Deadlines

Deadlines are often stressful and ugly. Sometimes they provoke improvement/change for good reasons. M$ has set a deadline for end of support of its older “server” software (2003) this year and I notice Netcraft reports the only users of That Other OS on its Most Reliable Hosting Provider lists use those older models, 2008 and 2012. Will they or won’t they throw more money at M$ to make this problem go away? Will they stick with TOOS or go to GNU/Linux like most of their competitors when the deadline approaches?

See Hosting Providers sites ordered by OS.

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The New Tractor Goes For Its First Exercise

I finally have done all I could to the new tractor before taking it out for a trial. Today, after a trip to town, I fired it up on the driveway and tried it out.

There were still a couple of small bugs:

  • there’s a leak of oil from the cylinder head for a few minutes during warming up – I will check the head bolts or change the gasket
  • the tractor is nose-heavy – I will add some weight to the handles
  • the right steering control did not disengage well – I adjusted it and it is better but still the machine steers a bit to the right
  • the clutch is not disengaged at the “disengage” position – I will have to recheck that…

I rolled it around the driveway for a half an hour. It was hard work keeping it balanced and straight so I was tired afterwards but it’s nearly ready for the garden. A break-in period of 30 minutes per gear could take all day tomorrow but I should finally get the plough dirty. I’m not sure what gear I was in because the high/low shift lever is labelled in Chinese. I was in the lowest gear in some range and barely approached half-speed on the engine… ;-). I’ll try the other range tomorrow with a wagon in tow. I don’t fancy running along behind. The high range is nearly four times as fast.

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Evolution of GNU/Linux on Czech Desktops

Just like most other regions, GNU/Linux grew very little share over the last few years in the Czech Republic but the last year has seen explosive growth at the expense of that other OS. MacOS grew even faster but about 20% of the decline of TOOS in Czech Republic went to GNU/Linux. One Czech technical high school partnered with the Linux Professional Institute on courses and certification. Red Hat has been hiring up a storm in the Czech Republic. Suse has an office in Prague too. Google Trends shows GNU/Linux spreading like a fire over the Czech Republic:

See Top 7 Desktop OSs in Czech Republic from July 2008 to Mar 2015.

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A Million People Switched To GNU/Linux In Spain, France, and Germany Q1 2015

I did a calculation today of the top adopters of GNU/Linux in Europe. Excluding Italy, which is exceptional, I found the share percentage increase was ~0.5% for the first quarter. The graph omits this week because data for Sunday is still unavailable. The black line is the sum weighted by Internet-connected populations: Spain 34M, France 54M, and Germany 68M. A rise of 0.5% represents 1M increase in users, assuming share of page-views = share of desktop PCs = share of users. Continue reading

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Social FLOSS “Out There”

Since RMS enunciated the principles of Free Software so many years ago, the world of IT has crossed time and space. “On January 14th, Twitter suspended @Barbijaputa’s account after she participated in a conversation about sexually transmitted diseases. The next day, she created a profile on GNU social node Quitter.se and started posting. Her Twitter followers proved willing to follow her all the way to GNU social, and began joining existing nodes en masse and starting their own.
The growth was so explosive that the some of the existing GNU social nodes were unable to handle the traffic.
See Thousands of Spaniards leave Twitter for GNU social — Free Software Foundation — working together for free software.”
While the original issues with users controlling software instead of being controlled by it still linger on the personal computer, servers, both local, remote and in the cloud introduce a new dimension.

It’s more efficient to have a few servers serving many thousands of people than having thousands of copies of some FLOSS. Indeed with networks of computers holding impossibly large databases, it’s not practical to have FLOSS on every PC taking care of business. One needs FLOSS on those servers to make them more trustworthy.

Social media is the extreme with hundreds of millions of users dealing with some central authority controlling every detail of a user’s experience. In Spain, the chickens have come home to roost and folks are giving FLOSS on federated servers a try. There will be teething troubles getting everything to scale but at least the users will have some say. Security is a whole other kettle of fish but security is a problem on the non-Free systems anyway.

I think this is an idea that can scale by eliminating bottlenecks. If there is no “central authority” there could be fewer bottlenecks. Can it be secured to prevent DOS and other baddies? Time will tell. The world can and does make its own FLOSS for PCs. Why not for networks of PCs and servers?

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Vive La France Libre! GNU/Linux Rolls Onwards And Upwards

France has been a leading adopter of FLOSS for years. France was the home of Mandrake GNU/Linux. The French government has used FLOSS itself and distributed FLOSS to students. They’ve even promoted FLOSS in the colonies. All that was just cultivating the radical shifts we see now. Just as in many other countries, GNU/Linux is on a webstat roll.“forget the endless rows of high-definition televisions, Android tablets, and shiny automobiles that can access Facebook. If you want a glimpse at the future, pay attention to the absurd yet magical gizmos coming out of France. Here in Las Vegas, at least, its technology minds are simply belting the competition.”
See France Is Absolutely Crushing It at CES.
See also, the French government boasting about the French tech sector.

According to StatCounter, in France, GNU/Linux has overtaken Vista and “8” and moved up about the same distance as MacOS, so much so that both “8.1” and “7” declined in the last week.
See Top 7 Desktop OSs in France from 1 Jan to 2 Apr 2015.

