Problem With This Site

I was editing a comment and somehow messed up the configuration. No comments will show for the post on Joey Hess quitting Debian. The others seem OK. Working on it…

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A Pleasant Stroll Through Europe – GNU/Linux Rolls On Desktops

Region Roll-out Savings
Valencia, Spain 120K PC in admin, courts and schools €1.5million p.a.
Extremadura, Spain 70K PCs in schools, more in offices
France 72K PCs in French national police, Parliament and ministries checking it out €2 million p.a.
Germany, Munich 14K desktops €11 million on hardware and licences
Estonia pilot study, potentially 6k desktops > €1 million p.a.
Portugal 890K desktops lots
Turkey, Defence Recruitment 4.5K desktops
Turkey, schools 1600K notebooks+tablets

So, when I write about millions of users of GNU/Linux for personal IT, they are out there. This is far from an exhaustive list but a few minutes of searching the web. The whole of Europe is near 1.5% share of page-views from GNU/Linux and Norway is over 3%. Europe is a hot bed of activity with governments promoting and sharing ideas about how to implement FLOSS and GNU/Linux on clients and servers. A lot of activity is in schools where students will be introduced to FLOSS and run with it. I expect GNU/Linux to become more available and widely accepted in Europe in the next few years.

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The Upper Echelons Of The UK Government Get It, But The Message Didn’t Get Through.

Based on my experience in school, business and education, I developed my personal theory of management:“You may find that you have become locked-in to a particular contract or technology. As part of your consideration of the total cost of ownership of a particular solution, you should have estimated the cost of exit at the start of implementation.” Once an organization gets more than about 30 people the boss loses control and has to depend on unreliable middle-managers. In a small/medium-sized school, a principal or superintendent can call a meeting, deal with an issue and everyone gets the message because they are all in one room. In a large organization, multiple layers of messaging are involved and the message gets lost or distorted in meaning. It certainly takes longer to change anything the bigger an organization becomes. I’ve been in schools that were part of a large organization where just cooling a server required intervention with so many levels of bureaucracy that little got done and small things took 2 years to approve/plan/implement. I’ve worked in large organizations where memos fell like a blizzard and most were a total waste of readers’ time, being irrelevant, wasteful or killing initiative. I was in two schools where the boss demanded teachers file formal written lesson-plans in writing/on paper in advance. This was a surprise sprung in the middle of the school year, messing up everyone’s system. In my case, I planned in detail on weekends and the boss wanted plans on Fridays, so I had to plan two weeks in advance, something just about impossible considering teaching to respond to the needs of students, weather, various interruptions sprung on short notice. In one case, teachers ignored the order and the principal moved on. In the other, the entire staff moved on…

This disconnect between plan and implementation seems to be the case in the government of the UK because the guys at the top definitely understand the cost of doing things M$’s way but others have let themselves be locked in and rendered helpless. If they’d only use FLOSS and GNU/Linux, they would have the flexibility to run their IT regardless of what M$ does, but, no, they followed M$ like cattle to slaughter and now are stuck. Choosing M$ as a platform is like choosing the gallows as a platform, convenient but deadly. The way back is hard. M$ has arranged a multitude of lock-ins to make the trip one-way only. If you get hooked several ways, it is almost impossible to undo. Depending on XP for 15 years was not a good idea on Day One. Now it’s deadly. In the last 15 years, I’ve only selected a system with XP once or twice for work and that was just because that’s all I could find on the market. Now there’s no excuse for getting locked into M$. For those with IT guys there was no excuse back in the day. Munich, Extremadura, Ernie Ball, etc. all figured it out. Most others have been paying repeatedly for their mistake ever since.

See NHS XP patch scratch leaves patient records wide open to HACKERS.

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Joey Hess, Developer Of 18 Years With Debian Departs

The strife in the Debian community has had another casualty, Joey Hess.“If I have one regret from my 18 years in Debian, it’s that when the Debian constitution was originally proposed, despite seeing it as dubious, I neglected to speak out against it. It’s clear to me now that it’s a toxic document, that has slowly but surely led Debian in very unhealthy directions.” He’s been there working hard since nearly the beginning but he’s fed up with the bickering/second-guessing/friction involved in the process these days. In messages on the debian-devel list, he describes his frustration with arguing about systemd for nearly two years and now, just weeks before the freeze of Jessie, users are up in arms.

