Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / desktop

  • Apr 15 / 2014
  • 0
technology

Chrome OS Could Be The GNU/Linux That Has It’s Year Sooner Rather Than Later

It might be a bit of optimism but Chrome OS could well be the GNU/Linux that takes over the desktop.“for personal computing and BYOD, it’s already happening. The Linux that’s taking over the desktop is called the Chrome OS and it will happen on the Chromebook device.” There are many who see Google as the salvation of mankind for dealing with servers and if you do everything on Google’s Cloud, ChromeOS will do the job for most of us. So far, Cloud has taken a huge share of IT and it’s growth is ensured for years to come. One of those years will the year of GNU/Linux as Chrome OS. At the rate of decline of M$’s influence (they are advertising year-round these days), this could happen in as little as a year and probably will happen within three years. Remember that Android/Linux thing that never would fly??? It did. Google knows what they are doing.

Where’s M$? Pushing an OS no one wants and selling gadgets for a living.

The real competition for Chrome OS is not M$’s legacy technology nor their cloud but Ubuntu GNU/Linux which is selling on a lot of PCs these days. Last year Google mostly flew a trial balloon in USA but this year they could reach any place on the planet with decent Internet connectivity. That covers the bulk of M$’s territory: the Americas, Europe, Asia and cities in all the rest of the emerging markets. Everywhere else is using mobile computing.

The advantages of Chrome OS for most of us are many:

  • nothing to learn but the browser – done
  • low, low, low prices – done
  • no problem with malware – Hallelujah!
  • no problem with re-re-reboots – Hallelujah!
  • no problem with updating dozens of applications and drivers – Hallelujah!

Some tout that needing connectivity is a disadvantage but no one really believes that because we are always connected all the time. Heck! I know people who are deep in the bush and can browse and phone home anyway. Some tout that local printing is an issue. If that were true, we’d all have printers. We don’t. Most of us are walking around with a PC in our pocket and rarely print anything. We can always e-mail stuff to a printer somewhere if we need more trees to kill. Doing away with paper is one of the great possibilities that Chrome OS and highly mobile computing are not only promising but delivering. I have a big, fast colour printer upstairs and I don’t remember the last time I used it. I have computers in every room and can easily view stuff with the appropriate zoom for my old eyes. Chuckle. Chrome OS may not be perfect, but it’s a damned sight closer to perfect than M$’s bloat that they told us for years was absolutely wonderful.

See Linux is about to take over the desktop but not like you think it will.

  • Apr 15 / 2014
  • 0
technology

GNU/Linux in India

For many years, GNU/Linux on the desktop has been progressing well in government and education. Now that Dell and Canonical have teamed up to sell GNU/Linux widely to consumers, we can really see progress in the web stats. In the last two years, according to StatCounter, GNU/Linux has progressed from ~1.1% to nearly 1.65%. While unit-sales of “PCs” have increased over the past year and consumer-sales of “PCs” have actually declined, this is quite a feat. It does pay to have salesmen.

Top 7 Desktop OSs in India from W15 2012 to W15 2014.

  • Apr 12 / 2014
  • 0
technology

GNU/Linux Breaks Out In The Czech Republic

Drifting for years around 1.75% share of page-views on StatCounter, GNU/Linux has broken out to 2.5% in a few months in the Czech Republic. You guessed it, the most popular distributions: Mint, Fedora, Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu GNU/Linux are growing like Topsy.

Chuckle. Either geeks are reproducing rapidly or GNU/Linux is no longer just for geeks… ;-) The same thing is happening everywhere, just not quite so explosively.

  • Apr 11 / 2014
  • 15
technology

Wintel Balloon Deflates

One of the most fun things in life is the site of a buoyant balloon taking flight, reaching unimaginable heights gracefully and easily. That was the old Wintel monopoly when neither Intel nor M$ had to do anything to dominate all of IT. When the leak started in the middle of XP’s reign, no one was fired for buying Intel and M$’s stuff. Many folks were run out of business simply for providing good products at reasonable price. Not so now. M$ has had to actually build decent products over the last decade but it wasn’t enough to keep the balloon up. Wintel was too expensive, too bulky, and too rigid to do what users wanted done.

“executive VP in charge of operating systems Terry Myerson, told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley that he was OK with a services model. Specifically, when she asked about the Nokia X line of phones–those new low-priced Android phones running Microsoft services announced at Mobile World Congress. He was cool with a phone running Android, precisely because he was happy to see Microsoft services running on as many devices as possible, regardless of the operating system”It took a lot of work but ARM and the FLOSS community have bypassed both companies. To remain relevant, Intel is diversifying into ARM and making x86 as efficient as they can with Moore’s Law and every other trick they can find. Still Intel’s processors are more expensive than ARM even if energy consumption is not as much disadvantage. There’s just too much silicon involved. Meanwhile, 8-core CPUs and great graphics modules abound in the ARMed world and ARMed CPUs are outselling Intel by a wide margin. Android/Linux has done a similar number on M$’s stuff, so much that M$ now seeks to leverage its PC and server platform into services to sell, just like Google which Ballmer accused of having no business-plan…

See Turning The Ship: Microsoft Might Have Begun A Subtle Shift From Windows To Services.

