Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts By / pogson

  • Dec 13 / 2012
  • 1

Open Source, Limerick City Council

“In an effort to reduce software licencing costs, Limerick City Council is fully committed to adopting open source solutions that prove to be value for money.”

via Open Source, Limerick City Council.

Amen. Doing IT right as a local government involves getting the most bang for the $ and FLOSS does that in a big way. Costs of creating, distributing and maintaining software are all minimized with FLOSS and there’s nothing that cannot be done with the FLOSS OS, GNU/Linux. When Limerick is ready to migrate its desktops, I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because of its huge repository, slick package manager and depth and breadth of application.

  • Dec 13 / 2012
  • 26

M$’s True Market Share Is Just 20%

“while Microsoft operating systems were found on 97 per cent of all computing devices as recently as 2000, Redmond’s current share is just 20 per cent, thanks to the explosion of mobile devices in recent years.”

see Goldman Sachs: Windows' true market share is just 20% • The Register.

Yep. After a bunch of quarters where consumers were spending money on small cheap computers, the people in ivory towers have discovered that the emperor has no clothes. M$ now operates in a niche of business and consumer notebooks/desktops which is not growing much. Hint: Without growth, M$’s business model falls down. The slaves are only happy to slave on if they get some crumbs. Without growth, M$ is the only one to get any crumbs and the slaves become resentful. Equate slaves with OEMs, ISVs, retailers, and consumers. Businesses are becoming disillusioned as more businesses, governments, educational institutions switch to FLOSS and GNU/Linux. Want IT for less in order to compete? Run away from M$. I suggest Debian GNU/Linux. It works for you and not for M$.

  • Dec 12 / 2012
  • 9

Sublime and Ridiculous Items on CNN

I’ve been watching CNN a bit lately and while sometimes it’s informative and sometimes entertaining, I rarely comment on the content. In the last 24 h though I have been moved to write:

  • CNN reporter Arwa Damon has been reporting from behind rebel lines from Aleppo, Syria. Besides mentioning the guts it takes to leave peaceful studios to go to places where death is random and sudden, I am pleased she reports on ordinary folks making bombs, rockets, and improvising good defences against Assad’s forces. She also says it like it is when USA announced some local rebels were “terrorists” just because… Hey, when USA puts some skin in the game to fight evil they might have some credence. The guys USA calls terrorists are their freedom fighters. Think back to the revolution against England, etc. There’s plenty of terror to go around any time ordinary folks pick up arms to right wrongs. It’s about time the USA dropped its phony wars and did the right thing occasionally. 40K+ civilians dying because USA and others don’t want to take sides is reprehensible. At least the terrorists are doing something about it.

    She also tried to reach a Syrian chemical weapons site

  • Conversely, when news broke that N. Korea had put something into orbit, CNN’s Candy Crowley wondered who had helped Korea accomplish this feat… and it was also announced that such a rocket might be able to reach Hawaii or Alaska… ACCHHH! Orbit, folks, means the rocket could reach anywhere on Earth. How I wish some people had open minds and actually respected other people’s intellectual ability, knowledge of physics, chemistry, engineering and just plain old learning from mistakes.
  • Finally, there is news that intelligent life does exist. When a madman rampaged through a shopping mall in Washington state, 10K people actually did reasonable things to escape. The employees locked people down in stores in back rooms and the like and shoppers cleared the wide open spaces as rapidly as possible while assisting people along the way. The police arrived within a few minutes and immediately entered the shopping mall severely limiting the shooter’s ability to wreak havoc. He shot himself without the police having to fire a shot. The death toll was 3 at last report, two victims and the shooter. It could easily have been 50. One wonders what might have happened if 1% of those shoppers had been packing a .45. It turns out that last year the local police and the mall were run through a similar exercise for training. Wonderful.
  • Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., fools supposedly leading the country cannot even balance the budget while imagining USA needs a huge military and a war on drugs, terrorism and afghanis.

Well, back to writing this blog and planning my garden and the Christmas feast. The world may go to Hell but I still have some chance for fun.