I guess the bottom line is that it pays to have salesmen and fans. GNU/Linux has both in France.

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What OS Would You Take To A Desert Island?

I’ve heard of Pitcairn Islands and that they actually are counted by StatCounter. I kid you not. ~60 people live there and this is their OS-breakdown for 2015-March:
Lose7
OS X
LoseXP
LoseVista
Lose8
GNU/Linux
Lose2003
20.61
4.85
63.64
3.03
0.61
6.67
0.61

Well, it’s not a hub of industry but they do sell stuff and they have a website or two. A few of them have the good sense to use FLOSS and apparently they use equipment until it dies, a sound policy, IMHO. It will be interesting to see whether or not they kill off XP with GNU/Linux or import that other OS. So far it looks like they are going with “7”, but that’s just one day in April. Perhaps the GNU/Linux guys were out fishing. I’d go with GNU/Linux if I wanted to help the balance of payments…

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LibreOffice Continues To Gain Mindshare

According to Google Trends, LibreOffice is holding a substantial mindshare while openoffice.org is in decline. Most of the regions where people search out LibreOffice are regions where GNU/Linux is thriving so this suggests more folks are planning to switch from TOOS to GNU/Linux and LibreOffice. That’s smart. More performance. Less pain.

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GNU/Linux Gets High

In March, GNU/Linux’ share of page-views worldwide reached new

  • Daily
  • Weekly , and
  • Monthly highs according to StatCounter.

Heck. It’s the best quarter so far at 1.61% too. Take that, Wintel. 8-)

Just for fun, but not an April’s Fool joke, in Canada, MacOS has overtaken Lose 7 as top desktop OS and that could happen this week in USA… Ohhh! The Horror!

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$149 For A Real Notebook PC

I’ve invited Walmart to spam my inbox with stuff they’re selling. Usually it’s fairly routine stuff“With an 8.5-hour battery life, the Hisense Chromebook keeps you going all day. The Hisense Chromebook features a textured lid for keeping a sure grip and a metal palm-rest to add structure and comfort while typing. Chromebooks are automatically kept up to date, so you’ll always have the latest virus protection, along with the latest features like Voice Search. Best of all, your Chromebook won’t slow down over time.
See Hisense Chromebook (11.6" Quad-Core Processor).”
but, today, a link brought me to an 11.6″ Chromebook with decent specs for a young/small person who wants mobility and a keyboard and a screen much larger than a smartphone… for $149 USD.

That’s a game-changer, pocket-change, available to anyone on this continent, and it’s not pitifully weak, either. 2.5gHz quad-core ARMed CPU can certainly browse the web, probably as fast as the best smartphone and with all the ease of a notebook. Personally, I don’t like notebooks. Their keyboards crimp my style, but hundreds of millions are OK with that. 2gB RAM is marginal the way browsers work these days, but there are few websites that one could not visit properly with that. You just can’t have 32 huge pages open. Lots of folks have e-mail and FB open all day and not much more. This works for them. For those who need more, this is expandable to 16gB RAM! I’m tempted. I could shove Beast’s storage into a NAS or shift it into the server room and have more space on my desk, a lot more.

Such products can permanently crimp M$’s style, making M$ unable to interest the next generation who could well be the mainstream IT-buyer in a few short years. This is the end of monopoly pricing for IT for consumers. They’ve had it with paying what the market would bear with Wintel. They are used to getting whatever they want with smart thingies. Now, they can get the “new” legacy PC for little more than the price of the hardware, assembly and shipping. It’s a fitting development for 2015, The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop. Expect such products to sell out and to be replenished as sales of “legacy” PCs slump. I visited Walmart today and did not notice any interest at all in legacy PCs. $149 will arouse a lot of interest even if it’s only a second, third or fourth PC in a home to avoid having to carry them around to the kitchen, bathroom, workshop, basement, laundry, bedroom, living-room. With such gadgets, an ordinary homeowner can have a PC in every room with less trouble than That Other OS and all its malware, slowing down ( Walmart even pumps that button…). Yes, the retailers are turning to bite the hand that beat them for decades.

I’m not the only one who thinks this development is significant:
See also PCWorld

See also, TechCrunch

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GNU/Linux By Continent In 2015 So Far

According to StatCounter, GNU/Linux desktops have been going well in 2015. Here’s the data for the first quarter by week and region.

Europe and North America were the stars. Oceania, Africa and Asia are still lagging but also moving up. It’s interesting that Europe seemed more enthusiastic for GNU/Linux than USA, the home of GNU/Linux, but USA is rapidly catching up. It’s all good.

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FLOSS Grows Stronger in Albania

FLOSS is everywhere these days, even in Albania.“more than 400 free libre open source technology enthusiasts, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.
See OSCAL '15 | Open Source Conference Albania 2015.”
If you can get 400 people out of 3 million to show up for a conference on FLOSS, you can do just about anything. I think Albanians are getting excited about FLOSS, even GNU/Linux on the desktop:

See Statcounter, Top 7 Desktop OSs in Albania From Apr 2011 to Mar 2015

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