M$ Continues Nailing Its Coffin Shut From The Inside

“Facebook Contacts will no longer sync with Outlook.com, Office 365’s Outlook Web App, Windows Live Essentials, or the People apps from Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 7, and Windows Phone 8.”
See Windows 8-Facebook sync blown away in API bombing raid
What can I say? A company “all in” to the cloud and keeping up with users of products disconnecting a billion or so more customers from using their products as they were accustomed? Sheesh! It must be loud inside their coffin.

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GNU/Linux Bests “8.1” In Uruguay and Venezuela


See StatCounter
For the past 30 days in both Uruguay and Venezuela, GNU/Linux share of page-views from the desktop have exceeded that of Lose 8.1 sometimes for three consecutive days. The average for that period was 13.55% Lose 8.1 versus 13.05% GNU/Linux in Uruguay. If you exclude weekends, GNU/Linux was ahead by 0.1%. Not bad for an OS with so few salesmen compared to the OS of a monopolist with $billions invested in excluding competition. The rest of the world hovers around a mere 2% share so the death of the monopoly is happening now. In the next few years more countries will chip away at the monopoly as is happening in North America and Europe and India and the world will be free. All it takes is will to be free. We have it. We will exercise it.

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The Devil Offers Another Way To Sell Our Souls

“Transfer or Access to Source Code
1. No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory.
2. For purposes of this Article, software subject to paragraph 1 is limited to mass-market software, and does not include software used for critical infrastructure.”
See TISA Agreement Might Outlaw Governments From Mandating Open Source Software In Many Situations
“Mass Market Software” sure sounds like code for That Other OS and M$’s “partners”‘s codes. Why is it OK to ban Free Software but not OK to ban non-Free Software? Isn’t what’s good for the goose good for the gander? Can we say “Double Standard”, boys and girls? If I were representing a country offered this deal I would use strong language and immediately migrate everything to FLOSS. Then I could bargain from strength: “We don’t need your %$!!@! TOOS!”

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Rainy Day Garden Post

I took a walk around the yard looking at the state of things:

  • The tilled ground is too wet and sticky to work but seeds are beginning to sprout.
  • The weeds are manageable where the new tiller ripped them up.
  • My dwarf apple is loaded with blossoms despite being only 2 feet tall.
  • My Evans cherry has doubled its height since planting. Way to go! At this rate I might get my first fruit next year.
  • The Saskatoon berries will give their first fruit this year. A few new seedlings have emerged.
  • The plum tree at the top right of this page survived the winter and transplanting. It already has double the number of leaves. Its siblings are also doing well. Only one or two died in that horrible winter with little snow and high winds.
  • The larches were suffering for a while after transplanting but look healthy now with new growth and long straight needles after this week’s hot sunny weather and watering.
  • The cedars seem to be doing better too. For a time their needles were dark and the plants cowered. Now they are more green and upright. I have a few cedars and larches in pots for backup…
  • The Manchurian apricot is overdue for leaves…
  • The Euonymus seem to have died, all five of them. They put out a few leaves and then gave up…
  • Barring too much rain I should finish seeding next week. I have beans soaking and more corn, cucumbers and beets remaining to be planted. The long range forecast is for moderate temperatures and normal rainfall. Great!

Gardening is always a gamble but after two disastrous years, my garden is looking up. Once the seeding is done, I should be able to catch up with those damned weeds. Then I can repair the tiller and prepare to reseed the lawn which was pretty well winter-killed. This time I will use a more hardy grass.

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Europe, Yesterday, Saturday 2015-06-06

Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces in WW II. GNU/Linux
Czech Republic
Isle of Man
San Marino
Faroe Islands
Bosnia & Herzegovina
See StatCounter
It was also one of the best days ever for GNU/Linux share of page-views from desktop PCs, 2.51%. It’s also one of the heaviest-using regions for LibreOffice with HQ in Germany. All but a few of the large countries of Europe are over 2% share of page-views from GNU/Linux desktops. The top 10 users are in the range 2.92% (Spain) to 5.39% (Malta). Last Sunday, Europe was even higher at 2.55% with the Vatican pulling its weight at 2.19%. Yes, those guys seem to work on Sundays…

