Smartphone Market Set To Mature In 2015

Shipments of smartphones in the past year grew quite a bit last year but a lot less than the year before.“Global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%, with combined shipments of Chinese brands reaching 453.4 million units.” I think that signals shipments will peak in 2015 with almost everyone on the planet who needs/wants one will have one. By 2015, someone will need to drop a smartphone or someone will need a lower price to buy one. By then Africa will be the only sure growth-market left. By then Android/Linux will be crowned “king” and that other OS can go home. Apple has already achieved its mature market and has no growth left. Africans largely cannot afford iThingies so Android/Linux is the way forward. Everyone on the planet who thinks it’s “cool” to have an iThingy will have one.

General-purpose PCs have long since made a mature market and everyone in the food-chain is desperately trying to wring “value” from the legacy PC while they still can. There will continue to be a need for large screens, keyboards and mice but with voice-input becoming feasible in mobile, it won’t be long before keyboards will be optional on desktops. In such a market, adoption of GNU/Linux is one of the few ways forward that can still provide income to most of the food-chain. GNU/Linux costs less to buy and less to maintain but there’s still enough maintenance to provide a living to retailers and IT-types. Not so with that other OS which cannot compete except on small screens because M$ gives it away. Customers are going to prefer lower cost to buy rather than higher cost of maintenance even if M$ gives everything away.

The past year has been very instructive. The low end prices for PCs have dropped from ~$350 to ~$250 but growth is down to ~1% or so. Wintel cannot survive in this domain. Intel has had to ship Atoms, which it intended for mobile applications, to remain in the market for consumers. M$ has had to give away copies of its operating system. That leaves only GNU/Linux on ARM as the way to ~$100 PCs. GNU/Linux on Intel can get to ~$150 but not much lower. Expect to see many more GNU/Linux PCs in the market this year as OEMs and retailers struggle to find market share/volume. They can’t count on ripoff prices any longer.

See Global Smartphone Shipments in 2014 Totaled 1.167B with Samsung and Apple as First and Second, TrendForce Reports.

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Dropping PS For FLOSS

I don’t do a lot of graphics but I sure don’t believe the “must have PhotoShop” stuff. The software tweaks files and renders them on a screen. FLOSS can do that.“The ATI (Art and Technology of Image) department at University Paris 8 is switching to Krita this year. This department has the double aim to train students both to use graphic software (2D,3D,VFX and Compositing) and to code their own (Python, C#, C++). Until recently the classes used only Adobe Photoshop, but because of inadequate support from the company the department decided to replace that.” Here’s an example of a university making that choice. They needed more flexibility than PS offered and get it with FLOSS. They can even tweak the code so their students can really understand what the software does. That’s one of the great strengths of FLOSS. No one hides anything in FLOSS. If you want to study or tweak it you can/may. It’s in the licence.

See ‘Goodbye Photoshop’ and ‘Hello Krita’ at University Paris 8.

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Charlie Hebdo. Yes, there’s an app for that…

While I do think those folks went a bit far and had woeful security, I don’t think their intention was to insult“The Charlie Hebdo app features the so-called "survivors’ issue" of the satirical magazine, which sold out within minutes in France and across Europe this week. Versions are available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Once downloaded, users can purchase the latest edition for $2.99.” Islam or Mohammed. I think they have a right to spread thought-provoking cartoons. There’s an app for that because they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked with dead-tree copies. I guess Al Qaida should be thanked for that despite it not being their purpose. It’s the right way to deal with terrorists, killing them, redoubling our efforts to spread truth and moving on.

See Charlie Hebdo releases app as 'survivors' issue' sells out.

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Sweden Greases The Skids For FLOSS In Government

It’s about time. I’ve long held that FLOSS is the right way to do IT. It seems the government of Sweden agrees.“Sweden’s public administrations will increasingly turn to open source and open standards, expect ICT procurement specialists at the National Procurement Services, the central purchasing body for the country’s public sector. The agency is readying a new approach for the acquisition of sofware and ICT services. When using these frameworks, only open standards and open source can be mandated. This greatly facilitates public administrations to prefer this type of software.” They are making contracts for IT based on function rather than brand and preferring FLOSS. For 5 years, specialists in FLOSS will be supplying government IT. That should kill off much of the Wintel monopoly which never made any sense in organizations as large as governments. A government surrendering authority for IT decisions to M$ was never working for its citizens. A government preferring software produced by the world and shared freely is working for its citizens, promoting harmony and cooperation and saving a bundle. This is not a tiny contract-framework. They are talking about ~€200million per annum for IT software/services. In 5 years Wintel will be a shadow of its former self in Sweden’s IT. This could give the whole country a boost and affect other large organizations and citizens too. It’s all good. :-)

See Sweden to boost open source through procurement.