  • Dec 12 / 2012
  • 3

Want to be Audited? Use M$’s Software.

M$ is desperately trying to milk the dying cash-cow by having salesmen push audits of M$’s users.

“Redmond’s compliance troops swooped on 51 per cent of enterprises and partners polled for the 2012 Software Pricing and Licensing Survey by IDC and sponsored by Flexera Software.”

see Microsoft licence cops kick in TWICE as many customers' doors as rivals • The Register.

If you want to be free of these parasites, use GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It works for you, not against you.

  • Nov 26 / 2012
  • 11

If GNOME 2.x Wasn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

SJVN:“GNOME developers have woken up and are offering a way for GNOME users to go back to a GNOME 2.x style interface.”

see GNOME: Can this Linux desktop be saved?.

I haven’t liked GNOME even before the 3.x fiasco. I was mostly running older equipment and the bloat was a killer. XFCE4 is just the ticket… I hope that GNOME now sees that there’s no point in jerking users around with radical changes to wildly successful UI. Provide a new version by all means but don’t kill what works. They should have made their own fork or designed things to be easily switched by users. Plugins, perhaps? Some kind of menu by all means. It is foolish to think that a desktop/notebook PC should not have menus in general. There’s nothing wrong with menus properly designed. We still have the same pedals on a car even though the user interface has had many opportunities to change over a century. KISS and don’t fix what isn’t broken. GNOME 2.x was not broken. Most users of that other OS and new users had no problem learning to use it in a few minutes. These new things take hours and then there’s the pain of unlearning decades of GUI reflexes.

Canonical, are you paying attention? I am this close to killing two Ubuntu GNU/Linux installations in my home just because whenever I want to do something not absolutely routine, Canonical’s new interface (no, not the latest one, the one with the window-widgets misplaced…) keeps getting in my way. Today, I wanted to check something from the BASH interpreter and could not find a “terminal” anywhere in the GUI! Blashphemy! It turned out the problem was a missing cable and somehow APT had deleted one of my favourite packages… but instead of using the GUI, I had to use the console. Weak. Reducing flexibility in a handheld gadget to make things really easy to use makes sense. Reducing flexibility on my “mainframe-like” super-computer does not make any sense. I have several ways of doing many things and I like to choose which way to go. I hate distant people telling me what I can and cannot do with my own hardware. I lost that when I stopped needing to read M$’s EULA.

  • Nov 25 / 2012
  • 10

Thin Clients Eating M$’s Lunch

“in its home country of Germany, according to the latest independent study from ICT market analysts, ama GmbH. In the survey of over 6,000 businesses with more than 50 people, thin clients accounted for 11% of desktops and 35% of them were IGEL devices.”

see Survey Reveals IGEL as Clear German Market Thin Client Leader.

10% of desktop PCs being thin clients seems small but it is not. They last three times as long as thick PCs and they can run GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. That’s huge, a potential 30% loss of share for Wintel. That’s right; thin clients don’t need to be x86. They can be ARMed as well.

While M$ does attempt to tax thin clients with huge server licensing fees and CALs, more thin clients run a browser and access web servers directly, cutting M$ out. The annual rate of production of thin clients is still quite low but as Wintel PCs decline in number, the stark reality of the platform declining in all directions looms on the horizon. M$ has nowhere to go but down on client OS and their server licences depend heavily on that installed fleet which is about to shrink. All is not lost but there’s no upside for M$ for the next few years. Small cheap computers of all kinds are eating M$’s lunch.

  • Jan 11 / 2012
  • Comments Off

History of Lies

This from the “Lies M$ Told Us” department”:

Microsoft stated that Windows is not intended to be used as a server, nor will future versions contain advanced OS/2 features such as distributed processing, the 32-bit flat memory model, threads or long file names. OS/2 is the recommended operating system environment for new or existing 286/386 systems with 3MB or more of memory.

