Years ago I worked in a school system where the higher powers decided to disconnect from Internet“Today (May 15), University leadership announced that our College of Engineering has been the target of two highly sophisticated cyberattacks. In a coordinated and deliberate response by Penn State, the college’s computer network has been disconnected from the Internet and a large-scale operation to securely recover all systems is underway. Our experts expect the network to be back up and running in several days.”
See A message from President Barron on cybersecurity | Penn State University
in order to save the IT-system from malware. Commentators here guffawed and claimed I was out to lunch/living in the past.

Well, here it is 2015 and a major US university has pulled the plug because of an intrusion. It’s a sad story, with a tale that for months they allowed the intrusion to continue so they could find the attackers/study the attack… Yeah, right. Well, that other OS let the bad guys walk all over them and eventually they had to start over. It sounds like their response is limited to changing passwords and making a plan for enhanced security. I hope they decide to go with FLOSS and GNU/Linux in the future to reduce the threats allowed by an ill-conceived OS from M$.

I recommend they try Debian GNU/Linux. It will work for them and not the malware artists. Further, they will be entirely in control of their IT-system, not M$ and the bad guys.

Posted in Linux in Education, technology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Spikes In Page-views Of XP And GNU/Linux In Finland

I pay a lot of attention to GNU/Linux and have written about spikes in page-views from GNU/Linux desktops in Finland. Today, I noticed that XP also had mysterious spikes. They started 2014-August and stopped a week before spikes began in GNU/Linux last month. See StatCounter

Coincidence? Could be but highly unlikely. Both sets of spikes occurred weekdays. The spikes in XP diminished sharply 2014-December at the same time that GNU/Linux page-views stepped up. The last spike in XP was 2015-April-8 and the first spike in GNU/Linux was 2015-April-9. The spikes in XP grew again and grew stronger. When the spikes in XP stopped, the spikes in GNU/Linux took off dramatically. Finland has the expertise.

So, I’m still leaning to schools. Could some school system have rolled out GNU/Linux in place of XP? That’s what I did. It worked for us. We also ramped up numbers of seats in the process because we could afford the time/money to do that. GNU/Linux is a natural for education. It’s fast, $free, FREE, and flexible. Amen!

Posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Not Snow/Ice, Nickel/Iron

“Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface, possibly ice”
See Best view yet of Ceres’ spots
I’ve been a curious fellow and a problem solver for ages. I used to disassemble my toys promptly upon receipt… So, here’s my chance to contribute to the body of knowledge about our surroundings, in outer space this time.

The celestial body known as Ceres is pockmarked by meterorites. One of the craters looks more or less like many others except there are some bright features near the centre and a bit off to one side. TFA speculates that that brightness is some snow/ice. I counter that with observations from northern Canada. When snow or ice lingers in the spring, it’s not out in the open but at the edges of things where some shade is to be found. A deep shaft could hold some ice and shade it but it would have to be very recent or following impacts would have covered it with dust/crumbs/chunks of stuff. No, this is more likely the hard core of something that impacted with Ceres, a chunk of nickel or iron, perhaps. Metals tend to be very reflective, unlike junk thrown about by impacts with a dusty body. Perhaps on the next close approach the pixels will be smaller than 0.8mile and we may see some kind of spacecraft… 😉

So, there, my analysis of the situation today.

Posted in astronomy, Teaching, technology | 2 Comments

New Regime Of GNU/Linux Desktop Usage In Finland

See: Top 7 Desktop OSs in Finland from 1 Jan to 9 May 2015
Finland’s pattern of usage, just under 3% every day of the week has changed to that plus heavier usage two or three workdays. About the only organizations that could do that are schools which often work on scheduling cycles that make sure one subject or another are not short-changed on long weekends. Why they don’t drag in a lot of page-views on the other two or three workdays is a mystery to me… Still the average weekly share of page-views has recently more than doubled. It’s all good. Those GNU/Linux PCs don’t disappear just because they don’t hit StatCounter’s sites.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

M$ To Compete On Price/Performance

“Every three years or so Microsoft would sit down and create ‘the next great OS. The developers would be locked away and out would pop a product based on what the world wanted three years ago.”
See: Microsoft to stop producing Windows versions
The way M$ climbed to the top of desktop PC markets was to force OEMs, retailers, and consumers to deal with nothing but M$’s product. That worked for a while but no longer. M$ intends to switch to a subscription model where consumers have to pay for service as they go. That’s right. No longer will the price be hidden. Consumers who can do the maths will seek alternatives if for no other reason than comparison shopping. GNU/Linux will prevail because there’s no OS out there that gives as great a service for $0 as GNU/Linux. Amen.

This is it. 2015 will be the last year where consumers are under the delusion that that other OS is $free. Wait till they find that GNU/Linux is $FREE and FREE. TOOS will be blown away.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Heaviest Users Of GNU/Linux Desktops

Yesterday, StatCounter found the global share of page-views from GNU/Linux desktops to be 1.64%. That’s quite a drop from a high of around 2% this year. Perhaps that’s the students of universities going on their summer breaks. I met some of them, charming young ladies, selling tree-seedlings recently…

Lets’ look at the heaviest users. There are roughly three categories:

  • The early adopters, mostly smaller countries, even tiny islands, that by luck or determination chose to use GNU/Linux desktops widely.
  • The 2-3 percenters, mostly European countries and some smaller nations.
  • The ~2 percenters, including USA.