On a similar note, MIMO, in France is updating its list of FLOSS for use in government and the government of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain is promoting local entrepreneurs’ use of FLOSS clouds. 2015 could be the start of something big in Europe.

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Given The Choice, Consumers Prefer GNU/Linux

SJVN summarizes the Christmas rush for consumer IT in legacy PCs…
“Both companies offered close-to-identical Chromebook and Windows 8.1 models at the same price points, but buyers chose the Chromebooks.”

We need that choice everywhere to make the world of IT a very different place. Go ahead, retailers, offer GNU/Linux and that other OS on more or less identical hardware and see what your customers want. Aren’t they always right? I believe when consumers first got a crack at GNU/Linux on the netbook, that movement should have spread to all PCs but was stifled by M$ and “partners”. It’s time that was revisited and the supply chain starts producing what the consumer wants.

See Chromebooks spank Windows.

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Android/Linux Is The New PacMan

As the map below shows, Android/Linux has overtaken desktop operating systems over much of the world, a huge swath through Asia and most of Africa. Along with skipping lock-in to Wintel, many folks are skipping copper and cable and satellite for WiFi. Further, a huge chunk of the world has Android/Linux in second or third spot. The PC may not be dead yet but it’s certainly changed. It now fits in a pocket and comes without a licence from M$. Continue reading

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Radicals And FLOSS

The word, “radical”, has been in the news a lot lately. Often it’s associated with some bad news like problems caused by radical this that or the other.“you must let the other person decide whether she thinks you are a “radical” or not. In other words, if you say you are a “radical” from the beginning, it will probably induce the other person to a pre-judgement about you, which is not good for you and for her.” I have to come to the defence of the word. There are two edges to a normal distribution of behaviours, extremely good or extremely bad. Both are radical. Take sports, for example. Many “heroes” of generations of good citizens are “radical” in their approaches to sports, going to extremes of practice, excellence, endurance, pain, … Few but their physicians and lawyers claim it’s a bad thing. It’s widely held as an example of going above and beyond the call of duty. Same with soldiers. One might get a bulk “campaign medal” for being ordinary, but it’s the extremist who gets the real medals, posthumously or not.

So, radical islamists are not necessarily bad people. They may pray a lot more than the rest of us or go to school longer or memorize some really long book, but that’s not bad at all, just extreme. The terrorists/murdering scum are extremely bad whether or not they are “radical”.

So it goes with FLOSS. Those of us who go outside the mainstream in adhering to principles of FLOSS or promoting it are radical but that’s not a bad thing. Usually, change is fostered by someone who thinks/acts “outside the box”. That the world rapidly accepted FLOSS on servers and is slowly accepting FLOSS on client computers suggests that being a radical FLOSSie is not a bad thing. We just go places before others.

Those who complain that we are nuts just because they don’t do FLOSS are out to lunch. They are on the back end of the distribution, falling into anachronism or paddling hard to catch up. I notice many places in the world have a lot of us radicals: Reunion, Uruguay, and Ethiopia. Even huge markets like Europe have gone far beyond ~1% in GNU/Linux page-views. So has USA, home of M$ and many “partners”. I don’t think 1 or 2% of the population of Earth can be “too radical” or radical in the bad sense. FLOSS is mainstream and growing rapidly.

See The GNU Radical.

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M$ Continues To Lose The Web

Not only are existing users of M$’s web servers annoyed by price/performance, “Microsoft’s decline seems far less dramatic when looking at the number of web-facing computers that use its server software. A net loss of 6,200 computers this month resulted in its computer share falling by only 0.28 percentage points, while Apache’s went up by 0.18 to 47.5%.
These losses included many sites running on Microsoft IIS 6.0, which along with Windows Server 2003, will reach the end of its Extended Support period in July. Further abandonment of these platforms is therefore expected in the first half of this year, although Microsoft does offer custom support relationships which go beyond the Extended Support period.”
the phasing out of older versions is provoking migration to Apache. M$ still has a good share of place-holding servers but every now and then M$ quits paying those guys… This time, M$ is at its lowest level in years, below 11%. The same effects are giving rise to the erosion of share in desktop/client operating systems. Consumers have choices now. So do businesses with the wider adoption of web-applications, thin clients and other technologies that push computing to the server where much of it belongs. Fewer “must have” applications means less lock-in.