  • Apr 11 / 2014
  • 5
technology

SimpleTax Works For Canadian Users Of GNU/Linux

Revenue Canada still doesn’t get GNU/Linux… On their page listing certified software for NETFILEing, there’s no mention of GNU/Linux at all: TWITS! Simple Tax is on their list of certified software and those folks claim “Nothing to install
SimpleTax works in your web browser so it’s PC, Mac, Linux, and iPad friendly. You can do your taxes at home, work, or your favourite coffee shop.”

See SimpleTax: Free Canadian Tax Return Software.

  • Apr 11 / 2014
  • 0
technology

GNU/Linux For Everyone

The New York Times is at it again, suggesting GNU/Linux as a worthwhile alternative to M$ and Apple’s stuff.“Linux did revolutionize computing. If you own an Android phone or a Kindle e-reader, you are a Linux user. Linux is at the core of those popular devices and is found in a variety of other places, from the world’s most powerful supercomputers down to the tiny Raspberry Pi device that is a favorite among electronics hobbyists.” Good for them. They are helping their 2 million readers escape slavery.

This is a great day. Even my marigold seedlings broke into bloom, ready to face the bright future.

See The Many Alternative Computing Worlds of Linux.

  • Apr 10 / 2014
  • 10
technology

Good News And Bad News Depending On Whether Or Not You Enslave People To Wintel

Well, the good news for me is that shipments of PCs, mostly Wintel desktops and notebooks is down 4.4% compared to last year.“Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade” The news could have been better if more XP units were migrated to GNU/Linux or Android/Linux but it’s not clear because IDC doesn’t publicly report that division. My view is that since most legacy PCs ship with Wintel, down is a good thing. GNU/Linux is holding its own despite that decline so shipments of GNU/Linux must be up.

The bad news for me is that still too many people are locked in to Wintel and don’t see that they are being ripped off or are working hard to ignore that fact. I do notice that Wintel prices are coming down rapidly. My favourite supplier will sell motherboard and CPU (AMD) for much less than $90. A good ARMed system will trump that with more throughput and far less wasted power but it’s good that it’s available. Dell, here, in Canada, even shows the price of that other OS on Intel boxes. Unfortunately, they only sell one GNU/Linux box… It’s the token OS for Dell and that box is priced outrageously at $943 even with GNU/Linux. What are they thinking? Money grows on trees? Wintel still has a monopoly? Nope. Consumers can get better for $400. Wintel is still not even close to providing what consumers want.

Still, overall, we are seeing competition actually gain traction against Wintel. OEMs, retailers and consumers are actually seeing a major share of the market go to other platforms. Most consumers are happy with Android/Linux on ARM. Imagine how overjoyed they would be with GNU/Linux on ARM… I’m looking forward to more good news when M$ reports in a couple of weeks.

See Windows XP Migration and Commercial Spending Helped Offset Weak Consumer PC Demand in the First Quarter of 2014.

  • Apr 08 / 2014
  • 25
technology

OEMs Aren’t Going To Replace XP With GNU/Linux. Real People Have To Do That

The death of XP is an opportunity for GNU/Linux but only on the huge installed base. Folks who have XP gasping its last breath on a PC or organizations with a whole department“Unfortunately, while Linux does represent a lifeline for Windows XP users, I suspect it will be one that is not taken. The simple reality is that many of those users who are still with Windows XP simply just don’t know enough to care. Yes, I know there are lots of XP machines running cash machines that banks do care about, but there are also many machines sitting in libraries, schools and homes around the world where people simply don’t know any better.
The challenge for Linux is the same as it always has been. Linux desktop vendors need to more aggressively push the message of Linux as widely as is necessary. Linux can provide a freely available, safe option for Windows XP users, but only if the choice is clearly explained and promoted.”
running XP on desktops have to make the choice to install GNU/Linux or to convert those old PCs to GNU/Linux thin clients.
The severely locked in and the ignorant will keep XP until it can no longer work for them and replace their machines with what OEMs/retailers offer. The opportunity lies with those millions of still-good machines that can browse the web, play some multi-media or check the e-mail. There, millions will have cheap desktop PCs or people will recycle the machines using GNU/Linux to make them purr. The OEMs can’t help GNU/Linux do that. There’s no money in shipping a PC back to China just to change the OS… There is lots of money to be made “fixing” PCs by installing a proper current and supported OS like Debian GNU/Linux. Go for it.