That’s 60 countries and they are not all crazy nor are they computer geeks. GNU/Linux works for them. Despite the fluctuations in usage, there are a lot of GNU/Linux desktops out there.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flying Finns Fuel GNU/Linux Desktop In 2015

The Finns have long used a high percentage of GNU/Linux desktops like many European countries.See Top 7 Desktop OSs in Finland from 1 Mar to 6 May 2015 That all changed last month when StatCounter began to record huge spikes in share of page-views one or two days each week. This strange pattern continues. It’s a huge change. Average share of page-views for GNU/Linux in March was 2.73% but in April it changed to 5.43% while the non-spiked days remained nearly constant at around 2.7%. The average share of page-views for the last 30 days was 5.93%. The highest day in April was April 24 at 15.73%. All the spikes occurred weekdays.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Complexity = Insecurity

When I read that the length of the spec for M$’s document standard“using the OpenDocument standard — the default format used by the open source package OpenOffice/LibreOffice — improves your IT security.”
See Proprietary OOXML document format makes you more vulnerable to attacks
was six times the length of the spec for ODF, I assumed the biggest effect would be difficulty with compatibility. That was a huge problem but eventually overcome. Even M$ had trouble meeting its own spec… Now that’s done, however, that complexity is still a big problem. It’s essentially a gopher-town of vulnerabilities where intruders can roam freely poking around your entire IT-system, doing whatever they want. Users access documents and click on things… So, bad guys have only to send someone some of M$’s documents to get in to the desks of the top dogs or the file-clerks. They own you if you run M$’s stuff.

Don’t do that. Use GNU/Linux and ODF and be free of M$ and their malware forever. I am and I’ve never regretted Freedom.

Posted in technology | 14 Comments

April 2015 – Superstars On Each Continent

See StatCounter
I did a survey of the world according to StatCounter, looking for superstars. For North America, I chose Cuba although USA is doing very well. I like underdogs. For South America, I chose Uruguay, which has unleashed a whole generation of users of GNU/Linux. Africa also has Ethiopia where governments and schools have adopted GNU/Linux. For Europe there are many candidates including Spain, France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. I chose Finland because clearly something huge is happening even if it’s only one day a week… India is the GNU/Linux powerhouse of Asia, slowly but steadily increasing share and in use at the office. Oceania is the weakest continent. There are several tiny island nations using a lot of GNU/Linux but New Zealand must blow them away by users/usage. Europe is the hottest continent averaging 2.45% GNU/Linux desktop share of page-views for the month.

The bottom line is that GNU/Linux works for everyone everywhere.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Czech R., France, Germany and Spain: Powerful Axis Of Desktop GNU/Linux

See Top 7 Desktop OSs in France from 1 Jan to 30 Apr 2015
France, Germany and Spain are 190 million people in a developed market in Europe. Germany and Spain have been heavy users of GNU/Linux desktops for years but they’ve already increased usage from about 2.75% to 3% so far in 2015. France moved up from 2.2% to 3.75%. Then there’s the Czech Republic, another 10M people, growing from ~4% to 4.5%. It all spells doom for M$’s client division, people making choices of operating system on their desktop PCs. There’s more growth to come with all four having governments promoting FLOSS and millions of satisfied users of FLOSS.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Oh-oh! Citrix Kills The Applications Barrier To Entry For GNU/Linux

“Citrix customers are asking for virtual desktop support for specialized applications built exclusively for Linux, particularly in the oil and gas industry, manufacturing, digital media, and entertainment industries…”
See Linux Virtual Desktop: Tech Preview Available for Evaluation
One of the lock-ins that protected the Wintel monopoly was the loyalty of ISVs. They had to produce software for TOOS or else they couldn’t sell it to people with deep pockets, business. That meant no software for competing OS like GNU/Linux. Well, that’s over. Even Citrix, the most loyal ISV, sees the future is without lock-in so they are intending to ship software that allows competition on business desktops. I like it, even though it encourages keeping TOOS. The more users of that other OS know about competing operating systems, the better. Competition is a gateway drug for GNU/Linux.

Posted in technology | 18 Comments

These Are Good Days

I decided to use the last hour of my day to install Debian GNU/Linux 8, Jessie, again, this time with defaults from “tasksel”: Debian desktop XFCE and “base utilities”. I did this in a virtual machine while grooving to a stream of my local “oldies” radio-station, checking the weather on the web, blogging, browsing the web and Beast’s CPU is barely above idling speed, and I’m nowhere near out of RAM. It’s all surreal compared to the work we had to do in the old days: downloading multiple .iso files, burning CDs, checking them for defects…, having the installation fail to boot or not start X, and the old systems ground away for an hour or more. Heck, Beast doesn’t even have a CD-drive these days.

Yes, these are the good times. A reasonable operating system on random hardware with little or no effort, full use of the hardware which has paid for itself handsomely years ago…, no malware to speak of, global GNU/Linux desktop share shooting for the sky, the ground waking up for another year of vigorous growth all around, a promising hunting season ahead after a winter without all that killing snow, the youngsters that left the nest are all having success… It’s just such a good life we have. We will have a lot to be thankful for by the end of summer.

PS. The installation worked perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised to see Iceweasel could handle Youtube videos without “Flash” thanks to HTML5. I like that. Yes, systemd brought the system up and down in a few seconds. I like that too.

Posted in firearms, food, horticulture, hunting, technology | 26 Comments