Using IT Shouldn’t Be Like Hand-carrying Bags Of Money Through Gang-territory But It Is Thanks To M$ And Adobe

“bugs that allow hackers to hijack PCs via Internet Explorer, Word and Excel files, and Visual Basic scripts.
Everyone is urged to install the fixes, as well as a batch of updates from Adobe: a flaw in the Flash plugin is already being exploited by hackers to take over victims’ computers via the web.”
It would be tedious if it weren’t terrifying but just about every month we learn what the malware-industry already knows, non-FREE software stinks. Just using it to do ordinary things the way they were intended to be used exposes one’s IT to all kinds of criminals. Don’t blame the victims. Blame the purveyors of this garbage, M$ and Adobe, who force the world to use their stuff only to be victimized.

Break free of this crapware. Use Debian GNU/Linux, software designed to work for you, not the criminals.

See It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script.

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Triumph Of Thin Clients

Not only have thin clients triumphed here (except fot the audio problem…) but they’ve triumphed in offices of UK“Strength of feeling and clarity on the benefits of a thin and zero client technology was very apparent with 86% of IT Managers believing ease of use and management was the primary benefit of a thin client infrastructure, followed by energy efficiency (82%) and flexibility (78%). Respondents also cited better cost structure (73%), longer life span (71%) and more secure company data (69%) as major benefits.” housing authorities. They are probably using that other OS but the concept makes a lot of practical sense with any OS. TFA quoted below mentions that only 28% of users of PCs there require video, the achilles heel of thin clients. The Little Woman can only do about 500×300 well on her thin client and some screensavers clog the network…

For everything else, there’s just no reason not to use thin clients. A few applications won’t run on thin clients but it’s usually a licensing thing rather than not being a better way to do the job. One can have a server or cluster of servers run much bigger and badder jobs than the typical PC.

See Battle for the Desktop revealed in latest Housing Association Research.

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The Little Woman Takes a Thin Client

Well, the Little Woman’s PC really became flaky and we looked around for alternatives:
“This Tutorial describes the downgrade process you need to run to get back stable after sid upgrade.”

  • a new PC
  • fixing the old one
  • a thin client which I have in a pile…

Continue reading

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Slackware, Crux, Pisi, Manjaro, Devuan… Freedom-Fighters Or Luddites?

I’m not alone in disliking systemd. It’s not because systemd is an innovation. I like change and improvements of all kinds, but systemd is a power grab and I don’t like those.“Systemd is a power grab. It puts more or less the entire community into the hands of one Corporation. The rug has not been pulled from beneath our feet yet, but now almost everyone is standing on the same rug, so to speak, and as such are now vulnerable. A license change is all it would take. Or perhaps Red Hat might declare that systemd will be free for home use but must be paid for in commercial settings. Whether they intend this or not is beside the point. They are in a position to do so. This is a colossal weakness for every distro.” I chose FLOSS and GNU/Linux because they were different than dealing with the monolith of that other OS. They worked for me. It’s wrong to make all of FLOSS dependent on a single piece of software besides init or Linux or the basic libraries but that’s what’s happening.

Recent projects of mine have included migrating back to Wheezy (Debian’s “stable” release) from Jessie (their “testing” branch) because it’s too buggy and most of my problems were tied into systemd and pulseaudio, both designed by the same guy, Poettering. Systemd wants to take over the world making all kinds of stuff dependent and pulseaudio is a weird mix of X and an audio-server. Both break the UNIX philosophy of doing one thing well. Both convolve two or more things in a way that makes systems difficult to handle. I’ve set up hundreds of thin clients and never had any problem with esound and X, both doing what they do and leaving the other alone. Debian is supposed to serve users and one package is supposed to leave the others alone. Debian is going astray. Unless they wake up, many loyal devotees of Debian will move to other distros that do IT the right way. I’m a little old to be distro-hopping but even I can see the necessity of escaping the entanglement, the single point of failure, and the loss of control that systemd represents.

See A Devuan and A-two….