M$ knew that other OS was a bizarre server with all kinds of features irrelevant to serving anything but they forced it on the world anyway once they solidified the DOS/Lose ’95 Wintel monopoly. Then they lost all rationality in computer science and produced the abortions of common sense that we saw shipping with no security whatsoever from 1990 onward.

see Groklaw – Appendix PX 1-17

and Groklaw – Novell Files Gargantuan Opposition to Microsoft’s Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law ~pj – Updated, as text

This is from Novell v M$ over leaving WordPerfect at the altar but it gives insight to the mindset of M$ in those days. They were charging just a few dollars per PC in those days when PCs cost a lot, perhaps 2% of the consumer’s price. Look what monopoly has wrought. Now they want 25% or more after Moore’s Law has done its work.

  • Dec 02 / 2011
  • 0

Phsssssss… Air Leaks Out of Oracle v Google Damage Claims

Rather than $billions for the whole market of stuff, Oracle now has to itemize each and every usage of its valuable intellectual property so that the court can calculate damages, if any, accurately.
“Counsel for Oracle shall identify, for each of the 26 asserted claims, each Oracle product, Oracle-licensed product, Sun product, or Sun-licensed product that practiced the claim during the alleged damages period from January 1, 2007 through July 20, 2010, the time of actual notice. This must be filed by DECEMBER 16, 2011. In making this submission, counsel shall keep in mind that they are officers of the court and full candor is required.

By DECEMBER 30, 2011, counsel for Google shall respond and identify any further products by Oracle or Sun that practiced any of the 26 asserted claims, specifying with particularity which ones and why. Counsel shall keep in mind that they are officers of the court and full candor is required. Mere allegations will not suffice. Google will only list products they can prove practiced the asserted claims.”

“Full candor” is a sweet term, eh? What is the court going to think when Oracle comes back with $348,291 worth of usage of their stuff when Oracle started by demanding $billions? Further, Oracle will have to prove that each and every product informed users of the patents at issue… Imagine 100K such notices on a smart phone! Oracle has stepped into a tar-pit of its own making and has no escape except surrender or humiliation. Which will Ellison choose?

The fact that Android/Linux was the first use of much of this technology means Oracle’s damages must be minuscule because their revenue beforehand was minuscule. Also, because products were not marked, Google is not liable for any damages until Oracle sued. Gotta love it.

In a previous order, Judge Alsup quoted the law:
In the event of failure so to mark, no damages shall be recovered by the patentee in any action for infringement, except on proof that the infringer was notified of the infringement and continued to infringe thereafter, in which event damages may be recovered only for infringement occurring after such notice. Filing of an action for
infringement shall constitute such notice.

If Oracle can find no such products, it’s damage claim is dead. If Oracle can find such products that were not marked, it’s damage claims are greatly reduced. Either way, Google gets to argue that the violations, if any, were minimal while Oracle is trying to prove that Google used key technology from Java. Oracle’s whole patent case is weaker than a wet paper bag.

see Groklaw – Oracle v. Google – Proof of Patent Marking

  • Dec 01 / 2011
  • 1

The Neatest Thing About Debian GNU/Linux

There are a lot of things I like about Debian GNU/Linux. At the moment APT is the thing I love most. I just upgraded my most complex system, Beast, from it’s thin client, using SSH to the next release and I did not even have to reboot the thin client. Everything I use is working smoothly on Wheezy, which actually is still in “testing”. How smooth is that?

I edited /etc/apt/sources.list to name “wheezy” as the flavour instead of “squeeze” and ran
apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade.
A package I had installed and don’t use hung up so I had to repeat the command to restart the process at one point but everything else still works, my databases, web applications, search engines, and even the apt-cacher process running on Beast to cache downloaded packages.

Beast is headless and I did everything from its thin client. I just had to reconnect the SSH session after Beast’s single reboot. How cool is that? 8-) Debian GNU/Linux can do all that and it’s still not good enough to release to Debian developers’ standards. Compare that with the experience of the XP users who were not allowed to upgrade to Vista/”7″ without paying and re-installing. All my apps are here with me and upgraded… Amen.