See Death of Window XP Is a Golden Opportunity for Linux.

  • Apr 07 / 2014
  • 21
technology

Feature Comparison: LibreOffice – Microsoft Office

Anyone who thinks M$’s office suite is a “must have” should look at this page. Feature for feature, LibreOffice has what it takes. There are some features that one has that the other doesn’t but the performance is about the same. Why then, pay $gazillions for M$’s office suite when LibreOffice is $0 for as many copies as you want? The feature I like best about LibreOffice is that it can work with SVG so I don’t have to regenerate graphics for different sizes, a total waste of time. I still think GNUmeric does a better job with charts but The Document Foundation is working on that. It’s good to have choices. With M$, one gets to choose whether to pay a lot or a little. If you pay a little, you know you have cripple-ware from them, whereas for $0 LibreOffice is as good as it gets. What the world needs in an office suite it creates as FLOSS and shares. That’s the right way to do IT.

See Feature Comparison: LibreOffice – Microsoft Office – The Document Foundation Wiki.

Thanks to Herbert for supplying this link.

  • Apr 01 / 2014
  • 9
Linux in Education, technology

Death of XP Bad for Linux? Nope.

Christopher Tozzi wrote, “The sad reality is that everybody needs to run a Windows app now and then” in an article about the increasing difficulty of virtualizing that other OS on a GNU/Linux system. He’s right about the RAM/CPU/storage burdens of that other OS increasing but he’s wrong that this is bad for GNU/Linux and FLOSS.

The thing is the cost of virtualization is just one more cost of using that other OS. The world is tired of those endless costs. In 2013 we saw ARM and Android/Linux explode in popularity because the costs are so much less. On the desktop, some folks are even using Android/Linux today if they don’t need a big load of applications running simultaneously. Those of us who live in the real world may feel the need for more multiprocessing and for that GNU/Linux works well.

The death of XP means many individuals and organizations have an opportunity to think outside M$’s box. Many will spend huge amounts to remain locked up but some will escape. That’s good for FLOSS and GNU/Linux. The more the merrier.

The last desktop application I ever ran on XP was about five years ago when the school where I worked used XP. I switched that school over to GNU/Linux on more than 90% of the seats. The last time I ever used Wine to run a self-extracting .exe was a few years ago when I got a new motherboard. I just don’t need that other OS ever again. If anyone pushes me to use it, I will just say, “NO!” and really mean it.

See Why Windows XP's Demise Is Bad for Linux and Open Source.

  • Mar 31 / 2014
  • 24
technology

Making a Difference

I have a lot of respect for Ken Starks but he wrote, again, “The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.” Not the way we imagine it anyway. Many of us long for the time when Linux will become a well known alternative to Microsoft Windows. That just isn’t gonna happen.”

He makes some good points, that don’t actually support his thesis. I can give a single counterexample that shows the error of his ways. There are places on this planet where GNU/Linux is a well known alternative OS on the desktop. See, for example, Reunion, a French colony in the Indian Ocean.

There, “7″ is only a few times more frequently used than GNU/Linux and Android/Linux is breathing down “7″‘s neck. “8″ and “8.1″ are far less frequently used. Are they widely known? Must be with all the advertising M$ puts out.

There are many countries where GNU/Linux is widely known: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay,… Even USA, M$’s homeland knows GNU/Linux because it is on TV every night, and M$ and Apple have been complaining about Android/Linux and GNU/Linux eating their cake.

Not convinced? Large school systems run GNU/Linux. Do you think all those thousands of students might spread the word? How about all those employees at Google? Think they are all geeks with no friends? What does it take to be a well known desktop OS? Sold by major OEMs? GNU/Linux has that covered.

No. The problem, if there is a problem, is not about being well-known. The problem is getting on retail shelves everywhere. That’s the last barrier to wider adoption. Some countries don’t have that problem: Brazil, China, India, etc. If your country has that problem, tell the retailer why those over-priced bulky boxes are gathering dust on their shelves and that they could move product if it was ~$100/unit cheaper. Retailers are all about turnover. They need a high margin on a product rarely sold but a small margin is very profitable on a product sold more often. GNU/Linux PCs of all kinds will sell with lower prices. We saw that with the eeePC and others. ASUS had trouble keeping those shelves stocked.

See Making a Difference the Linux Way.

  • Mar 28 / 2014
  • 5
technology

Nvidia Bends Moore’s Law

The Pascal architecture from Nvidia will be based on multi-layer chips and stacked memory for a huge increase in bandwidth to/from the GPU.

Combined with their CPU roadmap, this technology will allow personal computing or HPC modules to triple in performance every year for the next few years. Are we there yet?

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