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Limerick Finds FLOSS Is The Right Way To Do IT

Chuckle. The naysayers still blather on but folks who actually dip their toes in the water or plunge right in““We gradually introduced new open source solutions over the past five years”, explains Mihai, “and discovered that we gained much more than saving costs.”
.Compared to proprietary solutions, free software is fast to implement, allowing the IT department an agile and immediate response to new or changing IT demands. “It is also a way for the city to support local ICT service providers”, he says. It explains why Limerick made the open approach a core principle for its government services model.”
find FLOSS is the right way to do IT. It’s flexible, fast, easy, cheap, and reliable. Just do it.

Another quote, sweet enough to bring tears to my eyes:
“Open source, open data and open standards allow a municipality to unlock a potential that has been chained by proprietary IT for far too long. It is the only serious enabler of digital transformation.”


If you want to try FLOSS, a great place to start is the Debian organization. They package ~40K software packages of all kinds that work for you.

See Changing Limerick’s government services boosts open source.

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My (little) Farming Machine

OK, I’m not a farmer but I do have a tiny bit of land that has killed off two roto-tillers and a mower in a few short years. I decided to move upscale… Here’s the ship that will move my “pedestrian-controlled tractor”, rotary tiller and plough from China to Canada: Continue reading

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M$ Encourages FLOSS Developers

I often read that the reason GNU/Linux lacks some applications is “fragmentation”, whatever that means.“This leaves Microsoft in the odd situation of giving developers no fully satisfactory framework for desktop applications. Much is either old, or broken, or difficult, or all the above. What is on offer is good enough for quick business applications, but those who want to get the best out of the platform have a hard road ahead.
One answer is that this is now the wrong place to focus; developers should look at web, mobile and cross-platform instead.”
Well, the shoe is on the other foot. M$’s “platform” has evolved to the point where it is fragmented and developers don’t know which way to go. That makes web-development all the more attractive and there GNU/Linux is a great place to be. There’s no problem working with clients of GNU/Linux, MacOS or that other OS. Thanks, M$, for painting yourself into a corner. Don’t get lonely now.

See Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray.

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get GNU/Linux!

Sometimes, one comes upon a resource on the web that should be shared. Today I found Get “GNU/Linux”.“GNU/Linux, or simply Linux, is an alternative to Microsoft Windows. It is easy to use and gives more freedom to users. Anyone can install it: Linux is free as in freedom, and often available free of charge.” It has a lot of good information for the novice and doesn’t drown folks in detail. It gives a number of starting points and helpful pushes. Further, I agree with most of the information. ;-)

GNU/Linux is the right way to do IT. The site lists a lot of the restrictions of that other OS that get in the way of doing IT properly: restrictions on how you can use the software and your hardware, stuff M$ has no right to do if it were a normal business with normal consumer products. Who would buy a product that could expose one to criminal penalties for sharing the product, giving it away, or selling it? Copyright law doesn’t do that but M$ demands slavery if you want to pay for and use their product. I’m not writing about violating Copyright, but using the software and disposing of it. Copyright says nothing about how many network connections a PC may have. Copyright says nothing about not being able to sell a product that you buy. Copyright says nothing about being forced to pay for software you don’t want to use when you buy a PC but M$’s EULA says you get a refund from the retailer. Good luck with that. The retailer likely has no idea how much you paid for the right to use the “product”.

Well, the site would be just about perfect if they recommended Debian GNU/Linux but they recommend Ubuntu GNU/Linux. I think a site emphasizing freedom should mention that Debian gives the users more control of everything than Ubuntu. Debian has a few defaults I don’t like but at least I have the option of changing them at installation. Good luck doing that with Ubuntu’s installer. You may get one or two options Debian doesn’t have but you don’t get to choose desktops at all. It’s disUnity or nothing. Ubuntu hides choices from the newbie just like M$. Of course, newbies may not know much about desktop choices but an installer could give some hints.

Well, that’s a small difference. Generally the advice is good. If you need/want to give GNU/Linux a try, visit it.

See get GNU/Linux!.

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Limited Potential For Wintel Means Unlimite Growth For */Linux

IDC, the great optimist of Wintel, sees limited potential for growth of the legacy PC going forward. They finally see that a whole new generation has grown up in a world of IT where M$ is not the goto company.“as younger generations become more mobile and Web oriented, and emerging regions in particular prioritize converged devices (or economy in number of devices to purchase), the PC market will continue to face tough competition and be more focused on replacements, with limited potential for growth.” Young folks are much less sedentary than older folks and feel no need to be touching a legacy PC all day long. They also use IT more. At the same time, these young folk are loving small cheap computers running */Linux. There is room for a lot of growth in billions of users still to come to IT. Meanwhile smartphones are becoming smarter and more powerful every year and tablets are becoming mature technology with growth like the legacy PC used to have.

