Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Monthly Archives / November 2012

  • Nov 30 / 2012
  • 3

Dell Vostro Permits Escaping the Tax

“After a little clicking around to compare different laptops, I ended up on a comparison page for the Vostro line. Naturally, I was drawn to the $299 priced laptop, when I noticed that there are 2 computers that differ only in the OS pre-installed, AND $70! This is the first time I’ve just naturally stumbled upon such a blatant exposure of the Windows tax.”

see The Raving Rick: Dell Vostro without Windows Tax.

It’s not an accidental find either. Dell makes it easy:

  1. From, choose small and home office,
  2. choose laptops and ultrabooks,
  3. choose laptops Vostro,
  4. choose Vostro 2420 and 2520, the lowest priced option, and
  5. 15″:

See the tax? $70 for nothing. Don’t pay it. Make the choice of Ubuntu GNU/Linux. There’s still “Dell recommends Windows” at the top right but it sure seems smaller today.

It’s not all roses over at Dell, however. The Var Guy points out some inconsistencies still.

  • Nov 30 / 2012
  • 0

Fight! Fight! Over at HP A Battle Royal Develops

“While Dr. Lynch is eager for a debate, we believe the legal process is the correct method in which to bring out the facts and take action on behalf of our shareholders. In that setting, we look forward to hearing Dr. Lynch and other former Autonomy employees answer questions under penalty of perjury.”

see HP Issues Statement Regarding Open Letter from Mike Lynch.

This is about the recent write-down of the Autonomy purchase by HP. HP claims Autonomy hid its real value during negotiations… This is in a long line of bad news from HP since before the Hurd regime. Will HP ever get back on the rails or will it become another SUN?

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 5

“8″ brings Dead Cat Bounce to PC sales

“Since the Oct. 26 launch of Windows 8, consumer notebook and desktop sales in the U.S. have fallen 21% compared to the same period last year, said Baker. Laptop sales were down even more — 24% year-over-year — while desktop numbers were off considerably less, just 9%.”

see Windows 8 brings zero 'pop' to consumer PC sales | ITworld.

USA gets ~20% of global PC shipments so this means M$’s revenue for the client division could take another big hit. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is buying smart thingies instead of PCs. Wintel is on a downwards trend. It’s about time retailers tried selling GNU/Linux on PCs at reasonable prices. Price matters.

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 4
technology Now Sells a GNU/Linux Notebook and It’s Not Small and Cheap

This is the XPS-13 at $1549 in “developer version”. It’s an “Ultrabook”TM with that other OS. I guess it’s a nearly optimal notebook with GNU/Linux although I would prefer Debian GNU/Linux instead of Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

see Dell

I still don’t get why Dell doesn’t sell small cheap computers that run GNU/Linux in USA. They do in India/China. USA certainly does have millions who could afford a small cheap computer but not an Ultrabook.

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 4

M$’s Crapware Kills Education Even in Redmond, WA

“The virus is affecting not only high school and middle school students who received a laptop for the first time this year, but also devices at the district office and elementary schools.

That’s 50 schools and more than 25,000 computers. And here’s the ironic thing about it: The Lake Washington School District comprises the cities of Kirkland and Redmond, the latter, of course, being the hometown of Microsoft. Those laptops are all running on PCs with Windows 7.”

via Windows virus causing havoc for school district in Microsoft’s backyard – GeekWire.

There, you have it. The kind of thing I saw in several schools in the North of Canada running that other OS and bogging down IT to unusability. Folks there just did without until I showed them how to migrate to GNU/Linux. The folks in Washington state are hiring five IT guys to try to undo the damage. They won’t succeed. You cannot rewind the clock on everything.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, an OS that works for you and not for M$ and it’s malware “partners”.

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 0

Oracle Broken MySQL Promises

“Widenius reckons Larry Ellison’s database giant has already broken one promise it made to European regulators as part of its $8.5bn Sun Microsystems purchase when it moved parts of the database into closed source. He also accused Oracle of obfuscating on security and bug fixes, as it has not released all-important test cases for MySQL 5.5.27.”

see Monty on broken MySQL promises: Oracle's going to fork it up • The Register.

If Monty Widenius is correct and the jig is up by 2014, I have about a year to migrate all my stuff to either MariaDB or PostgreSQL. There is a plugin for WordPress which converts transactions to PostgreSQL but that would be slow. It might be easier to migrate my content to another blog… My other biggy is Wikimedia but it knows PostgreSQL so it’s just a matter of re-installing and exporting/importing content.

