and hear music. It’s a huge time-waster…

We have the “work” side of IT well covered by LibreOffice, Chrome browser, and the GNU/Linux desktop, but the area of entertainment has been fragmented with the need to pull things in from all over the web to get what we want.

For decades people have been finding ways to use PCs to play multimedia but still the home-entertainment industry cranks out gadgets that are not PCs and which come with their own remote control. The news that XBMC is coming to Debian GNU/Linux means that this Swiss Army knife of entertainment which has interfaces for all kinds of remote controls means every PC can now control every box in the stack. In our home, the XBMC-box and a programmable remote control runs the TV, the amplifier/receiver, the surround-sound system and the VCR all with a single programmable remote. You plunk yourself down, press Activities/Watch TV and the news is on. Press Watch VCR and our 20 year old collection of kids movies gets re-cycled by our grand daughter. XBMC can run DVDs or recorded movies and control the device attached to the computer and the various entertainment units.

XBMC is now a package in Debian Sid, the experimental flavour of Debian GNU/Linux. Soon, it will be in testing and may well be released with Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy this fall. Installing XBMC manually, as we did, is a bit of work, especially pulling in additional drivers and codecs. The inclusion of XBMC in Debian should mean that process will become smooth for Debian and all its dependents, including Ubuntu GNU/Linux, the current market leader of GNU/Linux distros.

XMBC:“Linux users rejoice! Thanks primarily to the hard work of Andres Mejia, XBMC has been accepted into the official Debian distribution! In the past we have been unable to make it into Debian as the sheer size and complexity of XBMC made the review process so difficult, so Andres, an XBMC developer who was working to become a Debian Developer already, volunteered to maintain it himself. Yesterday, his Eden packages were accepted. For those unclear about what this means, Debian unstable users will now be able to install XBMC without using any third-party repositories.

We have already been included in several major Linux distributions, but Debian is a big target because of the size of the community around it. As most Linux users are probably aware, other major distros such as Ubuntu and Mint derive (or derive indirectly) from Debian, and sync their packages regularly. Andres succeeded in requesting a sync to Ubuntu in time to hit Precise Pangolin, so users of this next LTS release will be able to install XBMC with just a few clicks (or an apt-get). We hope this will lower the barrier to entry for many users who are not familiar with PPAs.”

That leaves games as the last frontier in GNU/Linux for the masses. Many developers are still locked-in to that other OS but they have surely noticed the decline in share. As that progresses, more games will become available. The new HTML 5 standard and the changes to the GUI that Canonical has made may accelerate the tendency of games to become available on GNU/Linux. The present development gives consumers one more reason to want GNU/Linux and retailers one more reason to include it on shelves. I expect Ubuntu GNU/Linux will increase in popularity as a result.