See PC Outlook Remains Cautious, Despite Modest Third Quarter Gains.

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Yes, M$, Audits Are Easier To Give Than To Receive

People are of two minds on this one. The year 2004 was around the time US DOJ v M$ was very interesting and one might think IRS went on a fishing expedition but this is only a recently started action.“Quinn Emanual was hired to investigate certain transactions between Microsoft and its own foreign subsidiaries, which presumably were organized as a way for Redmond to reduce its US tax burden.
I think Obama once joked publicly about auditing his enemies… It’s a fair question whether this is the tax-man doing his job or whether it’s some fishing expedition. I’m on the tax-man’s side. ;-) M$, who is used to extorting money from users with audits, is now being probed by IRS for the way it shifts money around the globe to dodge taxes. It would be a big hit if IRS could prove the money was earned in Redmond, WA and they were due a decade of triple income-tax. How does it feel, M$?

See US taxmen won't say WHY they're probing Microsoft. So Redmond is suing the IRS.

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Son of Pogson Tightens Up The Gene-Pool

To many folks, hunting is an anachronism, something our ancestors did out of necessity and something with agriculture and industry we no longer need to do. It’s not true. Where I live the white-tailed deer is not a native species. They could not survive our winters without an abundance of agriculture giving them grain/forage/edges, an artificially increased food-supply. The deer can’t move around in the deep snow in winter and fast, living off their fat, and making easy prey for coyotes and wolves. We’ve had three extraordinarily severe winters in a row and deer populations are down to ¼ of their usual values. With a normal winter, the deer population nearly doubles in a single year with each mature doe yielding one, two or three fawns. The milder the winter, the more fawns are born. The more severe the winter the fewer young/small animals survive. So, we are short of does and long on bucks because one buck can service many does. Mating is a competitive event in the early winter. Without hunting deer would be fruitful and multiply, eating the farmers’ crops, homeowners’ gardens, causing thousands of car-deer collisions, and so forth. Hunting is one of the main ways of limiting numbers of deer.

Hunting is also a great way to tighten up the gene-pool of the deer, with the less careful/able deer more likely to encounter a hunter. This year, because of the numbers, we had a bucks-only hunt and here’s my son with his first buck. He is capable of shooting a deer off-hand at over 300 yards but this young buck made the mistake of dawdling out in the open with the hunter in plain sight at less than 100 yards. This was the consummation of several days of hunting, sometimes in bitter cold/wind. The bullet was one I loaded, a Hornady 165 grain Boat-Tail Spire-Point, fired from a .308 Winchester bolt-action rifle with 44 grains of IMR 4064 propellant and overall length of 2.800″. The usual 150 grain bullet will expand more violently at close range. This is not a hot load and with the heavy bullet at a lower velocity (~2600 ft/s), damage to the rib-cage was not severe. Nevertheless, the buck bounded a few times and bled out. We’ve had a few steaks, some neck and liver. All were delicious and tender…

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I GIve Up On Systemd

After many hours of reading/fiddling/reconfiguring I’ve given up on Systemd. It doesn’t work for me, preventing me from logging in until absolutely every service is running on my desktop system. Before, with systemd in charge, it was 83s to get a login screen. That was unacceptable. Today, after apt-get install sysvinit-core and a reboot, I fired up Beast at 7:40:10 and by 7:40:53, I had a login screen even with mysql and postgresql starting. With all the servers and databases held back, from the starting of Linux until my browser ran was 28s. I’m now back in Runlevel 2 so I had to tweak the scripts but Debian’s /etc/rc2.d/README was explicit and helpful and concise, so everything worked right away. I then removed systemd almost entirely. Now virt-manager won’t run (“Unable to connect to libvirt…libvirtError: error from service: CheckAuthorization: The name org.freedesktop.PolicyKit1 was not provided by any .service files”)… sigh. Hello, VirtualBricks:
I’ll be installing Wheezy in my virtual machines for now.

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