See January 2015 Web Server Survey.

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French Ministries and Munich Give Back By Joining TDF

There are many ways FLOSS is funded. Organizations can hire individual developers to contribute, make donations or even join as Munich recently did with The Document Foundation.“In Munich, LibreOffice is now used on 16,000 PC workstations. “The city of Munich is a healthy reference for every migration to free software”, the Document Foundation quotes its chairman Thorsten Behrens as saying, “it will add a significant value to our advisory board.”
MIMO, set-up in 2005, represents about half a million users of LibreOffice and the closely related Apache OpenOffice, at nine French ministries – Energy (Ecologie), Defence (Défense), Interior (Intérieur), Justice, Agriculture, Culture and Communication, Education and Finance. The Interior Ministry is responsible for the largest deployment of LibreOffice, with 240,000 desktops.”
MIMO, an organization promoting FLOSS amongst French ministries, joined years ago. The Document Foundation grows in strength and breadth as more of the world becomes free of that other OS and its “partners”. One of the biggest lock-ins to monopoly for businesses and large organizations has been the office suite. One of the biggest steps an organization can take towards freedom is to adopt LibreOffice.

See Munich 2nd public administration in Libreoffice NGO.

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Nope. Munich Never Happened. – Deny, Deny, and Deny Some More

“Which brings me to Linux, and whether it is a viable alternative to a new Windows OS. It isn’t. The same arguments I have put forward for needing to migrate Windows-based applications to a VDI platform hold true for Linux. We live in a business world full of Windows applications and Linux will only support these applications through a VDI solution.” I read this today:

Of course, that makes no sense. Munich happened. Extremadura happened. The French National Police happened. Google happened. Indian banks happened. Wall Street happened. It’s not always hard to do and the benefits can be huge:

“I have personally witnessed one IT director and his staff running from server to server, room to room all day long, several days a week just trying to keep their stuff alive. There I sat in the same office but next to a perfectly good Linux server handling about the same number of users with an up time of over 120 days. I assure you I was not doing daily maintenance, worrying about failures, or running around like this. “

Businesses can and do run GNU/Linux on their clients, especially if they are thin clients, they use web-applications or a GNU/Linux application will do the jobs businesses need done.
See Migrating from Windows XP to VDI, Linux or BYOD. Is it a Non-Starter?.

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Oh Oh, Zero Day Now Really Means Zero Day…

One of the things I hated about M$ even when their software more or less worked“Microsoft is "evolving" is Advance Notification Service in a way that will make its advance security update information available only to customers with paid Premier support contracts and organizations "involved in its security programs."” was that every Patch Tuesday I would have to rush around making sure all the updates were applied so that the zero-day vulnerability guys had less of a target. They diff the updates and figure out what is wrong with M$’s stuff and exploit it getting everyone who has not updated in some cases. Of course, M$ released its updates in the middle of my day, ruining it. It’s hard to re-re-reboot every machine in the system while folks are using them…

No longer is M$ giving us and the bad guys a heads-up about what’s wrong with M$’s software. They want us to pay for that privilege. Well, the bad guys can pay for it. They can also patch their workbench the instant M$ releases the patch… I will continue using Debian GNU/Linux and be free of M$’s updates forever. There are no Patch Tuesdays with Debian GNU/Linux so the bad guys are no further ahead. We can all get Debian’s patches as soon as they generate them and we can usually install the updates on running systems with no adverse consequences, like a re-re-reboot.

Oh, you can stick with M$ and hope the bad guys don’t get any clues from the advance notices. “You’ve got to ask yourself one question, “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do you, punk?” (Dirty Harry’s famous words… Hint. The punk always lost…)

See Microsoft's advance security notification service no longer publicly available.

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Oooh! Debian’s Loving ARM

“several Debian ARM port builder machines have been upgraded to substantially faster Marvell Armada XP based servers. Marvell has donated eight Marvell MV78460 SoC development boards using Marvell Armada 370/XP CPUs running at 1.6GHz.” One of the lovely things about Debian is their huge repository. Another is that they build binaries for ARM on some small but rather useful ARMed systems.

8 of these babies should really fly:

  • MV78460
  • 4 Cores, 2MB L2 cache, 64/32bits+ECC, PCIe-2.0 2 unit x4, 4 gigabit/s ports, 16 SerDes lanes, and SATA storage

Baidu runs them

There’s no information on the price. If I have to ask for a quotation, I probably can’t afford them. Still, it’s good to see Debian moving along with ARM.

See Marvell donation accelerates Debian ARM package builds.

See the spec. sheet for the unit.

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