Much of Europe is still timid about using GNU/Linux but at least everyone knows it is an option and it works for people. There’s no reason this growth won’t continue with governments, business and education all benefiting from software they can run, examine and distribute, like FLOSS and GNU/Linux. Unlike many regions, governments in Europe are actively promoting GNU/Linux, France, for example.. Why not? It’s the right way to do IT and may well boost local employment and put taxes to better use. It’s also good for the environment promoting small cheap computers and keeping PCs going years longer.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, the government can barely pronounce GNU/Linux and they have a strange name for FLOSS, as if it were some kind of disease. They won’t even let the public know what’s in their list of software licences… They don’t get the concept of “Open” or even “Competition”, though they now acknowledge that it’s possible to read PDFs for $0… “Free Software” gets only five hits on their site. No wonder StatCounter shows Canada at less than 2% of page-views from GNU/Linux. Meanwhile, “Free Software” gets 85K hits on US government sites.

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Progress Report On The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop

We are approaching half way and I did a survey from StatCounter.
See StatCounter – Top 7 Desktop OSs From 1 Jan to 4 June 2015
It’s a mixed message around the world. There are three groups.

Europe stood alone at the beginning of the year at ~2% share but was later joined by North America. Both are dancing around 2.5% now. Spain, Germany, France, Czech Republic and Italy are all over 3%.

The Americas were another group starting at about 1.5% but North America took off while South America grew more slowly to about 1.8% despite huge shares in Uruguay and Venezuela.

Africa, Asia and Oceania were bunched at ~1% at the beginning of 2015 but have diverged. Africa has actually declined some while Asia grew slowly, .25% or so, and Oceania much faster with a spike as high as 2.74% but averaging about 2.25%.

Africa is interesting because it is an emerging market. For example, Chad moved from a daily average of 0.45% to 2.5% with daily spikes as high as 10%. They also have a rapid decline of “7” and the highest share in the world for “8”, indicating a very rapidly growing PC-infrastructure. Ethiopia fluctuates in the range of 3-4% and Kenya has fluctuated around 2%. Reunion is the superstar hovering around 9%. Unfortunately, populous countries like Egypt (~0.25%) and Nigeria (~0.7%) really let down the team…

North America is interesting because Canada and USA which are very interconnected economically have diverged in usage of GNU/Linux. USA has been as high as 3.4% while Canada is now languishing below 2%. No spike in May this year…

Clearly, there is still a lot of work to do spreading GNU/Linux desktops but a lot of progress has been made. Despite the low share-numbers, the growth of share and slight declines in emerging markets shows that a lot of units are shipping with GNU/Linux. In a few places, GNU/Linux seems to be keeping pace with “8.1” which is plastered all over retail shelves. So, we are in a breakthrough time. I don’t see any way this growth will not continue with “10” still vapourware and folks disgusted with “8.1”. OEMs and retailers have discovered they can sell GNU/Linux and ChromeBooks. There’s a lot more growth to come. A half-percent increase in share of a billion+ PC universe is five million more PCs running GNU/Linux in less than half the year. Global share could double in a year or two. That’s making the world a better place and bringing a lot more manpower to the task of showing the world what GNU/Linux can do. It’s a similar order of magnitude to the ChromeBook which is exciting every OEM and retailer today.

I think it’s fair to say the Digital Divide is closing rapidly but is not yet closed as long as there are countries with so little usage of GNU/Linux desktops as we see on StatCounter. The early adopters continue to grow in usage of GNU/Linux and most countries are increasing usage. April was probably GNU/Linux’ best month with 1.91% (143 countries over 1%)global share. In 2014, April showed only 1.34% (101 countries over 1%). That’s 42.5% growth per annum, great in any realm.