Oracle promised to do the right thing when it bought MySQL but they have either forgotten or more likely assume the world has forgotten. I have not. I wonder if the EU has.

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 10

YES!!! Munich Successfully Migrated 12,000 PCs To GNU/Linux!

Google Translation: “Over 12,000 urban PC workstations to work with the open PC workstation system Linux. The open source office suite communication are the employees of the City of Munich and used to work with LiMux has become routine.
Despite the long duration of the project, each new project milestone was followed by other municipalities and states with interest. And the interest is still undiminished.”

see Munich with over 12,000 PCs Running LiMux | Munich IT Blog: target achieved.

It did take a long time but they did break even by the time of the second avoided “upgrade” of that other OS. They didn’t break anything but dependency on M$. Congratulations, Munich!

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 6

Old Phones

“Fifty-five per cent of Brits have an old handset or two lying about the place”

see Half of us have old phones STUFFED in our drawers • The Register.

Chuckle. When I read that headline I thought of the phone in my kitchen, circa 1987 (yep, a dialer). We bought it when the little woman and I bought our first house and it stayed with the old homestead until the renovation this summer. Now it’s in our new house. I always use it if I can because the ear-piece is actually comfortable against my ear unlike those hard flat bricks of smartphones… Yes, rounded corners antedate the iPhone.

  • Nov 29 / 2012
  • 0

Linux Kernel Developers and the Mystery of Slower Mounts

In Linux it is often said that every device is a file. To most of us a file is something just there. The kernel boys and girls actually tweak the bits right down to the hardware to make the magic of a file somewhere becoming accessible to the system, mounting the file.

Last week, one developer found a recent version of Linux mounted files considerably slower than it usually did. He noticed because he mounted a lot of file-systems. When careful timing was done the difference was measured. Indeed mounts were an order of magnitude slower. By repeating the measurements for several versions and finally versions with and without certain patches/changes, the cause was found. Then discussion broke out about how to fix both issues, why the change had been made and how to do it differently.

In the process, coach Linus stepped in having noticed some perspective was missing. He quickly turned the pack around to solve the “real problem” and Linux now is as fast as ever and other problems have disappeared. Yeah team!

“It seems the recent kernel is slower mounting hard disk than older kernels.”

see LKML: Jeff Chua: Recent kernel "mount" slow.

Indeed, GNU/Linux is a cooperative product of the world with everyone contributing what they can and getting the job done. It’s the right way to do IT. In fact, I rarely mount much because I use my system for hours and only mount between session but I think it’s important that someone actually cares if IT slows down for any reason, unlike that other OS when M$ actually benefits when their OS slows down through use and folks buy a new one…

BTW, “here’s the comparison …

0.500s 3.7.0-rc7
0.168s 3.7.0-rc2
0.012s 3.6.0
0.013s 3.7.0-rc7 + synchronize_sched_expedited()
0.350s 3.7.0-rc7 + Oleg’s patch.”

That’s caring.

  • Nov 28 / 2012
  • 0

Run-up to Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy

I saw the fourth beta of Debian’s new installer was available so I gave it a spin. There are some new things:

  • a lot of languages,
  • speech (lines are numbered and a blind person can type the number to make a choice),
  • multi-arch installation CD is very cool, and
  • it beats the Hell out of installing the previous version and apt-get dist-upgrading…

I didn’t run into any problems except my own clumsy typing… It seems nearly ready.
Continue Reading

  • Nov 28 / 2012
  • 0

Microsoft – Thief of IT

“Microsoft will make businesses pay 15% more for licenses that let workers access servers from as many devices as they want, which – depending on how workers do their jobs – may still be cheaper than the alternative.”

see Microsoft jacks up client license fees, but they may still be a good deal.

If some brute stood on the sidewalk and demanded $5 to pass, would that ever be a good deal? Nope. Not even in an emergency. The brute would just slow you down. If the guy charges $5 to go on the left side while he charges $7 to go on the right side, he’s not offering any savings. Call the police to arrest the guy. If M$ charges you any amount of money to access any number of devices (taxing your own LAN!) it’s never a good deal. Stop using M$’s stuff. The EULA on the client OS licence limits you to 15 devices, for pity’s sake. Don’t accept that. Don’t pay M$ to get around an obstacle M$ created.

Use Debian GNU/Linux. You can download it from here. The price is always the same, $0, and you can connect together as many devices as you want. You can turn your PC into a server or database, too, at no extra charge. In addition you can examine, modify, run and distribute the code.