I can see his point, but users are not developers and don’t read debian-devel. I don’t usually. It’s not surprising that users vent the same frustrations about systemd that developers did. There are a lot more users than developers, thousands of times more, and they need to be considered in making radical change to their operating system, something near and dear… Still everyone’s life goes through stages and it may well have been time for Joey Hess to move on for other reasons as well. I expect Debian will survive and it may survive by taking some of Joey Hess’ advice. Probably the worst thing that could happen is more developers leaving, followed closely by some kind of fork and revolution in the splinter group.

Perhaps it’s time that Debian reform it’s social contract/internal procedures to deal with dissent by better means than personal attacks on the lists or departures of key people. Democracy/fairness works but sometimes gets off the rails when conflicting groups try to have their way at the expense of others. It’s not enough just to have a mechanism to break deadlocks. It’s important to respect minorities of users as it is to respect the majority of developers. One only needs to see the USAian government to see how extremism and disrespect can go way overboard. We don’t want Debian to go that way.

See so long and thanks for all the fish.

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Acer Returns To Profitability

Remember the netbook? It’s not dead. I noticed Acer has returned to profitability and thought I would check out its Aspire line

  • 29 models selling with GNU/Linux.
  • 17 with that other OS.

Hmmm… Maybe they’ve taken my advice and gloried in the increased profits with GNU/Linux. Yep. Revenue’s down $6.5 million but costs are down $7.9 million. That will do it. IDC reported that Acer’s global market share of units shipped rose from 7.4% to 8.4% from Q3 of 2013 to Q3 of 2014, 6.5 million units up from 6 million. There’s money to be made selling GNU/Linux for those who make the effort.

See Acer | Laptops | Models.

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The Malware-Treadmill

Sheesh! I’m glad I don’t use that other OS any longer.“Microsoft is issuing the largest number of monthly security advisories since June 2011, five of them critical and affecting all supported versions of Windows. And applying the patches will be time consuming” Early in M$’s day on the west coast, M$ unleashes a raft of patches that plug gaping holes in their OS and until you get them applied your ship is as good as sunk. Who would board a cruise-ship that worked that way? Who would board an airplane that worked that way? Why trust your well-being to that other OS when it has been proven repeatedly to put all you do at risk?

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. If that other OS is still working on your machine you can install Debian GNU/Linux instead simply by backing up your data and visiting Debian’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be dramatically safer than that other OS. I’ve had two or three problems with patches in GNU/Linux in fifteen years of use. That other OS frightens people monthly…

See Patch Tuesday: 16 security advisories, 5 critical for Windows.

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The Last Barrier To GNU/Linux Desktops Crumbles

According to Digitimes, Chromebooks are having 100% growth this year. That should put them on the webstatistician’s radar finally.“global shipments of Chromebooks are expected to top six million units in 2014 and double to 12 million units in 2015, driven by shipments from Acer, Asustek Computer and Samsung Electronics in addition to Lenovo” This is breaching the final barrier to adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop, retail shelves. Until the Chromebook there wasn’t much in the way of a global presence of GNU/Linux on retail shelves. ASUS was there briefly, and Dell and Canonical made progress but GNU/Linux is now doing well on every kind of legacy PC including thin clients.

See Lenovo to launch low-cost Chromebook in early 2015.

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Ubuntu Global And Chinese Stats

Do the maths. In the last couple of years, about 600 million legacy PCs have shipped globally.“Over 30 million computers preinstalled with Ubuntu have shipped globally in two years and OEM sales of Ubuntu machines are growing in EMEA and South East Asia, while Ubuntu Kylin experiences continued growth.” If Canonical and the market have delivered 30 million with Ubuntu GNU/Linux, that’s 5% of shipments, about the same as MacOS and Apple.