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SSSSH! Hell Has Frozen…

SSH is a great technology. It has been for years.“the PowerShell team realized the best option will be for our team to adopt an industry proven solution while providing tight integration with Windows; a solution that Microsoft will deliver in Windows while working closely with subject matter experts across the planet to build it. Based on these goals, I’m pleased to announce that the PowerShell team will support and contribute to the OpenSSH community”
See Looking Forward: Microsoft Support for Secure Shell (SSH)
It was one of the first tools I used on GNU/Linux when I became a computer-teacher and had 30 client machines and a server in one room. SSH allowed me to treat all those machines as one. Beautiful idea. Chuckle, I do remember getting lost once and shutting down the wrong machine. Virtual reality can be really confusing especially to a newbie as I was. Since then I’ve SSHed into hundreds of machines or connected their file-systems or sent them commands. SSH is a force-multiplier.

Well, imagine my surprise when I read that M$ was going to adopt this technology after so many years of war against FLOSS and GNU/Linux. I think Wintel is too weak to continue to use “embrace, extend, extinguish” these days, so this is M$ accepting the reality that M$ is not the one true road to IT. It’s about time. Imagine how the world of IT would have advanced back in the 1990s if, along with or instead of NT, M$ had properly embraced FLOSS and GNU/Linux. As late as 2008, I tried to install OpenSSH on dual-booting clients. To get it on That Other OS, I had to install Cygwin which was a royal pain… Oh, well, that’s water under the bridge. The future is much brighter than those Dark Ages.

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LibreOffice/Document Foundation Bonanza

The Document Foundation’s annual report for 2014 (40 interesting pages) is out.
It’s a gold mine:
“In mid October, The Document Foundation has received the 100,000th donation in 500 days, with an average of 200 donations per day. Donations are the main source of income for the project, and are key for the independence.

At the end of 2014, the estimated user base of LibreOffice is exceeding 80 million users worldwide, according to the number of Windows and OS X users pinging for updates, plus Linux users updating their software from repositories.

Throughout 2014 we diligently triaged hundreds of bug reports, with a goal of breaking the 500 bug barrier by Christmas. We broke the 500- and 400-bug mark, reaching 387 UNCONFIRMED bugs by the end of December. We’re now at historic lows, currently at 282, as we seek to continue the downward trend.

Since the start of the LibreOffice project, it’s been a challenge to stay on top of the incoming bug reports. Zooming far above 2,500 in 2012, we entered 2014 with a debt of over 1,100 UNCONFIRMED bugs. Throughout 2014 we diligently triaged hundreds of bug reports, with a goal of breaking the 500 bug barrier by Christmas. We broke the 500- and 400-bug mark, reaching 387 UNCONFIRMED bugs by the end of December. We’re now at historic lows,currently at 282, as we seek to continue the downward trend.

We run a total of 167 mailing lists in 38 languages, with about 20,000 subscribers from all over the world. The foundation’s website, as well as the LibreOffice site, both rely on SilverStripe as content management system, and serve their content in 50 languages to over 40 million unique visitors per year. The downloads of LibreOffice itself are distributed amongst 113 mirror servers all over
the world. On our server infrastructure, over 5 TB of data are stored redundantly and are regularly backed up.

Depending on the method applied, and what kind of files you count, the number of lines of code can vary, but according to open HUB, LibreOffice consists of 7.2 M lines of actual code, of which 82% are C++, and nearly 10M lines are commented-out code or empty lines. In 2014, the developer community managed to get the defect density as determined by Coverity to a rounded
value of 0.00 (0.003515303 defects per 1000 lines of code as of November 2014).”
Next to Linux or Android, LibreOffice is one of the most active FLOSS projects in the world. Arguably, it is one of the keys to liberating the desktop from Wintel as the office suite is one of Wintel’s key lock-ins for business. With moves to create a web-based version and one for Android/Linux, the future is bright however IT diversifies. Anyone considering the cost of IT should look at the office suite. Almost everyone uses one. I’ve used StarOffice, OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice and M$’s offerings and LibreOffice is definitely adequate for a huge slice of office/education/personal tasks. The viewer works even when one is mobile on Android/Linux. Thus, I don’t need to drag along a notebook when hunting or target-shooting, just a smartphone/GPS/camera/emergency-phone in my pocket. Life is sweet with LibreOffice.

In 2015, with huge growth seen in GNU/Linux usage on the web, it’s a sure thing that LibreOffice will continue to grow in popularity as many distros include it. There is only one feature I find lacking in LibreOffice, proper chart-styles. Despite using XML, which should separate style from content, LibreOffice still embeds the style in the content making life difficult. One has to use a template and copy/paste data rather than selecting a style and going at it. The present methods of modifying a chart involve a lot of useless clicking. GNUmeric is much better for me for now for stuff on this blog. Now that a lot of code has been fixed and QA is in place, it’s time this deficiency was fixed too.

Still, LibreOffice is one of the great bargains of our time, the whole world making and using and sharing its own office suite.

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The Worm (Dell) Has Turned

“Dell is releasing another Ubuntu powered laptop aimed at the consumer market. I say “another” because the announcement comes less than two weeks after Dell began shipping a similar Ubuntu offering. Interestingly, these offerings come just ahead of the release of the “much anticipated” Windows 10, a move that probably isn’t to Microsoft’s liking.It’s important to note that neither of these are high dollar top-of-the-line laptops requiring deep pockets to buy, but affordable Inspiron 14 3000 Series laptops priced for the rest of us. The laptop announced two weeks ago comes with a 15″ screen and sells for somewhere between $250 and $350, depending on the configuration. The laptop announced today, which defaults to slightly lower specs and comes with a smaller 14″ screen, is priced at $219 and up.”
See Dell Bets On Ubuntu
Dell has had an interesting relationship with GNU/Linux for many years. Michael Dell and Shuttleworth started a relationship long ago which brought on again/off again production, distribution and promotion of GNU/Linux PCs. For all those years, Dell’s “search” function brought Hellish results. Searching for “Linux” or “Ubuntu” would bring forth a few good items but always a mess of PCs with That Other OS.

Prompted by an article about increasing flexibility of offerings, I calmly searched again today and nearly fell of my chair finding screen after screen of relevant products. Both “Linux” and “Ubuntu” give results that any rational human being would expect. There’s not even a “Dell Recommends TOOS” string on the search page for “Ubuntu” or “Linux”. It’s a perfectly rational search result. 😉

This is on Dell.ca, BTW, always the sad sister to Dell.com in the past.

Amazing. Wonders never cease in 2015, The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop.

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India Evolves In Its Use Of GNU/Linux

See Top 7 Desktop OSs in India from 1 Jan to 31 May 2015
One month away from the halfway point in The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop in India, usage continues to evolve. We not only see continuing usage of GNU/Linux desktops for work, it’s now more popular on weekends. Further, “Unknown” which is code for Android/Linux desktops (at least with a large screen), is growing by leaps and bounds especially on weekends. On Sunday, yesterday, the sum of both was 5.66%. Globally, GNU/Linux and “Unknown” had 2.11 and 1.5% shares.

The consumers and businesses are finally getting what they want, affordable IT that is not out to get them. I like it. Indians like it.

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Global GNU/Linux Page-views Share Reaches All Time High 2015-05-30

See Top 7 Desktop OSs from 1 July 2008 to 30 May 2015
As we approach the halfway point of 2015 it’s good to see another all time high level of page-view share for GNU/Linux desktops. Meanwhile, 8.1 stagnates. It looks like consumers aren’t buying it…

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State Of The PC

“Worldwide shipments of keyboard-equipped standard PCs (desktops and notebooks) peaked in 2012 at 345 million, but they are expected to decline by a CAGR of -0.5 percent in the 2013-2018 timeperiod. In the updated outlook, tablets are projected to account for 45 percent of total systems sold in 2018 (259 million units) versus the MD15’s original forecast of 57 percent (423 million) that year. Further into the future, tablets are now expected to account for about half of personal computing system shipments with the remaining units being divided between standard PCs and Internet/cloud-centric platforms.”
See Tablet shipments lose momentum; Total PC unit forecast downgraded
Yes, the vision of one copy of M$’s OS on every desktop is dead as IT becomes much more diverse and free of monopoly. The main growth forward appears to be cloud serviced machines which include netbooks, tablets, smartphones and ChromeBooks as well as units of marginal value to M$. The battle of the OS on the client is almost over with the servers being the last frontier. GNU/Linux loves that. M$ has to work for a living and eating its own dogfood reduces their margins even more than needing bricks, mortar and racks.

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