That’s quite an accomplishment and shows GNU/Linux is not dead/dying/insignificant which is what you would gather sniffing around The Linux Foundation and the web. It also explains the recent growth of GNU/Linux web-stats. If Canonical and “partners” can keep this up, web stats should approach ~5% in a few years.

Further, there have been millions of downloads of the new Kylin GNU/Linux based on Ubuntu so growth will likely accelerate.

See Ubuntu 14.10 desktop: security for global users.

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Making Salami

I love salami. I’ve always wanted to turn a portion of a carcass of deer into salami but I’ve misplace my hand-crank meat grinder. It got lost in storage somewhere. So, I’m looking around, perhaps for something better like this hand-cranking model hooked up to a motor:

That would do me but there are even more powerful units available. I’m not in that great a rush… Continue reading

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Attacking Lock-in In China

Efforts to free China from M$’s tentacles are growing more organized:“commentators said one of Dell’s goals was to please Chinese authorities. In the most recent revision of China’s procurement regulations, bidders who offer laptops preinstalled with Chinese Linux-based operating systems can get two extra points in their bid scores, according to China Government Procurement News.”

  • Government is attacking M$ for anti-trust and security
  • Government is promoting FLOSS, and
  • FLOSS developers are making moves to make a better product for the Chinese market: an app store for GNU/Linux with standardized API, and merging talents to create one big GNU/Linux OS for China

It remains to be seen how well all this will work but it’s an indication that the forces promoting FLOSS have realized that they have to unite to beat M$ at the OS game. That’s a pretty good recipe for success even if the road is long and uphill.

See Homegrown developers look to unseat Microsoft’s dominant OS.

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More Lovely Brass

A while back, I wrote about a bunch of brass cartridges littering the forest (Lovely Brass). Today we found more, and they’re worth a bundle. Twenty-two 7mm Remington Magnum, two 300 Winchester magnum and one 300 Savage (don’t see those very often), why don’t folks just throw money to the wind? [SARCASM] Instead, they litter this beautiful forest with scrap metal…
Perhaps they just want to give me something to do with the long winter evenings when I’m not installing GNU/Linux desktops, planning next year’s garden, fondling my new roto-tiller or clearing the driveway of snow… Hey! Thanks a lot, litterbugs!

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Sad News! ;-)

Digitimes, out of Taiwan, is always watching the markets for electronics, particularly PCs, components and optical devices.“Intel’s Skylake-based processors, originally expected to launch in early third-quarter 2015 to support the release of Windows 10-based notebooks, may not become available until the end of the third quarter or early fourth-quarter 2015. The delay is expected to hurt demand for Windows 10 notebooks.

Windows 10-based notebooks are already facing many negative factors that could impact their shipments in 2015: most enterprises are expected to finish their PC replacement by the end of 2014 after Microsoft terminated support for Windows XP; Microsoft will offer free upgrade to Windows 10 for existing Windows 8/8.1 notebooks; and Windows 10 lacks attractive features.”
They have spies in lots of businesses so their diagnosis is valuable. Folks who depend on Wintel for a living will take an unwelcome hit.

While these details are important clues to what’s happening, the big picture is that the tail is no longer wagging the dog. In the “good old days”, M$ would make a phone call to Intel or have a meeting or utter a threat to Intel and Intel would fall in line as would all the OEMs. Now the whole supply chain only considers M$’s wishes if they’re not busy doing something else… They are tired of tiny margins and restrictions on what they can do to distinguish their products. They are demanding to be paid to install that other OS. They are often installing other operating systems or shipping products with no operating system. OEMs can’t wait for Wintel to get its act together. The OEMs have huge costs whether or not Wintel has a product ready on time.

So, XP is dead, “7” is dying, “8” is a zombie, and “10” is vapourware with nowhere to call home. M$ continues layoffs. POOF! It all falls down. In the meantime Google and the OEMs will crank out many millions of ChromeBooks. Canonical, Linpus, RedHat, Suse… and the OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux PCs. Several OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux thin clients. Android/Linux will reverberate with another billion or so units of small cheap computers(tablets, smartphones). This looks like good news to me.

See Skylake processor delay to weaken Windows 10 notebook demand.

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